Oliver! wows audiences

Just as others began to start thinking about Christmas, the cast and crew of ‘Oliver!’ were hard at work ready to wow sell-out audiences.

The cast and crew put on four incredible public performances and two inspiring dress rehearsal previews to six local primary and prep schools, with over 1,000 audience members across the week.

This year’s production came at the request of some of the U5, in the form of a lengthy email full of suggestions for a range of musicals; including one about an orphan! With strong demand from pupils, as well as agreement from the Music and Dance departments, Headington was swapped for Victorian London to tell the tale of a boy named Oliver looking for a better life.

Acting Director of Performing Arts Mr Phil Macken said: “Reflecting back over the last two musicals we have produced, ‘Legally Blonde Jr’ in 2019 and ‘Chicago’ in 2021, ‘Oliver!’ is definitely less light-hearted and glitzy!

“But the students loved developing their cockney accents as they became gruff Londoners.”

With popular songs such as ‘Food, Glorious Food’, ‘I’d Do Anything’ and ‘Pick-A-Pocket’, the 40 strong cast of L5-U6 pupils sang, danced and acted their hearts out, with so many audience members amazed at their raw ability, and attention to detail.

The beautifully created set, stunning costumes and atmospheric lighting, all combined with the energetic dance numbers, created a high quality production.

Some standout performances were from Lydia and Georgie (both U5) as Fagin and Dodger, Zoe and Kiran (both U6) as Nancy and Bill Sikes, and Addy (L5) as the titular role of Oliver.

Honourable mentions must go to: Sally and Tiffany, as funeral parlour owners Mr & Mrs Sowerberr, Ellie, as Dodger’s second in command Charley Bates, and Asha, as Dr Grimwig, as they all join Zoe and Kiran, along with wonderful Stage Manager Abbie, in their final Senior School productions.

A special nod goes to Tiffany, as it was also her first Headington production, proving it’s never too late to try something new!

Mr Macken said: “A final note goes to the Assistant Directors, Maia and Lexi (U5) and Wardrobe Manager Rose (L6).

“We are so pleased by the continued excellent work going on by students behind the scenes, as much as those of the stage.”

The show involved approximately 100 costumes, dozens of props and several large moving pieces of set; all managed and organised by the pupils.

Oliver! Winter Production 2023