Thetford Players celebrate success of their first musical

The Thetford Players' production of Lionel Bart's Oliver! at the Carnegie Room. Pictures by Maria Co

The Thetford Players' production of Lionel Bart's Oliver! at the Carnegie Room. Pictures by Maria Cooke. - Credit: Archant

An amateur dramatics group is celebrating the unprecedented success of its first full length musical production.

The Thetford Players' production of Lionel Bart's Oliver! at the Carnegie Room. Pictures by Maria Co

The Thetford Players' production of Lionel Bart's Oliver! at the Carnegie Room. Pictures by Maria Cooke. - Credit: Archant

Thetford Players stepped out of their pantomime background for four performances of Lionel Bart's Oliver! at the Carnegie Room.

The ambitious project involved 33 cast members, aged between 9 and 68, and three months of rehearsals ahead of last week's performances.

The show, with classic songs such as Consider Yourself and Food Glorious Food, also featured an impressive hired set and a live seven-piece band, conducted by musical director Claire Lowe.

It was a Players debut for three of the cast – Harry Smith as the Artful Dodger, Madeline Soan as Nancy, and Thomas Chamberlain as Bill Sykes.

The Thetford Players' production of Lionel Bart's Oliver! at the Carnegie Room. Madeline Soan as Nan

The Thetford Players' production of Lionel Bart's Oliver! at the Carnegie Room. Madeline Soan as Nancy, Craig Plumley as Fagin, Thomas Chamberlain as Bill Sykes and Harry Smith as the Artful Dodger. Pictures by Maria Cooke. - Credit: Archant


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Jack Jenkins (Michael in the Players' Peter Pan) starred as Oliver, and Craig Plumley starred as everyone's favourite miser, Fagin, after years away from the stage.

Caroline Foot, director of the production, said: 'I am so incredibly proud of everyone involved in the show. It's a massive achievement for Thetford Players and I'm so happy with how everything came together to put on such an amazing run of shows.

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'The cast, for quite a few of whom it was their first show with us; the musicians, which included brass and woodwind for the first time; all the production team who work tirelessly behind the scenes without whom there would be no show; and not forgetting our front of house team who provide a warm welcome to our audience members.

'Everyone has worked incredibly hard to put on the best production possible. We set ourselves high standards and I believe we achieved them with Oliver!.'

The Thetford Players' production of Lionel Bart's Oliver! at the Carnegie Room. Emma Kelly as Widow

The Thetford Players' production of Lionel Bart's Oliver! at the Carnegie Room. Emma Kelly as Widow Corney and Andy Cunnell as Mr Bumble. Pictures by Maria Cooke. - Credit: Archant

Ms Foot also thanked Caroline King and Stepping Stone Training Academy who did the casts' make up, and Sharon Street and her team at Techniques who acted as hair stylists.

But the Players have no time to rest on their laurels – preparations are already underway for the group's third Pantomime Dame Pageant.

The adult-only event takes place on the opening night of Thetford's Great Festival, August 19. Any companies or groups wishing to enter a Dame should contact thetford.players@hotmail.co.uk

The Thetford Players' production of Lionel Bart's Oliver! at the Carnegie Room. Madeline Soan as Nan

The Thetford Players' production of Lionel Bart's Oliver! at the Carnegie Room. Madeline Soan as Nancy and Harry Smith as the Artful Dodger. Pictures by Maria Cooke. - Credit: Archant

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