Olivia's in a twist for dance school's debut musical
CHARLES Dickens gets a toe-tapping makeover thanks to a dance studio's latest production.
Olivia is a musical based on the Victorian author's classic tale Oliver Twist.
But where the central character is an orphan boy in the original story, Defy Gravity Studios' version follows the fortunes of a brave heroine instead – played by nine-year-old Carys Brett.
The Tunstall-based dance school is staging the all-singing, all-dancing show at Stoke Repertory Theatre from Thursday, January 31.
Defy Gravity director Laura-Ann Smith says: "Originally we wanted to do Oliver, but this script is perfect.
"Because we've got so many girls at the studio it fitted in with what we wanted to do.
"The score features all original songs."
The 31-year-old from Wolstanton set up her studio four years ago.
It follows a successful career as a professional dancer that saw Laura-Ann perform in music videos, on cruise ships and in theatre tours.
From just three children on the register when she started her company, Defy Gravity has since expanded.
It now offers a full timetable of adult classes and lessons for youngsters, as well as a programme in Barlaston and Newcastle.
A cast of more than 40 children, ranging in ages from six to 15, are taking part in Olivia.
Actress Victoria Gotham is directing the show while Ashley Mellor is musical director.
"For many of these youngsters it will be the first time they have been on stage and their talent and enthusiasm is outstanding", says Victoria.
Olivia is at Stoke Repertory Theatre from Thursday, January 31 until Saturday, February 2 at 7pm. Tickets cost £10 and £8 for children. Buy on the door or in advance from 01782 821195.