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WINNIE THE POOH (article first published : 2006-03-16)

Durban is in for a heart-warming winter treat this July holiday, as a brand new, glossy production of A A Milne's Winnie The Pooh is staged by Durban's foremost theatre company, KickstArt, at the Pieter Scholtz Open Air Theatre.

Director Steven Stead and designer Greg King are on the search for four talented children who will play the roles of Christopher Robin and Kanga's naughty baby Roo. Stead made his professional debut playing Christopher Robin for NAPAC in 1982, and feels a real affinity with the material, and knows just what he is looking for from the young actors.

"I want kids with a real sense of play, who can charm without being precocious, and who will be willing to work as hard as their adult colleagues do,” he says. “We are looking for two boys aged between 8 and 12 to alternate as Christopher Robin, and two girls aged between 8 and 10, preferably with a bit of dance background to play Roo. The four actors can be from any race group, but must be able to speak excellent English. We are looking for two actors per part so that the performance load can be shared between them."

Rehearsals will be afternoons and evenings from June 1 to 23 when the show opens and plays every day of the school holidays until July 16. There will be one performance per day at 14h30 (excluding Mondays) and extra shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 18h00.

The talented children who get the roles will be working alongside some of Durban's top professional talent. Rowan Bartlett plays Pooh, while Carol Trench is his anxiety-ridden friend, Piglet. Michael Gritten will play Tigger, Anthony Stonier Rabbit, Alison Cassels, Kanga, and Wendy Watson will make her professional debut as Owl.

Auditions will be held on March 25 and 26. Each child will be expected to sing a short, unaccompanied song, and recite a 10 line piece of poetry or prose from memory. Those interested should contact Steven on 072 796 4236 to arrange an audition time and get further details.




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