Little men and women take to the stage to perform Louisa May Alcott’s classic at Canberra Theatre Centre

Lachlan Roberts 19 September 2018

Cast B performers Left to Right – Eliza Stiles as young Amy March, Jade Breen as young Beth March, Breanna Kelly as young Jo March, and Pippa Goodwill as young Meg March. Photos: Greg Gould.

Over 50 little Canberra women and men will grace the stage at the Canberra Theatre Centre next week for a local production of the classic novel Little Women.

Generations of readers have fallen in love with Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel set during the American Civil War which follows the March sisters – clever and fiery Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful and traditional Meg, and romantic and spoilt Amy – as they navigate the challenges and hardships of their time.

Set in an era of war, slavery, and limited opportunities for women, it remains an enduring tale of love, compassion and hope.

The new adaptation is co-directed by Kirsty Budding and Glynis Stokes and features a talented cast of children and young adults from the nation’s capital. Ms Budding said the response to the auditions was overwhelming and decided to have two alternating casts due to the high demand.

“Little Women is a classic and it’s the kind of novel that everyone remembers reading when they were a kid or they remember their mother or grandmother reading it to them. It is just an iconic, classic story and it is one of my favourite novels,” she said.

“Most of the kids that auditioned already knew the story and for a couple of kids auditioning it was their favourite book and that’s why they wanted to audition for a role. It was originally meant to be one cast but we had over 80 kids audition so we couldn’t cast everyone but they were all really talented so we decided to run with alternating casts.”

19-year-old Abbey Morgan as Jo March (Cast B).

Teaching the budding performers the differences in walking and talking from modern Australia to war-torn America in the 1800’s might seem like a daunting task to most, but Ms Budding relishes the chance to teach her performers the nuances of being a professional.

“I am really interested in history so I enjoy directing and bringing out the historical context of the piece. It is a very different style and you have to teach people how to walk differently, speak with different accents and get into the mind of someone living in the 1860’s in the US during the Civil War,” the playwright said.

“The kids are excellent and they pick up on the accents quickly and they are a very committed group of performers.”

The lead role of Jo March will be played in Cast A by seventeen-year-old Emily O’Brien who is currently in year 11 at St Francis Xavier College and in cast B by nineteen-year-old Abbey Morgan who is currently a part-time student at the National Institue of Dramatic Arts (NIDA).

Thomas Hyslop as Laurie and 17-year-old Emily O’Brien as Jo March (Cast A).

The show, which will run for around 70-minutes, will be staged at the Courtyard Theatre, Canberra Theatre Centre from the 24 – 29 September 2018. Click here for the full casts.

Monday 24 September 6 pm – Cast A
Monday 24 September 8 pm – Cast B
Tuesday 25 September 6 pm – Cast A
Wednesday 26 September 6 pm – Cast B
Friday 28 September 6 pm – Cast A
Saturday 29 September 10 am – Cast B

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