Cambrian News photographer - Some of the cast of Oliver!

Rehearsals have begun for the much-anticipated production of Oliver! at Aberystwyth Arts Centre.

Cambrian News reported “Director Richard Cheshire has returned to take the helm of the venue’s summer season slot, and he and the cast and crew gathered for the first time last week to start work on the Lionel Bart musical.

The show’s large cast of experienced actors and rising stars of musical theatre will perform alongside local children, and the award-winning musical adaptation of the classic Dickens’ novel springs to life with some of the most memorable characters and songs ever to hit the stage.

Based on Charles Dickens’ novel,the Tony and Olivier Award-winning show is one of the few musicals to win an Academy Award for Best Picture and is widely hailed as a true theatrical masterpiece by actors and audience members alike.

It features a string of well-known songs including Consider Yourself, Who Will Buy, Food Glorious Food, and many more.

While the central roles of Oliver and Artful Dodger will be played by local young actors, taking on the most famous grown-up roles in the show are Matthew Ashforde as Fagin, Richard Corgan as Sykes and Anna McGarahan as Nancy.

Matthew Ashforde made his professional debut at the age of 10 in Cameron Mackintosh’s first production of Oliver!in the West End as one of Fagin’s gang and went on to play Noah Claypole in the London Palladium production of Oliver! directed by Sam Mendes.

He also has a whole host of stage and TV credits to his name – including CBBC’s Hetty Feather.

Richard Corgan has been seen on screen in BBC Wales’ Baker Boys and the sci-fi horror comedy Canaries; and on stage across the UK, from The Globe and The Arcola to National Theatre Wales and Sherman Cymru.

Anna McGarahan has most recently starred in the West End production of Les Miserables at The Queen’s Theatre, and has featured in productions in the West End and across the UK.

Also joining the company are some very familiar faces from Welsh theatre and TV, including Gillian Elisa, who’ll be playing Widow Corney, and Ieuan Rhys, who’ll play Mr Bumble. Both are known for long-running roles in Pobol y Cwm, and both boast a wealth of stage and musical experience.

Mr Brownlow will be played by John Lyons, most recognisable for his role as DS George Toolan in A Touch of Frostand with decades’ of theatrical experience, including seasons as part of the West End cast of The Mousetrap.

Taking on the roles of Mr and Mrs Sowerberry are Matthew Wellman and Amy-Jane Ollies. Both have toured extensively in productions across the UK.

Playing Charlotte Sowerberry and Noah Claypole are Bethan Pearce and Sam Ebenezer, two Aberystwyth natives now performing professionally. Both will be making a welcome return to the stage of Theatr y Werin

Oliver! will open on Friday, 9 August, at 7.30pm and runs until the end of the month” here.