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Consider yourself at home

The cast of Theatre Ancaster’s production of Oliver! filed into the Voortman Studio Theatre located in the brand-new Ancaster Memorial Arts Centre Thursday night.

A set of stairs lead up to the main floor of the Ancaster Memorial Arts Centre. A sign reads "Voortman Studio Theatre."
Rehearsals have been taking place in the Voortman Studio Theatre in the new Ancaster Memorial Arts Centre.

Lionel Bart’s classic musical is based on Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist and follows the story of a young orphan boy who finds himself mixed up in London’s underworld.

Audience members are expected to feel the highs and lows of the story as it twists and turns.

“You can always expect that the audience gets to take away something,” said Joe Gull, who plays the villainous Bill Sikes. “What’s great about this show is that it has a wonderful pattern of giving you those moments with the incredible highs and elation, in between the moments any time my character walks on stage. It’s a roller coaster of emotion, as it should be.”

The night marked two weeks until opening night, and it was the first rehearsal with the show’s musical director.

Cast members ran through lines and a choreographed dance number as they ironed out the kinks that come with going from rehearsal music (often just a piano) to the production track (which is pre-recorded) and eventually the live orchestra.

Actors are standing near a table speaking with the musical director and stage manager.
Cast members gathered around the stage manager and musical director to help iron out the production track.

“Making sure the timing for our songs is right is so important,” Elenie Miller (Nancy) said. “Working with a mixture of tracks and the orchestra is very difficult because everything has to be so precise.”

While the music is a large part of the show, audience members can expect to experience intricate costumes, grand set designs and realistic props.

“It’s such a big show,” Jim Broadley (Fagin) said. “The classic shows of the 60s and 70s are really all about glamour and going over the top with everything, with the sets and costumes and all of the other pieces.”

As they prepare to move the set onto the main stage (Peller Hall) on Sunday, and with tech week quickly approaching, it’s a reminder that the show has been in the works for a while now.

“This show was supposed to be launched in fall of 2020, but we all know what happened that year,” director Angela Broadley said, referring to the delays caused by Covid. “So this project has been a long time coming.  The cast and crew have worked their tails off to get this thing off the ground. The dedicated and tireless commitment of this team behind the scenes has been outstanding.”

The show will run from Nov. 10-26 with 11 shows in total. Tickets are available at


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