Issue date: 20 February 2004

ISSUE DATE: 20/02/04

The Wizard of Oz at the QEH Theatre 9 to 13 March 2004

Students from the University of the West of England’s Centre for Performing Arts will perform the musical, The Wizard of Oz at the QEH Theatre from 9 to 13 March 2004. The musical by L.Frank Baum has been adapted by John Kane from the film screenplay for The Royal Shakespeare Company. The show will feature all the favourite songs including Over the Rainbow, We’re Off to See the Wizard and Follow the Yellow Brick Road.

The leading role of Dorothy will be played by Alex Outlaw who is studying Drama at UWE. Alex discovered that she could sing at the relatively late age of 16 when a music teacher discovered that she had a very good vocal range. She had passed her Grade Eight Singing Examination within one year of taking singing lessons and is currently working towards her diploma. Alex said, “I love playing the part of Dorothy. It is quite a challenge as I have to play the part of a girl almost half my age. I do this by trying to appear wide eyed and amazed by everything I see. It’s been great fun and the cast have supported me brilliantly in what is the biggest role I have performed yet.”

Alex Milner, a Graphic Design student, is playing the part of the scarecrow and he also designed the set. Alex has been a cast member on two previous Centre for Performing Arts productions but this is the first time he has secured a major role. Speaking about the challenges presented when designing the set Alex said, “I wanted to create something simple yet attractive. I was asked to go for an art deco style so I researched ideas and came up with an idea that used the band on stage in a tower for the entire production. The yellow brick road is represented by the ‘yellow brick road dancers’ who come onto the stage each time Dorothy bursts into song and change the direction of yellow carpet tiles to give the scenes some variation. There were certain limitations imposed as the stage is quite small but I think the overall design is very effective.”

Speaking about the role of the scarecrow, Alex said that it was a very enjoyable character to develop. “I’m quite a mad person and the character is a bit silly so I’ve given him a very funny voice. The role does require a lot of energy as I’m on stage for the majority of the drama but the lines are very easy and it’s all great fun.”

Ruth Snary, Producer said, “The Wizard of Oz is a big change from the other musicals that UWE students have played. The large chorus have to use their imaginations to transform themselves into Munchkins, trees, crows, poppies, snowflakes and the fantastical Osians. They are rising brilliantly to the challenge. I am told that the rehearsals are better than “keep-fit” classes and also great fun. The cast cannot wait to see all their costumes which have been designed by John Cousins and Ali Brown, a UWE student on the Fashion Design Course at the Bower Ashton Campus. Everyone knows the much loved film of The Wizard of Oz is enchanted by it and we aim to enchant everyone who sees our production.”

The show has almost sold out for the Saturday matinee and tickets for this popular performance are selling fast so you are advised to book tickets in advance if you want to avoid disappointment. Wizard of Oz tickets are available from the QEH Box Office 0117 930 3082, tickets £10 (concessions £7), Tuesday night all tickets £5.


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