Swaffham dancer steps up to the Norwich stage

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A Swaffham dancer has been chosen to star in a stunning new adaptation of a classic novel, which will see him perform live on stage at Norwich’s Theatre Royal this November.

Tyler Brooks, 16, who is currently studying for a Diploma in Dance at Norwich City College, was snapped up during auditions for the latest project by Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Company.

He said: “When I was little, I always wanted to be John Travolta in Grease, I wanted to dance with the Olivia Newton-Johns on stage. I’m overwhelmed but it’s brilliant. I’m there doing what I love and I adore it, it’s my passion.”

The teenager is set to take to the stage on November 19-22 in the thrilling production of Lord of the Flies, presented by Matthew Bourne’s charitable arm Re:Bourne, which invests in the future of dance.

Tyler said: “I’m so looking forward to doing this now – I’ve got 24 people coming to watch. It gives me a real sense of achievement to do what I love and have my family and friends want to come and watch.

“It’s quite unnerving but I’m so excited, nerves don’t really come into it that much – it’s what I’ve wanted to do all my life. For a first show it is quite overwhelming, but it gives me a really great insight into what it might be like working in the industry, and helps me gain experience.”

A total of 22 young men were chosen from several hundred who took part in a series of free workshops across East Anglia and then an intensive two-day audition process.

They will star opposite a cast of New Adventures dancers in the production which is based on William Golding’s classic novel and transfers the story from a desert island to an empty theatre.

It follows a group of schoolboys who find themselves abandoned without any adults and decide to create their own laws and civilisation. The sense of order does not last long though and their self-made society gradually breaks down taking events to an electrifying climax.

Tyler said: “I’ve read Lord of the Flies twice and I was gripped all the way through. I’ve watched so many recordings of the show and it translates really well to the stage. I’me getting really excited to perform it and to perform with the company.

“We had the first rehearsal a few weeks ago and learnt the choreography for this huge walking scene – it sounds simple, but trying to make sure everyone on the stage is moving to the right place at the right time is actually quite difficult.”

The locally-cast young people will play leading roles in the show. Project Ambassador Cat Chapman has been delivering dance workshops and scouting talent locally, she said: “The boys are on stage for around 90 per cent of the time. They are so vital for the story and don’t just come on to do a short piece.

“It is not an amateur show. The boys are expected to keep to the same high standards as the professionals which is a fantastic thing for them 
to achieve.”

The production, which has already worked with young dancers elsewhere in Britain during its UK tour in parallel projects to the Norfolk one, has won praise from audience and critics alike. John Bultitude, of Norwich Theatre Royal, said: “With a cast of New Adventures dancers and this remarkable local talent, Golding’s legendary characters are brought to life with raw energy, emotional intensity and breath-taking performances. Chilling, beautiful and hugely entertaining, Lord of the Flies will enthral Bourne fans and inspire a new generation of audiences.”

Tickets are available from the box office on 01603 630000 or go to www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk