Henfield Theatre Company presents a long-running Canadian classic

From left: Nicky Haines, Martin Love, Ellie Rayward and Ann Stern. Picture Ian Henham
From left: Nicky Haines, Martin Love, Ellie Rayward and Ann Stern. Picture Ian Henham

Henfield Theatre Company offers one of the world’s longest-running hit musicals – Anne of Green Gables.

Spokesman Martin Love said: “This charming show by Donald Harron and Norman Campbell opened in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (Canada), in 1965 and has been on the professional stage for almost all of the time since then.

From left: Trevor Hodgson, Emily Katz, Angela Mariner, Linda Jordan, Ashtyn Rowarth, Phoebe Ralph and Charlie Hodell. Picture by Neville de Moraes

From left: Trevor Hodgson, Emily Katz, Angela Mariner, Linda Jordan, Ashtyn Rowarth, Phoebe Ralph and Charlie Hodell. Picture by Neville de Moraes

“It’s no surprise then, that Henfield Theatre Company have chosen this one for their January production. The choice has inspired some of their younger talent, not least 14-year-old Ellie Rayward who plays Anne.

“Ellie has impressive stage presence having had a lot of experience already in some high profile productions. In the past few months she has played Penny in Honk with the National Youth Music Theatre, accompanied the musical theatre group Collabro on the London Palladium stage and been cast to play Cosette in Les Misérables at The Capitol in Horsham.

“As well as a talented cast, the show will be supported by an orchestra of eight professional and semi-professional musicians, led by musical director Jane Haines who will be sure to do maximum justice to the beautiful musical score.

“The production is directed by Lesley Barnes who is a former professional singer and music teacher. Lesley saw Anne of Green Gables many years ago, fell in love with it and has had ambitions to direct it ever since.”

Ellie Rayward as  Anne. Picture by Ian Henham

Ellie Rayward as Anne. Picture by Ian Henham

The story centres around charismatic orphan Anne Shirley who is sent to live with a middle-aged brother and sister, Mathew and Marilla Cuthbert.

The couple were expecting a boy who could help them on their farm but Matthew goes to Bright River station to meet the orphan and it doesn’t take him long to fall under her spell.

Anne is able to find joy in all things, but her adoption into the community does not run smoothly. She is very sensitive about her red hair and freckles and can be quite explosive when this is mentioned by others...

The show is at Henfield Hall from Thursday to Saturday, January 4-6 (7.30pm, Saturday matinee 2pm). Tickets from Stevens, Henfield High Street (01273 492141), or www.henfieldtheatrecompany.com.

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