From left are Emily Furniss as Oliver, Will Roddick as Fagin, and Sam Clark as the Artful Dodger in Nayland College’s production of Oliver! Photo: Kate Russell.

Nayland College takes on Oliver!


A talented troupe of Nayland College students is bringing a classic to the Theatre Royal stage early next month.

Oliver! is being performed during the first week of term two, from 1 – 4 May.

Based on Charles Dickens’ ever-popular novel Oliver Twist, the Lionel Bart adaption brings to life the book’s timeless characters with its important social themes.

The story follows young, orphaned Oliver Twist as he navigates London’s underworld of theft and violence, searching for a home, a family, and love.

This is the second time the college has staged the production – the last time being in 1990. It’s also the first show for new head of drama, and director, Verity Davidson.

The cast of 43 features three of Nayland’s student leaders in key roles – Jo Melesia, Ben Dowdle and Mia Faulkner.

Others include Will Roddick as Fagin and Ruby Burr as Nancy. There are also plenty of year nines in the cast, including two in main roles – Oliver (Emily Furniss) and the Artful Dodger (Sam Clark).

A number of Nayland students and staff will also be involved in other capacities such as playing music, doing hair and makeup and helping backstage.

Sam says the show is a “good mix of comedy and drama” and all the songs are “incredible”, such as ‘As Long as He Needs Me’, ‘Food, Glorious Food’, and ‘Where is Love’.

Will says Oliver! is a great first show for children.

The Nayland cast is also being complemented by a unique and community-minded collabora­tion with Broadgreen Interme­diate, with 35 of their students featuring as orphans in the opening number, ‘Food, Glori­ous Food’.

This collaboration came out of Nayland’s music outreach programme run by head of music Nigel Weeks.

Oliver! is on at the Theatre Royal from 1-4 May, with four 7pm shows and one Saturday viewing at 1:30pm. Tickets are $18 for adults or $10 for seniors/under 18s, and are available from TicketDirect or the theatre box office.