Young stars from CANDI perform Annie like there’s no Tomorrow

Aspiring actors from City and Islington College (CANDI) headed back to 1930s New York when they took to the stage to perform the Broadway hit musical Annie.

The show featured many of the classic songs written by Charles Strousse and Martin Charnin including Maybe, It’s a Hard Knock Life, Little Girls and the showstopper Tomorrow.

The spectacular production about a young orphan girl was performed over two nights at the college’s theatre at its Centre for Business, Arts and Technology on Camden Road.

The 11-strong cast was made up of Performing Arts Level 3 Diploma students. Different actors performed in the main roles with Shaquilla Farrell and Kerry-Ann Alvarez Trivino starring as Annie.

Africa Blagrove and Xanandu Sheriff played Miss Hannigan, while Marc Roth and James Whittington-Phillips played Daddy Warbucks, Lizzie Estell played Grace Farrell and Tomas Valencia was Rooster.

The rest of the cast comprised Esther Lafa, Bianca Alieze-Luciano and Janel Mevlit who played the orphans, servants at the Warbucks mansion and other minor characters.

Shaquilla, 17, from Islington, reprised the role of Annie she had previously played when she was a pupil at Montem Primary School in Islington.

She said: “I was a bit nervous because I wasn’t very well and had lost my voice a few days before. I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it, especially singing big numbers, but on the morning of the show I managed to push my voice out and I began to relate to Annie’s optimism. I had to believe in myself that I could do it, and I did.

“The audience loved it and were cheering after each song. At the end they were saying it was an amazing show and they didn’t even realise I was ill. I was very surprised because of how I had been feeling, but very proud of everyone I’d worked with on the show.

“When I’m performing it’s like I’m sharing a piece of me with everyone. I just feel alive.”

‘The audience loved it and were cheering after each song. At the end they were saying it was an amazing show.’

Audiences were quick to applaud the “wonderful” show.

One said: “What made this truly special was not only the impact on the performers, but their family and friends. The pride and joy as they see their children excel, and morph into something truly amazing, is testament to the commitment of CANDI’s teachers and staff.”

The show was directed by Tim Chaundy, Curriculum Leader for Performing Arts, with choreography and acting coaching from Performing Arts lecturers Caroline Griffiths and Blanka Molnar.

Sound and lighting was provided by theatre technicians Natalie Tomlin, Chevelle Adeko and Neill Brinkworth supported by Performing Arts student Gabriele Jasineviciute.

‘The students worked with absolute commitment and flair … it’s not wonder every single one of them has been offered places to continue into higher education or got work in the industry this year.’

Tim said: “It was amazing to have worked with such a dedicated ensemble to fully realise our interpretation of Annie. The audience were truly impressed with the high energy and confidence of the students’ performance.

“The students worked with absolute commitment and flair, often rehearsing in their own time to ensure that the show was a success. It’s no wonder every single one of them has been offered places to continue into higher education or got work in the industry this year.”

The show formed part of a Summer Showcase of productions, that included stage adaptations of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses and Sonali Bhattacharyya’s Two Billion Beats.

The end-of-year event also featured productions of Cacophony by Molly Taylor and a version of the Greek tragedy Antigone, along with various music performances.

A career on the stage, as well as a lot more confidence for whatever you choose to do, can be yours, with a qualification in Performing Arts. Under the expert tutelage of our dedicated lecturers, supported by our team of support staff and technicians, you’ll get great tuition in our excellent theatre facilities. Apply now for a Performing Arts course at CANDI here.

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