Mamma Mia! West End sparkle comes to the city

Theatre stars are taking time off from performing in some of London's top shows to teach youngsters at a Norwich venue.

Every day this week, theatre performers from the West End will come to Open, in Bank Plain, to teach new skills such as acting, singing and dancing and help produce a spectacular show which will be performed in front of 500 people on Friday.

Throughout the week, the youngsters will work with cast members from Blood Brothers, Mamma Mia! and Les Miserables.

Yesterday, Richard Munday, who is currently playing the role of Raoul in Phantom of the Opera, worked with the 50 youngsters from across the county.

He said: 'The children are really good and we have every confidence in them. They are all so disciplined and well behaved. It's a good experience for them, especially in this area – London is close but it's not that close.

'We treat them like professionals.'

Children aged between eight and 17 are taking part in the workshops and around 35 adults will be attending evening classes.

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Leah Colebrooke, 11, from Aylsham said: 'It's great fun. They do work you hard but it will all be worth it.

'The best bit has been learning the choreography and working with the West End stars.'

Sydney Ames, 10, from Thorpe St Andrew said: 'If anyone gets an opportunity like this, they should take it.

'I will be nervous, but it's exciting as well.

'Everyone is really nice and you soon make friends.'

Jo Chandler, who organised the event for West End Experience, said: 'I started volunteering with children who had talents in musical theatre.

' This is the first time I have arranged it in Norfolk – I have never done anything on this scale before; it's the first of its type.

'It has been amazing. We have had children flown in from Austria and some commuting from King's Lynn every day.

'We've even had some people who are renting flats in Norwich for the week.'

The final performance will take place at 8pm on Friday. Tickets cost �6 for adults and �4 for children. To book, email

Are you organising an event for youngsters? Call reporter Lucy Wright on 01603 772495 or email