Chippenham play seeking a canine star

This Is Wiltshire: The two Annies, Annabel Howe, left, and Alice Harding are on the hunt for a super Sandy The two Annies, Annabel Howe, left, and Alice Harding are on the hunt for a super Sandy

A musical theatre group in Chippenham is looking to collar a diva dog for its forthcoming performances of Annie.

CLOGS expects to be hounded by hopefuls as they audition for the role of Sandy the dog this weekend.

The successful animal will soon become familiar with the roar of the crowd as it plays one of the most important roles as the loyal companion of Annie.

In the classic Broadway show, coming to Chippenham in March, the cheery orphan girl rescues the stray and they become faithful friends.

The performing pooch is not expected to be a pedigree, as it is cast as an abandoned mongrel. The original Sandy was a terrier mix.

When the musical celebrated its 35th anniversary in Broadway last year, Sandy was also played by a terrier mix. Sunny was rescued from a dog pound in Houston where she was about to be put down.

And on this side of the Atlantic, Danny – a soft-coated wheaten terrier – holds the world record for the most performances by a dog in a theatrical production, after performing as Sandy with a touring company for 10 years.

CLOGS amateur musical theatre group will hold auditions tomorrow (Sunday) at the Tabernacle Church on Emery Lane in Chippenham at 1pm.

Director Matt Heaton said he did not have any preconceptions about what the dog should look like, but it would have to be used to working with groups and not mind the sound of singing.

He said: “When people think about the character of Annie they immediately think of her dog. We have two amazing talents to play Annie, and they can’t wait to start working with their Sandy.”

The two girls cast to play Annie are nine-year-old Alice Harding, who goes to Queens Crescent Primary School, and 12-year-old Annabel Howe, a pupil at Hardenhuish School.

The role of Annie was played by Sarah Jessica Parker in one of her first roles, in New York when she was 14 in 1979.

Anyone interested in auditioning their dog is being asked to contact Anne Holmes on (01225) 810580.

The production of Annie takes place at the Neeld Hall in Chippenham from March 20 to 24. Tickets can be bought from tomorrow online at www.poundarts.org.uk or by calling (01249) 701628/712618.

The CLOGS group gave their all in their last performance, The Full Monty in October.

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