As an impressionable 17-year-old Alison Doram watched in awe as her friend Julie played Charity Hope Valentine 12 years ago, hoping that one day she could follow in her footsteps.
That ambition will be realised later this month when Alison steps out on to the Pomegranate Theatre stage to play the eponymous role in Chesterfield Operatic Society’s production of Sweet Charity.
“Charity is a part I have always wanted to play,” said Alison, “after I was lucky enough to be a dancer in our production in 2001.
“I remember watching in awe as Julie (Metcalfe - Nickie in this latest production) played Charity brilliantly and thinking I would like to play that role...and now I’m going to be able to.
“Charity is a very bubbly and happy person who thinks that one day her prince will arrive and whisk her off on his white horse.
“It’s a very challenging role, with lots of lines to learn as well as singing and dancing, which I like. Charity is on stage by herself a lot of the time, having to interact with the audience, which can be very challenging.”
Alison, who has played a number of principal roles with the society and took the lead role of Ann Pornick in the centenary production of Half A Sixpence, spent three years working as a professional dancer with a holiday company in Cornwall and Devon before returning to Chesterfield to undergo a knee operation.
Also returning to the society after a short break, in the role of Herman, is Andrew Davie, who made his debut as a 15-year-old in the society’s 1971 production of The Sound of Music as Friederich.
He went on to play a number of principal roles with the society as well as directing Annie (2007), Carousel (2008) and Hello Dolly (2009).He has also taken principal roles with Nottingham Operatic Society and is a regular in Hasland Theatre Company productions.
“It’s been great to come back and play Herman,” he said, “but it’s now a very much younger society compared with the one I played with before. There’s a great atmosphere and I’m really enjoying it.”
Sweet Charity runs nightly at 7.15pm at the Pomegranate Theatre, from April 23 to 27, with a Saturday matinee (box office 01246 345222). Director is Phil Simcox and musical director is Jonathan Francis.