A DOZEN talented boys can consider themselves part of the family after landing roles in a forthcoming production of the musical Oliver!

Wear Valley Musical Theatre Company is preparing to stage the show at Shildon Civic Hall, in County Durham, from May 13 to 17.

As all its members are over 14, the company held open auditions for child stars to take on the roles of Oliver, the Artful Dodger and Fagin’s gang.

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The production team was not disappointed as young performers from across the region turned up to try out for a part and overcame nerves and breaking voices to showcase their singing and dancing skills.

After two hours of dancing in a church hall and singing around a piano all 12 young performers were rewarded with a part in the play, which is adapted from the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist.

The leading character of orphan Oliver will be played by 12-year-old Sam Hughes, of Hurworth, near Darlington.

And Alex Smeath, 13, of Spennymoor, County Durham, will take on the role of Dodger, who heads a bunch of young pickpockets.

For details of the theatre company and show visit the website wvmtc.co.uk