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Hunter Drama’s latest show barking mad

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This show has gone to the dogs!

The team at Hunter Drama has obviously decided to ignore the advice of W.C. Fields to never work with children or animals.

For their upcoming production of the beloved musical theatre classic, Oliver! at the Civic Theatre, not only do they have 32 of their students in the core cast and another 138 “Orphans” singing and dancing in the aisles, they’ll also have a bull terrier named Rusty making his stage debut.

Rusty, who comes from Bankabull Kennels, will play the role of “Bullseye”, the scrappy canine companion of the dastardly Bill Sikes, played by Newcastle theatre favourite Marty Worrall.

Marty Worrall with Rusty.

Marty and Rusty have been bonding over recent rehearsals and are both looking forward to strutting their stuff at this extravaganza, from 10 to 13 March for six performances.

Hunter Drama general manager Hayley Stoddart said when they put out the call for a bull terrier last month on their Facebook page, they were inundated with responses.

“We had more interactions from that post than anything we’ve put up in the past 12 months,” she laughed.

“People were tagging and sharing it in record numbers and, within hours, our in-box was flooded with profiles of budding four-legged thespians.

“We carefully assessed all applicants for age, temperament and appearance and were delighted when we ‘auditioned’ Rusty.

“He is perfect, right down to the white colouring and black eye patches.

“Rusty has been in the rehearsal rooms with all the colour and movement from our 52-core cast and is proving to be an absolute pro.

“We can’t wait to see him take the spotlight in this brilliant production.”

Oliver! stars Drew Holmes as Fagin, Marty Worral as Bill Sikes, Alicia Paterson as Nancy and introduces

Hunter Drama students Noah Lane as Oliver and Jude Schillert as The Artful Dodger.

It will be at the Civic Theatre for six performances from Thursday 10 March until Sunday 13 March.

Tickets are available through the Civic Theatre Ticket Office at https://civictheatrenewcastle.com.au/what-s-on/all-shows/oliver

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