Two young Cardiff girls have won the chance of a lifetime after landing the leading roles in a major new show, Tiger Bay the Musical, being produced by the Wales Millennium Centre.
Discovered during an open audition in December, Louise Harvey, nine, from Rhiwbina and Ruby Llewelyn, 11, from Llantrisant will share the part of Ianto – an orphan boy, who is really a girl, dreaming of a better life.
While Ruby has previous acting experience, this will be Louise’s first ever foray into the performing arts.
They will take to the Wales Millennium Centre stage in November for the world premiere but before then they will be flying off for two months rehearsing and preview performances at Artscape Opera House in Cape Town, South Africa.
Louise said that she was shocked to win the part. She said: “It was my first audition. I am so very grateful. I am very excited to visit South Africa. I can’t wait to start the official rehearsals and meet the rest of the cast!”
Ruby, a keen musician studying cello at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, said: “I found out I had got the role the night before Christmas Eve, which was the best Christmas present.
“At first it was like I’d won a competition but it is starting to sink in now that I am going to Cape Town and be in a musical. It’s just a dream come true.”
Tiger Bay the Musical will bring to life the rich cultural history which helped shape the future of the Welsh capital.
The role of Ianto is pivotal within the storyline as it explores inter-generational and class relationships in the early 1900s when Cardiff Bay was one of the busiest and most multicultural ports in the world.
Directed by Melly Still, music by Daf James, and book and lyrics by Michael Williams, Tiger Bay follows one girl’s journey.
Set in the early 1900s when extreme poverty met supreme wealth, gangs of street children roam the docks and coal is king. A revolution is brewing in the dark and restless world beneath the genteel surface of Cardiff’s Butetown.
Ianto is an an orphan boy, who is really a girl, dreaming of a better life. One of a gang of Water Boys who live in an abandoned coal tunnel close to the docks near Tiger Bay.
The Water Boys spend their days helping the dockers (known as Donkeyman) in return for food and protection from the dangers they face.
Graeme Farrow, artistic director of Wales Millennium Centre said: “We held open auditions in Cardiff to give local talent a really good chance of attending.
“Finding Ruby and Louise, who only live a few miles away, is a gift to us and will help us tell the awe-inspiring story of Tiger Bay with authenticity and passion”.
Tiger Bay the Musical is being produced in association with Cape Town Opera, maintaining the long-standing relationship with South Africa born from one of the Centre’s original philanthropists, South African businessman, Sir Donald Gordon.
Tiger Bay is a Welsh family musical about courage, reconciliation and love in a rapidly changing world. It runs at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff from November 14-25.