December 4, 2013




Does your child have what it takes to be a star? Find out in February when auditions for an international production of ANNIE begin across New Zealand.

The Producers of ANNIE, one of the best-loved musicals of all time, will be holding auditions for the lead role of Annie as well as the orphans, giving talented young New Zealanders the opportunity of a lifetime to share the stage with a host of familiar faces from British TV and theatre.  ANNIE opens on 23 May at the St James Theatre, Wellington, and then plays at The Civic in Auckland from 13 June 2014.

Auditions will be held in Wellington on Saturday, 8 February, at the St James Theatre from 10.00am; and in Auckland on Sunday, 9 February, at the ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, from 10.00am. Auditions will also be held in Christchurch in March for the role of Annie.

For the lead role of Annie, the producers will be looking for girls aged about 10-12 with confident and bright personalities who have acting and dancing experience, and an outstanding singing voice.  Annie’s trademark red hair will be provided in the form of a wig, so hair colour is not an issue, and height should be no more than approximately 150cm or 5ft.

The producers will also be looking for nine orphans ranging in age from 6-14 – the small and cute Molly, the ‘Tom-boy’ characters Pepper and July, as well as Kate, Duffy, Violet, Eleanor, Rosie and Becky.  Each character must measure no more than 5’2” or 157cm in height, have a strong personality, excellent singing voice, and some acting and dancing experience.

During the auditions, applicants will be put through a group dance class and short individual singing assessment. Those who are shortlisted will be put forward for the closed auditions in March. All interested parties should register prior to the auditions, before the closing date of 24 January 2014.
Email expressions of interest to:
or go to for more information. 

Producer James Cundall, Chief Executive of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions said, “For young actresses to have the chance to star on stage with actors of this calibre in an international production will be a dream come true and the chance of a lifetime.  Early in her acting career the Hollywood star Catherine Zeta Jones appeared as an orphan in the London production of ANNIE so you never know where an opportunity such as this could take you!”

From its Broadway beginnings to the classic film musical, the heart-warming rags-to-riches story of plucky young Annie’s journey from the hard-knock New York orphanage to the luxurious home of billionaire businessman Oliver Warbucks, is a tale that has been told all over the world for decades.

The toe-tapping score for ANNIE features some of the best-known songs in musical theatre, including “Maybe,” “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You” and the eternal anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow”.

ANNIE also boasts spectacular sets, glorious costumes, a hilarious script and of course the adorable dog Sandy.  The show will be produced by UK-based Lunchbox Theatrical Productions which has offices in New Zealand and Australia, and David Atkins Enterprises of Australia in association with Playhouse Productions (UK).

More than 50 million people of all ages have been delighted by three Broadway runs of ANNIE, two Australian tours, two West End stints, five National US companies, two hit movies (1982 and 1999) with a third due for release in December 2014, and dozens of international productions, playing seasons all over the world.

This UK production of ANNIE has been seen by over 3 million people during its tour to every major city in Great Britain, and last year played sell-out seasons in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Leading the stellar cast is the UK’s hilarious star of stage and screen, Su Pollard, and David McAlister, a veteran of the West End stage and TV dramas. 

Perhaps best known for her brilliantly funny portrayal of Peggy in the hit BBC TV series Hi-de-Hi!, Su Pollard will play the devious, gin-soaked Miss Hannigan, headmistress of the hard-knock New York City Municipal Orphanage. The BAFTA Award-winning Hi-de-Hi! was a prime time favourite on UK television for eight years in the 1980s, turning its cast into household names. Hi-de-Hi! is currently screening on Sky TV’s Jones channel. 

Playing the kindly billionaire businessman Oliver ‘Daddy’ Warbucks is David McAlister. David has enjoyed success in nearly every area of the entertainment industry from opera to TV comedy and soaps including Eastenders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks. His West End performances include the lead role in The Mousetrap, A Month in the Country with Ingrid Bergman, The Sound of Music and the lead role of Noel Coward opposite Joanna Lumley in Noel & Gertie at London’s famous King’s Head Theatre.

Making a welcome return to New Zealand is MiG Ayesa in the role of Rooster — Miss Hannigan’s scheming brother.  MiG was last seen on these shores in the lead role of Galileo Figaro in the hit musical We Will Rock You in 2007, following his success in the hit TV show, Rock Star: INXS.  MiG has performed in many West End and Broadway musicals including Rent, Rock of Ages and Thriller Live.

Playing the role of former US President Franklin D Roosevelt is Frazer Hines, best known as Joe Sugden in Emmerdale for 22 years, and with 117 episodes as the Doctor’s assistant in Dr Who to his credit.  Also joining the cast are two stars from the hit  BBC TV comedy series ‘Allo ‘AlloSue Hodge, who played waitress Mimi Labonq for five years, and John D Collins who played Flying Officer Fairfax for ten years.

“A musical that tugs at your heartstrings”
The Times, UK 

Inspired by Harold Gray’s famous comic strip Little Orphan Annie which first ran in the New York News in 1924, ANNIEis set in Depression Era New York City at a time when the economy looked bleak, government seemed ineffective and the average citizen was desperate and frustrated.  With its hopeful message and unwavering belief in a better tomorrow, ANNIE made its Broadway debut in April 1977 and played 2377 performances before closing in 1983. The show won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book (Thomas Meehan), Best Original Score (music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin), and Best Choreography.

Now, 37 years after its Broadway debut, the timeless tale of Little Orphan Annie will be coming to New Zealand, giving a whole new generation the chance to experience a classic musical about never giving up hope. ANNIE is a delightful theatrical experience for any age.  


Based in the UK, Lunchbox Theatrical Productions is a global producer of live entertainment with companies in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and The Philippines.  Lunchbox Theatrical Productions has brought a wide array of shows to New Zealand over the last few years including We Will Rock You, Grease, Slava’s Snowshow, Stomp, Rick Stein, Riverdance, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Bootleg Beatles, Potted Potter, Pam Ayres, Abba Mania, The Woman in Black as well as The Imperial Ice Stars’ productions of The Sleeping Beauty on Ice, Swan Lake on Ice, Cinderella on Ice and The Nutcracker on Ice, to name but a few.

The Producers had intended to bring this production of ANNIE to Christchurch but delays on venue reconstruction have meant that unfortunately they will not be able to do so.  However, they are excited to be holding auditions in Christchurch for the role of Annie, and hope that Christchurch/the South Island can be represented in the show.  Lunchbox Theatrical Productions  hopes to bring future productions to Christchurch once reconstruction of the Isaac Theatre Royal is completed.


David Atkins Enterprises (DAE) is one of the world’s leading Event and Production Companies.  Based in Sydney and headed by David Atkins OAM, DAE has been producing international ceremonies, musicals, arena events and live productions all over the world for over 25 years.  As well as co-producing a number of theatre shows and musicals with Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, DAE created and produced the Opening Ceremony of the Rugby World Cup in Auckland in 2011, the Outdoor Opening Ceremony of World Expo 2010 in Shanghai China, the Opening, Closing and Victory Ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.


UK-based Playhouse Productions has been producing musicals, plays, pantomimes and artistes across Britain and throughout the world for over 25 years.  Headed by Chris Moreno, Playhouse Productions’ UK tours include the musicals ANNIE, Hello Dolly!, Buddy, Crazy for You and White Christmas amongst many others. Rock Hudson, Douglas Fairbanks Jnr, Glenda Jackson, Dame Peggy Ashcroft and the RSC are just some of the diverse artistes he has toured to theatres abroad.  In the realm of music, Chris has produced many artists in concert including Elaine Paige, Leo Sayer, Girls Aloud, Status Quo, The Sugarbabes, McFly, Katherine Jenkins, Hayley Westenra and The Feeling.

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