Could your dog be a star of the stage?

Hazel Latus
Hazel Latus

​ Bognor’s Regis Centre is looking for a canine thesp to tread the boards in their panto production of Wizard of Oz this Christmas.

Executive producer Hazel Latus said: “With 2019 marking the 80th anniversary year of the film, The Wizard of Oz was the perfect choice for this year’s pantomime at the Alexandra Theatre in Bognor Regis.

“One of the best-loved movies in history, The Wizard of Oz was based on the 1900 children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum. The film starred Judy Garland as Dorothy and has often been performed as a stage adaptation.

“But Bognor’s producers will take the original story and ‘panto-fy’ it, delivering all the traditional magic that audiences have come to expect of the seasonal production at the theatre by the sea.”

Hazel added: “Having built on the success of our annual pantomime year on year, the challenge is always to exceed expectations. With The Wizard of Oz celebrating such a milestone anniversary it was the obvious choice for 2019/20 and it has all the right ingredients for a perfect Christmas production: a happily ever after with plenty of drama, comedy, music and dance.

“Of course we’ll be adding plenty of special effects and traditional pantomime elements and we have a wonderful team in place to ensure that everyone who journeys down the Yellow Brick Road with us will have an absolutely marvellous time.

“Joining forces once again with Spillers Pantomimes, Bev Berridge will direct a professional cast that includes several Bognor favourites, including Scottish comedy duo Jamie Lemetti and Alan Mirren as Scarecrow and Tin Man. Jamie Bannerman plays Lion, Vicky Edwards plays the Good Witch and last year’s Ugly Sister Andrew O’Donnell will be cackling as the Wicked Witch. Chichester-based actors Katie Bennet and Kevin Short make their Bognor debuts as Dorothy and the Wizard.”

As for Toto the dog, Hazel is open to suggestions. “We are offering a generous package for the right canine actor including doggy treats, endless pats and a star dressing room. The successful candidate must have a friendly temperament – no diva dogs need apply – and excel at looking cute. The ability to bark on cue is a bonus. As an inclusive venue, dogs of all breeds are welcome to apply.

“Anyone wishing for their dog to be considered for the role should contact outlining the dog’s qualities. Please also submit a recent photograph of your four-legged thespian. Auditions will take place on September 9 at the Regis Centre at 12pm.”

The Wizard of Oz (the pantomime) runs from December 11-January 4 at The Alexandra Theatre, Bognor Regis. Tickets from £14 on 01243 868610. Performance schedule and further information at

Did you know?

Baum is said to have created the name Oz while looking at an alphabetical filing system that was labelled ‘O-Z.’

A staunch supporter of the women’s suffrage, Baum was an early feminist.

Baum wrote and published several sequels to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, three of which were published after his death.

In Baum’s original story Dorothy’s slippers were sliver. They were changed to ruby for the film, with red deemed to make more of an impact in the new Technicolor technology.

Toto was played by a female dog called Terry in the film. A Cairn terrier, Terry earned more than some members of the cast.

Many of the Wicked Witch’s scenes were cut on account of producers fearing that they were too frightening for children.

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