Full company announced for Leeds Playhouse 2023 festive spectacular Oliver!

2 Oct 2023


Actor, comedian, musician and writer Steve Furst and leading West End actor Jenny Fitzpatrick to star in an exciting new restaging of Lionel Bart’s magnificent musical masterpiece Oliver! at Leeds Playhouse this festive season.

Playing in the round in the Quarry theatre, this cherished production will be directed by Leeds Playhouse Artistic Director and Chief Executive James Brining (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – The Musical, The Wizard of Oz), taking audiences on a spectacular journey through the streets of Victorian London from 24 November 2023 to 27 January 2024.

Steve Furst will play Fagin. His extensive credits in theatre and television as an actor, comedian, voiceover artist and musician include Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear for National Theatre; Chicken Soup With Barley and Jews In Their Own Words at the Royal Court; Matilda for Royal Shakespeare Company; Made in Dagenham at the Adelphi Theatre. As his comedy alter-ego Lenny Beige, he wrote and starred in The Lenny Beige Television Show on Channel 4 and two series of The Lenny Beige Variety Pack for the BBC.

Nancy will be played by the West End’s Jenny Fitzpatrick, who recently starred as Justice in Rock Of Ages; Fama in Berlusconi The Musical (Southwark Playhouse Elephant); Ghost of Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol (The Old Vic); Fish/Mum in Wonderboy (Bristol Old Vic); and played music icon Tina Turner in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.

Working with James Brining will be Set and Costume Designer Colin Richmond. His set design for the show alludes to the vibrant and bustling streets of Victorian London and the sinister surroundings of the workhouse. Colins wide reaching credits in theatre and stage include: La Cage aux folles, 101 dalmatians the musical (Regent’s Park open air theatre); the little big things (soho place);The Wizard Of Oz (The Palladium, Westend/Curve); Grease (The Dominion, Westend, UK Tour, Dubai, Curve); Wendy & Peter Pan (RSC, Leeds Playhouse/Bunkamura Tokyo).

Leeds Playhouse Artistic Director James Brining said: “Oliver! is a big, bold, beautiful show loved by millions and I am delighted to have this opportunity to bring it to Leeds for the festive season at the Playhouse. We have a hugely talented company and I’m looking forward to them sharing their skills and passion for this story with audiences. Set Designer Colin Richmond and the production teams here at the Playhouse will be transforming the Quarry theatre into a theatre-in-the-round so everyone in the auditorium is connected to the theatrical experience. Oliver! has captivated generations through its journey from book, to film, to hit West End musical, and even as a search-for-a-star reality TV show. Now, it’s coming to Leeds and I can’t wait for this next chapter in its history.

Taking on the role of Bill Sikes will be Chris Bennett, last seen at the Playhouse in Strictly Ballroom the Musical, which went on to tour to the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto and London’s Piccadilly Theatre. Mr Bumble will be played by Minal Patel whose recent credits include Herr Zeller in The Sound of Music at Chichester Festival Theatre and Big Davey in Billy Elliot at Curve Theatre, Leicester.

The adult company will be completed by Zac Adlam; Laura Cairns; Rachel Clare Chan; Rosie Ede; Christopher Glover; Llandyll Gove; Simon Green; Frankie Hart; Danny Lane; Rachel Laurence; Jake Lomas; Martha Pothen; Michaela Stern; Harry Waller; and Scott Waugh.

As previously announced, the trio of actors who will play loveable orphan Oliver are Nicholas Teixeira, 9 from Manchester, Carter-J Murphy, 9 from Manchester, and Theo Wake, 10 from Edinburgh. The skilful, cunning and cheeky The Artful Dodger role will be shared by Ram Narayanan Pisharody, 12 from Hull, Felix Holt, 11 from Sheffield, and Noah Walton, 13 from Stockton on Tees. Noah was last seen at the Playhouse in 2022 when he starred as Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – The Musical.

They will be joined by a further thirty-two young people: Aness Ahmed; Beatrice Armitage; Cyrus Campbell; Ella Jade Chadwick; Zane Chaba; Ariana Dar; Rose Dawson; Rebecca English; Aaron Fu; Ana Sofia Gutierrez Robson; Fearne Lily I’Anson; Kalil Judge; Shayne M Maphosa; Leo Maurice; Oliver Maurice; Amelia Minto; Jenson Lee McMaster; Jett Moises; Karis Musongole; Kayleen Nguema; Chizaram Ochuba-Okafor; Maxwell Paton; Robyn Pennington; Alexa Raja; Reggie Rollins; Jessica Russell; Hugh Jack Ryan; Porscha Mai Staniford; Tommy Thompson; Maddison Thew; Raine Williamson and Buster Wolfenden.

Completing the creative team are: Lucy Hind Choreographer; Toby Higgins Musical Supervisor; Guy Hoare Lighting Designer; Richard Brooker Sound Designer; Luke Holman Musical Director; Knoetics Music Orchestral Manager; Eleanor Manners Associate Director/Voice Coach; Jo Goodwin Associate Choreographer/Associate Director Young Company; Keston & Keston Children’s Casting & General Management; Annelie Powell Casting Director; and Alice Walters Casting Assistant.

Lionel Bart’s award-winning musical, adapted from Charles Dickens’ timeless novel, features some of the most memorable characters and well-loved songs seen on stage, including ‘Food, Glorious Food’, ‘Oom Pah-Pah’, ‘I’d Do Anything’ and the angelic sounds of ‘Where is Love?’. 

Oliver! is a classic rags to riches story. Born into a life of poverty and misfortune, orphaned Oliver is a small boy with a big heart. He sets out on a perilous journey from a desolate workhouse to the gloriously colourful streets of Victorian London in search of love and a place to call home. There he’s befriended by the charming Artful Dodger and kindly Nancy before being drawn into Fagin’s gang of young pickpockets where he comes under the terrifying gaze of dastardly Bill Sykes.

Relaxed and Dementia Friendly performances will be available and a selection of digital resources, created by the Playhouse’s award-winning Creative Engagement department, will be available free to all schools who book to see the production.

Families are at the heart of the theatre experience at Leeds Playhouse this festive season where, alongside Oliver!, the Playhouse will stage an exciting new musical version of Roald Dahl’s picture book The Enormous Crocodile, about a huge hungry crocodile searching for a delicious child to have for tea. It will bring global contemporary music, world-class puppetry and enormous amounts of fun to the Courtyard theatre at Leeds Playhouse from 2 December–6 January. As well as enjoying the theatrical delights, families can make use of the theatre’s child-friendly facilities, including its free creative play area, baby change and family toilets, highchairs and special catering options.


    Arts Council
  • Leeds City Council
  • LTB Foundation

    Caddick Group

    Irwin Mitchell