Head down to Camden Civic Centre this weekend from the 26th to 28th of April for the closing shows of Camden Musical Society’s lively, enchanting production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, co-directed by Isobel Holland and Sophie Cornett, with music direction by Ian Buchanan.

A diverse cast brings to life the iconic characters we know and love, with ages ranging from just 8 years old all the way up to 50, and with one thing in common – they have enthusiasm in spades.

“This show is honestly an amazing showcase of talent,” said Peter Gollop, who plays Wonka in the show, and has been involved with Camden Musical Society for five years.

Mr. Gollop believes there is a common misconception about local theatre: that it is low-quality. He said, “People think the quality of local shows are like an infant’s school performance. It’s absolutely not that, the cast are all quite extraordinary. My thoughts are that most of the people in the cast, if they didn’t have day jobs, would be on Broadway.”

“It just can’t be understated how important the local entertainment industry is… you’ve got to remember that the people on Broadway right now and people doing shows in the State Theatre or the Capitol theatre… all started in local, amateur productions. And if you don’t have amateur productions, people are also just missing out on amazing shows.”

He hopes shows like these can help to change these misconceptions by putting local talent on display.

This show has also been quite special for Mr. Gollop as he has had the opportunity to rehearse and perform alongside one of his three kids, Kiara, who plays as one of the townsfolk and Oompa Loompas. Sharing his love for music and theatre with his kids has been an important part of their upbringing, and they are all now involved in shows themselves.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is co-director Isobel Holland’s first production with Camden Musical Society, and she has loved the experience.

“It’s been so much fun watching it come together. I like to make it a collaborative process rather than me just pointing fingers. There’s obviously a creative direction we tried to bring to the production but it’s really just more about working together,” Isobel said.

So if you are looking for some great weekend entertainment, grab your (golden) ticket and head into “a whole world of pure imagination”.

Tickets for Friday the 26th, Saturday the 27th and Sunday the 28th can still be purchased at https://events.humanitix.com/charlie-and-the-chocolate-factory-dtqp5kar/tickets

Camden Musical Society is an inclusive organisation and accepts companion cards. There are also accessibility tickets and concession tickets available. For more information about accessibility, concessions, and companion card discount codes, contact Front-of-House Manager Helen Boyd on 0428 144 794.

–  Emily Kaine 

Photos: Frances Holt   |  Peter Gollop as Wonka (below); Eddison Collyer as Charlie with the Oompa Loompas (above)