Behind The Scenes At 'Little Women' Rehearsals

There’s never a dull moment for the students of BIGLITTLE Theatre School’s Professional Development programme – not only are most of them in the midst of audition season for many of London’s top acting and musical theatre schools, but next week they bring a brand-new production of the musical adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's autobiographical novel LITTLE WOMEN to the Shelley Theatre in Boscombe.  It’s the company’s first visit to the charming venue which has been painstakingly restored and nurtured over the last ten years, but it couldn’t be a more perfect setting for this much loved classic tale from across the Atlantic.

The company of sixteen students aged 16 to 19 are all undergoing part-time intensive training in acting, singing & dance at BIGLITTLE, alongside their sixth form school and college courses, and are all aiming for careers in the world of theatre.   Last year 80% of the students leaving the programme at the end of their process achieved drama school entry, and this year many are already at the recall stage, with Naomi Booker, 18, who plays the leading role of Jo March at two of the four performances having received offers at Arts Educational and Bird College and Georgie Hendry, 19, who plays the roles of Aunt March & Mrs. Kirk in the show having been offered a place at Urdang.  Naomi only joined BIGLITTLE eighteen months ago and has credited the school with her success – “I’d never have got into Arts without BIGLITTLE” she said and cites the high quality of training and input from current industry professionals as the reason.

One such current professional is director Susan Raasay who has been working with the students since mid-November on creating the Little Women production.  Susan is highly regarded in as both an actress and director and brings her unique style to her work with the students alongside musical director and producer Colin Billing who also has a string of top professional theatre credits to his name.  " It has been wonderful to work with Susan Raasay for this project, it’s a privilege to work with such an experienced director”, said Kirsty Jocham, 18, who plays Meg March in the show – “I never realised how relevant ‘Little Women’ would be to a modern-day audience; the music is fantastic, and the storyline is vibrant, exciting and empowering, particularly to young girls!"

Little Women plays at the Shelley Theatre from Wednesday 20th to Friday 22nd February at 7.30pm each evening with a matinee on Thursday at 2.30pm.  Tickets are available from the Theatre’s website. For more information about BIGLITTLE Theatre School’s training for the profession visit

Felicity Phillips