There’s no place like the stage for Lauren

The cast of the Wizard of Oz at the Customs House - Lauren Waine
The cast of the Wizard of Oz at the Customs House - Lauren Waine
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WHILE her schoolmates spend their holidays relaxing, Lauren Waine will be clicking her ruby red heels for one of the most famous roles in theatre.

The 15-year-old Monkwearmouth School pupil will be walking in Dorothy’s famous shoes for a production of Wizard of Oz.

Lauren, from South Bents, will be playing the role as part of the Customs House summer school in South Shields.

The teenager, a former winner of Sunderland’s Got Talent, said: “I am really excited to play Dorothy – it’s one of the most famous parts in theatre.

“Although I’m doing half the run as Aunt Em, the chance to put on those ruby slippers and sing Somewhere Over The Rainbow was too much to say no to.”

Lauren will be sharing the stage with pug Winston, who is playing the role of Toto.

She added: “Working with Winston was a challenge at first but he’s settled down now and reacts really well to the lights and noise.

“I think it’s great that we’ve got real dogs playing Toto – it makes everything so much more realistic.”

Lauren shares the lead role with Francesca McGibbon who will also have her own Toto.

The show, which opens on Friday, is being directed by David Ducasse, who flew the flag for Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest with band Scooch.

David is performing with Scooch at Sunderland Pride on September 25.

Customs House executive director Ray Spencer said: “The standard of this year’s cast is extremely high and that is shown in the decision to cast two highly-talented young actresses in the lead role.”

l The Wizard of Oz runs from Friday until Sunday. Tickets cost £7, £6 (concession) or £24 for a family ticket and can be purchased from tel. 454 1234 or by visiting