Notts youngsters hope to land part in new film
EVERYONE wants a slice of fame – or so TV reality shows like The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent would have you believe.
So when I turned up to report on the audition for Oranges and Sunshine, a powerful new film about the scandal of Britain's child migrants, I expected a room full of over-confident all-singing, all-dancing stars in the making.
But it was all very normal.
A steady stream of children arrived at the International Community Centre in Mansfield Road, Nottingham, hoping to win a part in the film.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Producers need to find a boy, aged eight to nine, and girl, 11 to 12, to play the son and daughter of Margaret Humphreys, the Notts social worker who uncovered the shocking truth about thousands of children in care sent to the other side of the world. They were promised "oranges and sunshine" but all they got was hard labour and many received appalling abuse.
At the audition, many turned up in their school uniform and queued patiently to have their photograph taken.
Then they just had to sit and wait – and wait – to be called for their turn on camera.
"When you're on a film set, there's a lot of waiting around," said Caroline Stewart, from the casting agency, preparing them for what could lie ahead if they're lucky enough to be chosen. The boys and girls sit there, quietly chatting to their mum or dad... a bit like a busy dentist's waiting room.
I don't encounter any precocious wannabes boasting about their acting credentials.
Instead they're down-to-earth, unassuming children. Some are even a touch shy when I ask them why they'd like the part. And there's little evidence of pushy parents ... just proud ones keen to talk about their youngsters' exploits, in between complaining about the coffee from the drinks' machine.
Tammie Lacey, who will be 11 tomorrow, has just come from a rugby tournament to audition with her twin sister Sophie. Mum Shirley, of Arnold, said: "They've just been in school plays."
Sophie, who says she has always wanted to be an actress, has been Goldilocks while Tammie has played a talking sheep and both have been angels.
Lyam Lovett, 12, of Bilborough, confides: "I'm a bit nervous."
He does drama at school, Hadden Park High, and once played guitar in the Scouts' Gang Show at the Theatre Royal.
A couple of years ago he was the Sheriff's guard in a Wannabe A Star Performer charity pantomime, Babes in the Wood, at St John's community hall in Carrington. It's his ambition to be a children's TV presenter.
His mum Gillian said of Lyam: "He's very confident when he's acting."
One young man who makes an instant impression is Lewis Dachey-Jenkins.
The eight-year-old, of Mapperley, is calmly tucking into a biscuit from his Top Gear lunchbox while he waits to be called. "I am really excited but a little bit nervous," he says.
He tells me he's been in two plays at school as a sheep and a star and he says he'd love to be in the film.
"It is something I have always wanted to do," he says. At the end of our interview he says with a cheeky glint in his eye: "You paying me ... only joking!"
Each child is called in turn to go into a separate room where they're asked questions on camera about themselves, who they live with and their pets, by Caroline, from Kathleen Crawford Casting.
Director Jim Loach and casting director Kathleen Crawford will now be viewing the tapes. The parts will be cast by the end of October so filming can start in Nottingham in November and Australia in January.