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Strong cast . Mackenzie Theatre Group productions, like its 2016 Our Slice of Heaven, often star actors of various ages and the upcoming Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will be no different. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

by Greta Yeoman

The magic of Willie Wonka will come to the Mackenzie in May.

The Mackenzie Theatre Group production of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would begin on May 19, director Deborah O’Neill said.

The 38-strong cast, which has been rehearsing in a hall since February, would move into the Mackenzie Community Theatre in Fairlie – complete with finished sets – on Saturday, she said.

“[It] will be exciting.”

It had been “quite hard”for the cast to visualise the stage set-up without beingable to see the sets, so getting into the theatre to rehearse would add another dimension to the process.

The Golden Ticket winners and Oompa Loompas were all played by young South Canterbury actors, several of whom were Mackenzie College pupils, she said.

“[It is] great for them to have the opportunity to work alongside experienced actors . in a fun way.”

In the nut factory scene, 5-year-old Mackenzie children will play the part of the squirrels, she said.

“[It is] lots of fun.”

Tekapo’s George Waymouth would play Charlie Bucket, Ms O’Neill said.

The production would provide entertainment for both young and older South Canterbury residents, with plenty of surprises throughout the play, she said.

“It’s an opportunity to use our imaginations .. [we have] lots of fun and laughter.”