That’s how to solve a problem like Maria

After a lengthy audition process, Alnwick Stage Musical Society has cast the part of Maria for its twenty-fifth anniversary production of 'The Sound of Music'.  Alnwick mother of two, Sarah Brookes, has been cast in the role originally made famous by Julie Andrews in the film version of the show. Also Teresa McQuillen
After a lengthy audition process, Alnwick Stage Musical Society has cast the part of Maria for its twenty-fifth anniversary production of 'The Sound of Music'. Alnwick mother of two, Sarah Brookes, has been cast in the role originally made famous by Julie Andrews in the film version of the show. Also Teresa McQuillen

AN amateur dramatics group has solved the problem of Maria, after casting the leading lady for its silver jubilee show.

Alnwick Stage Musical Society has recruited 29-year-old mum Sarah Brookes to play the starring role in The Sound of Music.

After a lengthy audition process, Alnwick Stage Musical Society has cast the part of Maria for its twenty-fifth anniversary production of 'The Sound of Music'.  Alnwick mother of two, Sarah Brookes, has been cast in the role originally made famous by Julie Andrews in the film version of the show. Also Teresa McQuillen

After a lengthy audition process, Alnwick Stage Musical Society has cast the part of Maria for its twenty-fifth anniversary production of 'The Sound of Music'. Alnwick mother of two, Sarah Brookes, has been cast in the role originally made famous by Julie Andrews in the film version of the show. Also Teresa McQuillen

The mother-of-two has landed the part of Maria for the organisation’s 25th anniversary production, which takes place at Alnwick Playhouse in May.

And Sarah, from Alnwick, who came forward after seeing a call for new members in the programme of Scrooge – the Society’s previous show – has described it as ‘a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’.

“I’ve always loved The Sound of Music and wanted to be in it and it’s my daughter Annabel’s favourite show so I just thought ‘why not have a go?’ I expected to be cast as a nun in the chorus,” she said.

But, after taking the plunge and auditioning, Sarah admitted she was surprised and delighted to learn that she had been given the role of Maria.

“I didn’t tell anyone except my husband that I was auditioning.

“I’ve never had a lead role in anything. I feel excited and nervous at the same time.

“I know there will be huge expectations – Maria is such a well-known character, what with the film and the TV show too. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. I wanted to push myself. I always like to test myself.”

Although she is part of the Alnwick Community Choir, Sarah has never had singing lessons and the last time she did any acting was at school.

“It’s going to be a lot of hard work and a huge commitment,” she added.

The show’s director Norman Luke said that Sarah had auditioned ‘very well’.

“Her freshness, vitality and enthusiasm for the role shone through and her relative inexperience is mirrored in the character she is to portray. “I’m confident that Sarah will prove to be a convincing Maria and I really looking forward to working with her,” he said.

The Society performed The Sound of Music 25 years ago as its inaugural production and decided to reprise the show for the silver jubilee celebrations.

Teresa McQuillen, from Amble, who is now the group’s secretary, played the part of Maria first time round.

Looking back to 1987, she said: “It was one of my favourite films and to get the lead role in a brand new society – it was exciting.

“The show was so emotional that when I needed to cry as Maria, the tears just came.

“I remember sitting high up on a scaffolding balcony to sing ‘the hills are alive with the sound of music’ and I had to get up there by climbing a ladder whilst holding on to my dress – it was a bit scary.”

l The Society is still appealing to find an actor to play Kurt – the youngest lad in the von Trapp family.

Director Norman Luke said: “We need a boy who is able to play the age of 10 or 11 and is between about five foot and five foot three.” Anyone interested in auditioning should call Teresa McQuillen on 01665 710296.

Alternatively, there are auditions on February 23 at 6.30pm at Alnwick South First School for any potential Kurts.