Running July 5th - 28th
Haywood Arts Regional Theater in Waynesville, NC
For Tickets please visit HART or call 828-456-6322
Directed By: Candice dickinson
Choreography by: Amanda Klinikowski
Music Direction by: Anne Rhymer Shwabland
Stage Manager and Costumer: Paige Borden
A Note From the Director:
The story of Oliver Twist has been told for nearly two hundred years because the problems presented within have remained so relevant. As Americans, we live in a society that glorifies perfection, fame, beauty, and wealth and rejects anything that does not fit within that box. More of the world lives in poverty than in comfort and yet we continue to cast aside those who are less fortunate.
Charles Dickens wrote Oliver Twist in response to the New Poor Law of 1834, which halted government assistance to the poor unless they entered workhouses. The workhouses purposely offered harsh living conditions, and the worst of them were comparable to prisons. The authorities allowed such terrible conditions in order to deter able-bodied poor from requesting government assistance. This virtually guaranteed that only the truly destitute would enter. In describing this issue Charles Dickens said those living in poverty could choose between “being starved by a gradual process in the house or by a quick one out of it.”
When the novel was first published, Oliver Twist was viewed as a controversial critique on society. Dickens, who himself was forced to work as a child, was able to paint a realistic and unforgettable portrait of the tension between the impoverished citizens of London’s rough streets and the “polite” society which tried to ignore them. When Lionel Bart adapted Oliver Twist into a musical in 1960, he was praised for bringing out the humanity and kindness of these characters. Soon afterwards this dark story was being sung in schools, community theaters, and professional stages across the world. While many of these songs will have you tapping your feet, we hope to stay true to Dickens' original intent: to expose corruption within authority and to show the uncomfortable reality in which so many people are forced to live. Until we are able to acknowledge the disadvantages our system places on those in need we will never be able to change the harsh reality that so many face.