In just two weeks’ time, Birmingham Hippodrome will present its first home-grown youth production as a fresh new production of West Side Story comes to the main stage from 29 – 31 August.

The first rehearsal images of the forty local young performers from across the West Midlands have been released ahead of the opening night on 29 August.

After extensive rounds of auditions and over one thousand applicants, the exceptional cast of young people aged 14-25 will bring the legendary musical to life in an exciting first of its kind production marking the theatre’s 120th birthday.

Leading the cast as the star-crossed lovers, Tony and Maria, are Alex Cook (16) from Kingswinford and Kamilla Fernandes (18) from Coventry. They are joined by Ruby Hewitt (19) from Harborne as Anita, Gibsa Bah (18) from Great Barr as Barnardo, Matthew Pandya (18) from Coventry as Riff, Olivia Allen (21) from Harborne as Anybodys and Carter Smith (16) from Yardley as Chino.

The full company is comprised of Luke Rossiter (14), Harvey Zafino (16), Brook Jenkins (14), Diarmuid Gaffney (17), Hugo Montgomery (19), Kane Taylor (17), Alan Lewis (21) and Harry Chamberlain (16), Maisie Lodge (16), Ella Kenrick (24), Olivia Caddick (14), Ebony Roy-Palmer (17), Tumba Katanda (18), Bethan Day (21), Rhiannon Lee Street (18), Evie-May Harding (17) and Nancy Ling (22) who make up the ‘Jets’.

The ‘Sharks’ gang features Jaye Fordham (20), Demi Walton (16), Jasmine Bromfield (17), Justine Matthews (22), Isabella Polidori (16), Ashleigh Savage (17), Alexandra Whitehead (25) and Elle Carter-Knowles (21), Oliver Cowlishaw (20), Aadil Din (17), Harry Cooke (14), Tom Silverton (25), Adam Robinson (17), Adam Newton (17), Alexander Wooliscroft (25) and Kai-Daniel Augustin (17).

Joining the young company are four Birmingham Hippodrome staff members who will take on the adult character roles; Benjamin Jones will swap Visitor Services for the role of Gladhand, Marketing Officer Chris Cooper will play Lieutenant Schrank, Visitor Services Administrator Nicola Entwistle will play the role of Officer Krupke and Hippodrome Young Poet, Hannah Swingler will play the role of Doc.

The creation of West Side Story will be overseen by a professional creative team which includes Matt Hawksworth (Director & Choreographer), Paul Murphy (Conductor & Musical Director), Sarah Burrell (Assistant Musical Director), Ruth Seager (Assistant Choreographer), Al Parkinson (Designer), Philip Gladwell (Lighting Designer), Rachel Baynton (Costume Designer) and Olly Steel (Sound Designer).

West Side Story plays at Birmingham Hippodrome from Thursday 29 – Saturday 31 August. For more information and to book tickets click here.