Norfolk market stallholder swaps baking cakes for playing Fagin

Local trader becomes musical villain. Kyle Bowles, Roy Lanning, Autumn Ridgeway and Paris Chandler.

Local trader becomes musical villain. Kyle Bowles, Roy Lanning, Autumn Ridgeway and Paris Chandler. Picture: Bev Adams - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk market stallholder has dreamed of playing the role of Fagin his entire life.

And now, thanks to Red Loft Theatre Company, Roy Lanning's dreams are to become reality.

The company attracted large audiences with its Showtime at the Coronation Hall last summer replacing what was the Mundesley Festival.

Now, it will perform the multi-award winning musical Oliver!, bringing the classic Charles Dickens novel to the stage.

Having moved to Norfolk from Hertfordshire, Mr Lanning began running his market stall in North Walsham in 2015, baking cakes, pastries and savoury pasties for the locals of North Walsham and Aylsham and is now a familiar friendly face.

Unknown to many of his customers, he has a passion for the arts, having appeared in panto as a child and both written and performed in musicals for his church group.

He has always adored the show Oliver! and often imagined himself playing the role of Fagin, the devious mastermind behind a gang of young pick-pockets in Victorian London.

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He will finally achieve his life-long ambition, performing alongside some of Norfolk's greatest young talent.

Playing the title role of orphan Oliver Twist, 10-year-old Autumn Ridgeway is an experienced young performer from Sprowston.

She sings with Broadland Youth Choir, and is set to make her debut performance with Red Loft at the Atrium. Kyle Bowles, 11, playing the role of the Artful Dodger, attends North Walsham Junior School and will also be making his debut with the company.

Paris Chandler, a beauty adviser at Benefit Cosmetics, is Nancy and Seb Gatfield, Bill Sykes. Soon to be a published author, he works in North Walsham and is preparing for his move to Exeter University.

Red Loft's director Tracey Loftus said: 'Roy is such a natural performer and was delighted about taking the role of Fagin. The day the cast list went up on the website, his acceptance came through in under a minute - now that's enthusiasm.'

Oliver! is at the Atrium in North Walsham from Tuesday, April 10 to Saturday, April 14. For bookings visit or call 0333 666 3366.