A CHRISTCHURCH schoolgirl has landed the coveted role in the award-winning Highcliffe Charity Players’ musical Annie.

Thirteen-year-old Lucy-May Alner, a pupil at Twynham School, will play the child lead when the show opens at the Regent Centre, Christchurch, on May 28. Lucy-May was chosen from 53 hopefuls aged between 8 and 13 who competed for the role over a six-week series of Annie audition workshops with the show’s production team in Highcliffe.

Lucy-May, who lives in Christchurch: “It’s a dream come true. I have always wanted to play Annie – I first saw the film when I was six and watched the DVD so much.

“I loved the music immediately and soon knew all the words. I especially liked Sandy the dog.

“I feel so lucky to have been given this amazing opportunity. I can’t wait to get up on stage to play Annie.”

Lucy-May has been performing since the age of eight and has also appeared in Oklahoma at the Pavilion in Bournemouth, Whistle Down the Wind at the Regent Centre and Bugsy Malone at The Mayflower in Southampton.

Kate Claxton, the show’s director, said: “I have been delighted and astonished by the amount of talent the girls have shown throughout the workshops. They have all worked so hard.

“Lucy-May stood out because of her incredible ability to perform with maturity and confidence in all of the disciplines.

“She has a wonderful stage presence and I was drawn to her lovely smile, impeccable dance skills and her focus in the workshops and in the auditions.

“I am so excited to be working with her.”

Rachel Howarth, 10, from Bransgore has been chosen as understudy.

Annie runs at the Regent Centre for five performances from May 28-31.

Early bird tickets are already on sale at the Regent Centre on 01202 499199 and online at regent centre.co.uk