Always a highlight in the lead up to Christmas, the Enniskillen Light Operatic Society (ELO) will once again bring their annual musical production to the Ardhowen Theatre. This year will see ELO members perform the heart-warming, family-favourite ‘Annie,’ bringing a smile to many a face with well-known songs and charming performances.

Audience members will be transported back to 1933, the era of the Great Depression, to follow little orphan Annie as she journeys from the New York Municipal Orphanage, run by the horrible Miss Hannigan, to the White House, facing challenges and discovering the true meaning of love and family along the way.

Directing this year’s show is ELO Chair John McCann, who revealed that he had never seen the stage show or film version of 'Annie' before starting the production. “I was regarded a heretic,” laughed John, who's fellow committee members couldn’t believe that he had never seen the classic musical before. However, he believes that this gives him a fresh perspective as a director as he has no former opinions of the show.

Although John is an ‘Annie’ novice, Aideen McNamara, who will play Miss Hannigan in the upcoming show, is no stranger to the musical as she formerly played the starring role of Annie in the previous ELO production, 17 years ago.

Aideen, who has only recently returned to Fermanagh from England where she worked as a singing teacher, commented on how she got involved in this year’s production. “Basically a friend just said to me one day up town,‘they are putting on Annie again, you should go for the auditions,’ and at first I said no because I haven’t been on stage myself in quite a few years but then I thought, sure why not,” said Aideen. “Little did I know the roles would be reversed,” she laughed.

This year the role of Annie will be played by Aoibhinn King and Katie Chapman. When asked if she had given the girls any advice, Aideen said: “They don’t need any advice at all because they are both so good.”

She continued: “They are both really mature and take everything in their stride. They are fabulous singers as well. I haven’t had to give them any words of encouragement at all.”

Joining the characters of Annie and Miss Hannigan will be the billionaire Mr. Warbucks played by Damien McGirr. There will also be appearances from some regular ELO performers alongside those new to the ELO family.

After three months of rehearsals, the cast now only have a week to go before their first performance at the Ardhowen. John commented: “Rehearsals are going great with the super cast.”

He continued: “We’ve got 20 plus youngsters playing the orphans and they are great, a joy to work with.”

‘Annie’ will run from Thursday November 29 to Saturday December 1 and Monday December 3 to Saturday December 8 at 8pm, with two matinee performances on Saturday December 1 and 8 at 3pm. Tickets are available online and from the Ardhowen Box Office. As always, tickets are selling fast for the popular ELO production with one show already selling out, so don’t miss this feel-good family musical right on your doorstep.