Local lass gone Dodgy

Josie Cerise as the Artful Dodger
Josie Cerise as the Artful Dodger

An actress from Eccleston is currently proving a hit with audiences at the UK’s biggest outdoor walkabout show.

Josie Cerise, who attended St Mary’s Primary School in Eccleston and Bishop Rawstorne CE Academy in Croston, is playing the Artful Dodger in The Dukes production of Oliver Twist.

Josie Cerise as the Artful Dodger on the run with Russell Richardson who plays Fagin

Josie Cerise as the Artful Dodger on the run with Russell Richardson who plays Fagin

Staged in Lancaster’s Williamson Park, the outdoor promenade theatre season is the biggest of its kind in the country, attracting thousands every summer.

Josie is playing a female Artful Dodger and is one of the most popular characters in the production which runs until August 15. The role involves performing in the woods, on a lake and against the stunning backdrop of the Ashton Memorial.

Josie made her Dukes debut at Christmas when she stole the show as one of the Ugly Sisters in Cinderella.

She caught the theatre bug when attending the Lucy Collins Academy of Dancing in Eccleston and later studied at Runshaw College in Leyland before achieving a first class performance degree at Northumbria University.

Her family still live in the Eccleston area. Her grandad, Peter Ward, was the driving force behind Preston’s Guild Wheel.

Josie’s career includes appearing in the West End and on tour with The Gruffalo and at Sydney Opera House and throughout Australia with Room on the Broom.

She also stars in Grandpa in my Pocket on CBeebies and the BAFTA nominated Ha Ha Hairies on Cartoonito.

The Dukes production of Oliver Twist has been adapted by established theatre, TV and radio writer Debbie Oates who has written for Coronation Street since 2002 and whose other credits include The Mill and Primeval.

She is also writing a live episode of Coronation Street due to be aired in September.

Oliver Twist is recommended for anyone aged five plus. Call the box office on 01524 598500 or see www.dukes-lancaster.org