By Eddie McIlwaine
Man of the theatre Adam Wright (34) fell in love with the Opera House in Belfast one Christmas afternoon four years ago when he sat in the stalls to watch John Linehan in the pantomime Mother Goose.
"I was enthralled by John as May McFettridge playing the Grand Dame and the Opera House itself made a huge impression on me too," says bachelor Adam.
"My one regret to this day is that I never appeared on that stage as a performer. That Christmas in 2009 I made myself a promise that one day I would work at the Opera House in some capacity."
Two years later he made the dream come true when this Londoner came to the theatre as operations director and he has been there ever since.
And now the man is about to direct a summer production of the musical Annie, set in the hungry 1930s -- so similar to this current decade of depression and unemployment -- with a cast of 250. Not forgetting his four-legged star discovery Becky -- with a fairy tale story for her owner, retired teacher Margaret McKnight, to tell. She found the little dog trapped in a sack, tossed into a river to drown and rescued the suffering animal.
"Margaret took her home, cleaned and groomed Becky and became her faithful friend," explains Adam.
"She discovered that this little pup was highly intelligent, taught her to be a doggy actress and after this Becky has just landed her first stage role."
The amazing little dog will be playing the role of Sandy who has such an important and endearing part in this musical which is set to run at the theatre from Wednesday, July 25 and will finish on the Saturday.
The two Annies, hand-picked by director Adam, are 10-year-old Lara Mulgrew and 12-year-old Lauren Clarke.
Adam began his career with the National Youth Music Orchestra.
He went on tour to New York with the orchestra and came back to join the National Youth Drama Theatre to progress as an actor.
But it was in production and direction that he eventually found himself and made an impression at the Savoy in the West End where he introduced the musical Legally Blonde which turned out to be a huge hit.
He won the Theatre Manager of the Year Award in 2009.
After this came Belfast and his current involvement with the production of Annie -- "a show that is close to all our hearts."
Originally published by Eddie McIlwaine An Ulster Log.
(c) 2013 Belfast Telegraph. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.
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