THE curtain went up on the next generation of stars this week, as the Wharf Youth Theatre in Devizes is performing Annie Jr, a version adapted especially for youngsters.

There are 17 members of the cast, aged between 11-17, with the title role of Annie being played by Eve Williams, 13, who is a pupil at St Augustine's RC College in Trowbridge. She is extremely proud to be given the role of Annie and has loved every minute of rehearsals.

Evil orphanage mistress Mrs Hannigan is a shared part, with Rosie Boother performing on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday evening and Sophie Wilson on Friday and Saturday afternoon. Both girls are making their debuts at the Wharf.

Also making their first outing on the wharf stage is Sam Bishop ,playing the role of Oliver Warbucks. Sam is studying A-level drama and sings and plays keyboard in a band.

Another newcomer to the Wharf is Orla Dunne, playing Grace Farrell. Orla is not new to acting on the stage but is thrilled to be playing role of 'Daddy' Warbucks' secretary.

The popular music charts the life of young Annie, who is living in an orphanage run by the hideous Miss Hannigan, in Depression-era America. Frantic to escape their Hard Knock Life, the orphans dream of being adopted and living with a new family. Suddenly it seems as if Annie’s dreams will come true as she is taken in by millionaire Oliver Warbucks and goes to live in his mansion.

However, Annie desperately wants to find her real parents and so, with the help of Mr Warbucks, who offers a large reward, she sets off on her quest. Unfortunately, she is soon to run up against the loathsome Miss Hannigan once again, who is determined to spoil Annie’s chance of happiness.

The Wharf were perfectly placed to stage this show, as not only do they have a strong youth theatre but also a resident talented dog - Sandy is being played by their very own Floosie, owned by Lesley Scholes a lifelong member of the Wharf's company. Floosie is no stranger to the stage and been in many productions.

Annie Jr will be performed by the Wharf Youth Theatre until Saturday, July 16, including a matinee on the Saturday.

Tickets are £8 from Devizes Books and (01380) 725944.