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Wales Millennium Centre casts net in search for principal role in Tiger Bay the Musical

As Wales Millennium Centre embarks on the creation of its next main stage production, they announce auditions to cast local young talent for this incredible new musical.  

The search is on for a girl of around 10-14 years of age who will play the part of Ianto - an orphan boy, who is really a girl, dreaming of a better life.  This role is pivotal within the storyline as it explores intergenerational and class relationships in the early 1900s when the bay was one of the busiest, and multicultural ports in the world. 

Auditions will be on Thursday 22 December in Butetown Community Centre, the very heart of the area in which this new musical is set.  With an ambition to inspire our nation and impress the world, the Centre is welcoming aspiring young people of all backgrounds to audition for what will be its largest production to date.  They will be expected to sing, dance and act, but with no experience necessary, they are casting the net wide open to include those who have not previously been involved with theatre or the arts.  

Tiger Bay the Musical will bring the rich cultural history of this area to life - sharing stories and insight which helped shape the future of our Capital.   Starring John Owen-Jones as the Marquess of Bute, Tiger Bay the Musical will premiere in Cardiff in November 2017 following preview performances in Artscape Opera House in Cape Town.  The musical is being produced in collaboration with Cape Town Opera - maintaining the long-standing relationship with South Africa which was born from one of the Centre's original philanthropists - South African businessman Sir Donald Gordon. The opportunity for the budding actress includes a period in Cape Town for the duration of rehearsals and performances in April and May 2017. 

Padraig Cusack, Executive Producer of Wales Millennium Centre said: "Producing a large-scale musical that tells the story of an important part of Cardiff's history is tremendously exciting.  To involve young people from our community as part of the production is both significant and hopefully rewarding." 

"Wales Millennium Centre is opening its doors and encouraging the next generation to get involved, learn new skills and be part of a major musical event. We're looking for someone with determination and desire to take on the challenge of playing Ianto, a girl with an irrepressible spirit. No previous experience is necessary but applicants will need the courage and skill to command a big stage."

"This has the potential to be a life changing opportunity and I hope lots of youngsters will grab the chance to audition with both hands. We can't wait to see what talent there is out there in Butetown and beyond as we begin our journey to create Tiger Bay the Musical."

Open auditions will be held at Butetown Community Centre, Loudoun Square, Cardiff on Thursday 22 December from 10am, with call backs at Wales Millennium Centre the morning of Friday 23 December.

The actor will need to be available every Sunday during term time for group workshops held in Cardiff from 11am - 2pm from 15 January 2017 until 26 March 2017. They will then go on to rehearse and perform in Cape Town, South Africa from 2 April to 27 May 2017.
To book an audition slot or learn more about what is required, contact




Who is Ianto?

Ianto is an orphan boy who is really a girl, dreaming of a better life. She is one of a gang of Water Boys who live in an abandoned coal tunnel close to the docks near Tiger Bay. The Water Boys spend their days helping the dockers (known as Donkeyman) in return for food and protection from the many dangers they face. In particular from the Harbour Master who wants to clean up the docks of homeless children and send them to the dreaded Havannah, a raggedy school where children rarely come out alive. The Water Boy's quest is to make contact with their parents whether dead or alive and glimpse something of what the future has in store for them. But to do that one of them must steal the crystal-gazing machine that belongs to the mysterious Marquess of Bute who lives high up in the Castle. Ianto draws the short straw.

About Tiger Bay the Musical

Tiger Bay is a musical journey into the bawdy public houses and alleyways of old Butetown, Cardiff, Britain's flamboyant multi-ethnic community at the dawn of the 20th Century.

Set to a rousing musical score, shop girls, coal miners, donkeymen, sailors, suffragettes, immigrants, and a lively gang of raggedy urchin Water Boys all believe that through hard work they too may prosper from King Coal. But when unionism imperils profits, the ambitious Harbour Master, the Bute Dock Company and the merchants of the Coal Exchange threaten their livelihoods and dreams of a brighter future.

High above them, in the Zodiac Room of Cardiff Castle, the Third Marquess of Bute, stares into his Crystal Gazing machine seeking answers from Shadowland to his own seemingly insurmountable troubles. Ironically, it will be the child, Ianto who inspires the richest man in the world, to leave a legacy for everyone.

Tiger Bay is a Welsh family musical about courage, reconciliation and love in a rapidly changing world.  


Thinking of applying? Here's all you need to know…


Who is the Wales Millennium Centre looking for?

A girl around 10-14 years of age, with a confident soprano voice, to play the part of Ianto in the musical which is set for the stage in 2017.

Is previous experience necessary?

No, but you need to be able to sing, dance and act, and most importantly have the determination and desire to take on the challenge of the role.

Any special requirements?

You need to have either short hair of be prepared to cut your hair for the role, channelling your inner Anne Hathaway. Plus, you need to have the courage and skill to command a big stage and be fearless of heights!

How much time will you need to commit?

The actor will need to be available every Sunday during term time for group workshops held in Cardiff from 11am - 2pm from 15 January 2017 until 26 March 2017. They will also need to be available to rehearse and perform in Cape Town, South Africa from 2 April to 27 May 2017.

What about school?

Wales Millennium Centre will provide a teacher to accompany the child in South Africa.

Can a parent or guardian travel with the actor to South Africa?

A chaperone will be provided but Wales Millennium Centre would welcome the possibility of the chaperone being a parent, family member or guardian.

Do you need to book an audition slot?

Yes, to book your place on Thursday 22 December from 10am, contact a member of the Tiger Bay team on Call backs will take place on the morning of the 23 December.

Where are the auditions taking place?

Butetown Community Centre, 40 Loudoun Square, CF10 5UZ on Thursday, and Wales Millennium Centre on Friday.

What do you need to prepare for the audition?

All young people need to come prepared to sing any song at the audition. You can bring sheet music but otherwise producers are happy to hear you sing unaccompanied. If you don't know a song, 'Happy Birthday' would be just fine.

Are there any other opportunities to get involved in the production?

Yes, boys and girls, aged 10 - 14 from the Butetown area are invited to join in the free performing arts programme, Performance Platfform, every Sunday 11am - 2pm to learn new performance techniques and skills. The Producers are looking for lots of young people to play the Waterboys when the production presents its world premiere performance in Cardiff in November 2017. Come along and take part in the Sunday workshops, learn some new skills and join in the fun!

To register your place contact

When is Tiger Bay premiering?

The world premiere of Tiger Bay will be on Wednesday 15 November 2017 at Wales Millennium Centre (with a preview performance on Tuesday 14 November) and the production will run for two weeks until Saturday 25 November.

When can I get tickets?

Tickets (which range from £7-£39) can be booked online at or at the box office on 029 2063 6464.

For press information contact:

Vicki Spencer-Francis or Kate Mann at Cowshed via email