A Tauranga teenager has shaved his head to help him step into the character of a bald billionaire in his 50s and to raise funds for charity.
Bailey Hocking, 15, is playing Lieutenant-General Sir Oliver Warbucks - known as Daddy Warbucks - in Otumoetai College's version of the Broadway musical Annie which is running at Baycourt Community and Art Centre until Saturday.
To help him recreate an honest version of the character on stage, Hocking decided to shave his head. "It feels more authentic to me," he said.
At the same time, the Year 11 Otumoetai College student decided to take part in Shave for a Cure which raises funds for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand.
"When I learned that I was cast in the role of Daddy Warbucks who is iconically bald, I thought 'what a great way to kill two birds with one stone'," Hocking said.
Hocking said Shave for a Cure and Blood Cancer New Zealand was something "very close to my heart".
"I have had several friends over the years who have had family members who have been taken by blood cancer and my grandmother has cancer at the moment," he said.
"It has had a role however small in my life and [it is] something I wanted to give back to."
The teenager had raised $505 as of May 16 and he had been promised an extra $400 from the local Leo Club. His target was $600.
After being cast as Warbucks in his school production of Annie, Hocking researched his character.
"I have seen several different incarnations of the character and have researched his family story and his backstory and I have read the comic strips that the musical is based on. It is really important to me to understand the world the character is coming from."
Hocking had stepped under the spotlight as the Lion in Tauranga Musical Theatre's January production of The Wizard of Oz and had recently played Shrek in another junior musical.
"I love telling stories to 500 people who may never see each other again but for those two hours are one collective group," Hocking said.
"It is really amazing to me. That idea of telling stories and spreading heartwarming messages to people."
Otumoetai College drama teacher and musical director Petrina Chisholm said she would have happily bucked tradition and had a Warbucks with hair.
"But Bailey felt that it would be inappropriate for the role and convinced me to allow him to go bald," she said.
The college's musical production involves 59 cast members, 25 band members and about 30 backstage helpers.
To donate to Bailey Hocking, click here.