Amdram's season of the Wizard of Oz begins this weekend.

The popular musical opens on September 24 and runs until October 2, with a number of evening and matinee performances.

Director Melissa Hawkins said this was a "traditional" Wizard of Oz performance, based on the famous 1939 film.

"It's something that the whole family can enjoy," she said.


"This production will be a little bit different in that it won't just be up on the stage; the action will happen all around the theatre."

The cast are all seasoned performers, except for Chris Pedley, who plays the Tin Man. This will be his first public performance.

"The rehearsals have been good fun, and I'm looking forward to the show," he said.

As well as Mr Pedley, the cast includes Shaila Hawkins [Dorothy], Andrew Fawcett [Scarecrow], Chris McKenzie [Cowardly Lion], Jo Angove [Glinda], Sarah Riley-Curtis [Wicked Witch of the West] and Pam Hesketh [Aunty Em].

There's also a nine-piece orchestra, led by Lynn Whiteside. Eighteen children, aged between seven and 12, play the Munchkins.

For the past week the cast has been visiting locals schools to perform scenes from the show.

"We'd like to encourage kids and their families to come along to live theatre," Ms Hawkins said.

"Many kids have never seen live theatre. We'd like to encourage them away from their computers and TVs."

Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children. Book at the Royal Wanganui Opera House.