Stepping out on stage for the opening night of North Canterbury Musicals show Annie won’t be quite as scary for 11-year-old Cassidy Hartley-Brown, as it was for her mother, Dale, who starred as Annie when the society first put on the show in 1987.

For Dale, opening night was her stage debut.

She had only auditioned for the show because her friend was doing it.

“Otherwise I would have been too afraid,” she says.

When she was given the lead role she was over the moon.

“I was so shocked, as everyone else had much more experience than me.”

Cassidy also admits that going on stage for the first time on opening night is the scariest part of performing, but she comes to her role of the orphan Duffy with more experience, after playing in the society’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat last year.

Also, she has been in several shows with the Hartley School of Performing Arts, a local Rangiora business that grew out of Dale’s stage experience on the Town Hall stage.

“This was the point that I discovered the thing that made me happy, the place where I belonged,” she says.

“I love that my daughter feels the same way about theatre.”

Cassidy says she doesn’t feel any pressure following her mother as she is playing a different role, but is happy to take advice.

“She reminds me to use my feelings when I am singing.”

In the future, Cassidy intends to follow her mothers footsteps and make a career on the stage.

“Yes, yes, yes, and yes! I am just passionate about performing and doing that kind of thing. I just want to be in a theatrical kind of job,” she says.

Based on a popular comic strip, Annie is the story of a courageous orphan who believes her parents are still alive and will come to claim her from Miss Harrigan’s orphanage.

When billionaire Oliver Warbucks offers to adopt her, she asks him to help her find her parents, but his offer of a huge reward is too tempting for Miss Hannigan and the con artists Rooster and Lily, who hatch a plot to kidnap Annie and collect the reward.

Town Hall from May 12 to May 28. Tickets are on sale through as well as over the counter at Kaiapoi iSite and Stans Pharmacy in Rangiora.