When amateur actress Jeannie Saxton got the role of Annie Oakley in Irving Berlin’s musical Annie Get Your Gun, she was intrigued with the story of the real-life character she would be playing.
She was even more intrigued when she discovered Annie Oakley had actually visited Sheffield in the early 1900s.
Jeannie started researching Annie’s life when she landed the role in Dronfield Light Opera Group’s production next month.
It follows the life of Annie Oakley, known as “little sure shot” because of her prowess with a pistol and rifle, and who was taken on by Buffalo Bill for his Wild West Show. She was also “adopted” by Indian warrior Chief Sitting Bull, who wanted her to be his daughter.
As well as entertaining audiences across America, Annie was lauded on tours of Europe and, according to the National Fairground Archive at the University of Sheffield, the Wild West Show visited Sheffield between 1902 and 1904.
Jeannie, a postie in the Peak District, who has previously played Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, said: “It is amazing to think that Annie actually visited Sheffield – it makes the role I’m playing so much more real.”
Shooting champion Frank Butler is played by Andy Throssell, and Buffalo Bill by David Pierce. The show features songs There’s No Business Like Show Business and Anything You Can Do.