Young Talent Of The West End: Past And Present
| By Harriet Hards
Children are an important part of most shows, you have Gavroche in Les Miserables, the Von Trapp children in The Sound of Music and obviously the title characters in Matilda, Billy Elliot and Oliver. It’s a difficult job to try and find child actors that have the talent and professional outlook needed to perform in the West End, amongst actors who have had years more training and experience.
Luckily however, the West End is brimming with children that are extremely talented and mature beyond their years. So talented that many young stars grow up to be hugely successful, here are my favourite success stories and the rising stars to watch out for!
Past Child Stars
When she was only 12, Anna Kendrick starred in the Broadway musical High Society (now showing at London's Old Vic Theatre) for which she was nominated for a Tony and won a Theatre World award. She was actually the third youngest actress ever to be nominated for a Tony. Fast forward 17 years and Anna is an internationally famous actress, starring in the Pitch Perfect films and movie-musicals such as Into the Woods and The Last Five Years.
Lea Michele started her career on Broadway, in roles such as Young Cosette in Les Miserables. Her breakout role was as Wendla in Spring Awakening on Broadway before going on to star as Rachel Berry in the hit show Glee, for which she has received several Golden Globes nominations.
Tom is a singer-songwriter, guitarist, children's author and YouTube vlogger, in the band McFly and super group McBusted. He took the title role of Oliver! at the London Palladium when he was 10 and since then has enjoyed huge success in music.
Carrie Hope Fletcher
Following in her big brother’s footsteps is Carrie Fletcher, who is currently starring as Eponine in Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre. Carrie was in a number of West End shows as a child; she played Jane Banks in Mary Poppins, Jemima Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Young Eponine in Les Misrables. Carrie is the only actress to have played both young and older Eponine. She’s also a very successful YouTube vlogger and has recently released a book of advice for teenagers!
Rising Stars of the West End
Lara McDonnell, Lottie Sicilia, Violet Tucker and Anna-Louise Knight – Matilda the Musical
These girls are currently starring as Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre to great acclaim. Matilda is a huge role to undertake but they all give spectacular performances as the talented little girl. There is no doubt that we can expect great things from all four of them!
Brodie Donougher, Thomas Hazelby, Ollie Jochim and Bradley Perret – Billy Elliot
As Billy Elliot, you need to be a triple threat, singing, dancing and acting every week at the Victoria Palace Theatre. That’s a mean feat for even the adult actors in the West End! Luckily there’s four fantastic boys that will completely blow you away with their sheer talent at all three.
Rhys Lambert, Zachary Loonie, Jake Poolman and Ewan Rutherford - Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, has many great children in leading roles but it takes something special to perform in the title role of a musical (as have all the kids in this list actually!)These boys are fantastic actors already and will surely have an illustrious theatre career ahead of them!
Be sure to keep a close eye on this blossoming young talent and try to see them in action as you never know who might grow up to be internationally famous actors!