Young stage stars tell magical story of Matilda

Exmouth Youth Theatre rehearse for Matilda the Musical

Exmouth Youth Theatre rehearse for Matilda the Musical - Credit: Exmouth Youth Theatre

Children and adults alike will be rooting for the young girl with an extraordinary imagination when Matilda JR takes to the stage in East Devon.

Packed with high-energy dance numbers and catchy songs, the show is being staged by Exmouth Youth Theatre during December.

Based on the beloved book, Matilda by Roald Dahl, and adapted from the award-winning full-length musical, Matilda the Musical JR tells the magical story of a girl who dreams of a better life, and the children she inspires. 

Unloved by her cruel parents and hated by her mean headmistress, Agatha Trunchbull, Matilda finds a friend in her schoolteacher, the loveable Miss Honey.

The part of Matilda will be played by Sennen Griffiths, aged nine, and Daisy Pritchard, 12, each taking the lead role in four of the eight scheduled performances. 

Exmouth Youth Theatre was one of the first youth theatres in the UK to be awarded the rights to perform Matilda the Musical JR when it was released earlier this year. 

Director and Choreographer, Tracey Hamilton, said: “Matilda JR is a fantastic, fun show with lots of humour and big musical numbers, and our young members are working incredibly hard to make it a huge success. We’re extremely proud of each and every one of them.”

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The young cast are very excited to be performing in this brand-new adaptation of a musical that many of them already know and love.

Ayse, 11, who plays the role of Matilda’s fun and feisty best friend, Lavender, explains why she feels audiences will love the show, saying: “Everyone knows the story of Matilda but the show has got a plot twist to it, which I think might surprise them! And I think they will find the ‘oomphy’ musical numbers really exciting too.”

Playing Matilda’s loveable teacher, Miss Honey, is Ruby, 16, who said: “It’s so exciting! Miss Honey is a very sweet character and I really enjoy playing her. The show is definitely fun for all ages, I feel like the adults in the audience will enjoy it as much as children will.”  

Billy, 17, who will be playing the terrifying headmistress of Crunchem Hall, Agatha Trunchball, explains that: “It’s different to other shows, because it’s driven by the younger children and without them we wouldn’t be able to do it. I think that makes it amazing.”  

And Sophie, 16, who will play Matilda’s bad-tempered father, Mr Wormwood, expresses what many of the young members and their teachers have felt about the return to Exmouth Youth Theatre after the many months affected by the pandemic.

She said: “It’s so nice to be back after over a year, seeing everyone and going through the script and learning all of our lines, and to be able to put on a proper show for the first time after so long. It’s not just like a club, it’s more of a family.”

Performances will take place from the 4th to 12th December 2021 at Matthews Hall, Topsham, and tickets can be booked online via
Individual tickets are £15, with savings of up to 15% available for group bookings.

Exmouth Youth Theatre is a friendly,  inclusive, mixed ability drama group for young people aged eight to 18 living in Exmouth and the surrounding areas.

The group aims to make young people feel safe and supported to take on new challenges and reach the best of their ability. Members learn creative and practical skills and are taught how to build self-confidence and foster teamwork.

Young people are not auditioned prior to membership, but are encouraged to learn and participate at whatever level is appropriate to their ability. 

Acceptance is based on enthusiasm and commitment however, a high level of self-discipline and motivation is expected.

Members are trained in theatre techniques including acting, singing and dancing and also encouraged to participate in other areas of the theatre including working backstage, costume design, lighting, sound and production design. 

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