Starring as Matilda in the West End production of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical from 2012 to 2013, Chloe Hawthorn is set to star in the Virtual Reality series, Campfire Creepers, due to premiere this month at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. While playing the role of Matilda, Chloe was given the opportunity to judge Junior MasterChef for CBBC alongside her fellow cast members. Recently chatting to us, Chloe tells us about filming for Campfire Creepers, her time playing Matilda and what she’s been up to since leaving the cast of the show.
Can you tell us about your new series Campfire Creepers and is there anything you can say about your character?
Campfire Creepers is a Virtual Reality series directed by Hollywood director, Alexandre Aja, and starring Robert Englund. It follows the tales of eight campfire storytellers at a summer camp in America who tell old folk stories and horror stories around a campfire. I can’t say too much about my character at the moment but her name is Trina and she is tough and foul-mouthed. Despite her aggressive nature, she is the protector of the camp and won’t let anybody get hurt.
What was it like filming a Virtual Reality series?
Virtual Reality is very different from film and TV as all crew must be hidden out of sight and, quite crucially, you must be acting all the time! Also, the equipment used is gigantic and looks like something out of Transformers.
Is Campfire Creepers your first filmed role and how did you find the experience?
Yes, it is, which is very exciting! I haven’t had the same experience as filming something for TV or film (which I hope to do next) as it is VR but it has been so eye-opening to see how much effort and time goes into editing something like this e.g. a twelve-minute episode can take many months to edit!
Where was the series filmed and how long did you film for?
The series was filmed in Madrid where the company was based. Although I speak no Spanish (some of the cast do though as it is a mixed cast, some from England, some from Spain), I talked to Alexandre, our director, a lot who speaks English and French, both of which I speak… English slightly more, however! We were there for nearly a week, three days rehearsal and meeting the cast and crew and then three days to film the two episodes. It was so warm in Madrid compared to England so I spent most of my free time out of the studio when not filming!
The series is premiering later this month at the Tribeca Film Festival, will you be attending and do you know the future release plans?
Unfortunately, I am not! However, I believe Alex and Robert will be there alongside the rest of the crew and I give them all my love and support. If anybody is around the NYC area from April 18th – 29th, go check it out! The two pilot episodes will be released soon after the premiere in NYC, I believe, for the whole world to enjoy! All you need is a pair of Oculus VR goggles and you’re good to go.
You played the role of Matilda in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical in the West End, what did you enjoy most about your time in the show?
The thing I enjoyed most about my time in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical was the amazing people I met. Through the process, I had the pleasure of meeting some of the most incredible and talented people ever (some of whom I’m still in contact with). They made the whole experience magical. Tim Minchin, who was one of my role models even before I was cast, is one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met and made me feel like I was part of one big family.
Your portrayal of Matilda won you Outstanding Female Performance at the Mousetrap Awards, how did this feel?
It was such an unbelievable experience. Our Resident Director, Nik, presented it to us and I felt amazed and honoured. To be part of an incredible show like the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical was a blessing enough but to win an award for it was just unreal. I was only ten years old at the time and I look back on that now, at almost sixteen, feeling thankful and humbled.
Were you a fan of Roald Dahl before being cast?
Yes, I was a huge fan! Like Matilda, I began to read at a very young age and Matilda was one of the first Roald Dahl books I ever read so being able to play her as a character was just amazing.
Whilst in the show, you performed at the Olivier Awards, what was the experience like and did you get chance to perform at any other events?
My experience performing at the Olivier Awards was wonderful. We performed alongside Wicked, Billy Elliot and The Phantom of the Opera and it was just a dream. I also performed at the Royal Variety Performance in front of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the Royal Albert Hall and I met them both afterwards. It was such a surreal experience and met such wonderful people like Amanda Holden, Kylie, One Direction, who, despite knowing my young age and inexperience, treated me with such respect and kindness and I can never thank them enough for that.
The four Matilda became judges on Junior MasterChef, how was this?
My experience on Junior MasterChef was simply wonderful. Not only was I spending time with three of my best friends (the other Matildas) but also eating food: jackpot! Every person working on the show was very caring and considerate towards us and the food was divine.
You finished your run as Matilda in 2013, what was it like performing your final show?
It was very emotional. A few lines towards the end I was already in tears and it was heartbreaking singing Quiet for the last time as it was/still is my favourite and I hold it close to my heart to this day. Not only was it my last night but also many of the child and adult cast too so it was one of the biggest cast changeovers ever. It was very special (and extra emotional) in that sense.
Have you been back to see the show since leaving and what have you been up to since?
Sadly, I haven’t yet! However, I have visited stage door multiple times to visit some of the cast and crew on their last nights. It was very exciting to see some of the old cast again after a while.
Since leaving the show, I worked on The BFG with some former Matilda cast members at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre from late 2014 to early 2015 and I played the role of Sophie. It was an incredible experience. I have been back there again to visit many people at the theatre multiple times.
Have you seen any theatre shows recently that you’ve enjoyed?
I most recently watched School of Rock to watch a friend (a Campfire Creepers cast member, actually) on his final week in the show. It was incredible, the whole cast were giving it their all from start to finish, I can’t believe I’d never seen it before!
Do you have any roles this year that you can tell us about?
There are no roles coming up at the moment due to exams. However, as the summer starts, I am going to begin auditioning again so something may pop up at some point!
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