Since moving to the UK from America, Dagny Rollins has spent the last few years in TV series The Worst Witch where she plays the role of Felicity Foxglove, and has recently finished filming the fourth series, with the show proving popular on CBBC and Netflix. As part of Powerjam, Dagny is a member of pop band The Chasers as lead vocalist and violinist, and is doing an acoustic set with her sister this Sunday at Marble Hill End of Summer Festival. Meeting up with Dagny, she tells us about appearing in The Worst Witch, performing with The Chasers and her involvement with 4ocean.
You’ve played regular character Felicity Foxglove in The Worst Witch since the show started in 2017, can you tell us about the character and what is she like to play?
She’s very outgoing, loves the spotlight and is very girly. She has her own blog for the school that she loves to post her videos on and help her shine. She’s best friends with the mean girl, Ethel, but she has a kindness to her and is also friends with Mildred and Maud. She’s such a fun character to play, and the story paths are amazing. In the beginning, Felicity wasn’t fully developed, so I had to work off the other characters to build her personality. The writers have explored her character further in Series 4, so I’m really excited for everyone to watch it.
What’s it like on set of the series?
It’s so fun getting to hang out with the rest of the cast, and meeting all of the crew. There are breaks in between the scenes, and we play games and make loads of memories! I got to be a runner for a day, which was really fun, because I got to experience what it’s like to be a crew member instead of a cast member on set. Runners get the actors into position and generally help with the production.
Do you remember how you felt booking the role of Felicity and how much did you know about The Worst Witch before auditioning?
I remember it vividly! I was in Hong Kong in a hotel room, my mum told me, and I remember being over the moon. It was a nerve-racking time after all the auditions, I think I had four, and the waiting time was scary and overwhelming because you’re constantly thinking if you got it or not. I was so happy!
I didn’t know too much about it because I lived in America, so I never saw the old TV show or read the books. When I got the first audition, I definitely got on it and started to read them all. I really enjoyed them.
As part of the original cast, how would you say filming has changed over the years?
A lot of the crew change every series, so the dynamics change. And, of course, there are new cast members every year. It keeps us on our toes. But a lot of things stay consistent too. I’ve definitely grown over these past four years, I’ve learnt so much from being on set and meeting all these cool people. I’ve made lifelong friendships. I love all the girls, and there have been new people every series and they’re all so lovely. I could very easily be in my own bubble, but the girls have been so fun and supportive, they are my best friends.
We understand you recently attended The Worst Witch theatre show with some of your fellow cast members, what was this like?
It was amazing! It was really great going with some of the other cast members. It was quite weird seeing adults play the characters, but it was really cool because they did acrobatic acts on stage, which I could never do! They also had a live orchestra, which was done by the actors and actresses. It was really amazing, I had such a fun time.
How did you find the experience working on set of Avengers: Age of Ultron?
That was the coolest experience in my life. It was overwhelming and so massive! I remember Chris Evans (Captain America) waving to me, which was the weirdest thing, but so exciting! Everything about it was so big, the set was amazing, and it was so cool meeting the director, Joss Whedon. As a fan, I love the Avengers!
Have you trained in acting and what do you enjoy most about your career?
I’ve done some improvising at ArtsEd, and also different theatre lessons. I’ve been doing a dialect course for an English accent. I think my favourite part about acting is getting to be in different characters’ shoes and being able to interpret their lives and what goes on inside their heads. It’s really fun!
As a singer, you are part of the band The Chasers, can you tell us about this?
We are a pop band who play around South West London. I am the lead vocalist and violinist, and we get together every Friday night. They are all my friends and we just rehearse and learn new material every term. We do gigs and play at festivals.
The Chasers are part of Powerjam, what is this project about?
Powerjam is a not-for-profit charity organisation and there are three bands in it – The Chasers (which is my band), Nobody for President and Melodrama (my sister’s band). We usually have gigs together. Melodrama is more of a rock band, and The Chasers is more on the pop side. Powerjam is for kids who have musical skills and want to gig. We have an Instagram @powerjam_band_project, so if you want to go to one of the gigs, all the information will be on there.
You’ve recently played a show for the Macmillan Cancer Trust, how did this go?
In August, my sister and I performed some acoustic songs with some other band members at the Crawdaddy Club, in support of the Macmillan Cancer Trust. Overall, it raised around £2,500, which is really great! The Rolling Stones’ first regular gig was at the Crawdaddy Club, which is so cool.
Have you always been interested in acting and singing and when did you know you wanted to start acting professionally?
I think so. I was quite an outgoing child, I loved having the camera in front of me, and there are loads of clips of me as a toddler singing! When I moved to England, I think I took acting more seriously as I went to more lessons.
Having grown up in America, what has it been like moving to the UK from the US?
I grew up in New York City, and moving to London has been really good but very different. New York City is very busy and loud, and although London is a big city too, it has a lot of lovely green areas. I’ve really enjoyed living in London. I’m really grateful to have moved here for all that it has given me – my band, The Worst Witch and my friends. It’s been great!
Can you tell us about your involvement with the company 4ocean?
4ocean is a company in the US that go around the world cleaning the oceans by taking out the plastic. They sell bracelets that are made out of plastic from the ocean, and every time one is bought, they take out one pound of trash from the ocean. They’ve taken out about six million pounds of plastic, which is really amazing. You can get a bracelet for a specific animal, or you can get the overall 4ocean bracelet. I’ve got a few, I have the dolphin, turtle and the 4ocean ones. It’s a great way to help the environment, and small things can go a long way.
What acting and music plans do you have in the next few months that you can talk about, and do The Chasers have any upcoming performances?
I’ve just finished filming Series 4 of The Worst Witch, and have a few auditions. I’m busy rehearsing too. The Chasers have some gigs coming up, I’m doing an acoustic gig with my sister on 29th September at the Marble Hill End of Summer Festival, and then I’ll be performing with my band in December.
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