Towards the end of last year, Ché Grant played Gavroche in Les Misérables: The Staged Concert at the Gielgud Theatre before reprising his role in the new production of Les Misérables in the Sondheim Theatre which opened in December. Amongst his many stage roles, Ché was cast in a workshop of The Osmonds musical at The Other Palace, spent six months in Stratford-upon-Avon as Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol and worked alongside Alfie Boe, Katherine Jenkins and Nicholas Lyndhurst in Carousel at the London Coliseum in 2017. Ché also has screen and voiceover experience including voicing the role of lead monster Wufflebump on School of Roars for CBeebies, and has worked on Tim Burton’s film Dumbo with which he attended the London premiere last year. Catching up with Ché, he tells us about playing Gavroche in Les Misérables, his time in A Christmas Carol and voicing Wufflebump in School of Roars.
You started your career in Billy Elliot, what do you remember from your time in the show?
My time in Billy Elliot was incredible and the cast were unbelievably welcoming and kind to me. Being with the Billys and Michaels were so inspiring and they were great influences in the early stages of my career. I remember all the rounds of auditions I kept getting through, I learned that I loved to audition, I found it so fun. It was my first audition I ever did!
Playing the role of Small Boy was a great role and my best bits were being centre stage in the finale. Also, I loved opening the show, because I was always given a lollipop. Every time, the director would tell me to stop eating it, but it was so nice I could not resist!
I was only seven, but it’s an experience I’ll never forget. The Victoria Palace Theatre will always be so special to me. I hope to be successful enough to own it someday, I’ve always thought that since the day I went in it! 😃
Can you tell us about playing Gavroche in Les Misérables: The Staged Concert at the Gielgud Theatre?
Playing Gavroche in Les Misérables: The Staged Concert was a dream come true, I had this role in my sights for years and I achieved it. It’s such an honour to play this role in the West End. I had to go to Cameron Mackintosh’s office for my final audition, he’s so nice, it was a dream to audition for him. He picked and trusted me with the role in the star-studded concert.
The cast were amazing and were always so supportive. The whole cast were so good and their voices were awesome. I aspire to sing like them.
What was it like being part of the cast which included Alfie Boe, Michael Ball, Matt Lucas, Carrie Hope Fletcher and Shan Ako and performing to sold-out audiences?
Being part of a cast that had Alfie Boe, Michael Ball, Matt Lucas, Carrie Hope Fletcher and Shan Ako was unbelievable. Their acting and voices were so strong and perfected. I learned a lot from them.
Matt Lucas was always making all of the cast, and especially the children, laugh. Michael Ball said to me that my singing reminded him of himself when he was younger!! Wow… The whole cast were so strong but so supportive of the younger actors/actresses. Each performance was sold out, the atmosphere in the theatre was electric and I was buzzing every moment. Lots of celebrities came to watch. One even tweeted specifically about me saying I was amazing as Gavroche, I felt so proud.
How did it feel being asked to reprise your role in the new Sondheim production?
I felt so happy and honoured to be asked to stay on, I was proud to know that it meant they were pleased with my performance in the concert version.
The new refurbished Sondheim Theatre is so beautiful and to be involved in the new revamped version of Les Misérables was so exciting. It was an extremely fun role. I loved my dying scene, it was so cool to do the fall from high up on the barricade. I’ve decided I liked it, so would like to perform all my own stunts in the future too. This part of the show made lots of people cry, especially my mum!
How was the experience booking your role in the workshop of The Osmonds musical last year?
For the workshop, they put on a shorter version of the full show which will be a warts and all musical of their lives. It was on at The Other Palace and I loved working with a fantastic cast. My highlight was when the real middle brother of the Osmonds, Jay and his wife came to watch the show and he said I did an amazing job!
I hope it’s not too long before it reaches the West End so I can audition for the full show. It was really interesting to be on a project right from the very start… you’re rarely able to experience that and be part of the very beginning.
You’ve performed at the Royal Opera House, how was the experience?
Performing in Les Contes d’Hoffmann was such an amazing experience in my career. The part I had as a cherub was small, but to see an Opera and to be a part of this incredible company was wonderful. The singers’ powerful voices is something I’ll never forget. Listening to them gave me a love of the opera, operatic singing and, to this day, I still like to do this at home.
Having spent six months in Stratford-upon-Avon for your role as Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol, what did you enjoy most about your time there?
The best thing of performing as Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol was working for the prestigious RSC company at such a young age. I lived in a tiny cute cottage with a team of wraparound care chaperones, it was very close to the theatre. I did get homesick as I had never been away from my family before and we are extremely close. I’m grateful for the experience, as next time I need to work away or go on tour, I’ll know what to expect.
I made some friends and still keep in touch with them to this day. The cast were so kind to me being so far away from home. I really enjoyed being home tutored and learning Shakespeare. It was tricky learning all my lines as I wasn’t familiar with the Shakespeare way of talking, it was like another language at first, it was a challenge and I’m lucky to have experienced it so young.
Some days we were taken around the historical buildings and heard all the history stories. Stratford-upon-Avon is a beautiful place.
The brilliant Gerard Carey played my dad Mr. Cratchit. We met again in rehearsals for Les Mis which was lovely to see and chat to him again.
We understand you performed in Carousel alongside Alfie Boe, Katherine Jenkins and Nicholas Lyndhurst, what was this like?
I remember thinking the ENO voices were out of this world. Alfie Boe was so powerful… I started to try and copy his voice and gave myself a sore throat for a couple of days. Katherine is so beautiful inside and out. Nicholas Lyndhurst was so nice too. The whole cast were so kind to all the children. I met some lovely friends that played my brothers and sisters in it, I still speak and now go to school with some of them too.
I did the press night and received so many presents, everyone was so generous. It was a real honour to perform in the London Coliseum.
This show combined my favourite things of the West End shows and operatic singing.
Do you enjoy watching stage shows as well as performing in them, if so, what’s the most recent and which would you recommend?
My mum took me to my first West End show when I was six years old. I really enjoyed it and she would always take me regularly to productions locally and in London. It was our fun thing to do together, it made us both feel happy.
My first West End show to see was Matilda and I asked my mum “how do I get to do that”. I knew instantly that I needed to do it!
The most recent West End show I watched was Falsettos. I went to watch a friend from school in it. I really enjoyed it, it has a very interesting story.
My favourite show ever, therefore I must recommend, has to be MAMMA MIA!!!
You spent time on the film set of Tim Burton’s film Dumbo, how was the experience and what was the premiere like to attend?
Being on the set of Dumbo was an unforgettable experience. We filmed at Shepperton Studios. I had rather long hair when I auditioned but the film is set in the 1940s, so my agent rang my mum and said, “he has been cast as long as he cuts his hair to a short back and sides…”. My mum, of course, asked me how I felt, I said whatever it takes, I’ll do it. As an actor, you have to be prepared to change your appearance all the time, it’s part of the job!
I loved seeing how a major blockbuster movie works and all the parts of it coming together on set.
The premiere of Dumbo was an amazing experience seeing all the stars. I even got to meet and chat to Tim Burton and Danny DeVito at the premiere, that was insane.
You were part of a Disney Star Wars commercial called Choose Your Path, can you tell us about this project?
I will always remember the audition day, it was a Saturday in London. We turned up to see a queue the whole way through the building out the door, down the street and around the corner. My mum and I had never seen anything like this. There were hundreds upon hundreds of kids all going for the same part. We waited for hours… It was definitely worth the wait, that’s for sure!
The commercial was my first experience in front of the camera. The commercial took three days to film and was great fun. At the end of the job, I was given some Star Wars toys to keep.
The director was fantastic and I learned a lot. I definitely got the bug to do more commercials and films, as the commercial is more like a Star Wars Film.
What is lead monster Wufflebump like to voice in School of Roars for CBeebies?
The part of Wufflebump is a great role, as it has taught me to change my voice to fit the situation and has shown me to be more expressive by just using my words as this is all the audience can hear.
I have a brilliant voice coach there, Tracy, and I really like working with her. The director Alan is so nice too, the whole team feel like family now, as I got the job at the age of nine. I did the first series and that took around a year. I was asked to stay on and do the second series too. We are still working on this. I love Wufflebump, he’s such a cool and kind character.
Can you tell us a typical day recording for this role?
A typical day would be being assigned a three-hour slot in the day by the production team. I would normally attend with my mum as my chaperone. I do get spoiled there, they give me a nice drink and yummy snacks all laid out on a table, by the studio team.
I am given scripts prior to my recording day to read and get familiar with. We then start to work through the scripts assigned for the recording session. We always have a break halfway through to get re-energised, as it’s great fun but hard work.
I love to sing and they all know that as I’m mostly always singing, so the director asked if I would like to sing the theme tune to School of Roars. Of course, I did! I loved doing it, and they loved it too. That was such a fun and proud moment for me!
What are you enjoying most about working on a CBeebies show?
I think meeting the other cast and the crew was the best thing, as they are great fun and so supportive and helpful. They have taught me so much about voice acting. It’s regular ongoing work, that’s nice as we all know each other well and look forward to seeing each other and sharing our news. The team are very encouraging towards me, I’m very lucky to know them.
Can you tell us about your training?
I am currently studying at Sylvia Young Theatre School full time. It’s an incredible school. The teachers are so nice, and they are extremely good at what they teach – the academic teachers and the vocational ones. The kids there are all so talented and supportive of each other. I always knew that’s where I wanted to go. I literally dreamed of going there since being in Year Three at school and I waited the long four years until I could audition.
I also have dancing lessons after school at the fantastic Ignite Dance Company. I have a wonderful singing teacher, and I’m currently looking for a brilliant drama coach, any offers? Haha.
What are your upcoming plans?
To continue to study hard in my passions to dance, sing and act, and strive to get better. To work too, of course… So, watch this space!!
2020 has been such a scary and difficult year for everyone. I’m really missing school. I’m keeping positive, I’m sure we will all get through this soon. Sending love to everybody and please stay safe. Ché x
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