Currently, Amelia Minto is in rehearsals for her next theatre project, having been announced earlier this month to be playing Charlie Bucket in the brand-new production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with the musical opening at Leeds Playhouse in November. Having made her acting debut at eight years old as Little Cosette in the UK and Ireland Tour of Les Misérables, Amelia has most recently been seen on screen in feature film The Lost Girls as Little Wendy alongside Julian Ovenden (as her on-screen father) and Vanessa Redgrave. In the 2020 NBC production of The Grinch Musical LIVE, Amelia played one of the lead characters Cindy-Lou Who opposite Matthew Morrison (as The Grinch) and Booboo Stewart (as Max), with the musical televised around the world on NBC and Sky. Amelia has her musical theatre training at Stagebox, and she has filmed for upcoming screen projects, which are not-yet-announced. We spoke to Amelia about being cast as Charlie Bucket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, playing Little Wendy in The Lost Girls and her first televised acting role of Cindy-Lou Who in NBC’s The Grinch Musical LIVE.
It’s been announced you will be playing the lead role of Charlie Bucket in the musical revival of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Leeds Playhouse from November, how did it feel finding out you’d be playing the role?
At first, I was extremely shocked, I couldn’t believe I had been offered the role because over 500 children had auditioned! I was so thrilled, I felt very lucky to have been given the opportunity to play a lead role and excited to explore and get into the character of Charlie Bucket.
You are currently rehearsing, how is this going and what was it like meeting the other actors playing Charlie (Kayleen Nguema, Isaac Sugden and Noah Walton) for the first time?
We have been getting to know the team, learning songs, and playing with choreography. I have been having so much fun, I enjoy being able to contribute ideas and have an input into the creative process. The other Charlies are amazing to work with and very talented, we did many rounds of auditions together so got to know each other quite well before we came together after booking the role.
What are you looking forward to for opening in the musical and what drew you to audition?
I am looking forward to getting back on stage. I have been to see a few productions at the Leeds Playhouse so it will be exciting to be on that stage myself. I was drawn to the audition because it is a brand-new production, which meant I would be involved in the workshopping process as well. I also loved that they were letting girls audition for the role too!
How did it feel booking your role of Little Wendy in The Lost Girls and how was it playing her?
It was the best feeling because I wasn’t expecting it! The Lost Girls was the first film I booked so I was super excited. The film is inspired by the story of Peter Pan and follows four generations of Wendy Darling and her struggles with returning to reality after her adventures with Peter Pan. Playing Little Wendy was fun, she is a cute little redhead who has a great bond with her father but is curious to know what happened to her mother. My scenes with Vanessa Redgrave were probably the most memorable, I remember I had to fasten a necklace around her neck which had this tiny, fiddly clasp and I was so nervous.
What was it like working with the rest of the cast and being on set?
I was a little nervous to begin with as it was my first experience on a film set, but the cast and crew were really welcoming. I learnt so much about the industry and the acting business just by watching other people work. There’s so much I loved; getting my wig put on in hair and makeup, to chats with Julian Ovenden, who plays my dad in the film, and obviously, it was amazing to meet Vanessa Redgrave. I also really look up to Emily Carey, who plays Teen Wendy, so I was disappointed I didn’t get to shoot any scenes with her, but we have kept in touch and she is really supportive. It was a strange time as we filmed during the pandemic, so there were lots of precautions and COVID testing etc, but it was all totally worth it.
You played Cindy-Lou Who in The Grinch Musical LIVE, what was she like to play and how was it getting into character for the first time?
Cindy-Lou Who is such an adorable, lovable character so I really enjoyed playing her. I particularly love how sweet she is and how much she believes in the spirit of Christmas and changes The Grinch. It was quite some transformation getting into costume, I have super long hair which needed to go under this bright pink wig and I had a padded bum and oversized shoes. In Whoville, everybody walks with their feet turned out slightly which we called the Who walk, sometimes I’d catch myself walking down the street like this out of habit lol.
How much did you know about The Grinch before auditioning and what originally drew you to the musical?
I am a big fan of Christmas so have been into The Grinch since I was little, it’s such a classic. I’m drawn to anything Christmassy and love a happy ending!
Even though he is grumpy and mean underneath all the green fur, The Grinch is pretty relatable and has a heart.
Was there anything you enjoyed most about being in the cast and working on the live-action TV adaptation?
The Grinch was fun to work on, every day felt Christmassy! I enjoyed being part of such an amazing cast, it was nice to work with both Matthew Morrison and Booboo Stewart, I am a fan of Descendants and The Greatest Dancer, so it felt a little surreal being in the same room as them.
I really liked working alongside children around my own age as well, we were in a tight bubble together due to the pandemic so we became very close.
I am still so grateful I was able to continue doing what I love during the lockdown and luckily it was televised so I can go back and watch it over and over and relive the memories.
Do you have any stand-out highlights from being involved with The Grinch Musical LIVE and how did you find the experience working on your first televised acting role?
The experience taught me a lot, it was a completely different style of performing that I had to adopt and although it is a staged musical we weren’t playing to a theatre.
I think one of the stand-out highlights was when The Grinch Musical aired in America in front of 50 million people at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. I would have loved to have been there. I still can’t believe I’ve appeared on Sky and NBC!
We understand you played Little Cosette in Les Misérables on the UK and Ireland Tour for your professional debut, how was the experience?
This was my first ever role so I treasured the whole experience. It was awesome, I was just eight years old and absolutely over the moon to be part of such an iconic musical. Performing professionally in one of the longest-running musicals of all time, on a huge stage, in front of so many people was a dream come true. The whole cast were so kind and made you feel special. To be around such an incredibly talented bunch of people was inspiring.
What are some of your favourite memories from performing as Little Cosette?
The vocal warm-up before each show with the whole cast was unreal, I felt so fortunate to be singing amongst such incredible voices. It felt amazing to perform in front of and hold the attention of over 1000 audience members on my own. I loved every moment. I will never forget the bow on my final show when Killian Donnelly (Jean Valjean) picked me up and we waved to my family and friends in the audience. This was the show that made me want to perform.
Where does your love of acting come from and how did you start?
I attended dance classes when I was younger and touched on some acting; Mary in the school Nativity etc, and it pretty much developed from there. The more productions I was part of, the more I grew to love acting. I’ve always felt my happiest on a stage.
Can you tell us about your training and what do you enjoy most about performing?
My musical theatre training is with Stagebox, I’ve been with them since I was eight years old and they have provided me with so many amazing opportunities and the chance to work with some of the best creatives in the industry. I also attend classes at my dance school on most nights where I am always learning and developing. They continue to support me and help me strengthen my weaknesses and improve my strengths. They are like my second family.
Performing is addictive, it plays a huge part in my life. Being in the moment and able to share something with the audience gives me a buzz. It’s hard to find the right words to describe it without sounding cheesy but when I’m performing it just feels amazing. According to my mum, my eyes twinkle lol.
Do you have any favourite films, TV and theatre shows to watch?
One of my favourite films is Cruella, I love the acting; Emma Stone is an incredible actress, and the cinematography, soundtrack and the overall style of the film are so cool. I especially like the Do You Have a Light? scene at the black and white ball where Cruella drops a matchstick on her cloak, which goes up in flames to reveal this incredible red statement dress. Apparently, Emma Stone had 47 costume changes in the movie!
I also enjoy watching the TV series Friends and Modern Family. I love to watch most musicals but recently went to see Frozen in the West End and was absolutely blown away.
How do you like to spend your free time?
In my free time, I like to draw and go on walks with my beagle, Walter. I love fashion so like to go shopping with my mum! I’m also into acro so spend a lot of time practising new tricks.
You are working on some upcoming projects, what was it like finding out you’d booked them and what are you looking forward to most for their release?
It always feels very surreal when I book projects. I feel very lucky, and my mum always tries to break the news to me in the cutest ways lol. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished products for the screen roles I’ve been working on, although it feels so weird when I see myself on TV. I am also super excited to be performing on stage again later this year.
What are you hoping the upcoming year brings for your career?
So far, 2022 has been the busiest year of my career. I have just started working on my new project which will see me through to next year which is exciting. I hope to continue working hard and developing so that 2023 is just as good, if not better! I was lucky enough to travel to Europe for a role this year which was so cool, I’d love to travel again if possible.
I am surrounded by lots of supportive people who are always helping me improve so I just want to keep learning from them.
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