Making her major screen debut in Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical last year, Winter Jarrett Glasspool plays the role of Amanda Thripp in the highly-anticipated screen adaptation of the stage musical. Having been filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Winter attended the red carpet premiere for Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical at the 2022 BFI London Film Festival, reuniting with the rest of the cast, which includes Alisha Weir as Matilda and Emma Thompson as Miss Trunchbull. On stage, Winter was in the original cast of the world premiere of Identical the Musical as Brigitta/Hansel, which opened at Nottingham Playhouse last year before transferring to Salford’s The Lowry. Also a keen dancer, Winter is part of Associates in Tonbridge, and reached the National Finals at The 2022 All England Dance Festival. Winter answers our questions about playing Amanda Thripp in the screen adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical, attending the red carpet premiere at BFI London Film Festival and her time in the original cast of Identical the Musical.
You play Amanda Thripp in the screen adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical, what was she like to play and do you remember how you felt finding out you’d booked the role?
I was pretty surprised when I found out I had booked the role because I had already had a ‘thanks but no thanks’ from the casting team a couple of months before for one of Matilda’s classmates… they called me back in once they were putting the main cast together and I guess I just fitted the puzzle! I was actually lucky that the film had been pushed back because of the pandemic because I turned the required age of nine during rehearsals and was the youngest out of all the Crunchem Hall kids. I was so excited because Amanda Thripp is such an iconic character and I couldn’t believe I’d get to sing and dance in a movie too. I enjoyed playing her because she’s sweet and fun and I got to do the Thripp throw stunt, which was so exciting!
How much did you know about the book and musical before auditioning and how did you prepare for filming your major screen debut?
I had read the book and seen the musical lots of times – when I was little I was super scared of the Trunchbull! When I got the part, I read the script over and over and we did nearly five months of rehearsal as we were in lots of the dance numbers too. We had singing and dance rehearsals, worked on the scenes with Matthew Warchus, the director, and even had stunt rehearsals for the assault course scene.
How did you find the experience on set of the film and what was it like working alongside the rest of the cast, which includes Alisha Weir as Matilda and Emma Thompson as Miss Trunchbull?
The cast were such a special group of people, we spent almost every day together for nine months and lived in a hotel for lots of that time so became really close. It was quite tricky shooting a film in the middle of a pandemic with all the COVID measures but we were kept super safe by the team. Our favourite thing to do in between scenes was play UNO, which got seriously competitive, and our chaperones even bought us personalised UNO cards with photos of us on! Alisha is so kind and super talented, I learnt so much from watching her. Emma was incredibly frightening in her costume but really she is the nicest person in the world! She would organise treats for all the kids and cast and crew and always made sure we were having a great time on long filming days. It was so cool getting to have my very own scene with her and she definitely gives the best hugs and advice!
What was it like attending the premiere at BFI London Film Festival and seeing the completed film for the first time?
It was my first ever premiere and it was so exciting. We couldn’t believe how many people were there to see our film. It was amazing seeing the film in its final form with all the special effects and musical numbers in full because you never really get to see what it looks like on camera when filming. We got to go to the after-party with the grown ups too and Ashton (Robertson, who plays Nigel) got everyone dancing on the dance floor! It was crazy because before the film people didn’t know who we were, but afterwards everyone was shouting our names and asking us for photos. We felt so lucky and very glad that people had enjoyed it.
How has it been seeing the fan response to Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical and who do you think will enjoy watching it?
We’ve had so many lovely comments from everyone about how they can’t stop watching the film and listening to the soundtrack, especially with their young children. I think lots of people can relate to Matilda as a character and Tim Minchin’s music is addictive! It’s such a great story and everyone from my two-year-old sister all the way up to my grandad enjoys it! I also love that it has brought musical theatre into the homes of so many people who may have not seen a musical before.
What are some of your favourite memories from your time filming as Amanda Thripp?
Just hanging out in our trailers with the cast was super fun. We did tutoring together every day and I actually really enjoyed that. The stunt team who put together the Thripp throw were incredible and so kind, it was great to work with them. I also loved filming Phys Ed because I had to be dunked in a mud pool and we were basically painted with mud every day for two weeks. It was rainy and wet but we got to go on the assault course and the zip-wire, which was brilliant – they actually couldn’t include that bit in the scene because apparently we all looked like we were having too much fun and the Trunchbull would have never approved! The scene at the end of the film Big Friendly School was also amazing because it was our last day on set with all the kids and we got to go on the funfair rides.
Last year, you were in the cast of the world premiere of Identical the Musical as Brigitta/Hansel, what was it like working on a new musical?
It was great to do something new and an exciting challenge to play new characters. The music is so fun and I loved making new friends with the twins and the rest of the girls. The creative team were amazing and it was an honour to get to work with Trevor Nunn, who is a legend!
What did you enjoy most about playing your roles and performing at Nottingham Playhouse and Salford’s The Lowry?
Being on stage with my new friends was super fun and we did a lot of choreography, which was great. It was cool to see new places that I hadn’t been before and both the theatres were amazing! We also had extra children join us at each venue so it was lovely getting to know them too.
Was there anything that drew you to Identical the Musical and what do you remember from your first and last performances with the show?
I didn’t know much about the musical before I started but I love The Parent Trap film so knew that it would be good. The first performance was so exciting to finally get to show an audience what we had been working on. The last performance was funny because in one scene I had to throw a ball and it bounced on my friend’s head by accident and we got the giggles. We were really sad to say goodbye to everyone when it was over and I hope it comes back so more people have the chance to see it!
Can you tell us about competing in The All England Dance Festival and do you have a favourite aspect of being involved with dance?
I dance at Associates in Tonbridge, who are like my second family. We were so lucky to get our Musical Theatre group and our Character group to the National Finals last year and we came 1st and 2nd. We made a mad dash back from tech rehearsals in Nottingham to get there to compete as didn’t want to let our friends down! We were so excited because people from all over the country compete and everyone who dances there is so amazing. What I love most about dancing is being with my friends and making new memories at shows and competitions. I also get to do lots of different styles, ballet, tap, modern, jazz, contemporary and musical theatre.
Where does your love of acting and dance come from and how did you get started in each?
My mum went to Sylvia Young Theatre School and did lots of musicals and TV work when she was younger so I’m pretty sure it must come from her! Because she knows about the industry, she keeps me very grounded and never lets me forget how lucky I am! I started baby ballet when I was two and the rest is history. My agent and teacher Scarlett noticed I had a ‘dramatic’ side and a big voice and asked to represent me when I was six and I started to go to auditions. I never dreamed I’d get to do something like Matilda! I’m so lucky that I get to do what I love and it has led me to some wonderful opportunities.
What are some of your favourite films, TV and theatre shows to watch?
I love murder mysteries and really like 13: The Musical that’s on Netflix. I love watching The Big Bang Theory, Victorious and Enchanted. My favourite musical I’ve seen recently is Mary Poppins, although I’m sad it has closed in London. I would have loved to have played Jane Banks because I’ve always begged my mum to have a full fringe cut and that would be a great excuse!
How do you like to spend your time away from performing?
I love hanging out with my friends, colouring and making bracelets. I also have a huge family so I spend a lot of time with them!
What are you hoping 2023 brings for you?
I’d love to do another film, TV show or a musical in London. I’m just grateful for any opportunity that comes my way and have been lucky enough to audition for things I could have never imagined being seen for. I’m also starting secondary school in September so that will definitely be my next challenge!
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