Charlotte Wakefield – Spring Awakening
Woops. Anyway, it was her agent…would she like to play the lead in the new west-end musical Spring Awakening ? Wow! She went weak at the knees, apparently, so ridiculously over-whelmed by it all. It had been an amazing year. Were her dreams really about to come true?
Charlotte, on a flying visit to her family in Bexton Rd, somehow found time to meet me for a chat. She was escorted by her very proud grandmother, Naureen Wakefield, herself a well-known local choral singer. Maybe it is in the genes. Charlotte is pale, tiny and looks much younger than her 18 years. She has bright, dancing dark eyes and, to my surprise, little or no makeup.
Sitting on the sofa, clutching her mobile, she began to tell me her story to date. The words tumbling out with youthful enthusiasm clearly over-awed by suddenly being in the limelight but thoroughly enjoying the experience. Critics are hailing her as a wonderful new talent in the musical theatre – quite a responsibility.
She is no wannabe TV reality show performer but a hard working and determined young woman with a passion for theatre though she is fully aware of all the pitfalls a stage career can bring. After all she has been preparing for this day since she was 2 years old when she donned a pink leotard and pirouetted around the studio at Helen Bates dancing school in Knutsford. Then came Stagecoach acting classes on a Saturday morning. She acquired an agent and was cast, at the age of 10, in a film called Angel for May. Her first acting role Filmed in Yorkshire, she felt totally at ease in front of the cameras and knew from then on that this was going to be her life.
From Egerton School she moved to Knutsford High School and was in her element in the much acclaimed performing arts department.
She appeared in all the school productions – Annie, Les Miserables, Jesus Christ Superstar, Guys and Dolls, We will rock you, Scaramouche and had already been cast in their last production of West Side Story when she had that phone-call. So, for the very best of reasons, she had to move to London. Her ties with her old school are very strong and she admits that she owes a great deal to the drama department and especially mentioned Helen Mayne as her mentor.
Her parents and extended family have always given her enormous support and encouragement and even her 15year old brother enjoyed Spring Awakening. Her younger sister, age 11, is not allowed to see it. You have been warned.
We will also be seeing her play James Nesbitt’s daughter in a new drama – Occupation – on BBC TV in the summer. In the wake of her current euphoria she was asked to make a presentation at the recent Olivier Awards, and bumped in to Kevin Spacey, Brian May and Patrick Stewart – as you do. She is still, she says, in a bizarre dream.
Reviews for Spring Awakening have been excellent – The Five Star Phenomenon –proclaims one advertisement and Charlotte is featured leaping for joy on another poster. It runs for the rest of the year and, if Charlotte has anything to do with it, her dream of becoming another Streisand or Streep really will come true.