HELPING STARS OF THE FUTURE
AS a young girl taking her first
class aged three, Lauren Stroud could hardly have dreamed she would one day be starring in hit musicals across the UK.
But for the talented performer from Hayes – now aged 24 – that dream has become a reality.
Miss Stroud has been involved with such productions as Wicked and High School Musical 2, among many others, over the last five years.
She is currently touring the country with Dance ‘Til Dawn, starring Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace, of Strictly Come Dancing fame.
Miss Stroud said: “I still pinch myself, even now, and feel like the luckiest girl in the world, who gets to live out their dream.
“I just feel like, as much as it’s about talent, without the support of my family, and especially my parents putting me through college, which is a lot of money, I could never have done this, so I just feel so lucky.”
To give back to the community she grew up in, Miss Stroud recently launched her own theatre company, Stroud Theatre Arts.
The company runs monthly workshops for budding young performers aged five to 18, mostly held at the scout hut, in Derwent Drive, Hayes.
Miss Stroud said: “I feel like there are a lot of dance schools in the area, but I wanted to do something a bit different and offer some insight into musicals, because I’m doing it now.
“And I just want to give the kids something to do with shows, because it’s a bit more exciting than just going to daily classes.
“Also, I think we live in a great area. There’s a lot of choice for dance schools here, so I couldn’t just do something that’s the same as everyone else.”
Miss Stroud knows how it feels to have early ambition, having performed in her first West End show, Les Miserables, aged just seven.
After leaving The Douay Martyrs School, in Edinburgh Drive, Ickenham, she joined the prestigious Laine Theatre Arts school, in Epsom, where she met Callum Train.
Mr Train is now playing the lead narrator role of Munkustrap in the latest production of CATS, currently showing at the London Paladium.
He will be leading Miss Stroud’s next workshop – to be held at the scout hut on May 10 – which will revolve around the hit musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Miss Stroud said: “Everyone taking part will be learning a routine from the show, a song from the show and getting to ask me and Callum any questions and learning from our professional experience in the industry that we work in.”
She added: “It’s nice to have a male come in and teach because they are used to just having me.
“The industry is quite different for boys because there’s not as many of them.
“Also, for me to be able to invite one of my best friends, who I met in college and have been through so much with, and for him to come here to my students, it’s an honour.”
After leaving theatre school, Miss Stroud’s first professional role was as an understudy for the character of Sharpay Evans, in High School Musical 2.
Since then she has gone on to spend the last five years touring the UK with various musicals, the most recent of which was Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz.
And last Christmas she returned to her roots, playing Snow White in the pantomime at the Beck Theatre, in Hayes.
From September she will be touring the UK once more, this time playing Amber in the new musical production of Hairspray.
Among all of this, it was in November last year that she decided she wanted to help inspire the next generation of performers back in her home town, leading her to launch her own theatre company.
She said: “I just want kids to learn how to be confident and to not worry what other people think. So many kids struggle with that nowadays.
“I have had some mums say to me, ‘My daughter sang by herself at school today and I feel it’s because of your classes.’
“That, to me, is the biggest achievement I can possibly have.”
The CATS workshop will be held at the scout hut, in Derwent Drive, Hayes, on May 10.
The first session, for those aged five to 10, will run from 10am to 12pm, with places costing £14.
The second, for those aged 11 to 18, will run from 12.30pm to 3.30pm, costing £20.
To book, visit www. stroudtheatrearts.co.uk.
WORKSHOPS: Above, Lauren Stroud with students from Stroud Theatre arts and top, taking part in one of the classes
p , 24, from Hayes, set up her company, Stroud Theatre Arts, to give back to her community