HELP­ING STARS OF THE FU­TURE

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Will Ack­er­mann will.ack­er­mann@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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

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