The musical adaption of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory has undoubtedly been a success since opening in the West End in June 2013. The Theatre Royal Drury Lane’s latest occupant show, which stars Douglas Hodge as the iconic Willy Wonka, received positive reviews from the critics and theatre-going public alike, although suffered minimally from comparisons to the West End’s other Dahl-musical, Matilda. Created by Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin, Matilda was deemed a critically-acclaimed success in both its original Stratford-Upon-Avon debut and subsequent West End transfer. Having been running at the Cambridge Theatre for just over two years now, the award-winning stage musical remains to be one of the most popular shows in town. Kelly’s book and Minchin’s score built a rock-solid foundation, along with the rest of the creative team, but it is the cast members that have built on that initial genius and continued to run with it, ensuring that the success of Matilda doesn’t wane. Various talented actors/actresses have been a part of Matilda since its birth and the current company are no exception, including performer Hollie Taylor who is also the featured ensemble member for this week’s edition of In Profile.
Hollie Taylor is a highly dedicated and capable performer who has made a very welcome addition to the world of musical theatre. This talented young actress has performed in some of the West End’s biggest shows in the course of her career so far, and her contributions to the industry have also reached far beyond her on-stage appearances.
She graduated from the prestigious Arts Education Schools, London (ArtsEd) in 2006, gaining a 1st Class BA Hons Degree in Musical Theatre after her three years of training there. The leading UK performing arts school has given the industry such renowned stage stars as Julie Andrews, Samantha Barks, Nigel Harman, Oliver Tompsett and Bonnie Langford since it was first founded in 1939, and now alumni Taylor is endeavouring to achieve a similar success in her own career. During her time there, she appeared in such productions as 42nd Street, Seussical The Musical, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Cats, Lucky Stiff, Salad Days and Dombey and Son.
Since entering the professional theatre world, she has accrued a varied list of stage credits. Her first post-graduate gig was playing the role of Servant in the national tour of musical High Society, in which she also understudied Dinah. She also played the title role in a pantomime production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Mansfield Palace Theatre in Nottingham, performing again the following year in the title role of Cinderella at the Camberley Theatre in Surrey.
In 2008, Taylor made her West End debut appearing at the Hammersmith Apollo. She was a company member in the stage musical of popular American film High School Musical, playing the role of shy composer Kelsi Nielson. She continued to perform on the West End stage with her next stage job, which took her to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane for the first time. She was in the original company of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s revival of Oliver! The classic musical had been the subject of the BBC1 talent contest I’d Do Anything, in which Lloyd Webber and his panel of celebrity judges had searched for an unknown star to play the leading role of Nancy. Performing alongside the show’s eventual winner, Jodie Prenger, she played Hassars Girl and also understudied the role of Bet.
In 2010, after her time in Oliver! had come to an end, she took on a several theatrical projects, which included playing Esme in An Inappropriate Conversation with Theatre 503. Most notably, she was involved in another touring production when she joined the Irish Tour of Fame The Musical. She played the role of Lambchops in the musical and also understudied/played principal characters Serena and Mabel.
The next year she made her return to the West End, this time appearing at the Novello Theatre in the original company of new musical Betty Blue Eyes. She played the role of Veronica Allerdyce in the Stiles and Drewe musical, based on the 1984 film A Private Function, and also features on the original London cast recording.
She has also made television appearances in such programmes as The Bloody Mary Show and The Life and Adventures of Nick Nickleby.
In addition to her stage performances, Taylor is responsible for recently co-creating a part-time performing arts school for young children. Roots Theatre Arts opened on 6th October 2013 and offers lessons in dance, drama and singing for 3-16 year olds. Taylor holds the position of Head of Seedlings (students aged 3-5 years of age) with her two co-founders/principals Laura Bennett (Head of Dance) and Ewan Jones (Head of Music), who all trained together at ArtsEd. Based in West London, the school opens on Sundays to offer professional training to young students, often bringing in West End performers to assist in lessons. Current Charlie and The Chocolate Factory star Jack Shalloo, who plays the role of Mr Bucket, is one such performer who has been a guest teacher, as have Ben Morris (Phantom of the Opera) and Charlotte Spencer, who is leading as Christine Keeler in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest musical Stephen Ward, along with many more.
Hollie Taylor is currently appearing in Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre where she performs as a Swing, covering such roles as teacher Miss Honey. This up-and-coming actress has much to offer the world of musical theatre, both on and off the stage, and she very likely has a very bright future ahead of her.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
You can follow Hollie on Twitter: @taylorhollie
Page updated 18th October 2014