The stage adaption of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory is one of the tastiest theatrical treats in town, as the record-breaking musical continues to take theatre fans on a journey of ‘pure imagination’ at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Since making its world premiere in the West End last year, it has rivalled its sister show at the Novello Theatre as a production of high-quality entertainment which contains two of our favourite things: chocolate and Oompa-Loompas!
Douglas Hodge originated the stage role of Willy Wonka and was highly praised for his portrayal of the iconic chocolatier, but his departure in the recent cast change has made way for the equally wonderful Alex Jennings, who played his first performance in the show on 19th May 2014. Joining Jennings as part of the new company are such names as Barry James, Josefina Gabrielle, Richard Dempsey and Kirsty Malpass, as well as an assortment of new ensemble members. Among them is Laura Tyrer, who joins the new company fresh from another West End musical. In the same week of making her first appearance in the Chocolate Factory, she also appears as the featured ensemble member in this week’s edition of In Profile.
Laura Tyrer is a talented young actress who hails from the coastal town of Southport, Merseyside. Growing up in Ainsdale, a village on the southern edge of Southport, she found a love of performance at an early age and attended classes at the Loretto Bamber Dancing Academy. From there, she went on to be accepted at the London Studio Centre, a prestigious school based in the London Borough of North Finchley which specialises in Theatre Dance. The LSC has been producing performers of an excellent quality for over 30 years now, including such West End names as Sophia Ragavelas, Robyn North and Scarlett Strallen.
After graduating from the London Studio Centre, she ventured out into the world of professional theatre and was soon snapped up for the original UK tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie, which starred Donna Steele in the title role and Lesley Josephs as Mrs Meers. She played Rita and also understudied the role of Ethel in the 2005 production, which played at major venues all across the country during its 9-month tour.
Laura continued to travel the UK after that, joining the touring company of Disney’s Beauty & the Beast. She played the role of Silly Girl and understudied Babette in the tour production, which followed a West End run at the Dominion Theatre. Other names featured in the cast included Mathew Cammelle, Ashley Oliver, Charles Brunton, Ben Stock and Susan Humphris.
She hung up her touring shoes for a while afterwards, instead journeying to London to make her official West End debut. She joined the comedy musical in an ensemble capacity in the original London production of the Monty Python classic Spamalot, which was running at the Palace Theatre. She appeared as part of a cast which also featured Sanjeev Bhaskar, Nina Soderquist, Michael Xavier, Jenny Gayner and Andrew Spillet, to name a few.
She returned to the road following her time in the show, this time appearing in the award-winning classic Chicago. A touring production of the hit West End musical ran between March and June 2009 and starred Emma Barton as Roxie Hart and Jimmy Osmond as Billy Flynn. She played June in the show and was also 2nd cover to the principal role of Velma Kelly, which was played by Twinnie Lee-Moore.
She then had an ensemble role in the UK tour of White Christmas, before going back to Chicago – this time in the long-running West End production at the Garrick Theatre. Appearing alongside Sarah Soetaert as Roxie Hart, Robin Cousins as Billy and Rachel McDowall as Velma Kelly, as well as Jasna Ivir (Matron ‘Mama’ Morton), Tony Timberlake (Amos Hart) and R. Whitehead (Mary Sunshine), she played the role of Annie and once again covered the part of Velma.
She later performed as part of the ensemble team in the UK tour of Cabaret, in which she was also 1st cover to the lead role of Sally Bowles. She went with the show when it transferred to the West End, playing at the Savoy Theatre. Most recently though, she was seen playing Billie/New Congress Club Girl in the new Tim Rice musical, From Here To Eternity, which had a short-lived run at the Shaftesbury Theatre earlier this year.
Her other theatre credits include ensemble and U/S Queen in a pantomime production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Manchester Opera House) and she is also a guest teacher with West End Touring, which provides workshops for dance schools in the UK and Ireland. She has led workshops at such schools as the V. A Dance Academy. In addition she is a member of The Valentines, a close harmony girl group with a ‘vintage style and retro sound’ along with Emily Barber and Maria Ward.
Happily coupled with Haydn Oakley (Passion – Donmar Warehouse, Lend Me A Tenor – Gielgud Theatre, Book of Mormon – Prince of Wales Theatre and Betty Blue Eyes – UK Tour), who she previously worked with in Spamalot at the Palace Theatre, it seems that a career in the theatre has brought happiness both on and off the stage for Laura Tyrer. This talented performer continues to grow from strength to strength and is now appearing in one of the biggest shows in the West End. She can of course currently be found at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane playing an Ooompa-Loompa in the award-winning musical Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Her adventure in the Chocolate Factory has only just begun, and who only knows what other wonderful delights lie in store for her in the future.
By Julie Robinson @missjulie25
You can follow Laura on Twitter – @lauratigertyrer
Saturday 24th May 2014