Clitheroe girl (10) to star in ‘Matilda’ in West End

Ava O'Brien dance star
Ava O'Brien dance star

STARDOM looks set to beckon for a Clitheroe dance student who has won a starring role in an award winning show on the West End stage at the tender age of 10.

Ava Merson-O’Brien was chosen for the principal role of Amand Thripp in the multi-Olivier Award winning show”Matilda the Musical’’ that is currently playing to packed audiences at the Cambridge Theatre in London.

But Ava, who attends the Angela Westwell School of Dance, is already a seasoned performer, having appeared in five West End productions including “Carousel,’’ “Les Miserables,’’ and last year Andrew Lloyd Webber’s show “The Wizard of Oz’’ in which Ava played a munchkin, at the London Palladium.

A pupil at the Angela Westwell School of Dance in Clitheroe for the past five years, teacher Angela Briscoe spotted the young starlet’s potential right away. She told the Advertiser: “Ava has always been very good and stood out from the start. I hope to go and see her in the show during the summer holidays.’’

Ava, who is home schooled, joined the cast last month and will appear in the show until August. She is a member of one of three teams of eight children who each play for two nights before taking a break. Ava plays the title character’s sister and one of the highlights of her role s being thrown over a fence by her pigtails. The musical is adapted from the famous children’s novel by Roald Dahl and tells the enchanting story of the bright young girl who has magical powers and how she breaks away from her dreadful family who just want to watch television all the time.

Counting among its fans a host of celebrities who have praised the show, including showbusiness legend Barbara Windsor, ”Matilda the Musical’’ set a record when it scooped seven gongs at the Olivier Awards, an accomplishment no other show has ever achieved.