ON STAGE: Total MK speaks to Georgina Leonidas, star of Awful Auntie

Georgina’s first role was in 1999, when she played Little Cosette in Les Misérables at the Palace Theatre, London. She was then cast as Molly in The Basil Brush Show in 2002...but many of you will know her from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

She played Katie Bell, Harry’s fellow Gryffindor Quidditch player, and also voiced Katie in the associated video game. She then reprised this role in 2010 and 2011 in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Parts 1 and 2.

She may be young, but Georgina has a CV littered with marvellous moments on stage and screen. She talked all things Theatre with Total MK...

Tell us about your first memory of the theatre

When I was 8 I had my first professional job playing Little Cosette in Les Miserables at the Palace Theatre. Before starting rehearsals we were given tickets to see the show. I remember so clearly going to the theatre, sitting in those big red chairs and being completely blown away. It was incredible and even at a young age I was so moved by the production. The set, the performances, the music! I doubt I’ll forget it.

And the moment when you realised the theatre was your calling

I had been quite shy as a very young child and joining a drama class helped bring me out of my shell. As kids my siblings and I would put on ‘shows’ for our family, so performing was something I always enjoyed.

I’ve mentioned already how I was bowled over by the performance of Les Miserable I was when I was young, and watching it I felt so excited and proud that I’d soon be a part of something so special. I had found my passion and I knew then there would be nothing else I wanted to do!

Any dreadful calamities, or funny happenings on stage that you would care to share with us?

Luckily I haven’t had anything too calamitous happen to me on stage. I was in a play a couple of years ago where one of the other actors had to wear a moustache. During one of the performances it slowly started to peel off! It was very funny for the rest of us on stage especially when you know you can’t laugh! People should definitely keep an eye on a certain moustache in Awful Auntie.

Which stage actor, living or dead, would you most like to meet, and what question would you ask them?

Timothy Speyer, Ashley Cousins, Richard James and Roberta Bellekom, and in a twist of fate I’m currently working with all of them!

Do you have any superstitions, or pre-performance routines?

I’m not really a superstitious person but I do like keeping up old theatre traditions. So I never whistle in the wings and when backstage I never ever say Macbe… !!!

The best piece of advice given to you when you started in the business

Listen. Listen to everyone that will help guide you and your performance and the show; the director, fellow cast members, yourself and your own instincts. Working together and listening to each other is so important when rehearsing and also when on stage performing. And again, when moving into the theatre it’s so important to listen and understand the technical side of things too.

What do you think has been your steepest learning curve

I think you learn and take something with you from every job. Having worked a lot growing up it was nice to learn early on what it meant to be professional. During my high school years I played Molly in the series The Basil Brush Show. I always kept up with my school work alongside learning lines and filming, and I think that was a good discipline. I loved playing Molly and the whole experience, and I really enjoyed the responsibility.

How do you fill your spare time while on tour

Escape Room games! We’ve already done a few as a company, they are so much fun! One was a Sherlock Holmes themed room, so very fitting for my character in the show. He is Stella’s favourite detective!

Nerves or excitement? Which takes over just before the curtain rises?

Excitement! Though on opening nights it’s a bit of both!

How can the future of theatre be safeguarded? What would you do to entice new blood to audiences?

Theatre should be accessible to everyone and I think there are some great schemes some theatres are using to help ensure this. For example, ‘pay what you can’ nights, and £10 ticket nights are especially good for young people and students. Signed, captioned and relaxed performances are also very important, and I’m happy to say we have lots scheduled throughout the tour.
Also Awful Auntie could be some children’s first experience of theatre, so it’s wonderful to be part of a show with sun high production values. Hopefully it will spark their interest in going to the theatre more often.

Now tell us about the three favourite roles your have played so far, and what makes them special.

It’s hard to pick just three! I’ve loved every role and job!
I played Katie Bell in Harry Potter and that was loads of fun and an incredible experience. It was wonderful to be a part of the biggest British film franchise.
My role Debbie, in Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing. It was my first theatre role. I loved the character, she is witty and confident and I enjoyed playing her very much. Being in a play had always been a goal for me so when I got the job I was over the moon.
Molly in Basil Brush. It was my first leading role in a series. I not only had an amazing time but I learnt such a lot!

Finally, for those yet to take a ticket to Awful Auntie, sell the show…

For those who have read the book you will not be disappointed! Neal Foster’s adaptation stays true to the book and I really feel we bring Saxby Hall alive with an incredible set, costume, music and lighting design and cast.

For those who don’t know the story, come and be surprised! Watch Stella’s journey of survival against her Awful Auntie Alberta, that also includes a ghost called Soot, a great Bavarian owl named Wagner, Saxby Hall’s longest resident, Gibbon the butler, and plot twists that you might not see coming!

To book tickets for a performance, click here


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