Entertainment & Arts

Matilda star, 10, is youngest Olivier winner

One of the four young stars of Matilda the Musical has become the youngest recipient of an Olivier in the award's 36-year history.

Clutching her statue excitedly backstage at the Royal Opera House, 10-year-old Eleanor Worthington-Cox said: "It's pretty cool - and scary - but also awesome."

She added: "I just hope the next person to follow in my footsteps feels as honoured as I do."

The four Matilda actresses stole the show at Sunday's Olivier theatre awards, where the musical scooped a record seven out of the 10 prizes it was nominated for.

Eleanor, who will turn 11 in June, is younger than her cast mates Cleo Demetriou, also 10, and Kerry Ingram and Sophia Kiely, both 12.

Each girl has been performing at two shows a week, fitting it in around school and homework.

Previously the youngest Olivier winners were the Billy Elliot actors in 2008, the youngest of whom was 13.

Born in Merseyside, Eleanor's only previous stage experience was in the chorus in Bill Kenwright's production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the Liverpool Empire.

Kerry, who played the role of Matilda in the original cast in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2010, leaves the show this week, along with Sophia.

Sophia said: "You get to know each other really well - it's like one big family, and then you separate. It's really sad."

Although no plans are in place, both girls expressed a desire to continue a stage career.

All four actresses performed a special version of the Matilda song Naughty - one of the highlights of the show - during the Oliviers ceremony.

Asked how it felt compared to performing at the Cambridge Theatre, Cleo said: "It's like a million times bigger. I feel so loved!"

The show opened in the West End to five-star reviews last autumn and will transfer to Broadway in 2013.

Sophia said of the show's success: "I think it's got a mixture of everything. There's sadness - because it makes some people cry, and it's got very funny bits as well."

'Hamlet role'

Actor Bertie Carvel, who won an Olivier for his role as Matilda's tyrannical headmistress Miss Trunchbull, said the children were "allowed to breathe" as actors.

"The Matildas are like the Hamlet role," he said.

"You really see the actor in the role, they are each different, and there's something kind of beautifully unfinished about them. They are so full of life."

And what do the Matildas think of Carvel's Miss Trunchbull?

Eleanor said: "He's such a nice person in real life, so it really astounds me how he can act so mean!"

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