BREAK A LEG ISLA!
Wishing Isla Henderson all the very best as she makes her debut performance with Richmond Operatic Society (ROS) tonight. Isla is a member of the cast of Calendar Girls and will be performing at the Georgian Theatre Royal until Saturday.
Isla, a Year 12 student, is playing the role of Jenny, a young girl who has been expelled from boarding school and has rebelled against her mother for years. She meets Danny Harper and seems to lead him astray, much to the disgust of his mother. As Jenny and Danny become closer, she begins to settle down and decides to help the ladies of the Women’s Institute create their alternative calendar, raising money for Blood Cancer Research.
Isla is no stranger to the Georgian Theatre, having been part of their Youth Theatre group since she was at primary school. She has taken part in many shows including ‘The Musicians’ and ‘Ash’. As a valued member the Richmond School Theatre Company, Isla has performed in many plays at the Georgian, including ‘When They Go Low’, as well as competing in and winning the Best Youth Performance in the One Act Play Festival with ‘The Edelweiss Pirates’. Isla is also an extremely talented singer and achieved a distinction in her grade 6 musical theatre singing exam last year and she is finalising the songs for her grade 7 exam that she will be taking shortly.
Isla said: “I can’t put an exact age on when I started acting. I’ve always enjoyed going to the theatre and watching live performances. I joined a tiny drama club in primary school and had to sing a little solo during the show and ever since then I’ve loved to get up on stage and perform. I am studying Drama and Theatre Studies A-level and am very fortunate to have had so many performing opportunities through school and college and receive great support from my Drama teachers. Mrs Jinks has also been really supportive of my ambitions as well as being a fantastic singing teacher. My aim is to study Musical Theatre at University and pursue a career in that field.
“I am honoured to be performing with ROS. The cast are fantastic and have been so welcoming and supportive. Although this is my first show with ROS, I sincerely hope it won’t be my last! I’m absolutely loving being a part of the company and love working with such talented people.”
Lara Vinsen, Director of Calendar Girls, said: “Isla has been dedicated, enthusiastic and professional from the first moment that she walked through the door. She brings the role to life, has fitted into the cast beautifully and is a pleasure to work with.”
Inspired by a true story, in honour of Yorkshire Dales National Park Officer, John Baker, the 2003 Calendar Girls film’s cast included Julie Walters and Helen Mirren. In 2015, Gary Barlow and Tim Firth brought the story to life again and following a national tour and a stint in the West End, Calendar Girls the Musical has gained international acclaim, celebrating women and their ability to triumph in adversity. The original Calendar Girls have raised in excess of £5million for blood cancer research since their calendar was conceived in 1999.
The ROS cast have produced their own calendar which will be sold at the shows. Money raised from the sale of the calendars will go to The Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre in Northallerton.
Stephen Birdsall, Drama Teacher, said: “I am so excited for Isla. This is a fabulous production for her to be part of, with so much energy, poignancy and fun. I have no doubt she will be brilliant and I can’t wait to see the show. Isla is a key member of our theatre group and has devoted many hours to rehearsals and shows during her time at Richmond School and now in the sixth form college. She is a fantastic performer and really deserves this opportunity.”
Photo credits: Christine Meldon Photography for Headshot and Rehearsal Pictures