Our spotlight this month is on West End star and local girl Lauren Hood.
As a Norton girl, Lauren trained at Kirkham Henry Performing Arts Centre in Malton and was a member of Malton & Norton Musical Theatre, Ryedale Youth Theatre and York Light Opera. She was given a scholarship to attend Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts where she graduated with a First Class degree and was presented with the Gyearbour Astante Award for Acting on graduation.
“My training at Kirkham Henry filled me with all the skills, ambition and discipline in my career as an Actress. My time there was filled with love, laughter and hard work.”Lauren
Lauren made her professional debut playing the role of Carrie Pipperidge in the West End Production of Carousel alongside Lesley Garrett, for which she received a TMA award nomination.
From there Lauren’s theatre credits include Laura in Dreamboats & Petticoats UK Tour, Martha in The Secret Garden which was in the UK and then transferred to Toronto, Canada. Lauren then came back closer to home to play the title role in The Rise & Fall of Little Voice at the Hull Truck Theatre where she was then asked to return at Christmas to play naughty Gabriel in Tim Firth’s play The Flint Street Nativity. Lauren grew up watching Grease as a child and was thrilled then to be offered the role of Frenchy (the fun, pink haired pink lady!) with the added extra of understudying Sandy, in which she got to play but admits that being a Pink Lady was much more fun! Lauren then went straight into play one of her most favourite roles of Penny Pingleton in the national tour of Hairspray.
As an actor Lauren dreamt of originating a role and was lucky enough to be given the opportunity by writer and director Terry Johnson in the West End production of Mrs Henderson Presents, this is her most challenging role as it involved being completely nude on stage…. Quite a lot! It was the true story of The Windmill Girls during WWII in London the experience was exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time!
Earlier this year she played Gertie Cummings in Oklahoma for Grange Park Opera with the incredible BBC London Concert Orchestra with over 35 musicians. Most recently Lauren played the lead role of Cathy in The Last Five Years at the Welsh Millennium Centre.
Lauren’s most proudest credit is that she was luckiest enough to work with the late and wonderful Victoria Wood playing the role of Betty in Victoria Wood’s Midlife Christmas. Filming with Victoria is something Lauren will never forget.
Not bad for a local Yorkshire lass!
If you know someone who deserves to be in the Handy Mag ‘Spotlight’ please let us know.