The four Matildas – Cleo Demetriou, Kerry Ingram, Sophia Kiely and Eleanor Worthington Cox – have collected the Best Actress in a Musical Olivier Award for their hugely popular performances in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s musical.
Aged between 10 and 12 years old, the young performers have been sharing the role since the production opened at the Cambridge theatre last November with Kerry Ingram reprising her role from the original run at the RSC’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon.
The quartet, who performed a unique staging of Naughty from the hit show earlier tonight, follow in the example of the original three Billy Elliots who, aged 13 to 15 years old, shared the Best Actor in a Musical Award in 2006. The Matildas now succeed the ballet trio as the new youngest performers ever to take home an Olivier Award.
Speaking after accepting the award, the very excited actresses put the show's success down to the young ensemble, saying: "You wouldn’t really think of a child being such a strong dancer or singer and I think that’s what attracts quite a lot of people."
Each actress performs two shows a week with the musical requiring them to be on stage almost constantly, perform complicated choreography and sing solos including the fittingly determined and courageous song Naughty. Matilda star Paul Kaye, nominated tonight for Best Performance in a Supporting Role, paid tribute to his young co-stars last month at the nominees celebration lunch, saying: “It’s about a young child who’s got strength of character and courage, and you’re witnessing that every night with the children. They’re the heart and soul of the show.”
Talking to The Daily Telegraph, Worthington Cox previously said: “We are so delighted to have been nominated for an Olivier that we won’t mind too much if we don’t win.” The girls however have beaten competition from their fellow nominees, stage regulars Kate Fleetwood, Sarah Lancashire and Scarlett Strallen, to take home the coveted accolade.