My name is Lee Proud and I am the resident choreographer on the London production of Billy Elliot the Musical. It was in this capacity that I originally met and subsequently cast the extremely talented Charlotte in the show. My responsibilities for Billy Elliot lie mainly in maintaining the choreographic and performance aspects of the entire cast, not just the children, but it is the children who make this job worthwhile.
Their passion, their inspiring confidence, their ability to overcome difficulties, achieve their goals and their amazing courage and un-wavering determination to do the thing they love. This is why the Charlotte Leatherbarrow Foundation is so special, to give a child the opportunity to follow a dream, to build confidence and skill whilst escaping into a world where they can with other children express themselves creatively.
The Charlotte Leatherbarrow Foundation will bring happiness and light into so many youngsters lives, and we must support it wholeheartedly not just for the many children who will benefit but as a fitting legacy for Charlotte, who shone so brightly every night on our stage and made thousands of people happy from all over the world.
Rumer’s classic, contemporary mix of soulful pop – perhaps best demonstrated on the singles ‘Slow’ and ‘Aretha’ – come courtesy of a significant amount of personal struggle. Born in an enclosed expat community in Pakistan, she moved to England as a young child, and struggled to cope with both the shift in location and the separation of her parents. Rumer then spent almost a decade trying to land a record deal: it was whilst working on a series of make-do jobs (waitress, deli girl and hairdresser to name but a few) that she met Steve Brown, an award-winning TV and musical composer, but perhaps best known for his role as Glenn Ponder with Alan Partridge. An unlikely pairing to many, Rumer finally brought to life the songs spanning her debut record.
‘Seasons Of My Soul’ has since won fans as diverse as Burt Bacharach, with whom she sang in his Californian home, and Elton John (“it’s great to have a singer like that in Britain. They don’t come along that often. She’s extraordinary.”). Pet Shop Boys, Aretha Franklin, Richard Carpenter, Kylie Minogue and Sandie Shaw can also be added to Rumer’s early list of vocal public admirers. Whilst the album continues to make waves across Europe and the US, Rumer has just completed an eleven date tour of the UK, which included a headline show at London’s Royal Albert Hall. She has rightly been heralded as “the most exciting new talent of the moment” (Observer).
Laura Michelle Kelly
Mary Poppins premiered in December 2004 at the West End Prince Edward Theatre. For her role as Mary Poppins, Kelly earned rave reviews. At the 2005 Olivier Awards, she won the award for Best Actress in a Musical. She left Mary Poppins on 29 October 2005 after more than 400 performances. During 2007-2008, Kelly played the role of Galadriel in the original London production of The Lord of the Rings – the Musical at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane to critical acclaim. The show began on 19 June 2007; Kelly played her final performance on 2 February 2008.
She played the dual role of a nun and former Coronation Street actor Johnny Briggs’s trophy wife in an ITV1 production of Agatha Christie’s Nemesis, and made her film debut as Lucy Barker in the Tim Burton/DreamWorks film Sweeney Todd.
Kelly appeared alongside Kevin Spacey and Jeff Goldblum in David Mamet’s play Speed-the-Plow at London’s Old Vic theatre from 1 February to 26 April 2008. Beginning 12 October 2009, Kelly reprised the role of Mary Poppins at the New Amsterdam Theatre on Broadway, replacing Scarlett Strallen. Kelly temporarily left the cast of Mary Poppins on March 6, 2011, where she was replaced by Ashley Brown, to film a movie. She returned to the production on July 19, 2011. She played her final performance on October 9, 2011.