Cameron Cragg will feel an immense sense of privilege this Christmas as he treads the hallowed boards at Chichester Festival Theatre.
The 11-year-old from Aldingbourne, a student at Seaford College, is playing Lucky, the Dalmatian puppy in Chichester Festival Youth Theatre’s Christmas staging of Dodie Smith’s The Hundred And One Dalmatians in a new adaptation by Bryony Lavery (December 20-January 3).
“Acting is just great fun really, and it is absolutely amazing to be working alongside (CFYT director) Dale (Rooks, who is directing the show). Ever since I was really young, I have been coming to see the productions, and they are just magical, just stunning. And Dale is such an incredible person to work with. She just really gets everyone involved. I have seen her shows before, and she treats everyone like a professional.”
The Hundred And One Dalmatians will be Cameron’s debut with the youth theatre. Now in Year 7, he joined when he was in year six.
“I am playing Lucky, a Dalmatian puppy, one of Pongo’s puppies. I am not really sure about his mannerisms yet. Some of the others have got more obvious mannerisms. But really the main thing about Lucky is that he has a perfect horseshoe spot on his back.”
When it comes to standing on that stage, Cameron confesses it will be most definitely a dream come true: “I will have to pinch myself. When I was younger, I never ever dreamt it would be me one day on that stage and that I might be taking up that career.
“I would love to go into musical theatre. I think this is a really good advert for it. I will definitely be working hard. I do believe the harder you work, the luckier you get. You can sometimes make your own luck, and I want to make the most of this.
“I just love singing, acting and dancing. I really enjoy it. Now I am in the youth theatre I really enjoy all three. It’s just really, really amazing. All the older ones in the youth theatre are so nice, and I don’t think it is a coincidence.
“They all do youth theatre, and they are all nice people. I think it goes together. Everyone is so friendly and helpful... and just amazing!”
Cameron genuinely looks forward to rehearsals: “I love seeing all the talent, and I love being on stage. I do get nervous sometimes, but that’s when I don’t feel I have practised enough.
“I think if you practise enough and if you rehearse enough, you shouldn’t be nervous because you will really know what you are doing.
“My mum is really proud of me, and so is my younger sister. I have worked really hard to start in this industry. I would like to think it is what I will do.”
And already Cameron likes to think he’s spreading his enthusiasm to positive effect.
“My sister has got the main part in her school play.”
The Hundred And One Dalmatians tells the tale of Pongo and Missis Pongo, an adorable couple of canines, who are fortunate enough to own Mr and Mrs Dearly, an adorable couple of humans
The excitement in the household can hardly be contained when Pongo and Missis become the proud parents of 15 adorable Dalmatian puppies.
Then along comes Cruella De Vil, the nastiest, cruellest villainess...