Lilia has bright future ahead as she performs in the West End for Matilda the Musical

March 27, 2024 03:22pm

A talented pupil from Penbridge Junior School has a bright future on stage as she performs in Matilda the Musical in London’s West End.

Lilia Guinoubi, a Year 6 pupil at the school, is currently playing Amanda Thripp in the multi-award-winning show at the Cambridge Theatre in London's West End.

The character Lilia plays is famously thrown over the fence like an Olympic hammer by Miss Trunchbull as a punishment for having her hair in pigtails.

Speaking of her West End success, Lilia said: “My favourite Roald Dahl book is Matilda, and I dressed up as Matilda for World Book Day a few years ago, so it’s funny because I am now in the show in London.

“Every time I go to the theatre and perform on the stage as Amanda, it feels like a dream. On stage, you feel really excited because you know the audience is loving it, which makes me more inspired and gives me so much energy throughout the show.”

In order to succeed and have this opportunity, Lilia was required to go to London for 3 months of rehearsals to meet the standard required for the West End. Dancing was her strength, with singing being a new skill to develop.

She said: “I love dancing, but I had to take singing lessons, so it was kind of a challenge, but I love it. I’ve just practiced singing a lot to make sure I'm good enough to go on stage.

“The support I have had from my family and friends has been lovely. I’m grateful to the school, my teachers, and my parents for supporting me and making my dreams come true.”

Staff at Penbridge Junior School are immensely proud of what Lilia is doing to reach her dream and inspire other pupils in her class.

Karen Denton, Head of School at Penbridge Junior School, said the whole school community is cheering her on.

She said: “We are incredibly proud of Lilia’s achievements in Matilda, which is one of my own firm favourites. It’s wonderful to have someone from Penbridge School—someone who hasn’t been to drama school—achieve such an amazing part in a well-known West End show. It is inspiring that somebody from Portsmouth can achieve what they want, and it really goes along with our trust value of being your best self, striving to improve, and achieving your dreams.”

In order for Lilia to flourish in her academic studies, there had to be an agreement between the family and school for her education to continue remotely, especially while she was rehearsing in London.

Karen continued: “As Head of School, I believe it’s so important for Lilia to follow this opportunity, so we had to agree on how her learning would look, and she has thrived in her education. She is working really hard, keeping up with all her school work; her story is an inspiration to us all.”