An acting graduate from the University of Northampton is ready to make her West End bow after securing the lead role in the stage adaptation of a popular children’s cartoon.
Emma Hilts will appear as Peppa Pig in Peppa Pig’s Surprise stage show which is touring across the UK from the end of October, including a month’s run at The Duke of York’s Theatre in London’s West End over the Christmas period.
The role will see Emma operate and voice a puppet version of the much-loved star of CBBC, with a healthy dose of singing and dancing for good measure.
“To appear in the West End has been a dream of mine ever since I was a child,” said Emma, who moved to Northampton from Norwich when she was aged 11.
“We used to go to London on the train from Northampton lots of times to see the shows, and now I’m going to be on stage there myself – I am very, very excited.
“Children’s theatre and puppetry are two of my greatest loves, so this is the perfect job for me.”
While she knew she had the talent to perform the role, Emma needed to do some swotting up before her audition.
“Two days beforehand I went on a bit of a Peppa Pig viewing marathon, as I needed to learn the voice,” she said. “The audition – which was actually the first one my new agent got me – saw me have to sing a song and read a script, and I was then invited back for a workshop and within two weeks I found out I had got the job.”
Either side of the show’s London run, Emma will be on the road for a gruelling nationwide tour, which is scheduled to start at the end of October, and due to last for a year.
“I’ve been on tour before and it’s a brilliant life, so don’t believe people who moan about being on the road,” she said.
“You get to see so many different parts of the UK that you normally wouldn’t see, you meet so many different people and I have been lucky in that I have always toured with lovely people.
“But, you need to make sure you make time for yourself by planning your days off, and making occasional visits home – you need to get out of the bubble for a while, and that keeps you sane.
“This job can take you anywhere, and I’ve been lucky enough to work abroad, spending a week in Singapore – you work hard, but it’s a fantastic life.”
Emma graduated from the University in 2011, and has fond memories of her time there.
“I loved my degree,” she said. “We had such a safe, creative environment to learn in. Acting students were given the freedom and confidence to try out different theatrical styles, and figure out what we were good at. It was a really supportive group to be involved with, and we had brilliant, passionate tutors.
“The School of The Arts is a brilliant place to develop – you mix with all the other students on different creative courses, so there’s a real energy to the place. I remember working with students studying Film, as they produced show reels for us, so the opportunity to collaborate with others is something I really appreciated. I cannot recommend the University of Northampton enough.”
For more information about Peppa Pig’s Surprise and to buy tickets, visit http://www.peppapiglive.com/home.php