Jorja Townson, Year 9, is to play the apple-cheeked and perfectly mannered Jemima Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang this summer.
She won the part of Jemima back in February and as a principal member of the cast Jorja rehearses for a minimum of ten hours a week. She has a number of solos but that doesn’t phase her: “I did my first show age nine in my primary school. I was in the Sound of Music last summer (the Hong Kong version of London’s West End show) which was pretty big – I tell myself if I can do that I can do anything” she said.
Based on the book by Ian Fleming, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang has many James Bond parallels; a gadget heavy car, a mad inventor, German spies, a love interest called Truly Scrumptious, and a Child Catcher with a cart full of sweets and a leery smile.
With 19 songs and hundreds of lines to learn Jorja has to be really committed to both singing and acting, Jorja: “When I am singing I feel like I don’t have to worry about anything, it makes me really happy and it puts all my worries behind me. And my acting… I feel like I am in a different world because when you act you have to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. There is a scene where we get caught by the Child Catcher and it just feels so real – pretty scary.”
When I asked Jorja what her favorite Musical was she said: “Bugsy Malone because my dad was in it when he was younger. He did the West End for about a year aged 15 but then went onto further education. He and my mum are my biggest supporters giving me encouragement and words of support when I need them. They are great taxi drivers picking me up from shows and dropping me off at auditions. My Dad also runs through my lines with me. I am lucky to have such a great family behind me.”
Once the show has finished there will be no break – Jorja will be auditioning for another show.
In the future she would like to do the Sound of Music again but next time as Maria: “I know what I want to do in the future, I want to have a gap year and I want to try the West End. If that doesn’t work-out I will come back to Hong Kong and train to be an English and Drama teacher and maybe over the weekends do shows, I will find a way to make it work.”
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang runs from 10-12 June 2016 at the HKAP (Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts).