Padiham star lands West End role

Meg Astin-Kilgallon
Meg Astin-Kilgallon

All the world’s a stage for one very talented young dancer and singer from Padiham who is appearing in a top West End show.

Meg Astin-Kilgallon has won herself a part in the hotly anticipated musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which is proving to be one of the West End’s hottest tickets.

Meg was among hundreds of hopefuls who auditioned for the show which is being directed by Oscar winning Sam Mendes. She plays an Oompa Loompa which involves singing and dancing in a suit weighing two stone for eight shows a week.

It is exhausting but Meg, who is 23, is loving every minute. She said: “The time flies by when I am on stage. I love the show, it is so full of energy.’’

With a contract that runs until May next year Meg is enjoying the limelight but she is well aware there are plenty of rivals who would soon be snapping at her heels to be where she is.

Meg first started dancing at the age of three and spent 15 years at the East Lancs School of Dance in Colne. A former pupil of St John’s RC Primary School in Padiham Meg also attended St Augustine’s RC High School in Billington. After studying for A’ levels at St Mary’s College in Blackburn she won a place at the Bird College of Performing Arts in Kent where she left with a First Class Honour degree in Musical Theatre Performance.

Her first job was over Christmas, 2012, in the pantomime Cinderella at Milton Keynes with another another Padiham success story, Andrew Derbyshire, who has also starred in the West End.

Megan was then part of the company touring the UK with a production of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Meg has lived in London for five years but she gets home when she can to see her proud parents, Jimmy and Bernadette, at their home in Acrefield. She said: “I know how lucky I am to be doing something that I love but a lot of my success is thanks to the help and support of my parents. I don’t think I could have achieved it without them.’’

And while Meg is happy to be part of a show’s ensemble cast the moment she has her eyes on a major role in the future.

She said: “I would love to take on a bigger role but first of all I would like to understudy the part. I want to work hard and gain as much experience as I can.’’ Reality show contestants, including hopefuls in the X Factor, praying for overnight stardom should take a leaf from Meg’s book as someone who is prepared to put in the groundwork for what she wants. She said: “You have to work hard for what you want and being in a show eight times a week is tough but also a lot of fun.

“My advice would be for anyone wanting it to go for their dreams and aim high.’’