Gracie shines as Annie on the London stage

Gracie Weldon

Gracie Weldon - Credit: Archant

A bright future beckons for Gracie Weldon who is already appearing on the London stage at the tender age of nine.

Gracie, nine, who lives in Southdown, Harpenden, and goes to St Dominic’s JMI School, is one of eight Annies taking the lead role in Annie Jr, a one-hour adaptation of the popular musical Annie, which is being performed in the Arts Theatre until the end of this month.

And Gracie has already tasted the delights of getting glowing reviews - she was the Annie on stage on press night and was praised as a ‘shiny little star’ with natural charisma and a strong stage presence.

Another review lauded Gracie for her show-stopping performance while a third described her as having ‘buckets of charm and a beautifully clear voice’.

Not that Gracie, the oldest of three children, is any stranger to the role of Annie - she shared it in the Harpenden Light Operatic Society’s performance of Annie earlier this year.

That performance followed her role as the youngest of the Von Trapp children in the society’s production of The Sound of Music in 2013.

Mum Rachel admits she does not know where her daughter’s talent stems from. She said: “I only got her into it because I was painfully shy as a child.”

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Gracie does not belong to a stage school although she has had some training in projecting her voice since appearing on stage.

Evn before then, Rachel described her daughter’s voice as having ‘a lot of volume’ which was ideal for the character of Annie who ‘is a belter’.

Gracie is one of eight Annies in the current production and they share performances between them. She has three performances left before the show closes - the final one next Monday, August 17, - and Rachel has been advised to keep getting her into shows if she can.

She admits that travelling to auditions and rehearsals can be tricky - she agreed to Annie because it was a major role and rehearsals didn’t start until near the end of the school term.

But she clearly can’t see her daughter abandoning her love of singing in shows for the time being at least. “When she has a day off, she spends the whole time googling theatre songs,” Rachel added.