Kettlebell swings, chocolate cake and coming to terms with an internal struggle - how our new Miss Trunchull and Miss Honey prepared for their roles in Matilda The Musical.

New cast members joined Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre in London this September. Meet Kieran Hill and Lydia White, playing Miss Trunchbull and Miss Honey. 

Kieran Hill

How have you prepared to play Miss Trunchbull?

I think that Trunch's fear and mistrust of children is a key aspect of her character, and I already had this covered.

For a long time, I thought the noisy blurs of energy running round our home were feral cats that my other half had decided to allow into our house, but it turned out that these were in fact, our children. This was incredibly useful in my prep as I realised I had already fully immersed myself in a world where I treated children with the same wary suspicion as you should wild beasts.

The rest of the preparation was mainly just deadlifts, kettlebell swings and chocolate cake.


Man standing with clenched teeth and a whistle around his neck
Kieran Hill in rehearsal as Miss Trunchbull
Photo by Ellie Kurttz © RSC Browse and license our images

How does it feel to be stepping into this role? 

Honestly, I genuinely feel very lucky. I knew people that were involved in the original workshops and even back then, they were working on something very special. I've wanted to play this part ever since, so I feel very privileged to get the opportunity.

There is a long line of incredibly talented people that have played this part before me, and it's now my responsibility to do my very best to honour this fantastic character and continue to keep this wonderful show moving forward.

What is your favourite characteristic of Miss Trunchbull?

Her commitment to her beliefs, however deluded, must be commended, and although she takes them to the very extreme, there's something to be said for being laser-focused on your goals. Maybe.

I know this isn’t strictly a characteristic, but it is liberating to be able to scream 'Quiet, you maggots'. Her use of the whistle to control children is also very interesting, although I haven't been brave enough to try this on my own yet. I worry the high pitched noise may have the opposite effect on my children, triggering some new chaos that I'm not equipped to deal with. Plus, there is the fear that they could at some point gain control of the whistle, which I can't think about without panicking.


Woman standing with her right arm in the air and looking nervous
Lydia White in rehearsal as Miss Honey
Photo by Ellie Kurttz © RSC Browse and license our images

Lydia White

How have you prepared to play Miss Honey?

I like to see preparing for a role almost like being a detective - I want to find every facet of this person and every version of who they are. To find all the clues, I read Roald Dahl’s book a few times, watched the film etc. but I’ve also been looking into Heroine’s Journey by Maureen Murdock to better solidify Miss Honey’s internal struggle.

It’s very useful for actors and writers to find the different stages of a character’s story and how Miss Honey relates to her inner world. Also, my mum is a therapist, so I’ve had discussions with her about the character and maybe some traits Miss Honey might have, having undergone the traumatic events in her life. 

I experimented in rehearsals with different versions of Miss Honey, and fused them with the vision of the brilliant creative team on Matilda.

What is your favourite characteristic of Miss Honey?

I love her warmth and passion. She absolutely loves teaching and her classroom is her ‘happy’ place. It’s so lovely that when she is around children, she is able to blossom. It feels to me that working as a teacher is an act of defiance against her aunt, and against the abuse Miss Honey has faced throughout her life. She is truly loved in this space and is able to feel a fraction of peace. 

Matilda's life changes, thanks to Miss Honey. Did you have a teacher that changed your life?

I was lucky to have many teachers that changed my life. My first singing teacher when I was a teenager was an amazing woman - she instilled a huge amount of drive and passion in me at an age where this felt quite scarce and I absolutely loved her.

I also had an amazing piano teacher when I trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She allowed me to see playing piano in such a creative way, not always looking for merit or perfection and I learnt so much from her about resilience.

You can see Kieran and Lydia onstage now at the Cambridge Theatre, London, currently booking until December 2024. Find out more about the new Matilda The Musical cast in the West End.

Book tickets

15 September 2023
You are in: About us