Welcome to another edition of “When I Grow Up,” our interview series with young Broadway alumni where we discuss the projects they’ve worked on since! In this special installment, we talk to Adrianna Bertola, who appeared on the West End as a child playing Gretl von Trapp in The Sound of Music, Young Cosette in Les Misérables, and Violet Beauregarde in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Adrianna is also known for being one of three girls to originate the role of Matilda Wormwood in Matilda the Musical at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon. Now 20, Adrianna is appearing in the original West End production of The Twilight Zone, a show she has been involved with for almost two years. We talked to her about her start on the West End and her work in The Twilight Zone!

How did you get started in the entertainment industry?
My first professional production in the industry was The Sound of Music at the London Palladium in the West End. I was six when I got cast in that and seven by the time it opened. I’m so beyond grateful for that show. It changed my life.

You’ve been in the original cast of several shows now. What’s it like?
It’s pretty incredible being part of an original cast. You get to actually create the character from scratch with your colleagues and directors. It’s always amazing to see how much you grow and change your interpretation too as the rehearsal period goes on. It’s always magic when you have your first show too because no one’s ever seen what you’re about to do before. It’s so special.

What was it like growing up working in the West End and in professional theatre in the U.K.?
I can’t imagine any better way to have grown up than in the theatre. It taught me so many important things and I got to meet so many astonishing and talented people from such a young age. I think it also gave me a really good understanding of the reality of the industry too.

Did you spend a lot of time with other West End kids? Do you still keep in touch with any of them?
One of my closest friends to this day is Josie Griffiths who played Matilda with me for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon. She’s incredible. I try and keep in contact with as many as I can but it’s hard sometimes when you’re all busy all across the country!

Adrianna Bertola and Amy Griffiths in The Twilight Zone. Photo Credit: Marc Brenner

How long have you been involved with The Twilight Zone, and how did you come to be a part of the show? What’s been exciting about that journey?
I first became involved in The Twilight Zone around August 2017, that’s when I first auditioned. The Almeida production ran over Christmas 2017 and New Year. We started rehearsing for the West End transfer in February this year. It’s been a long but incredible journey and it’s been so great to see the show grow and develop in so many ways. The thing that’s been most exciting about this show is seeing how much audiences love it. Even if you don’t know the original series, everyone can take something from it. It really is a show for absolutely everyone.

Are you a fan of the TV show? How has that affected your process working on the stage show?
I’m definitely a fan of the original TV show. When I first got involved with the production I did have some knowledge of the series, I’d seen clips growing up. When we first started rehearsing for the Almeida production, I watched ‘Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up?’ to get a deeper understanding of the genre and style of the show and performances. When it came to my other scenes such as ‘Nightmare As A Child’ I tried not to watch too much as I didn’t want my performance to be an imitation of the show so I just watched snippets really to take some baseline ideas to help with honouring the original characters.

What is a typical show day like for you? How has that changed from being a child actor to being an actor now as an adult?
A typical show week is eight shows. For The Twilight Zone it’s matinees on Thursday and Saturday. Your schedule does change massively from a child to an adult in theatre. You can only do a certain amount of hours until you’re 16 so you’d be doing two or three shows a week. It was definitely a hard adjustment at first, as The Twilight Zone was my first show as an adult. But you adjust pretty quickly to be honest because your adrenaline is so high all the time you don’t really have time to think about getting tired and the excitement of opening a show pulls you through.

Do you have any special backstage routines or fun?
Oh there’s always backstage routines and little things we all do to entertain one another. I think it’s a must when you’re in a show because you spend so much time together, cast really does become family.

Is there any other area of the industry you want to try someday (producing, writing, etc.)?
I’d love to explore the writing field a little more. I’ve written songs since I was about 9 and I still do. I’d love to try producing one day. I have two very talented and inspiring friends, Gala Gordon and Isabella MacPherson who run a production company called Platform Presents and I came across them when I worked on Blueberry Toast at the Soho Theatre last summer. Their company specialises in getting new talent out there. They’re brilliant and made me see how much I’d love to produce one day.

Do you have any advice for kids or teens who want to pursue acting and performing?
I think if I could give one piece of advice to any aspiring performer it would be don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Cliche I know but it’s very true.

Adrianna Bertola in Matilda the Musical.
Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan.


Favourite thing to do or place to go in London
I love losing myself in bookstores or record stores. I can lose myself for endless amounts of time there.

Favourite foods to eat in London
Sushi. Just literally any sushi place.

If you could switch roles with anyone currently performing in the West End (of any gender), who would it be?
Okay so it just finished but it’s my absolute dream to play Veronica Sawyer in Heathers. I fell in love with the Off-Broadway production years ago. Barrett Wilbert Weed is a genius.

Any dream roles?
Regina George in Mean Girls. Elphaba in Wicked. Zoe Murphy in Dear Evan Hansen.

Favourite (or least favourite) tube station
I love any station on the DLR [Docklands Light Railway]. I’m oddly obsessed with it.

The Twilight Zone opened at the Ambassadors Theatre in London’s West End on March 4, 2019, and continues through June 1, 2019. If you have any plans to be in London before then, get tickets to see Adrianna now!