Nine-year-old Maya is loving The Sound of Music on the Chichester stage

Maya Sewrey admits she ran round and round in excitement when she heard she had got the part. Now she’s hoping the whole summer won’t just flash by in an instant.
Maya Sewrey is loving The Sound of Music (contributed pic)Maya Sewrey is loving The Sound of Music (contributed pic)
Maya Sewrey is loving The Sound of Music (contributed pic)

She’s playing Marta, one of Captain Von Trapp’s seven children in The Sound of Music, the big summer musical at Chichester Festival Theatre (until September 3) – and she’s loving every moment. Maya, who attends the March School in Chichester and is nine years old, said: “I love doing festival theatre classes and they sent an email to all parents asking if the children could sing and wanted to audition for this. It was quite a long time ago and my mummy said I could do it and I really, really wanted to do it too! I just really love singing and acting. I already had an agent but for this I went through the Festival Theatre. Before the audition we had to learn Somewhere Over The Rainbow. They didn't want to give away which musical it was that we were doing (at that point) but there were lots of children so we thought it could have been The Sound of Music. For the audition there were six of us in the room and we just took turns to sing Somewhere Over The Rainbow. I think I did OK. I was very nervous. I get really nervous singing in front of other children but I just pretend that no one is watching! And that's what we did at that audition and then we got an email asking as if we would come back. Everybody who's now in the show got that email and the second audition was in London.”

By then the theatre had gone public with the fact that this was The Sound of Music: “So we had to learn some of Do-Re-Mi and we had to learn some of The Sound of Music and some of The Sound of Music harmonies. I was a little bit more calm then because we had had longer to practise. I have watched the film several times and I know the story. But then there was a whole other audition after that. And then I got told about two weeks later. I'd just finished a dance class and I got in the car and my mummy said ‘Hello Marta!’ And then I knew. I was just jumping around in the car. I was so excited that I just ran around my room.”

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There are two teams of children alternating in the show. Maya’s team started on the second night: “It was just amazing. When you get onto the stage you realise just how close the audience are. It's like they're on stage with you and that's really good. It was just really, really cool.”

And the whole thing just flashed by: “It just felt like five minutes. After we finished me and the girls were all upset that the show had gone past so quickly. We were just amazed it went so fast. I think we're doing 32 shows in all. All the other actors are just really so nice and I like everyone in my team.”

And yes, of course, this is exactly what Maya wants to do for a living: “I just love doing it. My favourite things are singing and acting. And it's just amazing to be on the stage. You don't really look at the audience because you have to be in character. If you look at the audience then you are out of character. Marta is great. She is six turning seven and she's a little bit shy. She likes pink and I've got quite a few lines.” But already Maya is thinking about how she's going to feel when the show finishes at the start in September: “I think I will cry all day!”