Issie (Isabelle) Methven was born in England in 2004 and made her debut on London’s West End theater district when she was only eight years of age via the role of Little Cosette in the classic play “Les Miserables.” From there she appeared in “Little Orphan Annie,” “Mary Poppins,” “The Sound of Music” and more. Since that time, Issie has moved onto screen work and has appeared in television shows and movies for top-name companies including BBC and ITV.

Issie presently studies at and is represented by the Sylvia Young Agency where she holds the distinction of being one of the most credited stars of musical theater under the age of sixteen in the United Kingdom. Issie’s career has provided her with some awesome opportunities including meeting (and getting a photo with) Prince Harry, appearing on the Royal Variety Show twice, and having the chance to talk to Elton John, Kylie Minogue and more.

Issie recently discussed all of these marvelous opportunities and more via an exclusive interview.

Roles, acting, and Prince Harry

Meagan Meehan (MM): You started playing Acting on stage at age eight, so what most interested you about becoming an actress?

Issie Methven (IM): I’m an accidental actress really, as I’m quite shy. I got involved after watching my brother rehearsing for a local production of “Oliver” and used to copy the moves and songs whilst we waited for him. The director spotted me, thought I was very natural, and asked my Mum if I’d like to join the cast as a “Workhouse Boy”, although I had to wear a ginger wig to disguise my long blonde hair.

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I have a very vivid imagination, and I am really interested in using this to portray another character. For a period of time, being someone else and not me, is magical. My first professional stage role was Little Cosette in “Les Miserables,” such an iconic role to play, and an experience I will never forget.

MM: What about the theater did you enjoy most and what was it like to work in the West End?

IM: The thing I love the most is the thrill of performing for a live audience, and I get a real sense of excitement and nervousness as the curtain goes up. The West End for people in the UK is very much like Broadway for the US, so it’s been an honor and a privilege to have been able to work on such amazing shows. We’ve had some really funny moments together, and being part of a cast is just like being part of one big family.

Being one of the few child performers in a show can be a burden though, as you don’t want to let the adult cast down.

MM: Which roles have you taken on and what characters most appealed to you?

IM: I found I had a deep connection to Jane, when I played Jane Banks in “Mary Poppins.” She was similar in some ways to Summer Hathaway in “School of Rock.” Both girls, from different perspectives, are overlooked and behave in a somewhat spoiled manner – craving attention from parents.

Over the course of both shows, their characters change and allow them to grow. I think the appeal was that they grew and learned from their experiences and became someone different by the time we got to the bows. They were both strong dominant girls with feisty characters. I’m naturally more shy and reserved than both of them, so gave me an opportunity to be something I’m not, at least for a while.

MM: What was it like to play “Annie” and how did that lead to your appearance on the Royal Variety Show?

IM: Playing Annie was a dream come true. I’ve watched the movie lots of times, and even went to see it at the theatre during a previous run. She’s such an easy character to play, and she came very natural to me. I love her feisty spirit and her sense of adventure. We were lucky to be asked by Prince William and Duchess Catherine to perform at the “Royal Variety Show” and we even got Prince William to join in from the Royal Box.

MM: You have met Prince Harry so how did that come about and what was he like?

IM: I was lucky enough to play “Jane Banks” in the International Tour of “Mary Poppins”. We were asked to perform for Prince Harry at the Royal Variety Performance. I had to wait behind to meet him in the formal “Meet and Greet” line up. We were the only two children there, so I remember being quite scared to meet him, especially as he was very tall, and had to bend down to speak with me. He was kind and genuinely very funny though. He asked me whether we got paid as child actors, and I’m embarrassed to say that told him that my mum said it was rude to mention money.

MM: What other famous people have you met?

IM: I sometimes think I’m one of the luckiest child performers in the UK. As well as meeting Prince Harry, I’ve sang for Andrea Bocelli, and I’ve also met Elton John, Kylie Minogue, Little Mix, One Direction, Alfie Boe, Michael Ball, Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey), The Corrs, Beverly Knight, David Fynn, and Miranda Hart.

Characters, experiences, and 2019

MM: What sorts of characters do you hope to take on in the future?

IM: I’ve recently enjoyed playing Young “Bonnie in Bonnie and Clyde.” As she’s a slightly older part and it allowed me to take on more adult themes – I even got to pretend to smoke a cigarette. I enjoy getting to know the character and imagining myself as them, and how they might act. I can really feel connected. I’d love the opportunity to explore this area further, perhaps through straight theatre roles too, rather than musicals, and work in more detail in terms of getting to know the character I’m portraying. I seem to have a good ear for accents too, so it really appeals to me to play someone completely different to me – either using a different accent or perhaps from a different cultural or social background. I’m also looking to continue my career in TV and film too, as these media allow the exploration of a character for a longer period of time.

MM: What are the best experiences your life as an actress have offered you?

IM: That’s a great question! There are so many to choose from. I’ve enjoyed being part of two touring productions, so I’ve been able to travel around the country from a young age with a chaperone, so I’ve been to lots of places I wouldn’t have otherwise visited. I’ve also worked with some amazing people, and I’ve found that people in this business are really kind and happy to offer advice.

MM: What’s happening for you in 2019 that you would like to raise awareness about?

IM: 2019 is turning out to be an exciting year for me so far. I can’t say much about what I’m working on at the moment, but I am looking forward to working on new things, expanding my knowledge, and gaining additional experience in front of the camera with film and TV roles.

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