‘I go into the role fresh and trust my instincts’

Danielle Hope plays Maria.
Danielle Hope plays Maria.
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If Southampton had hills, they would be alive with the sound of music as the touring production of the hit musical comes to the Mayflower Theatre from January 21-31.

Complete with nuns, nazis and a singing family troupe, the Sound of Music tells the tale of governess Maria Rainer and her life with the von Trapp family, set against the backdrop of Austria’s annexation by Nazi Germany.

Playing the lead is Danielle Hope, winner of BBC talent contest Over the Rainbow, a search for the next Dorothy Gale.

‘It was a little bit insane. It is coming up for five years ago now, which is crazy to me,’ she says. ‘It is one of those experiences that I can look back on in retrospect but at the time I had to have my blinkers on and keep looking forward.

‘Before the show I was expecting to go to drama school, but then three months later I am with Michael Crawford at the [London] Palladium.’

Danielle has made a habit of playing iconic roles – last year she played Eponine in Cameron Mackintosh’s Les Miserables on the West End.

‘She was so angsty and grounded. There were no ruby slippers in sight – she was covered in mud,’ says Danielle.

‘People said how well I did Dororthy considering how iconic the role was, but I went from that to singing one of the most iconic songs [On My Own].

‘I’m approaching roles where you have so many predecessors that I have to go into it fresh and see what my instincts are.’

In playing Maria, Danielle fills the rather large shoes of Julie Andrews, who was Oscar-nominated for her portrayal in the 1965 film.

‘I think Julie Andrews has influenced my life! Mary Poppins and Maria are two roles I have always wanted to play,’ she says.

‘It is the 50th anniversary of the film so there will be a lot of attention on the show. I feel blessed to be a part of it.’

Although she has never performed at the Mayflower before, a certain fabulous panto star has filled her in.

‘Gok Wan who I did panto with last year has told me lots of amazing things about it. It is supposed to be massive,’ says Danielle.

‘The sizes and shapes of theatres in England vary so much, whereas in America there is a standard size. Being able to adapt is the interesting thing about performing here.’

While so far in her career Danielle has built a reputation for playing ingenues, a more villanous role also appeals to her.

‘Oh my god, I would love that! Maria is the first womanhood role for me, and hopefully this will open up more dark roles – I do not have a specific path in mind, I just want to do parts which stretch my creativity.

‘It would be funny if in 10 years time I played the wicked witch in Oz.’

Tickets: £28-£49.50, visit mayflower.org.uk