She was starring at the Grand Opera House aged six, she’s already been in two West End shows, and she’s only 13 years old.
And young York actor Agatha Meehan now has her sights set on the bright lights of Broadway.
Agatha is about to take to the professional stage again, to play Fredrika Armfeldt in A Little Night Music at Leeds Playhouse, from 26 June to 17 July. The production is a Leeds Playhouse and Opera North co-production.
Tickets are available to book here.
She will star alongside Dame Josephine Barstow, legendary soprano, who plays Madame Armfeldt, Fredrika’s grandmother.
This will be Agatha’s second time performing at the Playhouse, as she led the cast of The Wizard of Oz as Dorothy in their 2019 Christmas production.
Agatha’s West End roles were Summer Hathaway in School of Rock, when she was nine, and playing the title role of Annie – which she first played at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre with the York Musical Theatre Company in 2017.
When YorkMix spoke with Agatha, she had just finished a day of school and was about to start that evening’s rehearsals for A Little Night Music.
Agatha had previously attended St George’s RC Primary School, and is now a pupil at All Saints RC School.
We talked about the rehearsal process, stage mishaps, her biggest dreams and more.
Q&A with Agatha Meehan
How did you first get into acting?
I have been doing performing since I was really young. At primary school my teachers said to my parents that ‘She’s quite good at acting’, so I went to the Stagecoach school in York. Now I go for auditions and things like that so it’s really good. My first role was when I was six, I was in the Grand Opera House as part of the UK tour of Evita. I was part of the kids ensemble, that was really good.
So you’ll be playing Fredrika in A Little Night Music at Leeds Playhouse. What has the rehearsal process been like so far – especially during Covid times?
It’s been great doing A Little Night Music – because of Covid I haven’t been doing any shows or anything like that in a while so it’s really nice to be back.
It’s obviously been socially distanced, with masks sometimes, hand sanitiser and all that – it’s quite something to get used to. But it’s been really good, I feel like everyone’s adapted to it really well, and everyone is very nice. I think the show is coming on really well so I’m really looking forward to putting it on stage.
What has it been like working with Dame Josephine Barstow and the rest of the cast?
Dame Jo is amazing, she’s so lovely and so is everyone in the cast. Just really nice to work with. After Covid it’s just so nice to be in a rehearsal room with such nice people and working again.
What has it been like to be a part of the theatre community during a pandemic?
It’s hit everyone quite hard in different way, with #SaveTheArts and all that. Just to be back in a theatre, it’s really good to be in one of the early shows to come back on stage. Seeing everyone in costume is really nice and everyone coming back to what they enjoy doing.
You’ve starred in two West End shows, so far – what was that like working in the West End?
That was incredible, I was so lucky to do that. It was lifetime opportunities. It was amazing, I enjoyed every bit of it, everyone in the industry is very nice.
How was the experience of leading the Wizard of Oz at Leeds Playhouse as Dorothy over Christmas 2019?
It was amazing, obviously it was before Covid. Because it was at Christmas it’s really exciting and Christmassy. Being at the Playhouse, it’s a really nice theatre, and I’m really looking forward to being back in it.
Do you have any stage mishap stories?
In Annie we obviously had a dog on stage, and that’s quite hard to work with. Once I dropped a treat and I think someone stood on it, and when Sandy (the dog) was running towards me she stopped to get the treat and wasn’t that bothered about coming to me.
And also in The Wizard of Oz, we got to work with Toto, Doris and Scruff, and they were great. We had to run off stage and grab them and carry them on stage. Dogs who perform are incredible, I don’t know how they do it.
How do you balance everything, with work, school and personal life?
It can be quite hectic sometimes. But I really enjoy it, and it’s my choice to do it so I love it. School are very supportive. In School of Rock I had a tutor. My teacher from my school at the time in York would send work to my tutor and I would do it down there (in London). In Annie it wasn’t for as a long a period, it was only a month I did Annie for, so my teacher just sent me the work to do myself.
For The Wizard of Oz and A Little Night Music it’s been fine because the travelling distance between York and Leeds is not actually that far.
What do you love most about the theatre?
It’s very creative, and you can never be right or wrong. Everyone’s really friendly and you just have the space to do whatever you want and no one’s going to judge you for it.
What’s been your favourite role to play so far?
I don’t know, I don’t think I could choose because they’re completely different to each other.
What are your biggest dreams and ambitions?
Just to always enjoy what I’m doing and playing amazing roles with nice people. But as long as I’m enjoying it that’s all that matters. Being on Broadway would be amazing.