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Tell Us In 10: Zizi Strallen and Charlie Stemp from Mary Poppins

Hira Desai

By Hira Desai First Published 29 July 2021, Last Updated 16 August 2021

In our profile series, Tell Us In 10, we ask cast members and creatives of top London shows to tell us all about themselves in just 10 questions. And because we’ve got some super shows in Kids Week 2021, we’re going to be giving you the chance to learn more about the people starring in them with our special Kids Week Tell Us In 10 series.  

In today’s Tell Us In 10, we’re talking to Zizi Strallen and Charlie Stemp who star in the lead roles in Mary Poppins playing at the Prince Edward Theatre from 7 August. 

The practically perfect double Olivier Award-winning musical is based on the books and the beloved Disney movie. With amazing choreography, memorable songs and stunning magical effects, the show tells follows the world’s favourite nanny who, upon arriving in Cherry Tree Lane, transforms the lives of the dysfunctional Banks family.

The enchanting story of family and friendship has been seen by over 12 million people worldwide and it’s a huge family favourite.

Find out more about Zizi and Charlie and this iconic family show…

1. My role is…

Zizi: Mary Poppins

Charlie: I play Bert, a fun loveable character!

2. My favourite thing about my role is…

Zizi: The fact that I’m Mary Poppins (haha!) and also that I get to fly!

Charlie: The people. Theatres are always full of the most delightful, loud, fun individuals – who like myself love the job.

Zizi Strallen in Mary Poppins (Photo credit: Johan Persson)

3. My least favourite thing about my role is…

Zizi: Trying to hold it together on stage when Charlie Stemp makes me laugh (although I love it really).

Charlie: It would have to be the hours. Sadly with our profession, it becomes tricky to spend time with the ones we love when they do a 9-5 job.

4. The show is perfect for families to enjoy this summer because…

Zizi: The main premise of the story is that Mary comes in to save a family who are falling apart through lack of communication and understanding. She helps them to grow together and love one another. So every family who comes to watch the show will leave feeling the way The Banks family does at the end.

Charlie: Because it’s Mary Poppins!!! One of the greatest British stories of all time and I am so very proud to be a part of this wonderful production.

Zizzi Strallen, Charlie Stemp and Company in Mary Poppins. Photo by Johan Persson.Zizzi Strallen, Charlie Stemp and Company in Mary Poppins. (Photo credit: Johan Persson)

5. I think Kids Week is a great initiative because…

Zizi: It helps families get kids into see this beautiful show, who might not have had the opportunity usually. They will absolutely love it, and so will the parents.

Charlie: It gives children more access to theatre and the arts which is very much needed in today’s climate.

6. My earliest memories of theatre are…

Zizi: Going to watch Cats for my 7th birthday and stroking one of the cats that comes out into the audience, thinking it was real.

Charlie: Watching Panto at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford. We would go every year.

Charlie Stemp and Company in Mary Poppins. Photo by Johan Persson.Charlie Stemp and Company in Mary Poppins. (Photo credit: Johan Persson)

7. I always knew/didn’t know I wanted to work in theatre…

Zizi: My family are all in the entertainment industry in one way or another but it wasn’t necessarily seen as something that one would automatically do. We just all came to the conclusion that it’s what we love most!

Charlie: I didn’t really know if I wanted to be in theatre until I was 16! It was always a creative outlet for me but it wasn’t until I started full time training that I decided it would be my career.

8. The one thing I wish I could tell my younger self is…

Zizi: Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. I had a tendency to look sideways and compare myself to other peoples journeys and think I wasn’t doing as well. We are all on our own unique path. So never sideways, only forward!

Charlie: Don’t cook chicken in the microwave.

Zizzi Strallen, and Children in Mary Poppins. Photo by Johan Persson.Zizzi Strallen, and Children in Mary Poppins. (Photo credit: Johan Persson)

9. In my spare time I like to…

Zizi: I’m officially addicted to spin class (and drinking coffee).

Charlie: I enjoy gardening. Getting my hands dirty and watching things grow (sometimes!)

10. If I could have a superpower for a day, I would choose…

Zizi: This is going to sound so ‘world peace’, but in 2019 was lucky enough to visit a small village in Ghana which was very poverty stricken. So after experiencing that, if I had a super power, it would be to wipe any pain and suffering from the world, that includes the earths suffering too…. And also maybe fly while I do it.

Charlie: My superpower would be to pause time whenever I wanted. I would take naps whenever I wanted and find out the secret recipe to KFC chicken.

If the above has inspired you to book a family-friendly show, you can grab your tickets to see Mary Poppins below. And remember, Kids Week allows you to purchase half-price family tickets for performances throughout August – the perfect excuse to treat your children this summer.


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