By Brian Beacom

CORDELIA Braithwaite’s upbeat voice replicates the energy she releases on stage, currently starring in Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella at the King’s Theatre.

However, part of Cordelia’s positivity, she reveals, has emerged as a result of a major tragedy in her life.

“My boyfriend passed away,” she says in soft voice.

“And this setback really taught me a huge amount about life.”

Three years ago, acclaimed dancer Jonathan Ollivier was riding his motor bike just hours before going on stage in The Car Man, opposite Cordelia, when he was hit by a car.

The experience, says Cordelia, has made her grasp the most out of life.

“The effect was massive for me. It made me grow up very quickly. I was 22 when it happened and it changed my outlook. I was a shy child, but that has gone now. Things I used to worry about I don’t now.”

She adds; “I used to worry a lot about what people thought of me, if they would like me. Now, that’s not the case.”

Cordelia is fortunate in the sense she is part of a world she longed to join.

After attending local dance classes, the then 16 year-old was awarded a full scholarship to Laine Theatre Arts in London.

Yet, although she trained in musical theatre, Cordelia never saw herself appearing as the likes of Sandy in Grease.

“Yes, people say to me it’s rather odd,” she says of her career progression.

“I just wanted to train in all aspects of performance.

“And at the same time I just haven’t seen anything in musical theatre I really want to do.”

She thinks for a moment; “However, I love the old-school, 40s-style theatre pieces. And yes, I’d love to do 42nd Street, but I’d have to practice my tap again first.”

Cordelia, who lives in Leighton Buzzard near Milton Keynes, once declared a love for Matthew Bourne’s work and the dream became a reality.

She was recommended to audition and from Swan Lake moved on to The Car Man, followed by The Red Shoes.

Now, she is touring with Cinderella, described as a “thrilling and evocative love story.”

Set in London during the Second World War, the story features a chance meeting between Cinderella and a dashing young RAF pilot.

They are together just long enough to fall in love before being parted by the horrors of the Blitz.

“It’s a beautiful piece. And the music (by Prokofiev) is wonderful.”

When Cordelia isn’t playing Cinders, she switches to a very different roles.

“I play Betty, a comedy role. She is a socially awkward character and she gets the laughs.”

Cordelia adds, grinning; “I feel there is a bit of me in that character. The laughs come a bit too easily.”

Cordelia is aware of the demands of dance, and longevity and is considering studying Psychology, with a view to working with dancers.

“But at the same time, I don’t consider giving up,” she says in determined voice.

“I can keep on going – if I believe it.”

There seemed little doubt that with a name such as Cordelia the lady would go on to have a major impact in theatre.

“My dad thought of Cordelia in King Lear when I was born,” she explains.

At least it will attract the attention of casting agents?

“Seems to be working so far,” she says, with an infectious laugh.

lMatthew Bourne’s Cinderella, King’s Theatre, until Saturday.