AN APPLEBY actress is hoping for stardom across the Atlantic after appearing in a play off Broadway in New York.
Star-in-the-making Natasha Nightingale, 22, who grew up at Appleby Castle, appeared as Audrey in As You Like It in the famous American theatre district, quickly followed by a part in an MTV advert and the lead role in a production of The 39 Steps.
“I’m loving it here,” she told the Gazette. “It’s a dream come true to be acting in New York and I know I’m so lucky to be here.
“Last year was a great year and I’m having such a great time.
“Appleby is always going to be home though, and it’s where my passion for acting started. I’m indebted to it, really.”
The former Casterton School pupil, who moved to Appleby from Singapore at the age of eight, appeared in the ‘off-Broadway’ adaptation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It earlier last year.
Since then she has appeared in adverts, short films and at the end of 2013 played the female lead in The 39 Steps at New York’s White Plains Theatre – a challenging roles where she plays numerous characters.
“I’m extremely proud. I can’t say how much – it’s difficult to put into words,” said mum Sally Nightingale, who still lives in Appleby. “She’s done this all on her own.”
Natasha, who now lives in the same district of New York as Woody Allen and Ricky Gervais, began acting in school productions, playing Toad in Wind in the Willows and Fantine in Les Miserables.
A former member of the National Youth Theatre, she completed her sixth form studies at Hurtwood House, Surrey, before spending a year touring the UK with her own theatre company.
In 2013 she joined the American Academy of Dramatic Arts Company, which counts Robert Redford, Grace Kelly and Anne Hathaway among its alumni.
“I’m going to continue out here because I’ve built up connections and built a network and I want to see what happens,” she said.
“I also want to set up my own theatre company here.
“I’d like to be in the West End one day though. My dream role would be Lady Macbeth. So we’ll see how that goes.”
Meanwhile Cumbrian actress Sarah Lynn Dawson, of Whitehaven, also hopes to make it big in the states after catching the eye of a casting director in Los Angeles.
The 33-year-old told the Gazette she met director David O’Russell recently – responsible for American Hustle, which is leading the Oscar nominations for 2014, with 10 nods – when he compared her to actress and Hollywood beauty, Veronica Lake.
“There will always be a piece of my heart in Lakes and I hope to be able to visit more often and perhaps shoot a film there one day,” she said.