Charlie Kristensen, the 12-year-old multi-award-winning anti-bullying activist, stage and film actor and host of the online chat show #MusicalChairs, enjoys a double celebration after becoming a patron of the ASA Theater Arts and launching her Charlie Kristensen Scholarship, as well as accepting a full-time place to study at Sylvia Young Theater School in London’s West End.
Alana Shirley, CEO and Director of Midlands-based ASA Theater Arts, said: “We are delighted to announce Charlie as our newest and youngest patron. His passion, drive and individuality are at the heart of the ASA ethics and we are honored to offer a young person the opportunity to train with us each year, as part of the Charlie Kristensen scholarship. To have Charlie in the ASA family, and to see him achieve his dreams despite the adversity, has filled us with immense pride and we hope that his mission will continue to inspire each of our students.”
Charlie took lessons with ASA Deputy Principal Georgia Nicholls when he moved from Australia to the UK aged 5. West End and on-screen, including starring roles in various Netflix animated series. Charlie now lives on the Surrey/Hampshire border but still returns regularly to visit ASA, whose patrons include West End leading lady Kerry Ellis.
Charlie said: “ASA was where I started my journey, and he holds a very special place in my heart. I couldn’t be prouder or more honored to be his boss. The talent produced by ASA is very special, and I can’t wait to see him grow over the next few years. Having a scholarship awarded to a student who identifies as male, named after me, makes me realize that my story needs to continue to be told. I am truly privileged to know that a career can begin through The Charlie Kristensen Scholarship.
Charlie is also absolutely thrilled to have been offered a full-time spot at the famed Sylvia Young Acting School, starting in the fall of 2022, after a series of auditions and interviews. This school specializing in the performing arts offers a high level of academic and professional studies.
Charlie said: “It’s been a dream since the start of #cheerupcharlie and I had the honor of meeting Sylvia. I really think it’s lucky for me to be among other kids who love me. accept for me while allowing me to learn academically and take my training to the next level. I am so excited to begin this journey.
Charlie Kristensen launched his “#CheerUpCharlie” campaign in 2019. After being severely bullied for more than 18 months, in part because of his love of performing, Charlie couldn’t take it anymore. When he opened up to his performance coach, West End actress Jacqueline Hughes, she rallied support from the theater industry via Twitter. Hundreds of artists and creators from the West End, Broadway and even Hollywood identified with Charlie’s story and flooded him with video messages of support. This led to backstage invites and interviews with national media including BBC Breakfast and Michael Ball’s BBC Radio 2 show. Charlie knew then that he wanted to channel his own traumatic experiences and use the support he received to help him fight for others. He trained as a Diana Prize Ambassador and in June 2021 was himself awarded the Diana Prize – the highest honor a young person can achieve for social action or humanitarian efforts. Earlier in 2021, Charlie’s work was celebrated with a What’s On Stage Angel Award, having been nominated by his theatrical peers for going above and beyond to provide joy amid the pandemic.
Charlie now dedicates over a hundred hours each month to helping others through mentoring, campaigning, fundraising and raising awareness. His successes include a fundraising gala #CheerUpCharlie – The Show at the Actors’ Church, the release of a charity single performed alongside West End talent, the development of a musical theater workshop in partnership with Nathaniel Morrison and his popular weekly chat show on YouTube. , Musical Chairs, with guests including Matt Lucas, Gaby Roslin, Jodie Prenger, Faye Tozer, Baz Bamigboye, Lucie Jones, Alice Fearn, Gemma Knight Jones, Rob Madge, Aimie Atkinson, Rachel Tucker and many more.