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West End role is no tragedy for Dixie

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Not many nine-year-olds have been “spotted” by Spielberg and played the pivotal role in a 2,000 year old Greek tragedy – but young Mensan Dixie Egerickx is taking it all in her stride.

She is nearing the end of a run in one of the most unexpected theatrical hits of the year, the Almeida’s production of Aeschylus’ The Oresteia, which is now enjoying a triumphant West End transfer at the Trafalgar Studios.

Dixie plays Iphigenia, the child slain by her father as an offering to the gods so that they will send the winds to speed the armies to war in Troy.

Her death sparks a cycle of revenge and murder as the play examines the nature of justice, vengeance and mercy - which has proved as relevant to modern audiences as it did to the ancient Greeks.

Dixie, who shares the role with two other girls because of child employment laws, will appear again on Thursday November 5 and Friday November 6 (evenings) and Saturday November 7 (matinee).

The play is not suitable for children but Dixie has found it an intriguing production to be involved with.

She said: “Aeschylus wrote The Oresteia over 2,000 years ago but it is really fascinating to me that it is still so relevant.  

“In the story the child is the price of the war and still today that is the case - children continue to be the price of war and we see it shown daily on our TVs and in our newspapers.  

“So whilst Oresteia the play is not considered appropriate for children, due to adult content and lots of (fake) blood, I think it is really no more shocking than the news.  

“My Mum is always turning off Radio 4 in the mornings because she thinks that what is being discussed is not appropriate!”

Dixie has previously been in the West End as a snowflake in English National Ballet’s Nutcracker, and had a small part in the film Churchill’s Secret with Michael Gambon – but has never had formal drama training.

She was “spotted” by film director Steven Spielberg after casting directors visited her school in search of a girl to play Sophie in the BFG.

Although Dixie didn’t get that part – she got down to the last 10 – she made such an impression on the casting director that she was advised to get an agent.

She said: “Prior to appearing in Oresteia and Churchill's Secret my only experience of acting was playing Mary in my nursery nativity and an earthworm in the year four play

“It has been fantastic working with the company and in the theatre - everyone is so lovely, from the crew backstage to the front of house staff. There are only 12 members of the cast performing at any one time and we all get on really well, like one big family. It is going to be very hard to leave them when the run ends, they have become so much part of my life.”