Carrie Hope Fletcher ‘terrified’ of being herself on stage

In the past she has spoken about her fear of concert performances, but now she is preparing for her first solo concert tour, An Open Book.

So what changed her mind this time?

“Nothing. I’m still petrified!” she admits. “You know what it is, I don’t feel like I’m very good at being myself. I love being an actress, hiding behind a character, which I find interesting and fun getting into the mindset of other people and telling stories, using their emotions.”

“But on stage as myself, it feels a bit boring by comparison. I haven’t got the same to offer as Veronica, or Wednesday, or Fantine.

“In concert, if people don’t like what you’re saying and singing, it’s very much you. People can say I hated how you played Veronica Sawyer, and I can put her in the way and blame the character. But a concert, it’s very personal and everything you’re feeling is very much yourself; your feelings, your stories and your voice.

“That is terrifying. I’m a people pleaser. I like people to like me so it’s scary to put myself into that place where they potentially won’t.”

Fans will get to hear Carrie sing numbers from some of her previous roles, as well as new songs in the concert – which will also see her sharing stories about her life.

“I’m getting around hating being myself by writing it like a show, creating a script and character for myself to feel more comfortable,” she explains. “It feels very much like I’m creating a little show for myself.

“Every time I’ve done a concert it’s always songs I’ve done in shows.

“This time, there will be songs I’ve never got to sing. Things from roles I’ve not had chance to play, roles I probably will never play – which is a dream to be able to do. But they will all have messages or be something that I want to say.”

With Carrie also known as an author, the tour title An Open Book, is an appropriate one – as Carrie admits she’s ‘always been an oversharer’.

“If someone chats on a bus, I’ll chat back,” she said. “But people do see oversharing as a negative thing. But it is literally your job to go on stage and open up your chest and say ‘this is what I’ve got’.”

She’s certainly got plenty to share with the past 12 months having seen major changes in her life. She turned 30 in October and in February got married to partner, Hamilton star Joel Montague, in Gretna Green in secret.

“The past couple of years have been a lot, a real rollercoaster,” she said.

“Everything that could have happened last year did. But it’s all happened for a reason – the good and the bad. But it’s made me feel like I can do anything now! It’s taught me to be more ballsy about walking into the unknown, something I don’t think I had before; a new kind of self-confidence – and it’s great that it’s coincided with turning 30.

“I didn’t have a bucket list for hitting 30, instead, I’ve got a list that’s overflowing with things I’d have never expected to have achieved! I have had the most amazing career, met amazing people, travelled to incredible places.

“My 20s were unbelievable and wild. A lot I did I’m grateful for having done, now I’m glad to have turned 30 and to have a chance to sit back a bit and not feel this kind of need to chase everything any more.

“The foundations I’ve built for myself in my 20s will allow me to be a bit calmer in my 30s. I have things I’ve always wanted to do – and now I’m in a place where I can consider those things without worrying about it.”

Something that was certainly on Carrie’s mind as she moved into 2023, besides her new tour, was the prospect of marriage – and she and Joel managed to surprise their family and friends by eloping to Gretna Green last month then announcing their nuptials via an exclusive magazine deal.

“I’ve always been of the mind that if I was to get engaged, then it was to be married – not to have a long engagement,” she said. “And Joel was very much the same.”

“It’s about a private moment between two people, and like I said – I’m not great at being myself in front of a lot of people, even if they’re our family and friends, I get awkward.

“So the Gretna Green thing was our way of keeping ownership of our day. We had told our parents we were going to do it, but it was the date that was the big secret, as we were terrified people would turn up if they knew.

For all her success, Carrie’s route to West End fame is far from conventional.

A child actor from the age of seven, including her stage debut as Young Eponine in Les Misérables and a stint as Jemima Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, she chose not to attend the prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School – alongside her brother, Tom Fletcher of McFly fame, opting to stay in a mainstream school.

Carrie ‘missed the boat for drama school’, but she signed to the agency which still represents her today – as one of the very first clients in its new musical theatre department.

Perfectly timed, as Carrie had already told them her dream was to play Eponine in Les Misérables, the agency put her forward to audition for the epic musical. And the rest is history.

“I was in Les Mis then for two years and eight months,” she said. It’s still a very precious memory for me, that first night in Les Mis, in my first role as an adult and the role I’d wanted all my life, from the age of seven and playing little Eponine.

“Standing backstage, wearing what felt like eight costumes, all layered up, hearing the overture really hit me like a brick wall. I have been in a lot of shows now, and performed in Les Mis a lot, but that overture still gets me. It’s very special.

“When you’re in a show like that, well, any show really, your current job is often your audition for the next one. Your agents bring casting directors to see you, which will lead to you being called to audition for something else – sometimes even being cast directly.

“Everything you do opens doors to the next stage – and that’s what makes this industry very exciting.”

So, after An Open Book, what will come next for Carrie in this new chapter of her life?

“Getting older opens up this other new suitcase of roles that I have never had access to before,” she says, smiling. “A role I’ve always wanted to play is Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd, and I am still too young for that role, but each year older is another step closer to it.

“And there are so many new musicals at the moment, they are exciting and the creativity that’s happening is brilliant.”

Carrie Hope Fletcher, An Open Book, The Lowry, Salford Quays, May 28. Details from

The Bolton News | Theatre