THERE couldn’t be a more appropriate role for Danielle Hope to perform than Dorothy in the classic story of The Wizard Of Oz.

For the 19-year-old’s dreams really do come true every time she performs to thousands of theatregoers at the London Palladium every week.

“Doing something like this was my absolute dream and aspiration,” she said.

“To start my career doing this is amazing. I can’t believe that I’m now doing this for a living. I had a couple of part-time jobs in a pub and as a waitress, but this is my first real job.

“The strangest bit is that I’m the leading lady and I’m fresh out of school – I didn’t even get to go to drama school.”

The former Knutsford High pupil beat thousands of stage hopefuls to win BBC’s Over The Rainbow last year to star in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new smash-hit musical.

The school’s drama teacher, Helen Mayne, organised a trip for students, staff, parents and friends of the school to see Danielle, and the party of 80 travelled to see her perform on Sunday, June 26.

Stephen Cunliffe, deputy head teacher at the school, said: “The show was marvellous, the set and effects were fantastic and the staff and students all felt so proud of Danielle – there were some tear-filled eyes among her teachers.

“I know all of us who went down were very proud, and she is just the same as ever, so down-to- earth.”

The film The Wizard Of Oz, starring the legendary Judy Garland, was released in 1939, and is one of the most watched motion pictures of all time.

The special effects in this stage version are amazing, and the show manages to stay true to the film’s original backdrop but with a modern-day twist.

The whole cast is fabulous – from the Tin Man to Toto – not forgetting the legendary Michael Crawford as the Wizard.

“Michael is great – he’s a father figure for Dorothy in the show and he’s like that offstage too,” says Danielle.

“He was performing at the Palladium 30 years ago, and has so much experience. He’s taken me under his wing.

“Having said that, I think he learns from me too. I bring the fresh, young approach and he brings the knowledge and wisdom.”

Danielle performs seven times a week – three matinees and four evening performances – and says she’s adjusted to the routine, although it does put her out of sync with family and friends.

“The opportunity to live in central London is great and I’m the type of person who likes to lie in and stay up late, so the hours suit me in that respect,” she said.

“On the days when there are two shows it can be hectic. The shows can be emotionally and physically draining because of the amount of effort you put in, so you need to conserve your energy.”

Danielle – who hopes to one day achieve her ultimate dream of performing on Broadway – will be starring in The Wizard of Oz until April 2012.