Emma Williams (actress)

Emma Williams (born 20 May 1983) is an English actress of stage, screen, TV and radio. She has been nominated four times for an Olivier Award.

Emma Williams
Emma Louise Williams

(1983-05-20) 20 May 1983 (age 37)
Notable work
Kirsty in Steve Coogan's The Parole Officer
Spouse(s)Matthew Henaughan 2011–2013
James Newton 2018–present

Early lifeEdit

Emma Louise Williams[1] was born in 20 May 1983[2] in Halifax, West Yorkshire to parents Gordon and Joan Williams and attended North Halifax Grammar School.[3] She attended Stage 84 – The Yorkshire School of Performing Arts, Idle, Bradford. She received a languages degree from the Open University in 2012.[4]



Williams made her professional stage debut in 2002, aged 18, playing leading lady Truly Scrumptious in the original cast of the West End production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium,[5] winning the Arts Correspondent Award for Best Newcomer.[6]

Williams was signed to play Maria von Trapp under a 6-month contract. However, the winner of the BBC reality TV show How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? would still get a 6-month contract and perform 4 of the shows each week. On 22 September 2006, Williams, in a joint statement with Andrew Lloyd Webber, left The Sound of Music, by mutual agreement.[citation needed]

In 2008, Williams appeared in Zorro, a new musical with the book by Helen Edmundson, lyrics by Stephen Clark and music by the Gipsy Kings and John Cameron, at the Garrick Theatre. For this performance she was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical.[7]

Her second nomination for an Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical was for her portrayal of leukaemia victim Jenny Cavilleri in Love Story, the musical based on the film.[8][9] The show played at the Duchess Theatre in the West End in December 2010 to February 2011, after running at the Chichester Minerva Theatre in May to June 2010.

Her third Olivier nomination was for Maureen in Mrs Henderson Presents, another film to stage musical adaptation. This nomination was for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. The production began at Bath Theatre Royal and transferred to the Noel Coward Theatre in the West End, starting in February 2016.[10] In the interim Williams played the role of Betty in White Christmas at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, directed by Nikolai Foster.

In 2017 she played Helen Walsingham in Cameron Mackintosh's new production of Half A Sixpence, with a revised book by Julian Fellowes and score and lyrics by Stiles and Drewe. This production reunited her with director Rachel Kavanaugh and again started in Chichester, this time in the Festival Theatre.

From 9 December – 14 January 2017 Williams played the role of Alice Fitzwarren in Dick Whittington at the London Palladium.[11]


Williams is featured on the Original Cast recordings of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,[12] Tomorrow Morning,[13] Zorro[14], Love Story,[15] Mrs Henderson Presents and Half A Sixpence. She also features on the Original London Cast Recording of Bat Boy[16] which features 'Mine All Mine', written specifically for the UK production. Williams can also be heard singing several guest tracks on the 'Momentous Musicals' album of 2012[17] and the original London cast album of A Spoonful of Sherman[18] as well as featuring as a guest vocalist for Lance Horne on First Things Last and Alexander Bermange for Songs of Wit and Whimsy

Television and filmEdit

Williams's career started in television. She appeared in the Yorkshire drama Heartbeat in November 1997, episode titled "Substitute" (Season 7) and in February 2001 "Who's Who?" (Season 10)[19]

She made guest appearances on TV in Where The Heart Is and Silent Witness, and appeared in one-off dramas like Four Fathers and Marple – The Body in the Library. She appeared in the 2005 BBC TV serial Bleak House as Rosa, Lady Dedlock's "sweet-natured maid."[20]

Her film debut came in 2001 playing Kirsty in Steve Coogan's The Parole Officer and she appeared in First Night (2011) with Richard E. Grant and Sarah Brightman.[21]

Concerts and radioEdit

Williams appeared as a guest vocalist on Michael Ball's 'Past and Present' concert tour, which was filmed for DVD at the Royal Albert Hall.[22] She has appeared as a guest artist on Friday Night Is Music Night twice for BBC Radio 2 in 2009, singing Time to Say Goodbye and Somewhere Over the Rainbow[23] and singing several numbers for a Rodgers and Hammerstein special at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 2015. Auditioned for Lucie Miller in Big Finish's 8th Doctor Adventures range.

Personal lifeEdit

On 3 October 2011 Williams married Matthew Henaughan whom she met in 2009.[1] They divorced in 2013.

In spring 2018, Williams married James Newton, a drummer. They met whilst working together in a musical in 2015. They ran the 2019 London marathon, to raise money for a cancer charity. They welcomed a baby girl in 2019. [24]


  1. ^ a b Staff writer (21 November 2011). "Henaughan - Williams". Halifax Courier. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
  2. ^ "Emma Williams (British actress)". musicbrainz.org. MusicBrainz. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  3. ^ Staff writer (29 May 2008). "Halifax actress Emma Williams goes from Truly Scrumptious to Zorro's Latin lover in new West End show". Halifax Courier. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  4. ^ Shenton, Mark (22 February 2016). "Emma Williams: 'I still go home and train with my schoolteacher whenever I can'". The Stage. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  5. ^ Billington, Michael (17 April 2002). "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  6. ^ Marmion, Patrick. "Rising star: Emma Williams". This is London. Retrieved 22 November 2012 – via justball.net.
  7. ^ "Olivier Winners 2009". olivierawards.com. 2009. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  8. ^ Shenton, Mark (31 January 2011). "West End's 'Love Story' to Shutter at Duchess Theatre". Playbill. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  9. ^ Staff writer (18 October 2010). "Love really is in the air for singing star Emma". Halifax Courier. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
  10. ^ Shenton, Mark (17 February 2016). "'Mrs Henderson Presents' Review at the Noel Coward Theatre". Londontheatre.co.uk. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  11. ^ Vine, Hannah (22 September 2017). "First Look at Olivier Winner Elaine Paige in London Palladium's 'Dick Whittington'". Playbill. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Original London Cast Recording) Amazon.co.uk: Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  13. ^ "ORIGINAL CAST RECORDING CD UK DRESS CIRCLE 2006: Amazon.co.uk: Music". Amazon.com. 9 September 2009. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  14. ^ "Zorro: Amazon.co.uk: Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  15. ^ "Love Story: Original Cast Recording: Amazon.co.uk: Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  16. ^ "Bat Boy > Original London Cast". CastAlbums.org. 21 February 2005. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
  17. ^ "Momentous Musicals: Amazon.co.uk: Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  18. ^ "A Spoonful of Sherman (Original London Cast Recording)". bwaytunes.com. BWay Tunes. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  19. ^ "Heartbeat, Who's Who? Season 10, Episode 17". tv.com. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  20. ^ "Bleak House Who's Who (press release)". 4 October 2005. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  21. ^ "First Night: Cast and Crew". allmovie.com. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  22. ^ "Michael Ball: Past And Present Tour – Live (DVD): Amazon.co.uk: Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  23. ^ Williams, Emma; Bruce, Ken (presenter) (12 June 2009). "Friday Night Is Music Night". BBC Radio 2. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  24. ^ Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund (13 August 2013). "Matt and Emma Henaughan is fundraising for Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund". Justgiving.com. Retrieved 7 September 2013.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Sally Ann Howes
Actress to portray Truly Scrumptious
Succeeded by
Caroline Sheen