Matilda Wormwood

Matilda Wormwood, also known by her adoptive name Matilda Honey, is the title character of the bestselling 1988 children's novel Matilda by Roald Dahl. She is a highly precocious six and a half year old girl who has a passion for reading books. Her parents do not recognize her great intelligence and show little interest in her, particularly her father, a secondhand car dealer who verbally abuses her. She then gets adopted by Miss Honey, who has taught her at her school, who is very nice to her and does notice her intelligence. She discovers she has psychokinetic powers which she uses to her advantage.[1][2] In the BBC Radio 4 two-part adaptation of the novel, she is played by Lauren Mote, and in the 1996 film, she is portrayed by American actress Mara Wilson. In the 2022 film, she will be played by Alisha Weir.[3]

Matilda Wormwood
Matilda character
First appearanceMatilda (1988)
Last appearanceMatilda The Musical (2011)
Created byRoald Dahl
Portrayed byIn the films:
Mara Wilson (1996)
Alisha Weir (2022)
In the musical:
Kerry Ingram
In-universe information
NicknameYoung lady (by Harry Wormwood)
Fresh meat (by Agatha Trunchbull)
RelativesHarry Wormwood (ex-father)
Zinnia Wormwood (ex-mother)
Michael Wormwood (ex-older brother)
Jennifer Honey (adoptive teacher)
Magnus Honey (adoptive grandfather, deceased)
Mrs. Honey (adoptive grandmother, deceased)
NationalityBritish (novel)
Canadian (possibly) (1996 film)


Matilda Wormwood is a brave, intelligent and confident girl with telekinesis, a power that she uses with her mind. She educates herself. She also does not receive support from her family, who do not realize how bright of a child she is. She is a highly educated girl.

Fictional biographyEdit

Matilda is a young girl of genius intelligence, having developed skills such as walking and speech at an early age. However, these prodigious characteristics displayed by her character are ignored by her neglectful parents who want her to watch television in order to nurture her literacy skills. Matilda, in return, plays practical jokes on her parents (her father in particular), such as replacing her father's hair tonic with her mother's platinum blonde hair dye and gluing her father's favourite hat to his head with "Super-Super Glue".


Matilda has read a variety of books, especially at the age of four, when she read many in six months:

Early skillsEdit

  • One and a half years old - Linguistic skill and vocabulary on par with those of an adult.[4] (called a "noisy chatterbox" by her parents and told sharply that little girls should be "seen and not heard").
  • Three years old - She demonstrates amateur reading skills. Reads newspapers often found in her parents' home.
  • Four years old - She soon develops reading skills on par with those of an adult.[4]

Special abilitiesEdit

Matilda's supreme intellect has given her psychokinetic abilities, which she discovered in class one day after inadvertently tipping over a glass of water containing a live newt on Miss Trunchbull, using said powers. Her capabilities of psychokinesis were confirmed on the afternoon of that same day when using the powers of her mind to tip over a glass, to the shock of herself and Miss Honey, so Matilda decides to exercise this ability at home by levitating a cigar. She continues to polish her talent, and learns of Miss Honey's traumatic and unspeakably abusive childhood at the hands of her aunt and guardian, Miss Trunchbull, after her father Magnus' unexpected death. Out of sympathy for Miss Honey's woes, Matilda develops a scheme in revenge against Miss Trunchbull, and in class one day she levitates a piece of chalk to the blackboard while Miss Trunchbull is visiting the room and tormenting the students, posing as the spirit of Magnus and threatening to punish Miss Trunchbull by name if she does not leave her inheritance to his daughter. Horrified, she completely vanishes from existence following the events of Matilda's practical joke, leaving her house and worldly possessions to her niece, without any information established relating to her current whereabouts.

After the position of headmaster is overtaken by a different teacher, Matilda is relocated to the year six classroom (which was one of the many preventions standing in her way during Miss Trunchbull's tyranny, due to her particular hatred for especially young children and doubts regarding Matilda's genius intelligence), but finds herself unable to summon her psychokinesis one day. Miss Honey suggests that, after her promotion to the year six class, all of the intellect remaining unused in reception was now being exercised, so as a result Matilda had lost her gift. (However, in the movie, although Matilda ceases using her telekinetic ability quite as frequently as before but because of the more frequent use of her knowledge, she still continues to use it on occasion, whereas in the book she seems to lose it entirely.) Aside from this, Matilda also specializes in the fields of reading and multiplication, having developed an astounding vocabulary and intellect during babyhood that went ignored because of her parents' immense ignorance.


In the 1996 film Matilda was portrayed by American child actress Mara Wilson. Newborn Matilda was portrayed by two sets of twins: Alissa and Amanda Graham and Trevor and James Gallagher; nine-month-old Matilda was portrayed by Kayla and Kelsey Fredericks; toddler Matilda by Amanda and Caitlin Fein and four year by Sara Magdalin.

In the Musical Stratford production Matilda was portrayed by three young actresses Adrianna Bertola; Josie Griffiths and Kerry Ingram.[5]

When the production transferred to West End Kerry Ingram was the only one who transferred and three new actresses were brought in Cleo Demetriou; Sophia Kiely and Eleanor Worthington Cox.[6] When Kerry Ingram and Sophia Kiely left the show two actresses replaced them Jade Marner and Isobelle Molloy. In the Autumn of 2012, a whole new cast was brought in with Lucy-Mae Beacock, Hayley Canham, Chloe Hawthorn and Lara Wollington all playing Matilda.[7] At the end of their runs, these four girls were replaced by Elise Blake, Cristina Fray, Lollie Mckenzie and Georgia Pemberton. With the most recent cast change in March 2014, Blake and Fray departed and three new girls joined the cast in the role of Matilda; Tasha Chapple, Car Jenkins and Lottie Sicilia. Later on in September 2014, Jenkins and McKenzie departed and two new girls joined the cast in the role of Matilda; Matilda Shapland (who was in Les Misérables before) and Violet Tucker (in her west end debut.) With the most recent cast change in March 2015, Chapple and Sicilia departed and two new girls joined the cast in the role of Matilda; Anna-Louise Knight and Lara McDonnell. Later on in September 2015, Shapland and Tucker departed and two new girls joined the cast in the role of Matilda; Evie Hone and Lizzie Wells.[8]

When Matilda transferred to Broadway Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon and Milly Shapiro started rotating the role.[9] They have since been replaced by four new actresses Paige Brady, Gabriella Pizzolo, Ripley Sobo and Ava Ulloa. Later on they have been replaced by four new actresses Tori Feinstein, Eliza Holland Madore, Brooklyn Shuck and Fina Strazza. Later on in September 2015, Matilda Shapland and Violet Tucker will depart and two new girls will the cast in the role of Matilda; Evie Hone and Lizzie Wells. Eliza, Brooklyn and Fina departed from the show and are replaced by Mattea Conforti, Mimi Ryder, Alexandra Vlachos and Rileigh McDonald. Soon in 2016 Mattea, Mimi, Rileigh, and Alexandra departed from the cast. Soon they were replaced by Ava Briglia, Willow McCarthy, and Aviva Winick, often referred to by their nickname, the "Tri-Tildas." Due to unforeseen circumstances, Winick departed from the cast in September 2016, and Tori Feinstein returned to reprise her role as Matilda alongside Briglia and McCarthy from November 2016 to the Broadway show's closure in January 2017.

With the most recent cast change at the West End in March 2016, Lara McDonnell and Anna-Louise Knight departed and three new girls joined the cast in the role of Matilda; Clara Read, Emily-May Stephenson, and Zaris-Angel Hator. Read made her debut on 15 March 2016; Stephenson and Hator debuted on 21 March and 31 March respectfully. In September, Evie Hone departed from the cast, and in October, Emily-May Stephenson left as well, being replaced by new Matildas Sara Sheen, who debuted on 13 September 2016, and Abbie Vena, who debuted on 22 September.

On 2 March 2017, a cast change was announced. The current West End Matildas, Zaris-Angel Hator, Clara Read and Sara Sheen would be replaced by three new girls: Lilian Hardy, Emma Moore and Éva-Marie Saffrey. Abbie Vena would remain in the title role.

Clara Read bowed out of the title role on 12 March, and two days later, Emma Moore debuted, along with an entirely new team of child cast members. Sara Sheen took her final bow on 18 March 2017, and on 26 March, Lilian Hardy debuted along with several other new child actors in the roles of Matilda's classmates. On 1 April, Zaris-Angel Hator took her final bow.

In September 2017, three new girls were cast. Lily-Mae Evans, Savannah Read and Kitty Peterkin took up the role of Matilda alongside Emma Moore. Abbie Vena took her final bow in October 2017.

March 2018 saw another cast change, with Kitty Peterkin and Emma Moore both departing, and being replaced by Olivia Wells and Sara Munday.

In September 2018, Read and Evans were both replaced by Isobel Hubble and Francesca McKeown. Wells and Munday continued for a second contract.

In March 2019, Wells and Munday were replaced by Hannah Selk and Zoe Simon. McKeown and Hubble each accepting a further 6 months, alongside Selk and Simon.

In September 2019, The show introduced its 100th Matilda as McKeown, Hubble and Selk were replaced by Tilly-Raye Bayer, Olivia Juno Cleverley and Alex Munden who both share the lead role with Zoe Simon from September 2019.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Alllot, Serena (26 Nov 2010). "Waltzing Matilda: Dahl's classic dances on to the stage". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  2. ^ "Once upon a time, there was a man who liked to make up stories ...". The Independent. 12 December 2010. Archived from the original on 2022-05-12. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  3. ^ Jones, Tamera (15 June 2022). "Alisha Weir Is a Precocious Troublemaker in 'Matilda the Musical' Images". Collider. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  4. ^ a b Tomalin, Mary (1999). "Matilda by Roald Dahl" (PDF). Penguin Readers Factsheets. Pearson Education. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-20.
  5. ^ "Matilda's 3 young stars". ScreenTerrier. Blogspot. 18 August 2010. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  6. ^ "Meet the four West End Matildas". ScreenTerrier. Blogspot. 13 September 2011. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  7. ^ "New Cast Announcement". Matilda The Musical. London: Royal Shakespeare Company. Archived from the original on 12 August 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  8. ^ "New Casting announced". Matilda The Musical. Royal Shakespeare Company. March 25, 2013. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
  9. ^ Lee, Felicia R. (15 November 2012). "'Matilda' Musical Names Four Stars". NY Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 17 November 2012.