Charlie Kristensen is a multi-award-winning anti-bullying campaigner, stage, screen and voice over actor and presenter of his #MusicalChairs online chat show.
He was born in 2010 in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia to his British born parents – Dad – Gary Kristensen MBE, an engineer, and Mum – Kat Kristensen, a business owner. Charlie has an older brother, Cameron, born in Reading, Berkshire, in 2000, who goes to University.
Charlie’s #CheerUpCharlie campaign commenced in 2019. Due to his love of singing, dancing, and all things performing arts and for not enjoying mainstream sports such as football, Charlie was subjected to bullying for over 18 months in school.
Charlie reached a low point in 2019, and when he opened up to his performance coach – West End actress Jacqueline Hughes, she made a simple request for words of encouragement and support from her West End friends and Theatre Community via Twitter to show Charlie that he was not alone and that many others had dealt with the same circumstances and treatment.
1/2 Industry friends I need a wee favour. Sadly a little boy I teach, Charlie, who is also a dear family friend is sadly being bullied at school for his love of MT, being called gay, fat, stupid….the list goes on. Today he was beaten up by 6 boys and left curled up, crying.— Jacqueline Hughes (@_jacquelinehugh) July 16, 2019
2/2 I know many people face bullies everyday and many have in their lifetime. But I wondered if you wouldn’t mind, if you have time sending me a little video to cheer him up, maybe some advice, your own stories, how you didn’t let them stop you, what you are doing now.— Jacqueline Hughes (@_jacquelinehugh) July 16, 2019
What happened next was an incredible demonstration of the love, community, empathy and compassion that exists within the performing arts industry.
From Layton Williams:
#CheerUpCharlie ! I welcome him at my next @ProFromTheShows workshop 🎭 Please let his parents know and ask them to get in touch. We’re all thinking about him at @JamieMusical today – this ones for him! 💙 pic.twitter.com/TzOYOuK9BU— Layton Williams (@LaytonWilliams) July 17, 2019
Hundreds of performers and creatives from the West End, Broadway and even Hollywood identified with Charlie’s story, and inundated him with video and tweeted messages of support.
From Come From Away UK:
Charlie! 🤗 Sending you love from everyone here at Come From Away! 💙💛 pic.twitter.com/Bpcy1Cr5LT— Come From Away UK (@ComeFromAwayUK) July 17, 2019
This led to many backstage invitations at West End and off West end shows and significant national media interviews and coverage including interviews on BBC Radio London with @Gaby Roslin, ITV News with @Faye Barker,
Charlie with Michael Ball before being on his BBC Radio 2 show:
Charlie on BBC London:
THIS is how you cheer up a little boy who's been bullied for liking musicals ⬇️⬇️⬇️— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) July 22, 2019
Thanks to his fab teacher, celebs have been sending Charlie messages of support. We think this is the best one yet. @mrmichaelball #cheerupcharlie #musicaltheatre #LesMis pic.twitter.com/qqtyWEAtTB
Charlie then knew he wanted to channel his own traumatic experiences, and use the support he had received, to help him fight for others. He trained as an Ambassador for The Diana Award and in June 2021, he was recognised with The Diana Award himself – the highest accolade a young person can achieve for social action or humanitarian efforts. Earlier in 2021, Charlie’s work was celebrated with a What’s On Stage Angel Award, after being nominated by his theatrical peers for having gone above and beyond to provide joy in the midst of the pandemic.
Charlie now devotes over one hundred hours each month to help others by mentoring, campaigning, fundraising and raising awareness and he is delighted to be launching his own charitable foundation this spring. His successes have included a fundraising gala #CheerUpCharlie – The Show at the Actors’ Church, the release of a charity single performed alongside West End talent, the development of a musical theatre workshop in partnership with Nathaniel Morrison, and his popular weekly YouTube chat show, Musical Chairs, with guests including Matt Lucas, Gaby Roslin, Jodie Prenger, Faye Tozer, Baz Bamigboye, Lucie Jones, Alice Fearn, Rob Madge, Aimie Atkinson, Rachel Tucker and many more.
Charlie is currently in his first year of a full-time course of study at Sylvia Young Theatre School in London’s West End. This specialist performing arts school offers a high level of academic and vocational studies.
Last year, Charlie became a Patron of ASA Theatre Arts and launched their Charlie Kristensen Scholarship. Charlie first attended classes with ASA’s Vice Principal Georgia Nicholls when he moved to the UK from Australia, aged 5. ASA gave Charlie a safe, inclusive environment and a platform from which he could grow in confidence and develop the skills which have led to roles in the West End and on screen including leading roles in various Netflix animation series.
Charlie and lives on the Surrey/ Hampshire border, where he loves life (and lots of adventurous outdoor pursuits!) with his family and pets.