Taking on a hugely popular role and mimicking some of the greatest singers of all time is a massive challenge.

In The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, the lead actress has few words to speak, but has to sing like Judy Garland, Edith Piaf, Marilyn Monroe, Shirley Bassey, Billie Holliday, Cilla Black and Gracie Fields.

Georgina Ambrey stars in the daunting role of Little Voice (LV) at Theatre by the Lake in her professional acting debut.

At one point early on, Mari’s fancy man, Ray, hears LV sing as Judy Garland and asks: “How can she do that?” which you have to ask Georgina.

“I’d never done an impression or impersonation of anyone,” she said. “But I’m quite daft and I do silly voices. People have said I’m quite good at it but I never thought any more of it.”

But she had quite a bit of a think before her audition for the summer season at the Keswick theatre: “I was asked to pick any Judy Garland song to perform at the audition and I chose Embraceable You. I listened to it constantly on repeat and just tried to match what Judy was doing, to find the nuances in her voice. Were they in her throat? In her nose?”

Georgina grew up in Bolton, with a mum and stepfather deeply involved in amateur productions of musicals. She studied music in Leeds, but found herself seduced by musical theatre and drama societies. After a performance in a student show, she was advised to go to drama school and graduated only last year after a one-year course at Drama Centre London.

Not expecting dream parts to turn up quickly, she took on non-acting jobs, including a stint in an ice-cream parlour: “I used to dash from working in a school all day to spend six hours serving ice cream, while fitting in auditions too!”

Alongside The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Georgina is also performing in My Mother Said I Never Should, as well as rehearsing for upcoming show Dear Uncle, an Alan Ayckbourn adaptation of Uncle Vanya, set in 1930s Ennerdale.

So a challenging job for sure, but one she’s getting a lot out of: “It’s been a joy working with three different directors and it’s thrilling being able to play three completely different characters. However, it is also going to be a challenge having to switch roles on a daily basis once all the plays are running weekly!”

Georgina has been thrilled with the praise she and the show has received: “It’s been amazing to have such receptive crowds and so lovely to speak to people after the performances and know they have enjoyed it so much. I adore playing this part and am loving working with such a wonderful team.”

The ice cream parlour’s loss is clearly Keswick’s gain.

n The Rise and Fall of Little Voice is at the Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, until November 1. For tickets call 017687 74411 or visit www.theatrebythelake.com.