Young star overcomes TV tumble to dazzle viewers in debut role of Marta von Trapp

Jess Burden, eight, played Marta in ITV's Sound of Music this Christmas.

Jess Burden, eight, played Marta in ITV's Sound of Music this Christmas. - Credit: Su Anderson

An eight-year-old Ipswich pupil has become something of a celebrity after she appeared on ITV’s dramatisation of the Sound of Music at Christmas.

Jess Burden as Marta von Trapp.

Jess Burden as Marta von Trapp. - Credit: Archant

Jess Burden, a Year 4 student at Ipswich High School for Girls, had social media in a storm when she fell over a guitar case in her scene with Kara Tointon as leading lady Maria during the live broadcast.

But like a true professional, Jess, who played Marta von Trapp, rose to her feet and continued the rest of the show unshaken. Speaking of her stage tumble, Jess, said: “I thought everything was going to go wrong but then I just got up. Kara held me by the hand and lifted me up.”

Jess, who has a 13-year-old sister, Emily, was put forward for the part by an agency that is linked to her drama school in Colchester called Theatre Arts Academy and it was the first time she has appeared on television.

“We got to do some really fun things but it was also quite tiring,” said Jess, who lives in White Colne, Essex. “I think I quite like TV but it is also very nerve-wracking.”

Proud mother, Susan Burden, 41, watched the performance from a pub close to the London studio with other parents.

“She’s definitely got a gift, she’s got a very expressive face and she is great at accents,” said Mrs Burden, who also lives with the girls’ father, Roger Burden, 47.

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It was the second major audition that Jess has taken part in, the first of which was for a Sound of Music stage tour. However, Mrs Burden said Jess was struck by stage fright and forgot her words.

Eileen Fisher, junior school headteacher of Ipswich High School for Girls, said: “We were all so proud of how well Jess performed on the night and how hard she worked beforehand.”

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