By Alanah Eriksen and Donna Mcconnell

The West End show Matilda The Musical dominated at the prestigious Olivier Awards earlier this week winning Best Actress gongs for its four young child stars.

But in 1996, it was a young Mara Wilson, who first stole hearts as the adorable oddball of a seven-year-old with the magic finger, who had the ability to move items around the house.

Seen pictured at the age of 24, the former child star turned playwright looks remarkably similar to her younger self - even sporting the same fringed hairstyle.

Former child star: Mara Wilson, 24, starred as the title role in Matilda in 1996 when she was seven, but has abandoned acting to study art and work as a playwright

However star turns in films such Matilda, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Miracle On 34th Street, left Mara seemingly unimpressed with Hollywood.

And like several child stars before her, she chose to turn her back on a career in acting, and the celebrity lifestyle that goes with it.

Following her big screen success Mara, who starred in Mrs Doubtfire at the tender age of four, went on to have bit roles in a handful on TV shows and low-budget films, before turning her back on film acting completely.

She studied art at New York University and now works as a playwright.

In an interview in 2009, Mara spoke about teenage girls knocking on her door at 12am to introduce themselves and invite her to parties.

And she admitted she didn't like to talk about her past as an actress, calling it 'an embarrassing childhood memory'.

She said: 'I remember cringing a bit and thinking “Oh no, they’re going to lump me with the Olsen twins”. I’m not an Olsen twin... I have nothing against the Olsen twins. I’m just not like them.'

Flashback: Mara with her on screen family, Brian Levinson, Danny De Vito and Rhea Perlman

On her blog, Mara Wilson Writes Stuff, she compared acting to finger-painting and shared her damning views on life as a child actress.

She wrote: 'It was a fun pastime, but it came easily to you, so you never took much pride in it. Regardless, you got a reputation for your finger-painting.

'Now imagine that, fifteen to twenty years later, people are coming up to you and telling you that they have your finger-paintings up on their walls and that your finger-paints changed your life.

'It’s flattering, but you haven’t finger-painted in years, and it seems like something you did a long, long time ago.

'You’ve realized you don’t particularly enjoy getting your hands dirty and that there are other outlets for your creative urges.

'But people are adamant: are you going to finger-paint again? When? Wait, you’re not? Why not? That’s what it feels like.'

However, despite her reticence to return to the spotlight as an actress, the young playwright is still bombarded with messages on Facebook and Twitter by fans of the films she made as child.

In one particularly revealing comment, the former star said there were much more talented, 'conventionally attractive' actresses out there who were taking the roles 'I would have been offered', such as Anna Kendrick, Ellen Page or Jennifer Lawrence.

Wonder child: Mara also starred in Mrs Doubtfire in 1993, at age four, with Matthew Lawrence, Lisa Jacub, Robin Williams and Sally Field

She added: 'Here is something no real celebrity will ever tell you: film acting is not very fun. Doing the same thing over and over again until, in the director’s eyes, you get it right, does not allow for very much creative freedom.

'The best times I had on film sets were the times the director let me express myself, but those were rare.

'My point is that film can be exciting, but more often, it’s tedious. The celebrity aspect is nothing short of ridiculous, and auditioning is brutal and dehumanizing... I never feel nostalgia, just relief.'

Mara is emphatic that she has no plans to pursue film acting. Simply stating: 'It’s not my thing anymore, if it ever was.'

However, despite her strong views, she admits that she does still act sometimes, for friends, and in the theatre.

And as for making a comeback on a reality show she said: 'And no, you will not ever see me on Dancing With The Stars. Sorry.'

But for the four schoolgirls who triumphed over veteran actresses at the Olivier Awards, their memories of playing Matilda will certainly be more sweet than bitter.

Child stars: Sophia Kiely, Eleanor Worthington Cox, Kerry Ingram and Cleo Demetriou jointly won the accolade for best actress in a musical for show Matilda

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