KATIE Griffiths landed her first professional acting role while studying for A-levels, and ended up taking her homework to the set of school drama Waterloo Road.

Now she has a hit American TV series under her belt, and she auditioned for the recent Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens.

"They didn't say anything about the plot or the script, I just had a brief that I was auditioning for the role of the main girl in the film," says Katie. "I grew up watching Star Wars, as my dad and brother are massive fans, so it was a huge deal. I did the audition in Los Angeles, you never really know what they're looking for with a role like this but it was a great experience."

Still only 27, Katie, of Kildwick, near Skipton, is notching up an impressive CV, having worked with Hollywood star Kevin Costner. It's a long way from her role as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz at the Alhambra a decade ago.

She played a cowgirl in Hatfields and McCoys, a dramatisation of one of America's most infamous family rivalries on the West Virginia/Kentucky border in the years following the Civil War. The Emmy-winning series starred Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton, and Katie relished the experience of working with A-list actors.

"We shot it in Romania, it was great experience. I learned how to do stunts with horses," she says. "It was about a Western family feud that went on for over 100 years.

"Kevin Costner was a massive presence on set but was really down-to-earth. He just cares about doing the job properly. Bill Paxton was friendly and a real joker. It was a wonderful experience working with them on such a big show.

"The premiere was in Los Angeles, I'd never been to a premiere before so it was quite a night!"

After filming the series Katie flew to Los Angeles for the 'pilot season', which takes place over the first few months of the year.

"They cast lots of new TV shows then air them to see how successful they are with audiences," says Katie, who landed her first television role aged 16. She played a troubled schoolgirl in BBC1's Waterloo Road while still at school herself. An A-level student at South Craven School, Katie did schoolwork in her dressing-room while filming the first series in 2005.

Working alongside actors such as Jason Merrells, Jill Halfpenny and Denise Welch, Katie appeared in several series of the popular drama, with her character, Chlo Grainger, at the centre of some big storylines including an under-age driving accident and a teenage pregnancy.

"It was my first professional role," she says. "It was intense but I learned a huge amount about acting on camera and there were some big actors in it who were full of advice. There was never a dull moment playing Chlo, I had a good run with the character."

Katie joined Stage 84 in Idle aged 12, and juggled her filming schedule in Rochdale with rehearsals for the theatre school's production of The Wizard of Oz at the Alhambra.

More recently she auditioned for Hollywood musical fantasy film Into the Woods, which had a star-studded cast headed by Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt and James Corden. "I was up for the part of Cinderella, it eventually went to Anna Kendrick who was already a star. But I had great feedback from the producer and was told that if they'd decided to cast an unknown actress it would've been me," says Katie.

Katie's TV credits have included Five Days, a powerful drama starring Suranne Jones and David Morrissey, Casualty, Doctors and Father Brown, which she was in late last year.

"I grew up watching movies, and my parents took me to the theatre from a young age. I can't remember a time when I didn't want to be an actress," she says. "I loved performing on the Alhambra stage, I'd like to get back into theatre, I've done musical theatre courses. A role like Glinda or Elphaba in Wicked would be fabulous, they're two powerful female leads."

Would she consider taking the reality TV or talent contest route, as other young actors have done, to further her career? "Shows like I'd Do Anything (Andrew Lloyd Webber's search for an actress to play Dorothy in his West End revival of The Wizard of Oz) are great in terms of getting yourself out there," she says. "If you can sing in front of Andrew Lloyd Webber you can do anything!"