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12 facts about Sheridan Smith ahead of her Norwich concert

PUBLISHED: 11:08 20 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:08 20 April 2018

Sheridan Smith will be in concert at Norwich Theatre Royal. Photo: Live Nation

Sheridan Smith will be in concert at Norwich Theatre Royal. Photo: Live Nation

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BAFTA and Olivier Award winning performer Sheridan Smith visits Norwich Theatre Royal this weekend on her debut UK solo tour in a performance that is sure to mix some of her favourite songs, stories and maybe a few tears too.

Sheridan Smith will be in concert at Norwich Theatre Royal. Photo: East West RecordsSheridan Smith will be in concert at Norwich Theatre Royal. Photo: East West Records

After a difficult couple of years in the glare of the tabloid spotlight, BAFTA and Olivier Award winning performer Sheridan Smith visits Norwich this weekend on her debut UK tour.

There is no doubting her voracious talent, ranging from TV like hard-hitting Shannon Matthews kidnap drama The Moorside, to rave reviews for her theatre roles in the likes of Funny Girl and Legally Blonde.

At Norwich Theatre Royal she will be presenting lushly orchestrated numbers from her recent covers album, along with stories and possibly a few tears, based on recent shows. The album includes a haunting version of the Gnarls Barkley hit Crazy and the much-loved Dionne Warwick/Cilla Black hit Anyone Who Had A Heart. She will also perform songs including from musicals like Dreamgirls and La La Land as well as the Fanny Brice song My Man.

• A love of showbiz runs in the family. Sheridan’s great-great-grandfather, Benjamin Doubleday, was a respected and well-known banjo player, whilst her parents, Colin and Marilyn, performed as country and western duo, The Daltons. “They’ve always been musicians, that’s their living,” she said previously. “My dad played guitar, Hawaiian steel guitar, banjo; my mum mandolin, bass guitar.”

Sheridan Smith at the Olivier Awards 2017. She is a two-time winner. Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/PA WireSheridan Smith at the Olivier Awards 2017. She is a two-time winner. Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/PA Wire

• Sheridan has performed since she was a child, singing alongside her parents in the working men’s clubs near their home in north Lincolnshire. And it was on stage with her parents that Sheridan first got a taste for the limelight. “When I was four I joined them on stage doing little dance routines,” she said. “It wasn’t long before I was standing on a stool joining in the singing. It’s our little family thing that we do.”

• Though she never trained at a drama school, she had her first acting experience in stage productions of the National Youth Music Theatre, which she was a member of from 1995–2001, performing a number of lead roles in productions such as Bugsy Malone, Pendragon and Into the Woods.

• She got her first taste of TV as Emma in The Royle Family, before playing Janet in the long-running series Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps until her departure from the show in 2009. She also appeared as Rudi in Gavin & Stacey, playing Rudi, the immature younger sister of Smithy, played by James Cordon, who she once also dated.

Sheridan Smith in Mrs Biggs. Photo: ITVSheridan Smith in Mrs Biggs. Photo: ITV

• Sheridan was a Doctor Who companion though you didn’t see her on the TV screen. She played Lucie Miller alongside Paul McGann’s eighth Doctor in a radio series spin-off. Her character returned in subsequent series and a Christmas special before bowing out in 2011.

• Her stage career took off when she got the big thumbs up from both critics and audiences alike for her portrayal of Elle Woods in the West End musical Legally Blonde, which won her a Best Actress gong at the Olivier Awards and Theatregoers Choice Awards.

• The following year she appeared in Trevor Nunn’s production of Terence Rattigan’s Flare Path at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket as Doris, a former barmaid married to a Polish count in the RAF. It bagged another Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role. More acclaim followed when she played the title role in Hedda Gabler at the Old Vic.

• Her TV career has included playing the wives of criminals. She played the title role in Mrs Biggs, based on the true story of the wife of the Great Train Robber, Ronnie Biggs, and appeared in the ITV crime drama The Widower as the first wife of serial killer Malcolm Webster. She also starred in controversial drama The Moorside, based on the kidnapping of Shannon Matthews.

• Despite her award-winning success, she admits to getting flustered around other famous types. “I still get so starstruck,” she admits. “When I did Quartet, a movie Dustin Hoffman directed, with Dame Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins and Michael Gambon, I wanted to curtsey every day.”

• She has suffered from severe panic attacks in the past and still has one before every opening night. “[I get] very rapid heart rate, sweaty hands, dry mouth. Sometimes when it’s really bad, your hearing goes, your vision goes. Everyone can tell you that you’re going to be fine but none of it goes in,” she explained.

Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black. Photo: ITV/Stuart WoodSheridan Smith as Cilla Black. Photo: ITV/Stuart Wood

• She experienced a very public breakdown and a difficult couple of years following the death of her beloved father Colin from cancer in 2016. The pair were close. When she appeared on Who Do You Think You Are? She explained: “I’m such a daddy’s girl. I absolutely adore him. My dad is somehow so musically talented. My dad must have musical bones. That’s probably why I’m so ‘gobby’, but I love singing, I’ve always loved singing.”

• Having played that other singing star Cilla Black on screen, she arrives in Norwich on her debut solo tour following the top 10 success of her self-titled album. “I am not used to standing up on my own,” she said. “It has been an ambition since I was a child to record my own album was I was incredibly excited to be recording some of my favourite songs. This is something my dad always wanted me to do. He said, ‘Why not? You grew up with us singing.”

• Sheridan in Concert is at Norwich Theatre Royal on April 22, 7.30pm, £57.50-£10, 01603 630000, theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

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