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East Anglia stars Kerry Ellis and Matt Cardle together on stage for the first time

PUBLISHED: 18:33 18 August 2017 | UPDATED: 18:33 18 August 2017

Matt Cardle & Kerry Ellis play The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, on August 23-24. Photo: Submitted

Matt Cardle & Kerry Ellis play The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, on August 23-24. Photo: Submitted

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Leading lady of West End and Broadway musicals Kerry Ellis and X Factor winner Matt Cardle are to appear on stage together for the first time in a homecoming show in Bury St Edmunds.

Stowmarket-born actress Kerry Ellis. Photo: SubmittedStowmarket-born actress Kerry Ellis. Photo: Submitted

She is recognised as the leading lady of West End and Broadway musicals, with a number of starring roles in London, New York and around the world. He has sold over 2.2 million records in the UK and completed five sold-out tours since winning The X Factor.

Now Kerry Ellis and Matt Cardle are set to appear in concert together for the very first time on stage for two evenings of entertainment in Bury St Edmunds next week.

This is very much a homecoming show for the dynamic duo. Kerry was born and raised in Suffolk, while Matt was born in Southampton, raised in Essex and his family now residing in Suffolk.

They met during a run of Broadway In Concert shows in 2016, including a sold-out performance at The London Palladium, where plans for these special shows began.

Kerry’s West End career has included We Will Rock You, Wicked, Cats, My Fair Lady and Les Mis, and she has a long-term working relationship with Queen’s Brian May, recently touring their joint album Golden Days. Matt won The X Factor in 2010 and is currently writing and recording his fourth studio album.

Both have performed at The Apex before but never together until now.

Is this the first time you have worked together?

Kerry: We have done a concert together previously but we didn’t actually get to sing a duet so this will be the first time we actually get to sing together which I’m really excited about.

X Factor winner Matt Cardle raised in Essex and his family now residing in Suffolk. Photo: SubmittedX Factor winner Matt Cardle raised in Essex and his family now residing in Suffolk. Photo: Submitted

Matt: I had the pleasure of meeting Kerry at the London Palladium for a special evening last year. We’ve sang on the same stage before but never together, so that’s exciting. Kerry invited me to see her mind-blowing performance in the show Murder Ballad and we got talking after that. She just oozes talent and I’m honoured to be working with her.

What can we expect from the show? Will it be a mixture of genres as you both come from very musical different backgrounds?

Kerry: I think the show will be a real mixed bag Matt and I will obviously bring our own flavours to the show but also I’m sure they’ll be a few new surprises in there, duets that people haven’t heard before and just a lot of fun

Matt: We’ve both had very varied paths that we’ve followed that are connected by our love for music. It’s an exciting show to be doing for me because I’m normally up there on my own. I’ll certainly be performing songs I’m known for, as well as some new stuff, covers and, of course, duetting. It’s going to be so much fun.

You both have strong connections to the region. Is that how this concert came about?

Matt: Kerry’s a local girl and I grew up in Colchester, even though I was born in Southampton. Both Kerry and I have done shows at The Apex before. The atmosphere and the sound inside that place are mind-blowing so we thought it would be great to do something together and something special in Bury.

Kerry: It’s what we have in common and the reason for doing the shows at the Apex. We wanted to do something in our home county.

Brian May and Kerry Ellis released their new album Golden Days earlier this year. Photo: Andrew WhittonBrian May and Kerry Ellis released their new album Golden Days earlier this year. Photo: Andrew Whitton

You have both played large arenas. Do you prefer performing on that scale as opposed to a more intimate venue? Which do you prefer?

Kerry: Both have the challenges and excitement. I like the variety and the fact that I get to do both.

Matt: The ‘Intimate & Live Tour’ I did last year – including a show in Bury – is the most fun I’ve ever had on tour. I love both the smaller theatres and the big arenas for different reasons but you adjust the show you’re doing accordingly.

What else have you both been up to this year?

Kerry: I’ve been on tour with a musical called Wonderland written by Frank Wildhorn who is a musical genius. I released Golden Days, my album with Brian May which has been great fun. I have been busy with my solo concerts and performances, I’m also about to start a new project called ‘Heaven on Earth’ which is an arena tour that’s opening in December.

Matt: I haven’t seen much more than four walls of a recording studio this year! I’m releasing new music this summer from what will be my fourth album. I’ve taken my time over this one and I’m so happy with the results. I’ve done a few live performances here and there to test out some of the new material too. I’ve found in the past that you can record an album and then tour it and wish afterwards that you’d done some of the songs differently. So this time around I’ve wanted to test the waters and perform the demos live first before making some changes. Back to front really but I’ve found it very helpful.

Singer-songwriter Matt Cardle who has previously appearence at The Apex. Photo: SubmittedSinger-songwriter Matt Cardle who has previously appearence at The Apex. Photo: Submitted

Other than working with each other obviously, who would you love to collaborate with?

Kerry: There were lots of people I haven’t done many female collaborations so perhaps someone like Céline Dion would be incredible. Also maybe someone closer to home I do you love Beverly Knight who Matt has also worked with. I think she is fantastic.

Matt: I’ve had the incredible fortune of collaborating with Melanie C and I’m happy to class her as a friend. I’m a huge fan of Hannah Reid from London Grammar. It would be awesome to work with her in any capacity.

Kerry you are a mother. How do you juggle motherhood with a successful musical theatre career?

Kerry: I don’t! I am still trying to figure it all out but I love that I get to have a career that I love doing as well as being a mum - both best jobs in the world.

Matt. You dipped your toe in the world of musical playing the lead in Memphis in the West End. What was that like for you? Would you embark on another theatre project?

Matt: My memories of Memphis only bring a smile to my face. I had the most incredible time doing that show. Beverley Knight was off the scale with her vocal talent so to share a stage, in London’s West End, with her every night is something I will never forget. I’d love to do another theatre project, definitely. I’ve had a few auditions but the right part hasn’t come my way. When it does I’ll grab it with both hands and dive straight in. Memphis was a magical time for me.

Kerry Ellis with Norman Bowman and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt in West End musical Murder Ballad. Photo: SubmittedKerry Ellis with Norman Bowman and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt in West End musical Murder Ballad. Photo: Submitted

If you weren’t a performer what other career do you think you may have perused?

Kerry: I don’t think I could do anything else. I’m very fortunate to have a career I love as well as a wonderful family. However I do love working with animals so possibly something to do with that but honestly performing is what I do.

Matt: I grew up wanting to be a marine biologist! I loved the sea, partially sharks. I also wanted to be a professional skateboarder but I couldn’t commit to it as I was in and out of bands. Then, eventually, I found myself on The X Factor and I’ve been very lucky not to have had to think about a career change since.

• Matt Cardle & Kerry Ellis play The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, on August 23-24, 7.30pm, £40-£27.50, 01284 758000, theapex.co.uk

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