A chat with Jodie Prenger, Actress and Star of the Shirley Valentine Stage Show
Jodie Prenger became a household name when she won the BBC talent show I’d do anything back in 2009. She subsequently went on to star as Nancy in Oliver! at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, with more recent performances in Tell Me on a Sunday, Calamity Jane and One Man, Two Guvnors. Next week, between Monday 3rd – Saturday 8th of July, Jodie will be performing in Willy Russell’s heart warming comedy Shirley Valentine at the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells. The show, in which Jodie acts entirely alone, has received great reviews throughout it’s UK tour so far. I was thrilled to be given the chance to catch up with Jodie ahead of her arrival in Kent next week to find out more about the show….
You had your big break on the BBC talent show I’d do Anything….how did you cope with being thrown into the public eye over night?
Honestly? I’ve never really felt the huge launch into the public eye. I still say I’m just me. What’s lovely is that still to this day I meet people who say they voted for me all those years ago. And I do love that. I get to say thank you. Cause if it wasn’t for them, I would never had my West End dreams come true.
Are you still in touch with any of the show presenters? Do you ever call on them for advice?
Well I tell you something we had a hoot. Myself and John Barrowman that is. We just did Panto together over Christmas. Also I do see Graham Norton every now and again what a wonderful man he is.
You’re currently starring in the Shirley Valentine stage show. The film was a huge hit back in the 80’s when you were just a child…do you remember watching it when it first came out?
Not when it first came out in the cinema. But I do remember watching it later on on VHS. If you remember the ole video players.
Shirley Valentine is a one woman show – this must be hugely exhausting! How do you look after yourself on tour?
Gin usually does the trick. Only joking. It’s not that bad. Now that we have the show up and running you get most of the days to yourself.
Is it easier or more of a challenge only having to rely and interact with yourself on stage?
Well there’s no one else can mess up the lines. But let’s not forget Wall & Rock.
As a Lancashire Lass is a Souse accent fairly easy to slip into or does it take a lot of practice?
There’s many different Liverpudlian tones. So it was fun discovering which one to use. You want to make sure the audience hear every word. And sometimes when your ear isn’t used to hearing a certain dialect they can miss certain words. It’s all rather technical.
Shirley talks to the wall; I have conversations with the food in my fridge…do you find yourself sharing your problems with inanimate objects?
We all do it. That’s what I find so magical, how Willy has captured that little bit of Shirley in all of us.
Do you have a favourite scene in the play?
I do love the part of the Nativity play. It’s a joy to hear audiences laugh so hard.
What advice would you give to any budding young actors out there – what would be your top tip?
Don’t do it… only joking. Just be willing to work hard. Surround yourself with people and work colleagues who build you up and not there to put you down. It’s can harsh this industry for that. But just stay true to yourself and enjoy
Finally…how long does the tour last…and what’s next in the pipeline?
I run with the show till October and then I will be part of a new musical. Written by Kay Mellor and Nick Webber. It’s Fat Friends, based on Kay’s hit TV series.
Jodie appears in Shirley Valentine at the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells from Monday 3rd – Saturday 8th July. For more information on performance times and ticket prices please click here.