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Coronation Street star Paula Lane talks about her role in Kinky Boots at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

By Andy Richardson | Wolverhampton entertainment | Published:

She’s best known as Kylie Platt in Coronation Street. But Paula Lane will forsake Weatherfield for the bright lights of Wolverhampton when she lines up at the city’s Grand Theatre in Kinky Boots from Tuesday until October 27.

The award-winning Callum Francis will play Lola, Paula will play Lauren and Joel Harper-Jackson will play Charlie.

The show has become a favourite with UK theatregoers having won three Olivier Awards for Best New Musical, Best Costume Design and Best Actor in a Musical. It also won the London Evening Standard BBC Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical as well as three WhatsOnStage Awards for Best New Musical, Best Actor in a Musical and Best Choreography.

The show is a joyous musical celebration about the friendships we discover, and the belief that you can change the world when you change your mind.

Inspired by true events, Kinky Boots takes the audience from a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. It centres on Charlie Price, who is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son. With the factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola, a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos.

With direction and choreography by two-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell (Legally Blonde, Hairspray), Kinky Boots is the winner of every major Best Musical award including three Olivier Awards, three WhatsOnStage Awards as well as six Broadway Tony Awards.

Paula is having a whale of a time in the show. “It’s going really well. We’ve been focused on background story work. The cast is fabulous, they’re the best, they really are the best; they’re an absolute hoot. There was never a dull moment in rehearsals.”

The show puts on the razzle dazzle and is packed with great songs, comedy moments and more.

Paula adds: “It’s got everything you could want in a musical. It’s set in a working class factory in Northampton. The factory finds itself struggling after the death the man who ran the company. His son, Charlie, steps in and then in comes Lola and she really broadens Charlie’s horizons and opens his eyes to a whole different world. That includes skyscraper heels, which save the factory. There’s a lot more than that, though. It’s about not judging people, that’s the heart of the show. It’s all about how you change the world if you change your mind.”

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Paula is no stranger ot the stage and has featured in stage and TV. Her stage work has included Be More Martyn (Southwark Playhouse) and The Bengal Lily (Manchester Royal Exchange) while her TV and film credits include Coronation Street; Doctors; Heartbeat; The Royal; Going Postal and War Wounds.

She quit Coronation Street in 2016 after playing Kylie Platt for six years because she wanted to spend more time raising her two children and also running her husband’s acting school.

“Just because I’ve been away from the screen doesn’t mean I’ve not been busy. I’ve done random voice work for adverts and things and I’ve been up and down to London plenty of times. I did a play that we took for Brighton and London and for me it’s all about managing work and the kids. I’m the same as any parent and I find the balance the same way any other parent does. You just have to crack on and juggle the best you can. As long as my children are happy and they are then I’m alright.”

Paula attended Wardle Academy and then Huddersfield Technical College before being accepted to train at the prestigious Central School of Speech and Drama in London at the age of 19. She graduated with a first class honours degree in acting and was cast immediately in the ITV 1960s-based drama Heartbeat, where she made her television debut playing a teacher, Wendy Kelshaw. She joined Coronation Street in 2010 as Kylie Platt, the half-sister of established character Becky McDonald. She departed for maternity leave in 2014 and returned in June 2015 before leaving the following year for her second pregnancy. Her character was killed off.

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She has nothing but happy memories of her time on Coronation Street. “I have really warm memories of my time on Corrie. I met some friends for life on that show and learnt a lot about myself and my craft. I watched myself grow as an actress. I became a mother on that show too, of course, and I love the rest of the characters. I love them a lot.

“Being in Kinky Boots is very different to being on The Street, of course. There’s different pressures in different ways. With Corrie, it was a quick fire day then go home and learn lines. With this, you have to make sure it’s polished to perfection. There’s advantages and disadvantages of both. I guess the biggest advantage of theatre is the live audience. By the end of each show, the audience are on their feet and that’s a thrill.

“For me, it’s 15 months in this job, until the end of 2019. Then we’ll see. I’d quite like to go back to TV but I’ll go where the wind takes me. Things fall in your path if you work hard enough.”

Andy Richardson

By Andy Richardson
Feature Writer - @andyrichardson1

Feature writer and food critic Andy Richardson interviews celebrities, writes columns and hangs out with chefs for stories that appear across all group titles.

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