Corrie and Dancing On Ice star Faye Brookes has spoken of her love for Belfast and revealed she was out-partied by mum and dad on her last visit.
aye (34), best known as Coronation Street’s Kate Connor, returns to the city next month with legendary musical Chicago in which she plays the lead role of Roxie Hart.
Speaking ahead of the show’s week-long residence at the Grand Opera House in June, she said: “I have performed in Belfast before with Shrek The Musical which was a great show to do.
“It was well-received by the audiences here who are loud and definitely tell us if they like it or hate it.
“I absolutely love Belfast, I remember my parents visiting while I was here for that show and we went out after the show but I ended up in bed before them.
“That’s just them, they are so young spirited, they just want to live life but I had just done a show so I was tired, but they were on a natural adrenaline rush from watching their daughter perform. I think that’s why they stayed out but I just couldn’t keep up with them, I was too tired to do it but that’s just me, I’m a bit of a nanna.
“They enjoyed their time in Belfast as I did while performing there, it’s such an iconic and lively city and this production of Chicago is going to be really well-received too I hope.”
The Mancunian actress, who finished second in TV talent show Dancing On Ice last year, also said she is looking forward to “getting lost” in Belfast while she is here.
“It’s quite rare for me to get any time off really so while I’m here I’ll probably just try and enjoy a bit of the city if I can, maybe get lost and wander around,” said Faye, who is in a relationship with fitness guru Joe Davies.
“Everyone has been telling me to check out the Titanic Quarter so that’ll probably be on my to-do list but for the most part I’ll just be enjoying the audiences really.”
Faye’s return to Belfast coincides with a milestone in her mother’s battle against bowel cancer.
Inger has just finished her chemotherapy and her delighted daughter posted the news on Instagram and a video of her mum ringing the now famous bell.
Faye posted: “Our Viking warrior, our guardian angel, our absolute rockstar of a Mum…Inger Barber. I love you. 05/10/22 is a day we’ll never forget.”
Faye is already a seasoned theater pro, having starred in a host of musical shows throughout her career including Grease, Legally Blonde, Shrek and The Sound Of Music.
Despite her impressive CV she says playing the lead of Roxie in Chicago is a dream come true and has helped to make her more confident.
She said: “Roxie is absolutely a dream role for me, I didn’t realize it actually until I was playing the role, I always assumed I had missed the opportunity or that I wasn’t quite right for it and then when it landed in my lap and was mine I couldn’t stop playing her. I love her.
“I’m still discovering new things about her and I think she’s so iconic, she’s based on a true character too so I’m trying to do her justice every night and keep that truth while also having a bit of fun. She’s a wildfire, she’s just an absolutely cracking character and I really do have fun with her, it’s great.
“My mother says I’m too honest for my own good and with Roxie what you see is what you get so I definitely share that with her.
“The confidence is something I definitely don’t relate to, I’m slightly quiet and insecure and like to take a back seat sometimes but she makes me feel confident, I’m going to take a leaf out of her book in future I think.”
Faye was previously engaged to Pop Idol star Gareth Gates until the pair split in 2018 after a six-year relationship and having set up a stage school together.
She feels her role in Chicago is an important demonstration of female empowerment and hopes to install confidence and self-belief in young women who go to see the show.
She added: “I feel like it’s a very female empowering show because even if people have never seen it before they are really taken on a journey all about her ambition and love for performing.
“She doesn’t let anyone or anything stop her from achieving and I just think that is so inspiring for everybody but particularly women. Ella she does some stuff she’ll probably regret further down the line but she has such confidence in herself and I think that’s really admirable.
“It’s also important in an age of comparing ourselves and competing on social media, I hope the next generation of young girls who come to see the show go away knowing that they are enough just being who they are.
“People think it’s always been a man’s world but it hasn’t and there are so many iconic female roles within my industry which I still want to play.
“I’ll be doing Christmas panto later this year with Jason Donovan which I’m really excited about but I honestly don’t know what’s next for me. I’m going to wait until the end of this tour and when it’s finished I’ll embrace whatever this career throws at me next.
“If it’s a great opportunity I’ll take it but if it’s a break that would be amazing too as I’ve not had one for some time despite the lockdowns, so it would be nice to take the foot off the gas and enjoy some time at home but we’ll see what happens.”
Chicago The Musical runs from June 6 to June 11 at Belfast’s Grand Opera House with tickets available online