Claire Sweeney is a much loved actress, singer, radio presenter and TV personality and is bringing her powerhouse vocals to the intimate setting of The Hippodrome Theatre.
Claire rose to prominence as Lindsay Corkhill in Channel 4’s Brookside, and since then has enjoyed a hugely successful career on both stage and screen. She has starred in television dramas such as Clocking Off and Merseybeat and received critical acclaim for her roles in West End musicals Chicago and Guys & Dolls alongside Patrick Swayze. As a TV presenter Claire has hosted prime time shows Here Comes the Sun and Challenge of a Lifetime, four series of 60 Minute Makeover, and made regular appearances on shows such as Loose Women, This Morning and Lorraine, to name a few. She was in the original series of both BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing, and Channel 4’s Celebrity Big Brother, in which she came second.
I caught up with Claire for a cup of tea and a natter about her upcoming show…
You are most famously known for playing Lindsey Corkhill on the TV show Brookside, back in the late 1980’s. Would you ever consider returning to soap operas and is there one in particular that you would like to be in?
Well of course I’d love to be in Corination Street, its a part of my heritage and part of what I grew up with. My mum would be thrilled as well! I think I’d like to be behind the bar, a bit of a Sue Ellen type of character.
You have just finished touring the UK in the feel good musical Hairspray. Touring must be a gruelling experience. Are there any particular things you do when on tour to make you feel more at home?
You carry you’re little dressing room box which has all of your familiar things in. I have my 19 month old baby so I take his toys and all the regular things so there are familiar things everywhere you go.
For one night only you are performing at London’s Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square on 2 June 2016. What have you got planned for the evening and what can people expect if they come along?
I can’t wait. Lots of chat and banter. I’m doing it with my friend Jay Alexander who was my MD on Guys and Dolls and Tell Me On A Sunday. It’s going to be quite informal, just some chat and some songs. I’ve got a really good band with me with a brass section and of course Jay is wonderful. Great musicians, banter and some nice songs.
There are lots of exciting shows coming to London in 2016. Is there anything you are particularly looking forward to seeing?
I want to see Mrs Henderson before it comes off and I need to see In The Heights still. How lucky am I this year to have worked with Stepher Mear and Drew McConie! Two massive boxes ticked!
You’ve played so many great theatre roles in your career so far and also written your own show Sex and Suburbia. Do you have any dream roles that you would still like to play?
I’d love to play Mrs Jonstone in Blood Brothers. I’ve never done it and it was the first musical I ever saw.
If you could be the opposite sex for the day, what theatre role would you love to have a go at playing?
I’d be in Jersey Boys! Two shows I really want to be in are Jersey Boys and Priscilla. I’d like to play the drag queen. The Oliver Thornton part.
Why do you think people should come to see your show at the Hippodrome Casino on 2 June 2016?
It’s just a great night of laughter, some great songs, fantastic music and hopefully just a really fun night.
What are your plans after this show, now that the Hairspray tour has finished? Anything exciting in the pipeline you can tell me about?
I’m doing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I’m playing the part of the Baroness on tour.
Thanks for having Tea With Wilma
Claire Sweeney plays at the Hippodrome Casino on Thursday 2 June 2016. Tickets from just £25