Celebrity interview - Hayley Tamaddon
PUBLISHED: 16:53 08 March 2016 | UPDATED: 16:53 08 March 2016
Hayley Tamaddon is no stranger to national institutions
The Blackpool-born actress’s career may have blossomed beneath the proscenium arch, but she hit the mainstream with multi-year roles in British TV bastions Emmerdale and Coronation Street - not to mention earning a crown of her own as the champion of Dancing on Ice.
So it’s little wonder that she considers an all-singing, all-dancing, starring role as Roxie Hart in the country’s most enduring musical revival to be ‘a dream come true.’
Chicago, soon to hit the Manchester Opera House, was a fifteen-year fixture in the West End, where one sultry siren left a particularly strong impression. ‘I was still in college when I saw the amazing Ruthie Henshall play Roxie Hart in London,’ she told me, during her brief downtime between rehearsals, ‘so it’s a role I’ve longed to play since 1996!’
Despite following in an idol’s footsteps, and leaving footprints of her own on so many fictional landmarks, the 39 year-old comes across as grounded as she does glamorous. ‘Musicals are incredibly full-on for the entire team,’ Hayley says, adding that ‘it’s a real pleasure to be on stage with so many amazing people.’
With fellow television personalities John Partridge and Sam Bailey among her co-stars, Hayley is certainly sharing the limelight with some big names – and even bigger voices. Luckily she’s no stranger to standing alongside established characters; there are few more entrenched than the cast of the world’s longest-running soap opera.
‘I’d wanted to cross over into television for years, but it wasn’t easy going into a show like Coronation Street – one that’s part of the landscape. I remember phoning my mum from the Granada parking lot on the first day of filming, because I couldn’t bring myself to go in!’
Fortunately for the viewing public Hayley mustered the courage to enter Weatherfield, and her character’s story became central to the show’s 60th anniversary live episode – uniting her dual passions for stage and screen acting. ‘It was so intense, but so rewarding; obviously you don’t have the audience there with you, but at the end the entire crew erupted into applause like one big family.’
Live television productions of stage shows are becoming something of a trend, with The Sound of Music gracing ITV at Christmas and Grease making waves Stateside in January. ‘I thought our adaptation, as Brits, was far better,’ Hayley told me, adding that ‘it shows that actors like Kara Tointon can really cross over: going from theatre to TV and back again.’
Off-stage, Hayley enjoys a quieter life than the “murder, greed, adultery and treachery” that catalyse her Chicago counterpart. ‘I moved to Manchester for Corrie and fell in love with it,’ she confided to me. ‘I feel at home here. It’s safe and comfortable, nobody hassles you, and the city feels like one big community.’
But rest assured, she and her cast-mates are ready to bring the heat in sixteen scintillating shows beginning 21st March. ‘It’s pure eye candy, with some of the hottest guys and girls wearing barely anything – and it’ll leave you thirsty for more.’
Chicago – Opera House, Manchester
21 March – 2 April
0844 871 3018 | atgtickets.com/manchester