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Soap star moves on from Corrie to new stage whodunit
It may come as a surprise to many, but former Coronation Street star Tracy Shaw is a confessed "theatre geek". Tracy achieved national fame and prominence by playing hairdresser Maxine Peacock in the long-running British television soap opera for almost a decade until 2003. And while she admits to a "magic" time in Corrie, which she used to watch as a child with her great-grandma, she is currently enjoying a renewed love affair with the live stage. Tracy is starring in a new adaptation of the suspense-filled thriller, The Cat and the Canary, which comes to the Lichfield Garrick theatre in Staffordshire from March 9 to March 14 as part of a UK tour. She plays Annabelle West, a successful writer, who returns home to find out whether she is the heir to a family fortune.
Tracy Shaw talks about Corrie and her new role in The Cat and the Canary. Credit Paul Coltas
Tracy, who will be part of an impressive cast that includes former Bond girl Britt Ekland, is looking forward to taking to the road in The Cat and the Canary. She told Weekend Notes: "I love going on tour. I miss my children, obviously, but I get to visit these lovely places around England, work in these gorgeous theatres and entertain people. I'm such a theatre geek in the sense that I just get excited about the history and the way they're built and the tiles backstage. There's something about theatre that just makes you feel alive. That's why I took on this job as well – you have to work your brain so much harder. I have to be so alive every night, really on my toes." Tracy is hoping that people will be "enthralled" by The Cat and the Canary, which is produced by Bill Kenwright's Classic Thriller Theatre Company. "We have the most amazing set. The play is set in a big old house, so it's got these fabulously eerie paintings with eyes staring. As an actor, with this job, I feel like the cat that got the cream."
Former Coronation Street star in new stage role. Credit Nicholas Dawkes
People might think that because she's a well-known TV face, Tracy just gets offered roles, but how hard is it to get through auditions? She admits: "It's tough, and there are times when I think 'maybe my time's up'. But I absolutely should be sitting there with another hundred people that look similar to me. It keeps me really grounded and I never take anything for granted. Then when I get that part and get back on stage or on TV, I feel like the luckiest person alive because I do a job that I love. That's what this business is like. There are a lot of knocks, but you occasionally get a job that's as stimulating as this one. I'm really grateful."
Tracy Shaw in a scene from The Cat and the Canary. Credit Paul Coltas
Of course, most people will know Tracy for her television work and, in particular, Coronation Street. She adds: "I sort of fell into TV, but I still adore it. Because I did so long in Corrie I feel it's second nature to me. I learned TV in Corrie. I love working with people I can learn from – admiring them and constantly learning – and I worked with the most amazing people on that show. I'd only just come out of drama school and I was catapulted into a world I was unfamiliar with. I rolled with it and never regretted it for a minute. It's the most prestigious programme I've ever worked on and I'm thoroughly proud to have been part of it." The Cat and the Canary can be seen at the Lichfield Garrick from Monday 9 March to Saturday 14 March. Tickets priced from £25.50 are available by visiting www.lichfieldgarrick.com or by calling 01543 412121.