Blog VisitBlackpool Sits Down with Jodie Prenger 8 September 2017 by Visit Blackpool Recently, VisitBlackpool sat down with the glamorous and amazingly-talented Blackpool girl Jodie Prenger to learn all about her upcoming role in Shirley Valentine at the Blackpool Grand Theatre. You’re no stranger to Blackpool, but how does it feel to be back home and appearing at the beautiful Grand Theatre? I always look forward to coming home; Blackpool is where I grew up so I particularly enjoy performing here in resort and it also gives me the opportunity to catch up with friends and family. What do you look forward to most when coming back home to Blackpool? Fish and chips at Yorkshire Fisheries is a must. I also love Notarianni’s ice cream and it never surprises me that there is a huge queue every time I go. They only serve traditional vanilla ice cream, but it’s just delicious. What was it like growing up in Blackpool? I actually grew up in the town centre. My family owned a couple of guest houses on Albert Road and during the summer season of old, I loved nothing more than going to watch all the shows on the piers, at the Grand Theatre and the Winter Gardens. I suppose in some ways you could say that this has influenced my career in theatre. From a young age I loved to perform and entertain. What is your favourite place to visit in Blackpool? When I’m home, I enjoy a visit to Stanley Park. I like to soak up the picturesque setting whilst taking the dogs for a walk, and it’s just beautiful there. I would love to visit the Pleasure Beach as it’s been quite a few years since I was there last. You’re famously known for your appearance as ‘Nancy’ in the West End musical of Oliver. What attracted you to begin a career in theatre? Acting and entertaining was always a hobby of mine from such a young age, so I would say I’ve naturally progressed into this career. When I was at school, I always played the male role and I was desperate to play the female role so I was determined to succeed in my career. I’ve managed to carve a career out of something that I love and enjoy; I think that’s quite rare today and I feel quite lucky to have achieved this. What attracted you to the heart-warming revival of Shirley Valentine? From the beginning when the offer was made to my manager, to meeting the commissioner and director, I was just drawn to the production as it just had a really good heart-warming theme to it. I’d worked with the commissioner previously and after meeting the rest of team behind the piece, who we’re just fantastic and a pleasure to work with and it’s such an iconic northern production, that I was just instantly on board. What do you enjoy most about performing on stage? I’m just constantly learning. Every production is a new experience. In particular, ‘Shirley Valentine’ just feels like a group interaction with the audience. At one point I’m cooking egg and chips live on stage - it’s like having the audience in your kitchen. It’s just great and I love that type of engagement with the audience. How do you plan to adopt the character of Shirley Valentine? I think there is a Shirley Valentine in all of us. She is this warm, honest and northern character and if I’m honest, I already pose those traits, so she has been an easy character to portray. Do you see any similarities between your personality and that of Shirley Valentine? Yes, completely. We are very similar and she’s not afraid to speak her mind. She’s honest and quite brave to do what she does, to give up everything and escape to Greece and then not return home - it’s quite inspiring. What has been your favourite role/performance so far? Playing ‘Nancy’ in the West End production of Oliver was a huge part of my career and it took a lot of hard graft preparing for the show, so it will always be an extremely unique and special experience. I was thrilled to play the wonderfully wicked Madame Thénardier in Les Misѐrables at the Dubai Opera last year. I just remember the venue was just exquisite and breath-taking, with huge chandeliers. Everyone who attended wore formal dining wear, it was all terribly exciting and the cast and crew were so easy to work with. If you could work with anyone, who would it be? It would have to be Doris Day – I’m a huge fan! I actually wrote to her telling her about playing the role of ‘Calamity Jane’. I was not expecting a response at all but she did in fact respond and went on to say how she heard all about the production and my role that it was her favourite movie to make. She absolutely loves animals and has done so much non-profit voluntary work to fight for animal rights and welfare. I know it’s odd, but I’d love to take a trip to visit her at one of her animal sanctuary’s where I’d help to muck out the animals and what not.