Entertainment

Kimberley Walsh: It feels amazing to be putting on a musical

Sleepless will be staged at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre later this month.

Kimberley Walsh has said it feels “amazing” to be able to perform in a musical inside a theatre amid the challenges posed by coronavirus.

The singer and actress is set to star in Sleepless at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre after the production team brought in a string of safety measures to make the performance possible.

Cast, crew, musicians and theatre staff are tested daily for Covid-19 during rehearsals and will be during the performance run, and a strict cleaning regime has been implemented in the theatre in north-west London.

Walsh told the PA news agency: “It does feel really amazing and also unbelievable that we are in an actual theatre about to put on a real musical.

“With everything that’s gone on, it did seem like a bit of a pipe dream at one time and now we are actually doing it.”

Sleepless will first be performed at the theatre on Thursday.

Walsh added: “It is obviously going to be different, of course it is, but also there’s going to be a real desire to be back in the theatre that wasn’t necessarily there so much before.

“If you have missed going to shows for the last five months then I guess all those emotions will be heightened so maybe those crowds will be wild, who knows.”

Sleepless: A Musical Romance
Kimberley Walsh gets tested for coronavirus (Yui Mok/PA)

The capacity of the theatre has been reduced from 1,300 to 400 to allow for social distancing, according to the producer of the show, Michael Rose.

He added: “The responsibility for doing something like this is quite enormous.

“There’s a huge mountain to climb for our industry and it is very much, I think, on the precipice unless we do something about it.”

Leading figures in the theatre industry have been “slow to put their best foot forward and in some cases haven’t done so at all”, he added.

Rose said he is “proud” of the creative team behind the production and hopes it can help the industry move closer to a return to normality.

He said the production “may just about break even”.

Sleepless: A Musical Romance
Jay McGuiness and Kimberley Walsh (Yui Mok/PA)

Actor Jay McGuiness, who is also starring in the show, said he thinks the atmosphere will be “joyful”.

“I feel that everyone who comes really, really wants to watch a show,” he added.

The Government gave the go-ahead to socially distanced indoor performances last week after delaying plans for them to resume last month.

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Entertainment