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Beverley Knight defies critics ahead of suffragette musical bow

By Dayna Farrington | Entertainment | Published:

Beverley Knight has said the story of the iconic Pankhurst family 'needs to be told' ahead of her new musical Sylvia opening in London's West End tonight.

Beverley Knight, second from left, with fellow Sylvia cast members Carly Bawden, Genesis Lynea and Whitney White. Picture: Hugo Glendinning

Wolverhampton-born Knight will play the role of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst in Sylvia at the iconic The Old Vic Theatre.

Sylvia, which will celebrate the life of Sylvia Pankhurst and the centenary of the Suffragette movement, will run until September 22.

Beverley stars alongside Carly Bawden, Genesis Lynea and Whitney White who play Clementine Churchill, Sylvia Pankhurst and Christabel Pankhurst respectively.

Beverley previously said she was "well chuffed" about the show and urged her fans to go and see the production.

Ahead of opening night, she said: "It is about the life of Sylvia Pankhurst and the Pankhurst family. Her story is one that needs to be told and needs to be understood in our time where we take so much for granted.

"Sylvia is not just the story of the suffrage 100 years ago – Sylvia is a story about women's issues and feminism right now.

"I think anybody, not just women, anybody who cares about the future of all of us should go and see Sylvia."

But, her casting was not far from criticism, when a Twitter troll tweeted the star arguing she should not play the role of Emmeline Pankhurst because she is not white like the suffragette.

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The tweet has since been deleted, but the star took the opportunity to highlight black and minority ethnic characters over time that have been played by white actors – earning her support from hundreds of her fans.

Tickets for Sylvia are available for the show now. The musical's premiere is due to take place on September 11.

Tickets are priced between £12 and £45 – with the show recommended for people aged ten and above.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.oldvictheatre.com.

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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