Actress swaps Doreen Tipton for Shakespeare ready for Stafford show

Doreen Tipton actress Gill Jordan is set to star in a production of Romeo and Juliet at Stafford Castle this summer, it has been announced.

Gill Jordan - famous for her 'Doreen Tipton' role - will star in the theatre production
Gill Jordan - famous for her 'Doreen Tipton' role - will star in the theatre production

The Staffordshire-based comedienne, known best for her role as the Queen of the Black Country, will star as the Nurse in the Stafford Shakespeare production.

The show, set to be held from June 24 to July 9, has been produced by the Gatehouse Theatre and Freedom Leisure on behalf of Stafford Borough Council.

Ms Jordan said: "I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of such a prestigious production, especially as this is the 30th anniversary of Shakespeare plays at the castle.

"People might not realise that I’ve done Shakespeare before, but when you’re an actor, it’s in your blood really and to do ROMEO + JULIET is just fantastic. I’ve talked to the director Tim Ford and this production is going to be absolutely spectacular – and actually quite dark.

"The Nurse is a deep character but she also brings some light relief, so I’m looking forward to adding a bit of comedy into the mix too."

And the role brings the comedienne full circle in her career – due to her having to visit the theatre for an interview to get a grant from the Birmingham School of Speech and Drama when she was just starting out.

She said: "I had to tell them why I was so passionate about theatre and why I wanted to be an actor, which was easy really because it was all I ever wanted to do. Luckily they said ‘yes’ and that got my career up and running.

"I’d been in school plays as a youth and been in some amateur performances, then I went to drama school for three years, then toured with theatre companies. After that, I formed my own company and we had the contract to perform at Blists Hill Museum in Shropshire for almost 20 years and then Doreen was ‘born’.

"I’ve done 10 years of Doreen which has been amazing and now I’m going out as Gill Jordan and starting again, really. Doreen will never leave me but it feels exciting to be doing something so different.

"People think The Bard is difficult, but actually Shakespeare is probably the easiest script to ever do, because it’s so beautifully written. And when you’ve got beautiful words, that’s a joy to an actor. There’s a rhythm to the language and it’s like reciting poetry.

"I can’t wait to get started, I’m so excited by it. I was doing panto at the Birmingham Hippodrome when I heard about it and when I got the phone call, I jumped up and down on the spot and was dancing round the place!"

Director Tim Ford added: "The Nurse is a part made for Gill and I’m excited for people to see her breadth of talent. Audiences will know her as Doreen but they might not realise how talented and versatile Gill is, as the actress who makes that character work so well.

"The capacity of the show is just over 11,000 and we’ve already sold more than 4,000 tickets, which is unheard of at this stage. The play is on the GCSE curriculum and I always say the best way to understand and enjoy Shakespeare is to get out and see it in the flesh – it’s an amazing experience and totally different to reading the words on a page."

Ms Gill is also about to appear in new Netflix fantasy drama "The Sandman" which features an all-star cast including Charles Dance, Jenna Coleman and Stephen Fry.

"I play one of Charles Dance’s disciples, so I do a lot of chanting! But it was an amazing project to be a part of and again, something very different – just like Shakespeare in Stafford will be," she said.

"It’s a beautiful setting, with the castle as a backdrop and I’m just counting the days now to getting started."

ROMEO + JULIET is being produced by the Gatehouse theatre and tickets are available from staffordgatehousetheatre.co.uk or by calling 01785 619080.

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