REVEALED: Which soap stars are set to join the cast of Sleeping Beauty at The Sunderland Empire this year
Vicky Entwhistle, best known to the nation at Coronation Street's Janice Battersby, will be starring in the Sunderland Empire pantomime this year.
Vicky, who spent 14 years on the ITV show, will take on the role of the evil Carabosse, when Sleeping Beauty is staged at the Wearside theatre from Dec 9 to 31.
She will be joined by EastEnders actress, Amy-Leigh Hickman, who plays Linzi Bragg, and is also known for her roles as Carmen in the popular CBBC programme, Tracey Beaker, and the spin-off show, The Dumping Ground, who will be starring in the panto as the beautiful Princess Briar Rose.
The pair are the latest announcements to the cast which will also include North East-based actress and Steps star, Faye Tozer, as the Good Fairy, Cbeebies and Balamory favourite, Andrew Agnew, in the dual role of Silly Billy and Director, and legend of radio, screen and stage, Bobby Crush, as Nurse Nelly.
Although best known as Janice Battersby, Vicky is no stranger to the stage and recent credits include Madame Thénardier in the legendary musical Les Misérables, Mrs Baldry in the 2012 tour of Funny Peculiar and Woman 3 in the UK tour of The Vagina Monologues.
It was on stage that Vicky was spotted by Granada Television casting director and was offered the role of machinist Janice Lee in Coronation Street, making her debut in January 1997. The following month, Vicky was told that she would become the mother of the street's new family The Battersby's and was introduced to fellow actors Bruce Jones, Jane Danson and Georgia Taylor.
After fourteen years Vicky decided that the Street’s 50th anniversary year was the right time to say goodbye to Janice.
Amy-Leigh spent most of 2013 filming in Africa and Hungary for the action show Strike Back and has since worked further on TV dramas including playing Aisha Karim on Casualty and Sarah Boswell on Doctors before landing the role of Linzi Bragg in EastEnders.
Tickets for Sleeping Beauty are available from the Box Office on High Street West, via the ticket centre 0844 871 3022, or at www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland.