Love Island's Amber Davies on making her Sunderland stage debut in 9 to 5 The Musical

Starring in a musical you love – what a way to make a living!

Saturday, 2nd November 2019, 8:00 am
Updated Saturday, 2nd November 2019, 11:44 am
Amber Davies in 9 To 5 The Musical. Picture by Craig Sugden.

That’s how Amber Davies feels about playing Judy Bernly in Dolly Parton’s 9 To 5 The Musical, which will be playing on the Sunderland Empire stage from November 5-9.

The actress starred in the show in its West End production and she say’s it’s great to be bringing it out on the road.

Despite rising to fame as one half of the winning couple on Love Island in 2017, Amber, who graduated in 2016 with a Diploma in Musical Theatre from the Urdang Academy, says treading the boards is where she feels most at home.

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Amber plays Judy Bernly. Photo by Pamela Raith.

“After Love Island I did the collaborations with brands and the events and it didn’t fulfil me,” she explained. “Don’t get me wrong, I loved it and it was the best experience, but it didn’t have longevity and there’s only so much you can do as a Love Island contestant. I missed performing in musicals and reacting with an audience.

“I’d been signed with an acting agency since I was 19, before Love Island, and me and my manager sat down with them and said that I would definitely be up for stage work.

“The opportunity came up for me to audition for 9 To 5 and, although I’d never seen the film, I knew the music and loved it. A couple of months later I got offered the role and jumped at the chance.”

Based on the hit 1980 film, 9 To 5 The Musical tells the story of Doralee, Violet and Judy - three workmates pushed to boiling point by their sexist and egotistical boss.

Despite the story being almost 40 years old, Amber says it’s still relevant today. She explained: “The show is perfect for this day and age with the Me Too movement and the gender pay gap. The show is a way of getting the message out there about equality but in a humorous way.”

The musical opened in the West End in February this year, where Dolly Parton attended the premiere and joined the cast on stage at the finale and Amber says she plays a very hands on role in the show, which features the country legend’s original Oscar, Grammy and Tony award-nominated score.

“Dolly’s our boss,” she said. “She’s executive producer and any changes have to go through here. She has the final decision on casting and she has a massive input in the show. We follow the storyline of the film very accurately. There’s more detail, but the context is the same.”

*9 To 5 The Musical is at Sunderland Empire from November 5 to 9. Tickets from