Former Brookside (Jackie Corkhill) and Coronation Street (Gloria Todd) actress, Sue Jenkins, is set to direct two plays at this year's GM Fringe Festival; From Heaven to Hell by Danny Clifford, and Peg and Bessie by Drew Tosh.
Sue has been a passionate supporter of the festival and is a familiar face on the fringe scene... "I've always followed the Fringe and, last year, I produced and directed Narcissist in the Mirror, the one woman show, written and performed by Rosie Fleeshman at the Kings Arms and From Heaven to Hell at The Salford Arts Theatre" she says.
It went well, too, with Narcissist in the Mirror picking up the award for Best Spoken Word Show. This year, Sue returns once again to pass on the benefit of her knowledge to some new, upcoming talent. And, the two pieces couldn't be more different, as Sue enthuses...
"Peg and Bessie is a lovely piece about two sisters, two great characters, in many ways they are like chalk and cheese" she explains "It's funny, uplifting and moving. We travel a journey with them and probably we all know a few characters like these two!"
The returning From Heaven to Hell again has Sue at the helm. Understandably, it was a popular feature in the Salford Star last year with the story of the Salford Pals regiment at its core.
From Heaven to Hell delivered a brutal tale of heroism in macabre fashion. The play, and its gallows humour, went down a storm and it's good to see it return in an extended format...
"I directed the one act version in last year's GM Fringe which was so well received" Sue recalls "This is the two act version and it's good to find out even more about these characters. It's a lovely play and although it's set in the First World War, it has lots of comedy because of the great characters."
It clear that Sue is energised by the upcoming festival; "I love the sheer passion of it all and the idea of everyone just getting involved and stuck into a project, just because they love it" she says "I remember being amazed at how many people actually came to see both plays last year. We had really great audiences at every performance. There is great support for the GM Fringe."
Although responsible for characters that are familiar to countless households throughout Britain, Sue is revelling in her role as director and seems to have natural talent for steering a production..."I have to admit that I really enjoy, as a director, being responsible for the whole project, being such a part of the creative team and process, rather than taking care of an individual role"
While directing is becoming more frequent, we can expect to see Sue back on our screens in the not too distant future, "Narcissist in the Mirror is going to the Edinburgh Fringe so, of course, I'll be 'seeing that in" she says "We then follow with a short Autumn UK tour. Then I hope to go off diving in September; it's too cold in the U.K. I've also recently been involved in a new sitcom for the BBC [as an actor] and hoping that the rumour of the second series actually happens."
From Heaven to Hell
Monday 9th July and Saturday 14th July 8pm
48 Kansas Avenue
Media City UK M50 2GL (£12/£10)
Peg and Bessie
Wednesday 18th-Saturday 21st July 7pm
8 Albion Street, Manchester M1 5NZ (£8)
For tickets and further information on the whole GM Fringe see www.greatermanchesterfringe.co.uk
Words by Ian Leslie