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Interview with Kellie Shirley

Stella Stone as Kellie Shirley in Great Britain.
Stella Stone (Kellie Shirley) in Great Britain.
Photo credit Johan Persson.jpg

Richard Bean’s new play Great Britain is an anarchic, foul-mouthed satire about the press, the police and the political establishment. After a successful run at the National Theatre, it has now transferred to the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Kellie Shirley, who plays the role of “flat-chested glamour girl called ‘Stella Stone“, recently took time out to chat about her career and Great Britain.

As well as working on stage you have many screen roles. What is the best thing about working in front of a camera?
You get to do it again if you slip up!

Can you tell us about two of your favourite screen roles and what you like best about playing them?
I played Violet in ‘20,000 Streets Under The Sky’ by Patrick Hamilton for BBC. It was directed by the lovely Simon Curtis (My Week With Marilyn) and set in the 1920/30s in and around London. Not only was it a great role to get my teeth into, everyone in the cast and crew were brilliant to work with. I also loved the indie film Everyone’s Going to Die – it is a lovely little film and very naturalistic, with a bit of British kookiness mixed in – I’m hoping to work with them again on something next year.

You played the role of Pauline in One Man, Two Guvnors on tour and at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. What can you tell us about your time in the show?
I played the role for nearly 700 shows – not only did I love playing Pauline it allowed me to see some of the world, we went to Australasia with the production and it was my first West End role. I made some lifelong mates on that job too!

You are again at the Haymarket, in Great Britain, another play written by Richard Bean and directed by Nicolas Hytner. What is at the heart of Great Britain the play?
Great Britain is about power, police, the government and newspaper industry and how they are all in bed together in this country. The play is so current with what has been in the news recently, which has made it such a unique experience to be a part of.

Can you tell us about the characters you play in Great Britain?
I play a flat-chested glamour girl called ‘Stella Stone’ who gets her phone hacked and also a journalist – Gemma Charles – who works for the Foreign News desk within the Free Press.

What would you say to someone to encourage them to get along to see the show?
You can get day seats for as little as £15 (bargain!); also it is a satire about what’s happening right now. It has got a cracking cast and Richard Bean has written some brilliant one-line corkers!

I gather you are an avid Crystal Palace FC fan – what would be a successful season for them this year?
Staying in the Premiership for another season.

Do you manage to get along to watch them very often?
We do 2 shows on a Saturday so I’m glued to the telly in-between scenes to keep up. I sometimes catch a Sunday match though.

Many thanks Kellie and good luck for Crystal Palace FC this season!

Follow Kellie Shirley on Twitter @KelShirl

Great Britain continues at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until 10th January 2015, further information at www.GreatBritainOnstage.com

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  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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