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Kimberley Walsh: ‘I get why people are sceptical about star casting in theatre’

Former Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh has said she understands “sceptical views” on star casting in the West End, as she prepares to lead a musical version of the film Big.

The performer, who has starred in musicals such as Shrek and Elf, will appear in Big alongside Jay McGuiness, who found fame in boyband the Wanted. Big will open at the Dominion Theatre in September [1].

Earlier this week, it was announced that former Pussycat Dolls singer Ashley Roberts is to star in Waitress [2], replacing Laura Baldwin temporarily.

Walsh told The Stage: “I completely understand people’s sceptical views sometimes on names coming in and taking some of the best parts. I am understanding of it. As much as you might say I have worked hard to get to this position, people work hard every day in this business and they can’t help but feel a little put out sometimes.”

Walsh said she felt she had “proved people wrong” with her first musical, Shrek, and said musical theatre was what she focused on now.

“I don’t really perform in any other capacity now. I do presenting and stuff, but no pop stuff. I am very happy in this environment,” she said.

The performer also called for more job shares in the industry. Walsh, who has two sons, said sharing a leading role would be her “ideal scenario”.

“My kids would be happy and I would be happy. My kids don’t want me to be out every night, and I hate not putting them to bed. There is always a piece of your heart ripped out. But they also know it’s what I do, and they understand I have to go every now and then,” she said.

Equity is currently trying to negotiate a new West End deal that would enable more job shares.

Pay rises, job shares and a five-day week – Equity submits ‘ambitious’ West End claim [3]