I'm the Lancashire TV star Wendi Peters & performing Sister Act in Blackpool next week will be "special"

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Take a look at our exclusive chat with Lancashire TV star Wendi Peters ahead of her performances on the Winter Gardens stage next week...

You might best know Whalley born actress Wendi Peters, 59, as the larger than life Coronation Street character Cilla Battersby-Brown but she is heading to Lancashire next month in a rather different guise.

Wendi, who has also had roles on Doctors, Midsommer Murders and Hetty Feather, has joined the cast of the award-winning production 'Sister Act The Musical' as Mother Superior.

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Sister Act will be visiting the Blackpool Winter Gardens from Monday 15, July to Saturday, 20 July 2024 and tickets are available to buy online here.

We were able to catch Wendi for a chat about all things Sister Act and Blackpool, so take a look at what she had to say below...

How are you feeling about playing Mother Superior in Sister Act?

“Mother Superior is sort of the leader of the convent, she's quite stern, she cares for the sisters and looks after them and it's great fun because I get to do a really nice journey - and I hate that word! But from her being very nice and then this woman comes in and absolutely disrupts the convent but then she comes around to her way of thinking so it's great fun to play.”

Lancashire soapstar Wendi Peters will play Mother Superior in Sister Act, coming to the Blackpool Winter Gardens in July.Lancashire soapstar Wendi Peters will play Mother Superior in Sister Act, coming to the Blackpool Winter Gardens in July.
Lancashire soapstar Wendi Peters will play Mother Superior in Sister Act, coming to the Blackpool Winter Gardens in July. | submit

Did you know the Sister Act story well?

“I'd never seen the films - which most people go ‘oh, no!’ to. When it was first on in the West End in 2008, the musical, lI saw it a few times and then I saw it at Hammersmith a couple of years ago. So yes, I knew the shown very well, I listened to the album a lot!”

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For people who don’t know the story, can you describe it?

“Basically, there's a convent which has a leaking roof and needs some money, and then there's the main character Dolores Van Cartier who witnesses her boyfriend murdering someone and has to hide. The police officer decides the best place for her to hide is in the convent so she disguises herself as a nun. But of course, she's nothing like all the other nuns and comes in and absolutely disrupts the convent with her singing, gets the choir going, and then there's a big switch at the end but everything resolves itself. 

“Also Mother Superior, who's mortified by this woman that comes in, suddenly turns around to her way of thinking that everybody can be themselves and should be different and live their lives as they want to.”

Wendi takes over the role of Mother Superior from Coronation Street actress Sue Clever and theatre star Lori Haley Fox. Credit: Mark SeniorWendi takes over the role of Mother Superior from Coronation Street actress Sue Clever and theatre star Lori Haley Fox. Credit: Mark Senior
Wendi takes over the role of Mother Superior from Coronation Street actress Sue Clever and theatre star Lori Haley Fox. Credit: Mark Senior | Mark Senior

Do you relate to your character?

“Not particularly, obviously I've never been a nun! But when you play a character, there will always be a very tiny bit of you within that character. Obviously, you embellish and you make something completely different.

“But she is quite stern and some of her looks and some of her mannerisms are possibly something that I might do from time to time. I'd like to think that I would be a bit more understanding than Mother Superior but then again, I'm not a Mother Superior so their way of life is so completely different.”

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Are there any similarities between Mother Superior and Cilla?

“That's absolutely no similarities! Mother Superior tolerates Dolores, and I would say that Cilla didn't tolerate, did she? She just had a go! She was never patient at all. But I mean she's a very different character, and I’ve decided to play Mother Superior American to fit in with the rest of the show, because it's set in Philadelphia so everything from accent to singing voice, to wimple to no makeup is very different from Cilla.”

Wendi with other nuns in the convent. Credit: Mark SeniorWendi with other nuns in the convent. Credit: Mark Senior
Wendi with other nuns in the convent. Credit: Mark Senior | Mark Senior

How are you feeling about bringing the show to Blackpool?

“Oh, I always love going back to Blackpool. It's obviously the area I was brought up in. I have lots of lovely memories. It's such a beautiful big barn of a theatre and I think I first played it in 1983! I was in Blackpool Children's pantomime at the Opera House Winter Gardens and then have gone back and done lots of other shows there. So it hold lots of lovely memories.

“It's always great to be back in Blackpool, but nice to be there in the summer. When it'll be a bit more buzzy. The last times I've been there, it's sort of been just before Easter and it's been a bit quiet but it'll be great and hopefully if the weather stays like this, it'll be fun.”

Have you got any stand out memories from Blackpool?

“Well every end of the summer, we’d get in the car and drive to Blackpool. That was a time when there weren’t really seatbelts in the backseat and we'd have the sunroof open,  my sister and I'd be stood with our heads out the sunroof and we’d drive down the prom and watch the illuminations and then we’d get fish and chips on the way home. So that's lasting memories of Blackpool. 

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“Oh and I took my driving test in the August when I came home from college in London and on the day I passed, my sister -who is four years younger than me - was going to dancing classes in Blackpool and my mum said ‘go on, drive her there then’ so about two hours after I passed my driving test, I drove from Clitheroe to Blackpool on my own with my little sister so that's a big memory.”

Being from Lancashire, does it feel different performing in Lancashire to Lancashire audiences?

“It's always lovely. The audiences all around the country are brilliant with Sister Act, they're always up on their feet at the end, but there is something a bit more special about being up north and being here that the audience just seem so much more open to it right from the start, and they want to have a good time. But it's lovely for me to always come back because I get to stay at my mum and dads and I get to see them and I get to see my sister. The dog comes with me so she's having a great time so it's lovely to catch up with people.”

Aside from seeing family, is there anything else you’ll get up to whilst in Lancashire?

“Not really because to be honest, that's taking up all my time, catching up with everybody! Family and then a few old school friends I need to catch up and do dog walks with.”

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How would you persuade the people of Lancashire to come see you in Sister Act?

“Oh, goodness. I mean, what a month we've got coming up and leading up to this general election and everything. There's so much going on, the Euros football, and whether you like football or not, that's great, or whether you want to vote or not - but you should vote, obviously on the Fourth of July. But after that, come along to Sister Act, and you will have two and a half hours of pure escapism. You will laugh so much. It's great music, we've got an amazing orchestra, amazing singers, amazing cast. Landi who plays Dolores, I don't know how she does eight shows a week. She belts out number after number after number and you cannot be overjoyed at the end. I would pay somebody money if they didn't say they were overjoyed and not dancing at the end!”

Wendi with Landi Oshinowo who plays Dolores Van Cartier. Credit: Mark Senior Wendi with Landi Oshinowo who plays Dolores Van Cartier. Credit: Mark Senior
Wendi with Landi Oshinowo who plays Dolores Van Cartier. Credit: Mark Senior | submit

You mention other cast members there, how have you been getting along with them all during rehearsals?

“They're all great! It's been slightly different for me because I've never come into a show while it's been running. I've always started that process of meeting a company on day one, having three or four weeks of rehearsals. So it's been slightly different because I rehearsed for a week in London on my own just with the director and then I went out on tour and watched a couple of performances and had some rehearsals with them on tour. But no, they're all lovely. They've been really welcoming and they're really good fun. I'm hoping now once we get into the tour, we'll all go out and do stuff and have fun together.”

Maybe go down to Blackpool Promenade and share some fish and chips?

“Possibly - they'll all be out doing all that I'm sure but I'll be over near Blackburn at mum and dad's during the day catching up with everybody!”

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