Emmerdale star's enjoying the life of Riley

ACTRESS Lisa Riley believes in never say never, but since she left ITV soap Emmerdale seven years ago, she been too busy to even contemplate a return as much-loved Mandy Dingle. Currently touring the UK in the latest incarnation of the celebrated Vagina M

ACTRESS Lisa Riley believes in never say never, but since she left ITV soap Emmerdale seven years ago, she been too busy to even contemplate a return as much-loved Mandy Dingle.

Currently touring the UK in the latest incarnation of the celebrated Vagina Monologues show, and about to hit The Broadway theatre, Barking, on Friday, October 23, it's all a far cry from her humble beginnings at the Oldham Theatre Workshop.

Since she left Emmerdale, Lisa, 33, has presented You've Been Framed, and starred in Fat Friends, as well as various pantomimes.

She also enjoyed smaller parts in The Bill and Holby City, but admits: "I'm sure I'll be Mandy Dingle till I die. After all, I joined the show when I was 18 and being Mandy changed my life. I've got some wonderful memories of working on that show."


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She continues: "The producers didn't want me to leave, but I'd been there seven years and wanted to try different things. I literally haven't stopped working since I left, so I can't grumble. Some actors do well in a soap, then leave never to be seen again."

And Lisa says she's been totally bitten by the theatre bug, since starring in the Monologues, originally alongside Sharon Osbourne three years ago, and now alongside Sally Lindsay (barmaid Shelley in Coronation Street) and Sarah Jayne Dunn (Mandy Richardson in Hollyoaks).

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She honed her acting skills, by attending the theatre workshop near her Bury home, joining as a child and attending Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening classes and all day on a Sunday.

Her mates at the workshop over the years included Anthony Cotton and Suranne Jones (Sean Tully and Karen McDonald in Corrie), Marsha Thomason, (Naomi Dorrit in hit US TV show Lost) and Anna Friel.

Lisa remembers: "We all learned so much there and have all gone on to do really well.

"Now I'm back in a theatre format, honing my craft and getting a live reaction from an audience, which you just don't get when you're doing TV. It's just such a buzz."

And Lisa says that because of the way Vagina Monologues is written and performed, each anecdote told is received in a different way in every place they perform the show, with a massive 45 dates on the trio's schedule.

Based on American author Eve Ensler's Vagina Interviews, conducted with women all over the world, this show of hilariously, witty and moving tales began off Broadway in New York in 1996 and the likes of Kate Winslet, Whoopi Goldberg and Sophie Dahl have gone on to appear in it Stateside.

Lisa explains: "In any one monologue that we perform on our own, we could be required to play four or five different characters, so it really stretches you."

And right now the punishing tour scheduled is stretching the girls all over the UK, but Lisa loves it.

"We travel around in this Mercedes tour bus, which we call the 'vagina mobile' and we have so much fun.

"Wherever we stop, there are always some friends from that particular area who come and see the show, so it's a great way of catching up with people too."

You can catch up with Lisa and the gang at The Broadway on Friday, October 23. Tickets are �15.50 and �17.50 and available from www.thebroadwaybarking.com

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