Strictly Come Dancing star and Glitterball trophy winner Joanne Clifton is touring the country as Princess Fiona in Shrek The Musical which is set to visit 31 venues.

This week she heads to Sunderland Empire and Reporter Darcie Rawlings caught up with the Strictly professional to discuss her latest role.

After a fantastic career as a dancer and professional on BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, Joanne Clifton has delved into the world of singing and acting as she pursues the latest venture in her career.

The Northern Echo: Joanne Clifton heads to Sunderland Empire as Princess Fiona in Shrek The Musical

Joanne says she is thrilled to be performing as Princess Fiona.

“I have always wanted to play Princess Fiona, I loved Sutton Foster who played Fiona on Broadway, I’m just drawn to those quirkier characters," she adds.

This reimagined version of Shrek The Musical will see different sets, and character choices with a toe-tapping soundtrack featuring songs like 'I'm A Believer', 'Big Bright Beautiful World' and 'I Know It's Today'.

Joanne said: “Theatre is escapism and people can become emersed in Shrek The Musical, in our characters and in our fairytale world and it does make a difference in people’s lives.”

The Shrek The Musical performances have sold so well at Sunderland Empire, that an extra matinee has been added. 

A favourite amongst families, the show is set to have fans in fits of laughter with a song dedicated to 'trumping'.

The Northern Echo: Strictly star Joanne Clifton has loved performing as Princess Fiona so far on the tour

However, it appears playing an ogre hasn’t phased Joanne in the slightest.

“Who doesn’t find trumping funny," she said.

“When else in my life am I going to be on a stage in front of over a thousand people being applauded for a fart.”

With such a friendly bubbly personality its easy to see why the world of theatre has been a fantastic fit for her.

After a busy week performing in Coventry, Joanne was looking forward to catching up with her family in Grimsby for late Christmas celebrations before heading to Sunderland.

The Northern Echo: A scene from Shrek the Musical UK and Ireland Tour 2023-4

Joanne commented that she thought Sunderland Empire was beautiful, and on this visit she looks forward to catching up with some friends while she’s in Sunderland, something she says is a huge perk of the job.

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She also discussed the differences in being a professional dancer compared to her theatre work.

She said: “There's so much teamwork involved in theatre whereas when I was a professional dancer I was competing.

“Shrek especially has such a sense of family and on tour you can really get close with the cast and make friends for life. You become a big family and on a show like Shrek, that shines through into the performance.”

The Northern Echo: A scene from Shrek the Musical UK and Ireland Tour 2023-4

Joining Joanne in a spectacular line up is rising star Cherece Richards (Once on This Island, Regent’s Park Theatre) who will make her debut as the Dragon, Antony Lawrence (Shrek), James Gillan (Lord Farquaad) and Brandon Lee Sears (Donkey).

Shrek The Musical will be at Sunderland Empire from Tuesday, February 6 until Saturday, February 10.