No place like home for pantomime star Kerry

Kerry Whiteside who is in North Pier's half term panto

Kerry Whiteside who is in North Pier's half term panto

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Being in the half-term panto at Blackpool’s North Pier has one very agreeable upside for Kerry Whiteside – she gets to sample a few home comforts for the week.

Kerry grew up in St Annes but left the area a few years ago when she graduated from The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (better known as that place Paul McCartney runs).

She moved to London and has since enjoyed a fine start to her acting and singing career.

She has starred in productions like The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Houdini–The Musical and done pantomimes.

She also spent a lengthy spell singing on a Norwegian cruise ship after being offered a slot. “It was basically like going travelling for a couple of years,” she said. “We practically lived in Bermuda for four months at one point – camped on the beach, great money and food ... in fact thinking about it I don’t know why I gave it up!”

But give it up she did and after recording a couple of pop songs and starring in a play in Muswell Hill, the former pupil at Heyhouses school and Lytham St Annes High is now in the midst of her latest project – playing one of the lead parts in Dick Whittington, which is on at North Pier Theatre until Saturday.

“It is a good production and it is great for me to be back home,” she said.

“Normally I only get to come back once every two months or so because in our line of business you need to be in London for the work, so to get to spend a full week back in my home town is lovely.

“It also means my nan, Irene, can see me on the stage. She is 92 but she has already been to about three shows this week!”

Growing up in Skipton Road in St Annes, Kerry was probably always destined to have a career in showbiz.

Mum Debbie Laine was a local singer who did shows on North Pier, supporting the likes of Freddie Starr, and sang around town.

“When I was young I watched her perform in local hotels,” said Kerry. “Before long I was singing with her and that is how it all started.”

Kerry went to Rainbow Dance Studios from the age of three to 16, where she properly learned her craft, and did several shows at the Opera House and Lowther Pavilion along the way.

Ambitions for the future include more straight acting. “My degree was actually in acting but so far I’ve done mainly musical theatre and singing,” she said.

“I’m doing a presenting course soon and I’ve got a meeting scheduled with a producer about potentially doing a film next year, so getting into TV or film acting is definitely something I’d like to do.”

In the meantime you can catch Kerry in Dick Whittington and the Haunted Pirate Ship at North Pier until Saturday. Also starring Steven Hall from Britain’s Got Talent, it is on 2pm each day until Saturday.

Tickets are £10 (family of 3 £25.50, family of four £30) and are available from www.northpierblackpool.co.uk or by calling 01253 623304.

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