Iconic role for Poulton actor

Sarah Jane Stone in rehearsal at The Grand Theatre
Sarah Jane Stone in rehearsal at The Grand Theatre
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One of history’s most eccentric and endearing female characters will be brought to life this week, as the Anonymous Players bring to the Lowther Pavilion stage their production of “Glorious.”

This is the play which inspired the 2016 hit movie Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant.

Florence was reputedly the worst opera singer in history and famously in 1944, performed at Carnegie Hall, New York, to a sell-out audience of 3,000 people. Two thousand people were turned away that day. She had a great following including famous lyricist Cole Porter and opera tenor Enrico Caruso, who sent her roses to every performance.

Taking on this mammoth role is local actress and performing arts teacher, Sarah Jane Stone, who has had to learn three arias, two of them in foreign languages.

Sarah Jane has played some enviable leading female roles over the years including Lady Macbeth, Portia in The Merchant of Venice, Titania (rehearsal understudy for the RSC’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and Mrs Johnston in Blood Brothers.

She said: “To play iconic roles is always an honour and pleasure, but when one of them is a person who has lived, the onus is all the greater. I have been studying Madam Florence in depth and have truly grown to love her enthusiasm and infectious personality. She oozed her love of music from every pore, even though she supposedly never realised she could not sing.”

Sarah Jane also communicated with her own icon, Meryl Streep, who sent her best wishes for the production.

The play runs tomorrow to Saturday, at 7.30pm. Hit www.lowtherpavilion.co.uk or call (01253) 794221.