FORMER Theatre Royal staff member who swapped the costume department for the Coronation Street cobbles, is coming back to her roots with starring role in the Christmas panto.

Kimberly Hart-Simpson will be taking on the starring role in St Helens Theatre Royal’s Christmas pantomime Cinderella alongside Britain’s Got Talent stars Jamie Leahey and Chuck.

Best known for playing the role of Nicky Wheatley in the world’s longest running television soap opera, Kimberly is no stranger to St Helens.

Before she got her big break in Corrie, talented seamstress Kimberly worked behind the scenes in the costume departments of the Theatre Royal and Epstein Theatres, creating costumes for shows produced by Regal Entertainments Ltd.

St Helens Star: KimberlyKimberly

For her return, Kimberly is excited to be stepping into the bright lights of the stage to play the lead role in Cinderella, the hotly anticipated Christmas family pantomime at St Helens Theatre Royal – always a spectacular and glamorous production.

Cinderella will run at St Helens Theatre Royal from Saturday, December 3 2022 to Sunday, January 8 2023.

Tickets are on sale now from £18.

To mark her cast announcement, St Helens Theatre Royal and Regal Entertainments Ltd have released a behind-the-scenes image of Kimberly dressed as Cinderella working in the wardrobe department.

It was there, in that actual room at the Theatre Royal, that Kimberly took the call offering her the part in Coronation Street.

Kimberly explained: “I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the cast of Cinderella at St Helens Theatre Royal this Christmas. I have such fond and happy memories working in wardrobe behind-the-scenes on costume and set with Regal Entertainments, that it’ll feel like a homecoming. I’m excited to see all those lovely, friendly faces again – Chantelle, Jane and the team are like family.St Helens Star:


“It will feel a bit strange being out front on the stage and seeing the audience instead of looking after all those incredible stunning costumes – but now I’m going to be wearing them, so it’s the best of both worlds. Performing is my passion but I also love fashion, I’m a huge advocate of vintage clothing and repurposing garments. Playing Cinderella is going to be quite an experience, and I really cannot wait.”

Kimberly joins the Cinderella cast alongside Britain’s Got Talent performers Jamie Leahey and puppet Chuck, and comedian and musician Jon Courtenay, who were announced recently.

It’s a hometown show for teenager Jamie, who is from St Helens. Together with his side-kick pal Chuck, they wowed the judges and audience with their excellent ventriloquist act. In June, they made it to the BGT Grand Final finishing runner-up. Jamie and Chuck will appear as themselves as a speciality act in some of the performances.

Jon Courtenay is cast as Prince Charming’s right-hand man Dandini. Jon was awarded the Golden Buzzer by Ant and Dec, going on to become the Judges’ Choice in the semi-finals before winning the entire contest – becoming the first Golden Buzzer act to take the BGT title.

Jon won the TV show in 2020, he recently completed his first UK Tour, and is set to take his new solo play Against The Odds to the Edinburgh Fringe this Summer.

More cast will be announced shortly.

Theatre Manager Chantelle Nolan added: “Kimberly is a very welcome addition to the Cinderella cast. We watched her flourish as a seamstress, and now it’s so special seeing her grow as an actor. We have the real pleasure of nurturing talent through Regal Entertainments’ productions, so it’s always a privilege when we have the opportunity to welcome back talent – backstage to the lead role is a first for us, and it’s a very exciting prospect. We’re looking forward to becoming part of Kimberly’s next adventure, she is going to make a captivating Cinderella.”