The movers and Shakers
Retro comedy Shakers promises a real night on the tiles when it comes to the Lyceum Theatre in Crewe. Zita Collinson talks to Nantwich-based actress Pippa Fulton about her time in Fame Academy and her latest role working as a waitress in a cocktail bar
SEVEN years ago, Pippa Fulton took part in a BBC programme called Fame Academy.
The show has of course now given way to the Saturday night ratings juggernaut that is The X Factor, but Pippa still has fond memories of her time on the 2002 series.
The 27-year-old actress and singer, who lives in Nantwich with her Crewe Alexandra footballer boyfriend Clayton Donaldson, was fifth to be sent home by the Fame Academy judges.
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"It was brilliant," says Pippa. "A bit of a whirlwind experience but I've got nothing but good things to say about it. It was difficult because I'd never been away from home up until that point.
"I'd been singing since I was 14 and had been in a band, performing in and around Hull. To do that on my own was daunting.
"The format of the show was a cross between Big Brother and Popstars, so we lived in a house and the cameras followed us around. It's weird how you acclimatise to it and get used to it. You do forget that the cameras are there."
Since then she's continued to plug away steadily in the world of showbiz and music. She was one of the first females on the programme to be awarded a record deal and is now about to release a dance record, Always More.
"I've never not been in the industry," she says. "I've not necessarily been on TV a whole lot but I've been heavily involved musically and doing gigs."
Pippa is also starring in John Godber and Jane Thornton's play Shakers, with the Hull Truck Theatre company.
Set in the 1980s, Shakers follows four cocktail waitresses working at a bar. First staged in 1985, it's considered to be a female version of Godber's most successful play, Bouncers.
"The play is about four cocktail waitresses and we play all the different characters who come into the bar, during the night," says Pippa. "It's all about our perception of these people. It's totally fast-moving and is a typical, stylistic Godber play.
"I've worked in a coffee shop where I had to serve people and I completely understand where it's coming from. You see lots of different characters.
"If you're a fan of the 1980s, there's loads of references to it. I was born in 1982 but I love the music, shoulder pads and the big chunky earrings.
"We get to wear some crazy makeup in the play and I have to have my hair blow dried curly.
"When I go out after the show's finished, I worry what people are going to think of me."
Joining Godber's company seems a natural progression for Pippa, who is originally from Hull. But if that move seems like a home from home, Pippa is looking forward to a welcome respite from hotel stays when the Truckers' tour of Shakers stops off at the Lyceum Theatre in Crewe next week.
It means she can commute to work from her Nantwich home – and see her boyfriend.
"While I'm on tour I don't get to see Clayton much, but I'm completely excited to come back to Crewe because I'm coming home," she says.
"We've been together for nearly four years. We were friends before we started going out properly and have known each other for a long time.
"I started to work for Hull Truck Theatre this year," Pippa continues. "It's so nice to work for and is a real family. I'd be really lucky to keep working for them."
Shakers runs from Tuesday, October 13 until Saturday, October 17, at the Lyceum Theatre, in Crewe, at 7.30pm. Telephone the box office on 01270 537333 for tickets and further information.