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20 Questions with... Mamma Mia's Dianne Pilkington

Musical theatre star Dianne Pilkington has recently taken over as Donna Sheridan in Mamma Mia! at the Novello Theatre

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Dianne Pilkington in Mamma Mia!
© Brinkhoff/Moegenburg
Where and when were you born?
I was born in Wigan on the 7th June, 1975.

What made you want to become an actor?
I wanted to become an actor because it was something I loved and which made complete sense to me.

If you hadn't become an actor, what might you have done professionally?
I would have been a teacher, maybe of History or English.

First big break?
Les Mis when I left college, and certainly Taboo was a great opportunity for me.

Career highlights to date?
Eek. Definitely Wicked, Sweeney Todd.... And Mamma Mia! has been wonderful and a great change of direction. I actually want to list everything, I have loved it all!

Favourite co-stars?
Oh I can't choose. Working with great friends is always a bonus (they know who they are).

What was the first thing you saw on stage that had a big impact on you?
Miss Saigon and Chess.

And the last?
I was really blown away by London Road.

Favourite ABBA song?
It changes daily, but at the moment I'm loving "Slipping Through My Fingers", and "One of Us".

Why do you think Mamma Mia! has been such a lasting success?
I think Mamma Mia! has a great formula which appeals to all ages, plus great songs of course. And it reinvents itself with each new person who plays in it, which keeps it fresh.

How are you making the role your own?
I have had so much encouragement from the creative team to bring a lot of myself to Donna, so she is quite feisty and Northern!

Kim Ismay, Dianne Pilkington and Jane Milligan
© Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

Are you enjoying the "Dancing Queen" jumpsuit?
I never thought I would enjoy a lime Lycra all in one so much!

Do you get recognised?
Not really - at stage door, sure!

Favourite composer?
I will always have a big love for Sondheim, but I have pretty eclectic tastes. There are so many talented new composers about. I have worked really closely with Christopher Hamilton, and recorded with him. His stuff is great.

What's your favourite post-show hang out?
Home... I have a 6 month old! Do rather like the vodka martini in the Opera Tavern though...

How do you unwind?
These days, with a cup of tea and an application of fake tan.

If you could swap places with anyone for a day, who would it be?
The Queen.

Who's your acting/singing idol?
Judy Garland!

Favourite film?
My favourite film? Wow. Probably The Slipper and the Rose. Or Withnail and I. Or Best in Show.

What's next?
I only just started here so who knows? Life has changed really dramatically for me this last year so I'm just enjoying where it takes me!

Dianne Pilkington is starring as Donna Sheridan in Mamma Mia! at the Novello Theatre