Brenda Edwards makes her directorial debut with the 2024/25 Major UK and Ireland tour of Hairspray 

Words: Sophia A Jackson
Published: Wednesday, 04 September 2023, 12:19am

Paul Kerryson and Brenda Edwards. Photo © Ellie Kurttz
Paul Kerryson and Brenda Edwards. Photo © Ellie Kurttz

Producers Mark Goucher, Matthew Gale and Laurence Myers are delighted to announce that Brenda Edwards (Loose Women, ITV; We Will Rock You, London Coliseum) who has previously played “Motormouth” Maybelle in three tours of Hairspray will join the creative team alongside Paul Kerryson (ChicagoSweeney Todd; Curve Theatre) to direct a new production of Hairspray which will embark on a major national UK and Ireland tour in 2024. Choreographed by Olivier Award winner Drew McOnie (In the Heights, King’s Cross Theatre; Jesus Christ Superstar, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) the major national UK and Ireland tour will open in Manchester at the Palace Theatre on 16th July 2024 and tour through to July 2025.

Brenda Edwards said: “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be invited by the producers to make my directorial debut on the show as a co-director with Paul Kerryson. Hairspray, and this production in particular, has been such a huge part of my life. The show’s story and themes are as relevant as ever and I cannot wait to hold the open auditions to discover a new cast and work together to present a vibrant new production of this timeless musical for everyone to enjoy.”

Spanning a career of more than 18 years across television, film and stage, Brenda Edwards rose to fame following her success on The X-Factor in 2005. In 2006, she was presented with the Screen Nation Award for Favourite Reality TV Star and went on to become a regular panellist on ITV’s Loose Women as well as presenting BBC’s Songs of Praise and ITV’s Carols at Christmas (both in 2021). In 2022 she began working as a presenter for QVC, with whom she has since created her own clothing line, BeU by Brenda Edwards.

Brenda’s extensive career on the stage has seen her play iconic roles including Killer Queen in We Will Rock You (Original UK Tour, West End and London Coliseum), Mamma Morton in Chicago (West End and UK Tour) and “Motormouth” Maybelle in Hairspray (UK Tour). Other highlights include sold-out concerts at the world-famous Ronnie Scott’s, London’s Pigalle Club, and at the Barbican for Brenda Edward’s Gospel Christmas produced by Raymond Gubbay. Brenda is proud to have independently released her Debut Album Bring It Back (check website for details).

After breaking box office records and delighting audiences in the West End, on Broadway and on the big screen since 1988, the timeless story of Hairspray centres around heroine Tracy Turnblad, who has big hair, a big heart, and big dreams to dance her way onto national TV, and into the heart of teen idol Link Larkin. When Tracy becomes a local star, she is able to use her newfound fame to fight for liberation, tolerance, and interracial unity in Baltimore. But can she win equality – and Link’s heart – without denting her ’do?

Hairspray is a musical based on the 1988 film of the same name which starred Divine and Ricki Lake by cult filmmaker John Waters. With music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, Hairspray originally opened to rave reviews on Broadway in 2002 and subsequently won eight Tony Awards.

The production opened in London at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 2007 and won four Laurence Olivier Awards including Best New Musical. Proving to be an international success, Hairspray has also played in South Africa, Japan, South Korea, China and Dubai. Following the musical’s phenomenal success on stage, a film of the musical was released in 2007 which starred John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer and James Marsden.

This iconic musical comedy featuring some of musical theatre’s best hit songs including  Welcome To The 60s, You Can’t Stop The Beat and Good Morning Baltimore by Academy Award, Tony and Emmy-winning duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman will visit venues including:

Manchester Palace (16 – 27 July)
Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff (29 July – 3 August)
Canterbury Marlowe (6 – 10 August)
Liverpool Empire (19 – 24 August)
Belfast Grand Opera House (26 – 31 August)
Milton Keynes Theatre (2 – 7 September)
Southend Cliffs Pavilion (9 – 14 September)
Birmingham Hippodrome (16 – 21 September)
Edinburgh Playhouse (7 – 12 October),
Sheffield Theatres (14 – 19 September)
New Wimbledon Theatre (21 – 26 September)
Nottingham Theatre Royal (4 – 9 November)
Newcastle Theatre Royal (11 – 16 November)
Hull New Theatre (18 – 23 November)
Bradford Theatres (25 – Sat 30 November)
Southampton Mayflower (6 – 11 January)
Aberdeen His Majesty’s Theatre (20 – 25 January)
Glasgow Kings Theatre (27 Jan – 1 February 2024), Further dates will be announced in due course.

Open Auditions will be held in November 2023. Please visit the website for more details: