Opera singer prepares for ‘homecoming’ performances

Janet Cowley as Sally Wragg in Her Benny, written by Anne Dalton.
Janet Cowley as Sally Wragg in Her Benny, written by Anne Dalton.

A Hartlepool-born professional singer is looking forward to returning to her native North East to perform to return ‘home’ to sing in a festive production.

Opera singer Janet Cowley will star in a musical adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at the Forum Theatre, Billingham next month.

Hartlepool-born opera singer Janet Cowley.

Hartlepool-born opera singer Janet Cowley.

She will play the roles of the Ghost of Christmas Past, Mrs Fezziwig and Mrs Cratchit.

Janet said she is particularly pleased to be in the show as it will mean working with female composer Anne Dalton who has written the lyrics and music.

She has worked with Anne on a number of previous occasions, most recently in February when Janet played the leading role of Sally Wragg in Anne’s signature musical Her Benny in a run at the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool.

Anne has been responsible for launching the careers of many music theatre performers including Sam Attwater, Ray Quinn and Nicky Swift.

Music composer Anne Dalton.

Music composer Anne Dalton.

Her musicals which have been produced in some of the most prestigious venues in the north of England.

Janet said: “I have been singing professionally in opera, operetta and music theatre for more years than I care to mention, and I have been waiting for the quality of the material she produces for most of my professional life.

“This woman is a hidden treasure of the music theatre world. It was an absolute gift for me to be given roles which had lyrics, music and dialogue written with utter sincerity yet with a clever sophistication.

“I am looking forward to collaborating with Anne once again in ‘A Christmas Carol’.

Janet Cowley in costume for Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe.

Janet Cowley in costume for Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe.

“Female composers are still a rarity, even today, and Anne deserves to be recognized for her brilliant music theatre compositions.”

Janet took up singing, following in the footsteps of her mum, Hilda, a keen amateur singer.

She went to Brinkburn Comprehensive School in Hartlepool where she sang in a number of Gilbert and Sullivan productions all produced by Duncan Graham who now Chairman of Hartlepool Male Voice Choir.

She later performed with the Gilbert and Sullivan Society in the 80s before training as a professional singer.

Janet has worked with many companies including the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company and toured extensively with Carl Rosa Opera.

A Christmas Carol runs at the Forum Theatre, Billingham, from Wednesday, November 7 to Sunday, November 11.

Tickets are £16 standard and £12 Concessions.