Suzanne has always wanted to perform and claimed at only 3 years old that she wanted to go to Hollywood. She says: ‘I don't know where it all comes from because none of my family is in the entertainment industry in any way. I think it all comes down to how I grew up. My next door neighbour loved going down to dance classes and because I looked up to her and wanted to be her, I went along to dancing as well. It was her who got me into the entertainment industry.’
She started ballet lessons at the age of 2 and by the age of 3 was attending the Janet Lomas Ballet School. Her classmates included her best friend Helen Halstead and experienced actress Suzanne Goldberg, founder of the Monday Night Shakespeare Club. Suzanne travelled to galas across the UK and won several competitions.
Aged 8 she went on to the Lupino Dance School, Bury and The Freelance Dance Studio, Newcastle where she trained in Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Modern. She was told that she would never make it as a Ballerina so moved onto to acting.
Suzanne went to school at St. Mary's primary school in Radcliffe. Here she started to learn to play the recorder and violin. An old classmate said of her: ‘She was always destined for stardom from a very early age, always in stage shows/on TV. A lovely girl, star netball player too! Nice to hear of someone doing really well for themselves.’
Suzanne also studied acting and appeared in her first show Annie as Molly aged 5.
She joined the All Saints Operatic Society, Elton and then the Prestwich Amateur Dramatic & Operatic Society. Suzanne appeared in various productions including Carmen, The Sound of Music and The Little Mermaid. Molly Binns remembered her in Carmen: ‘She was only in the chorus, but she stood out a mile. I thought she had a fantastic voice.’
Aged 9 Suzanne appeared as Kim in Showboat at the Manchester Palace Theatre and at the London Palladium in the west end.
Suzanne went on to St. Gabriel’s RC High School in Bury where she learned to play the Saxophone and played netball and football for the school. Her former drama teacher Mr. John Keating said of her: ‘She’s a fantastic singer with such a wonderful pitch, as well as being a very talented actress. From the age of 14 I knew she was going to make it. That was her absolute ambition. She’s completely focused.’
1n 1993 Suzanne started training with the musical theatre director and choreographer Anthony Williams. He recalled hearing Suzanne sing for the first time: ‘You just knew her voice was special, she sang a song for me from the Little Mermaid and was sensational.’ Every week, she would make the 80 mile round trip to his studios to develop her talents.
‘It was always singing, singing, singing,’ says her grandmother Margareta Crolla. ‘She wasn't bothered very much about going out like some teenagers. She always wanted to become famous.’
She starred as Helen Watson in the Children’s Sci-Fi drama Elidor which was shown on BBC1 in 1995. Elidor was a 6 part drama series based on a 1965 fantasy novel by Alan Garner. It follows 4 siblings as they stumble across the Kingdom of Elidor and are called upon to help the defeated King to rescue the world from the forces of evil. The Royle Family star Ralf Little made his TV debut in one of the episodes.
Suzanne’s parents split up when she was 14 and she lived with her Mum, Janet and her stepfather in Orwell Close, Bury.
Suzanne always remembered school as being a chore and was targeted by jealous classmates. Her Mum Janet recalled: ‘Suzanne was never precocious or big-headed but some of her classmates just couldn’t handle it. It was horrible. She tried to avoid them but they always found her.’ Despite this Suzanne still managed to get a respectable 9 GCSE’s.
Suzanne trained in acting, music and dance at The Oldham College in 1998/99 and studied at the Oldham Theatre Workshop. She gained her BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts with extra units in acting essentials and devising and developing performance. A tutor recalls: ‘She was a good team player, enthusiastic and involved in all the activities. She was ambitious and always willing.’
Suzanne flourished in such a creative environment; she was introduced to musicals like Chicago and Cabaret and did a project on Bob Fosse. She learned the workings of show business from agents and professionals brought in to educate the students. She had access to top notch facilities including recording studios and performed in the chorus of Bob Fosse’s Pippin in Oldham’s Grange Theatre. Suzanne said: ‘The whole thing helped me become independent and brought me out of my shell. My confidence grew and it prepared me brilliantly for my career.’
At Oldham she trained under Joan Illingsworth who Suzanne describes as: ‘one of the best, someone I respect a great deal. It would be accurate to call her a dream maker; she helped make my dreams come true. Joan gave me confidence and belief and she taught me a lot about performing and much of what she told me has proved so useful. I can't thank her enough.’
Suzanne was part of The Right Stuff, an ABBA tribute band with her best friend Helen Halstead, Stephen Evans and her ex-boyfriend Andrew Warner. She auditioned for the band by singing Ironic by Alanis Morissette. The group travelled up and down the UK, doing gigs in clubs, hotels and at weddings. They also performed on ferry cruises and toured in Europe and Dubai. Asked if she ever get tired of constantly singing Abba songs? ‘No, I love them! I could never get sick of those songs!’ Suzanne grinned. Her favourite song to sing was ‘The Winner Takes It All.’
In 1998 Suzanne appeared as murder victim Hayley Morrison in BBC1’s Manchester police drama City Central. She was in episodes ‘Parallel Lines’ and ‘Justice to be done’ of series 1.
In 2000 Suzanne had a bit part as Tanya Cunningham, the daughter of a domestic abuse victim in Holby City series 2 episode ‘Into the Woods.’ Waterloo Road and Land Girls actor Mark Benton played her father.
Suzanne came close to a part in Coronation Street as the hairdresser Maria Sutherland. She made it to the final three along with Girls Aloud member Kimberley Walsh, but lost out to Samia Smith. Her Dad Vinnie said: ‘She was so disappointed not to get the Corrie part. She thought she might really be in with a chance after she got down to the last two or three. I told her 'It may be a blessing in disguise. Something better could be just around the corner'. And boy was it!’
She did several TV commercials including one for Esso and was picked for a major face wash campaign but it never made it to broadcast.
Before hear’say she also worked in telesales and spent her spare time song writing.
Suzanne is currently busy working away at several projects including her upcoming role in the comedy horror film Neighbours from Hell.
Kym has just celebrated 10 amazing years walking the cobbles on Coronation Street. Her character Michelle Conner has become a fond fixture on our screens. Here's to many more happy years with Corrie!
Johnny and his lovely wife Lisa are busy teaching at their very own Dubai Performing Arts Academy. For more info and class details see www.dubaiperformingarts.com
Huge congratulations to Danny and his gorgeous new wife Victoria who are now happily married! They are already busy touring all over the UK with their fantastic group The Big Soul Corporation. For dates see www.dannyfosteronline.com
Myleene is as busy as ever juggling numerous work projects and has just launched her fabulous 2016 swimwear range for Littlewoods.