She broke a nation’s heart following her harrowing storyline as Sinead Tinker in Coronation Street.
Now Katie McGlynn will be leaving theatre audiences on their edge of their seats as she stars in the stage adaptation of Peter James’ best selling novel Wish You Were Dead which comes to The Lowry next week.
An accomplished TV actor, Katie spent seven years on the Street before her dramatic exit in 2020, she has also appeared in Hollyoaks and got her first break in Waterloo Road.
But Wish You Were Dead marks her first major stage role.
“I’m really excited about it but it’s also a bit surreal,” said Katie. “I’ve done panto before but to get to be part of such a great stage production working with some amazing actors is something that I have always wanted to do.
“I’ve really been brought up on TV; that is what I know and what I’m comfortable with but I love being challenged. That’s why when this came to me and I read the script I said ‘I really want to do this’.”
Wish You Were Dead is the sixth Peter James novel to be adapted for the stage. Katie will star alongside George Rainsford who plays DSI Roy Grace and Casualty and Vicar of Dibley star Clive Mantle.
“If you have seen the Grace series on TV, this story sort of carries on from where they left off,” said Katie, who plays Cleo Morey, Grace’s partner. “But the great thing is you don’t need to have read any of the books or even know anything about DSI Grace to enjoy this production. It is a standalone story.”
As if being part of a major UK tour wasn’t a hard enough way to make your stage debut, Katie has also had to cope with coming in to the production halfway through its run. She has taken over the role of Cleo from Giovanna Fletcher.
“I suppose it has been a bit more challenging,” said Katie. “For the first week of rehearsal I got to work with the director on a one-to-one basis which was brilliant; then we had to work around the cast’s schedule.
“We would work on stage between 12 and 5 two or three times a week in between their show times and I would do extra work on my own.”
One bonus of joining the production while it is on the road has been being able to actually sit and watch it like a normal audience member.
“I deliberately didn’t watch the show before I started with rehearsals,” said Katie, “as I wanted to talk to the director and talk about my ideas for the character but having seen it, that’s been really helpful.
“It makes things clearer and from an audience point of view it is a brilliant show.”
Being part of the production has also made Katie more determined to read more.
“I’d not read any of Peter James books before doing this although I do like crime thrillers,” she said. “It has made me want to set aside more time to reading.”
Katie’s exit from Coronation Street was part of one of the most dramatic storylines ever seen on the top TV soap. Her character, Sinead, was diagnosed with cancer while pregnant and refused treatment so that her child could live.
It was a role which won Katie a National Television Award and also helped raise awareness of cervical cancer.
“Raising awareness was one of the reasons why I so wanted to be involved in that storyline,” said Katie. “Nearly everybody been affected by cancer in some way and her being young and pregnant brought in so many different elements.
“I think Coronation Street is such a brilliant platform to show these hard hitting storylines. I jumped at the chance to do it. To be able to touch people on that level in their own living rooms transcended it just being a TV show.
“Me and Rob (actor Rob Mallard who played partner Daniel Osbourne) knew it would have some impact and knew it was long running story but we didn’t realise how big it would be.
“I still get messages and get stopped in street about this storyline and still get people getting quite emotional about it more than two years later.
“You can win an award or get a good review. That doesn’t matter to me, the fact that it’s still affecting people now in a positive way; that’s why I wanted to do it. It kind of says to me ‘you’ve done your job’ and that’s what I love.”
Katie is clearly not one to shirk a challenge - she took part in Strictly Come Dancing in 2021 partnered by Gorka Marquez.
“I don’t want to regret not doing something,” she said. “I think you should just go for it otherwise you can just end up drifting. With this show, don’t get me wrong I am nervous, it’s a brand new thing. I’m working with new people and I am out of my comfort zone but I love that. I’m just so excited to be able to bring the show to The Lowry.”
Wish You Were Dead, The Lowry, Salford Quays, Tuesday, May 23 to Saturday, May 27. Details from www.thelowry.com