EastEnders star Shona McGarty confirms new role after exit news

EastEnders star Shona McGarty has revealed her first role since announcing her exit from the Square.

Sharing the news via Instagram this week, the soon-to-be former Whitney Dean actress revealed that she'll be swapping Walford for the stage, joining an upcoming pantomime production of Beauty and the Beast at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford. She'll be playing the role of Belle from December 9 until December 31.

There will also be a familiar face joining McGarty on the stage, as ex-EastEnders star Harry Reid has also been cast in the performance. Reid played Ben Mitchell from 2014 until 2018, before current actor Max Bowden took over the role.

Related: EastEnders stars Shona McGarty and James Farrar on Whitney and Zack future

And a couple of the twosome's former co-stars on the soap were clearly pretty excited to see their new venture.

"Yesss Shone And reunited with @harryreidactor. I know already it's going to be a great show! Go smash it!!" wrote former EastEnders actor Ricky Norwood, who played Fatboy, in the comments section.

"Can't wait to watch you both x," added Ruby Allen actress Louisa Lytton.

In July, McGarty shocked fans by announcing that she would be leaving her role as Whitney Dean after 15 years in the square.

"I have decided to spread my wings and will be leaving EastEnders," she told The Sun. "I have loved my years in the show. I have been trusted with some incredible storylines and have made amazing friendships – and family – which will endure."

whitney dean, eastenders

Related: Exclusive: EastEnders' James Farrar responds to co-star's sad exit news

Whitney had been a huge part of Walford since joining the soap in 2008, with her character being involved in a number of eventful storylines including being abused by mother's partner Tony King.

More recently, Whitney embarked on a foster journey with partner Zack Hudson after losing their daughter Peach due to Edwards' Syndrome.

EastEnders airs on Mondays - Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One. The show also streams on BBC iPlayer.

Read more EastEnders spoilers on our dedicated homepage

Readers affected by this story may visit SOFT UK and Antenatal Results and Choices for further information and support.

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