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New role sees Leah lighting up the stage

PUBLISHED: 10:48 23 February 2006 | UPDATED: 14:35 12 May 2010

Leah Bracknell in Gaslight

Leah Bracknell in Gaslight

SHE was voted best actress at the Inside Soap awards but now actress Leah Bracknell has made the transition from television to stage and is starring in Gaslight at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage. This is Leah's first role since leaving the soap dra

SHE was voted best actress at the Inside Soap awards but now actress Leah Bracknell has made the transition from television to stage and is starring in Gaslight at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage. This is Leah's first role since leaving the soap drama Emmerdale, but it is no surprise she has wowed audiences in this Victorian psycho thriller. Leah, 41, plays Mrs Manningham, a woman who thinks she is going insane. Set in the smog of Victorian London, Mrs Manningham has quite a journey. "You find out the truth of what is behind a dark and difficult relationship and it illuminates everything," she said. Playing the part of Mrs Manningham is a challenging, but refreshing role for Leah because it is something she has not had the opportunity to do before. Up until 2003 she played Zoe Tate, a schizophrenic lesbian in Emmerdale. She stayed with the soap for 16 years and coincidentally is acting alongside Peter Amory again, who played her brother in Emmerdale and now her husband in Gaslight. She said: "Theatre is an alien world to me so it was nice to work with Peter again." In Emmerdale, Leah was given two major storylines. In 1993, she was the first lesbian in a British soap and in 2002 she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. "It was my most rewarding storyline," she said. "The response we got from people who knew about the illness first-hand was always so positive. So I was really pleased we did it." Leah, who was raised in London and Oxford, first appeared on screen in a series called The Chiffy Kids for the Children's Film Foundation at 11-years-old. She later graduated from the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art before playing parts such as Marina in Perciles, Anna in Flying Visit and Jo in All Sewn Up. In the future Leah said she would like to do more television and theatre work and already has a theatrical project lined up. But she also has a secret ambition - to star in a French film. She said: "They make great films and I like the way they are made. "They often choose subject matter that is not dramatic or sensationalised but just about people. "Plus if you get older they don't think of women as being secondary players." - Gaslight will be staged at the Gordon Craig Theatre until Saturday, with performances at 7.45pm and 2.30am. Tickets are from £12.50 - £18.50.

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