After a decade living in London, North Coast actress Jayne Wisener is happily settled back in Coleraine with her husband and young family and gearing up to star in the stage show of Terri Hooley’s life.

The popular stage show, Good Vibrations is set to make its debut at the Grand Opera House this spring.

Based on the award-winning film which tells the story of Belfast punk legend Terri Hooley, actress Jayne Wisener will take on the role of Terri’s ex-wife Ruth.

Speaking to Local Women just ahead of the show’s rehearsals, the Ballymoney-born star revealed she is excited to be part of such a well-loved story but of course nerves are inevitable.

“It’s such a popular show and was a huge hit last time it was on,” she comments.

“It’s a Belfast story and seems to have a special place in people’s hearts. The audience really resonate with it so I’m absolutely thrilled I get to be a part of the Good Vibrations’ family this time around.

Janyne Wisener and Glen Wallace, who are set to star in the new adaptation of Good Vibrations

“There is always a little pressure going into any role and I think the fact that Ruth is a real person adds to that as I want to do her justice. Niamh Perry played the role before and was incredible but I’ve spoken to her and she’s been very supportive.

“The actor playing Terri is different this time as well so I think the fact that we’re both new, with two different energies takes the pressure off somewhat.”

The Lyric Theatre production starts in the Grand Opera House in May before making its US premiere at the Irish Arts Centre, New York in June.

“It’ll be amazing, I haven’t been to New York in over a decade so I’m really looking forward to not only being there but working there,” Jayne enthuses.

It won’t be Jayne’s first taste of big city life though as she has only recently returned to Northern Ireland after a decade away, with her and husband Wayne swapping the bright lights of London for the quiet Coleraine countryside.

“We moved back to Northern Ireland in December 2020 because we wanted to raise our family here. We now have two boys who are four and one and we just felt we could give them a better life here, plus they get to be close to their cousins and my family.

“We were there for over IO years but we’ve no regrets about moving back. We had a family trip to England last May and we were so stressed out – I just couldn’t believe we used to live there. As soon as we got to Coleraine I could feel the anxiety dropping from my shoulders.

“Wayne is English but he prefers it here. It’s so laidback and we have beaches in every direction so in the summertime we drive for five or IO minutes and feel like we’re on holidays. We’re very lucky.”

Jayne first shot to fame alongside Johnny Depp in the hit movie SweeneyTodd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street when she was just 19. Now, aged 35, she is a familiar face on both stage and screen but is just as unassuming as when she first started out.

“Sometimes I don’t feel like I’ve been busy but then I’ll have to print out my CV for something and it will hit me just how fortunate I have been in my career,” she muses.

“Sweeney Todd was my first job and there was a lot of pressure on me after that but it was an experience I am so, so grateful for.

“It was a huge production to be involved with and I was young and inexperienced so it was quite overwhelming at the time but it opened a lot of doors for me throughout my career. It’s something that’s still always attached to my name even though I’m probably recognised more for The lnbe­tweeners.”

Speaking on how she balances work alongside motherhood Jayne said: “lt’s not that I’m less ambitious, I just think I’m more choosy and less desperate. Before I consider a role I need to make sure it will work with my family.

“Like any working parent it’s a juggling act. It’s a nice job though in that when I’m not working I’m here with them all the time so they get a lot of me.”

While Jayne has spent the last few years predominantly doing stage work and loves it she did have a battle with stage fright along the way.

“For a long time I preferred screen work because of the stage fright, the thought of doing theatre terrified me. I think things changed once I had my first son. I just had to get over it because I had nappies to pay for and needed to work!” she laughs.

“I was doing Kiss Me Kate at the start of 2020 and I remember telling myself that I just had to try and enjoy it because you never know what’s going to happen. And then Covid happened and theatres shut down. Since then I’ve been extremely grateful for every job and tried to get the most out of it because you really never know what’s around the corner.”

Janye and Wayne (left) Enjoying the Beach (right)

Jayne had a very special audience member for a show she did in the MAC at Christmas as her eldest son got to see his mum on stage for the first time: “I was playing the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella and he came to see it with his cousins.

“None of them have ever seen me do anything before and it was such a magical show so it was brilliant for them. He now makes me sing the opening number every single night at bedtime!”

Looking to the future and asked if she can see either of her sons following in her footsteps she replies: “I really, really hope not! My eldest said something recently about wanting to do it but I’m hoping he’ll snap out of that phase and want to do something else. He’s very artistic but I hope he sees me stressed and thinks ‘no I’ll just keep my head down and earn a regular wage’.

“That said the industry has been very good to me and I’ve been lucky. When it comes to choosing between TV, film, panto or theatre I really can’t. I love them all for different reasons.

Similarly I always struggle to name a dream role. For me any job that’s good fun, gives me a sense of achievement and works alongside my family is the dream.”

Catch Good Vibrations at the Grand Opera House from May 9-20.

Photograph credit to Carrie Davenport

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