Belfast’s iconic Strand Arts Centre is set to once again host the Queen of County as ultimate Dolly Parton tribute act Donna Stewart prepares to reprise her popular The Holywood Road arts centre will see the 47-year-old fill the aisles in a jam-packed show bringing fan favourites to life in a manner that should have everyone singing along to Parton staples such as 9 to 5, Coat Of Many Colours, I Will Always Love You and Jolene.
Since it was taken over as not-for-profit project the Strand has been a hub for creativity – following their sell-out show in March earlier this year Donna and the band are back with their hugely popular Dolly’s Jukebox show.
“I cannot wait to play the Strand again,” said Donna. “It is a building that resonates the history and culture of Belfast. Not just that it’s in the area I grew up so there’s a special feeling of homecoming to this show for me. To bring Dolly’s songs and style to the Strand is a privilege and we promise to rock it to the rafters!”
She has established herself as the embodiment of the Queen of Country but it was a dream that came true by chance.
“I started performing as Dolly in 2011,” said Donna. “It was just meant to be for one night at a friend’s birthday, but this led to a stream of bookings.”
After a brief break Donna is revved up and ready to go again with a series of dates that have seen standing ovations and rave reviews from audiences.
“Eventually I realised I couldn’t be without Dolly in my life any longer so thanks to my wonderful husband Niall Toman and the rest of the Dolly show crew Anne McAteer, Chantelle McAteer, Chris Logan, Tom Savage and Kenneth McClure, we’re back and bigger than ever before. It’s very much a team effort.
“Let’s face it, one of the best things I get to do is to dress up as Dolly.”
And, as always Donna and her team chose their tracks carefully.
“The show aims to emulate country icon Dolly Parton at her 80s best right up until the present day. We also play songs from classic country; we aim to please everyone.
“We carefully chose the greatest hits that people love and remember and even if you’re not a die-hard Dolly fan you’ll certainly catch yourself toe tapping and singing along at some point throughout the night.
“Having spent many years in musical theatre both as a director and producer and a performer we make sure to include the pizazz and vibrancy of a West End show no matter how big or small the venue we play in,” explained Donna.
Donna Stewart will perform as Dolly Parton with the Dolly’s Jukebox show at The Strand, East Belfast on August 22. To book visit www.strandartscentre.com.