Northern Ireland’s ultimate Dolly Parton tribute is back, as Donna Stewart is once again brings the songs and show stopping performances of the Queen of Country to stages across Northern Ireland.
After a temporary break following ill health, the 47-year-old is donning her blonde wig to bring a packed show of fan favourites to life, in a performance that will have everyone singing along to the likes of 9to5, Coat Of Many Colours, I Will Always Love You and Jolene.
Having already sold out dates in Lisburn, Belfast and further afield, Dolly’s Rockin’ Country Show has dates confirmed across the country between now and early next year, at venues such as The Stables, Groomsport on Friday November 30, Cabaret Supper Club, Belfast, on Thursday January 10, and Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast, on Saturday January 19.
“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 lead to a stream of bookings. My shows were very fast paced, two and a half hours of being ‘Dolly’ is a lot of fun, but exhausting. I pride myself on attention to detail, so I wear real hair wigs, custom made replica costumes and the trademark six-inch heels. After the shows I have a good chat with the audience and get photos with them.
“This meant I was on my feet for up to four hours. It was not good for my back that had given me trouble since I was 17 years old. Eventually I had to hang up my wig for about a year or so in order to spend time focusing on my health. I have several other chronic pain issues and I was also diagnosed with a brain aneurysm that could literally burst at any time.
“It was a very difficult decision to stop performing even temporarily. I never once said I would stop for good. Even at my lowest ebb.”
Now Donna is back revved up and ready to go again. “Eventually I realised I couldn’t be without Dolly in my life any longer so thanks to my wonderful partner Niall Toman and the rest of the Dolly show crew - Laura Hanna, Anne McAteer and Dale Armstrong - we’re back and bigger than ever before,” she continued. “The show aims to emulate country icon Dolly Parton at her 80s best right up until today. 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 at some point throughout the night.