The glamorous Hollywood star Mischa Barton joins forces with the iconic TV soap star Anne Charleston, better known as Madge Bishop in Neighbours, for the Irish stage version of Steel Magnolias, which opens in The Gaiety Theatre in Dublin, and will tour countrywide, from September 2012, sponsored by Littlewoods Ireland.

Based on the 1989 film with Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, and Julia Roberts, Steel Magnolias tells the story of pretty young Shelby Eatenton, to be played here by Mischa Barton,—a diabetic, who, following her fairy-tale wedding, risks pregnancy and her life by having a baby.

Twenty-six year old Mischa Barton, an acclaimed actress and model, was born in London to an Irish mum, Nuala Quinn, and is delighted to be performing on stage in Ireland for the first time in her career. Having worked on five new films in the past eighteen months, most recently starring in the supernatural romance thriller ‘I Will Follow You into the Dark’ to be distributed this year by Sony, playing Shelby in Steel Magnolias is a welcome change of pace for the busy actress.

Steel Magnolias is based around Truvy’s exclusive Beauty Salon in small-town Louisiana, and among the local clientele is the loveable, but highly eccentric and grumpy, Ouiser Boudreaux, who is played by Anne Charleston. Famed for her role as Madge in Neighbours, and more recently for playing Lily Butterfield in Emmerdale, Anne Charleston has

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lived for a number of years in Galway, taking on stage and TV roles between the UK and Ireland.

Steel Magnolias is an emotional and witty rollercoaster ride, billed as ‘the funniest play ever to make you cry’! Directed by the acclaimed Irish theatre director Ben Barnes, the Irish stage premiere, produced by the independent Irish theatre company Solar Theatre, will tour the country for eight weeks this autumn taking in Dublin, Cork, Killarney, Limerick, Galway, Castlebar, Drogheda and Derry

Producer Anna Fox of Solar Theatre Productions says that, as well as being the best ‘girls night-out’ in a long time, Steel Magnolias is a play with considerable depth, spanning fun, friendship, hope and tragedy, that will appeal to a wide Irish audience.

‘For 1980s nostalgia, female solidarity, and a measured study in human relationships, Steel Magnolias has something for everyone, and this major Irish production has a strong line-up of top Irish and international actresses who will more than bring the story to life’ Anna Fox says.

Tickets are priced from €20 and will be available from Ticketmaster and www.SteelMagnolias.ie

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