WITH a career in musical theatre spanning 25 years, Ruthie Henshall has plenty of tales to tell.

The 45-year-old singer, actor and former judge on TV show Dancing on Ice, is bringing the story of her life to Salisbury Playhouse with an intimate evening featuring many of her favourite songs from the shows, along with other, maybe unexpected, musical choices.

“I’ve always been very driven by lyrics and I’m using these songs to help tell my story,” she said. “So there’s some Beatles and Don McLean in there as well as songs from my top three roles in musical theatre, which are Polly from Crazy for You, Fantine in Les Misérables and Velma in Chicago.

“This tour is about me being me. It’s lovely not to have to stay in character and just be myself.

“The last time I did something like this was about 20 years ago, so obviously a lot has happened since then.

“There will be lots of stories about the people I’ve worked with too – I’m sure it will be a great laugh.”

Henshall made her debut in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats and has since appeared in the West End and on Broadway, winning many awards and enjoying a successful career as a recording artist.

She dated Prince Edward for two years and has travelled the world while attracting rave reviews.

However, behind the scenes, Henshall has also battled depression and heartache following the suicide of her sister Noel in 2007.

For now she is resisting the lure of the West End to spend time with her two daughters and concentrate on projects closer to home in Suffolk.

“The girls need me here now, and doing eight shows a week is an enormous drain,” she said.

“So I’m doing some teaching locally, working with young carers to give them the chance to experience theatre.

“I am determined it shouldn’t only be for those who can afford it.

“I’m also doing a few concerts, a little television and there’s my book, which got an incredible reaction.”

Last year Henshall published So You Want To Be In Musicals? which gives aspiring actors a candid insight into the realities of the business.

“It’s not an easy job,” she said. “You’ve got to love it. There’s no security and many performers need a second job.

Having said all that - it is wonderful.

“I am one of the lucky ones; I can’t take it for granted but I still feel that I have a lot to look forward to.”

An intimate evening with Ruthie Henshall Salisbury Playhouse Saturday, January 19 at 7.30pm Tickets £19/£17 from 01722 320333 salisburyplayhouse.com.

* RUTHIE Henshall’s appearance is part of a series of special one night events being held at the Playhouse.

On Friday, The Swingle Singers are celebrating their 50th anniversary and the current lineup of young and talented voices are bringing their unmistakable blend of unaccompanied virtuosic vocal agility to the venue.

Their show will cover a mix of music from Bach to The Beatles.

This Saturday popular playwright and Booker Prize nominee Michael Frayn will be in conversation with theatre writer John Miller in an afternoon discussion offering an insight into his work, covering his new novel Skios as well as theatrical favourite Noises Off and more.

Next Friday, January 18, there is a rare opportunity to see Guy Masterson’s solo performance of Orwell’s classic satire Animal Farm.

The show premiered in Edinburgh in 1995 and since then Masterson has performed it around the world. He is bringing the show to Salisbury as part of a strictly limited tour.

For tickets call the box office on 01722 320333 or visit salisburyplayhouse.com.