hree generations of British television actors bring to life deeply human, hilarious, outrageous, shocking and emotive stories in the hit show The Vagina Monologues at the Swansea Grand Theatre on Monday.
Sitcom favourite Diane Keen, presenter and actor Terri Dwyer and former Hollyoaks star Hollie-Jayu Bowes bring Eve Ensler's celebrated work which draws together interviews with more than 200 women to the stage.
Unravelling the deep thoughts and feelings behind her interviewees' experiences of love, sex, abuse and sexuality, Ensler originally delivered the monologues in 1996.
Since then The Vagina Monologues has taken on a life of its own, attracting famous names such as Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Oprah Winfrey, Susan Sarandon, Whoopi Goldberg, Jane Fonda in America and Kate Winslet, Maureen Lipman, Jerry Hall and Jenni Éclair in UK.
Each one has given a voice with great humour and respect to real women and their deeply personal stories. "There are certain shows that have become iconic and tour all over with a huge following," says Diane.
"It's something that actors want to be part of. I'm tickled pink I was asked and was available to do this show. The response I've had from Twitter since I first announced I was going to be in it has been extraordinary."
Diane has already carved out a varied career on the stage, credits of which include a season at the famous Bristol Old Vic and tours of Same Time Next Year, Ladybird. For Terri and Hollie-Jay, however, the stage represents a relatively new, exciting and daunting medium outside the structure and speed of television.
"I'm like a kid in a sweet shop," says Terri, who took time out from the demands of acting a few years ago to spend more time with her husband and two sons, aged seven and three.
"I always used to say TV and film is all I do, but if I'm honest, there was a bit of fear there because that's all I'd ever done before," she adds. "Then I did my first play at the Fringe venue in London, the Finborough, and I loved it.
"The theatre is where you can really develop a character in rehearsal and in some ways find yourself. The Vagina Monologues is three women playing lots of different characters from around the world – how often to you get to do that in a performance?"
Despite a little nervousness at first, Hollie-Jay says she's also really enjoying the spontaneity of theatre. She is delighted to have the opportunity to work on such a unique project as the Vagina Monologues — a play that was written only a few years after she was born.
"When you do one thing for years you almost forget what your abilities are," she says.
"I didn't know much about the Vagina Monologues until I first saw the script and then read the book. Being the youngest, I was really excited and nervous about working with Terri and Diane and learning from their experiences. It's a real sisterhood experience."