IT is a long way from the stage of the Doncaster Civic Theatre.
But Epworth actress Sheridan Smith is today the proud holder of one of the most prestigious honours in showbiz after picking up an Olivier award in London.
Sheridan was handed the honour, which is given to the cream of the crop appearing in West End musicals, at a glitzy ceremony at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
It follows her run in Legally Blonde - The Musical, and the actress wept tears of joy as she picked up the statue and thanked “everyone who let a chav play an American rich girl”.
Speaking backstage, she paid tribute to her family including her father, Colin, who accompanied her down the red carpet.
She said: “When they said my name my dad started crying and that just started me off. I’m a complete chav, I’m just a little scrubber from Doncaster and I can’t believe I’ve just won an Olivier award.”
She said the show was “pink and fluffy” and offered two-and-a-half hours of escapism to its audience.
Smith said she never thought her career, which started when she moved to London aged 16 to star in Bugsy Malone, would go this far.
She said: “I’ve worked in a burger van in Doncaster and I really thought I was going to go back there. I treat every job like it’s my last one.”
The star also revealed she was in discussions about appearing in a musical version of the best-selling book and hit film Bridget Jones’s Diary.
She said: “I’ve got my fingers crossed and my Spanx at the ready. I love those female roles.”
Legally Blonde also won the Best Musical award which was presented by Barry Manilow.
The award, for the 29-year-old actress who cut her stage teeth with the Doncaster Thespians Operatic Society, is the West End’s answer to the Oscars.
The former South Axholme Community School pupil took some of her first steps onto the stage as Annie in a Doncaster drama group production at Doncaster Civic Theatre in 1995, and also performed as a youngster at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.
Mum Marilyn, dad Colin, and brother Damian all made the journey to London to see Sheridan pick up her award.
Marilyn described her daughter as a self-deprecating, natural, northern girl.
She said: “It was such an amazing night. There were so many big names there. Sheridan had not prepared a speech because she hadn’t expected to win. Colin was proud as punch when he went down the red carpet on his daughter’s arm.
“She never expected to do so well in the musicals. She sometimes doesn’t believe in herself, but then everyone can see how good she is when she goes on stage.”