Kinky Boots set to wow historic shoe-making city

Inspired by the true story of a shoe factory, Kinky Boots, the winner of every major Best Musical award, is set to wow audiences in Norwich, a city that was once the centre of a large shoe manufacturing industry.

Kinky Boots, heading to Norwich from September 17-28. Photo: Helen Maybanks.

Kinky Boots takes audiences from a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. Factory owner Charlie Price is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family footwear business of Price & Son. With the factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola, a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos.

The story will have particular resonance for audiences when it arrives at Norwich Theatre Royal from September 17-28. For more than 200 years, Norwich was one of the foremost shoe manufacturing cities in the country, with only London, Leicester and Northampton producing more footwear. It employed 12,000 people in around 30 factories, mainly making women’s and children’s shoes for famous brands such as Start-rite, Van Dal, Norvic and Bally.

The musical Kinky Boots was inspired by a 2005 comedy-drama film of the same name, and the show premiered in Chicago in 2012, making its Broadway debut in 2013 and opening at the Adelphi Theatre in London’s West End where it became a favourite with UK theatregoers.

It has won three Olivier Awards for Best New Musical, Best Costume Design and Best Actor in a Musical for Matt Henry who played central character Lola. Kinky Boots also won the London Evening Standard BBC Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical as well as three WhatsOnStage Awards for Best New Musical, Best Actor in a Musical and Best Choreography.

Smash-hot musical Kinky Boots, on stage from September 17-28.

Kayi Ushe, who is playing the role of Lola on tour, has starred in multiple West End theatre productions including Motown the Musical, The Book of Mormon and Crazy for You; while Paula Lane, best known for her role as Kylie Platt in Coronation Street (and also Anna Copping in Doctors, Wendy Kelshaw in Heartbeat and Geraldine in The Royal), will play Lauren and Joel Harper-Jackson, whose theatre credits include Mr Thompson in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (UK Tour) and Simon in Jesus Christ Superstar at Regents Park Open Air Theatre, will play Charlie.