Singer Michelle excited to appear at Riverside Theatre TWICE next month on stage where she began career

A former student at the Coleraine campus of Ulster University says she is “excited and blessed” to be returning to the Riverside Theatre – TWICE in the next month to perform.
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Award-winning singer Michelle Baird will appear on the same stage at the Riverside where she took her first steps into amateur dramatics with Portrush Music Society back in the early 90s.

Now Head of Marketing with the Ulster Orchestra, Michelle is also a renowned singer and in February she is coming to the Coleraine venue twice to perform with her husband in their 1950s Rock ’n’ Roll band, The Soda Popz, and then again with West End star Mike Sterling.

Michelle said: “I was a student at Coleraine from 1991-1995 and it was honestly some of the best days of my life. I met some truly wonderful people, many of whom I’m fortunate to still be in touch with including members of Portrush Music Society.

Singer Michelle Baird who will be taking a walk down memory lane as she appears on stage at the Riverside Theatre in Coleraine twice next month - the stage where she began her career. Credit Michelle BairdSinger Michelle Baird who will be taking a walk down memory lane as she appears on stage at the Riverside Theatre in Coleraine twice next month - the stage where she began her career. Credit Michelle Baird
Singer Michelle Baird who will be taking a walk down memory lane as she appears on stage at the Riverside Theatre in Coleraine twice next month - the stage where she began her career. Credit Michelle Baird

"My landlady in first year was the lovely Christine Stringer and she brought me along one night to a rehearsal as I’d said I enjoyed singing. Up to that point I’d done many dance and music festivals, concerts through church and shows in school but had no idea about the exciting and fun world of amateur dramatics. I was hooked and to my shock, landed the lead role of Reno in Anything Goes.”

After graduating, Michelle went on to play roles including Mabel (Pirates of Penzance), Laurie (Oklahoma), Yum Yum (Hot Mikado) and Sarah (Guys ’n’ Dolls): "The latter in which I met my future husband, although we didn’t know that at the time!” added Michelle.

The Soda Popz will be appearing at the Riverside on February 10 where Michelle will get to share the stage with husband Matt.

"With The Soda Popz I get to share the stage with my husband Matt, the guy I met back in 2003, my long time friend who became my partner in life years later in 2012. Matt is now a professional actor with his most recent role in the BBC drama Blue Lights.”

Singer Michelle Baird who will be taking a walk down memory lane as she appears on stage at the Riverside Theatre in Coleraine twice next month - the stage where she began her career. She is pictured here singing with her husband Matt and their band Sodapopz. Credit Michelle BairdSinger Michelle Baird who will be taking a walk down memory lane as she appears on stage at the Riverside Theatre in Coleraine twice next month - the stage where she began her career. She is pictured here singing with her husband Matt and their band Sodapopz. Credit Michelle Baird
Singer Michelle Baird who will be taking a walk down memory lane as she appears on stage at the Riverside Theatre in Coleraine twice next month - the stage where she began her career. She is pictured here singing with her husband Matt and their band Sodapopz. Credit Michelle Baird

And on February 24, Michelle will appear in ‘The Phantom Returns’ with former West End Phantom Mike Sterling who brought the house down with the same production last year.

Michelle said: “ Phantom is my all-time favourite show and to have the opportunity to not only perform with someone as amazingly talented as Mike, but to do it at the Riverside, was just a dream come true.

" I remember getting quite emotional at the rehearsal as I was standing on the stage where I played my first lead role, as a student, and now I was singing the famous ‘All I Ask of You’ duet with someone who played the actual Phantom and Raoul in the West End.

"It was all too much! The show went brilliantly and so it was an easy decision to bring it back in 2024. I’m so excited and feel so blessed that I get to do this.”