CORONATION Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh will star in a world premiere at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre in the New Year.

Accrington-born Julie, who is currently appearing in her final dramatic storyline in Britain’s top soap, will appear in Blindsided at the theatre which opens on Thursday, January 23.

Julie, who has played Hayley Cropper for the past 15 years, will bow out among emotional scenes in the New Year and Blindsided will be her first role after leaving the soap.

Blindsided, written by Simon Stephens, is about a girl growing up in Stockport who falls in love with a man who breaks her heart. The production shifts in time between 1979 and 1997.

The cast will also feature another former Coronation Street actor, Rebecca Callard, who played Ruth Walsh in the soap. Julie will also be reprising her award-winning role as Sylvia Lancaster in Simon Armitage’s moving play Black Roses, about the murdered Bacup teenager Sophie Lancaster, which opens at the Royal Exchange at the end of February.

Blindsided runs from Thursday, January 23 to Saturday, February 15. Details from the box office on 0161 833 9833.