Verity Rushworth is leaving Emmerdale to join the cast of Hairspray.

The actress is quitting her role as Donna Windsor Dingle in the ITV1 soap to play Penny Pingleton in the hit musical in London’s West End.

Verity told the Halifax Courier: “Penny is a bit of a geek. She is bespectacled and frumpy and can’t dance to save her life.”

The role requires Verity to don a wig and speak with an American accent – a far cry from the rural setting of her old job.

She said: “I started in Emmerdale when I was 12 and have loved every minute of it. But in recent years I’ve wanted to take a break and work in the theatre.”

Verity, whose final Emmerdale episode airs on January 30, joins the cast along with veteran actor Nigel Planer.

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