KATY Clayton is struggling to put into words what it has been like to be part of the musical phenomenon that is The Band.

The show, featuring the music of Take That, is (almost) heading back to where it all began when it comes comes to The Lowry, Salford Quays, next week following a run over Christmas in London’s West End.

“It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind - I still can’t quite believe what has happened over the last 18 months,” said Katy, who has been part of show since its world premiere at Manchester Opera House in September 2017.

“It’s crazy to think that we’ve done nearly 400 shows and we will have played at 34 theatres by the end of the tour in March.

“It’s all just crazy. I can’t believe I’ve done it and that I’ve been in the West End.”

Bringing the show to The Lowry is a special treat for Katy, 24, who grew up in Egerton.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat on those purple seats at the Lowry and watched so many different shows,” she said. “I remember watching Carlos Acosta there a few years ago. I’ve always dreamed of being on stage there. I think I’ll have to pinch myself when I’m looking out on that sea of purple knowing that I’m on the other side.”

The Band is the story of a group of girls whose lives revolve around a pop band - played by Five to Five, chosen through the TV show Let It Shine. We see the girls as teenagers and meet them 25 years later, still dreaming of meeting their heroes.

Katy plays young Heather, the comedian of the group.

“There really is something so special about this show,” she said. “The amount of people we see coming back time and time again is amazing.

“I think some of the fans have almost done the tour with us! They follow us to different parts of the country.

“It’s so lovely that the audience gets so much joy from it. But it’s a story about friendship, it’s so relatable and is such a truthful story and for us it’s wonderful to play every night. Plus there’s the soundtrack of Take That. You can’t really go wrong can you?”

Katy, who attended Turton High School before doing a degree course at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, acknowledges that being part of The Band is something special.

“We’ve all gone on this journey together. We knew it was going to be a roaring success but I don’t think any of us were prepared for what we’ve experienced,” she said.

“There is a team of 43 of us in the show including all the crew and apart from a handful of new faces backstage, we have all be involved in the show from the start. It really is a family and to all get the opportunity to experience everything we have done together has been wonderful.”

Members of Take That have been very hands-on with the show as producers and still attend the odd show.

“It’s really nice when they do pop in. They came to see us in Aberdeen and when I got to the stage door it was all gated off,” said Katy. “I had to convince security that I was in the show for them to let me through.”

Wasn’t she perhaps tempted to release her inner diva and ask ‘don’t you know who I am?’

“I’ll never be one of them,” she laughed. “I’ll always be my same charming northern self, don’t you worry.”

The Band is due to end its UK tour in March.

“I try not to think about it too much,” admitted Katy. “I get quite emotional about it. It’s been a crazy two years.

“We had nine weeks off in the summer and for the first couple of weeks it felt so strange not to be with those familiar faces every day. So it’s going to be really strange in March. But we won’t be saying goodbye, it’ll be a ‘see you later’ because I know I’ve made some lifelong friends on this show.”

Katy, whose dad John is managing editor at Radio Lancashire, got her first role when she was just six on Coronation Street and also spent four years in the drama Where the Heart Is?

So would she like to return to TV after her tie in The Band?

“What next? That’s the dreaded question for most actors,” she laughed. “To be honest I just love every element of performing. There’s nothing quite like the buzz of standing on stage but I was in front of a camera from age of six so I would love to do some TV work as well. As long as I’m performing, I’m happy really. I think you have to be adaptable and open to playing all kinds of roles. I’m up for anything and excited for what the future holds.”

But before then she’s determined to make the most of her time in The Band.

“I know it’s a magical time. I just want to live in the moment,” she said.

The Band, The Lowry, Salford Quays, Wednesday, January 16 to Saturday, January 26. Details from 0843 208 6005 or www.thelowry.com