West End star Kerry Ellis became quite emotional when she met the lions at the Born Free Foundation.

Kerry and Queen’s Brian May collaborated on a new version of the song Born Free, with added lyrics by the original songwriter Don Black that were personal to them. They also raised money for the foundation on their Born Free tours.

“We worked with Virginia McKenna and we actually moved some lions, it was a magical experience, full of emotion, quite something,’’ said Kerry. “An event moment in my life.’’

The musicians met when Kerry was in Cameron Mackintosh’s revival of My Fair Lady. She began as the second of two understudies to Martine McCutcheon, in the role of Eliza Doolittle, but soon found herself centre stage and Brian May was in the audience.

“He was casting for We Will Rock You at the time and saw me and asked me to audition,’’ said Kerry. “It was after I had appeared on the show that we got together to create the studio album, tour and become a duo, or an act whatever.’’

She has three studio albums under her belt, Anthems reaching number 15 in the UK album charts in 2010.

Kerry is the invited star guest for Swindon’s Rock Choir concert at the Wyvern Theatre on Sunday July 22.

She says that she has become really close to the rock choir in recent years and regularly uses them when she is on tour, as there are rock choirs all over the country.

“I love working with them, they are close to me and they love to sing,’’ said Kerry, who has not performed in Swindon before, but was special guest at Brian May’s Rock Against Cancer concert in Devizes.

After Kerry and Brian had performed a concert at RAF Cranwell they were taken up on a flight by the Red Arrows team.

“It was incredible, it was a sort of thank you. I think we were one of the last civilians to be taken up for a long time,’’ said Kerry.

The singer has a string of musical theatre credits both in the West End and on Broadway including Les Miserables, Oliver, Cats, Miss Saigon, Chess RENT and Wicked, earning her the nickname of the First Lady Of West End Musicals.

Kerry grew up in Suffolk and her very first foray into musical theatre was as a Munchkin in Wizard of Oz when she was nine.

“It is ironic to go from this cute little Munchkin to the Wicked Witch in Wicked.

“We went to Broadway with it and it was a bit of a dream but actually not much different from the West End because the show is the same, the people are the same and people love the show the same.’’

She says that Les Miserables was the show that inspired her to take up musical theatre as it was the first musical she saw as a child.

She went on to star in the West End version and to have a small part in the feature film.

“I loved the experience. They invited a lot of people who had appeared in the musical to be in the film, it was a who’s who? of British talent.’’

Kerry has also had a taste of straight acting taking on the role of Gwendoline in the classic Oscar Wilde play The Importance of Being Earnest. “That was a dream, working with Gwen Taylor and Susan Penhaligon, a lovely experience. The producer took a punt on me and afterwards said I was in his team now.’’

The singer is no stranger to working with known names as she appeared alongside Liam Neesum, Marti Pellow, Ricky Wilson and Jason Donovan in The War of the Worlds.

“That was really unusual, a bit different doing an arena tour to theatre. Ricky was a real performer, an entertainer. It was a huge multi media production.’’

Kerry is married to Luton Town football coach James Townsend and one of her highlights was being invited to sing the National Anthem at the FA Cup at Wembley.

“The whole family went, it was a good family atmosphere, and great to do something like that together.’’

Kerry will be joining the Swindon Rock Choir on stage along with Laurence Jones - Young artist of the year 2014, 2015, 2016 (British Blues awards). The concert is a sell out in aid of Brighter Futures Radiotherapy Appeal. For details about other shows at the Swindon theatres call 01793 524 481 or visit www.swindontheatres.co.uk