Casey Stoney and the Manchester United Women's squad pose for a group photo with West End actress Mazz Murray

IWD: When United Women met a West End star

Manchester United Women head coach Casey Stoney recently met up with Mazz Murray, star of hit West End musical MAMMA MIA!, in a collaboration to mark today’s International Women’s Day as part of the club’s #allredallequal campaign.

In reciprocal visits, the leaders in their respective fields discussed their roles, the close crossover between sport and entertainment, plus the importance of empowering fellow women.

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Casey Stoney and Mazz Murray inside the Novello Theatre in London
Watch the trailer for 'Centre Stage', a special show coming soon on MUTV.

As part of the link-up, lifelong United fan Mazz spent a day with Casey and her players at Leigh Sports Village, taking part in a kickabout at the end of a training session. The West End star then gave a captivating workshop for Casey and her squad, telling them about her life in theatre and even putting them through some singing challenges!

Afterwards, Casey presented Mazz with a MAMMA MIA! United shirt and MAMMA MIA! creator Judy Craymer and Mazz gave Casey and her team some exclusive Dynamo T-shirts in support of Target Ovarian Cancer. Every T-shirt sold helps fund life-saving awareness, research and support, spreading the word a little further to save lives in the future.

A few days later, Casey made a visit to London’s Novello Theatre to see Mazz and have a look behind the scenes before meeting some fellow United fans in the MAMMA MIA! cast.

The two visits gave a fascinating insight into the comparisons of life in the spotlight, on the pitch and on stage, as they discussed their respective journeys to the top and their current roles as leaders within their industries.

The collaboration is part of the club's EMPOWERED campaign which is designed to inspire everyone in the United family. It features messages from our women's team in a powerful video and some exclusive photography. Themes such as happiness, belief, commitment and the need for mental strength are highlighted. This campaign is the latest chapter of the club’s #allredallequal equality, diversity and inclusion programme. It follows the high-profile anti-discrimination video HATRED and the recent initiative designed to challenge inappropriate language around mental health – IGNORED.

United Women head coach Casey Stoney and theatre star Mazz Murray
Casey and Mazz discussed the similarities in their respective fields of work.

Casey and Mazz spoke of the pressure and motivation that comes with their positions, the need to set an example to their teams and empower those around them, the challenge of dealing with critics and the importance of making time for fans who turn out to watch and support them.

Mazz Murray speaks to the Manchester United Women's team.
Mazz hosted a fascinating workshop for Casey and the girls as she discussed her life on stage.

“I think at Man United we have the opportunity to change the face of women’s football,” said Casey, during her chat with Mazz. “For me it’s about giving back to the game – the game that gave me so much and changed my life. Football brings people together, it brings communities together and it speaks to people in a way that no other sport can.

“You know yourself, Mazz, that when you stand up on stage you know that someone has come to your show and walked out afterwards and it’s changed their weekend for the better. That’s what we want here at United – we want people to come to the game and walk out afterwards feeling great.”

Manchester United Women's head coach Casey Stoney poses with theatre actors Garrett Tennant, Sophie Matthew, Neil Moors and Mazz Murray
Mazz introduced Casey to her fellow Reds in the MAMMA MIA! cast - Garrett Tennant, Sophie Matthew and Neil Moors.

Highlighting the similarities between Casey’s role and what she does as a stage actress, Mazz added: “When I first saw MAMMA MIA! 21 years ago, it was the first time I’d seen a show that was about women and about friendships and a mother coping on her own with her daughter. It was really inspiring, and I hoped it would last a long time so I would eventually be able to play that leading role. It’s such a female-led show and it provides a lot of joy to everyone who watches it.

“The show’s producer and creator Judy Craymer, my boss, is the queen of MAMMA MIA! – she had the idea for this show and got it off the ground, and the same with the movies as well. She’s the real hero of the show. She’s an inspiration to all of us.”

You can watch the full programme on Casey and Mazz, ‘Centre Stage’, on MUTV on Wednesday 11 March. Visit MAMMA-MIA.COM to find out more about the show and to book tickets.

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