Verity Rushworth

Verity Charlotte Rushworth-Shaw (born 15 August 1985 in Bradford, West Yorkshire) is an English actress. She is best known for playing the role of Donna Windsor in the ITV soap opera Emmerdale from 1998 to 2014.

Life and career

Rushworth attended St. Mary's Catholic High School, Menston. She trained at the SLP College, Leeds.

In 1997, Rushworth had small roles in ITV television programmes such as Heartbeat. In 1998, at the age of 12, she went on to play her most notable role of Donna Windsor in the ITV soap opera Emmerdale, having taken over the role from Sophie Jeffery who played the part from 1993 to 1997. In an interview, Rushworth stated that Sammy Winward is her closest friend from the show.

In 2004, Rushworth appeared on a special soap stars edition of the popular ITV soundalike show Stars in Their Eyes, where she performed as former S Club 7 singer Rachel Stevens. In December 2006, Rushworth appeared in an Emmerdale edition of All Star Family Fortunes, with other members of the Windsor family.

In January 2007, Rushworth was a contestant on the celebrity singing contest, Soapstar Superstar, in which she came 9th. While on the show, she performed the following songs:

  • Day 1: Runaway (The Corrs)
  • Day 2: I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair) (Sandi Thom)
  • Day 3: I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Whitney Houston)

    In September 2007, she appeared on Ghosthunting With The Dingles with other members of her Emmerdale on-screen family.

    After appearing on Emmerdale for over 10 years, Rushworth filmed her final scenes at the end of 2008 which were later aired in January 2009.

    From 2 February 2009, she made her West End debut by playing the role of Penny Pingleton in the hit musical Hairspray, taking over the role from Elinor Collett. The show continued until March 2010.

    On 5 June 2010, Rushworth appeared on the BBC One programme Hole in the Wall.

    In October 2010, Rushworth took on the role of Sophie in Dougal Irvine's production of Departure Lounge at the Waterloo East Theatre with Steven Webb, Chris Fountain, Jack Shalloo and Liam Tamne.

    In January 2011, Rushworth took over the role of Maria in the UK tour of The Sound Of Music from Connie Fisher and also played the lead role of Penny Lane in the UK Tour of Carnaby Street - The Musical.

    She has expressed a wish and interest to appear in Fair City.

    Rushworth played the role of Velma in Chicago at Curve Theatre, Leicester from November 2013 to January 2014

    On 6 January 2014, it was announced that Rushworth would be returning to Emmerdale to reprise the role of Donna Windsor-Dingle after a five-year-absence. Rushworth began filming in February, and returned on screen on 19 March 2014. It was announced that she will be back as Donna for 5 months and departed on 15 August 2014.

    On the new tour of the Breakfast at Tiffany's (musical), which is planned from 2 May to 11 June 2016, she will share the role of Holly Golightly with Pixie Lott.

    Rushworth gave birth to her first child, a daughter called Amelie Iris on 8 August 2016.

    Rushworth played the role of Lauren in the West End production of Kinky Boots from 10 July 2017 to 2 June 2018, when she was replaced by Natalie McQueen, who will take the role of Lauren until the show closes in January 2019.


    ; Television:
  • Heartbeat - Lucy Keen (1997) - 1 Episode
  • Emmerdale - Donna Windsor-Dingle (1998–2009, 2014) - Series Regular, 1311 appearances

    ; Theatrical:
  • Hairspray - Penny Pingleton (2009–2010 London West End)
  • Departure Lounge - Sophie (2010)
  • The Sound Of Music - Maria (2011 UK Tour)
  • Annie - Grace Farrel (2011 - West Yorkshire Playhouse)
  • Seven Year Itch - Salisbury Playhouse - March 2012
  • Merrily We Roll Along (musical) - Theatr Clwyd - May 2012,
  • Chicago - Velma - (2013–2014 Curve Theatre Leciester)
  • And Then There Were None - Vera Claythorne (2015 UK Tour)
  • Kinky Boots - Lauren (2017 London West End)