Something’s about to change for Mrs Shirley Bradshaw, mother of grown children and confidence eroded housewife. After decades of dull married life, mince dinners every Thursday and talking to the kitchen wall, her former self – the fearless Shirley Valentine – is fizzing to get out. And she’s ready to change everything. Even the wall.
First performed in 1986, Willy Russell’s comic monologue SHIRLEY VALENTINE opened to awards and rave reviews and was made into an Oscar nominated film. Three decades later its message that ‘it’s never too late to be yourself’ manages to kick off any clichés with a story that is engagingly human and warmly sympathetic.
"Quick-witted and bittersweet brilliance...a wonderful play." Broadway World London
“At times funny, at others desolating sad ... a moving celebration of the independence of the human spirit.” The Telegraph UK
Cast & Creatives
Willy Russell’s career spans more than four decades; born in Liverpool in 1947, he left school at 15, became a women’s hairdresser, part-time singer/songwriter before returning to education and becoming a teacher.
Russell’s breakthrough work, commissioned by Liverpool Everyman, JOHN PAUL RINGO…AND BERT transferred to the West End winning Best Musical – Evening Standard and London Theatre Critics Awards.
Two of Willy’s best-known plays have female protagonists, EDUCATING RITA (Olivier Award for Best Comedy) and SHIRLEY VALENTINE (Olivier Award – Best New Comedy & Best New Actress, Tony Awards, Broadway – Best Actress). Both became successful films – Julie Walters and Pauline Collins who played the roles on stage received Oscar nominations as did Willy Russell for the screenplay of EDUCATING RITA.
BLOOD BROTHERS, (Laurence Olivier Award, Best New Musical, 1983), played for 24 years becoming the 3rd longest running West End musical. Major foreign productions include a 2 year run on Broadway, with recent productions in South Africa and Korea and current productions in Australia and Japan. The UK tour is still playing to packed houses.
OUR DAY OUT, originally written for TV, about a school outing, has been adapted for the stage as OUR DAY OUT – THE MUSICAL. Premiered at Liverpool’s Royal Court in 2010 to rave reviews, it was revived a year later for another sell out season.
The critically acclaimed novel, THE WRONG BOY was published in 2000 and translated worldwide.
For further information please visit willyrussell.com
Mark is the Artistic Director of Ensemble Theatre.
For Ensemble’s 2018 season Mark will be directing SHIRLEY VALENTINE, REG LIVERMORE’S THE WIDOW UNPLUGGED OR AN ACTOR DEPLOYS and THE NORMAN CONQUESTS TRILOGY.
Recent directing credits include: NEVILLE’S ISLAND, TWO, ODD MAN OUT, RELATIVELY SPEAKING, BAREFOOT IN THE PARK, BETRAYAL, GOOD PEOPLE, MY ZINC BED, EDUCATING RITA, ABSENT FRIENDS, OTHER DESERT CITIES, THE ANZAC PROJECT, RICHARD III, THE GLASS MENAGERIE, FRANKENSTEIN, MANAGING CARMEN, RED, THE SPEAR CARRIER and HAMLET.
Mark’s recent acting credits include: Frank in EDUCATING RITA, Richard in RICHARD III, Hamlet in HAMLET, Otto in THE ACT, Angus in THE DRAWER BOY and Serge in ART.
Mark’s recent plays and adaptations include; RICHARD III (with Patrick Dickson), HAMLET (with John Trutwin), THE BIG DRY (based on the novel by Tony Davis), CASANOVA (based on the TV series by Russell T Davis), DIARY OF AN OLYMPIC CABBIE (Based on the book by Anthony Sharwood), MERCY THIEVES; HAPPY AS LARRY & VIV and ONE SHOT.
Mark is the recipient of two Norman Kessell Memorial Awards for an Outstanding Performance by an Actor for his roles in HAMLET and JAPES and was awarded the 2006 Hayes Gordon Memorial Award for Important Contribution to Theatre.
Cast - Shirley
Sharon returns to the stage after recently stepping out of the spotlight to work as Resident Director/Choreographer on the Disney blockbuster ALADDIN and Baz Luhrmann’s STRICTLY BALLROOM.
Sharon was last seen at the Ensemble Theatre in the smash hit one-woman show BOMBSHELLS (Glug Award), A PICASSO and LAST OF THE RED HOT LOVERS.
Other roles include Meg Giry in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s LOVE NEVER DIES, Anita in WEST SIDE STORY, Charity in SWEET CHARITY (Helpmann nom) Catherine in PIPPIN (Helpmann nom) Sofia in SATANGO (Sydney Dance Award) Belle in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Mo Award), Meg Giry in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, Velma Kelly in CHICAGO (Helpmann Award) Columbia in ROCKY HORROR SHOW (Helpmann Award), Sonia Walsk in THEY’RE PLAYING OUR SONG, Demeter in CATS, Cordelia in FALSETTOS, Little Red Riding Hood in INTO THE WOODS (Mo Award, Sydney Theatre Award) and Roxie Hart in CHICAGO (Helpmann Award, Sydney Theatre Award)
Set and Costume Designer
Simone Romaniuk is an award winning set, costume and festival designer who works between Australia and the UK. For Ensemble Theatre she has designed FRANKENSTEIN and CASANOVA.
Set and costume design credits include: Unicorn Theatre, London: THE HUNTING LODGE. RNCM, Manchester: LA VIE PARISIENNE. Queensland Theatre Company: MACBETH, VENUS IN FUR, KELLY, HEAD FULL OF LOVE, ELIZABETH: ALMOST BY CHANCE A WOMAN, BOMBSHELLS, FRACTIONS, THE REMOVALISTS, WAITING FOR GODOT, RUBY MOON, EATING ICE CREAM, BECKETT X 3, and THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED. Opera Queensland: THE MAGIC FLUTE, THE MERRY WIDOW, SPACE ENCOUNTERS and THE MIKADO. Sydney Theatre Company: THE CRUCIBLE and THYESTES.
Since 2015 Simone has been the designer for annual international arts festival OzAsia Festival at Adelaide Festival Centre. She was resident designer for Queensland Theatre Company across 2011- 2012 and was awarded Matilda Awards Outstanding achievement for Design in 2012 and 2014. She holds design degrees from NIDA and QCA.