By Willy Russell
Starring Norma Sheahan
Directed By Michael Scott
Designed By Michael McCaffery
Following its sell-out run at Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre in October 2021, treat yourself to an evening of laughter and triumph, as Norma Sheahan, one of Ireland’s leading dramatic actors, breathes new life into Willy Russell’s effervescent and iconic character SHIRLEY VALENTINE.
Trapped in a dreary marriage and humdrum life, Shirley wonders when she lost her hopeful, youthful self. With no support from her demanding husband, snooty neighbour, or self-absorbed teens, Shirley resorts to full-blown (although somewhat one-sided) conversations with her kitchen wall.
So, when a divorced friend asks Shirley to go on a vacation to Greece, she bravely gathers
what remains of her dignity and begins a humorous and uplifting voyage of rediscovery.
Shirley with ever-opening eyes, begins to see the world – and herself – in a different light… but will she ever go back to being “St Joan of the fitted units”?
*Proof of full vaccination or else a recovery from COVID-19 certificate in the past 6 months is mandatory for patrons over the age of 18 to attend this performance. A valid form of ID is required to check certificates.*
Norma Sheahan is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice covers Theatre, TV, Film, Playwriting, Podcasting, Stand-up, Radio & Voiceovers.
Since graduating from RADA she has performed in theatres across Ireland and the UK including The Royal Court, The Abbey, The Traverse, The Gate, Westminster Theatre, Bloomsbury Theatre, The Gaiety, etc
Her favourite roles were in VAGINA MONOLOGUES, The Gaiety’s CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN and Enda Walsh’s BEDBOUND, for which she won Best Actress.
Norma’s Comedy Tour - HEAL YOUR HOLE WITH NORMA SHEAHAN was cut short by covid, but she turned it into a hugely successful Podcast Series of the same name, now on its 75th episode.
Last Summer Norma filmed on HOLDING by Graham Norton, and worked with Jane Seymour on HARRY WILD. Other screen work includes THE CLINIC, BRIDGET & EAMON, MOONEBOY, DEAD STILL, DAMO & IVOR, RIPPER STREET, NEWBOY, HANDSOME DEVIL, ONDINE, A DATE FOR MAD MARY, etc
She has also enjoyed working with Colin Farrell, Chris O’Dowd, Sharon Horgan, Steve Coogan, Paul Rudd, Neil Jordan, Kathy Burke, Kathy Bates, Michael Madsen, Rik Mayell, etc
Norma has written plays for RTE Radio1 and for Bewley’s Theatre, and also TV sketches for RTE. Her new play SINK OR SWIM has received a development grant from Dun Laoghaire Arts Office, in association with The Mill Theatre and Mentor Pamela McQueen.
Michael Scott is a writer, composer, theatre director and international producer. Funded by the Arts Council, he received his theatre training in Europe and has been Theatre Director of the Project Arts Centre, Programme Director of Dublin Theatre Festival, Director of the Tivoli Theatre Dublin, RHA Downstairs and SFX City Theatre. Currently Artistic Director of the City Theatre Dublin, His productions and music have been seen in Ireland, England, Germany, the USA, Iceland, Wales, Scotland, Italy and France, and on the WWW.His music is available on all digital platforms. As Author &Director: Plays & adaptations include Dracula, With Christopher Nolan Torchlight And Laser Beams for the Dublin and Edinburgh Theatre Festivals. Dracula (RHA & Tivoli), Brendan Behans' The Hostage (An Giall) with Niall Tobin, Fragments Of Isabella with Gabrielle Reidy for stage and film. Those Three Days (Pro-Cathedral Dublin & Divis-Cathedral-Belfast) with Stephen Vernon, The Agamemnon (Red Kettle), and The Yellow Man (with Pauline Bewick). In 2019 his play The Valley Of The Squinting Windows was a complete sell out receiving an Irish Times Theatre Nomination. Currently he is funded by the Arts Council / to create a new choral setting for The Song of Amergin and is also commissioned by Mullingar Centre for the Performing Arts, to create a stage play based on the international bestseller WHEN ALL IS SAID by Anne Griffin.
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 George 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 the last few years, Willy has been working on painting, developing his ideas and experimenting with line, colour and form. During 2017 Willy’s artwork was exhibited for the first time; “Another Aspect” at the Kirkby Gallery, Liverpool and “Seeing Better” at the Coningsby Gallery, London.
Willy Russell continues to be one of the most celebrated and widely produced writers of his generation with works regularly being produced throughout the world as well as in the UK
For further information - willyrussell.com twitter.com/willyrusselluk