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Shirley Valentine marks Everyman's 60th

Liverpool actor Helen Carter will play Willy Russell's iconic Shirley
Liverpool actor Helen Carter will play Willy Russell's iconic Shirley

Liverpool's Everyman Theatre will celebrate its birthday year with a revival of Willy Russell’s mega-hit Shirley Valentine (March 1-29, 2025), featuring Liverpool actress Helen Carter as Shirley.

At 42, Shirley's zest for life is missing; she has an empty nest, an emotionally-distant husband and only "the wall" for company. When her best friend offers the trip of a lifetime to Greece, Shirley jumps at the chance to go...

Originally commissioned and staged by the theatre in 1986, the play is now one of the most successful one-woman plays and films ever staged.

Announcing the news, Willy Russell said: “I’m delighted to be back at the Everyman, a theatre that holds a special place in my heart. As it has done for so many writers, actors and directors in its 60-year history, the Everyman gave me my first opportunities as a writer.

"I can’t wait to work on bringing the play back home and seeing Shirley on the boards on which she was born”.

Willy Russell
Willy Russell

Willy Russell is one of the most celebrated and widely-produced writers of his generation, with works regularly seen across the globe. He has had a long association with the Everyman, which staged his breakthrough play John Paul George Ringo… & Bert in 1974, which transferred to the West End and won several awards. Further stage plays at the Everyman have included Breezeblock Park (1975) and Stags and Hens (1978).

After huge international success with Blood Brothers and Educating Rita, Russell returned to the Everyman in 1986 to write Shirley Valentine. Originally commissioned by the Everyman for the theatre’s 21st birthday by artistic director Glen Walford, Shirley Valentine opened with Noreen Kershaw in the title role and Glen directing. The show enjoyed huge success and an extended run.

Playing Shirley for the celebratory production, Helen Carter has several stage credits at the Everyman and Playhouse, including The Flint Street Nativity, Once Upon a Time at the Adelphi, No Wise Men, The Star, A Christmas Carol and Dead Heavy Fantastic. She most recently appeared at Liverpool’s Royal Court in Boys from the Blackstuff, soon to be seen at the National Theatre.

Director Stephen Fletcher has also worked extensively at the Royal Court as a writer and director. He has performed in three of Willy Russell's plays, Breezeblock Park, Our Day Out and Stags and Hens and alongside Helen in The Last 5 Years and Dead Heavy Fantastic.

Theatre CEEO Mark Da Vanzo said: “Bringing Willy’s celebrated Shirley home is the perfect end to our 60th birthday year. It’s a huge honour for us all to be working again with Willy and a wonderful opportunity to celebrate not just the Everyman’s past but look confidently to its future as well”.

Tickets for the show go on general sale from noon on May 1, priority booking from April 26.

More info here


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