Willy Russell’s classic comedy Shirley Valentine at the Esk Valley Theatre near Whitby

A professional theatre company located in the midst of the glorious North York Moors National Park is presenting one of the UK’s best-loved comedies this summer.

Monday, 26th July 2021, 10:13 am
Updated Monday, 26th July 2021, 10:14 am
Ashley Hope Allan in rehearsal for Shirley Valentine - pic: Tony Bartholomew
Ashley Hope Allan in rehearsal for Shirley Valentine - pic: Tony Bartholomew

Willy Russell’s one-woman show Shirley Valentine has won numerous awards, including two Oliviers and a Tony, while the film version starring Pauline Collins and Tom Conti was both Olivier- and BAFTA-nominated.

Middle-aged Shirley Valentine, a bored housewife from Liverpool, takes a holiday to Greece with a friend who promptly abandons her for a holiday romance. Left alone, she meets the charming taverna owner, Costas…

Director Mark Stratton says: "Shirley Valentine is the third Willy Russell play we’ve produced at the Esk Valley Theatre; it’s always a joy to direct his work. He has an economy of style and precision in his writing that always hits home and his ability to capture the wit and humour of Liverpudlians is second to none".

Ashley Hope Allan in rehearsal for Shirley Valentine - pic: Tony Bartholomew

This classic story of self-discovery stars Ashley Hope Allan who recently appeared in Coronation Street as the TV medium Crystal Webber. Other screen credits include Emmerdale, The Crown and Nuzzle and Scratch. Her stage appearances include A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merry Wives of Windsor and As You Like It for the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival, and Sally Bowles in Cabaret.

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The Esk Valley Theatre is located in the historic Robinson Institute in Glaisdale, eight miles west of Whitby. It was set up in 2005 by Mark Stratton and Sheila Carter.

Mark Stratton has had a varied career in theatres across the UK.

Ashley Hope Allan in rehearsal for Shirley Valentine - pic: Tony Bartholomew

He has also appeared in numerous TV shows and films, including with Anthony Hopkins in the movie Across the Lake, as a guest detective opposite Felicity Kendall and Pam Ferris in Rosemary & Thyme and most recently as an American professor opposite Vidya Balan in the Bollywood movie Shakuntala Devi.

Mark has also appeared in over 20 pantomimes; this year he will play Widow Twankey in Aladdin at Cast, Doncaster.

Sheila Carter trained as a dancer and has had a successful career as a choreographer, working for many of the UK's leading theatre companies.

She has had a long association with Alan Ayckbourn, working on many of his premieres at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, several of which have toured and transferred to the West End.

She choreographed By Jeeves, the Alan Ayckbourn and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, which ran in London, played at several theatres in the USA and ended up on Broadway.

She directed and choreographed Where is Peter Rabbit? which enjoyed two successful runs at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

Sheila has also choreographed for film and TV, including Jayne Eyre directed by Franco Zefferelli.

Shirley Valentine can be seen at 7.30pm Mondays to Saturdays from 5 to 28 August, with 2.30pm matinees on 7, 12, 14, 17, 19, 24, and 26 August. There will be a post-show ‘talkback’ on Wednesday 18 August.

Tickets are available from the box office on 01947 897587 or visit the website: www.eskvalleytheatre.co.uk