ESK VALLEY THEATRE: Actress waits over 18 months to play "dream role" Shirley Valentine

A manchester actress has waited over a year and a half to play her dream role at the Esk Valley Theatre in Glaisdale.

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 1:22 pm
Updated Sunday, 25th July 2021, 12:12 pm
Ashley Hope Allan rehearsing for Shirley Valentine - Pic: Tony Bartholomew

When Ashley Hope Allan auditioned for the role of Shirley Valentine in November 2019, she could never have envisaged that it would be over 20 months before she finally set foot on stage.

The actress said she was really excited to have landed the part: “When my agent called to let me know I’d got it, I was driving the car and had to pull over.

“Anyone who saw me would have thought I was a mad woman as I celebrated.”

Ashley Hope Allan rehearsing for Shirley Valentine - Pic: Tony Bartholomew

Ashley, 43, has certainly had plenty of time to learn her lines. She said: “It’s a dream role. I love all of Willy Russell’s writing and I’ve been reading it for the past year.

“I’m the same age as Shirley Valentine, well she’s 42, but I would have been the right age if I’d played her last year!”

It’s a role Ashley was destined to play. She said: “I did the speech from the opening of act two where she’s talking to a rock when I was 11 at a drama festival.

“A woman came up to me at the end and whispered ‘I know your secret…. You’re not really from Liverpool… You’re from Kirkby!’”

Ashley Hope Allan rehearsing for Shirley Valentine - Pic: Tony Bartholomew

Ashley, who lives in Manchester said: “I can’t wait to get my scouse on! I’m a little bit giddy to be working again, especially in such a beautiful place.

“It’s such a gift of a part. What Willy Russell does so well is take ordinary life and make it extraordinary.”

Shirley Valentine can be seen at the Esk Valley Theatre in Glaisdale at 7.30pm Mondays to Saturdays from August 5 to 28, 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.

To book, call the box office on 01947 897587 or visit the website: www.eskvalleytheatre.co.uk