Claire Sweeney brings 80s classic Shirley Valentine to Salisbury

Claire Sweeney in Shirley Valentine at Salisbury Playhouse February 2020

Published at 10:29am 26th February 2020.

3 minute read

She's starring in the one woman show for a run at the Playhouse over the next couple of weeks.

The new production of the Willy Russell play is on until Saturday 7th March.

Claire Sweeney in Shirley Valentine at Salisbury Playhouse February 2020
Claire Sweeney on stage in Shirley Valentine

It tells the story of Shirley, who's feeling fed up and emotionally trapped in her marriage after the kids have grown up and left home.

She's offered the chance to leave Merseyside for a holiday to Greece and battles her own fear and guilt to take the plunge.

Shirley leaves a note for her husband to escape to the sun and discover herself and the outside world.

The title role's played by Liverpudlian Claire Sweeney, who you'll know best from TV shows like Brookside and Celebrity Big Brother, as well as stage roles in Chicago and Tell Me On A Sunday.

In fact, she's the only person in the cast and she's been speaking to Spire FM's Martin Starke about the role: 

Shirley Valentine was made into a film in 1989, starring Pauline Collins and Tom Conti.

But the play came first, with the opening night at Salisbury Playhouse ending with a standing ovation for Claire Sweeney.

Claire Sweeney in Shirley Valentine at Salisbury Playhouse February 2020
Claire's character Shirley Valentine leaves behind her 'boring' life in Liverpool for a trip to the sun in Greece

Ian Talbot OBE is directing this production, and said: 

"This is the first time that I have directed Shirley Valentine although I have admired the play for many years. It celebrates the independence of women in a marvellously humorous way. I worked in Liverpool during the eighties and found it difficult to keep up with their quick wit! I have known Claire for a few years but never actually worked with her. She is perfect casting as is also very quick witted, I hope I can keep up with her!"


The show's on at Salisbury Playhouse until Saturday 7th March.

Tickets are available by calling the Box Office on 01722 320333 or by visiting the Wiltshire Creative website.

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