Jodie Prenger plays the title role in Shirley Valentine
Jodie Prenger plays the title role in Shirley Valentine

Heart-warming comedy Shirley Valentine marks its 30th anniversary with its first major revival, a major new UK tour starring West End actress Jodie Prenger in the title role.

It will be performed at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal from Monday to Saturday, May 27.

Willy Russell’s comedy premiered in 1986 and took the world by storm. It was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film starring Pauline Collins and Tom Conti.

Shirley is a Liverpool housewife whose children have left home.

She makes chips and egg for her husband while talking to the wall and wondering where her life has disappeared to.

Out of the blue, her best friend offers her a trip to Greece for two weeks and Shirley secretly packs her bags and heads for the sun where she starts to see the world — and herself — very differently.

Willy Russell, who was also responsible for Educating Rita and Blood Brothers, said: “It is now 30 years since Shirley Valentine first walked on to the page, into my life and the lives of so many others.

“Shirley cooked her first meal of egg and chips on the stage of the Everyman Theatre Liverpool before then hoofing it down to London where along with the cooking and talking to the wall she started picking up a string of awards.

“Since those early days Shirley has had an incredibly rich and varied life, appearing in many tongues across the globe in countless productions and being performed by many great actresses.

“The one thing Shirley Valentine has not done of late is extensively tour the UK. There have been approaches and plans mooted but, somehow, it has just never quite felt right and so I have resisted such efforts — until now.

“When producer Adam Spiegel introduced me to Jodie Prenger I knew in an instant that here was a formidable actress, one who possessed the grit and the warmth, the drive and the vulnerability, the energy and the heart to make Shirley Valentine really live again.”

Jodie Prenger is perhaps best known for winning the role of Nancy in the West End production of Oliver! through the BBC television series I’d Do Anything.

Most recently Jodie toured the UK in the classic musical Tell Me On A Sunday.

She also played the title role in the national tour of the musical Calamity Jane and has starred in One Man, Two Guvnors both in the West End and on tour and as Lady Of The Lake in Spamalot.

Jodie is also a regular presenter on BBC Radio 2.

Glen Walford, director of the original production, will also direct this major revival.