Sheridan Smith returning to London’s West End as Shirley Valentine

Sheridan Smith is set to return to London’s West End in the 1986 comedy Shirley Valentine.

The one-woman play, written by Willy Russell, tells the story of a woman lost in marriage and motherhood but who still retains the will to dream for something more.

It will be directed by Matthew Dunster who last directed the 2021 West End thriller, 2:22 A Ghost Story, which received a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for best new play.

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Smith said: “As a mum now myself I’m delighted to be playing theatre’s best-loved mum.

“I am honoured to be entrusted by Willy Russell to bring his Shirley to life once again in the West End. Now, to practise cooking chips and egg!”

Smith, who had her first child in 2020, is best known for stage roles such as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde at the Savoy Theatre and Doris in Flare Path at Theatre Royal Haymarket.

The 41-year-old Emmy-nominated actress will also appear in CBBC’s adaptation of David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny Strikes Again!, which will air on Friday December 16.

Gangsta Granny
David Walliams and Sheridan Smith in Gangsta Granny Strikes Again! (BBC/PA)

David Pugh, the producer of the play and two-time Tony award-winner, said: “Back in 1986 I was lucky enough to see the first ever production of Shirley Valentine in Liverpool.

“I have begged Willy to one day let me produce a revival of Shirley Valentine when the casting was right.

“That day is now and both Willy and I believe that Sheridan Smith is the perfect Shirley Valentine.”

Russell’s play first premiered at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool with Noreen Kershaw playing the one-woman role.

Shirley Valentine will run at London’s Duke of York’s Theatre from Friday February 17 2023 for 12 weeks. Tickets are on sale today.