Shirley is coming to Westport

Going Out

KITCHEN COMEDY Actor Colette McGinty during rehearsals for ‘Shirley Valentine’.

‘Shirley Valentine’, Willy Russell’s hilarious comedy, is coming to Westport Town Hall Theatre from the November 25 to 27.
This heart-warming and critically-acclaimed play tells the story of a stuck-in-a-rut housewife who takes the chance to taste freedom and adventure on a holiday in Greece. Her children have grown and her marriage is stale. She is fed-up with her run-of-the-mill existence as a middle-aged housewife who only talks to the wall. Shirley has just been given a chance to go abroad for the first time in her life. Just thinking about this trip of a lifetime has caused her to reevaluate her youth, her marriage and motherhood. In this play, the audience joins Shirley in her kitchen for a good gossip, a good laugh and maybe a little tear in this clever, heart-warming comedy. 
This amateur production is being held as a fundraiser for the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation. This charity funds and delivers specialist home nursing and end-of-life care for children from birth to six years of age who have highly complex or life-limiting medical conditions. Jack & Jill support 402 families throughout Ireland, including families in Mayo. Each ticket to the show (€20 each) will help fund in-home nursing support, with all proceeds being donated to the charity.

Dream play
The title role of Shirley will be performed by local talent Colette McGinty. Her recent roles have been darkly comic, having played Maureen Folan in ‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane’, by Martin McDonagh (with St Patrick’s Drama Group) and Joan Smiley in Peter James’s ‘The Perfect Murder’ (Balla Drama Group).
Colette is looking forward to embracing the lighter side in this one-woman show. “It has been great fun getting to know Shirley over the last few months,” she reveals. “The script is an absolute gem – funny, thought-provoking and moving. Every rehearsal shows another side to [Shirley] and it has been great to get to play such a bubbly, witty character.”
The play is directed by Alanna Barrett. Alanna has been involved with drama her whole life, but in recent years she has stepped into the role of director and producer. A founding member of Castlebar Musical and Dramatic Society, she directed their first three musicals, plays and sketch shows around Mayo and Sligo.
Directing ‘Shirley Valentine’ has been one of Alanna’s dreams. “I love this play and this character. The script will resonate with anyone who has ever felt a little stir-crazy trapped in a humdrum life – something I think we’ve all experienced over lockdown in the last 18 months! Shirley speaks her mind and speaks truth, and I think audiences will find that hysterical and touching.”

Personal experience
Alanna also has another reason to be excited about this production. As a mother to a little girl with complex needs, she is full of praise for the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation, who have supported her family since 2018.
“It is wonderful to be able to run this play as a fundraiser for Jack & Jill. When my husband and I brought our little girl home from a long stay in Crumlin Children’s Hospital, Jack & Jill came into our lives and introduced us to our wonderful nurse, Trish. Having a qualified nurse available to mind our beautiful daughter Nóra has made all the difference in the world to our family.”
Carmel Doyle, CEO of the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation is thrilled her charity will benefit from the show. “I’ve no doubt that this theatre production of ‘Shirley Valentine’ will spark some much-needed joy and laughter for the audience,” she says. “We’ve all felt like talking to the wall throughout this pandemic! I want to thank and applaud Alanna, Colette and all the crew for choosing Jack & Jill as their charity partner and for showcasing and raising funds for our home nursing care support for children locally.
“Your time and your talent are very much appreciated and from our crew to yours thank you and ‘break a leg!’”

For tickets, contact Westport Town Hall Theatre box office on 098 28459 or visit