Show milestone for Alison

Alison Thoburn as Shirley Valentine
Alison Thoburn as Shirley Valentine

Tomorrow, The Phoenix Theatre, Blyth are offering audiences the chance to catch Willy Russell’s laugh-out-loud comedy Shirley Valentine.

Playing the lead role of Shirley will be Northumberland–based actress Alison Thoburn, who has been associated with the theatre for the past 36 years.

Alison made her Phoenix Theatre debut at the age of 22, starring as a pregnant schoolgirl in A Taste of Honey. Since then, she has appeared in a staggering 150 productions, including plays, musicals and pantomimes. She has trodden the boards in The Importance of being Earnest, Abigail’s Party, Guys and Dolls, and Annie, to name a few.

Alison, 58, of Blyth, who works for the NHS in Newcastle, has spoken about her approach to playing Shirley.

She said: “This play is a gift for an actress, but also a challenge as you move from one emotion to the next, from laughter to tears and back to laughter again in a couple of minutes.

“This will be the second time I’ve been fortunate enough to play Shirley Valentine, and I’m enjoying getting acquainted with the part again.”

This play is a gift for an actress, but also a challenge as you move from one emotion to the next.

Alison Thoburn

She added: “People ask me how I learn all the lines and how I can stand there on my own for two hours. I reply that it’s actually easier when it’s just you, as you can control it better.

“It helps when the script is as good as this one is – it has a natural flow from one sequence to the next so this is what you memorise, which helps the words to flow.”

Alison will be taking to the stage of The Phoenix Theatre, from Thursday, July 2 until Saturday, July 4. Stage time is 7.30pm.

Tickets are priced £12.50 and £10.50, and can be bought from the box office by calling 01670 367228. Alternatively people can buy online at www.thephoen

Also from the theatre Monday to Friday, from 10am to 12.30pm, and Saturday, from 10am to 2pm, or on the door.