The Menier Chocolate Factory revivals of Willy Russell's Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine opened last night (26 July 2010 (previews from 8 July) after their transfer to Trafalgar Studios 1, for a limited 16-week run.

Tim Pigott-Smith takes on the role of Frank (replacing Larry Lamb), opposite Laura Dos Santos in Educating Rita, while Meera Syal reprises the title role in Shirley Valentine.

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF EDUCATING RITA & SHIRLEY VALENTINE's 1st NIGHT PHOTOS,
JUST CLICK ON THE "NEXT >" LINKS BELOW THE FOLLOWING FRAME.
PHOTOS BY DAN WOOLLER FOR WHATSONSTAGE.COM.

The revivals, which finished at the Chocolate Factory in May this year, coincide with the 30th anniversary of Educating Rita, the two-hander that centres on an under-privileged hairdresser who goes to University and develops a special relationship with her tutor. Originally commissioned by the RSC in 1980, it was made into film, starring Julie Walters and Michael Caine, in 1983.

Shirley Valentine (1986) covers similar thematic territory, comprising a monologue delivered by a bored middle-aged Liverpool housewife who seeks escape and adventure abroad. It also successfully made the transition to the big screen, in 1989, starring Pauline Collins in the title role.