Shirley-Anne Field heads to Swansea
Star of the silver screen Shirley-Anne Field heads to Swansea this July to appear in the cemetery club. She speaks to Mark Rees about her career to date, and her family connections to the city.
"I've starred with so many great people that I couldn't single anyone out," says iconic film and television actress Shirley-Anne Field. "There's Steve McQueen and Robert Wagner (The War Lover). When I was 19 I worked with Laurence Olivier (The Entertainer). Albert Finney (Saturday Night and Sunday Morning), who was very considerate. And there's Daniel Day Lewis (My Beautiful Laundrette), who I knew even then was going to be a big star."
With such an illustrious career, Shirley- Anne also has difficulty singling out her biggest film. "I think I'm most known for Saturday Night and Sunday Morning," she says, "but there are so many others it's hard to say. You can't make great movies all the time, but I seem to make at least one each decade. Now I need to find one for this decade!"
Of all those decades, it is probably the 1960s that Shirley was at her most productive, when she appeared in blockbusters such as Alfie and Saturday Night. "The 60s were the busiest decade," she explains, "I did the most work then. But I wouldn't say it was the best decade. I was terrified, and young, and still learning then. And now I'm not as young, but still learning!" she laughs. "The 70s were eventful, and probably my favourite decade. I was busy being a mother, and I was out in the sun in South Africa."
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This July, Shirley-Anne comes to Swansea Grand Theatre to star in a week-long production of The Cemetery Club, which also stars Anne Charleston and Anita Harris. The play, based on the 1993 film of the same name, is a comedy about three American Jewish women who become widows at the same time, and meet once a month for tea and a grave-side visit. "It's a wonderful play from America," says Shirley-Anne, who plays the glamorous Lucille in the production. "We're playing women aged between 55 and death, and it's just a lovely feeling, coming out on stage as this Jewish New York woman, and really having the audience with you."
Coming to Swansea is something that Shirley-Anne is particularly looking forward to, as she has fond memories of performing here in the past, as well as a few relations to catch up with. "I do love coming to Swansea," she says. "I had a wonderful experience the last time I was in the Grand. And I have relatives in Swansea, too, and one of them owns a hotel there… it's called Morgans. Martin Morgan [owner of Morgans Hotel] is my second cousin, and I'll be visiting him and his lovely wife when I get there."
The Cemetery Club, Swansea Grand Theatre, Tuesday, July 24 to Saturday, July 28.