Shareesa Valentine is set to tread the boards at the Shakespeare North Playhouse in the lead role of Naomi and her journey into acting began with an episode of Coronation Street, as a little girl watching on the sofa and thinking ‘Who is that?’ as she saw Angela Griffin on screen.
A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction is a story about a stressed-out theatre worker called Naomi whose company, Zero Omissions, is touring a devised show called Climate Beasties.
The electricity for the performance is generated by pedal power.
Yes, they have got people on bikes cycling throughout the show to keep the lights on.
Also, there is a choir in the performance that has been formed with members of their local community.
We caught up with Shereesa to find out more.
When did you know you wanted to act?
When I was seven, Coronation Street was on and Angela Griffin came on the screen.
I asked my mum who she was and it was then that she explained what an actor/actress was.
Following that I decided I wanted to attend acting classes.
So, the journey properly began then as I fell in love with the craft.
Which actors have you admired and how have any of them influenced you?
Ruth Negga – her career and job choices have always intrigued me.
Her career has been varied and each character feels different.
It’s refreshing to see an actor who’s not scared of reaching outside of their comfort zone and trying new styles of acting.
I’m hopeful that I can apply that to my acting career.
Is there a teacher you would love to give a shout-out to for helping you navigate any part of your career path, or for motivating you?
Miss Noble, my year 5 teacher.
Her creative outlet was music and she inspired and motivated me for so many reasons, not just the acting side of things.
What do you love about Manchester?
The people and the great energy.
Whenever I have spent some time outside of Manchester, I’m always happy to come home.
If you could change two things about Manchester, what would they be and why?
I’d put the city near the ocean because I love the sound of sea waves crashing.
And I’d create a green space in Piccadilly Gardens.
I’d like to return it to what it used to be like with lots of nature instead of concrete. It’s important for people to get fresh air & be around nature.
A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction sounds intriguing. What attracted you to this show?
When I read the script I was intrigued by the subject matter.
Sometimes the topic of climate crisis can come across as intense and this script wasn’t.
So that was great.
It’s always a good sign when you enjoy reading a script and you don’t want to put it down.
The Shakespeare North Playhouse must mean a great deal to you as a Mancunian. How do you feel now that the North has its equivalent of the Globe?
It’s brilliant to have this special theatre in the North.
I think it’s a privilege to have such a unique theatre that is accessible to many people.
Can you give us two reasons why you would recommend this play to Manchester audiences?
It’s a brilliantly dark-humored northern piece of theatre that allows the audience to embrace the issues of climate change, loss, and grief.
The show is the first of its kind in the UK and it’s a great way to be a part of something inspiring and new.