Sheilas Island
Sheila's Island Rehearsal image featuring Judy Flynn (Sheila) wearing a hard hat and holding a flare while looking confused
Rehearsal Photography: Craig Fuller
Sheila's Island Rehearsal image featuring Abigail Thaw (Denise) and Rina Fatania (Julie)
Rehearsal Photography: Craig Fuller
Sheila's Island Rehearsal image featuring Sara Crowe (Faye), Judy Flynn (Sheila), Abigail Thaw (Denise) and Rina Fatania (Julie)
Rehearsal Photography: Craig Fuller
Sheila's Island Rehearsal image featuring Abigail Thaw (Denise) and Rina Fatania (Julie)
Sheila's Island Rehearsal image featuring Rina Fatania (Julie)
Rehearsal Photography: Craig Fuller

The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre presents

Sheila’s Island

  • Show Information
  • Company

The Office meets Lord of the Flies meets Miranda…

Sheila’s Island is a sparkling, sharp-witted new comedy from writer Tim Firth (Calendar Girls, Kinky Boots, The Band), starring Olivier Award winner Sara Crowe (Private Lives, Calendar Girls, Four Weddings and a Funeral), Rina Fatania who won the Best Actress in Theatre category at the Eastern Eye Awards, for her ‘perfect comic timing’ in Love and Stuff at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Judy Flynn (The Brittas Empire, Dinnerladies) and Abigail Thaw (Endeavour).

Bonfire night 2019, Sheila, Denise, Julie, and Fay are Team C in Pennine Mineral Water Ltd.’s annual outward bound team-building weekend. Somehow, Sheila has been nominated team leader, and, using her cryptic crossword solving skills, has unwittingly stranded her team on an island in the Lake District.

Our intrepid heroines find themselves manufacturing weapons from cable ties and spatulas, and create a rescue flag with plastic plates and a toasting fork.

Questions are asked; truths are told; dirty washing is aired.

Is it possible to build an adequate night shelter with a prom dress and a sleeveless jumper? What is Julie’s husband really up to in Aldi? And why are they on this bloody team building exercise when they could be at a spa?

We can’t wait to welcome you to the theatre and we’re taking active steps to ensure that everyone can feel safe, relaxed and enjoy the show. Read our latest Covid measures here.

Headshot of Judy Flynn

Judy Flynn


Judy is an instantly recognisable face from her frequent appearances in some of TVs best-loved dramas and comedies, playing Madge in The House of Eliott, Julie in The Brittas Empire, and Val in Dinnerladies. 

Other television highlights  include Doctors, Hollyoaks, Ackley Bridge,  Call the Midwife,  Shameless,  Holby City,  Where the Heart is, The Bill, Casualty, Hetty Wainthrope Investigates, Mysterious Creatures, Family Affairs, Brookside, Peak Practice, and Making Out. 

Judy’s theatre credits include Chicken Soup (Sheffield Crucible Studio),  East is East  (Northern Stage/ Nottingham Playhouse),  Emil & the Detectives (National Theatre),  A Day in the Death of Joe Egg  (Library Theatre Manchester), When We are Married (Crucible Theatre Sheffield), City Sugar (Sherman Theatre Cardiff), Loving Mother (Contact Theatre Manchester).   

Headshot of Sara Crowe

Sara Crowe


Sara most recently appeared in the UK tour of The Entertainer and was seen on screen in the 2019 Comic Relief reboot of Four Weddings & a Funeral – One Red Nose Day and a Wedding. In December 2019 she appeared on BBC4 in the ghost story Martins Close written and directed by Mark Gatiss. 

Sara’s theatre credits include: Calendar Girls the Musical (UK Tour); How The Other Half Loves (UK Tour); Queers, One Voice: Monologues (Old Vic); The City Madam (RSC/Swan Theatre); Bedroom Farce (Duke of Yorks);  Calendar Girls (Noel Coward Theatre) The Corstophine Rd Nativity (Festival Theatre Edinburgh); Absurd Person Singular (UK Tour); Donkey’s Years (UK Tour);  Acorn Antiques the Musical (UK Tour); A Woman Of No Importance (RSC tour); Dames At Sea (Ambassadors Theatre); Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Regents Park Open Air Theatre) Hay Fever (Theatre of Comedy- Olivier nomination for Best Comedy Performance); The Real Inspector Hound and Black Comedy (Comedy Theatre & UK Tour); My Best Friend (Hampstead Theatre); Private Lives (Aldwych Theatre- Olivier award Best supporting actress, Variety Club Best actress and Critics Circle Most Promising Newcomer award); The Constant Wife (West End & UK Tour); The Country Wife (UK Tour); and Twelfth Night (Playhouse Theatre). 

Television credits include: Midsomer Murders (ITV); Eastenders (BBC); Skins C4  Gil Mayo (BBC); The Green Green Grass (BBC); Big Meg/Little Meg (ITV); Born and Bred (BBC); The Harry Enfield Show; The Rory Bremner Show, Alas Smith and Jones and Scarlett ( Fox) TV sequel to Gone with the Wind. 

Film credits include: Four Weddings & a Funeral, Carry on Columbus, Round Ireland with a Fridge.

headshot of Abigail Thaw

Abigail Thaw


Abigail Thaw will be known to viewers of ITV’s Endeavour as Dorothea Frazil, the editor of the Oxford Mail.  She has worked with Joanna Read twice before, in Macbeth (Salisbury & Watford) and in Rough Crossing (also Salisbury & Watford). 

Abigail was nominated in the Best Actress category in the Off West End Awards for her performance as Catherine in The Firewatchers at The Old Red Lion. 

Her many other theatre credits include The Strange Death of John Doe (Hampstead Theatre), Julius Caesar (Sheffield Crucible), The Cutting of the Cloth (Southwark Playhouse), Entertaining Angels (Chichester Festival Theatre), Cymbeline (Shakespeare’s Globe / New York), Private Lives (Lyric Hammersmith), My Mother Said I Never Should (Watford Palace Theatre), The Arab/Israeli Cookbook (Tricycle/Gate Theatre). 

TV includes Black Mirror 2 (Channel 4), I Want My Wife Back (BBC), Casualty (BBC), Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Clocks (ITV), The Stepfather (ITV). 

Abigail’s film credits include The Inbetweeners 2, The Penny Dropped, Nipplejesus, Caring for the Recently Deceased.

Headshot of Rina Fatania

Rina Fatania


Training: Central School of Speech and Drama 

Theatre Credits include: Susheela Parekh in Waking/Walking (Kiln Theatre); Christie in The Language of Kindness (Wayward Productions); Brenda Highthorpe in The Man In The White Suit (Wyndham’s Theatre); Mrs Peachum in Dead Dog in a Suitcase (2019 UK Tour); Sameena in Approaching Empty (Kiln Theatre, Tamasha & Live Theatre); Panna in The Village (Theatre Royal Stratford East); Anna Bronski in The Tin Drum (Kneehigh Theatre, UK Tour); Charlotte /Monks in Oliver Twist (Regents Park, Open Air Theatre); Jean in Roller Diner (Soho Theatre);  & Nanima in Anita & Me (UK Tour).  

Other theatre includes: Green Genie Uzz in Sinbad the Sailor (Theatre Royal Stratford East); Parisa in Paradise of the Assassins (Tara Arts); Bindi in Love N Stuff (Theatre Royal Stratford East, 2013 & 2016); Mrs Peachum in Dead Dog in a Suitcase (Kneehigh Theatre Company UK & International tour); Mummyji in Mummyji Presents (Birmingham Rep – The Door); Genie of the Ring in Aladdin (De Montford Hall, Leicester); Firoza in The Empress (RSC, The Swan Theatre); Fairy Bowbells in Dick Whittington (Hackney Empire); Bindi/ Sameena Bibi in Wah! Wah! Girls (Sadler’s Wells/ UK Tour); The Queen of the Empire in Cinderella (Hackney Empire); Abdul/ Mother in Guantanamo Boy (Brolly Productions); Bibiji in Britain’s Got Bhangra (UK Tour); The Vagina Monologues (Alchemy Festival, Southbank); Bushra in The House of Bilquis Bibi (Hampstead Theatre & UK Tour); Bibiji in Britain’s Got Bhangra (Rifco Arts); Ayah in Wuthering Heights (Tamasha Theatre Co.); Kiran/ Ila in, characters devised by Rina in It Aint All Bollywood (Rifco Arts/ National & Pakistan Tour); Mrs. Gupta/ Ruby in A Fine Balance (Tamasha Theatre Co.); Zainab/ Hasina in The Child of Divide (Tamasha Theatre Co/ New York & L.A Tour); Agnes in Meri Christmas (Rifco Arts); Kiran in The Deranged Marriage (Rifco Arts); Pushpa in Strictly Dandia (Tamasha Theatre Co.); Swing in Bombay Dreams (Apollo Victoria, West End); & Dunyazaad in Arabian Nights (Midland Arts Centre). 

TV credits include: Too Close (Snowed In Productions); Wanderlust (BBC, Netflix); People Just Do Nothing (BBC). 

Film Credits include: Little English (Resource Prouductions); Shawafa (short, 2019); Raabta (Bollywood Film); Mummji Presents (BBC Space/ Pravesh Kumar); Shammu in Mumbai Charlie (Pukkanasha Films); Agent in Catch That Train (Painting Pictures). 

Radio Credits include: Bindi Business by Tanika Gupta (BBC Radio); Baby Farming by Tanika Gupta (BBC Radio 3); Meghna in We Are Water (BBC World Service); Meghna in Oceans Unite Us (BBC World Service); Mrs. Patel in Silver Street (BBC Asian Network). 

Headshot of Tim Firth

Tim Firth


Tim’s theatre credits include This is My Family (Sheffield Crucible, UK Theatre Award Best New Musical), Neville’s Island (Nottingham Playhouse and West End, Evening Standard & Olivier nomination, MEN Award), The Safari Party (Stephen Joseph, Scarborough and Hampstead), the musical Our House (West End, Olivier Award Best Musical), The Flint Street Nativity (Liverpool Playhouse) and Sign of the Times (UK tour and West End). His play Calendar Girls (Chichester Festival Theatre, West End) broke all British records for a professional and amateur play, was nominated for an Olivier and won the Whatsonstage Best Comedy Award. Calendar Girls – The Musical, co-written with Gary Barlow, opened at Leeds Opera house and transferred to the Phoenix Theatre in the West End, winning a Whatsonstage Award and an Olivier nomination. 

Tim’s film credits include Blackball, Calendar Girls (British Comedy Award) and Kinky Boots (Best International Film, Florida FF). Tim’s most recent film The Wedding Video was directed by Nigel Cole. 

Recent work for television includes the Playhouse drama Timeless. His other TV credits include Money for Nothing (Writer’s Guild Award), The Rottentrolls (BAFTA Award), Cruise of the Gods, The Flint Street Nativity, Preston Front (Writer’s Guild Award, British Comedy Award, RTS Award, BAFTA nomination). In 2004 Tim developed a season of single comedy plays entitled Trapped.  

Tim’s additional credits include a tour of words and music with Willy Russell. Most recently his new musical The Band embarked on a tour of the UK, playing at the Theatre Royal Haymarket over this coming Christmas, and The Rottentrolls was voted one of the top fifty children’s shows of all time.

Stage lights shining through smoke

Joanna Read


Joanna joined the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in January 2019, as Director and Chief Executive, having previously been Principal of LAMDA, the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art. 

Joanna was Artistic Director of Salisbury Playhouse for eight years. Productions directed included William Nicholson’s Shadowlands with Julian Glover, the musical Two Cities, the European premiere of Arthur Miller’s Playing for Time, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Hired Man (TMA Award for Best Musical) and national tours of Jamaica Inn and A Touch of the Sun. 

Freelance work includes Brassed Off (Sheffield Theatres); Talent (Palace Theatre); We’ll Always Have Paris (The Mill at Sonning); The Daughter in Law, Dangerous Corner (New Vic); The Corstorphine Road Nativity (Festival Theatre); Mathilda’s and Duffy’s Great Adventure (Watermill Newbury). 

Prior to Salisbury, Joanna was Associate Director at the Octagon Theatre Bolton where she won a Manchester Evening News award for her production of The Wizard of Oz; Education Director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre where she commissioned and directed plays by Debbie Isitt, Richard Cameron, Andrew Alty and Alex Jones; and Assistant Director at the Young Vic.   

As a writer Joanna’s work includes the book of Two Cities, a musical with Howard Goodall. She has also written five pantomimes, for Salisbury Playhouse and Watford Palace Theatre, including Robin Hood, Babes in the Wood, Cinderella, Aladdin and directed Sleeping Beauty.

Stage lights shining through smoke

Liz Cooke

Set & Costume Designer

Liz studied English at Oxford and Theatre Design at the Slade School of Fine Art. She has designed extensively for theatre in the UK and abroad.  

Her credits include Blonde Bombshells of 1943 (Pitlochry Festival Theatre); Skylight (The Theatre Chipping Norton); Stitchers (Jermyn Street Theatre); The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Talking Heads, A Christmas Carol (Octagon Bolton), Honour (Park Theatre); Peter Pan, Cinderella, Aladdin (Oxford Playhouse); Peter Pan in Scarlet (Oxford Playhouse/ New Vic); The Snow Queen, A Christmas Carol (Pegasus Theatre); The Trial of Dennis The Menace (South Bank Centre); Othello, The Indian Boy, Thyestes (RSC); Bleak House, Humble Boy, The Wicked Lady (New Vic Theatre); The Comedy of Errors, Pericles, The Merchant of Venice (Globe); Monkey!, The Accrington Pals (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Round the Horne- Revisited (West End and tour); Shadowmouth (Sheffield Crucible); The Birds (National Theatre); Ma Vie en Rose (Young Vic); Stop Messing About (Rose Theatre/Leicester Square Theatre/UK tour); Pandas, Greenfield (Traverse Theatre); Little Wolf’s Book of Badness, The Schuman Plan (Hampstead Theatre); The Invention of Love, Touched (Salisbury Playhouse); The Glory of Living (Royal Court); A Whistle in the Dark (Glasgow Citizens’); The Hackney Office (Druid); The Wind in the Willows, Peter Pan, Pirates! (Polka Theatre); Les Blancs (Royal Exchange);The Magic Toyshop (Shared Experience); Eldorado (National Theatre of Prague); Spoonface Steinberg (Sheffield Crucible/ West End/ tour); Cooking with Elvis (Dailes Theatre Riga); The Leenane Trilogy (Baku Theatre of Young Spectators, Azerbaijan).  

Exhibition design includes Animal! and Time for Bed (Story Museum Oxford).

Age Guidance 13+

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