She Wins all the Races - a tragicomedy with biscuits by ALRA alumna Shelley O'Brien

ALRA alumna Shelly O'Brien in She Wins all the Races - a tragicomedy with biscuits

ALRA graduate Shelley O'Brien is currently touring her one woman show, She Wins all the Races - a tragicomedy with biscuits, a brand new show commissioned by Queen's Hall Hexham and produced by her own company, Mad Alice Theatre, in association with Action Transport Theatre.

shelley obrienShelley graduated from our Three Year Acting BA (Hons) course in 1992 and has since gone on to build a rich and extensive career in the industry.

She Wins all the Races is a powerful and heartfelt story of a little girl, Belinda, who "loves life, her two brothers and stealing the Priest's biscuits" and is growing up with the certainty of loss.

The show is based on Shelley's own true story of growing up with two brothers born with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, adding a wealth of authenticity to the inspirational production.

Speaking about the production, Shelley has said:

"It is based on my true story and is very moving and heartfelt, but like all great tragedies, there is plenty of humour.

It is told from the perspective of a little girl who finds a book, which tells her, her brothers will die when they are aged 16. The play looks at how the little girl decides to be happy and the coping strategies she develops".

Here is what has been said about the show on social media:

A recent review from Muscular Dystrophy UK was full of praise for the hit show:

"Shelley O'Brien tells her real life story openly and honestly. The show is challenging: emotions run close to the surface; the 'beast in the labyrinth' feels ever present in the room; the physical deterioration evident in the graceful movements that she makes; the loss of her brothers acutely palpable as the balloons floating high are carefully packed away"

"There is courage and resilience abundant throughout, but in the end what you are left with is love, the love that binds this family together throughout their journey with Duchenne. The love that encouraged Shelley to tell her story".

We would like to thank Shelley for sharing her story, and in such an exceptional way. The next show dates, at various venues, are on 16th and 18th March. For more information please visit the website.

If you're an alumni and would also like to share your story, please get in touch with us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and a member of the team will be able to assist you.

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5 tickets for ALRA showcases | that's alumnights

At each Friday night performance of any ALRA show there will hold back 5 complimentary tickets for our ALRA graduates.

To find out the forthcoming shows, please see the ‘What’s on’ section of the website.

Alumnight tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis; to book tickets please email

Please note: ALRA still offer free tickets to all ALRA shows to alumni that are within their first year of graduation.

To learn more about ALRA’s graduate package please email

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