Born in Calgary, Alberta, Shelley trained at RADA in London, and worked for many years in the UK. She portrayed numerous leading roles in London's West End and at the Royal National Theatre, as well as leading roles in many regional theatres. She was a regular leading player in BBC radio drama during her time in Britain, and recorded dozens of audio books – titles including work by Margaret Atwood and Jane Smiley. She was one of three leading players on a family series, Mike and Angelo, for six years, and made guest starring appearances on Drop The Dead Donkey, EastEnders and Chelworth. She also played the role of Sarah's stepmother Irene in Jim Henson's 1986 fantasy epic Labyrinth. She has appeared in all ten seasons of Trailer Park Boys, both specials, and the Feature Film.
Since returning to Canada, her work has included season at the Atlantic Theatre Festival (Ariel in the Tempest and Viola in Twelfth Night), work at the Neptune Theatre, The Prairie Theatre Exchange, The Globe Theatre, Regina, and Festival Antigonish.
Since 2012, she's been shifting focus to stage and screenwriting and directing. Her plays include plays A Kind of Faith (produced 2004) Leaving Wonderland (Premiering Halifax, 2015 ), children’s plays Bluenose Billy (2006, co-written with Sheldon Currie and Griffen Prize-winning poet Anne Simpson), Belinda the Bicycle Witch (2008), Lost and Found (2009), ...And How Are We Today (co-written with poet Anne Simpson).
Recently seen on stage in: A Good Death, Be My Baby, Crimal Genius.
Her poetry has been a finalist in the Atlantic Writing Competition, and included in the literary journals Toward the Light and Papirmasse, as well as on the CBC website. Short story Bowls of Cheer was included in a Nimbus Christmas Anthology and broadcast with December 1945 on CBC National, Christmas 2010 and 2011.
Presently shifting to writing/directing for film, she has just finished her first narrative short, DAWG (Festivals include the Atlantic Film Festival, The San Diego International Kids Film Festival, Sunrise Festival, Nickle Film festival NFL and more....) and is working on: A feature-length version of (stage play) Leaving Wonderland, a feature-length treatment of DAWG, a new short called Prison Music: A Fable, and a short film called Afterlife with Mother. She is a resident at the Canadian Film Centre, Toronto, as a screenwriter – July – December 2015.
Awards include: ACTRA Maritimes winner for (short) Two Penny Road-Kill 2013, Best Supporting Actress, LA’s Love Unlimited Festival, 2011 for (short) WAKE, and Gemini, 2008, Best Ensemble, as Barb Lahey, for Trailer Park Boys. Merritt Award- Best Actress in a Leading Role- for Glorious. Several Stage nominations for: Humble Boy – Flora, Criminal Genius – Shirley, Tamara (Dora) – Aelis.
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