Oldham Coliseum Theatre will transport audiences to 1950s Salford this May with a new production of Shelagh Delaney’s ground-breaking ‘kitchen sink’ drama, A Taste of Honey, directed by Coliseum Associate Director, Chris Lawson.
Designed by Sammy Dowson, and with a cast including Gemma Dobson as Jo and Kerrie Taylor as Helen, A Taste of Honey runs from Friday 25 May to Saturday 9 June, 2018.
Britain’s first working-class female playwright, Delaney wrote A Taste of Honey in 1958, at the age of just 18. The play was first produced by Joan Littlewood‘s Theatre Workshop and premiered at the Theatre Royal Stratford East in May ’58, prior to a West End transfer the following year. In 1961, the film was famously adapted for the screen, co-written by Delaney and director Tony Richardson, and starring Rita Tushingham and Dora Bryan.
Recognised as the pre-cursor to Coronation Street and one of Morrissey’s lyrical inspirations, A Taste of Honey is a gritty play about a mother and daughter trapped in a destructive and resentful love-hate relationship. Jo’s ambition is to get away from her alcoholic mother, Helen, who dominates her life. She falls pregnant to a sailor and takes comfort in the friendship of a gay art student, but can she stop herself from becoming the one thing she never wanted to be – just like her mother.
A Taste of Honey is one of the finest examples of the ‘kitchen sink’ drama born in the 1950s, which saw a new breed of writers give a prominent voice to working class characters and working-class stories. The play was written when 70% of women giving birth had no pain relief, three years before the introduction of the contraceptive pill and nine years before the legalisation of homosexuality and abortion.
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