Due to Covid restrictions, Salford Arts Theatre are bringing their annual Shelagh Delaney day online by organising a programme of events on their social media platforms to celebrate Delaney’s work.
Shelagh Delaney, born 25th November 1938 in Broughton, rose to critical acclaim aged 19 for her West End production of ‘A Taste of Honey’ (1958) which was set in her hometown of Salford and helped pioneer kitchen-sink realism by making theatre accessible to the working class.
Her 1950’s exploration of homosexuality, pregnancy out of marriage, inter-racial relationships and the difficulties between mothers and daughters shows how she was unafraid to tackle real social issues.
Libby Hall: “A Taste of Honey was the first play I’d ever read that I could relate to, I recognized the characters and the voices and that was a big moment for me”.
In response to this, Salford Arts Theatre, a self-funded independent theatre in the heart of Salford, have set up a week-long programme of events on social media and their Youtube channel to celebrate Delaney’s work on her birthday.
Roni Ellis, Artistic Director of Salford Arts Theatre, has said: “The process was pre-recorded telephone interviews and we were only able to do this because of the donations via our crowdfunder which enabled us to purchase the equipment”.
Libby Hall, Salford Arts Writer in Residence, said that: “There’s two amazing conversations with Jodie Prenger and Charlotte Delaney talking all about A Taste of Honey and everything in between. There’s also a new radio play by myself and some writing tips”.
All content being shared by Salford Arts Theatre includes the hashtag #BeInspired, encouraging others to get creative.
Roni Ellis states that: “We want young and old to be inspired whether that be to write, perform or dream. It is possible and don’t let where you come from stop you reaching your potential”.
Libby Hall said: “I’d always been writing, but before I’d discovered Shelagh’s work I hadn’t really considered that I could do anything with it. A Taste of Honey was the first play I’d ever read that I could relate to, I recognized the characters and the voices and that was a big moment for me”.
Due to Shelagh’s influence, Libby Hall has since developed her play ‘Your Playground Voice is Gone’ for GM Fringe but states: “Obviously because of COVID we couldn’t do that, so we adapted it for radio. It’s about growing up, which sounds a bit cliche but there’s some darker themes in there as well”.
Roni Ellis concluded by saying: “This year’s Shelagh Delaney Day was not what we had planned however, we do feel that we have created great online content that will be there for people to listen to”.