SIXTY years ago, a teenage writer from Salford took the world by storm with her debut play, A Taste of Honey. Shelagh Delaney was Britain’s first workingclass female playwright, and her play caused an immediate sensation with its unflinching depiction of class, sexuality and race.
Opening on May 25, the Coliseum’s main stage transforms into a 1950s Salford bedsit for the theatre’s new production of the ground-breaking Greater Manchester drama.
Recognised as the pre-cursor to Coronation Street and one of Morrisey’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.
Shelagh Delaney wrote A Taste of Honey when she was just 18 years old, in 1958. The play premiered at Theatre Workshop, Stratford East and transferred to the West End the following year. In 1961 it was adapted into a classic film starring Rita Tushingham and Dora Bryan.
A Taste of Honey was one of the finest examples of the ‘kitchen sink drama’ born in the 1950s. The play was written when 70 per cent 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. The Coliseum’s production of A Taste of Honey will be directed by the theatre’s associate director, Chris Lawson, and features Gemma Dobson – who made her professional stage debut in Rita, Sue and Bob Too at the Royal Court, London earlier this year, as Jo; and Kerrie Taylor, who is best known for her previous role as Beth Enright / Beresford in ITV’s Where The Heart Is, as Helen.
Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s production of A Taste of Honey is sponsored by New Charter Homes. A Taste of Honey runs at the Coliseum from Friday, May 25 to Saturday, June 9.