Salford-born playwright and writer Shelagh Delaney is regarded as one of the pioneers of the ‘kitchen sink’ realism of the late 1950s-60s.

Asked which plays I liked and which playwrights had influenced me after I had auditioned for a place at E15 Drama College I said, without a second thought, Shelagh Delaney. I was lucky that, without realising it, Shelagh Delaney had connections with E15 through E15 director Maggie Bury who had worked for many years with Joan Littlewood at Stratford Theatre, London E15.

Shelagh Delaney

In 1958 at the age of nineteen, Shelagh Delaney wrote “A Taste of Honey”

A Taste of Honey script

Twenty years after Shelagh Delaney wrote A Taste Of Honey I used it as an audition speech. In those days we had to perform three audition speeches; a standard English, a Shakespeare and a working class. Most of Jo’s lines are short, so I had to be creative by putting them together. It worked for some directors but not others.

Rattle of a Simple Man

Another favourite audition speech of mine was Cyrenne in Rattle of A Simple Man by Charles Dyer. When I got too old to play Jo, Cyrenne became my working-class character. Happy Days.

I am now a writer. As well as articles and poems, I have written seven novels. They are all character driven as well as plot driven. The way I approached the characters I played as an actress in the theatre has greatly influenced the characters I write about in my novels.

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