Best known for her role as Debbie Gallagher in Channel 4’s Shameless, Rebecca Ryan will bring to life Shelagh Delaney’s older-than-her-years teenage lead Jo in A Taste of Honey at Salford’s Lowry arts centre next week.
One of postwar Britain’s most influential plays, A Taste of Honey was written when Shelagh Delaney, from Broughton in Salford, was just 18 years old.
It burst on the stage in 1961 in a production that took the West End by storm and later became a classic of new wave British cinema, making a star of Rita Tushingham in the process.
Set in Salford in 1959 it follows 17-year-old Jo who is desperate to break free from her wayward mother, Helen.
Jo’s instinct for survival and pursuit of happiness leads her to fall in love with Jimmy, a sailor on shore leave.
Abandoned by her mother, Jo’s courage is tested yet again when Jimmy returns to sea, and she discovers she’s pregnant.
Defiant in the face of convention, Jo moves in with her friend Geoffrey, a young gay art student, who assumes the role of surrogate father to her unborn child.
As the pair’s relationship deepens, Jo discovers that her independent spirit could yet turn out to be both her torment and her salvation.
Manchester-born Rebecca says: “I’m really happy to be starring in such a celebrated play by a truly inspirational writer.
“Being from Manchester this is a role that’s close to home for me and I’m particularly excited to be taking this production out on the road with such an illustrious company as Hull Truck Theatre.”
It runs from Tuesday to Saturday. Box office 0843 208 6005 or www.thelowry.com