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Kay Mellor's A Passionate Woman comes to Lawrence Batley Theatre

Huddersfield audiences can see the play inspired by Kay Mellor's mum and her affair with a Polish neighbour.

The BBC version of A Passionate Woman starring Billie Piper and Theo James

The play that BAFTA-winning Yorkshire writer Kay Mellor based on her own mother’s story of lost love, A Passionate Woman, is Huddersfield Thespians’ latest production at the Lawrence Batley Theatre.

Packed with warmth, humour and tender moments, the work was originally seen at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 1992 and went on to become a two-part BBC television series starring Billie Piper.

However, Huddersfield audiences can see it from Tuesday, October 18, until Saturday, October 22, in a production directed by Pauline Sykes.

While a much-loved play, it is a difficult one for the amateur stage as it requires the action to take place in a loft and then a rooftop.

In fact, the Thespians will be performing in the theatre’s Cellar space. As Pauline remarks, intriguingly: “The Thespians have been wanting to do it for a while but they were wondering how to do it. In professional productions they have a revolving stage; we’re using a trap door and just hoping that no-one is going to bump their heads.”

Audiences will be able to discover how the Thespians overcome the staging challenges at one of the evening shows, which start at 7.15pm, or the matinee at 2pm on October 22.

Pauline describes the play as “absolutely lovely”.

She explained: “It’s witty and while not a comedy it has a lot of humour. There’s also lots of 1950s music, which is also lovely.”

The play centres around a middle-aged woman, Betty, whose son’s wedding becomes the catalyst for releasing all the angst and regrets she has felt for three decades.

She finds herself thinking about the three men in her life – a husband she doesn’t love, a son she’s about to lose and a lover she once had an passionate affair with. And then a ghost appears – the ghost of her lover – but only she can see him.

When it was first performed Kay Mellor revealed that the play was inspired by her mother’s confession many years before that she’d had a tragic and passionate affair with a Polish neighbour.

It examines love and loss, the power of secrets and what happens when a major life event triggers memories of earlier times.

The Thespians cast list includes Rebecca Starrett as the main character Betty; Gareth Dickinson as her husband Donald; Michael Sutton as Betty’s son; and Liam Selkirk as the lover. Both Michael and Liam are newcomers to the Thespians.

Tickets for the show are £12 from www.thelbt.org.uk or 01484 430528.

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