Shelagh Delaney

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Plays by Shelagh Delaney

A Taste of Honey

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A Taste of Honey became a sensational theatrical success when first produced in London by Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop in 1958. Now established as a modern classic, this comic and poignant play, by a then nineteen-year-old working-class Lancashire girl, was praised at its London premiere by Graham Greene as having ‘all the freshness of Mr Osborne’s Look Back in Anger and a greater maturity.’ It was made into a highly acclaimed film in 1962.

The play is about the adolescent Jo and her relationship with her irresponsible mum, Helen, the Nigerian sailor who leaves Jo pregnant and Geoffrey, the homosexual art student who moves in to help Jo with the baby. It is also about Jo’s unshakeable optimism throughout her trials. This story of a mother and daughter relationship (imitated in many other modern British plays since), set in working-class Manchester, continues to engage new generations of audiences.

Shelagh Delaney

Photo by Houston Rogers, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Shelagh Delaney was born in Salford, Lancashire. She is most well-known for A Taste of Honey, for which she won the Foyle's New Play Award and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award. She wrote the screenplay for the film version with Tony Richardson and was awarded the British Film Academy Award and the Robert Flaherty Award. Her other screenplays include The White Bus and Charley Bubbles, for which she won the Writers' Guild Award. She has also written for television and radio and has had a collection of short stories published. She died in 2011.