Revenge is sweet in Salford for 'A Taste of Honey' playwright Shelagh Delaney
Salford is to celebrate the life of one of its “most famous daughters”, Shelagh Delaney, amid calls for an official apology over an alleged smear campaign against the late playwright by the city’s luminaries.
The teenage Delaney’s 1958 kitchen-sink drama A Taste of Honey, which recently enjoyed a successful revival at the National Theatre, caught the spirit of the times. She later became an inspiration for pop star Morrissey. But her subject matter, including casual inter-racial sex and homosexuality led to condemnation in the council chamber, pulpit and in the local press, according to a new book. A plan for her to create a people’s theatre was sabotaged because of her suspected communist sympathies, it is claimed.
According to Sweetly Sings Delaney, by John Harding, in 1961 the then leader of the council, Sir Sidney Hamburger, lambasted the “persistent denigration of Salford by all sorts of people”.
Alderman Hamburger is quoted as saying the latest notoriety made him “want to vomit”.
“I don’t understand why there seems to be a general policy of denigration of this city … whether playwrights drawing royalties from plays on subjects which seek to rub our noses in the muck or aspiring playwrights who have learned from others’ successes,” he added.
Announcing that the first official annual Shelagh Delaney Day will take place on 25 November this year, Salford’s elected mayor Ian Stewart described the writer as one of the city’s “most famous daughters … who captured and celebrated the spirit of Salford”.
This prompted accusations of “hypocrisy” from the local paper: “The Salford Star is demanding that the Mayor and Salford City Council should make a full formal apology before jumping on the Delaney bandwagon.”
However Louise Woodward-Styles, who led the campaign to create the day, said the writer’s daughter, Charlotte, had been “amused” by calls for an apology.
“Why should a council apologise for the attitudes of a bygone era, a society that not only feared difference but was also unable to recognise that life in Salford wasn’t all a bed of roses?” she asked. “Apology? Not in Shelagh’s name.”
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 3 WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
- 4 Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
- 5 Germanwings plane crash: I have depression. That doesn't make me a psychopath
Cassetteboy joins forces with Russell Brand for Emperor's New Clothes film
Poldark, review: Demelza’s insouciance is almost as impressive as Ross’ pecs
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
James May hints he will not continue on Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity, TV review: The affable Englishman routine is wearing a bit thin
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew