Former Coronation Street actress Julie Hesmondhalgh to make Leeds Playhouse debut

Julie Hesmondhalgh.
Julie Hesmondhalgh.
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Former Coronaton Street actress Julie Hesmondhalgh is to make her Leeds Playhouse debut in the autumn.

Julie, best known for her role as Hayley Cropper in Corrie, will take to the stage in the world premiere of There Are No Beginnings, a play which follows the lives of four women living in Leeds across the five years when Peter Sutcliffe dominated news headlines.

The play highlights female fear, strength and survival, exploring women’s experiences during the late 1970s and shining a light on solidarity and activism born from the time, particularly the Reclaim the Night movement.

Written by Yorkshire's own Charley Miles and directed by Amy Leach the play will be the first production in the Bramall Rock Void, an intimate new theatre space created as part of the Playhouse’s capital redevelopment.

It runs from Friday October 11, until Saturday, November 2.

Amy Leach, Leeds Playhouse associate director, said “Opening the Bramall Rock Void with There Are No Beginnings is a thrilling celebration of local talent. Charley Miles’ relationship began with us a number of years ago through our Furnace programme including being our Channel 4 Writer in Residence in 2017, during which she was inspired to write about what it was like to be a woman in Leeds at the time of so-called Yorkshire Ripper.

"She interviewed participants from our Older People’s programme and many of their stories have fed in to the narrative, creating an important and empowering story.

"It’s amazing to be starting the season with a production that is so rooted in the city, highlighting incredible female resilience and solidarity. The production lends itself beautifully to the Bramall Rock Void and I am honoured to be directing it with this stellar cast.”

Julie will be joined by Otley-raised Tessa Parr as Sharon, whose definitive portrayal of Hamlet at Leeds Playhouse wowed critics back in March this year.

Huddersfield-born Natalie Gavin joins the cast, fresh from roles on Channel 4 in Ackley Bridge and on the BBC in Line of Duty and Gentleman Jack.

Newcomer Jesse Jones from Bradford completes the cast as Fiona, graduating from East 15 Acting School in 2018.

There Are No Beginnings will be supported by a programme of work exploring the real-life impact of the stories explored in the play. The Playhouse is hosting a series of post-show discussions to celebrate and amplify the work happening to support women in the city.

Integrated audio description will feature as part of every performance. The Playhouse will also host its first ever Parent & Baby Performance, allowing parents to enjoy a relaxed version of the play alongside their infants (under a year old).

* For latest ticket information visit: leedsplayhouse.org.uk or ring the box office on 0113 213 7700.