Author(s): Shelagh Delaney
A Taste of Honey became a sensational theatrical success when first produced in London by Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop company. It was made into a highly acclaimed film in 1961. The play is about the adolescent Jo and her relationships with those about her - her irresponsible, roving mother Helen and her mum's newly acquired drunken husband, the black sailor who leaves her pregnant and Geoffrey the homosexual art student who moves in to help with the baby. It is also about Jo's unshakeable optimism throughout her trials.This story of a mother and daughter relationship (imitated in other British plays since) set in working class Manchester continues to enthral new generations of readers and audiences. 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 in 1958 by Graham Greene as having "all the freshness of Mr Osborne's Look Back in Anger and a greater maturity."
This volume includes a chronology of the playwright's life and work; an introduction giving the background to the play; a discussion of the various interpretations and photographs from stage productionsThe stage play was awarded the Foyle's New Play Award and the New York Drama Critics Circle AwardThe screenplay for the film version was awarded the British Film Academy award and the Robert Flaherty AwardThe play is a set text on the AQA Drama, EDEXCEL Drama and OCR Drama lists for 2007/850 years after first publication, the annual sales for A Taste of Honey are in excess of 1,000 copies
'Some of Delaney's themes may feel dated but her writing still glitters dangerously and wittily. A Taste of Honey remains a passionate statement about real people trapped in poverty, deprived of ambition and vulnerable to manipulation by the fickleness of others.' Independent, (19 November 2008) 'Brawling, boozing, teenage pregnancy and fractured families: Shelagh Delaney's benchmark drama, first staged by Joan Littlewood in London in 1958, has lost none of its relevance 50 years on... The quirkiness and passion of Delaney's young voice still rings out... It remains passionate and pungent.' The Times, (19 November 2008) 'Its raw eloquence, sometimes almost lyrical, its tough, swaggering humour...its frank brutality and unblinking humanity.' Sunday Times, (23 November 2008)
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.