Beryl Rides Again in Leeds!
June 23, 2015
[All images credited to Keith Pattison]
Hit stage play Beryl returns to the West Yorkshire Playhouse on 27 June – 18 July at the Courtyard Theatre.
Following a critically-acclaimed, sell-out run last summer, this stage writing debut of actress Maxine Peake returns to further celebrate a Yorkshire woman’s cycle through life.
Originally written for Radio 4 in 2012 and adapted for last year’s world premiere staging at the Playhouse, the play looks back at the extraordinary sporting achievements of the Leeds-born cyclist, Beryl Burton. Five times world pursuit champion, 13 times national champion and twice road-racing world champion, she was one of the most astonishing sports people ever to have lived. Her down-to-earth, no-nonsense approach to life and success is an inspiration to us all, and the play celebrates this.
The play boasts an exceptionally talented cast and crew. Rebecca Gatward directs this play about the loves, trials and tribulations of the Yorkshire sporting heroine. The cast also features John Elkington, Dominic Gately and Rebecca Ryan with Samantha Power in the title role. We chat with Samantha about her latest acting challenge…
TSOTA: You play the title role of Beryl Burton. What do you like best about the character?
SP: The best thing about playing Beryl is the fact that Beryl was a Tour de Force! Her sheer guts and determination and strength is so admirable! She was the best in her game! A brilliant, wonderful, hard-working determined woman and I am honoured I get the chance to play such a strong woman.
TSOTA: Are you a keen cyclist yourself or is this something you’ve had to get into for the role?
SP: No, I am not an avid cyclist. A friend of mine gave me a bike about three years ago. It has never left the shed. Maybe now is the time to get it out and explore such a fantastic sport and get peddling over the West Yorkshire Hills.
TSOTA: Beryl is Maxine Peake’s stage writing debut. What is it about the writing that attracted you to the play?
SP: Maxine Peake has done a fantastic job with the script. She has done Beryl and her family proud. It takes you on a remarkable journey and it’s hilarious in parts. It is also incredibly moving and touching. A brilliant play.
TSOTA: Have you always been drawn to a career in acting? What one experience shaped your love for the arts most?
SP: I am very lucky that I always knew I wanted to be an actress from a very young age. I didn’t do any drama clubs or theatre school but was fortunate to get in to an accredited Drama School aged 18. I studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
TSOTA: Do you prefer acting for film, television or stage?
SP: Throughout my career I have had the good fortune to work in Film, Television, Theatre and Radio. The honest answer is that I love all the different mediums. I love my job, it’s as simple as that. Theatre is a very different discipline to TV for example so as an actor I think it’s good for to do both. It’s a few years since I did theatre and I am loving every second of it.
TSOTA: What’s next? Any more exciting projects on the horizon?
SP: Well I have just filmed a stint on Coronation Street playing Talisa and there is room for her to come back in the future. I have also just played Michelle Keegan’s mum in Ordinary Lies and potentially there could be a well-deserved second series. That aside, I am very happily committed to Beryl until the end of November which will keep me pretty busy. After that, who knows…..!
Can’t make it this summer between 27 June-18 July? Don’t worry! Beryl goes on the road this autumn, touring theatres across Yorkshire! So why not get booking?