A Harrogate playwright whose talent was nurtured at Harrogate Theatre is to return to the venue where she first took the stage as a seven-year-old to debut her first full length play inspired by the town itself.
Rachael Halliwell’s Connection, which will premiere at Harrogate Theatre Studio from tomorrow, Tuesday, October 1 to October 5, has been produced in conjunction with Harrogate Theatre.
Described as a Yorkshire ‘Thelma and Louise’, Connection follows the adventures of two women who meet as strangers in the A&E waiting room of Harrogate District Hospital and embark of a life changing 24 hours as they try to escape their demons.
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As a former member of Harrogate Youth Theatre, Rachael is delighted to be opening the show in Harrogate. She said: “Harrogate Theatre is a beautiful building and has always felt like a creative home to me. All the staff are incredible.”
Boasting the talent of associate producer Porl Cooper ,Connection’s cast will feature an exciting line up of Yorkshire talent including Andrew Turner (Macduff in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and as Christian Gatley in Coronation Street), Cathy Breeze (Emmerdale, Still Open All Hours and Les Miserables) and Emma Leah Golding (Coronation Street).
The play has been influenced by Rachel’s own family history; her father designed parts of Harrogate Hospital including the Briary Wing.
In 2005, she attended the hospital for a much more devastating reason. her eldest brother was killed in a road traffic accident.
Her family made the decision for Michael to give the gift of life by becoming an organ donor and, in the process, saved five peoples lives.
The play is also partly inspired by a common theme in Rachael’s work - putting women front and centre.
Rachael said: “It’s part of my writing mission to create quality,engaging drama framed through a female gaze.
“But I also wanted to explore male and female mental health and how each gender approaches and handles emotional crisis.”