Full casting has been announced for a major new production of the late Kay Mellor’s A Passionate Woman at Leeds Playhouse – the theatre which first staged her breakthrough play 30 years ago. The production, staged in memory of the leading British dramatist who passed away in May last year, returns to the Playhouse’s Courtyard theatre in her home city of Leeds from 20 May – 10 June.
Television and stage actor Katherine Dow Blyton (she/her) will star as Betty, a passionate, doting mother who, on the day of her son’s wedding, locks herself in the loft as she struggles to accept that he’s leaving home. Katherine is best known as Emmerdale’s popular police officer turned vicar Harriet Finch and as Chrissy in the multi award-winning hit TV series This is England.
Directed by Leeds-based Tess Seddon (Say Yes To Tess), A Passionate Woman is a deeply personal story of reinvention and rediscovery, giving audiences the chance to once again enjoy Kay Mellor’s entertaining, engaging and relatable work. The original production propelled the Leeds writer into the theatrical spotlight, transferring to the West End and being adapted into a hit TV drama starring Theo James, Billie Piper and Sue Johnston. It also marked the start of a long, fruitful relationship between the Playhouse and this extraordinary storyteller.
Director Tess Seddon said: “I’m delighted to be working with such an incredibly talented cast and creative team on this brilliant play with such a long history with Leeds audiences. I’m looking forward to resharing this much-loved production in Kay’s beloved home city, 30 years after it was first staged. It has such a deeply rooted connection with the Playhouse and it feels wonderfully apt to be making A Passionate Woman on the stage that Kay first saw her work receive a rapturous reception in front of an audience all those years ago. I hope we do justice to this wonderful play, and to the legacy of this incredible writer.”
Tom Lorcan (he/him) will be familiar to Playhouse audiences from The Damned United. He also starred in the Old Vic’s A Monster Calls, and recently played Mike Hargrave in 30 episodes of ITV’s Coronation Street. Tom will play the role of Mark, Betty’s soon to be wed son.
Michael Bijok (he/him) makes his Leeds Playhouse debut in the role of Craze and David Crellin (he/him) (Wuthering Heights, West Side Story Royal Exchange) plays Donald.
“Kay loved Leeds and would be thrilled and proud to know the Playhouse is continuing to support her work,” said Anthony, Yvonne & Gaynor Mellor, family of Kay Mellor. “A Passionate Woman is an incredibly important and personal piece and, as a family, we are delighted there is a chance to bring new audiences to see the play and with such a wonderful cast. We miss Kay every day and her absence is an ache that will never disappear. Celebrating her life with events like this helps to fill the void and keep her incredible legacy alive.”
Completing the creative team with Tess Seddon (she/her) are: Set & Costume Designer Rose Revitt, Dr Korczak’s Example, Leeds Playhouse, which won her the 2019 Linbury Prize for Stage Design and Best Designer at The Stage Debut Awards 2020; Lighting Designer Amy Mae (she/her), Say Yes to Tess, There Are No Beginnings Leeds Playhouse; Sound Designer Annie May Fletcher (she/her), sound designer on Hedwig and the Angry Inch in 2022, leading to a What’s On Stage Award nomination for Best Sound Design; Asha Jennings-Grant (she/her), Movement and Intimacy Coach; and Assistant Director Xolani Crabtree (she/her), A Little Night Music, Leeds Playhouse and Opera North.
A Leeds Playhouse production
A Passionate Woman
By Kay Mellor
Directed by Tess Seddon
Courtyard Theatre, Leeds Playhouse
20 May – 10 June
A Passionate Woman 2023 cast and creative team