Tameside’s Julie Hesmondhalgh brings political theatre to Salford
Monday 21st November 2016 @ 15:21 by Adam Higgins
Entertainment Hyde

A political theatre company featuring former soap actress Julie Hesmondhalgh gave Salford University performance students an understanding of how to bring events from the news onto the stage.

Julie has also recently visited Ashton Sixth Form College to speak to students about her experience in the industry and the ex-Coronation Street star is now paying a visit to final year Performance students at the University of Salford to hold a workshop with Take Back Theatre.

Hesmondhalgh, who lives in Broadbottom, helped set up Take Back Theatre along with visual artist Grant Archer and writer Rebekah Harrison.

The theatre collective have performed at venues such as Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre and aims to explore social issues.

Scripts are written in direct response to topical events such as Brexit, alongside issues such as immigration and benefits cuts.

The group held a series of workshop sessions in which they encourage the students to think of ideas for theatrical investigations responding to recent political events.

Julie, who most famously played Hayley Cropper on the ITV soap Coronation Street said: “Salford now is bobby dazzler – the studio space, the facilities and the people that come in.

“A lot of the performers we work with at Take Back – very well-established Manchester actors doing lots of work on TV – are Salford graduates. They’re very good, solid actors.”

Actress Julie Hesmondalgh  talking to students at Salford University about  her new company Take Back Theatre

Actress Julie Hesmondalgh talking to students at Salford University about her new company Take Back Theatre

Niki Woods from the University of Salford’s School of Arts and Media, said: “The event was about reminding our students that they have a political voice and that theatre can challenge complex issues by telling simple stories.

“Take Back Theatre encouraged the students to consider the relationship between current social and political events and theatre as a platform for inviting meaningful conversation.

“The visit was a wonderful opportunity for our final year students to talk to Julie, Becx and Grant about making passionate, important work, and it inspired them to think more about how their own final projects can move audiences to think differently.”

By Molly Smith