Beryl play to return after top 10 honour

Actress Maxine Peake pictured with the Beryl Burton Mural in Morley.
Actress Maxine Peake pictured with the Beryl Burton Mural in Morley.

Maxine Peake’s play about Morley cycling legend Beryl Burton has been named as the fourth best stage production of 2014 by The Guardian.

‘Beryl’, which was adapted from actress Peake’s original radio play about the local heroine, hit the stage at the West Yorkshire Playhouse this summer to widespread acclaim.

Such was the popularity of the biopic, its original run at the theatre was specially extended as the Tour de France came to Yorkshire during the first weekend of July.

The play has now been recognised in a list of the critic Alfred Hickling’s top 10 theatre productions of the year.

Originally entitled ‘Beryl: A love story on two wheels’ the plot focuses on the unsung success of multiple world title winner Beryl as well as on her endearingly close companionship with husband Charlie.

A commemmorative plaque honouring her was also unveiled in June, before she was posthumously awarded the Freedom of the City of Leeds in September.

And now the play is to make a return to the stage in Autumn 2015 after receiving £180,000 worth of funding from the Arts Council to complete a ten-week tour of theatres across the North.

James Brining, the play’s artistic director, said: “We’re really proud of the way the play has been received and how incredibly popular it has been.

“It’s very gratifying to see us having actually sold out theatres and to see how proud Morley people are of her as well.

“The more I read about her the more I felt her story needed to be told and I think that perhaps without the play that wouldn’t have happened.”