Still riding on the success of a northern tour last year, Maxine Peake’s Beryl, her critically-acclaimed play celebrating the life of sporting legend Beryl Burton, starts a new leg at Kington’s Rose Theatre.
The West Yorkshire Playhouse co-production, in association with Rose Theatre, will be directed by Rebecca Gatward. It opens in Kington on March 8.
Beryl Burton was considered the greatest woman on two wheels. Originally written for Radio 4 in 2012, Beryl opened at West Yorkshire Playhouse in Summer 2014, just as the Tour de France was racing through Yorkshire.
The critical and popular acclaim was such that the idea was born to revive and tour the production in 2015 before its London premiere at the Rose. The drama has been nominated for best new play at the Manchester Theatre Awards.
Rebecca Gatward directs the cast in a play about the loves, trials and tribulations of the down-to-earth Yorkshire cycling heroine with Samantha Power in the title role and Rebecca Ryan as her daughter Denise. The cast also features Dominic Gately and Lee Toomes.
Peake’s stage writing debut looks back at the extraordinary sporting achievements of the Leeds-born cyclist. When Beryl Charnock, met keen cyclist Charlie Burton she was smitten, not only with Charlie but by the thrill and freedom found on her bike.
She would outwork the men in the rhubarb fields, she could outclass the cyclists on the road, and still find time to over-knit young Denise an enviable cycling jumper.
No other British sportswoman has dominated their field in the way that Beryl Burton dominated the world of cycling.
With her husband, daughter and cycling club at her side she became five times world pursuit champion, 13 times national champion, twice road-racing world champion and made it home in time for dinner.
She was one of the most astonishing sports people ever to have lived whose down-to-earth, no-nonsense approach to life and to success is an inspiration to us all.
Beryl Burton MBE, OBE, wife and mother cycled her way into the record books becoming world record holder and former British record holder, and with a determination to be the best she always cycled home a hero.
Beryl’s daughter Denise Burton-Cole welcomes the revival of the play. She said: “We are thrilled as it’s an outstanding play and it’s great that more people will see it”.
Maxine Peake has a career that spans stage, TV and film, garnering critical acclaim in roles as diverse as Dinnerladies’ Twinkle and Silk’s Martha Costello QC.
She won the Broadcasting Press Guild Awards for her performances in Criminal Justice and The Street. Her other television credits include See No Evil: The Moors Murders, Red Riding, The Devil’s Whore, Criminal Justice, Little Dorrit, Henry IV, The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, BAFTA nominated dramas Silk, The Village, Room at the Top, Hancock & Joan, The Street and Shameless.
She starred in features Private Peaceful, Run and Jump, Keeping Rosy, Svengali, The Theory of Everything and The Falling. Hamlet, filmed during the run at the Royal Exchange, was released in cinemas March 2015.
Samantha Power plays Beryl. Her theatre work includes Accrington Pals, Coming Around Again, Me, As a Penguin, It’s a Lovely Day Tomorrow (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Zack (Royal Exchange) and Little Britain Live (UK and Australian Tour).
Her television credits include Coronation Street, Ordinary Lies, 4 O’Clock club, All at Sea, Shameless, Little Britain, Waterloo Road, The Cup, In With the Flynns, Twisted Tales, The Mimic, Prisoners Wives.
Rebecca Ryan, who plays Denise, has appeared on TV in DCI Banks, Monroe, Waterloo Road, Emmerdale (ITV), Shameless and State of Play (BBC).
Beryl runs at Rose Theatre, Kingston, from March 8-19.