Andrea Dunbar bio, Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile, to tour this spring

I stumbled on writing by accident. It found me. But the truth is, if you come from an estate, you’ll always be an outsider in this world.

Freedom Studios are to stage Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile, award-winning screenwriter Lisa Holdsworth’s new stage adaptation of Adelle Stripe’s novel about the celebrated playwright,Andrea Dunbar.

The Beacon, Buttershaw, Bradford, 1990. Andrea Dunbar, acclaimed writer of Rita, Sue, and Bob Too, mum, sister, best friend, is struggling with her latest work. Her aching head is full of voices, stories from her past which have to be heard.

Adapted for the stage by Lisa Holdsworth (Ackley Bridge, Waterloo Road and Call the Midwife) Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile, will open at The Ambassador in Bradford in May and then tour until the end of June.

Andrea Dunbar was raised on the Buttershaw council estate in Bradford, one of eight siblings. Her first play, The Arbor, which premiered at the Royal Court in London when she was just 18, originated as a CSE English assignment.

She was, according to one tabloid newspaper at the time, ‘a genius straight from the slums’.

Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1982) was also a hit at the Royal Court and was subsequently filmed by the director Alan Clarke. Dunbar wrote one more play, Shirley, and died of a brain haemorrhage in 1990. She was 29.

Author Adelle Stripe said: “I am absolutely delighted that Freedom Studios will be adapting my novel, transforming Andrea Dunbar’s story from the page to stage.

“Lisa Holdsworth is one of the region’s most respected screenwriters and is a loyal and outspoken supporter of Andrea’s work. I couldn’t think of a better person to adapt Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile.

“Director, Kash Arshad, is a ferocious talent, and under his stewardship I have no doubt that Andrea’s life and work will receive a dynamic retelling in venues across the north.

“As one of Yorkshire’s greatest female writers, Andrea’s legacy is finally being recognised, and this new production, which will be cast in the city that made her, is finally bringing Andrea back home.”

Playwright Lisa Holdsworth added: “It is both a great pleasure and privilege to be writing this play. It will not only be a celebration of the life, work and unique spirit of Andrea Dunbar, but also of Adelle Stripe’s extraordinary book which brings out Andrea’s humour and bravery.”

Tour Dates

May 30-June 8, The Ambassador, Bradford
June 20, Cast, Doncaster
June 26 – 27, Oldham Coliseum

Further dates to be confirmed.

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