November 21, 2023 at 6:00 pm


Selina Todd

Tastes of Honey: the making of Shelagh Delaney and a Cultural Revolution


In 1958, Shelagh Delaney, a working-class teenager from Salford, became famous when her debut play, A Taste of Honey, was staged in London. Focused on a single mother and her daughter, the play tackled taboo subjects like homosexuality and mixed-race relationships. Against the contemptuous predictions of London’s critics, it became a box-office sellout. Audiences flocked to see – in the words of one man – ‘people like us’ on stage. A Taste of Honey has been performed across the world ever since.

In this talk, Delaney’s biographer, the historian Selina Todd, explores the impact of A Taste of Honey, what happened next to Shelagh Delaney, and what her story tells us about class, culture and women’s lives in modern Britain. Todd’s biography Tastes of Honey: Shelagh Delaney and a Cultural Revolution was Observer Book of the Week and a Guardian Book of the Month and is described by Ken Loach as ‘brilliant’.

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