A brief and defiant life – Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile comes to the Yorkshire stage. Words by ANNA CALE.
Adelle Stripe’s novel Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile, which tells the story of Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar, is to be brought to the stage. Adapted by Lisa Holdsworth, the Freedom Studios production will be directed by Kash Arshad and designed by Hannah Sibai.
Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile tells the story of Dunbar’s chaotic life on the Buttershaw estate in Bradford, as she struggles to write her latest work whilst battling her demons. Her aching head is full of voices, stories from her past which have to be heard.
Dubbed ‘a genius straight from the slums’ by one newspaper, Dunbar’s first play, The Arbor, premiered at the Royal Court in London when she was just 18. Her second play Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1982) was also staged at the Royal Court and made into a film in 1987, directed by Alan Clarke.Dunbar wrote just one more play, Shirley. She died of a brain haemorrhage in 1990 aged just 29.
Stripe’s critically acclaimed book received the Society of Authors’ K Blundell Award for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize. Of the forthcoming production, Stripe said “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.”
Lisa Holdsworth’s previous work as a screenwriter includes Ackley Bridge, Waterloo Road and Call the Midwife. In addition, her stage work includes the annual Leeds favourite Slung Low Shorts. Director Ashad’s previous work includes Airplays (Leeds Playhouse, BBC) and Sibai designed When We Were Brothers for Freedom Studios.
The production will open at The Embassador in Bradford from 30th May to 8th June 2019, then will be touring venues to 27th June 2019, with casting to be confirmed.
More information on the production and how to book tickets can be found on the Freedom Studios Website