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GCU celebrates 25 years of classic play with BAFTA-winning actor Juliet Cadzow

10 February 2016

Playwright Ann Marie Di Mambro's family's cafe

Playwright Ann Marie Di Mambro's family's cafe

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is to celebrate 25 years of the classic Scots play Tally’s Blood, written by GCU Professor Ann Marie Di Mambro, with a reading starring University Cultural Fellow and BAFTA-award winning actress Juliet Cadzow.

School students from across the west of Scotland will join the audience for the reading of the play – which brings to life a key text in the National 5 curriculum – on February 24.

The compelling story of an Italian immigrant family’s often challenging experiences in Scotland before, during and after the Second World War, Tally’s Blood explores racism, love and family loyalty with humour and warmth.

Jan Hulme, University Secretary and Vice Principal, said: “GCU is delighted to be hosting this reading of a classic Scots play by a GCU Professor and starring a University Cultural Fellow. The reading is a celebration of the vibrant cultural life of GCU and an exploration of part of our rich Scottish heritage, while the play’s issues of migration resonate with one of the greatest political challenges of today.”

Professor Di Mambro is a lecturer on GCU’s MA TV Fiction Writing programme and a playwright and scriptwriter who has written for shows including EastEnders, Waterloo Road, Holby City, Eve, and The Coroner, as well as creating the most-watched episode of Casualty for the BBC. She said: “I am thrilled that GCU is giving young people who are studying Tally's Blood the chance to hear it performed by some of Scotland's finest actors, including Juliet Cadzow. I am grateful to the University and to Scotland’s schools, who have responded so enthusiastically, for their continued support of the play.”

Presented in collaboration with Playwrights Studio Scotland and Sell A Door Theatre Company, and performed script in hand, the reading will be directed by Julie Ellen, Artistic Director of the Macrobert Arts Centre at the University of Stirling.

Fiona Sturgeon Shea, Creative Director of Playwrights Studio Scotland, said: “Scotland is fortunate to have a wealth of experienced playwrights and Ann Marie Di Mambro is among our most eminent. She has worked closely with us, guiding and mentoring emerging writers and working with students in acting and directing. We are delighted to be working with GCU, Sell A Door and the Macrobert Arts Centre in supporting and promoting this performance of one of Ann Marie’s most enduring plays and helping to introduce it to new audiences.”

Julie Ellen added: “The partnership behind this reading of Tally’s Blood speaks volumes about the popularity of the play and the importance of Ann Marie’s writing to theatre and education in Scotland. It is also testament to this work that it has retained a political and a social immediacy within a humorous and affectionate portrayal of a family transplanted.”

Award-winning theatre company Sell A Door will tour Tally's Blood next year. Executive Creative Producer David Hutchinson said: “We are excited to be working with GCU and Playwrights' Studio Scotland on the rehearsed reading in preparation for the play's 2017 tour. The story of a migrant family is particularly relevant today and we look forward to bringing this heartwarming play to audiences.”

Juliet Cadzow will lead the six-strong cast as matriarchal Rosinella. Ms Cadzow, a BAFTA-winning actress who has performed to acclaim on stage, screen and TV, said: “I am delighted to be joining GCU to bring Tally’s Blood alive for a new generation. As a GCU Cultural Fellow I am thrilled to support creativity on campus and I have also enjoyed a long association with Ann Marie, not only through the plays she wrote for A Play, A Pie and A Pint for my husband, David MacLennan, but as a performer in the weekly soap WestEnders, founded in collaboration with GCU for Oran Mor.”

Tally’s Blood will be performed on campus on February 24.