GCU celebrates 25 years of Tallys Blood with BAFTA-winning actor Juliet Cadzow

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

School students joined the audience for the reading of the play –also starring Gavin Mitchell, Stephen Clyde, Amy Conachan, Scott Fletcher and Rehanna Macdonald - which brought to life a key text in the National 5 curriculum.

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 was delighted to host an outstanding cast of actors for this reading of a landmark play by a GCU Professor. The reading was 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 was presented with a framed image of the play’s original advertising poster to celebrate its landmark anniversary. She said: “It was fantastic to see the play brought to life at GCU, especially with school students who have helped keep the play alive all these years. I hope it opens up more opportunities for partnerships between schools and modern writers.”

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

Juliet Cadzow, a BAFTA-winning actress who has performed to acclaim on stage, screen and TV, said: “I am honoured to be a GCU Cultural Fellow and thrilled to support creativity on campus. My husband was an honorary graduate and it was wonderful that a bursary was created in his name in the MA TV Fiction Writing programme, and I have worked with many GCU students before, so it was fabulous to perform at the University. Tally’s Blood is a terrific piece and my character travels quite a journey, so I was delighted to join GCU to bring it alive for a new generation.”

Lorraine Hutchison, a drama teacher at Lochend Community High School brought her pupils to the reading. She said: “Some of my pupils are performing pieces from the play for their National 5 drama exams and seeing this performance has been a major help in forming their interpretations and developing their own characterisation and in their research. Pupils love the play and its characters as it is so accessible – as soon as they begin reading it, they enjoy it.”