Shelagh Delaney was born on November 25, 1939, in Salford, Lancashire, England. She remembers her father, Joseph, a bus inspector, as a great storyteller and reader. Delaney’s education was erratic, marked by attendance at three primary schools and her failure of the eleven-plus qualifying examinations for grammar school. She was admitted to the Broughton Secondary School and, after a fair record of achievement, was transferred to the more academic local grammar school. At fifteen, she took her General Certificate of Education, passing in five subjects, and at age seventeen, she left school. She held a number of jobs in succession, working as a shop assistant, as a milk depot clerk, as an usher, and finally as an assistant researcher in the photography department of a large industrial firm.
The encouragement Delaney received at Broughton School led her to continue her writing later. She had already begun a novel when she saw a performance of Terence Rattigan’s Variation on a Theme (pr., pb. 1958), which she disliked and which she thought she could better. This experience served as a catalyst for reshaping her novel into the play that became A Taste of Honey. She sent the revision to Joan Littlewood , leader of a radical London group called Theatre Workshop , who began rehearsals immediately. Its initial run began May 27, 1958, at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, and lasted a month. Restaged six months later at the Theatre Royal, it...
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