Cast Set For A TASTE OF HONEY at Royal Exchange

Performances run 15 March – 13 April.

By: Feb. 12, 2024
Cast Set For A TASTE OF HONEY at Royal Exchange

The cast has been set for A TASTE OF HONEY by Shelagh Delaney and directed by Emma Baggott  at Royal Exchange. Performances run 15 March – 13 April.

Shelagh Delaney’s iconic play A TASTE OF HONEY is one of the most famous explorations of working-class life in the northwest of England. Written when she was only 19 years old, this, her first play, was developed by Joan Littlewood in the radical Theatre Workshop and subsequently transferred to the West End before becoming an era-defining film. This sharply observed portrait of working-class life in Salford in the late 1950s was a daring piece of theatre, not only for its gritty realism and honesty, but also for placing two resilient women at the centre of the drama. 

In director Emma Baggott’s new production of this stunningly observed play Jill Halfpenny (THE LONG SHADOW, ITV / THE CUCKOO, Channel 5) and Rowan Robinson (PASSENGER, ITVX) both make their Royal Exchange Theatre debuts as mother and daughter Helen and Josephine. The cast is completed by David Moorst as Geoffery, Obadiah as Jimmie and Andrew Sheridan as Peter. The play’s exceptional dialogue is heightened by a beautiful jazz score performed by Nishla Smith as the Jazz Singer. Running from 15 March to 13 April this is a stunning portrayal of the intricate relationship between a mother and daughter in the late 1950s both waiting and hoping for that taste of honey.  

Helen has done it again, another fly-by-night flit dragging Jo from one Salford flat to another, only this time she has out done herself giving her daughter panoramic views of the slaughterhouse. But Jo can feel her Mum’s restlessness, another man will appear and lure her away and Jo will be left to fend for herself, so when Jimmie offers to stay for Christmas Jo is swept up in his charm and the promise of escape - no matter how precarious that may be.       


Jill Halfpenny is a celebrated stage and screen actor who has most recently been seen in ITV’s stunning true-crime drama THE LONG SHADOW, her other television credits include the soon to be aired THE CUCKOO (Clapperboard Studios / Channel 5), THE RED KING (Quay Street Productions / Alibi), EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT LOVE (BBC), THE HOLIDAY (Channel 5 / Netflix), THE DROWNING (Channel 5), LIAR S1 & 2 (ITV), YEAR OF THE RABBIT (Channel 4), INSIDE NO. 9, THREE GIRLS and IN THE CLUB (BBC) and DARK MONEY (BBC / The Forge). Jill’s stage credits include IN A WORD (The Young Vic), THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (West Yorkshire Playhouse), WAY UPSTREAM (Chichester Festival Theatre), UNCLE VANYA (Birmingham Rep) and THE BODIES (Live Theatre). In the West End Jill has been seen in ABIGAIL'S PARTY, CALENDAR GIRLS, CHICAGO and LEGALLY BLONDE for which she won an Olivier Award. 

This will be Rowan Robinson's professional stage debut since graduating from RADA in 2022. Her credits include PASSENGER (ITVX), RUTH (ITV), A HAUNTING IN VENICE (20th Century/Disney), THE WAYFINDERS (Arrowstorm Productions) and SHAKESPEARE A MAN FOR ALL TIME directed by Trevor Nunn and starring alongside Judi Dench at the Boulevard Theatre. 

Both Andrew Sheridan and David Moorst make a welcome return to the Exchange. Andrew was last seen at the Royal Exchange in LET The RIGHT ONE IN and NORA: A DOLL’S HOUSE. He is an award-winning writer and an actor his debut play WINTERLONG won the 2008 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. His acting credits include THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR (Eagle Eye for Channel 4), CHERNOBYL (Various Sky/ HBO) PEAKY BLINDERS (Tiger Aspect), NUCLEAR WAR (Royal Court), and PEOPLE, PLACES AND THINGS (UK Tour -Headlong / National Theatre / HOME). David was last at the Exchange in the world premiere of Simon Stephens’ LIGHTFALLS, his other theatre credits include: Olivier nomination for ‘Dill’ in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (West End); A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (The Bridge); ALLELUJAH! (The Bridge). 

Obadiah has recently graduated from Guildhall School of Music and Drama and makes his Exchange debut. His theatre credits include: THE FREE 9 (Watford Palace Theatre/The North Wall Arts Centre); THE THRIVING CHILD (Watford Palace Theatre/Royal Opera House); 360 DEGREES (The Old Vic/East City Films); LETTERS FROM LOCKDOWN (Lyric Hammersmith). Nishla Smithis a performer/ composer, influenced by the musical language of jazz and driven by storytelling across her diverse practice. Nishla is a Peter Whittingham Jazz Award winner and a recent alumni of London Jazz Festival’s prestigious Take Five cohort. She played the titular bird in Atri Banerjee’s acclaimed production of KES (Bolton Octagon/ Theatre By The Lake), for which she won a UK Theatre Award for ‘Best Supporting Performer.’   

Director Emma Baggott makes her Royal Exchange debut. She trained at Goldsmiths University of London and at the Young Vic and has worked in both the subsidised and commercial sectors. Her recent credits include THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISSOCIA (Theatre Royal Stratford East - Shortlisted for Off West End Award for Best Production (Plays) and nominated for three other Off West End Awards), THE SNOW QUEEN (Polka Theatre), FACE THE MUSIC: THE SOCIAL CARE WORKERS' PLAY (Almeida Theatre), NEVILLE’S ISLAND, MISFITS and STILETTO BEACH (Queens Theatre Hornchurch), THE THINGS WE LEAVE BEHIND (Lyric Hammersmith), SHE IS FIERCE (The Swirl, RSC), NORMAL (Styx). 

The creative team for A TASTE OF HONEY includes Designer Peter Butler, Lighting Designer Simisola Majekodunmi, Sound Designer George Dennis, Orchestrator and Arranger Alexandra Faye Braithwaite, Fight and Intimacy Director Kaitlin Howard, Movement Director Sarita Piotrowski, Voice and Dialect coach Natalie Grady, Birkbeck Assistant Director Sam Holland-Bunyan, Casting Director Annelie Powell CDG, Casting Assistant Alice Walters.