Lesbian drama star joins Manchester play

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The lead in a Channel Four hit adaptation of a lesbian teen novel is to star in a new play set in Manchester this week.

Sugar Rush star and University of Manchester final year drama student Olivia Hallinan will join the cast of Wake Me Later, a new play by Nicola Schofield, to be premiered at the University.

Hallinan is to start shooting new episodes of Channel 4’s hit late-night series based on the novel by Julie Burchill.

In “Wake me Later” she will star alongside fellow final year University of Manchester drama students Eleanor Samson, Sally Crawshaw and Anna Clayton.

The play was written specifically for the cast and the John Thaw Studio Theatre by writer Nicola Schofield, winner of the Royal Exchange WRITE#2 competition and nominee for best new play at the Manchester Evening News awards in 2004.

Hallinan said: “Wake Me Later is set in Manchester, Home of the Hacienda; The face of British football; Nightlife capital of the North-West.

“For Alice, Fleur, Karen and Holly, it’s their city. Living in the suburbs of South Manchester, they always thought they knew each other well enough to get along.

“A knock on the door brings a secret that challenges their tolerance, morality and ultimately – their friendship.”

Director Alexandra Barson said: “Working on the play has been a privilege.

“It is such a treat to be able to bring a new piece of writing onto the stage for the first time.

“I am excited by the fact this piece is written by a Manchester playwright, set in her home city, and will be premiered here in Manchester.

“For these reasons Wake Me Later has been an exciting and rewarding project to work on.”