Coronation Street’s well-loved character Hayley Cropper has inspired a show being staged in Blackpool as part of this year’s Pride Festival.
Hayley And Me is a nostalgic look at the character’s place in transgender history, written and performed by Kate O’Donnell.
Hayley Cropper was the first transgender character in British soap when she moved into the ITV show in 1998, played by actress Julie Hesmondhalgh.
The show explores the themes of visibility, expectations, LGBT progress, escapism and a lack of visible role models or a ‘rule book’ for transgender people, through Kate’s own experience as a transwoman.
Kate said: “Seeing yourself represented in wider culture is so important, and something that trans people have had to go without until relatively recent history. It’s important to celebrate and reflect on those little break throughs and cultural moments.
“Hayley was played by a cisgendered actress at the time, but I like to think that now a transgender actor would be cast to play the part, which I see as progress.
“There is still lots of work to be done as what little representation trans people do have in fictional narratives and the wider media is often very negative, but I believe we are getting there.
“I’m really delighted to be bringing Hayley And Me to Blackpool during Blackpool Pride Festival as it’s so important for trans work to be seen by diverse audiences.”
The night, on Friday, June 9, will also include a post-show discussion led by advocate, campaigner and chairperson of Lancashire LGBT Carolyn Mercer. Kate and Carolyn will be joined by Elliott Kerrigan, writer of the groundbreaking Boy Meets Girl, the BBC’s first comedy to feature transgender issues and star a transgender actor.
Kate added: “The post show discussion will give an opportunity for some lively conversation so I hope that lots of people come down to join us on the night.”
The show is presented by independent producers Mykey Young and Carrie Rooney in association with QuAD, a new collective of Blackpool-based artists dedicated to showing and developing new queer work in the town.
Blackpool Pride Festival runs from Friday to Sunday, June 9 to 12, with the main hub of events at the Winter Gardens, as well as a series of shows at Viva Blackpool, and fringe events at resort bars and clubs.
The festival’s glitzy parade will take place on the Promenade at 11am on June 10.
Headlining at the Winter Gardens will be Sonia and Union J on Saturday night, while Jane McDonald plays the Opera House on Friday, with Gareth Gates and Ceri Dupree on at Viva.
Tickets for Hayley And Me on Friday, June 9, are on sale now priced £5.
Visit www.vivablackpool.com or call the box office on 01253 297297 to book.