Home > Latest News > Exciting new play about the life of celebrated playwright Andrea Dunbar to premiere in Yorkshire next week

Exciting new play about the life of celebrated playwright Andrea Dunbar to premiere in Yorkshire next week


From Freedom Studios, the producers of the acclaimed Brief Encounters at Bradford Interchange and When We Were Brothers comes Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile,  award-winning screenwriter Lisa Holdsworth’s new stage adaptation of Adelle Stripe’s compelling novel which fictionalised the brief and defiant life of the celebrated playwright Andrea Dunbar.

The Beacon, Buttershaw, Bradford, 1990. Andrea Dunbar, acclaimed writer of Rita, Sue, and Bob Too, mum, sister, best friend, is struggling with her latest work. Her aching head is full of voices, stories from her past which have to be heard. The play is a fictionalised account of the life of Andrea Dunbar.

Featuring an all-female cast and adapted for the stage by screenwriter Lisa Holdsworth (Ackley Bridge, Waterloo Road and Call the MidwifeBlack Teeth and a Brilliant Smile, will open at The Ambassador in Bradford from the 30 May-8 June and then tour until the 30 June.

Playwright Lisa Holdsworth, author Adelle Stripe and director Kash Arshad

Andrea Dunbar was raised on the Buttershaw council estate in Bradford, one of eight siblings. Her first play, The Arbor, which premiered at the Royal Court in London when she was just 18, originated as a CSE English assignment. She was, according to one tabloid newspaper at the time, ‘a genius straight from the slums’. Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1982) was also a hit at the Royal Court and was subsequently filmed by the director Alan Clarke. Dunbar wrote one more play, Shirley, and died of a brain haemorrhage in 1990. She was 29.

Playwright Lisa Holdsworth said:

“It is both a great pleasure and privilege to be writing this play. It will not only be a celebration of the life, work and unique spirit of Andrea Dunbar, but also of Adelle Stripe’s extraordinary book which brings out Andrea’s humour and bravery.”


Rehearsals of Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile, a play by Freedom Studios, adapted from the book by Adelle Stripe. Photo by Tim Smith.

Directed by Kash Arshad (Airplays, Leeds Playhouse and Memories of Partition, Royal Exchange), the production’s all-female cast will feature Emily Spowage (Eaten by Lions, Mecca Films) as Andrea Dunbar; Lucy Hird (The Funfair, HOME) as the younger Andrea Dunbar, Claire- Marie Seddon(Tarzanne, Interplay) as Eileen/Sophie/cast; Balvinder Sopal (Partition, Leeds Playhouse) as Mo/Patsy/cast; and Laura Lindsay (Partus, Third Angel and Sheffield Theatres) as Alma/Liane/cast.

Bradford-based Freedom Studios is an award-winning intercultural theatre company, which connects different people and communities through story-telling and making theatre. Engagement is intrinsic to their work, and communities are at the heart of what they do. Their recent site-specific productions include The Mill – City of DreamsBrief Encounters at Bradford InterchangeHome Sweet Home and most recently When We Were Brothers.

Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile

Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile will tour from the 30 May – 30 June including dates in Bradford, Leeds, Oldham, Barnsley, Wakefield, Doncaster and Harrogate

To book tickets and for more information on Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile visit