The play follows lifelong friends Leah and Willow (Susi Wrenshaw) as they strive to find their place in the world. Stuck working in a fish factory in deepest Salford with only Greasy Gary for company, they embark on an emotional and touching journey of self discovery.
While Leah perfects her 'Julia Roberts smile', a bereavement in Willow’s family sees her estranged parents thrust back into her life in ways she could never have expected…
As her father's deeply buried deceit surfaces and a colossal truth unravels, Willow learns that her perception of the past is almost as fragile as her mother's existence. Be Rain For Me encapsulates all that is beautiful between true friends whilst boldly challenging preconceptions of domestic abuse.
This is Wrenshaw’s first full-length play and has already received recognition from Arts Council England who have awarded funding for the project. Developed through the Royal Exchange Theatre Writers Group and Contact Theatre’s Scriptworks, the show was staged independently by Halden Theatre, Nottingham earlier this month and has since been selected by Contact Theatre's Scriptworks for their Shortworks production. The play has also been short-listed for Manchester Library Theatre's First Stage competition.
Susi explains: “It requires a strong cast to journey into the dark themes of the play while being able to bring to life the quirky humour of the characters. I am privileged to have a fantastic team on board to ensure the audience leave the theatre buzzing.”
Having trained as an actor, and with past directing credits for plays with Breathe Out Theatre at Studio Salford, Capitol Theatre and numerous children’s shows, Susi can also be seen in Be Rain With Me playing the role of Willow.
Joining Susi on stage as Willow’s father ‘Ray’ will be Russell Kennedy. Since graduating in 1996, Russell has acted in an extensive and varied number of theatre performances, most recently his own one man show, An Evening of Charles Dickens Ghost Stories at Newtownards Web Theatre in Northern Ireland.
Playing Willow’s mother ‘Moth’ is played by Jacqueline Redgewell. Jacqueline has enjoyed a wide range of acting experiences across stage, screen and radio. She has appeared in both Emmerdale and Coronation Street, whilst her 2003 film Brown Paper Bag won a BAFTA Award for Best Short Film.
Amy Spencer will play the role of Leah. Since graduating with a first class acting degree from The Arden School of Theatre last year, Amy has appeared in a number of plays up and down the country. She will be performing extracts of Be Rain For Me at Contact Theatre as part of their Shortworks season and at the Lass O'Gowrie in the Lass Fest.
Happystorm Theatre Company was founded by partners Matthew Ganley and Susi Wrenshaw earlier this year to produce exciting new writing reflecting the humour, undeniable hospitality and rock-solid community-driven values of the people of Salford. Be Rain With Me will be Matthew’s directorial debut.
The creative team is completed by Bec Garland who is responsible for all company artwork. In July 2010 she will be one of two UK representatives participating in the Artemisszio Foundation's international training in Theatre Arts at Intercultural Exchange, Budapest, Hungary.
Be Rain For Me runs at the Salford Arts Theatre from 29 - 31 July and for more details click here.