A BEST-SELLING Wearside author’s work is being adapted for the stage – with the play set to premiere in her home town.
Actors are currently reading through a play, based on Houghton writer Sheila Quigley’s book Run for Home.
The gritty crime thriller, set on Wearside, follows detective inspector Lorraine Hunt as she searches for a killer and also looks to track down a kidnapper.
The Houghton connection doesn’t end with Sheila and the setting for the book however, as the writer of the play, actor and producer Derek Lawson, also hails from the town.
A read through took place at artistic ale pub the Kings Arms, in Salford, Manchester, this week, with auditions for parts in the production to be held soon.
Sheila, who was at the reading along with Derek, said: “It was absolutely mind-blowing to be sitting there hearing my words read out. Derek first approached me last year to ask for permission to write a play because he loved reading the books and I have to say he’s done a fantastic job.
“Some of the characters have had to be taken out because there are so many in the book, but he’s kept as much of it word-for-word as he can and it’s brilliant.”
The play is expected to debut in Houghton later this year, with ambitions to take it further afield should it be successful.
“It’s going to run at Zazz in Newbottle Street for five nights in March and if things go well then we will hopefully move on to different and bigger venues,” added Sheila, 66.
Derek, 55, who now lives in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, after leaving Houghton in his 20s, said he was “hooked” when he first read Sheila’s novels. He hopes one day he will be able to see them brought to life on TV or film should the stage incarnation be successful.
“The reading went extremely well and we’re all looking forward to seeing it on stage,” said Derek.
“The books are special to me because it’s about where I grew up.
“When I come home to visit my mam, I see a lot of the characters in Sheila’s books in the people of Houghton.”
Derek and Sheila are now looking for sponsorship from individuals or businesses to help raise the profile of the production.
Those interested should email Derek at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 07584 494328.