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Hard to Swallow

Allerton Grange’s drama department, in collaboration with students from Year 9 upwards and Leeds University, delivered the moving and harrowing real life story of Catherine Dunbar, a girl whose young life, and that of her family, were devastated by anorexia. Tragically, Catherine battled with the disease for years before she eventually died in the 80s as a result of the condition.

This captivating production was expertly directed by Kathryn Bates, Molly Ellis and Dalton Johns, students from Leeds University. The play was originally adapted by playwright Mark Wheeller from a book by Catherine’s mother Maureen; it was developed alongside a youth company, by young people, for young people. The honest accounts from Catherine’s family combine with the abstract interpretation of Catherine’s psychological demons to create a powerful depiction of anorexia nervosa.

An engrossed audience later enthused about the professionalism of the whole cast and were particularly impressed by intense and emotional performances from Claudia, as Catherine, and Aaliyah and Andrew, who played her parents.

Our partnership with Leeds University’s Department of Performance and Cultural Industry is now in its third year and continues to go from strength to strength.  Kathryn, Molly and Dalton are determined to return next year to direct our students again!

We are also hugely indebted to Mark Wheeller for his advice on the project and to the Dunbar family who kindly donated images of Catherine, taken shortly before her untimely death.

Notes to editor:

For further information, please contact Becky Finch on beckyfinch@allertongrange.com or call 0113 393 1278


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