Maxine Peake’s “Beryl” coming to Lowther Pavilion

Actor Maxine Peake’s stage writing debut celebrating the life of one of cycling’s most influential women, is coming to Lytham St. Annes, this month.

 “Beryl”, which chronicles the life and achievements of Yorkshire’s Beryl Burton, will visit Lowther Pavilion on Wednesday 23 September at 7.30pm. Tickets for the show, which are priced at £14 for adults and £12.50 for children and seniors, are available directly from the venue by calling 01253 794221. “Beryl” is suitable for ages 10 and above.

Peake, star of Shameless, Dinner Ladies and the Royal Exchange’s recent production of Hamlet, has received much critical acclaim for the play, which played to full houses at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2014.

This charming play celebrates the life of Beryl Burton – the greatest woman on two wheels. She was five times world pursuit champion, thirteen times national champion, twice road-racing world champion and twelve times national champion. Beryl was awarded an MBE and an OBE. She was one of the most astonishing sports people ever to have lived.

“Beryl” tells the story of her life, from working on a rhubarb farm to becoming the best British cycling all-rounder for 25 consecutive years and, in 1967, setting a 12 hour time-trial which has not been broken to this day. She caught up with Britain’s fastest male cyclist while setting it and, legend has it, offered him a liquorice allsort as she sailed past.

With just four talented performers & their bikes, Beryl evokes a sporting world before drugs and commercial sponsorship, a family pulling together against the odds, the admirable camaraderie and selflessness of the amateur cycling community and, at the centre of it all, one truly remarkable woman.

Beryl’s daughter Denise Burton-Cole welcomes the revival of the play. “We are thrilled as it’s an outstanding play and it’s great that more people will see it,” she says.

The play forms part of Spot On Lancashire’s autumn season of touring, which sees 20 different shows travel to the county over the next four months.

West Yorkshire Playhouse commissioned and produced “Beryl” in 2014 to coincide with the Tour de France starting in Leeds, Beryl’s home town. Speaking ahead of the upcoming tour, Artistic Director at the theatre, James Brining said:

“There was a real feeling from audiences that this modest Yorkshire woman represented something more than just an outstanding individual sports person –  that Beryl’s life, her values and attitude to success meant something greater and more significant that pure sporting excellence”.  

He added:

“We were delighted that the support of Arts Council England meant we could tour Beryl this autumn, visiting theatres, arts centres and village halls across the North of England. I do hope you will enjoy this story of a true Yorkshire legend – even in Lancashire!”