War play by former Corrie actress scoops award

“I find teaching is always a way of learning and I always come away having learnt at least as much as the students have in a different way."

Guest Lecturer, Debbie McAndrew

Guest Lecturer and former Coronation Street actress Debbie McAndrew has won Best New Play at a national awards ceremony for her production ‘An August Bank Holiday Lark’.

The playwright earned national recognition at the National Theatre Awards for her play, which explores the impact of the First World War on a rural community in East Lancashire.

Debbie said: “An August Bank Holiday Lark is about a rural community in East Lancashire in 1914, it’s a mill town, a little bit industrial but very rural and has roots in these rural traditions.

“The main one being the Rushcart Festival which is rush baring, which happened as a practical thing to put rushes on the floor of the church for winter to soak up the mud and wet.”

Guest Lecturer for the past six years, Debbie teaches documentary theatre, scripting, writing and acting. The playwright said that teaching has helped her think differently.

“I find teaching is always a way of learning and I always come away having learnt at least as much as the students have in a different way.

“Having to teach what you do makes you think about it in a particular way, I really enjoy it,” she said.

Despite years of working on an award winning soap, Debbie admits that award ceremonies are usually something she tries to avoid.

“I was in Coronation Street for four years and managed to avoid all those kind of occasions so to find myself at the centre of it and be the name on the nomination was very nerve racking.

“It was terrifying, but it was all right because I got the award. I didn’t really expect to win, it was such a big occasion and very nerve racking,” she added.

Senior Lecturer Rob Marsden, said: “We are delighted to continue to invite Deborah to lecture on the Drama and Theatre Arts courses here at Staffordshire University.

“Deborah brings a wealth of professional theatre industry experience as a writer and as an actress. She continues to inspire the students at all levels and is a highly popular member of the lecturing team,” he added.

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