Hollyoaks host ‘Ode To My Juliet’ performance at Shakespeare North Playhouse

  • Date: 12th October 2023
  • Channel 4

Cast from Channel 4’s flagship daily drama Hollyoaks headed to Shakespeare North Playhouse to introduce #OdeToMyJuliet. The soap and theatre company have teamed up with young creative writers, who have been inspired by a loved one’s strength, optimism, and resilience in the face of a cancer diagnosis.

The project offered young creatives from the Northwest, including members from Buzz Hub CDP, the opportunity to work with screenwriter Alanna Hallum on the Hollyoaks set to develop their writing skills whilst exploring a sensitive and personal subject matter.

Hollyoaks’ Niamh Blackshaw, who plays Juliet Nightingale, alongside other cast members,  performed personal stories written by the creative participants on stage for their friends, family and loved ones at the Shakespeare North Playhouse on 31st May. The event was filmed by the digital team for Hollyoaks’ digital platforms and other media.

Over the past few months, Hollyoaks have explored the impact of teenage cancer with one of the show’s most loved young characters Juliet Nightingale (Niamh Blackshaw).  In late 2022, Juliet was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, and viewers have followed her journey of highs and lows since then; from reuniting with the love of her life, Peri Lomax, and visiting Brighton for the first time, to supporting her family with the news and coming to terms with the side affects of her treatment. Recently on screen, Juliet received the heart-breaking news that the cancer has spread and is no longer treatable.

To celebrate Juliet, Hollyoaks’ digital team are proud to introduce #OdeToMyJuliet, a campaign in which members of the public can share stories and tributes for loved ones just like Juliet.

Julia Carstairs, Hollyoaks’ Digital Campaigns Manager, says “Through the telling of Juliet’s storyline on Hollyoaks, and the bravery of these young people sharing their own experiences with cancer for #OdeToMyJuliet, we hope our audience will be encouraged to talk more openly about cancer, seek support when needed, and find comfort in our online community.”

Evonne Bixter, Head of Engagement at Shakespeare North Playhouse says, “We’re so pleased to team up with Hollyoaks and Lime Pictures for this partnership. It’s so important to give young people the platform to express their emotions and experiences on such a personal and sensitive topic and Shakespeare North Playhouse is honored to be a part of this experience.”

Alanna Hallum, screenwriter, says, “It was such a privilege to be asked to workshop the personal stories that were sent in by our contributors. An Ode to My Juliet was an opportunity for people to offer up their own experiences about loved ones who have been effected by cancer. The pieces of writing that were sent in were beautifully crafted – they were honest, thoughtful and very moving. It was an honour to read them, and to then be able to work with the authors for the day.  I am really looking forward to reading the finished work, and seeing it presented in its final form at Shakespeare North.”


About Shakespeare North Playhouse

Awarded ‘Theatre Building of The Year 2023’ at The Stage Awards, Shakespeare North Playhouse is a ground-breaking new venue located in Prescot, Liverpool which opened in July 2022. Home to the only 17th-century style, timber-built “Cockpit” theatre outside London, able to configure in to two formations end-on and in-the-round. Built entirely during the pandemic thanks to public funds and donations, the venue is anticipated to attract over 140,000 visitors a year to the region. Lead architect for the project is Helm Architecture, and Austin-Smith: Lord as support architect.

Housed inside this modern, energy-efficient building, the venue is also home to a fully accessible outdoor performance garden funded by the Ken Dodd Charitable Foundation, exhibition gallery, 60-seater studio theatre, learning centre, events spaces, and a café and bar with outdoor piazza.

Shakespeare North Playhouse is playing a key role in the regeneration of Knowsley; impacting the people and communities by providing job opportunities, skills development, raising aspirations and increasing health and well-being. Since opening, 100,000 people have visited, of which 10% had never set foot inside any theatre before.

Shakespeare North Playhouse is a National Portfolio Organisation. Funded by Knowsley Council, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Metro Mayor of The Liverpool City Region, Arts Council England and the Department for Culture Media and Sport.


Twitter: @ShakespeareNP

Instagram: @shakespearenorthplayhouse

About Buzz Hub CDP

Buzz Hub CDP enables individuals with support needs to lead happy, active and independent lives whilst facilitating social inclusion. They create opportunities that support the independence, involvement and contribution of disabled people within the community.


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