10th November 2017
It is fantastic to see former performing arts (acting) student Taj Atwal back in York as a successful professional actress, playing Rita in ‘Rita, Sue And Bob Too’ at the Theatre Royal.
Being back in the city where she grew up and took her early acting steps at York College, she is delighted to be back on tour with the Out of Joint, Octagon Theatre, Bolton and Royal Court Theatre production of Andrea Dunbar’s play.
The play focusses on best friends Rita and Sue who get a lift home from married Bob after babysitting his kids. When he takes the scenic route and offers them a bit of fun, the three start a fling they each think they control.
Andrea Dunbar’s semi-autobiographical play, written when she was just 19, is a vivid portrait of girls caught between a brutal childhood and an unpromising future, and hungry for adult adventure.
Taj is keen to do the role of Rita justice, saying: “The 15 year old character is so different to mine, she is so vulnerable and naïve and just wants to get her world right. Whether right or wrong, she grabs the chance of someone showing her affection. I think the girls in this play are blameless but it’s up to the audience to decide.”
Taj, who is probably best known for appearing in Kay Mellor’s In the Club on BBC1, also played Rita in Willy Russell’s Educating Rita at Hull Truck Theatre last summer. In 2014 and 2015 she enjoyed her West End debut in East is East at the Trafalgar Studios, and she is about to return to London playing Rita at the Royal Court Theatre.
Taj says: “When I was at York College between 2004 and 2007, I decided acting was what I wanted to do. I had a fantastic time studying the Diploma in Performing Arts and National Award in Dance, and a decade later I am back in the city that shaped my career.”