Cast from Channel 4’s flagship daily drama Hollyoaks will be heading 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.
This project is offering 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, will be performing the 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 will be filmed 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 effects 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 people can share stories and tributes online for loved ones just like Juliet. If you would like to take part in the online campaign use #OdeToMyJuliet on TikTok or Instagram to share your story.
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 honoured 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 affected 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.”
To take part in the online campaign, use #OdeToMyJuliet on TikTok or Instagram to share your story.
Hollyoaks continues on Channel 4 at 6:30pm and E4 at 7pm