Hear Simon Armitage's play - an elegy to Sophie Lancaster - which won a BBC award.

On 11 August 2007, Sophie Lancaster was beaten unconscious in Stubbylee Park, Bacup, and later died from her injuries in hospital. She was 20 years old, had just passed her A-Levels and was working out what to do with her life. She was killed because she dressed differently.

Black Roses is written as an elegy to Sophie with poetry by Simon Armitage spoken alongside the words of Sophie's mother Sylvia Lancaster. It features the original cast, which includes Rachel Austin as Sophie and Julie Hesmondhalgh (best known as Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street) as Sylvia.

The piece - originally a radio play - provoked an unprecedented response when it premiered on BBC Radio 4 in 2011. The play went on to win the BBC Audio and Music Award for best speech programme of the year.

The Royal Exchange production is co-directed by Royal Exchange Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom and award-winning BBC Radio Drama producer Susan Roberts.

'A simple, moving production' **** (The Guardian)
'Audiences are unlikely to see anything so powerful or moving this year' ***** (What's on stage)

The production lasts 50 minutes.

Monday 24 March at 7 pm
Tuesday 25 March at 7 pm
Wednesday 26 at 2pm & 7 pm
Thursday 27 March at 7 pm
Friday 28 March at 7pm and 9 pm

Spirit Level at Royal Festival Hall