Leicester

Joe Orton play opens in Leicester to mark 50th anniversary of his death

Joe Orton Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption What the Butler Saw was the last play ever written by Joe Orton

The sister of playwright Joe Orton says he "would have loved" having one of his most famous plays staged in his hometown 50 years after he died.

Orton from Leicester was murdered in 1967 by his partner Kenneth Halliwell.

What the Butler Saw was written the year he died and challenged people's attitudes towards homosexuality, at a time when it was still illegal.

Now open at the Curve Theatre, Leonie Orton-Barnett said his plays were still important today.

"He would have loved this," she said.

"He came home to Leicester a lot to visit family and touch base with people.

Image copyright Curve Theatre
Image caption The play was first staged in London two years after Joe Orton died

"He drew a lot of his material from being around working class people, seeing how they lived and talked to one another."

The play has previously been performed in London and Manchester.

Artistic director at the Curve Theatre, Nikolai Foster, said: "He was a working class kid from Leicester who helped change the course of British theatre so it is really significant we are stage here and on the 50th anniversary of his death.

"Orton's work was ahead of his time and it's still ahead of its time now."

The latest production stars actor and comedian Rufus Hound in the lead role of Dr. Prentice. It runs until 18 March.

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