Educating Rita at 40 with Julie Walters, Willy Russell and real life Ritas
The legacy of Educating Rita 40 years on.
This summer marks 40 years since Willy Russell’s landmark play Educating Rita was first performed. The funny and moving story of a 26 year-old Liverpudlian hairdresser studying for an Open University degree has barely been off stage since. Dame Julie Walters played the lead role in both the original theatrical production and the later film, for which she was Oscar-nominated. She joins Jane to talk about what playing the role has meant to her, and how much Rita/Susan’s experience chimed with her own. Jane also speaks to Willy Russell about Rita’s story, and why he believes it has resonated with so many women. They are joined by four real life Ritas – working-class women who returned to education in later life, Glynthea Modood, Sue Slater, Kate Wiseman, and the Open University’s Pro Vice Chancellor Liz Marr.