Melton Vale Post 16 students enter language competition in honour of postwar playwright

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Teenagers who attend Melton Vale Post 16 Centre have taken part in a language competition, at the University of Leicester, to mark 50 years since the death of playwright and provocateur Joe Orton (1933-1967).

English and media students were selected to participate in the Joe Orton creative writing event with Leicester College and English Martyrs, lead by university academic, Dr Emma Parker. All were asked to embody Orton’s mischievous spirit by writing a new Edna Welthorpe letter. Edna Welthorpe was a pseudonym name that Orton used to write prank letters of complaint.

The day consisted of a one-hour workshop in the Joe Orton Collection looking at archival material, followed by a one-hour workshop with BAFTA-nominated filmmaker Chris Shepherd, who is currently making an animation inspired by Orton’s Edna Welthorpe letters.

Year 13, Ella Metcalfe, said: “It was so interesting and it really opened my eyes into a whole new side of contemporary literature.”

The winning letter will be read aloud in front of an audience at the Little Theatre in Dover Street, Leicester, on Wednesday, August 9. At the event, acclaimed actor Frances Barber will read the hilarious prank letters of complaint that Orton penned, alongside new Edna letters commissioned from top comedy writers such as Jesse Armstrong (Peep Show, The Thick of It), Arthur Mathews (Father Ted) and Caroline Moran (Raised by Wolves).