RUTH Ellis was a good time girl from North Wales whose life ended on the end of a hangman’s noose in a London prison.
Ellis murdered racing driving lover David Blakeley, a crime she never disputed.
The background to the killing, however, led to widespread speculation including whom she might be protecting.
In a different era Ellis might have been spared her ultimate fate, hung by one-time Oldham publican, Albert Pierrepoint.
Ellis’ story has been told many times, notably in the 1985 film, Dance with a Stranger starring Miranda Richardson and Rupert Everett.
It is also the basis for Saddleworth Players’ latest production and adaptation of Amanda Whittington’s play, The Thrill of Love (March 30-April 6).
Little wonder Rachael Mayor says her forthcoming portrayal of Ellis at Millgate Arts Centre provides her with one of the most challenging roles of her acting career.
Just for good measure, Rachael will be making her debut at the thriving Delph entertainment hub.
“Part of the love of doing theatre is being able to delve into the characters, finding out more information about them,” says Rachael, 28.
“And Ruth’s story is fascinating but a sad one. She was a very troubled person. Her whole life was traumatic.
“She was abused her by her father, worked in nightclubs and went with men with money.
“Her relationship with David was very toxic, These days I am sure psychologists would be working with people from troubled upbringings which in theory drew Ruth to this horrible statement of mind.
“Her story is controversial too. Where did she get the gun from? Who gave it to her?
“In a different time, Ruth probably wouldn’t have been sentenced to hanging but that was the law at the time.
“It’s been a very emotional experience. I have tended to do comedies,” explains Rachael, awarded ‘best female in a supporting drama’ in the 2018 National Operatic and Dramatic Association awards for her role as Shelley in Crompton Stage Society’s production of Ladies Down Under.
“This has been very challenging because it’s as far away from a comedy then you can possibly get.”
Rachael, from Rochdale, sales manager at Revolution Radio, went to the same drama school as Coronation Street actress, Katie McGlynn (Sinead Tinker).
“Katie decided to pursue the television line while I went into theatre,” she explained.
“I have a love of both but I think theatre is much more demanding.
“It is a genuine thrill for me and a real adrenaline rush. You are taking people on a journey, in many cases one they can really relate to.
“It would be great to be in Hollywood and be on television but the reality is we have lives and jobs to juggle.
“We are lucky in this area to have some amazing theatres and societies who allow you to do the thing you love on your own doorstep.”
Directed by Sue Stephenson, the cast also includes: Phil Clegg (Jack Gale), Alison Bowers (Sylvia Shaw), Ruth Wild (Vickie Martin), and Emma Sykes (Doris Judd).
Tickets are available online from www.saddleworthplayers.org.uk or from the box office at Delph Library (Tuesdays 2pm–5pm, Wednesdays and Thursdays 2pm–7pm, and Fridays and Saturdays from 9.30am–1pm) or call 01457 874644.