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The Lowry plays host to the world premiere of Melissa Johns' debut play SNATCHED

Melissa Johns (ITV’s Grantchester, Donmar Warehouse’s Henry V) will star in the world premiere production of her debut play SNATCHED, which will run at The Lowry in Salford on Friday 13 & Saturday 14 May before transferring to London’s Soho Theatre from 16-18 May, ahead of a UK tour.

In 2018, disabled actor, Melissa Johns’ iCloud was hacked and explicit photos of her were released online. SNATCHED is Melissa Johns’ response to this event, a humorous and revealing show that displays no remorse in championing female sexuality, fighting body shaming and the taboo of sex and disability.

A young disabled woman with a history of body dysmorphia comes to terms with her body becoming public property. SNATCHED is a fast-paced, uplifting one woman show accompanied by a live 90’s/00’s soundtrack

SNATCHED, which has been in development since 2019 as part of ‘Developed With’ – The Lowry’s flagship artist development programme, sees Melissa Johns take ownership of her story by re-writing it in her own words as a ‘court case’ against body shaming within society and the media. The powerful play is a fight against the malicious comments that surfaced online about her body and disability in response to the leaked images and the media that wanted to write a negative narrative around her.

Salford based actor Melissa Johns is currently appearing as series regular Miss Scott in the seventh series of ITV’s Grantchester as well as currently making her West End debut in the Donmar Warehouse’s production of Henry V alongside Kit Harrington, which will be screened across to over 600 venues across the country as part of NT Live. Born in Hereford and raised in Ledbury, she trained at East 15 Acting School and her other credits include – Hannah Taylor in BBC’s LIFE, Imogen Pascoe in Coronation Street and 2021’s line up of Celebrity Masterchef.

Melissa is also the co-founder and co-creative lead of disability lead organisation TripleC/ DANC and she has also won multiple awards for her work championing women and the disabled community including being named in both Shaw’s Power List of the 100 Most Influential Disabled People and the 2022 Northern Power Women List.

Antonia Beck, Senior Producer: Artist Development at The Lowry said:

“We are delighted to be presenting the world premiere of ‘SNATCHED’ at The Lowry, and we can’t wait for audiences to experience this dynamic and bold new production from Melissa Johns and Lily Levin that taps into very current conversations around body dysmorphia and body shaming.

Antonia added:

Through our work at The Lowry, we are passionate about supporting and elevating marginalised female artists and investing both in the development of their work as artists and their careers as creative and cultural leaders. It’s been a pleasure to work with Melissa and Lily through our ‘Developed With The Lowry‘ programme and support them to create this powerful new work that provides a much-needed platform for a disabled female artist to speak directly and avidly about her experiences”.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, creator and star of both the Emmy Award-winning comedy series and Olivier Award-nominated play of Fleabag, called the debut play “exhilaratingly honest” and SNATCHED has also received support from BAFTA through the development process.

Produced by Melissa Johns and Anthony Kosky, the full creative team are Melissa Johns (writer and performer), Lily Levin (director and co-devisor), Sophie Simensky (design), Katrin Padel (lighting), Fergus Waldron (sound), Kate Galbraith (stage manager) and Lauren Cross (sound operator). Musician Imogen Halsey (Just So) has also today been announced to be touring with the production, providing the live soundtrack accompaniment.

Following the production’s runs in Salford and London, SNATCHED will tour to Unity Theatre, Liverpool (16th June), Octagon Theatre, Bolton (18th June), Northern Stage, Newcastle (21st – 22nd June), Yvonne Artaud Theatre, Guildford (24th June), The Pound Arts Centre, Corsham (25th June), Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff (29th June) and Courtyard Theatre, Hereford (1st July).

The Lowry will also livestream the production on Saturday 14 May as part of their continued commitment to making theatre accessible for everyone as well as offering British Sign Language interpretation at one performance. There will also be British Sign Language performances at Unity Theatre, Liverpool, Northern Stage, Newcastle and Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff.

Melissa Johns and Lily Levin have been supported by Dramaturg Jude Christian and Arts Council England.