Women in the Law UK: In Conversation with Maxine Peake and Sarah Frankcom

Posted on 6/10/2017 by Katherine Memery

On Thursday 5th October, we were delighted to attend an exclusive Q and A session with actor and writer, Maxine Peake and Creative Director, Sarah Frankcom at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre. The event was hosted by Women in the Law UK, a professional organisation that exists to inspire the next generation of female lawyers.

Maxine Peake, Sarah Frankcom and Sally Penni

The evening began with a reception in the theatre’s Exchange Suite, where we enjoyed welcome drinks and nibbles and chatted excitedly with our fellow guests about the prospect of hearing from one of the country’s leading actresses.

Fresh from a day of rehearsing Peake’s latest foray into dramatic writing at the Theatre, Peake and Frankcom, led by the charismatic Barrister and Founder of Women in the Law, Sally Penni, gave a charming insight into their long-standing creative relationship. Since Peake left the bright lights of London and returned to her Northern roots in 2009, the duo have worked together on an eclectic selection of projects, most of which have been staged at the magnificent Royal Exchange.

From Caryll Churchill’s The Stryker to the iconic A Streetcar Named Desire, and a feminist reimagining of Hamlet, where Peake played Shakespeare's most well-known protagonist, Peake and Frankcom have undoubtedly joined forces on some of Manchester’s most memorable theatrical productions.

As well as exploring the pair’s past, present and future collaborations, Sally, an avid theatregoer and Trustee at the Royal Exchange, thoughtfully questioned Peake about her illustrious acting career. In particular, she pointed out the seemingly legal thread running through Peake's television work, demonstrated by her roles in Silk, Criminal Justice and the more recent Three Girls. Away from acting, Peake is also a patron of The Greater Manchester Law Centre. For a room full of lawyers, this was of, course, one of the many highlights of the conversation. 

The evening provided a fascinating glimpse into Frankcom and Peake’s partnership as well as the workings of the spectacular Royal Exchange and reinforced the importance of female storytelling. I for one, came away inspired by what I had heard and, proud of our City’s creative industries and desperate to secure tickets for the Royal Exchange’s upcoming productions.

To learn more about Women in the Law UK, visit their website or find the organisation on social media.

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