Through a series of exhibitions, productions, screenings, talks, and publications that pay particular attention to issues of class and sexuality, the project seeks to celebrate Orton’s achievements, to consider previously overlooked aspects of his work, and to recognise his cultural impact and legacy.
To mark the 50th anniversary of Orton’s death in 2017, Emma Parker partnered with BAFTA-nominated filmmaker Chris Shepherd to launch a creative writing competition for post-16 students inspired by the prank letters of complaint that Orton penned under the name ‘Edna Welthorpe’, to commission new letters from renowned writers, actors and artists and to make an animation inspired by the original Edna Welthorpe letters.
In 2017 ‘Yours Faithfully, Edna Welthorpe (Mrs)’, starring Alison Steadman, screened at Encounters Short Film Festival, Bristol, the London International Film Festival, Barbican, on the BBC Arts webpage and on Criterion TV in the USA. In 2018, the film screened at the British Animation Awards, London; the Short Film Festival, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; the LGBT Feedback Film Festival, Toronto, ‘a showcase of the best LGBT shorts in the world’.
The Edna Welthorpe project won a Saboteur Award (2018).