Hazel O’Connor marks 35th anniversary in music industry with Beccles show

An Evening with Hazel O’Connor will be held at the Public Hall in October.

An Evening with Hazel O’Connor will be held at the Public Hall in October. - Credit: Archant

Award-winning actress and singer-songwriter Hazel O’Connor will be celebrating her 35th anniversary in the music and entertainment industry with a trip to Beccles.

Striding into the spotlight with the cult movie Breaking Glass in 1980, O’Connor immediately became an iconic figure, and will be performing ageless songs from the film’s soundtrack at Beccles Public Hall on October 8.

The event is part of a series of talks and book signings organised by the owners of Kulture Shock, the science fiction collectables shop in Blyburgate, and past appearances have included politician and Strictly Come Dancing alumni Ann Widdecombe, Punk singer Toyah Wilcox and actor and comedian Nigel Planer.

When O’Connor rose to fame in 1980, it was pretty rare to find a singer, writer and actress all rolled into one.

She had serious problems with her pre-Breaking Glass record label which culminated in four separate court cases in 1982. Due to legal restraints she was no longer able to make new records, so she launched into her first theatre acting job in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest alongside John Sessions and Tim McInnerny at the Royal Exchange in Manchester.

Eventually in 1984 she made a new album, Smile, with RCA Records and her new pal George Michael played the love interest in the video for the first single from the album Don’t Touch Me.

She then appeared in her first West End musical The Girlfriends, and in the mid 80s wrote and performed her own musical Sing Out Sister at the Riverside studios in London. After the TV airing of the five-part BBC drama Fighting Back in which O’Connor starred and gained rave reviews, she left the UK to try her luck in Hollywood where she married, toured with her US band, and was about to start work on a TV sitcom pilot when she was diagnosed with two types of skin cancer. She decided to move to Ireland to get away from the sun.

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In the early 90s she made three albums with Sony and by the mid 90s she received her first ever royalties for Breaking Glass. By 1998 she decided to write and perform her now highly acclaimed show Beyond Breaking Glass alongside top Irish harp player and composer Cormac De Barra.

In 2011 she started working with Clare Hirst (saxophone) and Sarah Fisher (keyboards) creating a successful trio, which has performed both in the UK and Europe. The trio, who perform songs from O’Connor’s catalogue plus covers and jazz classics with a twist, will be performing An Evening with Hazel O’Connor at the Public Hall at 8pm. Tickets cost £20 available from the Public Hall or Kulture Shock, or by calling 01502 712922.

After the show O’Connor will be meeting the audience and signing autographs. And as well as the show, ticket holders also get free admission to a screening of Breaking Glass at Beccles Public Hall on Thursday, October 1.

Breaking Glass Barefoot, The Autobiography of Hazel O’Connor, is available in advance from Kulture Shock for £5 when you purchase your tickets or on the night for £7.99. The book usually costs £12.99.