Melissa Johns' debut show at Salford's Lowry Theatre after explicit photos shared online

When actor Melissa Johns was hacked and some of her explicit photos were leaked online she cried for days.

That was in 2018, the actor was born with a shorter right arm and hated her body.

'Snatched' was created after she decided to own the story and it is her intensely personal and humorous response to the hacking.

It is a fast-paced, uplifting one-woman show accompanied by a live 90s/00s soundtrack, with musician Imogen Halsey touring with the production, providing the live soundtrack accompaniment.

The play tackles the taboo of sex and disability and challenges the growing issue of body shaming within society and the media.

One of Melissa Johns' favourite images with her mum captured by her grandad on video camera

Melissa credits her grandfather and his video camera for being the turning point in her own relationship with her disability.

He had documented her life and when she saw herself as a little girl it had a profound effect on her.

She says: "When I saw this little girl on the screen, I filled up with so much emotion, because I thought I'm not giving you the life you deserve.

"I'm hiding you away. I'm embarrassed of you and you don't deserve that, you deserve so much better."

The production of Snatched began in 2019 and has been hit twice by the Covid pandemic.

Melissa took the story to the Lowry Theatre as part of the ‘Developed With’ – an artist development programme.

She says the Lowry team have been with her 'every step of the way'.

Directed by Lily Levin, the play shows her fight against the malicious comments online about her body and disability.

Melissa is also the co-creative lead of disability lead organisation TripleC/ DANC, the Disabled Artists Networking Community, alongside Coronation Street Actor Cherylee Houston.

Triple C's work in championing disabled creatives has been recently honoured with a BAFTA .

In a powerful acceptance speech, Melissa and the Triple C team challenged BAFTA and the industry 'to put disabled creatives centre stage for the first time in their history'.

That she says, 'will change the way disabled people are treated in society'.

"What would next year's BAFTAs look like, if every single person in this room tonight put disability centre stage," she adds.

"The knock on effect that seeing more Deaf Disabled and neurodivergent people on our screens and stages will have to the whole of society is HUGE.

"What it will do, is allow people who maybe own a shop and a small business start to check people's access requirements and see whether they have been open enough to employ disabled people."

She says representation does matter, and tweeted a picture of a little girl with an arm like hers, thrilled to see her on tv.

Snatched will run at The Lowry in Salford from 13-14 May before transferring to London’s Soho Theatre from 16-18 May.

It will then tour to Unity Theatre, Liverpool, on 16 June, Octagon Theatre, Bolton, on 18 June, before heading across the country.

The production will also be live-streamed from The Lowry on 14 May.