The play was admired by Morrissey of the band The Smiths, who used Delaney's photo on the album cover artwork for Louder Than Bombs. A photograph of Shelagh Delaney appears on the cover for The Smiths' single "Girlfriend in a Coma". An earlier Smiths song, "This Night Has Opened My Eyes", is based on the play and includes a paraphrase of Geoffrey's line to Jo near the end: "The dream has gone but the baby is real." Morrissey's lyrics include other borrowings from Delaney including 'I dreamt about you last night. Fell out of bed twice,' as well as 'river the colour of lead' and 'I'm not happy and I'm not sad', both of which are spoken by the lead character Jo. Other quotations and near-quotations appear in several other songs by The Smiths and Morrissey.
The play is referred to by Akira the Don in the title track on the album Thieving (2008), in which it appears to awaken him to literature in a school English lesson. It also appears in On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan, as a film watched by the main characters.