'It's a brave show': A new play about mental health is coming to Sale
The complex issues surrounding mental health are the subject of a new play which is coming to Sale's Waterside Arts Centre this month (November 26-28). 'What's The Matter With You?' is from Mighty Heart Theatre, and performers Lisa-Marie Hoctor and Samantha Edwards, and director Esther Dix discuss their inspiration for the play and what audiences can expect from the production. What are the key issues around putting on a play about mental health? Sam: 'It’s actually about real people, connections and disconnections, and everyday life. The poignant moments seem to be in the everyday. You sometimes have no idea what people are carrying with them. I think we’re trying to open up this conversation so that the more we talk about it, the better it’s going to be. We’ll all look after each other.' Lisa-Marie: 'We did almost 100 interviews - face to face and self selecting anonymous surveys. What we’re learning from the verbatim material is that we’re all suffering to some extent whether it’s mild anxiety or lack of human communication or connection.We asked ourselves whether there is a way that we can convey this in a much safer and more fun way,' Esther: 'What people said gave us the stimulus to develop the material, and we wanted to use puppets to convey complex stories. It’s easier to hear things through a slightly different medium - puppets can be more moving, and we wanted to recreate the worlds people live in. For example, one person sees their mental health as several differen
Surreal thriller 'Pomona' comes to Manchester
Following a run at the National Theatre, Pomona comes to the Royal Exchange in Manchester from October 29-November 21. Writer Alistair McDowall, whose Bruntwood Prize winning play 'Brilliant Adventures' was performed in the studio in May 2013, discusses his inspiration behind the play and he's chosen to set it in the area of Pomona. Why is the play called 'Pomona'? It’s called 'Pomona' because everything goes down in Pomona. Everything converges there. The play opens on the M60, literally circling the city, and at the core of that is Pomona. It’s not a peculiar place in itself, because there are lots of empty spaces. But Pomona is this island right in the middle of this big bustling city, an island that could almost pass for zombie apocalypse territory. I’ve lived here for ten years and Pomona was a place I kept going past on the tram - the tram doors open, nobody gets on and nobody gets off. I think recently people have reclaimed it as a sort of a park, but when I first started digging I was pretty scared to even go there because there was something very spooky about it. It was barren, and the fact that the street lights didn’t turn on at night made it even more ghostly. But the play is not just about Pomona, and it’s not about Manchester specifically. It’s about cities, and the shadows that can exist within them. Manchester’s architecture, canals and Pomona itself all played into that idea very easily. How did the play come together? The play came from a thousand scattered
Contact launches autumn programme
In the midst of all the innovative and interesting theatre in Manchester, Contact on Oxford Road stands out for the unique approach to how it is run, and the way that shows are programmed. Young people have always been at the heart of what Contact does, as artistic director Matt Fenton explains. 'Contact’s programme of public performances, festivals and events is for everyone, and shows that Contact have developed recently (such as recent productions 'The Spalding Suite', 'No Guts No Heart No Glory', 'Big Girl’s Blouse' and 'Rites') are now thrilling audiences nationally and internationally,' he says. 'But what makes us unique is the remarkable role that young people aged 13-25 play behind the scenes. Contact aims to provide life-changing opportunities for the next generation of artists and audiences, and redefine theatre in the process. So as well as performing in outstanding shows, young people have a huge influence on all aspects of our organisation: they act as board members, young people interview all new staff, and they work alongside our artistic team selecting the shows for the public. Putting young people in the driving seat produces a really exciting and diverse programme, and creates a great atmosphere in the building.' Some of the most memorable output is created with the Contact Young Company - which has worked on productions such as 'The Shrine of Everyday Things' earlier this year. Coming up this season are works from two different groups. 'Under the Covers' re
The Lowry Studio launches autumn programme
The Lowry Studio, part of The Lowry in Salford, is gaining an impressive reputation for putting on innovative theatre from both national and North West-based theatre makers. Claire Symonds, studio programmer/producer says: 'The studio is about supporting emerging artists and also work that is risky, adventurous and exciting. We programme a wide range of work, with a strong focus on the North.' They have just launched their autumn programme and here's just five of the highlights. The Lowry’s Developed With programme supports four emerging theatre companies every year to develop a brand new show. From October 15-16, FellSwoop Theatre bring 'Ghost Opera' to the Studio. Two strangers meet in a spa, both troubled by living ghosts in their everyday; both must confront what is haunting them. A chance to see a brand new piece of work before anyone else. In the bicentenary year of her birth, 'Ada Ada Ada' is the spellbinding interactive storytelling of the world's first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace, presented on October 30. Performed by Zoe Philpott in association with Manchester Science Festival, the show features a 1830s dress with 500 programmable LEDs, paying respect to a woman who helped sow the seeds for a digital age. From September 15-20, the Roundabout, a wonderful 168 seat travelling pop-up theatre-in-the-round, comes to the Lowry. Pitched in the Plaza outside, this will showcase three Paines Plough plays alongside exciting new writing. Paines Plough have presented show
'Coronation Street meets David Lynch' at The Shrine of Everyday Things
'The Shrine of Everyday Things' is an immersive, interactive journey through domestic spaces under transformation and takes place later this month in Manchester. Blending installation and performance, the show is developed with Contact Young Company (CYC) and played-out in an empty row of houses set for demolition and regeneration. It's been described as 'Coronation Street meets David Lynch' and provides a glance behind the net curtains and a look at who we are and how we live. We talk to Rodolfo Amorim, Lowri Evans and Renato Bolelli Rebouças, the creative team behind the forthcoming site-specific production that brings together Manchester and Brazil. You've called the production 'The Shrine of Everyday Things'. What does this signify? We want to show how we as consumers interact with the everyday. What we are making is an everyday shrine - giving attention to the mundane and minute of the way we live. We are looking at small objects of memory. What do we preserve? What do we throw away? At the same time we want to look at how we consume on a larger scale. There is both construction and destruction at the same moment in time. This is reflected in what’s happening in the area with the regeneration of housing. We also want to answer some fundamental questions. What is a house? What is a home? What do we really need to live? What can we expect to see? This piece uses various sites in houses that are set for demolition. It combines installation and performance and considers how
'We are always trying to do something new' - David Slack talks about the 24:7 Festival
The 24:7 Theatre Festival has been an eagerly anticipated part of Manchester’s summer calendar since 2004. Ahead of the event taking place July 24-26, founder David Slack discusses what the festival means and why it's important. What was the original motivation for setting up 24:7? In 2002, I was performing in a show at the Edinburgh Fringe called ‘Fear of Fanny’, and at the same time filming 'Cold Feet' in Manchester. I realised that there was a need for an actors' showcase in Manchester. Amanda Hennessy and I developed the first 24:7 Festival in July 2004, which featured 17 plays. It was hard work, and a real challenge, but it showed that the idea could be a success. Although the venues have changed over the years, we have broadly kept the same format ever since. What makes 24:7 special? The key is collaboration between actors, directors and writers, and with the various venues we have used. Although a showcase for actors, over the years the focus has become the writing. We put together the best possible festival, based on open calls for participants. We look to find people that are determined enough to put something on, to be theatre-makers. We work closely with emerging writers to develop their plays. Ultimately we develop people. How has theatre in Manchester changed in the 11 years since the first festival? In 2004 there were very few small scale theatre productions. We wanted to prove that there was an audience for these shows, running at just under an hour long. And o
10 great shows to see at the Greater Manchester Fringe
Returning in July for the fourth year, the Greater Manchester Fringe showcases more than 90 shows, performed at 30 different venues across Greater Manchester. The programme includes art, dance, theatre, new writing, cabaret, comedy, poetry, music, burlesque, workshops and exhibitions. 'The Greater Manchester Fringe ties together the best of the alternative arts scene into a programme that runs throughout the month of July', says GM Fringe director Zena Barrie. 'From revivals to radical performance art, there's something for everyone.' Here is a selection of ten highlights at this year's festival: Mr Smith MTA award-winning Rising Moon bring you the story of how the erudite and singular music of The Smiths changed the life of one man, and how this tempered his passionate yet humble approach to life in Manchester as a teacher. Thu Jul 9, 7.30pm, King's Arms, Salford; £8/£6 concs. All Our Friends are Dead Dark and anarchic sketches full of twisted characters, satirical songs and close to the bone tragicomedy. Described as 'a relentless hour of fast and furious comedy'. Wed Jul 15, 7.30pm, King's Arms, Salford; £8 A Dream Play Déjà Vu Ensemble present a site-specific adaptation of August Strindberg’s iconic play. Aggie is a dreamer, arriving from nowhere, seeking answers and finding only questions. Is it possible for humans to escape suffering? Why do we wait so long for things to change? And how are we trapped inside our own stories? Thu Jul 16, 7.45pm, Nexus Art Cafe; £11.50
Flare15 to bring innovative new theatre to Manchester
Do you enjoy innovative theatre? Do you want to experience something different, presented by exciting new artists? For six days from July 13-18, Flare15 will be showcasing new theatre and emerging international artists to audiences in Manchester. The festival will feature 23 performances by artists from ten countries, and will take place at four venues in the city - Martin Harris Centre, Royal Exchange Studio, Contact and Z-arts. 'Flare Festival feels right at home in Manchester,' says Neil Mackenzie, Flare15's artistic director. 'Alongside the Manchester International Festival and building on Manchester’s reputation for ground-breaking across the arts and culture, Flare is about bringing to the city some of the best and most distinctive cutting edge theatre by new artists from across this country, the rest of Europe and beyond.' Here's just five of the highlights: Figs In Wigs (UK) - 'Dance Peas'Dance Peas is half dance piece, half world record attempt. One by one, Figs in Wigs try to break the record for eating the most peas with a cocktail stick in three minutes. One pea at a time - no multiple stabs. They don't have a stopwatch - but they do have a three-minute dance routine. &amp;amp;amp;lt;img id="e9e12a95-3643-5712-4e34-f1aa64297650" class="photo lazy inline" src="http://media.timeout.com/images/102594160/image.jpg" alt="" data-caption="" data-credit="Manuel Vason" data-width-class="100" data-mce-src="http://media.timeout.com/images/102594160/image.jpg"&am
See the story of Joy Division and Manchester in New Dawn Fades
With band members coming from Manchester, Salford and Macclesfield, Joy Division are an integral part of the city's musical history. Play 'New Dawn Fades' will be hitting the stage at a number of venues across Greater Manchester and Cheshire to tell the story of both the influential post-punk band and the city. This fascinating production weaves the tale of Joy Division into 1,500 years of Manchester's history. It's guided by Tony Wilson (Lee Joseph) who interviews figures from the city's past including Karl Marx, astronomer Dr John Dee and the Sex Pistols in his own unique way. The play had rave reviews when first performed at the 2013 Greater Manchester Fringe Festival and is to be showcased at a number of interesting venues: May 8 and May 9 - MADS Theatre, Macclesfield. A lovely theatre set in the market town of Macclesfield but just twenty minutes from Manchester city centre on the train and ten minutes from the station. May 20 - The Met, Bury. One of Greater Manchester's foremost theatres, full of character and with a superb programme of shows. It's easily reached by Metrolink. May 22 - The Dancehouse, Manchester. Bringing together a mix of dance, music, theatre and comedy, the Dancehouse on Oxford Road is a great place to catch new stuff. If you've never visited, you'll love it. Get tickets for the MADS Theatre and Dancehouse shows, and for the Met performance. See more things to do in Manchester from Time Out.
See new productions from top TV writers at JB Shorts
JB Shorts has become an anticipated fixture in the Manchester theatre calendar. From April 14-25 the Joshua Brooks on Princess Street hosts JB Shorts 13. The theatre is in the downstairs vaults - it's atmospheric, intimate and edgy, with the audience close to the stage. The evening includes six, fifteen minute plays written by established TV writers. The content ranges from comedy to serious drama, and four of the 2014 plays were selected for the recent Re:play Festival at HOME. This time the six plays are: 'Coalition Nightmare' by Dave Simpson - May 8 2015. Another hung Parliament but this time UKIP holds the balance of power… 'Illusion' by Diane Whitley - Magic, mystery and murder in this thrilling Edwardian whodunnit. 'TalkTalk' - by Catherine Hayes - The things you do for a living… 'A Muslim, A Jew And A Christian Walk Into A Room' - by Nick Ahad - Britain, 2065. With all religion outlawed, three people of different faiths gather in a secret meeting place. 'Karaoke Cara' - by Trevor Suthers - Secrets and lies come to light in a karaoke bar. 'Safe In Our Hands' by Chris Thompson - Bunyan is having a heart attack. Caught between life and death, he has three strange visitations. Booking is open now and early booking is recommended as it gets very popular as the run progresses. See more things to do in Manchester from Time Out.
Have you been to Central Library recently?
As Manchester's Central Library celebrates one year since its reopening, here's a look at some of the diverse events taking place in the coming weeks. On March 22 2014 the Central Library reopened after a four-year £50m renovation and in that time it’s become a vibrant place. Last November, the band Everything Everything took over the building for a week long ‘Chaos to Order’ artistic residency. There are regular talks, literary events and films. This month, as the library celebrates its first year, there are some interesting events. On Sunday March 22, from 12noon - 4pm, there’s the Family Funday, with activities for the whole family. There are also regular film nights with upcoming showings including Fight Club, Django Away! and American Psycho. From March 16-21, see LA based performance artist Tim Youd re-type Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange in the reading room. Burgess was born in Manchester; you might visit the Anthony Burgess Foundation which is just half a mile away whilst you’re here. And take time to explore this beautiful building. Sit at a desk in the main reading room; look up at the glass ceiling. Explore the many specialist libraries in the building. Spend time in Archives+ getting to know the history of Manchester. The Central Library has indeed become a lively place to visit. See Time Out's behind-the-scenes photo tour of Central Library.
Visiting the Whitworth? Check out these three nearby galleries
With the reopening of the Whitworth Art Gallery, now is a really good time to explore three other galleries along Oxford Road and Wilmslow Road.CornerhousePerhaps better known as a film venue, the Cornerhouse has three floors of challenging contemporary art. Playtime is the final exhibition at the Cornerhouse before it closes. Running till March 15, Playtime draws inspiration from Jacques Tati’s 1967 film of the same name. It’s playful and fun. Expect swinging doors, playground swings and some excellent video and sound installations. If you’ve never seen the galleries at the Cornerhouse this is your final chance before its activities are transferred to the new HOME building. Holden Gallery <img id="bdd1baf0-bffb-4b40-34fd-2d313f4756ce" data-caption="The Holden Gallery" data-credit="" data-width-class="25" align="right" alt="Holden Gallery" class="photo lazy inline" type="image/jpeg" total="127472" loaded="127472" src="http://media.timeout.com/images/102059375/image.jpg"> A five minute walk down Oxford Road, on the far side of All Saints Park, is The Holden Gallery. This excellent gallery, part of MMU, hosts some innovative and challenging exhibitions. The current offering Not... the Art of Resistance explores the work of contemporary artists who have attempted to enact alternative modes of resistance, and considers the relationship between the art museum and the art of resistance. Of particular note are two video installations by Andrea Fraser. It's on until Feb