Manchester Theatre Awards

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Edward and Eliza and the smashing of the van

Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester and various
05 October 2017 to 28 October 2017

Edward and Eliza and the smashing of the van, is the title of a new play recalling a key moment in Manchester’s history.

In September 1867, a police van carrying two famous Irish rebels was stopped by a band of Irishmen near Belle Vue in Manchester. In a dramatic rescue they freed the two, but in doing so killed a policeman guarding them. As a result a wave of anti-Irish feeling swept through the whole country.  Many Irishmen were arrested and subsequently three of them were tried, found guilty and hanged in front of a large crowd outside the New Bailey prison in Salford. To this day these three men are known in the Irish community as the Manchester Martyrs.

Straightforward Theatre is a newly established professional touring theatre company based in Bolton. Rehearsals are taking place in the Octagon Theatre.

Born in Rochdale, writer Eileen Murphy has lived in Bolton since 1971 and has worked with many theatre companies in the North West.  

Chris Honer (director) was Artistic Director of the Library Theatre Company, Manchester from 1987 to 2014 where he directed many award-winning productions.

The play’s preview is at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester next Thursday, with another performance Friday. A countrywide tour includes Chorlton Irish Club, Oct 8;  Salford Arts Theatre (12); . Oldham Coliseum, Studio Theatre (14); The Old Courts, Wigan (26); Bolton Socialist Club (27) and Liverpool Irish Festival, Unity Theatre (28).

David Upton

Up 'n' Under

Oldham Coliseum
06 October 2017 to 28 October 2017
(Press Night: 06 October 2017)

Oldham Coliseum is opening John Godber’s Olivier Award winning underdog comedy, Up ’N’ Under from October 6.

It’s the underdog story that brings the world of amateur rugby league up, close and personal.

With six actors and a rugby ball, and as much ballet as ball-game, this physical comedy  premiered in 1984 and won the Olivier for Best New Comedy the same year.

David Upton

The Snowman

Manchester Opera House
08 October 2017 to 12 November 2017

The Snowman is flying in to the Opera House Manchester this Christmas.

Based on the book by Raymond Briggs, this stage show has now transported generations of children and their families into the wintry world of a boy and his magical snowman.

The Snowman comes to the Opera House, from Wednesday  November 8through to Sunday November 12.


David Upton

The Value of Nothing

10 October 2017 to 08 November 2017

Laid Bare Theatre announces the full cast of The Value of Nothing, a new play written by Kim Wiltshire and directed by Joyce Branagh.

It explores unemployment, the benefits system and what it really means to be poor in the UK today through multimedia and audience participation. The play will tour the North West, Cumbria and the Midlands from October 10 to November 8.


David Upton

The Threepenny Opera

Octagon Theatre, Bolton
12 October 2017 to 04 November 2017

Octagon Theatre Bolton ae to stage Bertolt Brecht’s Threepenny Opera from October 12 to November 4.

In the lead role of Macheath, alias Mack the Knife, is David Birrell (Talking Heads, Educating Rita, Octagon Theatre 2017). Playing one of his key love interests, Polly Peachum, is Anna Wheatley returning to the Octagon after her role as Brenda-Marie in Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis. Anna was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role at the Manchester Theatre Awards 2015, for her role in The Family Way at the Octagon Theatre Bolton.


David Upton

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Manchester PalaceTheatre
17 October 2017 to 22 October 2017
(Press Night: 17 October 2017)

Joe McElderry returns in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Manchester Palace Theatre from October 17-22. The run includes matinees on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

This will complete Joe’s hugely successful year touring the UK playing the title role – his first major theatrical appearance. It also follows the release of his new recording of the soundtrack as well his fifth album Saturday Night at the Movies.


David Upton

Parliament Square

Manchester Royal Exchange
18 October 2017 to 28 October 2017

In his new play Parliament Square, James Fritz  interrogates the draw of extreme demonstration,  exploring the impact and fall-out of a single, selfless act of protest.

Esther Smith takes the lead role of Kat, who watches as ‘the world gets worse’ and finds herself compelled to take action. Selected for a Judges Award in the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting 2015, Parliament Square will run at Manchester Royal Exchange from October 18 – 28 before transferring to London.


David Upton

Big Imaginations Festival

Various venues
19 October 2017 to 05 November 2017

The Big Imaginations Festival is back in the North West from October 19.

It will be showcasing the best in children and family theatre with more than 100 performances. Building on the success of the 2013 festival, this year promises to be bigger and even more brilliant than before.

The festival takes place until November 5 at 26 venues across the North West and Yorkshire: from Liverpool’s Royal Philharmonic Hall to libraries, village halls and grand auditoriums. Spread across Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Lancashire, children and families are invited to choose from nine performances and experience the magic of children’s theatre.


David Upton


Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
22 October 2017 to 23 October 2017
(Press Night: 22 October 2017)

A new play #BeMoreMartyn, created to celebrate the life and the legacy of Manchester Arena bomb victim, Martyn Hett will run at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester October 22-23.

Produced with the full support of Martyn’s family, profits will be donated to three charities in his name.

Based on memories of Martyn shared by his closest friends, #BeMoreMartyn will also see Martyn’s favourite divas and their songs performed by local artists.

As well as celebrating an extraordinary life, the play will also explore what Martyn Hett’s legacy could be and asks the question “How do we be more Martyn?”

David Upton

Coming up

Sunset Boulevard

Manchester Opera House
23 October 2017 to 04 November 2017

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s award-winning musical Sunset Boulevard arrives in Manchester for a two-week run from October 23 to November 4.

It’s a story of romance and obsession, based on Billy Wilder’s legendary film, with Don Black and Christopher Hampton's book and lyrics.

The score includes the title number , With One Look, As If We Never Said Goodbye, The Greatest Star Of All, and The Perfect Year – and will be performed by a full orchestra.

The new UK and Ireland tour opened at Curve in Leicester. 

In her mansion on Sunset Boulevard, faded silent-screen goddess Norma Desmond lives in a fantasy world. Impoverished screen writer, Joe Gillis, on the run from debt collectors, stumbles into her reclusive world.


David Upton


Contact Manchester
24 October 2017 to 25 October 2017
(Press Night: 24 October 2017)

Contact in Manchester presents a half term treat in the shape of Duckie a classic tale of identity and belonging.

Family-friendly glamour and glitz takes centre stage as cabaret star Le Gateau Chocolat breaks out of his shell in his first work for children, a reimagining of Hans Christian Anderson’s life-affirming tale of The Ugly Duckling.

A classic story of identity and belonging, Duckie is set in an animal circus. Peppered with dress ups, songs, Disney references and an important message of acceptance. Duckie is a show for the entire family.

It runs from October 24- 25.


David Upton

Slava's Snowshow

The Lowry Salford
24 October 2017 to 29 October 2017

Slava's Snowshow brings a blizzard back to The Lowry in Salford from October 24-29.

The multi-award winning international production is a combination of theatrical clowning and visual spectacle, performed by a world-renowned company of clowns led by Slava Polunin, artistic director of the St Petersburg Circus.

It had its UK premiere at the Edinburgh Festival in 1994, and has since toured all over the country, delighting audiences of all ages and winning an Olivier Award for Best Entertainment during its run at the Old Vic in 1998. The show’s popularity overseas has seen it performed in 80 cities around the globe.


David Upton


The Lowry Salford
26 October 2017 to 27 October 2017

Erotic dance and science combine in a search for the laws of attraction in Superposition at The Lowry in Salford October 26-27.

Chanje Kunda uses spoken word, live art and dance to present her findings in a one woman show.

Based in Manchester, Kunda has performed nationally and internationally alongside some of the most influential modern poets including Benjamin Zephaniah and Linton Kwesi Johnson.

Her last piece Amsterdam premiered at Contact in 2014, was nominated for awards and has toured widely across the UK and internationally. 

Age recommendation: 15+ Details:

David Upton

This Is Not a Safe Space

Contact Manchester
27 October 2017 to 28 October 2017

In her new show This is Not a Safe Space amputee poet and performer Jackie Hagan asks how we can get people to sit up, listen and care about benefit cuts.

Preview dates are at Contact Manchester (October 27 – 28) followed by a UK tour during Spring 2018.

Based on interviews with more than 80 people, Hagan examines the impact of benefit cuts on the disabled and others on the margins of society

Suitable for ages 14+



David Upton

A Halloween Ghost Story

Heaton Park and Hall
28 October 2017 to 31 October 2017

A Feelgood double bill has been announced for Manchester’s Heaton Park and Hall - A Halloween Ghost Story and Armistice Day Commemoration

Fresh from their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream Feelgood are back in the park with the first production October 28-31.

The Armistice Day Commemoration is at 11am, November 11

This tribute is in honour of all men and women affected by war and in particular the men of the Manchester Pals regiments who were stationed in Heaton Park in the First World War and the RAF who were stationed there during the Second World War.   


David Upton

Who Cares

Various venues
30 October 2017 to 05 December 2017

A play about young carers in Salford is about to embark on a five-week, 27-venue national tour - culminating in a performance at The House of Lords in Westminster.

Who Cares, was written by Matt Woodhead and co-produced by The Lowry and LUNG Theatre. It was made in partnership with The Gaddum Centre’s Salford Carers Service.

It features interviews with young carers about their lives – as well as input from their families and schoolteachers. Local councillors and MP, Barbara Keeley, were also interviewed - along with GPs and young carers’ workers in the city-region.

The play aims to help identify ‘hidden’ young carers in society – those who provide care under the radar of their friends, schoolteachers and local authorities - and signpost them to the support available.


David Upton

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Kings Arms, Salford
31 October 2017 to 25 November 2017

The Hound of the Baskervilles comes to The Kings Arms Salford Oct 31 –November 25.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic mystery is bought to life on stage in Northern Rep’s production.

This inventive comedy mystery features two fearless actors playing every role in this fast paced farce and Christopher Brown and Angela Hazeldine return to the roles they originated this summer in Manchester.


David Upton

This Bright Field

The Lowry, Salford
31 October 2017 to 01 November 2017

This Bright Field concludes at The Lowry, Salford on October 31 and 1 November 1.

After the success of Clinkard’s recent high profile commissions - Somewhat still, when seen from above for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch and The Listening Room for Danza Contemporanea de Cuba - This Bright Field is their latest work.

Clinkard and his company of 12, have crafted a dance event in two distinct parts that imaginatively asks the audience to consider the subjective and objective gaze and experiences of togetherness from a new perspective.

Age guidance: 16+


David Upton

Hedda Gabler

The Lowry, Salford
31 October 2017 to 04 November 2017
(Press Night: 31 October 2017)

The full cast for the UK tour of Ibsen’s masterpiece Hedda Gabler features Lizzy Watts in the title role. She is joined by Madlena Nedeva (Berte), Christine Kavanagh (Juliana), Abhin Galeya (Tesman), Annabel Bates (Thea), Adam Best (Brack), Richard Pyros (Lovborg), Cate Cammack, Joseph Capp, JP Conway and Kate Cook.

Following a sold-out run at the National earlier this year, Hedda Gabler begins a UK tour in October 2017 visiting The Lowry in Salford from October 31 – November 4.

Hedda and Tesman have just returned from their honeymoon and the relationship is already in trouble. Trapped but determined, Hedda tries to control those around her, only to see her own world unravel.


David Upton

Rubber Ring

The Lowry, Salford
01 November 2017 to 04 November 2017

Coming of age comedy Rubber Ring tours to The Lowry in Salford November 1-4. Written and performed by James McDermott it follows a rural sexually-confused teen who goes on a quest to find Morrissey. 

Winner of Pulse Festival’s Suitcase Prize 2017, Rubber Ring is about a Norfolk teenager’s struggle with sexual and regional identity. In 2016 it opened to rave reviews at The Pleasance Islington and this year transferred to The Tristan Bates Theatre in London’s West End prior to a national tour.


David Upton


Royal Exchange Manchester
02 November 2017 to 18 November 2017

A free-spirited, take-no-prisoners show with a soundtrack to die for, and marking the 40th anniversary of Derek Jarman’s iconic film, the Royal Exchange’s world premiere of  Jubilee will run from November 2-18.

A marauding girl gang are on a killing spree and a time-travelling Queen Elizabeth I, played by original film cast member and legendary punk Toyah Willcox, observes it all. An ensemble cast, including Lucy Ellinson as Ariel and Travis Alabanza as Amyl reimagine the production for a 2017 audience.


David Upton

Uncle Vanya

HOME, Manchester
03 November 2017 to 25 November 2017

A host of names from theatre and TV will be appearing in Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, which runs at HOME in Manchester from November 3 - 25.

The production, in a version by Australian playwright Andrew Upton, is a highlight of A Revolution Betrayed?, the venue’s season of theatre, film and visual art inspired by the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.

An ageing, irritable professor returns to his deceased wife’s country estate with his beautiful new young wife, Yelena. The estate has been managed for years by Sonya, the professor’s daughter, and his brother-in-law Vanya, whose self-sacrifice and toil has allowed the professor to enjoy an extravagant lifestyle in the city.

Veteran Manchester actor David Fleeshman plays the professor; the role of Sonya will be played by HOME associate artist Katie West, after appearances in the 2013 Manchester International Festival production of Macbeth, directed by Kenneth Branagh, and as Ophelia in Sarah Frankcom’s Hamlet the following year.


David Upton


The Lowry
07 November 2017 to 11 November 2017

Singer/songwriter Will Young reprises his Olivier Award-nominated performance as the enigmatic Emcee alongside musician and presenter Louise Redknapp, who makes her stage debut as Sally Bowles in Rufus Norris’ multi-award winning production of Cabaret when it comes to the Lowry in Salford in November.

Redknapp rose to fame as a member of the girl group Eternal and most recently entertained the nation with her dancing skills finishing ‘runner up’ in the 2016 series of BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing.

The show runs from  November 7-11.


David Upton


Palace Theatre, Manchester
07 November 2017 to 11 November 2017

A new production of Spamalot comes to Manchester Palace Theatre from November 7.

Lovingly ripped off from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, it’s a comedy musical full of misfit knights, killer rabbits, dancing nuns and ferocious Frenchmen.

Spamalot was the winner of the 2005 Tony Award for Best New Musical, while it enjoyed a victorious West End run

David Upton

Little Women

Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
09 November 2017 to 09 December 2017

Manchester’s acclaimed Hope Mill Theatre hosts the first production of Broadway musical Little Women seen in Europe this autumn.

Louisa May Alcott’s tale will be brought to life in the next collaboration by Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment and Hope Mill - the team behind Pippin currently being staged at the theatre. It will be co-produced with Knockhardy Productions.

Based on Alcott's 150-year-old book, and with a score by Grammy Award winner Jason Howland, Little Women follows the adventures of the four March sisters - Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy.

The Manchester production  opens on November 9 and runs to December 9.



David Upton

Opera North: Pagliacci, Cavalleria rusticana, L’enfant et les sortilèges, Osud, Trouble in Tahiti, Trial by Jury

The Lowry
15 November 2017 to 17 November 2017

Opera North is returning to The Lowry from November 15-17 with a festival of short operas.

These six new productions are presented in innovative pairings, each a powerful operatic experience in miniature. Love and hate, joy and sadness, courage and fear, trust and jealousy, kindness and cruelty . . .

Audiences can choose from the iconic Italian pairing of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, the thrilling curtain-raiser for the season, with Mascagni’s gritty Cavalleria rusticana, given an unusual twist by Polish director Karolina Sofulak - or Ravel’s childhood fantasy L’enfant et les sortilèges partnered with Janáček’s rarely-performed Osud (Destiny), both directed by Annabel Arden. Completing the six are two musical theatre classics: Trouble in Tahiti, Bernstein’s stylish satire on the American dream with Canadian mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta as Dinah and Dutch baritone Quirijn de Lang as Sam, and Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury, cast entirely from the Chorus of Opera North and conducted by Oliver Rundell, Opera North Chorus Master.


David Upton

Cilla the Musical

Palace Theatre
21 November 2017 to 25 November 2017

Following open auditions up and down the country the producers of Cilla the Musical have found their star.

Kara Lily Hayworth has fought off thousands of hopefuls to be named as the girl who will step into the first ever musical about the singing star’s life.

Cilla - The Musical opens in Cilla’s hometown at the Liverpool Empire from September 7-16 before embarking on a nationwide tour including Manchester Palace Theatre from November 21-25.

Kara queued for four hours at London’s Dominion Theatre to have her chance to audition in the first rounds. She made it through to the final 30 before being chosen to do her final audition at the Cavern Club in Liverpool.


David Upton


The Kings Arms, Salford
22 November 2017 to 02 December 2017

Vertigo Theatre Productions (Porno Chic, Black Ice, Last Dance, Ascension, M, The Great American 80s Soap Opera etc) are back after their recent triumph with Watching Goldfish Suffocate that picked up awards at Greater Manchester Fringe, with their most ambitious play ever, Noir.

Loosely inspired by a modern-day story, Noir relocates it to 1950s America.

Veronica Smart is a beautiful 36-year-old married to her husband for 16 years, always wanting to be a star she’s now grown tired of the marriage and wants out. Meeting a group of teenagers at the school she works sets in motion a plan that will include seduction, passion, lies and manipulation.

Stepping in to the femme fatale lead role is award nominated Emma Morgan as Veronica Smart.

Critically acclaimed actor and star of Porno Chic Richard Allen plays 16-year-old Jimmy Flynn.

Vertigo regular Stu Reeve will play the role of Detective Sal Pelletier.

Award nominated writer Danny Clifford plays the role of doomed husband Cliff Smart.

Grange Hill and Black Ice star Joe Slack plays teen rebel Riff Randell.

Anna Hickling plays the virginal but corruptible Vivian Pierce.

Benjamin Gray plays high school dropout/criminal Barry Vance.

More casting to be announced.

It’s written and directed by multi award winning Craig Hepworth.

Noir opens November 22 at The Kings Arms, Salford and plays until December 2.


David Upton

Nativity the Musical

Manchester Palace Theatre
29 November 2017 to 03 December 2017

Nativity! The Musical opening at Birmingham on October 20 visits Manchester Palace Theatre from Nov 29 –Dec 3 as part of a UK tour.

Joining the previously announced Daniel Boys, Sarah Earnshaw and Simon Lipkin, is Andy Brady as ‘Mr Shakespeare’.

Andy’s previous theatre credits include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the West End, the International tour of Mamma Mia!, Blood Brothers and The Rocky Horror Show on UK Tour and in the West End and the UK Tour of Hair.

Every child in every school has one Christmas wish, to star in a Nativity, and at St Bernadette’s School they’ve decided to mount a musical version! Featuring sing-a-long songs from the films including Sparkle and Shine, Nazareth and One Night One Moment. Nativity! The Musical is described as a feel-good comedy for all the family.


David Upton


Manchester Palace Theatre
04 December 2017 to 05 January 2018

Wicked, the West End and Broadway musical, flies back into Manchester in December.

It will star Amy Ross (Elphaba), Helen Woolf (Glinda), Aaron Sidwell (Fiyero), Steven Pinder (The Wizard and Doctor Dillamond), Kim Ismay (Madame Morrible), Emily Shaw (Nessarose), Iddon Jones (Boq) and Nikki Bentley (Standby for Elphaba) when it returns to the Palace Theatre, from December 4 to January 5.


David Upton

The Bear by Raymond Briggs

Waterside Arts Centre
07 December 2017 to 06 January 2018
(Press Night: 07 December 2017)

Following other successful Christmas shows Waterside in Sale announces this year’s Christmas show: The Bear by Raymond Briggs.

Ever wondered what it would be like to sit on a polar bear's lap? Or ride on its back? Have you ever tried to give a bear a bath? Looking after a bear is exhausting stuff.

This wintry tale is brought to you by Pins and Needles - the team behind the hugely successful Father Christmas – now bringing to life another of Raymond Briggs' much-loved storybooks.


David Upton

Christmas at HOME

HOME, Manchester
12 December 2017 to 31 December 2017

Christmas highlights at HOME in Manchester include Briefs Factory’s award-winning all-singing all-dancing music and cabaret show Hot Brown Honey - an unapologetic celebration of similarities and differences; Australian singing sensation and cabaret performer Meow Meow in her one-woman show Feline Intimate;  Grammy-nominated Godfathers of alternative cabaret, The Tiger Lillies; Children’s theatre specialist company Little Angel Theatre with Red Riding Hood and the Wolf.


David Upton

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

Palace Theatre
12 December 2017 to 06 January 2018

Bronté Barbé will play Carole King in the UK and Ireland tour of the award-winning Beautiful – The Carole King Musical which heads to the Manchester Palace Theatre from December 12 to January 6.

Barbé was a finalist in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s BBC1 television series Over The Rainbow in 2010. Since then she has appeared on stage in both London’s West End and around the UK. Previous credits include Cool Rider in the West End and Princess Fiona in the UK Tour of Shrek – The Musical.

She will be joined by Kane Oliver Parry as King’s husband and songwriting partner Gerry Goffin; Amy Ellen Richardson as songwriter Cynthia Weil; Matthew Gonsalves as songwriter Barry Mann; Carol Royle as King’s mother Genie Klein; and Adam Howden as music publisher and producer Donnie Kirshner. At certain performances, Carole King will be played by Leigh Lothian.


David Upton

Strangers On a Train

Manchester Opera House
05 February 2018 to 10 February 2018
(Press Night: 05 February 2018)

Visiting Manchester Opera House from February 5-10, Strangers on a Train is from the team behind the successful tour of Patrick Hamilton’s Gaslight.

Casting is led by John Middleton (Detective Arthur Gerard) who left Emmerdale earlier this year in a deeply moving storyline, having played the village’s vicar for more than 20 years.

Christopher Harper – currently appearing on Coronation Street as Nathan Curtis - plays the charismatic Charles Bruno, a psychopathic playboy who has a chance encounter with a troubled stranger, Guy Haines (played by Jack Ashton, Call The Midwife).

Hannah Tointon, as Guy’s fiancé, Anne Faulkner, is famed for her roles in Mr Selfridge (alongside her sister, Kara), The Inbetweeners and Hollyoaks.


David Upton

Flashdance the Musical

Palace Theatre, Manchester
12 February 2018 to 17 February 2018

Flashdance the Musical will tour to Manchester Palace Theatre from February 12-17.

Having played the lead role since August, Joanne Clifton is joined on stage by cast Ben Adams, Colin Kiyani, Rikki Chamberlain, Garry Lee Netley, Carol Ball, Sia Dauda, Hollie Ann Lowe, Simeon Beckett, Rhodri Watkins, Demmileigh Foster, Emily Kenwright, Ameila Rose Fielding, Alex Christian, Matt Concannon, Verity Jones, Ross Meagrow and Sasha Latoya.

Flashdance - The Musical tells the story of 18-year-old Alex, a welder by day and ‘flashdancer’ by night, who dreams of going to the prestigious Shipley Dance Academy and becoming a professional dancer.


David Upton

The Importance of Being Earnest

Opera House, Manchester
13 March 2018 to 17 March 2018

Gwen Taylor will star as Lady Bracknell in a 2018 UK tour of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance Of Being Earnest, alongside Susan Penhaligon as Miss Prism.

The show stops off at Manchester Opera House from March 13-17.

Taylor is best known for playing the title role in the ITV sitcom Barbara, as well as Anne Foster in Coronation Street

Susan Penhaligon is currently appearing in Rufus Norris’s production of Cabaret alongside Will Young and Louise Redknapp. She has a wide range of TV credits to her name, including Upstairs Downstairs.

Oscar Wilde’s much loved comedy follows Jack Worthing’s endeavours to marry Algernon’s cousin, the beautiful Gwendolen. But first he must convince the fearsome Lady Bracknell of his respectability. Details:

David Upton

Fat Friends – the Musical

Opera House
19 March 2018 to 24 March 2018

Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff is to make his stage debut in Fat Friends – the Musical

The cricket legend will play Kevin for seven dates of the UK tour including Manchester Opera House

He joins an all- star cast for the world premiere of Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends - the Musical which is in Manchester from  March 19-24.

The award winning TV drama has been adapted for the stage by its creator and one of the UK’s most prolific writers, whose television credits include hit series of Band of Gold, The Chase, The Syndicate, In the Club and whose stage credits include A Passionate Woman. Freddie joins the award winning Jodie Prenger and X-Factor winner Sam Bailey with further casting to be announced.


David Upton

Miss Saigon

Palace Theatre
21 March 2018 to 12 May 2018

Boublil and Schönberg’s legendary musical Miss Saigon will land at Manchester Palace Theatre from March 21 to May 12 next year.

It tells the story of the last days of the Vietnam War, when 17-year-old Kim is forced to work in a Saigon bar run by a notorious character known as the Engineer. There she meets and falls in love with an American GI named Chris but they are torn apart by the fall of Saigon. Since its London premiere in 1989, Cameron Mackintosh’s production has become one of the most successful musicals in history.


David Upton

Of Mice & Men

Opera House
09 April 2018 to 14 April 2018

Selladoor Productions in association with The Marlowe Theatre Canterbury, will undertake a 10-week UK Tour of the Steinbeck classic Of Mice and Men opening at Marlowe in January.

The play visits Manchester Opera House from April 9 – 14.

It tells the story of George and Lennie, two migrant ranch workers who dream of owning their own ranch.  With nothing but the clothes on their back and a dream, the wily and bright George aspires to independence, to be his own boss and most importantly to be ‘somebody’. Gentle Giant Lennie aspires to be with George and join him in his Eden.

Casting is to be announced.


David Upton

Mary Stuart

The Lowry
17 April 2018 to 21 April 2018

Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams reprise their roles in Mary Stuart when the play visits Salford’s Lowry arts centre next year.

The Amleida Theatre's production will open in the West End before visiting three venues. 

The production will visit  The Lowry from April 17-21.

Schiller's political tragedy takes audiences behind the scenes of some of British history's most crucial days. Playing both Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart, Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams trade the play's central roles, decided at each performance by the toss of a coin.


David Upton

War Horse

The Lowry
13 June 2018 to 30 June 2018

War Horse, the National Theatre’s cash cow, will return to The Lowry in 2018.

Speaking at a special In Conversation event with The Lowry’s chief executive, Julia Fawcett OBE, NT artistic director Rufus Norris confirmed the acclaimed production will run at the Salford arts centre from June 13-30.

The dates will coincide with the national centenary commemorations of the end of the First World War.
These follow two previous runs at The Lowry – the first of which, in 2013, was the most popular run of any show in the venue’s history.


David Upton

An Officer and a Gentleman - The Musical

Opera House, Manchester
13 August 2018 to 18 August 2018

The world premiere of An Officer And A Gentleman - The Musical will open at Curve next April before playing at theatres across the UK and in Ireland including Manchester Opera House in August. 

It’s based on the 1982 Oscar-winning film starring Richard Gere which tells the story of Zack Mayo training to become a US Navy Pilot. When Zack rolls into boot camp with a bit too much of a swagger, drill Sergeant Foley doesn’t make life easy for him.

The musical includes the hit song from the movie Up Where We Belong along, with 80s classics such as Alone, Don’t Cry Out Loud, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Toy Soldiers and Material Girl 

Joining director Nikolai Foster on the creative team are choreographer Kate Prince, musical supervisor Sarah Travis and designer Michael Taylor.


David Upton

Matilda The Musical

Palace Theatre
18 September 2018 to 24 November 2018

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Matilda The Musical will embark on a UK and Ireland tour next year which includes a 10-week run at Manchester Palace Theatre from September 18 to November 24.

Winner of 85 international awards, including 16 for Best Musical, the RSC’s touring production will open at Leicester Curve, and will also visit Dublin, Sunderland, Milton Keynes, Birmingham and Cardiff with further dates and locations to be announced.

The West End production continues at the Cambridge Theatre, currently booking until December 17 as well as its tours in Australia, New Zealand and North America.


David Upton


Shrek set for a giant return

Shrek The Musical will be returning to Manchester next January.

Nigel Harman will return as director, having made his directorial debut on the first UK and Ireland Tour. Harman originated the role of Lord Farquaad in the West End production, winning an Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical.
Casting information will be announced in due course.

David Upton

Elf casting at Lowry

Elf: The Musical  will run for a limited season at the Lowry in Salford this Christmas.

TV and West End star Ben Forster will reprise the key role of Buddy the Elf, a role which he originated in the UK première in 2014 in Plymouth and continued to perform throughout the 2015 Christmas run in the West End. 

Other confirmed cast members include Joe McGann as Walter and Jessica Martin as Emily Hobbs, roles they both performed during the London run.


David Upton