Manchester Theatre Awards

> Independent informed reviews by the region’s most experienced critics

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Matilda The Musical

Palace Theatre Manchester
18 September 2018 to 24 November 2018

The UK and Ireland tour of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda the Musical comes to Manchester’s Palace Theatre with Craige Els as Miss Trunchbull.

Liverpool born Craige played the role in the West End for three years and will be joined by Carly Thoms (Miss Honey) and Sebastien Torkia (Mr Wormwood), as well as former West End cast-mate Rebecca Thornhill (Mrs Wormwood).

Winner of more than 85 international awards, including 16 for Best Musical, Matilda opens Tuesday for an impressive ten week run before continuing on tour. The West End production continues to play at the Cambridge Theatre, where it is now in its seventh year.

Inspired by Roald Dahl’s book, Matilda The Musical was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and premiered at the RSC’s Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in November 2010, before transferring to London’s West End in October 2011.

The production will be accompanied by Change My Story, a nationwide education programme set to engage hundreds of children in the Greater Manchester area. Details at http://uk.matildathemusical.com/tour/

Details: www.atgtickets.com/venues/palace-theatre-manchester  

David Upton

Death of a Salesman

Royal Exchange Manchester
11 October 2018 to 17 November 2018

A giant of contemporary American drama Death Of A Salesman remains a pertinent examination of a man let down by a system that has promised him, and his family, the world.

Following his performance of King Lear Don Warrington returns to the Royal Exchange in Manchester to play Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer Prize winning play.

As the ground shifts beneath the feet of Americans daily, this play holds a light up to the political and aspirational systems of nations that leave men like Willy stranded.

Maureen Beattie takes on the role of Linda Loman, and following his role in Guys And Dolls, Ashley Zhangazha returns as Biff Loman.

Details: www.royalexchange.co.uk/deathofasalesman

David Upton

Putting It Together

Hope Mill Theatre Manchester
24 October 2018 to 24 November 2018

The musical revue Putting it Together celebrates and showcases the songs of Stephen Sondheim, and runs to November 24 at Manchester’s intimate Hope Mill Theatre..

The cast includes Simbi Akande (Fiddler on the Roof, Chichester Festival Theatre), Alex Cardall (Sweet Charity, Watermill Theatre | winner of the 2018 Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year award), Andrew Gallo (Sunny Afternoon, UK Tour), Gavin James (Sweeney Todd, English National Opera) and Lauren James Ray (Broken Wings, Theatre Royal Haymarket)

Drawing its title from a song in Sunday in the Park with George, this acclaimed revue celebrates Sondheim’s career in musical theatre and features more than 30 numbers from some of the Broadway composer’s most memorable and best-loved shows including: Company, Follies, Into the Woods, A Little Night Music, Merrily We Roll Along, Sweeney Todd and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Five people are thrown together at a cocktail party in a Manhattan penthouse. With a dose of imagination and a dash of musical flair, the guests transform the apartment into a multitude of settings.

Details: www.hopemilltheatre.co.uk

David Upton

The Political History of Smack and Crack

Mustard Tree, Ancoats
01 November 2018 to 15 November 2018

The Political History of Smack and Crack, at Mustard Tree in Ancoats, Manchester from next Thursday to November 15, is fresh from highly-acclaimed runs at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and at London’s Soho Theatre.

This angry, funny love-song explores how a generation was annihilated by the heroin epidemic in Manchester, following a pair of ill-fated lovers from 1981 to the present day.

The arresting play, from writer Ed Edwards, crackles with authenticity inspired by his own experiences of rehab, narcotics dependency, and three and a half years in jail.

The two-hander stars Eve Steele (Coronation Street) and Neil Bell (Dead Man’s Shoes; Peterloo) and begins at the epicentre of the working-class riots and follows the pair through their struggles on the streets. It’s for ages 12+.

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

Cinderella

Oldham Coliseum
10 November 2018 to 12 January 2019

Oldham Coliseum’s renowned traditional family pantomime runs for nine weeks from this Saturday and this year’s Cinderella features two panto dames as the Ugly Sisters, and Dinnerladies star Sue Devaney as the Wicked Stepmother.

The timeless rags to riches story mixes contemporary pop culture and hit singalong-songs with all the elements of traditional panto.

Cinderella runs until January 12.

Details:  www.coliseum.org.uk

David Upton

The Habit of Art

The Lowry Salford
12 November 2018 to 17 November 2018

The first revival of Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art will come to The Lowry in Salford from Monday to Saturday.

It explores friendship, rivalry and heartache and the joy, pain and emotional cost of creativity centered on a fictional meeting between poet W. H. Auden and composer Benjamin Britten.

Bennett wrote it as a play-within-a-play – actors Fitz, Henry, Tim and Donald are rehearsing a play called Caliban's Day under the direction of stage manager, Kay, and in the presence of the playwright, Neil.

It premiered at the National Theatre in November 2009, directed by Nicholas Hytner and starring Richard Griffiths, Alex Jennings and Frances de la Tour.  The National then toured the production in autumn 2010 with a new cast led by Desmond Barrit, Malcolm Sinclair and Selina Caddell.

There are Wednesday and Saturday matinees. Suitable for 12+.

Details:  www.thelowry.com

David Upton

Kinky Boots

Opera House, Manchester
12 November 2018 to 01 December 2018

Kinky Boots, winner of every major best musical award, has cast Callum Francis to play Lola; Paula Lane, known for her role as Kylie Platt in Coronation Street, will play Lauren; and Joel Harper-Jackson will play Charlie.

The tour will open at Royal & Derngate in Northampton on September 19, returning to the home of this heart-warming British story, whilst the West End production continues at the Adelphi Theatre until January 12.

The touring production will be at Manchester Opera House November 12-December 1.

Details: www.atgtickets.com/Manchester

David Upton


Coming up

Opera North

The Lowry Salford
14 November 2018 to 17 November 2018

Opera North return to the Lowry in Salford from Wednesday to Saturday with full-production performances of Tosca and The Merry Widow.

In the first, Rome’s star opera singer is madly in love with charismatic artist Cavardossi. When he is arrested and tortured by Scarpia, the corrupt Chief of Police, Tosca becomes the victim of cruel blackmail.

The Merry Widow remains an effervescent whirlwind of romance and entertainment.

Hanna Glawari is a wealthy widow. Arriving in Paris, French bachelors everywhere vie for her attention.

Details:  www.thelowry.com

David Upton

Gary Delaney

The Lowry Salford
15 November 2018 to 22 November 2018

Gary Delaney is at the Lowry in Salford next Thursday, with his new tour, Gagster’s Paradise.

Regarded as the most quotable one-liner comic in the country, Delaney is a regular on Mock The Week with other TV and Radio credits including 7 Day Saturday, Robert’s, Loose Ends and Russell Kane’s Whistle-Stop Tour.

He is a Sony and Chortle Award winner and his jokes have twice made Dave’s Top 10 Funniest Jokes from the Edinburgh Fringe.

Details:  www.thelowry.com

David Upton

The Cycle

Kings Arms Salford
15 November 2018

The Cycle is a new play written and directed by Richard Stringer taking place on November 15 at The Kings Arms, Salford.

David Upton

The Maids

HOME, Manchester
16 November 2018 to 01 December 2018

HOME in Manchester presents The Maids by Jean Genet from November 16 to December 1.

Based on the true story of murderous duo The Papin sisters, Genet’s infamous play is a radical modern classic. Well ahead of its time, it explodes with contemporary ideas about class conflict, sexual identity and political outcasts.

HOME transforms its main house theatre into the round for the first time. Building over the stalls seating area, the stage will be raised to the height of the circle - and audiences will be able to watch from both on and off the stage in a specially-built seating area.

Genet wrote The Maids in 1947 whilst serving a prison sentence, as an imaginative and intellectual escape. The line between make-believe and reality becomes increasingly distorted, as it becomes clear that the aim of the game is murder…

Alongside the main house theatre production is an accompanying France Now season in the Theatre 2 space between November 27 - December 1. HOME invites three young companies to take a close-up look at life on the other side of the Channel.

Details: www.homemcr.org.uk

David Upton

JB Shorts 20

53Two Manchester
20 November 2018 to 01 December 2018

JB Shorts, a festival of six, 15-minute plays penned by TV writers, began in the basement of Joshua Brooks pub in Manchester almost 10 years ago.

JB Shorts has since moved to the 170-capacity 53two and seen countless guest writers, big names and up-and-coming actors grace its programme.

From November 20 it opens its 20th run, with another six short plays.

As always, this year’s plays are a smorgasbord of themes and genres. Lindsay William’s Best Behaviour takes a look at the early life of George Best from the viewpoint of this Manchester landlady; Trevor Suthers puts an all-too-familiar media mogul at the centre of a #MeToo moment in Madame Mantis; James Quinn reprises his most-unlikely art thieves in Equivalent 2; we are transported back to Armistice Day 1918 in Diane Whitley’s What’s the Good?; Dave’s Simpson’s I’ve Tried It Once… Again gives an alternative view of an ‘idiosyncratic’ marriage first visited in JB Shorts 19; and Peter Kerry teams up with his son, Louis Ashton-Butler, on Corruption, JB Short’s first mini-opera; a darkly comic tale of murder, greed and chequebook journalists.

JB Shorts runs to December 1.

Details: www.jbshorts.co.uk

 

David Upton

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake

The Lowry Salford
20 November 2018 to 01 December 2018

Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake returns to The Lowry November 20 – December 1 with a fresh look for the 21st century.

Retaining the iconic elements of the original production Bourne and award-winning designers Lez Brotherston (set & costumes) and Paule Constable (lighting) will create a re-imagining of the classic production.

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

Off The Grid

Waterside arts centre, Sale
20 November 2018

Off the Grid, an immersive new play for teenagers and adults by children’s theatre specialists Half Moon, comes to Waterside, Sale in Trafford on November 20, as part of a UK tour.

Connor and Kelly are brother and sister. They share the same birthday, but ten years apart. Since the disappearance of their parents, when Kelly was three, they have been dependent on each other for survival. Connor is everything to Kelly: dad, brother, mum, friend – and storyteller.

Off the Grid is written by David. Previous work for Half Moon includes Free (2014) and Begin/End (2010).

David Upton

The Last 5 Years

Albert Halls Bolton
21 November 2018 to 23 November 2018

Albert Halls Bolton is set to transform its theatre space for the venue’s first in-house production since its impressive renovation.

The musical, The Last 5 Years will run from November 21 – 23, an intimate musical look at the relationship of New Yorkers Cathy and Jamie. The show's unconventional structure consists of Cathy telling her story backwards while Jamie tells his story chronologically; the two characters only meet once, at their wedding in the middle of the show.

For the first time in the theatre’s history the production will be staged in the round to deliver an immersive and intimate audience experience.

The musical stars Sam Lupton and Stephanie Clift who are reuniting for the production after previously playing opposite each other in the UK tour of Little Shop of Horrors.

Details: www.alberthalls-bolton.co.uk

David Upton

#JeSuis

The Lowry Salford
26 November 2018

Freedom of expression goes under the spotlight in a dance theatre show #JeSuis at The Lowry in Salford November 26.

Known for his combination of classical Indian dance with contemporary dance and theatre, it is choreographer and performer Aakash Odedra’s first company work, a physical exploration of oppression in all its guises. Wrapped up in ideas around displacement, refuge and instability, the dance portrays the frustrations of lives in conflict.  

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

Proof

Hope Mill Theatre Manchester
27 November 2018 to 02 December 2018

Casting has been confirmed for Proof at Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre, by Pulitzer Drama Prize winning playwright David Auburn.

Having produced ten musicals with Aria Entertainment during the venue’s opening three years, Proof will be the venue’s first self-produced play.

It is a story about fathers and daughters, the nature of genius, and the power of love. Starring Angela Costello, Lucy Jane Dixon (Hollyoaks, Waterloo Road), Sam Holland and David Keller, the production also mark’s the directorial debut of Hope Mill Theatre’s co-artistic director, Joseph Houston.

It runs from November 27 to December 2.

Details: www.hopemilltheatre.co.uk

David Upton

First Time

Waterside arts centre, Sale
29 November 2018 to 01 December 2018

Waterside Arts and Creative Industries Trafford have commissioned a new piece of theatre by Nathaniel Hall.

First Time, a show that explores one young man’s experiences of contracting HIV after the first time he had sex aged 16, premieres at Waterside, Trafford to mark the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day.

Told through a series of personal letters, poems, confessions and a drag alter-ego called Sue, First Time is a funny, frank and unapologetic one-man show.

It runs from November 29 to December 1.

Details: watersidearts.org

David Upton

The Producers

Royal Exchange Manchester
30 November 2018 to 26 January 2019

Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre’s production of The Producers, runs from November 30 to January 26.

Producer Max Bialystock has a string of failures in his wake. But his downtrodden accountant Leo Bloom thinks that could be a good thing, a producer could make more money with a dud than a hit. They set out to find the worst script, the worst director and the worst actors in the industry, produce the biggest flop in Broadway history, and make a heap of cash in the process. What could possibly go wrong?

Details: www.royalexchange.co.uk

David Upton

Stick Man

The Lowry Salford
01 December 2018 to 06 January 2019

Scamp Theatre bring Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Stick Man on stage to The Lowry in time for Christmas (December 1 – January 6).

After going for a jog one morning, Stick Man encounters a bounding dog, who just wants to play fetch. This sparks a series of unfortunate adventures, which lead him far from home. As the seasons pass Stick Man meets a surprising friend who might just be able to help him get home.

This production, from the teams behind Tiddler and other Terrific Tales and The Scarecrows’ Wedding, features a trio of actors and is full of puppetry, songs, live music and movement.

Run time is 60 minutes.

Details: thelowry.com

David Upton

Wicked

Manchester Palace Theatre
04 December 2018 to 05 January 2019

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.

Details: www.WickedTheMusical.co.uk

David Upton

Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas

Waterside arts centre, Sale
04 December 2018 to 31 December 2018

Following the success of last year’s Christmas show Raymond Briggs’ The Bear, Waterside in Sale, Trafford will this year stage Briggs’ Father Christmas.

It’s from Pins and Needles - the team behind last year’s The Bear – and the Lyric Hammersmith.

Briggs’ grumpy but loveable Father Christmas gets ready for his busiest day of the year: Christmas Eve.  Watch as he prepares his Christmas deliveries, feeds his reindeer and finally takes flight into the snowy night.

It runs from December 4-31.

David Upton

SIX

The Lowry Salford
04 December 2018 to 16 December 2018

Born in Eccles before moving to Glossop, Maiya Quansah-Breed plays Catherine Parr, survivor and Henry VIII’s final wife in SIX the musical which comes to The Lowry December 4-16.

From Tudor queens to pop princesses, the six wives of Henry VIII take to the mic to retell their stories in a 75-minute celebration of 21st century sisterhood remixing 500 years of heartbreak.

Maiya said: “Six is my professional debut out of drama school, and I’m super excited to be performing on my home stage. I have learnt so much about the strong women who stood by one of history’s most well-known monarchs.”

Details: www.thelowry.com

 

David Upton

Cinderella

Opera House, Manchester
08 December 2018 to 30 December 2018

Cinderella at Manchester Opera House stars Coronation Street’s Villain of the Year Connor McIntyre alongside his first victim on the soap, Les Dennis, as the Ugly Sisters, with pop star Gareth Gates playing Prince Charming.

Joining them are comedian Ben Nickless (Buttons), CBBC’s Shannon Flynn (Cinderella) and soul singer Hayley-Ria Christian (Fairy Godmother) who all hail from the North West, giving this year’s show a distinctly Manchester feel.

It runs from December 8-30.

Details: www.atgtickets.com/Manchester

David Upton

The Forest of Forgotten Discos

Hope Mill Theatre Manchester
11 December 2018 to 23 December 2018

The Forest of Forgotten Discos! Is for over 5s and is a Hope Mill for Contact Theatre Company and Jackie Hagan production fro December 11-23.

There is a mystery in the forest – everyone has forgotten about dancing and bright lights and disco.

Meet Bear Hug, a creaky bear with a secret. Bear Minimum has a higgledy piggledy bedroom she can’t keep clean. Bear Grills just can’t keep his head cool.

Details: www.Contactmcr.com

David Upton

Doctor Dolittle

The Lowry, Salford
11 December 2018 to 05 January 2019

Mark Williams will star in the title role when the tour of Doctor Dolittle plays at The Lowry this Christmas.

Featuring puppetry, this new production, with the book reworked by Leslie Bricusse, will be part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the original film starring Rex Harrison and will feature the same songs, including the Academy Award-winning Talk To The Animals. 

Williams’ theatre credits include Fanshen at the National , Doctor of Honour for Cheek by Jowl, Moscow Gold, Singer, A Dream of People and As You Like It.

Doctor Dolittle runs from December 11 -  January 5.

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

White

HOME, Manchester
13 December 2018 to 23 December 2018

White, for ages 2-4 at HOME in Manchester from December 13-23 is full of birdsong and birdhouses. Two friends look after the birds and make sure the eggs stay safe.

But high up in the trees, something’s different – everything isn’t white. Colour appears. First red… then yellow… then blue…

A highly visual show for very young children and a perfect first time theatre experience.

Details: www.Homemcr.org

David Upton

Slapstick

HOME, Manchester
13 December 2018 to 22 December 2018

Slapstick, for all ages and also at HOME is from December 13-22 and was winner of the 2017 Edinburgh Spirit of the Fringe Award, an ode to the timeless comedy of Charlie Chaplin, Marx Brothers, Spike Jones and Laurel & Hardy – with a very modern twist.

Släpstick fly in from the Netherlands with a unique mix of virtuoso live music and energetic physical comedy. Five world-class performers have mastered more than 100 instruments between them.

Details: www.Homemcr.org

David Upton

Little Gift

The Lowry Salford
18 December 2018 to 31 December 2018

Rochdale-based M6 Theatre Company present Little Gift at The Lowry in Salford December 18-31.

Guy Hargreaves who was born in Wythenshawe and grew up in Bury will be flying solo in the new children’s theatre show which tells an optimistic story of friendship and hope.

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

Eric & Little Ern

The Lowry Salford
18 December 2018 to 06 January 2019

Jonty Stephens and Ian Ashpitel, the Olivier-nominated duo behind West End hit – Eric & Little Ern –bring a Christmas show for all the family to The Lowry in Salford December 18 – January 6..

It’s a homage full of Morecambe and Wise’s most-loved routines, songs and sketches, and of course, a musical guest. This show evokes memories of times when whole families would huddle around the telly to watch the duo’s Christmas specials.

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

The Rocky Horror Show

Opera House, Manchester
09 January 2019 to 26 January 2019

Beverley Callard is to star as The Narrator in the Manchester tour dates of The Rocky Horror Show when the show lands at the Opera House from January 9-26.

Coronation Street legend Callard said: “I’m really looking forward to joining the Rocky Horror family, I’ve been Time Warping for years.”

The legendary musical extravaganza will also include West End star Stephen Webb as Frank, Strictly Come Dancing champion Joanne Clifton as Janet.

Details: www.rockyhorror.co.uk

David Upton

The Band

The Lowry, Salford
16 January 2019 to 26 January 2019

Tim Firth's musical The Band, with the music of Take That, which premiered in Manchester last year, retuyrns to the region at The Lowry from January 16-26 next year.

It stars Rachel Lumberg as Rachel, Alison Fitzjohn as Claire, Emily Joyce as Heather, Jayne McKenna as Zoe, AJ Bentley, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T Johns, Yazdan Qafouri and Sario Solomon, collectively known as Five To Five, winners of BBC’s Let It Shine, as The Band, Faye Christall as Young Rachel, Katy Clayton as Young Heather, Rachelle Diedericks as Debbie, Sarah Kate Howarth as Young Claire, Lauren Jacobs as Young Zoe, Martin Miller as Jeff and Andy Williams as Dave.

It’s about what it’s like to grow up with a boyband.  For five 16 year-old friends in 1992, ‘the band’ is everything.  25 years on, they try once more to fulfil their dream of meeting their heroes.

Details: thelowry.com

David Upton

Club Mex

Hope Mill Theatre Manchester
17 January 2019 to 10 February 2019

Club Mex, a part-immersive, part-musical clubbing experience, will get its world premiere at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester, from January 17 - February 10.

It’s the second new musical from Global Musicals, the producers of current West End production, Six by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, about the six wives of Henry VIII, at the Arts Theatre.

In Club Mex audiences are on the dancefloor in the heart of the action, joining Mel and her two best mates as they experience the highs, lows and hangovers of Cancun in a coming-of-age comedy.

As well as traditional casting, producers are offering digital open auditions for Club Mex. Applications will be via Instagram, with further details on Club Mex’s website: www.theclubmex.com.

Details: www.hopemilltheatre.co.uk

David Upton

Jersey Boys

Palace Theatre
29 January 2019 to 16 February 2019

A further 12 dates have been announced for the second UK & Ireland tour of the Tony, Olivier and Grammy Award-winning musical Jersey Boys, including the Palace Theatre Manchester from Tuesday 29 January to Saturday 16 February 2019, taking the tour through to March 2019.

David Chadderton

Spring season

Royal Exchange Manchester
01 February 2019 to 30 June 2019

Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre have created a spring season of work that reflects the complexity of a 21st century city, from stories of industry and productivity to rivalry, family and community obligations.

In April artistic director Sarah Frankcom directs West Side Story with choreography from Aletta Collins. Inua Ellams’ Barber Shop Chronicles kicks off its UK tour and writers Tanika Gupta and James Yeatman reimagine key moments in Manchester’s unique journey in Hobson’s Choice and There Is A Light That Never Goes Out: Scenes From The Luddite Rebellion.

Details: www.royalexchange.co.uk

David Upton

Annie

Opera House, Manchester
09 February 2019 to 16 February 2019

Annie will embark on a UK tour opening at Manchester Opera House on February 9-16, 2019.

Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, brave young Annie is forced to live a life of misery and torment at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. Determined to find her real parents, her luck changes when she is chosen to spend Christmas at the residence of famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. Spiteful Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search…

Details: www.atgtickets.com/venues/opera-house-manchester

David Upton

Les Miserables

Palace Theatre, Manchester
19 February 2019 to 30 March 2019

Killian Donnelly is to play Jean Valjean in the UK and Ireland tour of Les Misérables, arriving at Manchester Palace Theatre February 19 –March 30, 2019.

Donnelly is currently playing Valjean in the West End production. Prior to this he played the Charlie Price in Kinky Boots on Broadway, a role he originated at the Adelphi Theatre in the West End in 2015, for which he was nominated for an Olivier.

Details: www.atgtickets.com/Manchester

David Upton

Motown the Musical

Opera House, Manchester
26 February 2019 to 23 March 2019

Edward Baruwa will play the leading role of Berry Gordy, Karis Anderson will play Diana Ross, Nathan Lewis will play Smokey Robinson and Shak Gabbidon-Williams will play Marvin Gaye when Motown the Musical comes to Manchester Opera House from February 26 – March 23, 2019.

Baruwa’s previous credits include the West End productions of Motown at The Shaftesbury Theatre, Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, Five Guys Named Moe at the Marble Arch Theatre and the UK Tour of Sister Act.

Details: ATGTICKETS.COM/Manchester

David Upton

In The Night Garden Live

The Lowry Salford
28 February 2019 to 03 March 2019

In February, In the Night Garden Live begins a first ever tour of UK theatres with a brand-new show and will play at The Lowry from February 28 until March 3.  

It’s a musical theatre experience for the entire family. Children’s favourite CBeebies stars - Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy, Makka Pakka and friends - are all brought to life in new story using full-size costumes and puppets with music and dancing.

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

Glengarry Glen Ross

Opera House, Manchester
25 March 2019 to 30 March 2019

David Mamet’s play Glengarry Glen Ross will embark on a nationwide tour from February 14 visiting Birmingham, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Glasgow, Richmond, Brighton and Cardiff with further tour dates to be announced.

Taking on the roles of salesmen Shelley ‘The Machine’ Levene and the ruthless Ricky Roma are Mark Benton (Waterloo Road, As You Like It, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Hobson’s Choice) and Olivier award-winning Nigel Harman (EastEnders, A Chorus of Disapproval, Shrek the Musical) respectively, with further casting to be announced.

Pitched in a high-stakes competition against each other, four increasingly desperate employees will do anything, legal or otherwise, to sell the most real estate. As time and luck start to run out, the mantra is simple: close the deal and you've won a Cadillac; blow the lead and . . .

It will be at Manchester Opera House March 25-30.

Details: atgtickets.com/manchester

David Upton

The Girl On The Train

The Lowry Salford
01 April 2019 to 06 April 2019

Samantha Womack stars in a new production of The Girl on the Train, the thriller based on the the best-selling novel by Paula Hawkins and the Dreamworks film.

It comes to The Lowry April 1 - 6.

Womack plays Rachel Watson who longs for a different life. Her only escape is the perfect couple she watches through the train window every day, happy and in love.  Or so it appears.

She has starred extensively in television, film and theatre and is best known for playing Ronnie Mitchell in BBC1’s EastEnders.

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

The House On Cold Hill

Opera House, Manchester
13 May 2019 to 18 May 2019

The work of author Peter James returns to Manchester’s Opera House from May 13 – 18 with the world premiere of the stage play The House on Cold Hill.

Adapted from his 2015 novel and based on the author’s own real-life experience in a haunted house, the play will star BAFTA nominated actor and winner of BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing 2017, Joe McFadden as Ollie Harcourt.

Joining him, as his wife Caro, will be award-winning actress Rita Simons, who played Roxy Mitchell in Eastenders, as well as award-winning actors Charlie Clements (Bradley in EastEnders) as Chris and Persephone Swales-Dawson (villainess Nico Blake in Hollyoaks) as Jade, making her professional stage debut.

Details: www.atgtickets.com/Manchester

David Upton

Little Miss Sunshine

The Lowry Salford
27 May 2019 to 01 June 2019

Selladoor Productions present Little Miss Sunshine, the off-Broadway hit musical which comes to The Lowry (May 27 - June 1) as part of a UK tour following a European premiere in London.

Based on the Academy Award-winning film it is created by Tony-winning team James Lapine (who collaborated with Stephen Sondheim on Into the Woods and Sunday in the Park with George) and William Finn (25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Falsettos).

The Hoover family has more than a few troubles, but young Olive has her heart set on winning the Little Miss Sunshine beauty contest. When an invitation to compete comes out of the blue, the Hoovers must pile into their rickety, yellow VW camper van.

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

Manchester International Festival

Various venues
04 July 2019 to 21 July 2019

Yoko Ono, Idris Elba and Skepta are part of next year’s Manchester International Festival programme, which runs July 4-21.

Each commission is set to offer a distinctive and very personal take on how we relate to today’s world.

Yoko Ono invites audiences to gather in Cathedral Gardens for the opening event; Tree is a journey in search of the soul and spirit of contemporary South Africa; and Skepta hosts a series of intimate and immersive experiences.

Details: www.mif.co.uk

David Upton

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Palace Theatre Manchester
25 November 2019 to 30 November 2019

Mark Goucher joins forces with first time producer Jason Donovan to create a new production of hit musical Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

The show makes a perfect vehicle for Donovan to begin his life as a producer, having performed in the cast of the original West End production and two subsequent UK tours.

The production will open in Dartford next September 2019 and will then tour throughout the UK and Ireland, arriving In Manchester on November 25, 2019.

Details: PriscillaUKTour.com

David Upton