Manchester Theatre Awards

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

What's on

Currently running

Mother Courage And Her Children

Royal Exchange Manchester
08 February 2019 to 02 March 2019

A sharp new version of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage And Her Children, starring Julie Hesmondhalgh, comes to Manchester Royal Exchange from next week through to March 2.

A dynamic co-production between Headlong and the  Exchange Hesmondhalgh returns to the stage in the iconic title role and will be joined by a powerful team of actors including.

In a feast of theatrical storytelling Mother Courage exposes the absurdity of political conflict and the all-encompassing world of war. An unashamedly-relevant and bold production of a classic 20th Century play brought bang-up to date.

Headlong is one of the UK’s leading theatre companies, dedicated to exhilarating, risk-taking and provocative new work and collaborations.

Details: www.royalexchange.co.uk

David Upton

Continental Circus Berlin

Event City, Manchester
08 February 2019 to 24 February 2019

Continental Circus Berlin comes to Manchester’s Event City from February 8-24.

It’s an amalgamation of circus acts, music andyouthful energy, incorporating performers from all over the world.

The Danguir Troupe perform a high wire and wheel of death act; direct from the Moscow State Circus Rubtsov Troupe, perform fast track acrobatics; a stunt riding team will also be performing the Globe of Death.

Edy the Clown will guide the audience through the showwhich also includes an aerial chandelier act , Vegas style Quick Change Princess, juggling and a troupe of dancers.

Details: http://www.circusberlin.co.uk

David Upton

Sparkplug

HOME Manchester
13 February 2019 to 23 February 2019

Manchester-based theatre company Box of Tricks launch their new production SparkPlug at HOME in Manchester between February 13-23, before going on an extensive 18-venue tour.

In Manchester, 1983, Dave loves Rod Stewart, Joanne and his Ford Capri. Only Joanne’s about to have someone else’s baby.

An exploration of family, race, identity and love, SparkPlug is the story of a white man who becomes the adoptive father, mother and best friend of a mixed-race child. A lyrical monologue from Manchester-based dual heritage writer David Judge examines what family means today. 

SparkPlug contains strong language and use of racially offensive terms, and is not suitable for those under 14.

Details: www.homemcr.org

David Upton

Mydidae

Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
13 February 2019 to 23 February 2019

A Manchester theatre company promise an ‘Anti-Valentines’ production starting next week.

Between February 13-23, Wonderhouse will be staging the Northern premiere of Mydidae, a play written by BAFTA winner Jack Thorne, who is also responsible for TV’s Skins, This is England and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

David Gregan-Jones will be performing alongside Hollie-Jay Bowes, Hollyoaks’ Michaela McQueen.

Staged in a specially-designed bathroom set incorporating a full-sized bath at the Hope Mill Theatre in Ancoats, Marian and David let an attempt at a romantic candlelit bath descend into an autopsy of their relationship. 

It was first performed in the Soho Theatre, London in 2012 and starred Phoebe Waller-Bridge – writer of hit TV show Killing Eve and BAFTA winner Fleabag.

Details: www.hopemilltheatre.co.uk

David Upton

Rough Crossing

The Lowry, Salford
18 February 2019 to 23 February 2019

Bill Kenwright presents the return of Rough Crossing by Academy, Tony and Olivier award-winning writer Tom Stoppard at the Lowry in Salford February 18-23.

The cast is led by John Partridge, winner of this year’s Celebrity Masterchef and best known as Christian Clarke in EastEnders.

Joining him is one of musical theatre’s upcoming stars, Olivier-award nominee Charlie Stemp.

They are joined by West-End star Issy van Randwyck (Fascinating Aïda), comedy TV favourite Matthew Cottle (Game On, The Windsors), Holby City’s Rob Ostlere and Simon Dutton who portrayed Simon Templar in The Saint.

Two famous but desperate playwrights are stuck in an ocean liner headed for New York, feverishly trying to rehearse their latest show before reaching land, and opening night. But they are constantly distracted by their delicate composer’s attempts to end it all, having overheard his lover confess her feelings to the leading man.

A typically Stoppardian string of absurd events.

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

Elmer the Patchwork Elephant

The Lowry, Salford
19 February 2019 to 21 February 2019

lmer the Patchwork Elephant celebrates his 30th birthday and a brand-new live stage adaptation based on the classic children’s book series by David McKee will be stopping at The Lowry February 19-21.

It tells the tale of an elephant that stands out – both with his patchwork-coloured skin and his sense of humour – but ultimately realizing his friends have always valued his unique characteristics.

It is brought to life by Selladoor Family, producers behind James And The Giant Peach, Seussical, The Owl And The Pussycat, Guess How Much I Love You and Madagascar the Musical; and MEI Theatrical, producers of family entertainment.

Details: www.thelowry.com

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

Tea and Two Sugars

53Two, Manchester
19 February 2019 to 22 February 2019

Two Time Theatre perform Tea and Two Sugars from February 19-22 at 53two, Manchester.

Sisters have an unbreakable bond but when one is diagnosed with cervical cancer, even the closest of siblings experience the toughest of times. A funny, touching and powerful tale penned by two of Manchester's emerging creatives.

A world premiere, it is supported by a 53two FOUNDation bursary and is inspired by true events and verbatim interviews.

Throughout the run, money will be raised for Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust.

David Upton


Coming up

A Skull in Connemara

Oldham Coliseum
22 February 2019 to 09 March 2019

Oldham Coliseum is staging black comedy A Skull in Connemara by Martin McDonagh, writer of feature films Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Seven Psychopaths and In Bruges.

Set in rural West Ireland, the darkly comic play highlights the power of the rumour mill in small communities in attempting to unravel the mystery of gravedigger Mick’s wife’s death and the location of her missing bones.

It runs from February 22 to March 9.

Details: www.coliseum.org.uk

David Upton

The Life I Lead

The Lowry, Salford
22 February 2019 to 24 February 2019

Stand-up comedian and actor Miles Jupp will tour the UK with the world premiere of The Life I Lead by James Kettle, directed by Selina Cadell, coming to The Lowry in Salford February 22-24.

It celebrates an actor best remembered for playing Mr Banks in Mary Poppins and Professor Emelius Browne in Bedknobs and Broomsticks. David Tomlinson was renowned for playing the classic English gent: forthright, proper, and a loveable fool. The Life I Lead sees Jupp bring Tomlinson’s remarkable story to life. A richly comic and moving tale of fathers and sons across the generations.

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

A Working Diary

Royal Exchange Manchester
24 February 2019

On Sunday February 24, The Rivals Bar at The Royal Exchange will be hosting actress Julie Hesmondhalgh reading excerpts from her new book, A Working Diary followed by a Q&A. 

It begins in November 2016 at the end of a full year of theatre-making with her company, Take Back which fell between starring in the award-winning play WIT at The Royal Exchange and filming a third series of ITV's Broadchurch.

The diary begins as Julie prepares to rehearse with Mike Leigh for Peterloo and takes in her experiences of working in film, TV and radio drama against a backdrop of huge political changes - as well as the terrible events at Manchester Arena - and balancing her family life. 

She explains: “It was a huge honour to be asked to write a diary of my working life as part of the Theatre Makers series for Methuen Drama at Bloomsbury. I couldn’t have anticipated what a full and varied year of work it would be, and how many huge changes would take place in the world at that time. I hope that there’s a bit of something for everyone in the book.”

David Upton

Wise Children

HOME Manchester
26 February 2019 to 02 March 2019

Wise Children and The Old Vic bring their production of Angela Carter’s novel Wise Children to HOME in Manchester in Manchester February 26 - March 2.

It’s April 23, Shakespeare’s birthday. In Brixton, Nora and Dora Chance - twin chorus girls born and bred south of the river - are celebrating their 75th birthday. Over the river in Chelsea, their father and greatest actor of his generation Melchior Hazard, turns 100 on the same day. As does his twin brother Peregrine. If, in fact, he’s still alive. And if, in truth, Melchior is their real father after all...

A big, bawdy tangle of theatrical joy and heartbreak, Wise Children is a celebration of show business, family, forgiveness and hope. Expect show girls and Shakespeare, sex and scandal, music, mischief and mistaken identity - and butterflies by the thousand. 

Details: https://homemcr.org/production/wise-children

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

Noughts and Crosses

The Lowry, Salford
26 February 2019 to 02 March 2019

Pilot Theatre present the premiere of Sabrina Mahfouz's new adaption of Malorie Blackman’s award-winning novel Noughts and Crosses at The Lowry in Salford from February 26-March 2.

Told from the perspectives of two teenagers, it’s a love story set in a volatile, racially segregated society and explores themes of love, revolution and what it means to grow up in a divided world.

It follows Pilot Theatre’s Brighton Rock which was part of The Lowry’s Week 53 festival in 2018.

Sabrina Mahfouz is a British Egyptian poet, playwright, performer and writer from South London, England. Her recent plays have included 'Offside' (co-written with Hollie McNish); 'With a little bit of luck' (Paines Plough) and she has also published work includes poetry, plays and contributions to several anthologies.

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

Nanjing

Royal Exchange Manchester
27 February 2019 to 02 March 2019

Manchester-based writer, performer and director, Jude Christian returns to the city’s Royal Exchange Theatre with her very own one-woman show, Nanjing, after recently directing OthelloMacbeth at HOME last year.

A thought-provoking piece about identity and national values in a political climate dominated by Brexit, Trump and the Windrush scandal, Nanjing creates dialogue about heroes, identity and the consequences of war.

This production runs from February 27– March 2 in The Studio before transferring to Birmingham from March 13 - 16.

Details: www.royalexchange.co.uk

David Upton

Zucchini

53Two, Manchester
27 February 2019 to 01 March 2019

Jamie and Katie are a young couple in a period of uncertainty in their lives, forced to re-evaluate everything they think they know about themselves and their relationship.

After the success of their debut production Flushed by Catherine Cranfield, the original 53two FOUNDation award winners, Theatre Unlocked, returning to the venue with their new production.

Zucchini is a new play that explores 21st-century approaches to sexuality, identity and what happens when a relationship doesn’t suit . . .
Since the initial run of Flushed, the production ran at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018, receiving Voice Magazine’s Pick of the Fringe. 
It’s at 53Two from February 27 to March 1.

Details: https://www.theatreunlocked.co.uk
           

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

The Last Yankee

Bolton Library Lecture Theatre
28 February 2019 to 16 March 2019

David Thacker directs Arthur Miller’s The Last Yankee at the Bolton Library Lecture Theatre.

Thacker, head of the BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance Degree at the University of Bolton and former artistic director at the city’s Octagon Theatre, is renowned for having worked with the legendary writer.

The Last Yankee will run from February 28– March 16.

Thacker says: “The Last Yankee is not one of Miller’s best known works but it is so relevant to issues high on the agenda. It puts mental health and perceptions and understanding of the issue at the forefront and it has huge contemporary relevance. I believe it is even more important now than it was in 1993. Like all of Arthur Miller’s work, it is a prescient, funny and moving play.”

Details: www.octagonbolton.co.uk/whats-on/theatre/the-last-yankee

David Upton

Word of Warning

Various venues
28 February 2019 to 30 April 2019

Word of Warning, Manchester’s roaming programme of performance, is back with another Pay What You Decide season for Spring 2019.

Kicking off on February 28 with their 100th event: part show, part ritual, part DJ set, Will Dickie’s The Rave Space revisits club culture in the authentic surroundings of Hulme’s NIAMOS –scene of many a mis-spent 90s night-out!

Details: wordofwarning.org

David Upton

Storytime

Waterside arts centre, Sale
01 March 2019

Joanne Harris brings her musical storytelling show, Storytime to Waterside in Sale, Trafford on March 1, combining original music, songs, images and stories.

The author has made her live storytelling a popular phenomenon. Joanne and the Storytime Band have created a live show, plus image projections and music, as well as longer pieces based on her 2017 novella A Pocketful of Crows, and her new 2018 novella The Blue Salt Road.

Details: www.watersidearts.org

 

David Upton

Rags

Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
02 March 2019 to 06 April 2019

Olivier Award-winning actress Rebecca Trehearn will star as Rebecca in the UK premiere of a new version of the Stephen Schwartz musical Rags at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester March 2- April 6.

She most recently played Charity in Sweet Charity and Julie LaVerne in Showboat, for which she won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical.

Rags tells the story of Russian immigrant Rebecca, who, with her son David, travels to America in search of a better life. She must decide what matters more to her - staying true to her roots or adopting a new cultural identity in an attempt to 'fit in'. 

Details: www.hopemilltheatre.co.uk

David Upton

Romeo and Juliet - Mad Blood Stirring

Z Arts, Manchester
02 March 2019

Theatre makers Contender Charlie and China Plate join forces to present Romeo and Juliet – Mad Blood Stirring, an introduction to the timeless story, at Z-arts in Manchester, March 2.

From the team behind  Macbeth – Blood Will Have Blood comes a retelling of Shakespeare’s tragic love story.

Shakespeare’s original language is used by most characters, but the audience are guided through the action by the Friar using modern-day English, so it’s suitable for audiences aged nine to 13.

Details: www.z-arts.org/events/romeo-and-juliet-mad-blood-stirring/

 

David Upton

From Shore to Shore

Various venues
09 March 2019 to 06 April 2019

After a successful sold-out tour in 2017, Mary Cooper and M.W. Sun’s poignant play, From Shore to Shore/Piao Yang Guo Hai is set to return for a national tour from March.

Weaving together three moving stories drawn from different generations of British Chinese communities, it offers a chance to connect with, understand, and reflect upon the Chinese experience in the UK.

Staged in Chinese restaurants, featuring live music, three languages, and accompanied by a two-course Chinese meal, the play starts its tour at the Yang Sing Restaurant in Manchester from March 9 -16 and then tours until April 6. Food and its relationship to love and survival are important themes in the play and the restaurant setting enhances connections. 

Cooper, who has written for BBC Radio 4, Channel 4 and Granada, as well as writing more than 20 plays for touring theatre, and multilingual collaborator M. W. Sun, spent three years researching and recording stories with people in the Chinese communities.

After the Yang Sing it’s at Angel Restaurant, Liverpool (March 19-20); Wong’s Kitchen at Lancaster University, The Dukes Theatre and The Hothouse in Morecambe (March 21-24); Palace Garden, Newcastle (March 26-30) and Chung Ying Cantonese and Chinese Community Centre, Birmingham (April 2-6).

Details: www.fromshoretoshore.co.uk

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

Pepperland

The Lowry, Salford
29 March 2019 to 30 March 2019

The Beatles’ ground-breaking Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album is the inspiration behind Mark Morris Dance Group’s Pepperland, presented by Dance Consortium and making its The Lowry debut March 29-30 as part of a major UK and Ireland tour.

Pepperland is a unique tribute to the 50th anniversary of the release of the iconic LP. Hailed as the first-ever ‘art rock’ album and widely regarded as the best rock and roll album of all time, it spent 27 weeks at number one and won four Grammy Awards.

Morris created Pepperland to pay homage to The Beatles, the album and its landmark anniversary. World premiere performances kicked off Liverpool’s Sgt. Pepper at 50 Festival in May 2017.

It features an original score by composer Ethan Iverson, inspired by some of the album’s hits.

Arrangements will be performed live by MMDG Music Ensemble - Pepperland‘s unique chamber music group - and is interspersed with six original Pepper-inspired pieces.

Details: www.thelowry.com

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

Die, Mommie, Die!

Kings Arms, Salford
16 April 2019 to 21 April 2019

Alex Reid is joining the UK premiere cast of the off-Broadway Charles Busch comedy/melodrama Die, Mommie, Die! At the Kings Arms in Salford in April.

Reid will join the cast as Hollywood lothario Tony Parker who has a BIG secret, and will be joining Dale Vicker who returns to his role as the fallen star Angela Arden. The cast also features Emma Morgan (Noir) as Bootsie, Anna Hickling (Porno Chic) as Edith, Benjamin Gray (Fake News) as Lance with more cast to be announced.

Die, Mommie, Die! takes audiences to 1960s Hollywood to meet fallen star Angela Arden and her dysfunctional family. Angela is trapped in a hateful marriage to film producer Sol Sussman, bored with her life, she finds herself a little plaything, Hollywood wannabe Tony Parker.

It’s in Salford April 16 – 21 and move to Upstairs at The Gatehouse Theatre, London from July 16.

Details: http://www.vertigotheatreproductions.co.uk

David Upton

Beauty and the Beast

Stockport Plaza
18 April 2019 to 22 April 2019

Beauty and the Beast comes to Stockport Plaza for Easter.

The panto version of the fairytale runs from April 18 – 22 and will star Channel 5 Milkshake’s Kiera-Nicole Brennan as Belle.

Trying to win her heart is Philip McGuinness as the brutish Gaston. Lewis Devine will be causing mayhem and mischief as French Frank, while adding extra sparkle will be Sarah Walker as Fairy Rose and Si Foster completes the cast as Potty Polly.

Details: www.stockportplaza.co.uk

David Upton

The King And I

Opera House, Manchester
26 April 2019 to 11 May 2019

The King And I, after enjoying a record-breaking season at the London Palladium will open a major UK tour at Manchester’s Opera House.

Reprising his Broadway performance as The King will be Jose Llana and performing as Anna will be Annalene Beechey. 

This production will play at the Opera House from April 26– May 11, then goes on to Dublin, Sunderland, Edinburgh, Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Hull, Milton Keynes, Liverpool, Bristol, Woking and Southampton.

A cinema release of the live production from the Palladium, has become the biggest live event in cinemas of 2018.

In the UK, the film reached the number one spot, with more than double the box office of the next film, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Details: www.atgtickets.com/Manchester

David Upton

Something About Simon

The Albert Halls, Bolton
27 April 2019

A new show celebrating the life and talent of singer songwriter Paul Simon is heading to Bolton.

Something About Simon comes to The Albert Halls in Bolton on Saturday April 27.

It recently premiered in Liverpool with a two-night pilot run at the Epstein Theatre.

Details: www.somethingaboutsimon.com

David Upton

Educating Rita

The Lowry, Salford
29 April 2019 to 04 May 2019

A new stage production of Willy Russell’s Educating Rita will tour in 2019, starring Stephen Tompkinson as Frank, and introducing Jessica Johnson as Rita.

It opens at Theatre by the Lake, Keswick on April 18, and will then visit The Lowry in Salford, Bradford’s Alhambra Theatre, Nottingham Theatre Royal, Theatre Clwyd in Mold, Bath Theatre Royal, Salisbury Playhouse, Exeter Northcott, Eden Court Theatre in Inverness, Wolverhampton Grand, Theatre Royal Wakefield, and Sheffield Lyceum. Further venues to be announced.

The play was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and played at the Warehouse Theatre, London in 1980, starring Julie Walters and Mark Kingston. Walters reprised her role in the film opposite Michael Caine.

Details: educatingrita.co.uk

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

Matthew Bourne's Romeo and Juliet

The Lowry Salford
11 June 2019 to 15 June 2019

New Adventures announces full casting for the world premiere of Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet which will open at The Lowry in Salford on June 11, as part of a UK tour to 13 venues.

Romeo and Juliet will feature emerging male and female dancers from around the UK. The search began last April with a call-out for young dancers currently in training aged between 16 and 19. Attracting more than 1000 applications and following a UK-wide audition tour, Young Cast members will perform at each venue alongside the New Adventures company.

Matthew Bourne says: “As we enter our fourth decade as a company I’m finding the development of young talent ever more important and fulfilling. Our new company features a staggering 98 young dancers making their debuts; some joining as part of their third year of training, others through company initiatives. I have been overwhelmed by the talent we have had and am particularly happy to be working alongside young associate choreographer Arielle Smith.

Joining the full time cast in Salford will be six young regional cast members making their debut with New Adventures: Katie Agarwal, Georgia Collier, Orla Collier, Brandon Hunter, Patrick King and Kayde-Samuél Wright.

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

Early Doors

The Lowry, Salford
24 July 2019 to 03 August 2019

Early Doors Live is returning  to The Lowry for a limited run from July 24 until August 3.

The show premiered on The Lowry's stage in August 2018 and was awarded a prize for best theatre show at the CityLife Awards 2019.

Ken’s got love on his mind, but will barmaid, Tanya, ring the landlord’s bell? Old Tommy would play Cupid. Crime is on the rise but fear not, as local cops Phil and Nige are getting stuck in...

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

Jerry Springer The Opera

Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
08 August 2019 to 31 August 2019

A revival of Jerry Springer The Opera is coming to Manchester in August – almost 15 years since the show was last performed in the UK.

The controversial musical will have a four-week run at Hope Mill Theatre in Ancoats, from August 8-31.

It caused a storm when it came to the UK stage in 2002, and in this new revival it promises the same raucous energy!

From tap-dancing KKK members, to a provocative dancing stripper, to the ultimate battle between God and the Devil, nothing is off limits.

It is brought back to the stage as a first show from new production company Northern Ricochet formed by James Baker (Parade, Yank), Tom Chester (Parade, Mamma Mia) and Bill Elms (Epstein The Man Who Made The Beatles, Twopence To Cross The Mersey).

Details: hopemilltheatre.co.uk

David Upton

Red Dust Road

HOME, Manchester
01 September 2019 to 14 September 2019

Scottish writer and poet Jackie Kay’s personal memoir, Red Dust Road, is to play at HOME Manchester in September.

The National Theatre of Scotland and HOME, Manchester presents the world premiere.

Adapted for the stage by Tanika Gupta and directed by Dawn Walton, Red Dust Road will open at the 2019 Edinburgh International Festival, before playing at HOME, Manchester, and touring to the Macrobert Arts Centre in Stirling, and Eden Court Theatre in Inverness, in autumn 2019.

From the moment when, as a little girl, she realises her skin is a different colour from that of her mum and dad, to the tracing and finding of her Highland mother and Nigerian father birth parents, Kay’s journey in Red Dust Road is one of twists, turns and emotions.

Details: www.homemcr.org

David Upton

& Juliet

Opera House, Manchester
10 October 2019 to 12 October 2019

& Juliet is the new West End musical that asks: what if Juliet’s famous ending was really just her beginning? What if she decided to choose her own fate?

With the music of Max Martin, songwriter of some of the biggest pop anthems of the last 30 years, the show is to star the award-winning Miriam-Teak Lee, awarded Best Actress in a Musical at The Stage Debut Awards for her role of Claire DeLoone in On The Town. She was also one of the stars of the original London cast of Hamilton.

The production will play a limited season at Manchester Opera House, October 10-12, before performances in London at The Shaftesbury Theatre.

Details: www.andjulietthemusical.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

SIX

The Lowry, Salford
03 December 2019 to 05 January 2020

SIX the musical will return to The Lowry next year for a five week Christmas run.

The musical theatre story of Henry VIII’s six wives is a 75-minute celebration of sisterly heartbreak

Powered by an all-female band and with songs including Ex-Wives, Haus of Holbein and Don’t Lose Ur Head, this musical by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss has been one of the most successful West End shows of 2018.

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Opera House, Manchester
06 December 2019 to 29 December 2019

Manchester Opera House will next year stage Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, starring Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood as the Wicked Queen.

He recently returned to his roots as a performer in musical theatre, starring as Miss Hannigan in the West End production of Annie. Craig also choreographed and directed the recent UK tour of Sister Act starring Alexandra Burke, directed and choreographed the new Dusty Springfield musical Son of a Preacher Man, and choreographed the feature film Paddington 2.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will once again be produced by Qdos Entertainment, continuing their partnership with Manchester Opera House following this year’s Cinderella.

Details: www.atgtickets.com/Manchester

David Upton

The Bodyguard

Palace Theatre Manchester
10 December 2019 to 04 January 2020

Alexandra Burke will play Rachel Marron in the The Bodyguard when it returns to Palace Theatre, Manchester.

Following its sell out run in 2015, the musical will play a festive season from 10 December 2019 – 4 January 2020.

Burke returns to the role having played it in both the West End and the subsequent sell out 2015/2016 tour. She first rose to fame after winning the fifth series of The X Factor. She will perform the role of Marron at evening performances only.

Details: www.atgtickets.com/Manchester

David Upton

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

The Lowry Salford
10 December 2019 to 05 January 2020

Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical - the New York Christmas sensation – is to play Christmas 2019 season at The Lowry.

Featuring songs You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch and Welcome Christmas, Max the Dog narrates the show, as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is ‘two sizes too small’, decides to steal Christmas away from Holiday-loving Whos.

The show broke box office records for two consecutive years on Broadway. The announcement of the tour of the musical comes as a new movie of The Grinch – starring the voices of Benedict Cumberbatch and Angela Lansbury – reaches a new generation at cinemas.

The musical runs from December 10 to January 5.

Details: thelowry.com

David Upton

We Will Rock You

Opera House, Manchester
27 January 2020 to 08 February 2020

Following 2010 and 2011 UK theatre tours and 2013 10th anniversary world arena tour, the Queen and Ben Elton musical We Will Rock You has been ‘reimagined’ for 2019 and will embark on a new tour, showing in Manchester from January 27 –February 8, 2020.

It follows hot on the heels of the release of the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.

Since 2002 more than 15 million theatregoers in 17 countries have seen We Will Rock You.

Details: www.atgtickets.com/Manchester

David Upton