Manchester Theatre Awards

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

What's on

Currently running

Concert performances

Royal Exchange Manchester
02 September 2018 to 23 September 2018

Manchester venue and national promoter Band on the Wall partners with Royal Exchange Theatre to present a series of concerts featuring intimate performances from Mercury Rev, James Holden & The Animal Spirits, Jane Weaver, The Slow Show, The Lone Bellow and Lankum.

The programme commences on September 2 with the return of Brooklyn-based Americana trio The Lone Bellow who performed a stunning sold out show at Band on the Wall earlier this year, followed by folk from across the Atlantic, in the shape of Dublin traditional folk four-piece Lankum on September 23.

Details: www.royalexchange.co.uk

David Upton

othellomacbeth

HOME, Manchester
14 September 2018 to 29 September 2018

HOME and  Lyric Hammersmith’s production of othellomacbeth, runs September 14-29 in Manchester and October 5 – November 3 at the Lyric.

It’s a condensed staging of two of Shakespeare’s plays told by an ensemble company.

The company of nine play characters in both Othello and Macbeth. As Macbeth and Cassio is Sandy Grierson, who has performed extensively with the RSC, most recently in Dido, Queen of Carthage and Doctor Faustus. In the role of Bianca is Kezrena James, whose credits include The Little Matchgirl and Other Happier Tales at The Globe and Bristol Old Vic. Joining them in the role of Emilia is Melissa Johns known for playing Imogen in Coronation Street, her other credits include One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at the Sheffield Crucible Details: www.homemcr.org

David Upton

Queen Margaret

Royal Exchange Manchester
14 September 2018 to 06 October 2018

Shakespeare penned more lines for Queen Margaret than he did for King Lear yet we know very little of her.

Writer Jeanie O’Hare puts that to rights in her new play Queen Margaret in a production that draws on original language from Shakespeare at the Royal Exchange in Manchester.

Jade Anouka plays Margaret in an iconic moment in British history. An exploration of The Wars of the Roses seen through the eyes of an astonishing, dangerous and thrilling woman.

The young Queen arrives in an unhappy kingdom, festering with plots against the crown, and in retreat from the newly confident France. As North and South fracture into civil war the wife and mother becomes a politician and a warrior, determined to secure the crown for her son.

Anouka, Screen International's Star of Tomorrow, most recently starred in ITV’s drama, Trauma. This autumn she will also star opposite Sheridan Smith in ITV’s Cleaning Up.

The cast is completed by Islam Bouakkaz, Lorraine Bruce, Samuel Edward-Cook, Dexter Flanders, Helena Lymbery, Lucy Mangan, Roger Morlidge, Kwami Odoom, Bridgitta Roy and Max Runham.

The production runs until October 6.

Details: www.royalexchange.co.uk/queenmargaret 

David Upton

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

Blue Remembered Hills

Salford Arts Theatre
19 September 2018 to 29 September 2018

Salford Theatre Company are currently staging the Dennis Potter classic Blue Remembered Hills, originally written as a television play back in 1979

It follows a group of seven year old children living in the countryside during 1943 and exploring their friendships and loyalties. Seeming innocence is lost during a single tragic event. In keeping with Potter’s original intentions the cast are adults playing children

It’s on Wednesday to Saturday, and again the following Wednesday to Saturday.

Details: www.salfordartstheatre.com/whats-on

David Upton

Ignite

INTU Trafford Centre
21 September 2018 to 23 September 2018

Dance act Ashley Banjo and Diversity have partnered with Gandey World Class Productions, circu company for Ignite premiering at INTU Trafford Centre, Sept 21-23.

Banjo has created a show that fuses street dance and circus in a specially-designed 2,000 seater big top, with only four exclusive performances.

Details: www.gandey.com

David Upton

Quest

The Lowry Salford
23 September 2018

Imagine a show that mashes up martial arts, sword and Morris dancing, breakdance, staff fighting AND clog dancing!

Someone did, and they bring Quest to the Lowry in Salford on September 23.

It’s a family show from Breaking Tradition (makers of folk and hip hop dance production, The Lock In) and Radio 2 award winning folk band The Demon Barbers.

It features live on-stage music, projection, dance and action and was first performed in Bradford earlier this year before touring the country..

When Kai’s sister disappears it’s down to him to find her, but should he be looking in the real world? Or somewhere else…

Quest ventures inside a computer game world set to the beat of new songs and traditional melodies with an electronic edge.

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton


Coming up

Oldham Coliseum season 2018/19

Oldham Coliseum
24 September 2018 to 12 March 2019

Oldham Coliseum’s award-winning home-produced drama sits alongside co-productions with, and tours from, companies from across the country in their next programme.   

The season opens on September 24 with a week that brings the new and often daring work seen in the Studio theatre to the Coliseum’s Main Stage. Highlights include the Coliseum’s Pick of the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival; Manchester theatre company, Play With Fire; and Manchester Theatre Award winner The Narcissist in the Mirror by Rosie Fleeshman.

From October 2-13, the Coliseum presents Dishoom!, a new play by Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, in co-production with Rifco Theatre Company as part of a three-year partnership. Set in the summer of 1978, it follows teenagers, Simon and Baljit, who are inspired by the Bollywood classic film, Sholay.

Manchester’s own award-winning comedy duo LipService are back with their cult Brontë spoof Withering Looks to mark the 200th anniversary year of Emily Brontë’s birth.

English Touring Theatre returns to Oldham from October 23-27 with their Othello - one of Shakespeare’s most startlingly contemporary plays.  

Highlight of the festive season is the Coliseum’s renowned traditional family pantomime, which this year is Cinderella. from November 10 – January 12.

In the New Year the Coliseum presents a home-grown production of Martin McDonagh’s A Skull in Connemara, opening on February 22.

Opening on March 12, Middle Ground Theatre Company present Barry Reed’s best-selling courtroom thriller The Verdict, made famous by the Oscar nominated film with Paul Newman and James Mason.

David Upton

Rock Of Ages

Opera House, Manchester
25 September 2018 to 29 September 2018

The UK and Ireland tour of musical Rock Of Ages arrives at the Opera House Manchester from September 25-29.

Kevin Kennedy will play Dennis, Zoe Birkett is Justice, Jodie Steele is Sherrie, Luke Walsh is Drew, Lucas Rush is Lonny, Andrew Carthy is Franz, Vas Constanti is Hertz and Rhiannon Chesterman Regina.

The show is an LA love story ‘lavished’ with 25 classic rock anthems and features  

We Built This City, The Final Countdown, Here I Go Again, Can’t Fight this Feeling and I Want To Know What Love Is.

Details: www.rockofagesmusical.co.uk

David Upton

The Effect

Oldham Coliseum
25 September 2018 to 27 September 2018

Romance is put under the microscope in Play With Fire’s new production of The Effect by multi-award winning playwright, Lucy Prebble.

Love is a naturally occurring chemical reaction, so can it be created medicinally? 

The Effect is a play that explores questions of sanity, neurology and the limits of medicine, alongside ideas of fate, loyalty and the inevitability of physical attraction.

Psychology student, Connie, and drifter, Tristan, agree to take part in a clinical drug trial for a new kind of anti-depressant. When the clinicians up the dosage they find themselves falling for each other, but struggle to work out whether feelings are real or just a side effect.

The Effect will be presented at Oldham Coliseum Theatre by Play With Fire as part of the theatre’s Main House Takeover.

The Main House Takeover offers audiences a taste of what they can expect from the flexible 170 seat Studio Theatre in the new Coliseum on Union Street in 2020, by putting shows that would usually be seen in the current Studio Theatre on the Main Stage.

It runs from September 25-27.

Details: www.coliseum.org.uk

David Upton

Salad Days

The Lowry, Salford
25 September 2018 to 29 September 2018

Former Coronation Street star Wendi Peters will take to The Lowry stage in Salford for the musical romp Salad Days from September 25-29.

The TV and West End performer will play two roles, Lady Raeburn and Aunt Prue, in the Regan De Wynter Williams production.

Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds’ musical is packed with polite naughtiness and saucy encounters, with an energetic score featuring songs such as We Said We Wouldn’t Look Back, Look At Me, I’m Dancing, and We’re Looking For A Piano.

Written in 1952 as a summer musical for the Bristol Old Vic, Salad Days transferred to the Vaudeville where it ran for 2,283 performances. The phrase was first coined in Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra, referring to Anthony’s youth; and the show tells the light- hearted tale of recent graduates Timothy and Jane.

There will be a dementia friendly performance on the Wednesday matinee.

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

If I Should Fall

Various venues
27 September 2018 to 30 October 2018

Redbobble Theatre are an all female theatre company based out of both Manchester and Leeds.

Their new show If I Should Fall will be touring it across Manchester and Yorkshire from Sept 27 – Oct 30.

Details: www.redbobbletheatre.co.uk

David Upton

Summit

John Thaw Theatre, University of Manchester
27 September 2018

The Drama Department at University of Manchester present the first preview performance of Summit, a new play by theatre-maker Andy Smith, as it begins a UK tour.

The performance will take place in The John Thaw Theatre on September 27.

Three performers tell a story from three perspectives, the story of an international meeting – the summit of the title. A meeting at which something happened, and in that moment everything changed.

Summit is performed in a blend of languages, including fully integrated BSL and is accessible for both deaf and hearing audiences.

Details: http://events.manchester.ac.uk/event/event:eii-jk8b9el3-73nps3

David Upton

Future Bodies

HOME, Manchester
28 September 2018 to 13 October 2018

With two of the UK’s most innovative theatre companies - Unlimited Theatre and RashDash – Manchester HOME’s world premiere of Future Bodies immerses itself in the impact of science on human development.

This production - captioned throughout to allow for full accessibility - fuses spoken word, live original music and movement through a series of vignettes to delve deep beneath the skin, and shed a spotlight on consciousness, cutting-edge technology and its implications.

Future Bodies imagines a future where anything is possible when it comes to biological enhancement. It also marks the first production HOME has developed specifically for its intimate 150-seat Theatre 2 space.

It runs from September 28 to October 13.

Details: www.homemcr.org

David Upton

Double Bill at 53Two

Oldham Coliseum
28 September 2018

Two of the region’s most exciting fringe theatre productions come to Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s stage in a double bill as part of the Main House Takeover.

Rosie Fleeshman’s Manchester Theatre Award winning Narcissist in the Mirror is joined by the Coliseum’s pick of this year’s Greater Manchester Fringe Festival, Pop by Eventhorizon.

The Coliseum’s Main House Takeover offers audiences a taste of what they can expect from the flexible 170 seat Studio Theatre in the new Coliseum on Union Street in 2020, by putting shows that would usually be seen in the current Studio Theatre on the Main Stage.

Narcissist in the Mirror is a dark comedy about life, ambition and millennial expectation.

This summer it enjoyed a hit one-month run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Pop won the Coliseum’s Pick of the Fringe award at this year’s Greater Manchester Fringe Festival. The theatre’s staff attended with a view to selecting a show to showcase.

It stars Martha Godber and Sade Malone as aspirational young northerners Abbi and Beth.

Double Bill is on Friday September 28.

 

David Upton

Macbeth

The Lowry, Salford
29 September 2018 to 06 October 2018

Scottish actor Michael Nardone will play the title role in the National Theatre's touring production of Macbeth.  He will star alongside Kirsty Besterman playing Lady Macbeth. 

Following its sold-out London run the production opens at The Lowry, Salford on September 29 and runs October 6.

Nardone played Frisky in BBC One’s Emmy Award-winning series The Night Manager. His work on stage includes the Duke of Cornwall in Lear at the National directed by Sam Mendes; and the title role in Peribanez at the Young Vic directed by Rufus Norris. On television he has also appeared as Jonas in BBC One’s Rellik; as DCI Whiteside in BBC Scotland’s River City and as Mascius in HBO’s Rome.

Kirsty Besterman’s credits include Diana in Tipping the Velvet at the Lyric Hammersmith, and Lady Croom in the UK tour of Arcadia.

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

Hope Mill Theatre Birthday

Hope Mill Theatre Manchester
02 October 2018 to 05 October 2018

Award-winning Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester, celebrates its third Birthday with a fortnight of special events

The theatre, which was opened in a former Cotton Mill in Ancoats by couple William Whelton and Joseph Houston, has firmly established itself on the country’s cultural scene, with a host of in-house productions, a number of which transferred to London, and awards.

The events include Manchester ADP: Cottonopolis - a northern based company supporting emerging writers and directors with a response to the city’s Cotton Revolution in honour of the venue’s roots as a cotton mill.

Hope Mill Theatre then welcomes back TakeBack theatre company (run by Julie Hesmondhalgh, Becx  Harrison and Grant Archer) with TakeBack:Our Girls. Marking International Day of the Girl the company will present an evening of script in hand pieces written by young women under 25.

The venue will then host its first ever ‘scratch night’: To Bee or Not to Bee - which will provide a platform for actors and artists to showcase work.

Details: hopemilltheatre.co.uk

David Upton

The 19th Emergency

Z Arts Manchester
06 October 2018

The 19th Emergency takes place on Saturday October 6, noon-10pm, in Manchester's Z-arts (incl. STUN Studio), with the callout for proposals open until August 15.

Artists working in live art and contemporary performance are invited to submit proposals of short pieces of work, works-in-progress, or extracts of longer works for inclusion in this event. Proposals are also encouraged for durational, one-to-one and limited capacity work, as well as performance installation and intervention-based works in-and-around the spaces available.       

Emergency is a pay-what-you-decide, public micro-festival + open submission platform; an opportunity for artists to meet, show, and peer-review work; a selection event for a number of small Works Ahead commissions.

David Upton

Cirkopolis

Opera House, Manchester
06 October 2018

Manchester Opera House will present the Cirque Éloize Cirkopolis, the critically acclaimed show by Montreal-based troupe Cirque Eloize for one night only on October 6.

Cirque Éloize takes their blend of circus arts, theatre, and dance to a stylised metropolis setting, where 11 acrobats and multidisciplinary artists rebel against monotony, reinvent themselves and challenge the limits of the factory-city as only they can.

Since the show began touring in September 2012, it received rave reviews from the public and critics alike.

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

David Upton

Oliva Tweest: The AfroMusical

Opera House, Manchester
09 October 2018

Afrobeats musical Oliva Tweest: The AfroMusical is to play at the Opera House Manchester on October 9.

Following its sold-out West End debut at the Lyric in 2013, and a short-run at Hackney Empire in 2014, as well as a one-off special at the 2016 Lagos Theatre Festival, the show has picked a good time for a revival, with the Broadway Hip-Hop musical Hamilton in London.

Oliva Tweest: The AfroMusical follows the ambitions of London hustler and club-promoter Tobi, who has no problem winning female attention, but yearns to shake off his shady reputation and move up in the world.

Driven by his need to succeed, he plans the ultimate concert to attract his idol and Afrobeats legend D’Banj.  But when he finds out that the landlord of his chosen concert venue intends to convert the building into a church, Tobi is forced to disguise his true intentions.

Details: www.atgtickets.com/Manchester

David Upton

Everything that happened and would happen

Mayfield, Manchester
10 October 2018 to 21 October 2018
(Press Night: 10 October 2018)

Everything that happened and would happen, by German composer and artist Heiner Goebbels, will receive its world premiere in Manchester from October 10–21.

The work integrates live music, performance and large-scale multimedia installations and will take place in Mayfield, an historic former railway station.

It’s being presented with Manchester International Festival as a pre-Factory event for its new world-class arts space being developed in Manchester.

Goebbels’ new work is inspired by contrasting source materials of European history from the First World War to the present day.

It spans 120 years of European history with a landscape of 20 performers, dancers, objects and new music.

Details: http://mif.co.uk/everythingthathappened/

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

Lisa Pulman Sings Streisand

Bolton Albert Halls
11 October 2018

An evening celebrating Barbra Streisand comes to Bolton Albert Halls later this year.

Liza Pulman Sings Streisand is for one night only on October 11.

With a 6-piece band,  the singer, comedienne and one third of satirical trio Fascinating Aida, celebrates her idol, featuring new arrangements of classic songs The Way We Were, Second Hand Rose, You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, People and more.

Details:  www.alberthalls-bolton.co.uk

 

David Upton

Placebo

The Lowry Salford
11 October 2018 to 13 October 2018

Clod Ensemble opens the UK tour of their latest production Placebo at The Lowry October 11-13.

The new show looks to explore if art can provide relief to illness in the same way a medicinal placebo can.

It follows seven dancers through a series of ‘experiments’ to explore what makes us feel better and what control we have over our treatment. Some of the experiments are made with the help of the audience.

Founded more than 20 years ago by co-artistic directors, Suzy Willson and Paul Clark, Clod are known for performances that cross multiple art forms.

A practical interactive workshop Doctor You will be held on the Saturday daytime. Dr. Jeremy Howick will explore how people can enhance their health with the science of placebos.

Details: thelowry.com

David Upton

Contagion

Manchester Science Festival
13 October 2018 to 16 October 2018

Contagion, a new dance piece by Shobana Jeyasingh Dance, is one of the first events to be added to the Manchester Science Festival 2018 programme in October.

Performed in the setting of IWM North, this work will explore viral infection, reflecting on the First World War and the devastating effect of pandemics.

Parallel warfare (man vs man and virus vs man) will influence the choreography and design.

Details: www.manchestersciencefestival.com

David Upton

Let It Be

Opera House, Manchester
22 October 2018 to 27 October 2018

Beatlemania is about to Get Back!

Producers of the show have announced that Let It Be will be heading back to venues across the UK – including Manchester.

Let It Be will arrive at the Opera House Manchester from October 22-27 and incorporates a brand new Let It Be Part II into the show.

It sees The Beatles reunite for one night only, set a decade after the group went their separate ways.

After opening in Cardiff, the updated Let It Be show will visit Cheltenham, Liverpool, Nottingham, Hull, Edinburgh, Dartford and Manchester.

Details: www.atgtickets.com/manchester

David Upton

Orbit Festival

HOME, Manchester
23 October 2018 to 03 November 2018

HOME stages its third annual Orbit Festival, featuring performances from some of the most exciting theatre-makers working in the UK today, from October  23-November 3.

Last year the event looked at our place in the world. This year’s takes it a stage further by presenting new work from theatre-makers across the globe who want to explore how we face the world, our relationship with the past, how we remember, the stories we tell ourselves, and what it is that makes us who we are today.

Festival highlights include performances by celebrated Manchester poet and writer Lemn Sissay reading from his new collection, Gold From the Stone; Selina Thompson’s multi-award-winning salt., about ancestry, home, and being part of a diaspora; and Windows of Displacement, Akeim Toussaint Buck’s vital and timely exploration of the politics surrounding the movement of people.

Details: wwww.homemcr.org

David Upton

Putting It Together

Hope Mill Theatre Manchester
24 October 2018 to 24 November 2018

Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester and Aria Entertainment have announced that musical revue show Putting it Together will replace the previously announced A Christmas Story, as its fifth and final in-house production this year.

Putting it Together, which showcases the songs of Stephen Sondheim, will be directed by Bronagh Lagan – who returns to Hope Mill after her acclaimed Little Women - and will run from October 24 to November 24.

Drawing its title from a song in Sunday in the Park with George, Putting it Together celebrates Sondheim's career in musical theatre and features nearly 30 musical numbers from some of the celebrated composer’s best-loved shows including Sweeney Todd, Follies and A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to the Forum.

The show is performed by only five people who are thrown together at a party in a Manhattan penthouse. With a bit of imagination, the guests transform the apartment into the stage of an abandoned theatre, an estate in Sweden, an island outside of Paris, a street off the Roman Forum, the woods of a fairy tale and a mythical town in the Southwest.

Details: www.hopemilltheatre.co.uk

David Upton

The Mysteries

Royal Exchange Manchester
25 October 2018 to 11 November 2018

From a hillside sheep farm in Eskdale to the roof of the former Tourist Information Centre in Whitby, theatre makers Chris Thorpe and Sam Pritchard have toured the towns and villages of England to capture a snapshot of communities in their new cycle of plays The Mysteries.

In the spirit of the original mystery cycle they will be performed in each of several towns before heading to the Royal Exchange in Manchester where all six plays can be seen.

This production tours from September 10 – October 21 and arrives in Manchester October 25– November 11.

Chris Thorpe is an associate artist at the Exchange, Sam Pritchard is associate director (International) at the Royal Court.

The cast includes Nigel Barrett, Benjamin Cawley, Nadia Clifford, Laurietta Essien, Hannah Ringham and Andrew Sheridan 

David Upton

The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Lowry, Salford
28 October 2018

Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic mystery, The Hound of the Baskervilles is brought to life on stage at the Lowry October 28.

This inventive comedy mystery feature two actors playing every role in a fast paced farce.

The Hound of the Baskervilles which originally enjoyed a run in Manchester last year returns to The Lowry ahead of a Christmas run at The Drayton Arms Theatre in London.

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

Calendar Girls

The Lowry, Salford
30 October 2018 to 10 November 2018

Gary Barlow and Tim Firth's award-winning musical Calendar Girls will star Fern Britton, Lorraine Bruce, Anna-Jane Casey, Sara Crowe, Ruth Madoc, Rebecca Storm and Denise Welch when it returns to The Lowry from October 30 until November 10. 

The production played a six-month London season at the Phoenix Theatre last year, and, before that, sold-out seasons in Leeds and Salford.   

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

Rebus: Long Shadows

Opera House, Manchester
30 October 2018 to 03 November 2018

Manchester Opera House will welcome John Stahl (Big Ger Cafferty) and Cathy Tyson (Siobhan Clarke) along with Charles Lawson (John Rebus) in Rebus: Long Shadows, a brand new Rebus story written exclusively for the stage by Ian Rankin and playwright Rona Munro.

Detective Inspector John Rebus is retired but the shadows of his former life still follow him through the streets of Edinburgh. Whisky helped but now he's denying himself that pleasure. But when the daughter of a murder victim appears outside his flat, he's back on the case and off the wagon.

Rankin is the internationally bestselling author of the Inspector Rebus and Detective Malcolm Fox novels, as well as a string of standalone thrillers.

Rona Munro has written extensively for stage, radio, film and television. Her theatre credits include The James Plays, Scuttlers, Iron – which won the John Whiting Award - The Last Witch and Little Eagles.

Rebus: Long Shadows will play at the Opera House from October 30 – November 3.

Details: www.atgtickets.com/Manchester

David Upton

MIF & Warehouse Project

Mayfield, Manchester
05 November 2018 to 10 November 2018

Manchester International Festival are working with The Warehouse Project to stage four specially curated shows taking place across five nights in November. All performances take place at Manchester’s immense Mayfield, a former railway station, where they last came together for the 10 x 10 weekend back in 2015.

Curated with BBC 6 Music’s Mary Anne Hobbs, Special Edition brings a musical offering with shows from across the musical spectrum. The vast space of Mayfield will provide the perfect stage for this world-class line-up, with unique visuals from lighting designer Stuart Bailes.

These shows are part of a series of pre-Factory events, paving the way for the opening of The Factory, a new major arts space being developed in the heart of the city that will be operated by MIF which returns next year. Special Edition will run alongside The Warehouse Project's full 2018 season still to be announced.

Details: www.mif.co.uk

David Upton

Cinderella

Oldham Coliseum
10 November 2018 to 12 January 2019

Oldham Coliseum Theatre features Fine Time Fontayne and Simeon Truby as the Ugly Sisters in this year’s festive Cinderella.

Fontayne has been the Coliseum’s Dame since 2008 and has lit up Oldham’s historic stage in previous productions of Mother Goose, Aladdin, Jack and the Beanstalk, Dick Whittington, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella.

Simeon Truby was the theatre’s hero of the hour in 2016, when he triumphantly stepped into the role at short notice after an accident in rehearsals. Originally cast to play the part of King Cuthbert, Simeon was praised for his performance as Nanny Nutty throughout the nine-week run, despite having only a week and a half to rehearse.

Fine Time is also co-writer, alongside chief executive and artistic director, Kevin Shaw.

Cinderella runs November 10 – 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 ever revival of Alan Bennett’s The Habit Of Art stars Matthew Kelly as Fitz (W. H. Auden) and David Yelland as Henry (Benjamin Britten). 

The playexplores friendship, rivalry and heartache, and the joy, pain and emotional cost of creativity.  It is 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’s at the Lowry November 12-17.

Details: 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

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

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

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

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

Cinderella

Opera House, Manchester
08 December 2018 to 30 December 2018

Manchester Opera House has announced the first stars joining the line-up for Manchester’s family pantomime this festive season, with Coronation Street bad boys Connor McIntyre and Les Dennis swapping the cobbles for their clutch bags as the Ugly Sisters in Cinderella.

It will again be produced by Qdos Entertainment, continuing their partnership with Manchester Opera House following last year’s production of Dick Whittington, which recently won the Manchester Theatre Award for Special Entertainment.

Further casting will be announced later.

Cinderella plays from December 8-30.

Details: www.atgtickets.com/Manchester

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

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

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

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

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

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