The eight productions have been announced for the Library Theatre Company’s re:play Festival 2014 in January 2014 – the unique festival which rounds up the most exciting and talked-about new theatre in the previous 12 months on Manchester and Salford’s fringe theatre scene – at The Lowry in Salford.
For the first time, the festival, now in its seventh year, features a show aimed at children and family audiences, Billy, the Monster, and ME!, while legendary Manchester singer Stella Grundy presents The Rise and Fall of a Northern Star, an account of Tracy Star, a nearly-pop star of late-1980s Madchester, which will be performed in the orchestra’s dressing room of The Lowry’s Lyric Theatre space and will have a capacity of just 30.
An adaptation of One Hand Clapping, a novel by Manchester’s great man of letters, Anthony Burgess, will be presented, while the festival also breaks new ground with All Our Friends Are Dead, a surreal sketch and character comedy show.
Accompanying the productions will be a number of developmental opportunities for emerging theatre makers – NewScript Night, in which four local writers each devise a 15-minute play based on a current news story, written and rehearsed during the festival itself (Fri 24 Jan, 7pm); Pitch Party, in which theatre creatives pitch their idea in front of an audience made up of theatre industry professionals (Fri 31 Jan, 7pm); and Talking Shop, an Open Space discussion forum open to anyone interested in the current state of theatre (Sat 1 Feb, 12.30pm). In addition, the festival will feature a work-in-progress presentation of Handles by local writer Tom Mason, winner of last year’s Pitch Party event (Fri 31 Jan, 9pm).
“Our re:play Festival is firmly established as one of the key events of the theatre calendar in Manchester and Salford,” says Chris Honer, the Library Theatre Company’s Artistic Director, who chairs the panel which selects the productions for the festival.
“Last year’s festival was our most successful yet with record audiences keen to see the best of the previous year’s shows, and I fully expect re:play 2014 to be equally as successful. The range of work emerging from the fringe gets broader every year and it’s great to be able to give it wider exposure.”
This year’s productions are:
All Our Friends Are Dead – An evening of dark, surreal and anarchic sketch and character comedy, presented by Norris & Parker (Tue 28 Jan, Thu 30 Jan 9.30pm; Sat 1 Feb 7pm)
Away From Home – A one-man show about male escort, Kyle, and his relationship with a premiership footballer, presented by Working Progress Theatre Company and Hartshorn-Hook Productions (Thu 30 Jan 8pm; Sat 1 Feb 5pm, 9pm)
Billy, The Monster and ME! – Join Billy on his rip-ROAR-ing adventure and help save the day! A family-friendly show for children aged three upwards, presented by Colour The Clouds (Sun 26 Jan 11am, 2pm; Mon 27 Jan 11am, schools’ performance)
Lunch – A man, a woman, a bench in a park near the sea, and lunchtime both will never forget. Steven Berkoff’s black comedy, presented by Hyde Festival Theatre Company (Thu 23 Jan 8pm; Sat 25 Jan 3pm, 7pm)
The Man Who Woke Up Dead – A taut physical theatre thriller, influenced by 1950s film noir and the dystopian worlds of George Orwell, presented by Square Peg Theatre (Thu 23 Jan 9.30pm, Sat 25 Jan 5pm, 9pm)
One Hand Clapping – An adaptation of the 1961 novel by Anthony Burgess about modern society’s fast transformation into a mini America, presented by House of Orphans and The International Anthony Burgess Foundation (Mon 20 Jan 6.30pm, Tue 21 Jan 7pm, Wed 22 Jan 9pm)
The Rise and Fall of a Northern Star – Stella Grundy’s one-woman performance about the life and music of the infamous MADchester icon Tracy Star, presented by Stella Productions (Mon 20 Jan 8.30pm, Tue 21 Jan 9pm, Wed 22 Jan 7pm)
To Walk In Your Shoes – A piece of verbatim theatre which challenges the myths and untruths surrounding what it really means to seek asylum, presented by RedBobble Theatre Company (Mon 27 Jan 8pm; Tue 28 Jan 7.30pm; Wed 29 Jan 8pm).
Due to the timing of the company’s move to its new home (see below), there will be no re:play Festival in January 2015, but plans are already in hand for the festival to resume its place as a key event in the city’s cultural calendar when it returns the following year.