New BBC Radio Drama ‘My Dad Keith’ written and starring Maxine Peake

The drama is scheduled to air on 28 November.

Video Update: Strange Weather Trailer starring Maxine Peake and Lex Shrapnel

Two strangers witness a natural phenomenon that reawakens their senses and draws their empty lives together.

Strange Weather is a short film by Tom Shrapnel starring Maxine Peake and Lex Shrapnel.


SO excited for this one! :D

Maxine Peake opens newly-refurbished Fortalice support centre for domestic abuse victims

Met Maxine Peake at launch of support centre Fortalice. Lovely kind hearted and caring lady, pleasure


THE newly-refurbished Fortalice support centre to help women and children fleeing domestic abuse received the “royal” seal of approval when it was officially opened.

Maxine Peake opens newly-refurbished Fortalice support centre for domestic abuse victims

Maxine Peake took time off from playing the title role as the Prince of Denmark in Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre’s production of “Hamlet” to perform the opening ceremony.

And she declared herself “completely blown away” by the centre, its support services and its staff.

The Westhoughton-born actress admitted that she hadn’t really known about the centre but was “very impressed” with its services, in particular its Freedom programme teaching females of all ages about abusive and controlling behaviour and its Healthy Relationships’ programme in schools.

“The key to all this is educating youngsters,” she commented, “and the schools’ programme really is amazing. Children need to understand about healthy relationships, and about what they are not.”

She added that abusive actions were “very much learned behaviour” and this needed to change. “I’d love to see this programme in every school,” she stated.

“It’s very difficult today for youngsters when they see videos of pop stars like Rihanna. They get confused about their own identity and how they should behave towards each other, but this is an excellent way forward.”

The support centre, on the outskirts of Bolton town centre, has been part of Fortalice since 1977 and was for many years its refuge. A 22-apartment, purpose-built refuge, Lewis House, today provides a temporary home for the hundreds of local women and children each year forced to escape domestic violence.

Meanwhile, the support centre has continued to provide a place where all females can seek advice and where educational courses help them move on with their lives. In the last 12 months, more than 1,000 of them accessed 2,076 services there including information and advice, counselling, personal development and group work with professionals and volunteers Unfortunately, as Fortalice chairman Diane Hawkins explained “last year we realised that the building was crumbling around us and needed a great deal of work simply to be fit for our purpose.” So the board “made the brave decision” to fund its redevelopment.

Now, the centre provides a modern working space for staff and volunteers with five counselling rooms, a child’s counselling room, a training room and bigger crèche among the much-improved facilities.

The Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Martin Donaghy, Mayoress Gaye Wharton, University of Bolton vice-chancellor George Holmes and Dave Bagley from Urban Outreach Bolton were among the many guests at the ceremony which involved cutting a special cake.

Mr Holmes said that Fortalice “now had a support centre befitting its first-class staff and services” and stated that “every thinking business in Bolton should support Fortalice with its cheque-book.”


Maxine Peake Named Patron Of Women In Comedy

With the actor’s support the festival continues with 80 shows across Manchester until 26 October

THE WOMEN in Comedy Festival (Sat 11 to Sun 26 October) kicked off its series of shows across Greater Manchester with the newly announced backing of Bolton-born actress Maxine Peake.

“My passion for this project arose from the need to show the vast number of women involved in the comedy scene and to encourage promoters and agents to attend the festival and scout for talent.”

The festival is in its second year in the city and features more than 80 shows with 125 confirmed acts across sixteen venues until Sunday 26 October.

Following a sold out launch event on 11 October, the Women in Comedy Festival team have announced Maxine Peake as a patron of the festival while she currently enjoys widespread acclaim for her portrayal of Hamlet at The Royal Exchange.

The actress, best known for Channel 4’s Shameless and Victoria Wood’s Dinnerladies, said: “I’m proud to be supporting the UK Women in Comedy Festival as a patron. A festival filled with laughter combined with feminist principles taking place in the North, what’s not to support?”

The launch set the tone for the coming festival, compered by the straight-talking Glaswegian Janey Godley and featured Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Zoe Lyons, the ‘as seen on BBC’s Question Time’ Kate Smurthwaite plus support from Jana Kennedy, Amy Vreeke, Ms B Haver and Lesley Kershaw.

The Women in Comedy Festival is to showcase a number of female comedic talent in venues such as The King Arms Theatre and The Comedy Store.

Acts fresh from performing their Edinburgh Fringe shows will showcase, in addition to solo shows from Laughing Cows’ Kerry Leigh, prolific TV writer Jo Caulfield and Miranda Kane’s one woman show about her adventures working as a prostitute, The Coin Operated Girl, and much more.

Elsewhere in the festival there are open-mic nights providing the opportunity for burgeoning talent to develop. There are also compilation shows such as the ‘Best of the North Wes’t, workshops, panel shows, comedic plays and sketch comedy.

The Women In Comedy Festival is founded by Laughing Cows comedy club creator and female comedy trailbrazer, Hazel O’ Keefe, who established the festival to prove female comedians weren’t ‘some kind of bizarre specialist act’.

O’Keefe said: “My passion for this project arose from the need to show the vast number of women involved in the comedy scene and to encourage promoters and agents to attend the festival and scout for talent.

“It’s been something I have wanted to do for several years, so it was a matter of timing. Over the past couple of years I feel that the comedy scene has changed for the better, I used to be able to confidently name most of the female acts in the UK. That’s not the case now. A festival in the UK to showcase and celebrate in this way was inevitable.”

The festival is co-ordinated by Dulcet Sounds CEO/founder Hazel O’Keefe with the support of the 2014 crew, Laughology, Ruby Star Associates

The full line up can be downloaded here:


Martin Freeman is to join Maxine Peake in Funny Cow

Martin Freeman has joined the cast of Funny Cow – a film set in the world of stand-up comedy.

Maxine Peake – best known for her roles in TV dramas Shameless and Silk – is starring in the British indie flick charting the rise of a female stand-up comic in the male-dominated clubs of northern England in the 1970s and 80s, according to Screen Daily.

The Hobbit star Martin has signed up to the cast along with Boardwalk Empire’s Stephen Graham and rebus star John Hannah.

The script has been written by Peaky Blinders and Hyena actor Tony Pitts, who will also appear in the film, with Junkhearts’ Tinge Krishnan attached to direct.

Musician Richard Hawley is set to score the film, which is due to begin shooting in the UK next year.

Moviehouse’s Mark Vennis told ScreenDaily: “Reminiscent of classics Lenny and Raging Bull, Funny Cow is going to be a hard hitting film that will make audiences laugh and cry in equal proportions.”


Which Northern Soul classics get Maxine Peake, Mani and others on the dancefloor?

As the new Northern Soul film hits the cinemas, we give you some hand picked tunes from Manc stars and people who worked on the film

NORTHERN Soul, the film, has finally hit the big screen after 10 years of hard work by its writer and director Elaine Constantine.

The mark the film’s release, we asked some famous faces from Manchester, themselves Northern Soul lovers, and some of those who worked on the film, for their favourite tracks.

“I still love Seven Days Too Long by Chuck Wood because it was the first northern soul record I ever bought on vinyl.”


Maxine Peake joins as narrator for an afternoon of prose – 23 November

Date: 23rd November 2014

Time: 2-4pm

Venue: Peel Hall, Peel Building, University of Salford

Join a host of star performers for an afternoon of prose, poetry and drama telling the story of radicalism and revolution and the history of the original “dirty old town”.

Expect to be entertained by some of our greatest poets and by many of the writers that we associate with Salford, from Walter Greenwood to Tony Warren, and from Robert Roberts to Shelagh Delaney. Who knows we may even hear from Henry Hobson, Harold Brighouse’s most famous creation.

Read by:

Christopher Eccleston
Sheila Hancock
Maxine Peake


Standard Standard ticket £12.00
NUS Stud. Student with valid NUS card* £8.00
*NUS card must be produced upon attendance.

For enquiries please contact the Events team on 0161 295 5241, or email

Please Note: Payments made via this page are being collected on behalf of the Working Class Movement Library;


Audio Update: ‘Hamlet Undressed’ narrated by Maxine Peake

This Autumn, the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester is staging Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Maxine Peake will be taking on the iconic role in a production which sees her reunited with Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom, a year after their hugely successful version of Shelley’s The Masque of Anarchy at the Manchester International Festival.

In this programme, we’ll go behind the scenes and document Maxine’s journey to playing the part of Hamlet. From research meetings to vocal sessions, from sword fight training to character preparation, we’ll follow Maxine as she prepares to take on Shakespeare’s most iconic work.

We’ll hear from the director, the designer and other creatives about how they go about putting their unique stamp on the play, and create a Hamlet for Manchester, a Hamlet for now.

Thanks Rich for your help :)

Maxine Peake reads ‘The Worst Princess’ – a Cbeebies Bedtime Story

If you’re ready for a new bedtime story then I have the perfect video for you ;)
Maxine reads ‘The Worst Princess‘ which was recently broadcast on the Cbeebies channel.

Thanks to my friend Rich at Kathryn Morris UK we’ve got it below for you to watch. Enjoy!

Maxine Peake’s Hamlet: Production quibbles in reviews round-up

Lots of Hamlet reviews are out already and the has just posted a collection of reviews from various newspapers…

Note: This article contains some spoilers for Maxine Peake’s Hamlet, playing at Manchester’s Royal Exchange.

Maxine Peake stars in an unorthodox production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet at Manchester’s Royal Exchange.

The Shameless actress stars in the title role, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are also played by female actresses, but what’s the verdict on the unconventional production? Digital Spy rounds up the critics’ reactions below.

Michael Billington – The Guardian

“In the end, it is a mixed production that, even at three-and-a-half hours, omits a good deal. What it gives us, however, is an excellent Hamlet by Peake that proves the character has the miraculous ability to take on the colour, style and personality of whoever is lucky enough to perform it.” 3/5


Dominic Cavendish – The Telegraph

“‘It’s about having a go,’ Peake said recently. ‘If we fail miserably, we fail miserably.’ They haven’t failed miserably but this isn’t quite the triumph one had hoped for. It’s Hamlet in-the-round but not a Hamlet that’s fully rounded.” 3/5


Paul Vallely – The Independent

“Director Sarah Frankcom plays with the lines in ways which often make them seem fresh-minted and funny. There is some imaginative set design, though the in-the-round setting, as ever, results in some words being lost when the actors turn their back. But overall this Hamlet is compelling.” 4/5


Greg Thorpe – Manchester Evening News

“If you know your Hamlets, this is something beyond a John Simm or a David Tennant, this is something in the realms of Michael Maloney or Rory Kinnear. “What a piece of work is a man” indeed.

“I like the idea that Manchester could be the home of outstanding Shakespeares – and there’s really no going back after this.” 5/5


Glenn Meads – What’s On Stage

“Maxine Peake does what you would expect – deliver a subtle and knowing performance and also manages to give the character a fresh feel which goes way beyond gender. Shifting about the set with eyes in the back of her head, she nails the distrust of Hamlet with ease. She also proves to be a credible fighter/lover and this fine actress has energy to burn.” 3/5


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