Maxine Peake’s Hamlet at The Royal Exchange Theatre to be released in cinemas next year and possibly on DVD

As you’ve probably heard on Twitter or read on our FB page already, Hamlet at The Royal Exchange Theatre was recently filmed over the last few performances. The film will be released possibly in cinemas next year as well as being released on DVD.

This is great news!!!

Gallery Update: Strange Weather HD Trailer Screen Captures

Added 14 caps from the HD trailer of Maxine’s new short film ‘Strange Weather‘. Here’s a preview:

Vote for Maxine Peake and The Village at the National TV Awards!

Follow the link HERE, vote and spread the news if you want them to win ;)

The Falling review – Carol Morley’s masterly followup to Dreams of a Life

Director Carol Morley has come up with another brilliant and very distinctive feature, about an epidemic of fainting that grips a girls school in the 1960s

Carol Morley’s entirely absorbing new film is about a mysterious outbreak of mass hysterical fainting at a girls’ school in the late 1960s. The Falling is a non-sci-fi sci-fi, a deadly serious black comedy and a psychological drama in which psychological assessments are beside the point. It comes from the heart of a certain kind of Englishness: as murky, wet and luxurious as the water in which Millais drowned Ophelia. With its superb musical soundtrack by Tracey Thorn, it actually has a seductive prog-rock sensibility, with something of Nick Drake. And in fact this entire deeply strange drama feels like the film version of some giant lost concept album that the late Syd Barrett might have been working on over 20 years in his bedroom.

Maisie Williams – Arya from TV’s Game of Thrones – plays Lydia, a tack-sharp girl who is the best friend of Abbie, played by newcomer Florence Pugh, the prettier and more sexually successful of the two. Abbie reads Wordsworth’s Prelude aloud in English class with a melodramatic verve that her otherwise approving teacher has to rein in, and she is the leading light of the Alternative School Orchestra, which performs chamber-pieces marked by the hypnotic glissando clatter of a xylophone.

Dysfunctional … Maxine Peake in The Falling. Photograph: Aimee Spinks/PR

But the friendship of Lydia and Abbie is damaged by the fact that Abbie has had sex, and this has consequences. Abbie feels strange – and so, sympathetically, competitively, uncomprehendingly, does Lydia. Abbie confides to Lydia how orgasm is like a “little death”; she is sick in the girls’ toilets and then reveals something even more secret and intimate than pregnancy. From this catastrophe, accelerated in some obscure way by Lydia’s dysfunctional relationship with her agoraphobic mother (Maxine Peake), there is a contagion of group fainting led by Lydia herself: in the classroom, in the art room, outside in the handsome grounds where a colossal oak broods over a lovely pond and even – spectacularly – in the school assembly, when a guest speaker has been invited to address the girls on the appallingly ironic subject of accidents in the home. The headmistress, played by Monica Dolan, is seen to wobble slightly, groping for the lectern.

Part of is it the break between Lydia and Abbie, and the willed end of a friendship, like the dumping of a girlfriend or boyfriend, is one of the great forgotten traumas of teenagerdom. “You’re think we’re over?” demands Lydia of Abbie. This emotional break could be the atom-split which releases strange, occult energy.

Morley has clearly imbibed the eerie enigma of Peter Weir’s 1975 movie Picnic at Hanging Rock, about an Australian schoolgirl party that mysteriously disappears, and also Peter Jackson’s underrated 1994 gem Heavenly Creatures, about the combustible, violent relationship of two teenage girls. There are also echoes of film-makers like Lucrecia Martel and Lucile Hadžihalilović. And occasionally, in all his fervent transgression, this feels like an early short story by Ian McEwan.

But really, The Falling is very distinctive: in its deadpan humour, wan regret and elegant compassion, I think it could only have come from the director of that renowned documentary Dreams of a Life about the lonely death of a single woman in north London. Morley explores the idea that the fainting is all about denied or displaced sexuality, the explanation traditionally offered for hysterical outbreaks – particularly in late 17th-century Salem. The Falling may in fact be based partly on a case in Blackburn in the mid-60s. But the director seems to me to be insisting on something else.

It could be that The Falling is about something other than sexuality or more than sexuality — it could be about the young women’s partial, poignant access to a kind of energy and creativity for which their background and education has not prepared them. One of the incidents happens when they are reading aloud from the New Testament, and it begins to have a dreamy, dance-y, ecstatic quality, a kind of unlicensed bizarre agape festival-cum-mass-nervous-collapse that none present can understand.

Morley tracks the looks and moments and smiles that lead up to the outbreak: the repetitive behaviour, touching your face in a certain way, pulling your blouse to conceal marks on the skin, possibly signs of self-harm. The cross-current of glances and shared, intimate realisations. To balance this, there are some superb moments of demure deadpan comedy: Dolan’s eccentric headmistress, who smokes cigarettes incessantly, brings one of the fainting girls round, by smartly pricking the pin of her brooch into the girl’s thigh.

This is terrific film-making – enough to bring a rush of blood to the head.


BBC legal drama Silk to be remade in the US

Umm, why would they do that? Maxine/Martha is irreplacable and an American remake… oh god no. Read the story here:

Series creator Peter Moffat will help adapt the series for the ABC network

Peter Moffat’s British legal drama Silk is to be remade in America by the ABC network, it has been revealed.

Running from 2011-2014 and starring Maxine Peake and Rupert Penry-Jones, the Bafta-nominated BBC drama revolved around the lives of barristers at Shoe Lane chambers, and the lengths they went to to attain the rank of Queen’s Counsel (QC) – aka “taking silk”.

Creator Peter Moffat will team up with Marty Scott (Drop Dead Diva) to adapt the legal drama for American audiences, with Scott writing the script and executive producing alongside Moffat, BBC Worldwide Productions and ABC Studios, reveals Hollywood Reporter.

Silk ran for three series on BBC One in the UK, but in news broken by it came to a surprise conclusion earlier this year.

Writer Peter Moffat told us at the time: “It has been a complete joy to work with a group of actors as good as this and with a lead actress who I consider to be the best there is.”

“The main characters in Silk all have personal and professional stories which are coming to a natural conclusion at the end of this current series – it would be dishonest as a writer, and unfair to the integrity of the show and everyone involved in it, to prolong the series beyond what I hope is a powerful and compelling denouement.”

Notably, Silk isn’t the only crime drama by Moffat currently getting an American facelift – his series Criminal Justice (which starred Ben Whishaw and Maxine Peake in its UK series) is being remade by HBO.


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.”


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