Video Update: The Falling – first HD Trailer – in cinemas 24 April 2015

EDIT (24 Feb): I’ve replaced the small trailer with an HD copy. Enjoy!

For her follow-up to Dreams of a Life, Carol Morley creates a haunting and emotionally charged tale of friendship, sex and hysteria in a 1960s girls’ school, starring Game of Thrones actor Maisie Williams alongside newcomer Florence Pugh.

Get a world-exclusive first look at one of the British films of the year, released on 24 April


Maxine Peake nominated as Best Actress at the Manchester Theatre Awards 2015

Congratulations to Maxine Peake as well as Gillian Bevan and Claire Benedict who have also been nominated for their supporting roles in Hamlet! :D Well done!

Stars of the theatre world will battle it out for a host of top prizes at the Manchester Theatre Awards.

The full list of nominations, across 20 categories, has been announced today, chosen by a panel of 11 of the region’s leading theatre critics.

Manchester’s Royal Exchange and Bolton’s Octagon Theatre dominate the leading categories, for Best Actor and Best Actress, as well as Best Supporting Actor and Actress.

The ground-breaking production of Hamlet at The Royal Exchange receives three nominations – including Best Actress for Maxine Peake in the title role. She will face tough competition in the category, including Suranne Jones for her role in Orlando at the Royal Exchange.

The winners will be announced at a glitzy ceremony on stage at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music on Friday March 13.

All the nominees are invited as well as celebrity guests who present the coveted glass trophies.

A limited number of audience tickets are also available from

Best Actress

Clare Foster, in Duet For One and Separation, at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Natalie Grady, in Hobson’s Choice, at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Suranne Jones, in Orlando, at the Royal Exchange

Maxine Peake, in Hamlet, at the Royal Exchange

Lauren Samuels, in Love Story, at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Claire Benedict, in Hamlet, at the Royal Exchange

Gillian Bevan, in Hamlet, at the Royal Exchange

Molly Gromadzki, in Orlando, at the Royal Exchange

Katie Moore, in Billy Liar, at the Royal Exchange


Win a pair of tickets to ‘How to Hold Your Breath’ at The Royal Court Theatre

You want to see Maxine in her upcoming theatre play ‘How To How Your Breath’ in London? Then this competition is your chance! is having a contest where you can win a pair of tickets.

All you have to do to enter is follow them on Twitter and retweet their status (more info below) or you enter via Facebook.

Good luck! :)

Embark on an epic journey through Europe with sisters Dana (Maxine Peake) and Jasmine as they discover the true cost of principles in this twisted exploration of how we live now.

Starting with a seemingly innocent one night stand, this darkly witty and magical thriller by Zinnie Harris dives into our recent European history.

Zinnie Harris’ credits at the Royal Court include Nightingale and Chase. Her play The Wheel for the National Theatre of Scotland, directed by Vicky Featherstone, won a Fringe First Award, jointly won an Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Theatre Award and was shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Her other recent credits include The Message on the Watch and The Panel at the Tricycle, A Doll’s House at the Donmar (adapt.). Her 2000 play Further than the Furthest Thing won the Peggy Ramsay Foundation Award, a Fringe First, and the John Whiting Award. On television, she wrote extensively for Spooks and is currently writing Tommy and Tuppence based on the Agatha Christie series for David Walliams on BBC1.

Artistic Director of the Royal Court Vicky Featherstone directs.

The Royal Court Theatre
4 February – 21 March 2015.

How to Enter: via Female Arts Facebook or Twitter by Sunday 25th Jan 2015

Terms and conditions apply. Prize is valid Tuesday-Saturday until 21 March 2015. Subject to availability. Prize is as stated and cannot be transferred or exchanged.

source – Thanks for the heads-up about this!

Hamlet wins CityLife Award for Best Play

On this, the audience and the critics shouted in unison: Maxine Peake’s Hamlet stole the headlines and the show in the 2014 theatre calendar

Homegrown productions dominated our list of favourite plays this year, as well as productions that played with the format – either from a cast perspective or by redefining the boundaries between stage and auditorium.

Two plays from the city’s Royal Exchange Theatre made our list: first Orlando, a sexually charged tale starring Oldham actress Suranne Jones as the gender-swapping time traveller who leaps around for 400 years in search of love, happiness and meaning.

And another formidable actress in a gender-reversed role headed up the cast for our second favourite production: Maxine Peake, who starred as Shakespeare’s maddened hero Hamlet last September, forcing the theatre to extend the run by a fortnight after tickets sold out in record time.

Messing around with the dividing lines between actors and audience was HOME’s production of Romeo & Juliet, which led the entire crowd around Victoria Baths from pool to pool like the star-crossed lovers were leading them around their own kingdoms. It wasn’t flawless, but it was beautiful – and utterly heartbreakingly as it ended at Juliet’s flooded mausoleum.

Touring show The Pride, with Mathew Horne staring in Jamie Lloyd’s tough gay play, stirred debate at the Opera House and featured scenes that even caused a few people to walk out.

And a million miles away from these kind of big budget productions was Stella Grundy’s one-woman show, The Rise And Fall Of A Northern Star, which was hosted in dressing rooms and studio rooms as Stella played Tracy Star, a Harpurhey kid who becomes a Madchester icon.

Coming out on top for us, though, was Hamlet – artistic director Sarah Frankcom’s critically acclaimed production which didn’t stop at casting one powerful woman in the lead role.

While Peake – who has also accepted a long-term creative role with the theatre – proved she could take on one of Shakespeare’s greatest characters, Gillian Bevan shone just as brightly in the other gender-switched role of Polonia.

Speaking about picking up the award, Sarah Frankcom told CityLife: “We were really proud of this show and thrilled at how excited Manchester audiences were by it.

“An award like this means a tremendous amount!”


Congratulations to cast & crew! This is well deserved! :)

Video Update: Bike Squad (2008)

Back in 2008, Maxine joined the cast of a TV comedy called ‘Bike Squad‘. The admin of our FB fanpage found this rare film on YT. Enjoy and watch it below:

Sergeant John Rook (Mark Addy) is an overweight out of shape police office, when his commanding officer receives a complaint from a Bishop about an incident between Rook and a member of the public, he is given a choice – Resign for health reasons or face a disciplinary panel. Rook chooses the latter, but in the meantime Chief Inspector Custer is determined to make things difficult for him and assigns him to a trial mounted officer project otherwise known as Bike Squad. The Chief Inspector and other officers are not keen on the idea and wish to see it fail, so they assign officers to it that are regarded as bumbling, stupid or too independent to work within the police force. John’s life take a turn for the worse when one of his team reveals information about his family that he wasn’t aware of due to his estrangement from them. With his life spiralling downward, other officers at the station regarding the team as a huge joke, John and the bike squad must decide whether to start working together as a team and prove themselves as police officers, or give in and live up to the low expectations of others allowing Bike squad to fail…

Fun fact: Phil Davis who starred next to Maxine in ‘Silk’ plays the role of Chief Inspector Custer in this film.

Maxine Peake to play a 1970s stand-up

New film based on the Northern club circuit

Maxine Peake and Martin Freeman are set to star in a ‘hard-hitting’ film about a female comic trying to make it on the 1970s northern club circuit.

Funny Cow is due to go into production this year, with John Hannah and Boardwalk Empire’s Stephen Graham also attached.

Written by former stand-up and actor Tony Pitts, who co-stars, the film is based on his experiences of Sheffield’s working men’s clubs.

Peake, who appeared in four series of Shameless and is currently in Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything, recently challenged stereotypes with her acclaimed portrayal of Hamlet in Manchester Theatre’s cross-gender production.

She told the Bolton News that production on Funny Cow would hopefully begin in October, describing it as ‘the ultimate part.

‘It’s one of those roles, I thought, I could quite happily retire after I played this part… I’ve always been fascinated by that [world]. I grew up going to working men’s clubs’.

Peake has narrated three series of Pitts’ Radio 4 black comedy Shedtown, made by Johnny Vegas’s Woolyback Productions.

Sheffield-born Pitts, who co-wrote Johnny Vegas’ rambling Channel 4 chatshow 18 Stone of Idiot, won a Sony Award with Vegas and fellow comic Tony Burgess for Radio 4’s Night Class.

Funny Cow is a co-production by POW Films and Moviehouse Entertainment, who previously made the Dead Cat Bounce spoof documentary Discoverdale.

The director is Tinge Krishnan and Sheffield singer-songwriter Richard Hawley is writing the soundtrack.

Although no real inspiration for Peake’s (as yet) unnamed character have been cited, producer Mark Vennis likens the film to the classic biopics Lenny, which starred Dustin Hoffman as Lenny Bruce, and Raging Bull, with Robert De Niro as boxer Jake LaMotta.

He told ScreenDaily: ‘Funny Cow is going to be a hard-hitting film that will make audiences laugh and cry in equal proportions.’

– by Jay Richardson


Full Cast announced for ‘How to hold your Breath’ at the Royal Court Theatre

“Because we live in Europe. Because nothing really bad happens. The worst is a bit of an inconvenience. Perhaps not such a good mini break. But really in the grand scheme of life, not so bad.”

Full casting is announced today for How to Hold Your Breath, a new play by Zinnie Harris. Directed by the Royal Court’s Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone, the cast join the previously announced Maxine Peake on the first day of rehearsals today.

The cast includes Christine Bottomley, Neil D’Souza, Peter Forbes, Siobhán McSweeney, Maxine Peake, Danusia Samal and Michael Shaeffer.

Starting with a seemingly innocent one night stand, How To Hold Your Breath is a darkly witty and magical play. Zinnie Harris dives into our recent European history, providing an epic look at the true cost of our principles and how we live now.

The production is directed by Vicky Featherstone, designed by Chloe Lamford, with lighting by Paul Constable, music by Stuart Earl, sound design by Gareth Fry and movement by Ann Yee.

Artistic Director of the Royal Court Vicky Featherstone directs. Since she started at the Royal Court, her credits have included Dennis Kelly’s The Ritual Slaughter of George Mastromas, Abi Morgan’s The Mistress Contract and Molly Davies’s God Bless the Child. She opened her first season at the Royal Court with Open Court – a festival of plays, ideas and events, chosen by over 140 writers. At National Theatre of Scotland, her credits included Enquirer (co-directed with John Tiffany), Appointment With The Wicker Man and 27. Prior to Scotland, Vicky was Artistic Director of Paines Plough.

Zinnie Harris’ credits at the Royal Court include Nightingale and Chase. Her play The Wheel for the National Theatre of Scotland, directed by Vicky Featherstone, won a Fringe First Award, jointly won an Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Theatre Award and was shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Her other recent credits include The Message on the Watch and The Panel at the Tricycle and A Doll’s House at the Donmar (adapt.). Her 2000 play Further than the Furthest Thing won the Peggy Ramsay Foundation Award, a Fringe First, and the John Whiting Award. On television, she has written extensively for Spooks and is currently writing Tommy and Tuppence based on the Agatha Christie series for David Walliams on BBC1.

Cast Biographies:

Christine Bottomley has previously appeared at the Royal Court in Alaska and Ladybird. Her other theatre credits include Uncle Vanya and Spring Awakening (both young Vic), A Single Act and Osama the Hero (both Hampstead Theatre), Rutherford and Son (Royal Exchange Theatre) and Flush (Soho Theatre). Christine’s extensive television credits include In the Club, DCI Banks, New Tricks, Vera, Silent Witness, Inspector George Gently, Midsomer Murders, Survivors, Land Girls, Hope Springs, Tess of the D’urbervilles, Torchwood, The Street, Shameless, Early Doors and Heartbeat.

Neil D’Souza has previously performed at the Royal Court in Khandan. For the Royal Shakespeare Company he has appeared in Much Ado About Nothing and Midnight’s Children, and for Shakespeare’s Globe his credits include The Honest Whore and The Merchant Of Venice. Elsewhere Neil’s credits include Drawing The Line (Hampstead Theatre), The Man Of Mode (National Theatre) and Herges Adventure Of Tintin (Playhouse Theatre). His film and television credits include Filth, Still Life, Hustle and Holby City.

Peter Forbes’ recent theatre credits include Afterlife and Never so Good (National Theatre), Black Watch (National Theatre of Scotland), The Winter’s Tale (RSC) and The Same Deep Water As Me (Donmar Warehouse). His television credits include Eastenders, Doctors, Casualty and Bad Girls. His film credits include Wilde and Blue Ice.

Siobhán McSweeney most recently appeared in Fathers and Sons (Donmar Warehouse) and The Captain of Köpenick (National Theatre). Other theatre credits include The Kitchen (National Theatre), Translations (Curve), Mother Courage and her Children (National Theatre) and England People Very Nice (National Theatre). Her film credits include Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass and The Wind That Shakes the Barley.

Danusia Samal was most recently on stage in The House That Will Not Stand and Circles (both Tricycle Theatre). Samal’s other theatre credits include Billy the Girl (Soho Theatre), Project Night (Arcola Theatre), The Birthday Party (Manchester Royal Exchange) and Liar Liar and 1001 Nights (both The Unicorn Theatre).

Michael Shaeffer was most recently on stage at the Almeida Theatre in Little Revolution and Mr Burns. He has previously appeared at the Royal Court in Friday Night Sex and Burn (part of the Live Lunch at the Royal Court). Shaeffer has also appeared in Godchild (Hampstead Theatre), All About My Mother (Old Vic), Table and London Road (both National Theatre). His film credits include Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina, Broken and Kingdom of Heaven as well as reprising his role in London Road in the 2015 adaptation. Shaeffer has appeared on television in Luther, Black Mirror and Parade’s End.

Maxine Peake is known for her varied career in film, on stage and more recently as a playwright. Well known for her roles in BAFTA nominated TV dramas such as Silk, The Village, The Street and Shameless, her extensive theatre credits also include Mother Theresa is Dead at The Royal Court, The Cherry Orchard, The Relapse and Luther all at The National Theatre and most recently, a radical re-imagining of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet at Manchester Royal Exchange. In 2014 Peake wrote her first radio play Beryl: A Love Story on Two Wheels, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and subsequently adapted and produced at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Peake is also appearing in two films in Spring 2015, Hamlet (filmed during its run at the Royal Exchange) and Carol Morley’s black comedy The Falling. Her previous film work includes Private Peaceful, Run and Jump, Keeping Rosy and The Theory of Everything.

The Big Idea: How To Hold Your Breath
The Big Idea is a strand of work at the Royal Court launched during last year’s Open Court festival, offering audiences radical thinking and provocative discussion inspired by the work on stage.

How to Find the Good: A.C. Grayling delivers a guide to modern morality
Wednesday 25 February, 6pm
Jerwood Theatre Downstairs
£5 or free with a ticket to How To Hold Your Breath

In Conversation with Zinnie Harris
Friday 6 March, post-show
Jerwood Theatre Downstairs
Free with a ticket to this performance

A.C Grayling MA, DPhil (Oxon) FRSL, FRSA is Master of the New College of the Humanities, and a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford. He was Chair of the Judges for the Man Booker Prize 2014 and his latest books are The God Argument (2013) and Friendship (2013). Until 2011 he was Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London. He has written and edited over thirty books on philosophy and other subjects including The Good Book, Ideas That Matter, Liberty in the Age of Terror and To Set Prometheus Free. For several years he wrote columns for The Guardian and The Times. He is a frequent contributor to national newspapers, the BBC and a contributing editor of Prospect magazine. He is a representative to the UN Human Rights Council for the International Humanist and Ethical Union, a Vice President of the British Humanist Association, the Patron of the United Kingdom Armed Forces Humanist Association, a patron of Dignity in Dying, an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne’s College Oxford.


Picturehouse Entertainment releases Hamlet HD Trailer

Good morning! We kick of the first week of January with the newly released Hamlet trailer, you can watch it below! Enjoy:

Don’t miss this one! I saw it in theatre and it was SO good. Fab acting cast, brilliant effects and an extraordinary Maxine Peake :)


Maxine Peake narrates “Billionaire’s Paradise: Inside Necker Island” – 6th January, 9pm on BBC2

Narrated by Earache’s Maxine Peake, viewers are for the first time, given an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at one of the most exclusive holiday destinations in the world – Necker Island. This film is an intimate portrait of how the rich, powerful and famous holiday, and what it’s like for the staff who serve them.

It’s an upstairs-downstairs world where nearly 100 staff cater to just 30 guests, where some have paid over a staggering £40,000 a night to experience the perfect island paradise. Over the years, the island has welcomed everyone from Princess Diana and Nelson Mandela to Kate Moss.

Meeting the needs of these VIPs are the staff of British, European and local islanders. It may seem that they’ve landed the dream job working in paradise, however the realities of living in the middle of the Caribbean Sea bring a whole host of major challenges…

“Billionaire’s Paradise” is on Tuesday 6th January, 9pm on BBC2.

Also catch Maxine’s brilliant performance in Stephen Hawking biopic “The Theory of Everything” – at cinemas now!


The Theory of Everything review – Stephen Hawking biopic finds gravity

Eddie Redmayne brings unforced intelligence to this startlingly mature portrait of a complex and troubled marriage

Here is an unexpectedly charming, moving and powerfully acted film about the enigma that is Stephen W Hawking, the Cambridge theoretical physicist who survived a form of motor neurone disease (MND) that was expected to kill him by his mid-20s, and became a pioneer of the study of black holes, a bestselling author and the world’s most famous wheelchair user. By working from a memoir of his flawed marriage written by his ex-wife, Jane Hawking (the second and more temperate of the two books she has written), screenwriter Anthony McCarten and director James Marsh have swerved a lot, if not quite all, of the cliches about all-too-human scientist-geniuses and they have created a startlingly grown-up portrait of a difficult, troubled relationship.

As it happens, this film does in a number of ways resemble The Imitation Game – the recent movie about wartime codebreaker Alan Turing – and that film’s star, Benedict Cumberbatch, has himself played Hawking in a 2004 TV movie. But The Theory of Everything is trying for something more real, true and intimate in its study of the compromises made within a marriage with unique pressures.

Eddie Redmayne portrays Hawking with simplicity, candour and unforced intelligence; he shines a light on the miracle of his survival into middle age, and subtly suggests how this was partly due to a revitalising, reticent uxorious passion in response to his wife’s devotion to him. Yet it also hints at how the discoveries themselves kept him alive, perhaps even suggesting that he physically imploded into a dark star of pure cerebral force, while his fragile frame had to bear a daunting emotional burden. Redmayne’s performance also shows how the famous electronic voice box liberated him – and how that synthetic voice, with its sing-song robotic tone, enigmatically conceals what he is really thinking and feeling.

The basic story has been recounted in that Cumberbatch TV film and in a recent documentary by Stephen Finnigan, Hawking. The brilliant young mathematician at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, in the early 1960s is starting to make a name for himself, but also shows a worrying tendency to clumsiness – stumbling, knocking over mugs of tea, dropping pencils – which initially could be seen as just scatterbrained brilliance. But a serious fall brings a grim diagnosis: Hawking has MND and two years to live. His girlfriend, Jane, played with fierce, pinched determination and English-rose beauty by Felicity Jones, refuses to give up on him. They marry and have children; the two-year mortality deadline comes and goes, Hawking’s reputation continues to climb and it’s clear that something special is happening.

The scenes and stock characters look pretty familiar at first, with brainy chaps in sports jackets frowning over their equations in the lab, drinking pints of foamy bitter in the pub and chatting up girls – just as we saw in The Imitation Game or indeed Life Story, the 1987 BBC TV movie about James Watson and Francis Crick in 1950s Cambridge discovering the structure of DNA. (This movie, oddly, seems to make everyone in those 1960s pubs stick to 21st-century no-smoking rules.)

Where the film departs from the norm is in showing how Stephen and Jane effectively converted their marriage into something like an open relationship. Frustrated and depressed, Jane forms an intense, ambiguous friendship with a widower, the church choirmaster, Jonathan Hellyer Jones, played by Charlie Cox, who joins them on family holidays, helping Stephen as if he were one of the children. It is a situation in which Stephen is complaisant. Or is he? Soon he himself forms a similar, quasi-platonic relationship with his nurse, Elaine Mason, played by Maxine Peake, which is as intimate, or more intimate, than the dynamics of the conjugal bed. She does not hesitate to assert a kind of marital primacy over Stephen. Is Stephen’s eventual choice governed by emotional pain? It is another mystery.

For a while, this is effectively a four-way marriage: a very un-Hollywood situation. Perhaps things were harsher and less dignified in real life than they appear on screen. But Redmayne, Jones, Cox and Peake portray the principals and their emotional web with delicacy. The title refers to Hawking’s quest for an all-encompassing theory of the physical universe, but the pathos of the film is that in ordinary life, not everything can be made to fit and make sense. Compromises must be made; people must muddle through. It is a gentle, tender story of lovers who found friendship during and after their marriage.

4/5 stars


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