Latest News • Plan your week’s theatre: top tickets – Maxine Peake stars in The Skriker
admin   Jun 29, 2015   Comment

There’s a new play from Mark Ravenhill in London, Maxine Peake stars in Caryl Churchill’s The Skriker in Manchester, and the experiences of returning veterans are explored in both Bristol and Cardiff

Maxine Peake plays a shapeshifting faerie from the underworld in The Skriker Photograph: Jonty Wilde


Maxine Peake plays The Skriker in a new version of Caryl Churchill’s play, directed by Sarah Frankcom at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, with music by Nico Muhly and Antony. The Theatre Royal Bath’s summer season begins with Michael Pennington and Anita Dobson starring in Lindsay Posner’s revival of She Stoops to Conquer. The Greater Manchester Fringe also kicks off today and features a wide range of theatre and performance. The programme is well worth a browse. At Bristol Old Vic, Owen Sheers’ epic poem Pink Mist takes to the stage in an intimate performance exploring the lives of three young Bristol men returning from Afghanistan. Down the road at the Tobacco Factory, New International Encounter are going Around the World in 80 Days. In Cardiff, the Hijinx Unity festival has a really terrific line-up, with five days of performances showcasing some of the best inclusive and disability arts from around the world. In London, the life and work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is celebrated in a large-scale outdoor show at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich as part of Greenwich and Docklands international festival.


admin   Jun 26, 2015   Comment

The second part of the classic poems program is online and available to listen to here now. Enjoy!

Maxine Peake and Julian Rhind-Tutt read a selection of classic poems, including ‘Jabberwocky’ and ‘The Jumblies’.

admin   Jun 26, 2015   Comment

Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie broadcast live from the Manchester International Festival, which this year features new commissions from Damon Albarn, Bjork and Jamie XX!
With special guests to be announced.

Visit the program page for more info. If you can’t make it, the broadcast will be available online afterwards. :)

admin   Jun 26, 2015   Comment

Mark your calendars, Hamlet film will premiere on Sky Arts on 29 June!

Critically acclaimed on stage, celebrated in cinemas – the on screen success of Maxine Peake as Hamlet continues!

Screenings of the film version of the Royal Exchange Theatre’s sell-out production of HAMLET, with BAFTA-nominated actress Maxine Peake in the title role and directed by the Exchange’s Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom, have been watched by 34,831 people in 310 cinemas across the UK. Which came on the back of Maxine enthralling audiences during its sold out 7 week run last autumn. HAMLET was the Royal Exchange’s fastest selling show in a decade, with over 35,000 people seeing the production.

This unique production can now also be seen on Sky Arts on Monday 29 June at 8pm. Following this the film will be released on DVD in September this year, and can be pre-bought on Amazon here.

Sarah Frankcom commented: ‘Right from the beginning of this production, it felt like a thrilling opportunity to explore, excavate and interrogate something with Maxine Peake, the most fearless and most courageous actor that I’ve ever worked with.’

In the spring of 2015 the film version equally thrilled cinema goers with many venues adding additional screenings due to demand and popularity. In May it received a market screening at Cannes and was one of 50 British films selected to be shown as a part of the prestigious London Screenings which take place in June. The development of the film enabled as many people as possible to see this acclaimed production.

The Royal Exchange’s Executive Director Fiona Gasper commented;
‘It’s our desire to make the work we do here as accessible as we can, creating a film version of this sold-out production meant that as many people as possible could share in and celebrate the work created at the Exchange and in Manchester. It has proved to be incredibly popular and we’re thrilled that it is now being broadcast by Sky Arts creating another opportunity to be part of this compelling production.’

HAMLET is brought to the screen by the Award-Winning film director Margaret Williams, whose work includes WRITTEN ON SKIN (Royal Opera House/BBC). It is produced by Anne Beresford of MJW PRODUCTIONS LTD and Debbie Gray of Genesius Pictures. This is the team behind the much-praised film version of Britten’s opera PETER GRIMES ON ALDEBURGH BEACH.

Margaret said, ‘Being able to shoot creatively with eight cameras ‘in the round’ enabled us to capture the spirit of the play and create a visceral and cinematic experience’

The film version of HAMLET is supported by the Royal Exchange Theatre, Genesius Pictures, Quidem and the British Council. The Royal Exchange Theatre gratefully acknowledges the generosity of the following in the making of the film: Oglesby Charitable Trust, Old Trafford Consulting Limited, Martyn & Valerie Torevell and all those who supported the theatre’s recent Catalyst project, including public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

MAXINE PEAKE is currently an Associate Artist at the Royal Exchange Theatre. Her role draws on her considerable talents as one of the nation’s best-loved actors and also as a writer. Over the next year it will include opportunities for her to get involved in the theatre’s pioneering work with community groups and young people – and work with young actors from across the city.



admin   Jun 22, 2015   Comment

Check out this lovely photo taken by Laura Marie Linck for her ‘Behind the Scene’ Exhibition that’ll open tomorrow:


Gallery Link:
Photocalls & Portraits > 2015 > Behind the Scene Exhibition

admin   Jun 22, 2015   Comment

HUNDREDS of men, women and children strode out and pledged £130,000 for Bolton Hospice in the biggest Midnight Memories Walk yet.

Actress Maxine Peake joined the Bolton Hospice Midnight Memories Walk

More than 1,500 people – 500 more than last year – took part in the eight-mile challenge in aid of Bolton Hospice.

Walkers set off from the starting line in Victoria Square at 10pm on Saturday, with the first walkers returning to the square by midnight.

This year marked the ninth annual Midnight Memories Walk – with the event having raised more than £2 million for Bolton Hospice since it was first staged.

It was the first time the walk had begun at the earlier time of 10pm in a bid to encourage more families to take part.

Five colleagues from Bolton Lock Company, based in Westhoughton, decided to take on the challenge together.

None of them had taken part in the Midnight Memories Walk before but Emma Greeley, aged 27, from Atherton, 43—year-old Eileen Bacon and Debra O’connor, aged 46, both from Westhoughton, and Deleen Wilkinson, aged 36, and 38-year-old Cathy Pendlebury, both from Hindley, were determined to do what they could for Bolton Hospice.

Emma said: “I think the hospice is fantastic. It is really important that people always have access to this kind of care when they need it.”

Cathy added: “We are walking for loved ones, friends and relatives. If you can give something back to this place, which has provided help to so many people who are suffering, then that is a great thing.”

Debra said: “It is always good to help local charities – they are always there for us.”

Walkers left Victoria Square and travelled up Chorley New Road to the Beehive roundabout before coming back to Bolton town centre.

Some walkers purchased special LED wristbands which illuminated at midnight in a moving tribute to lost loved ones.

The memory of Brian Ormrod was very much alive for his widow Carole Ormrod, aged 61, and 36-year-old daughter Joanne Hacking.

The pair, both from Hall i’th’ Wood, had taken part in the Midnight Memories Walk before but dedicated this year’s event to Brian, who died on April 9 this year after suffering from cancer.

Carole said: “The hospice is an amazing place. Brian did not go there but I have had friends who did, and the care they got was absolutely superb.

“We have done the walk before and it has always been a great atmosphere. This year it will be especially poignant for us because of Brian.”

Joanne added: “We are hoping to raise about £100 each to help the hospice – it is such an important cause.”

Guest of honour at the event was Westhoughton-born actor Maxine Peake, whose mother Glenys died in Bolton Hospice in 2008, at the age of 66, after suffering from pancreatic cancer.

Maxine said: “My mum died in Bolton Hospice seven years ago after spending her last days there.

“I am so grateful to the staff – they were just amazing and let me stay with her.

“Bolton Hospice should be a facility that everyone who is going through that can have access to.

“My mum was very lucky – really, you cannot put a price on what they provide.”

Maxine added: “I was really honoured when the hospice asked if I would get involved.

“They hold fantastic events for the whole community to get involved with. Everybody has been touched by cancer in some way, or knows someone who has been.”

For Horwich colleagues Sheila Biggins, aged 48, and 41-year-old Jade Fielding, the respect the hospice has from the Bolton community was clear.

The friends, who both work for Bolton West Royal Mail, were given £300 in sponsorship by colleagues in just half an hour after signing up to take part.

Jade said: “The fact we were given so many donations so quickly shows how much the hospice means to people.”

Sheila said: “My dad died in a hospice, and I believe they are better than hospitals for end of life care.

“Patients get a better quality of life there – it is peaceful, and the staff and the care they provide is fantastic.”

The Little Lever Sports Club rounders team swapped bats and balls for trainers and deely-boppers to take on the walk together.

Barbara Goulding, from Little Lever, was set to complete her fourth Midnight Memories Walk.

The 59-year-old said: “My dad died five years ago and he spent the end of his life at the hospice.

“Both the care they gave him and the help they gave to us as his family was just totally amazing.

“You do not realise how much you need somewhere like Bolton Hospice until the time comes when it happens to you.”

Friends Joanne Gallop, aged 30, and 24-year-old Kirsty Green had never completed the walk before – and admitted they hadn’t undertaken any training but hoped they would be ‘alright on the night’.

Joanne, from Breightmet, said: “Cancer is a cause close to my heart because my gran had eye cancer, my aunty had breast cancer and a friend had bladder cancer.”

Kirsty, from Great Lever, added: “As the walk gets going I think it will be very emotional. Everyone will have someone they are thinking of.”

Maria Passarello, events manager at Bolton Hospice, said: “We are so proud and thankful for every walker, every volunteer, every sponsor and supporter of our ninth Midnight Memories Walk.

“Our earlier start time of 10pm proved to be a success and we had more than 1,500 people join us on the night.

“Men, women and children came together to walk in memory of loved ones and support the work of the hospice by raising vital funds.

“We are thrilled that £130,000 was pledged on the night – this figure exceeds our target and it is all thanks to our supporters.

“The atmosphere on the night was uplifting and heart-warming with so many well wishes for our hospice.

“To everyone who took part – you certainly made this a memorable, meaningful and magical evening.”

See all our pictures from the event here.


admin   Jun 21, 2015   Comment

You can listen to it here! Part 2 airs next Thursday.

Maxine Peake and Julian Rhind-Tutt read a selection of classic poems, including T. S. Eliot’s ‘The Naming of Cats’ and Alfred Noyes’ ‘The Highwayman’.

admin   Jun 20, 2015   Comment

The Manchester International Festival returns on the 2nd July bringing the best in theatre, music and the arts into the heart of the Northern Powerhouse. Ahead of the festival, Artistic Director of the Royal Exchange Theatre Sarah Frankcom spoke to BWW:UK about Manchester’s thriving art scene, the Festival and working with Maxine Peake in her revival of Caryl Churchill’s The Skriker.

So why did she want to revive this 1994 play now? “The Skriker was written at a time when climate change and environmental kind of crisis were just starting to be more widely known about and a lots of the things that Carol was sort of writing about as a warning really now is really the world that we live in.”

She’s also looking forward to working with Maxine Peake again, who performed in Masque of Anarchy at the last festival and was Hamlet in the critically acclaimed 2014 production: “It’s a fantastically challenging part for an actor and it’s got collaboration between a choreographer and a theatre director and a performer at its centre.” Frankcom says Peake brings an incredible talent and enthusiasm to a production: “[She brings] fearlessness, hard work and she’s quite the most hard-working actor that I’ve ever worked with and has a work ethic that’s kind of unbelievably brilliant.”

Frankcom thinks Peake works best when the brakes are off: “It’s a very physical part and it requires her to access the parts of herself in the acts that may be she’s not used in quite a while.”

Frankcom, who joined the Royal Exchange in 2008, is a big fan of the international festival. “It allows an entirely different kind of work to be seen and accessible. It’s actually a very good way of Manchester being able to display and demonstrate a Manchester attitude and a Manchester sensibility around the value of culture and the importance of arts and cultural projects that have risk as part of their DNA.”

Manchester is in the middle of a massive investment in the arts. The £25 million Home arts centre enjoyed a star studded opening in May, and last Christmas the government announced plans for a £78 million “ultra-flexible” arts centre The Factory on the site of the old Granada Studios. This is great for the city, says Frankcom.

“It’s really important to kind of get behind the aspiration a bit because actually it’s not a gesture that’s being built on nothing. It’s being built on the fact that Manchester audiences support and get behind the culture that’s there for them and are very passionate about it.”

Franckom’s excited for the future: “There are quite a lot of really interesting hub theatres and there’s some really exciting emerging artists and companies. I think that there are a lot more theatre makers now who are more interested in kind of the experimental ideas, exploration and of making work.”


admin   Jun 20, 2015   Comment

Manchester International Festival (MIF) this year celebrates a decade as the world’s only festival of original new work. The programme includes world premieres, unique concerts and one-off events, including a number of free events across the festival. As media partner, the Guardian is offering you the chance to win tickets to two performances: The Skriker and Neck of the Woods. Our competition closes on 30 June

Manchester International Festival (MIF) launched in 2007 as an artist-led, commissioning festival presenting new works from across the spectrum of performing arts, visual arts and popular culture. This year, the programme includes world premieres, unique concerts and one-off events, including a number of free events across the festival. Highlights include a production of Caryl Churchill’s The Skriker and Neck of the Woods.

The Skriker stars Maxine Peake in the title role. The show will be directed by Sarah Frankcom and will feature specially commissioned music by Nico Muhly and Antony. In a broken world two sisters meet an extraordinary creature. The Skriker, played by Maxine Peake, is a shapeshifter. She can be an old woman, a child, a death portent. She is a faerie come from the Underworld to pursue and entrap them, through time and space, through this world and her own.

The Festival invited Turner Prize-winning artist Douglas Gordon (Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno) and celebrated pianist Hélène Grimaud to create Neck of the Woods, a portrait of the wolf brought to life in a startling collision of visual art, music and theatre. On the stage of HOME’s intimate new theatre, legendary actor Charlotte Rampling (The Night Porter, Broadchurch) will recite and perform the story of the wolf as never before.

As media partner to the Festival, the Guardian is offering you a chance to win a pair of tickets to a performance of The Skriker on 17 July and a performance of Neck of the Woods on 18 July. The prize includes a two-night stay (10 and 11 July) at the four-star Doubletree Hotel in Manchester. The competition closes 30 June.

Enter this competition

Click here to enter this competition

You need to be a Guardian Member in order to access redemption pages or enter competitions. To register for the first time, press on the ‘Click here…’ link above.


admin   Jun 19, 2015

Watch an exclusive trailer for Caryl Churchill’s The Skriker, made by the animator Alice Dunseath. Churchill’s apocalyptic 1994 play about the eponymous shape-shifter is being revived by director Sarah Frankcom, with Maxine Peake in the lead role and music by Nico Muhly and Antony.
The Skriker is at the Royal Exchange theatre from 1 July to 1 August as part of the Manchester international festival.