TLDR: The Hope Mill, Manchester’s exciting venue known for their great musical productions, has announced their full autumn-winter season, including events celebrating their third birthday.
The full line up of what’s coming up at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester over the next few months has been announced. As well as in-house musicals and visiting productions, the critically acclaimed theatre has announced a fortnight of special shows and events to mark its forthcoming 3rd birthday.
Joseph Houston, Artistic Director, will direct the play Proof, which runs from 27 November to 2 December, and he said: “I am thrilled to make my directorial debut at Hope Mill Theatre with the Northern Premiere of David Auburn’s Proof. Following a Broadway run in 2000 and a successful film adaption with Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins, It is a fantastic play which explores mental health, family relationships, sisterhood, grief and the nature of genius.”
Hope Mill’s current in-house musical, The Return of the Soldier, continues until Saturday 29 September. The Return of the Soldier is a musical adaptation of Rebecca West’s remarkable novella written at the end of World War One. Set in Harrow during the summer of 1916, The Return of the Soldier is an intensely bitter-sweet tale, dissecting the very different love of three women for one man. When Christopher returns from the front, shell-shocked and with memory loss, there are profound consequences for all three women and their love. In the end, only an extraordinary sacrifice will restore the fragile status quo. Composer Charles Miller puts a unique and contemporary twist on several English music styles from the period in his evocative score. Tim Sanders’ script aims to capture West’s sardonic and contemporary humour as well as her painfully accurate insights into human folly. This exciting new musical adaptation will bring a compelling story of war to a whole new generation.
Powerful play The Pride, presented by Green Carnation Company, is from Tuesday 16 to Saturday 20 October. The powerful debut play from Alexi Kaye Campbell (Apologia, The Faith Machine, Bracken Moor). The 1958 Oliver is in love with Philip, but Philip is married to Sylvia. The 2008 Philip is in love with Oliver, but Oliver is addicted to sex with strangers. Sylvia loves them both. Alternating between 1958 and 2008, The Pride examines changing attitudes to sexuality, looking at intimacy, identity and the courage it takes to be who you really are. It celebrates the ideals of gay pride and challenges ideas of shame and the worth we put on ourselves.
There is then a fortnight of events to celebrate Hope Mill Theatre’s 3rd Birthday beginning on Tuesday 2 October with Manchester ADP: Cottonopolis. A northern based company supporting emerging writers and directors with a response to the city’s Cotton Revolution in honour of the venues routes as a cotton mill.
On Wednesday 3 October TakeBack theatre company (run by Julie Hesmondhalgh, Becx Harrison and Grant Archer) presents TakeBack: Our Girls. Marking International Day of the Girl ,the company will present an evening of urgent script in hand pieces written by young women under 25 – exploring the joys and challenges of girlhood in the 21st century.
On Thursday 4 October Hope Mill will host its first ever ‘scratch night’: To Bee or Not to Bee – which will provide a platform for actors and artists from all genres including dance, poetry, art and film to showcase and share their work.
Friday 5 and Saturday 6 October sees Hope Mill’s Leading Ladies – an evening of cabaret to celebrate the successful collaboration between Hope Mill Theatre and Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment – which welcomes back four of the venue’s favourite female actors from its musicals. The line up includes; Laura Harrison from Parade, Shekinah McFarlane from Hair, Sarah Louise Young from YANK and Genevieve Nicole from Pippin. The ladies will share with audiences some stories of their time performing at Hope Mill, as well as singing songs from the shows.
Monday 8 to Thursday 11 October is Hope Mill’s Powerhouse Plays – a platform set up by the venue to support new writing in the North West. All pieces shown are at different stages of development and in most cases will be the first time the pieces have been read aloud.
And Saturday 13 October is Hope Mill Theatre’s Studio 54 Birthday Party. Join Will and Joe and the Hope Mill team as they gallop on their white horses back to the 70’s to celebrate the likes of Andy Warhol, Cher and Mick Jagger for a DISCO at Studio 54.
The fifth in-house musical by Hope Mill Theatre and Aria Entertainment, Stephen Sondheim’s Putting it Together, runs from Wednesday 24 October to Saturday 24 November. Director Bronagh Lagan returns to Hope Mill Theatre, following her critically acclaimed production of Little Women. Drawing its title from a song in Sunday in the Park with George, Putting it Together celebrates Sondheim’s incomparable career in musical theatre and features nearly 30 musical numbers from some of the celebrated composer’s best-loved shows including Sweeney Todd, Follies and A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to the Forum.
David Auburn’s Proof is directed by Hope Mill Theatre co-founder & Artistic Director Joseph Houston (making his directorial debut) is from Tuesday 27 November to Sunday 2 December. Catherine has inherited her late father’s mathematical brilliance, but she is haunted by the fear she might also share his debilitating mental illness. She has spent years caring for her now-deceased father, and upon his death she feels left alone to pick up the pieces of her life without him. Catherine is forced to question how much of her father’s genius of madness she will inherit. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, David Auburn’s Proof is a passionate, intelligent story about fathers and daughters, the nature of genius and the power of love.
In December Hope Mill Theatre hosts a Contact commission, The Forest of Forgotten Discos! from Tuesday 11 to Sunday 16 December. Written by Jackie Hagan, and directed by Nickie Miles-Wildon, this a new, exiting festive show for children aged 5+. There is a mystery in the forest – everyone has forgotten about dancing and bright lights and disco. Even Alexa – the virtual assistant from the Amazon Rainforest – can’t tell us where. Meet Bear Hug, a creaky bear with a secret, Bear Minimum who has a higgledy piggledy bedroom and Bear Grills who just can’t keep his head cool. Until one day, Red (who is 7 and scared of nothing!) explodes on the scene, changing the Bears’ lives for ever. Fun forever, no matter what your family looks like.
Tickets for the shows range from starting at £8 to £25. To book please visit hopemilltheatre.co.uk or call 0333 012 4963.