Manchester Histories

Manchester Histories Festival ran from 3 to 12 June, and amongst all the excellent events celebrating Manchester’s past was a surprising amount of theatre and music.  Two pieces of note were Maxine Peake and No Power on Earth.

Maxine Peake spoke at Manchester Town Hall about Ordinary Individuals Doing Extraordinary Things, based on her radio plays about cyclist Beryl Burton and the four miner’s wives who attempted to save pits from closure by occupying a mine.  Despite freely admitting that it would be much harder for someone outside the industry to get this work commissioned, Maxine clearly has a real interest in, and empathy with, her subjects; it is the understanding of the unique characters of the women, and what motivates them, that makes her work so effective.  As she herself says, we need to celebrate the lives of more previously unrecognised women; we have an inherent interest in ordinary lives.

No Power on Earth at the Friends Meeting House tells the story of conscientious objector James Hindle Hudson, a teacher from Salford.  Written by Sue Reddish and convincingly played by Joel Parry, this is a compelling and moving account of one man standing up for what he believes in.  Mainly covering the panel interview, where he tries to convince three men that he should be excused from war service, we gain a real insight into the differences between religious, moral and political objection.  It’s a recurring topic at the moment, from the Night Watch to Whispers of Heaton.  One man’s actions encourage you to think about the wider issues; whether you agree or not, it’s important to understand others’ point of view.

Something to look out for in 2017!

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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