1956 Theatre – Manchester Rep at Salford Arts Centre

‘Rep’ seems to be the forgotten art of theatre, but for four weeks, Manchester’s 1956 Theatre Company brings four plays to the Salford Arts Centre.  It’s a mix of new writing and adaptations by the company’s writers.  First up was ‘Little Women’, adapted by Amy-Jane Ollies and Nicole Garvin.

Salford Arts Theatre describe themselves as:

‘a charming 112 seater theatre in the heart of the Salford Community. Salford Arts theatre aims to make theatre accessible giving opportunity to the community and those who want to work with in the creative industry. We are the only independent theatre in Salford and are self funded.’

20141011_204321It’s certainly the only theatre where I have sat in a rocking chair drinking a bottle of beer while waiting for a play.  It’s compact; one central room serves as bar, waiting area, box office and there’s a piano on the far wall.  I like it. It’s got a good feel.

I was really impressed with ‘Little Women’.  It’s a compact, fast moving play with a simple set based around box seats, and minimal set changes.  The four women, wonderfully played by Hannah Ellis, Amy-Jane Ollies, Emma Fernell and Mia Vore, had distinct and interesting characters.  They were well supported by great performances from the rest of the cast.  Direction was slick, with superb use of the available space, and the production moved on at quite a pace – at times perhaps too fast to understand the passage of time.

‘Little Women’ was an interesting choice for the first play, and the ‘re-telling’ clearly focused on the key events through the story without providing too much depth.  Both the writing style and direction seemed very up to date.  On the evidence of this first play I am really looking forward to the new writing that the company is putting on.  The season continues with Juke Box Baby, The Lodger and Wolf.  For more details see: 1956 Theatre Company




Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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