FLARE 4 to 8 July

FLARE is a unique festival,’ says Artistic Director Neil Mackenzie as he launches the 2017 programme running from 4-8 July. ‘We want to truly engage, challenge and reward an audience… theatre is broader and wider than it is sometimes given credit’.  Certainly the line up of fifteen main performances and five student ‘Future Flares’ is fascinating.

Running across six venues, the Royal Exchange, Contact, Lowry, Martin Harris Centre, the Flare Hub and HOME, FLARE brings some of Manchester’s forward looking theatres together.  ‘HOME is a platform for emerging theatre’, says Walter Meierjohann. ‘It’s important to find the next generation of people doing work and be recognised nationally and internationally.’

During the day many of the events will be repeated.  Party ‘blurs the lines between reality and representation’ using blindfold and headphones.  Blind Cinema uses children to describe a film you can’t see (Flare Hub, from 5 July).

Evening events are for one or two nights only and come as a double bill; a chance to see the unexpected.  Massive Owl were part of the first FLARE and bring Castle Rock, ‘a distortion of the film Stand by Me‘ (6-7 July, HOME).  Grand Applause by Guillem Mont de Palol and Jorge Dutor is a ‘visual journey through unique landscapes and the opera Carmen’ (5 July, Contact).  Breathe by Alicia Jane Turner addresses the sensory experience of ‘being there’ through a multimedia performance questioning breathing, emotion and their connection to the body (7 July, Lowry).

FLARE was a highlight of 2015.  It’s an experimental theatre festival, and it’s a chance to catch impressive performers at an early stage of their careers.  You can find the complete programme here.  If you’re looking for something different, an idea of what might be coming up in theatre in the next few years or just to be challenged, I’d recommend trying something at FLARE.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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