The 24:7 Theatre Festival is back for a tenth year of entertainment and this year is bigger and better than ever. With 10 shows premiering over the next week there are also a host of other rehearsed readings, chance to give feedback on new works and a chance to see the best of emerging actors and writers from across the region. 24:7 has been affected by last weeks fire on Oldham Street. Following the tragic death of firefighter Stephen Hunt, site-specific piece Manchester’s Burning has been cancelled.
One of the plays that has enticed me along to the festival is Laura-Kate Barrow’s Bump (19-24 & 26 July, 3MT). A graduate of the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Young Writers Programme, Barrow brings us a coming of age tale of what happens when schoolyard bickering stops and life happens.
Alice Brockway’s Blunted (20-26 July, New Century House) is a harrowing look at the human race that deals with the effects of grief and faith and asks a key question: what do you do when you’re facing people who think human life is worth less than a mobile phone? With John Muleady (Loving Dick) and Lowri Vivian (Life in a Bubble).
19th Century Manchester is brought to life in comedy-drama Daylight Robbery (19-25 July, New Century House) as celebrity detective Jerome Caminada investigates a body in the Medlock and robberies in Didsbury. Back to the present day and across in an Oldham council flat, Temper (20-26 July, 3MT) looks at loving and loathing and examines whether you can be a man if you’re born a coward – is there a way out? Starring Taran Kinght (Wine of India) and Jane Leadbetter (Midnight, The Good Life).
For children comes the family-friendly Billy, the Monster and Me! (20-26 July, New Century House) Starring Nathan Morris (A Steamy Affair, Service with a Smile) as Billy, this adventure of a lifetime sees Billy trying to save his family from a sticky end as a monster appears in his bedroom!
Also included in the festival an exploration of adolescence, prejudice and parkour in My Space (20-25 July, 2022NQ), society’s dysfunctional relationship with youth, beauty and aging comes under the microscope in 24:7’s first devised piece, The Young (20-25 July, 2022NQ). Brian Marchbank’s latest, No Soft Option (20-25 July, 3MT) has a belter of a cast including Kimberley Simpson (Coronation Street 1977), Jane Allighan (Mugabeland!) and Samuel Thompson (Fly by Night) as disparate offenders tasked with painting a wall. Whilst a battle to survive Night on the Field of Waterloo (20-26 July, New Century House) provides a historical interlude. Life will also change forever for a male escort when he is hired by a professional footballer in Away From Home (19-25 July, New Century House).
Elsewhere there are also rehearsed readings of possible hits for the next season of 24:7 at 3MT from 22-25 July. Even the Greater Manchester Fringe is getting in on the action with 24:7 Under Construction (22/23 July, Lass O’Gowrie). The Portico Library hosts a discussion on the meaning of correspondence in the digital age on 24/25 July and there is even more entertainment through the week with 24:7 Extras (further details as they are announced on the website).
We’re certainly looking forward to yet more top quality drama and theatre over the next week and hope you are too! For all the dates and latest information on 24:7, pop along to the webiste at www.247theatrefestival.co.uk