Join us for a wild ride through Manchester’s Gay Village, filled with humour, camaraderie, and a dash of Barbara Knox!
Adam Zane is a writer, director and actor and Artistic director at Hive North.
This innovative company provide a platform and for new writers with OutStageUs and they nurture them too.
Many people still recognise Adam for his performance in the Manchester classic TV hit, Queer as Folk.
He is also an Ambassador at the wonderful charity, George House Trust. Adam’s play Jock Night, which has been performed at the Hope Mill Theatre is now headed for London. We caught up with him to find out more.
You have not long finished work on the wonderful OutStageUs. How did it go this year?
OutStageUs is always an important part of Hive North’s year, but Mike (Hive North’s Producer Mike Lee) and I were particularly proud of this year’s event.
It was an incredible group of creatives working together to develop the scripts and then to present them at The
Lowry. Also, thanks to the Arts Council funding, over 30 artists were employed – every writer, actor and creative.
We are passionate about paying artists fairly, whether for a few hours of rehearsal on Zoom or being part of the final performance.
It must feel wonderful to unearth such remarkable unseen writing in Manchester. What were the highlights of the whole process for you?
It’s truly the best part of the project for me and Mike.
We love working with the writers and seeing their pieces develop.
There were so many highlights this year, but my personal highlight was working with Connor Cooper.
It was their first script, and I knew it was something I’d never seen on stage before, so that was very exciting.
The script grew with each workshop, and I learned so much personally. It was a very creative process, and I was incredibly proud to see it performed on stage so beautifully.
You were in the trailblazing show Queer as Folk. Did you know then just what a massive impact this show would make? Could you feel that on set?
I think we all knew that Queer as Folk was something special because Russell’s scripts were so extraordinary.
It was bold, shocking, and fabulously funny – and I’d never seen anything like it on television. I was desperate to get a part in it!
I also loved being an out-and-proud actor in the first out-and-proud TV show.
I’d walk into Poptastic and they’d play the Queer as Folk theme – happy memories!
That brings us to Jock Night, a Manchester play headed to London. How did you get the idea to write this piece?
I’d spent many years creating verbatim plays set in Manchester’s Gay Village and I knew I wanted to take the next step and write an original, scripted play set in the village – exploring issues facing the community today. It was then that I nervously visited MJ Palmer’s club night Jock.
I found myself surrounded by gay men of all ages and body shapes – dancing unashamedly in jockstraps!
I thought it was a fabulous inspiration for a play!
Are there any writers from Manchester or the North who have influenced your work, or left a mark on your memory?
As an actor I was lucky enough to work with some of the greatest writers in the business – Russell T Davies, Jimmy McGovern, Jim Cartwright and the much-missed Kay Mellor.
I love strong northern voices that have something to say about the world but do it with humour.
Coronation Street writers like Jonathan Harvey and Ian Kershaw are incredibly gifted at making you laugh and cry in a single episode!
Jock Night manages to mix comedy and chemsex. How important is humour when writing a play like this?
I never wanted to write an issue-lead play but the more people I talked to, the same issues of mental health, loneliness, addiction, and HIV stigma kept coming up. The only plays I’d seen about these subjects were quite heavy and almost brutal in their approach.
I wanted to create a play about a group of people you want to spend an evening with, characters you care about, can laugh with, and perhaps, learn from.
In terms of queer representation on stage, do you feel we have moved on from simply focusing on trauma and representing people as victims?
I still see a lot of trauma and miserable gays on stage! It’s why projects like OutStageUs are so important. We curate the evening so there will always be an authentic and truly diverse representation of the modern, queer experience.
I want to see empowered, passionate and fabulous LGBTQ+ characters on stage. In Jock Night, too, the characters aren’t victims – they celebrate their sexuality, their friendships, and even their love of Corrie!
Jock Night is being staged at the Seven Dials Playhouse, an intimate new space in the heart of London. How does that feel?
It’s incredibly exciting to be in the heart of the West End! We had offers from a number of theatres in London, but Mike and I visited the Seven Dials Playhouse to see their production of “Steve” earlier in the year and we loved the venue.
It’s a perfect, intimate space for a gay man’s apartment and all the dramas that unfold in Jock Night.
Tell us about the cast of Jock Night.
We have an extraordinary cast of actors led by David Paisley, as Ben. We also have Matthew Gent joining us straight from the West End production of Cabaret.
It’s also lovely to reunite Sam Goodchild and Levi Payne, who played Kam and AJ in the 2019 hour-long version of Jock Night.
Finally, I was over the moon to offer George Hughes the role of Simon, after he blew us away with his professional stage debut in OutStageUs this year.
Hive North was set up to give opportunities to graduates and artists new to the industry, so I’m thrilled George is joining the cast.
Lastly, what can audiences expect from this play? Why should they come along?
First and foremost, Jock Night is a sexy and funny comedy that celebrates a lot of queer culture, from Victoria Wood to Coronation Street.
It’s also gloriously Northern – the boys buy their vodka at gay Sainsbury’s on Regent Road and watch Polly outside New York New York at Manchester Pride! I hope London audiences are ready for sex, jocks, and Barbara Knox!
Jock Night is at the Seven Dials Playhouse in London from 9th October – 4th November and tickets can be booked here.