Greater Manchester Fringe returns in September 2021 with tickets on sale for more than 60 shows at a wide variety of venues around Greater Manchester.
There will be a world premiere of Bysmal Boys (22-24 September at Salford Arts Theatre) a new play by Laura Genders, exploring the lives of Blue Watch, Macclesfield's fire service, during the Winter of Discontent in 1977.
I Remain (24-26 September at The Empty Space) is a one-act drama based on the true story of writer Parissa Zamanpour's great, great, grandfather, Private Harry Hayes of the Manchester Pals 17th Battalion of the First World War. The play follows Will, who stumbles across a box of old photos and letters, that bring Harry back to life through his words.
Dirty Old Town by Rob Johnston is drawn from historical records and personal memoirs, following Detective Jerome Caminada, believed to be the real-life inspiration for the Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional Sherlock Holmes. This play will be staged by Pact Productions at the Greater Manchester Police Museum 20-25 September. Directed by Malcom Raeburn, it is set in Victorian Manchester and stars Eddie Capli, who was recently in a Manchester detective series on Radio 4 called Stone.
New plays also include a farce, All Above Board, written by Nigel Planer (The Young Ones, Comic Strip Presents, Blackadder and Death in Paradise) on Monday 13 September at Salford Arts Theatre.
There are three musicals - former West End show Saucy Jack and The Space Vixens (7-11 September at Tribeca), Coneboy written by Big Country founding member Clive Parker-Sharp (Friday 10 September at Antwerp Mansion) and Communism the Musical (a story about growing up) by Liv Burton (20-23 September at Tribeca). There's also A Night at the Musicals with Classic Brit Award nominee Thomas Cameron (Saturday 4 September at Salford Arts Theatre).
Comedy includes a double bill with Ben Moor (Spitting Image, Alan Partridge, Fist of Fun, IT Crowd, The Queen's Gambit) with Who Here's Lost and Joanna Neary (Ideal, Inbox - The Art of Now and Before the Room Next Door with Michael Spicer) with Wife on Earth on Friday 24 September at the King's Arms Theatre. Moor and Neary are also performing their parody of book singings in BookTalkBookTalkBook on Saturday 25 September at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation at 2pm.
Esther Manito's biographical show #NOTALLMEN on Thursday 9 September takes the audience back to 1990s lads mags and being told by the media that her Middle Eastern heritage was filled with misogynistic men, compared to Western fellas. Meanwhile Nathan Cassidy''s show Bumblebee on Saturday 25 September at Salford Arts Theatre is based on him confronting a burglar in his home in 2020, chasing him and talking to him. Both these shows are at Salford Arts Theatre.
Award-winning writer Selina Helliwell, from Bury, brings her one-woman show The Formidable Lizzie Boone to International Anthony Burgess Foundation 24-25 September, focusing on sexual abuse and mental health issues with some dark humour and showcasing burlesque skills she learnt in lockdown. She is also showcasing Fruit Salad, which was meant to be performed in 2020, but is now one of GMF's online digital events.
Streaming some shows has online has also meant more international participation. Judas by Beejay Aubertin Clinton, explores the story of Jesus Christ from the perspective of his betrayer and (spoiler alert) boyfriend, a story of sex, sacrifice and soulmates, 1-30 September.
Toxic by Daniel Lovatt, 6-9 September at Altrincham Garrick, looks at suicide, the biggest killer of men under 45. Meanwhile Cock Therapy by Joe Henry, 27-28 September at Salford Arts Theatre, uses therapy sessions to discuss sexual abuse from a gay man's perspective with dark humour. Both plays involve University of Salford alumni.
Salfordian Mark E Smith, who later lived in Prestwich, is remembered in The Church of the Fall, a spoken word show by Stephen G Titley at Lock 91, September 23 and 28.
Feeling Haunted? on Sunday 19 September at Chapeltown Picture House is a multimedia show that focuses on a lost episode of a cancelled TV show of the same name, but are the cast now being haunted in real life? Meanwhile Failure Studies, 12-14 September at the King's Arms Theatre is Mario Biasioli's third play, inspired by his studies at Manchester University.
There's also classic drama with Chris Brooker bringing his wrestling and comedy expertise to Chekov's The Bear on 15, 21 and 29 September at Lock 91, and award-winning actor Colin Connor starring in Samuel Beckett's classic one-man show Krapp's Last Tape, 26-28 September in the King's Arms Theatre.
Greater Manchester Fringe director Zena Barrie said: "So many people want to get out there and perform, we had more than 200 registrations. There have been some venue closures and some now have lower capacity. But our performers are very resourceful. People have performed fringe shows in all sorts of unusual spaces including pubs, campervans, tents, museums, a Roman fort and even a crypt. We even have a venue in Ellesmere Port, who wanted to take part."
Venues include AATMA, Altrincham Garrick Playhouse; Antwerp Mansion; Chapeltown Picture House; International Anthony Burgess Foundation; King's Arms; Lock 91; Moston Small Cinema; Parr Fold Park Bandstand; Salford Arts Theatre; The Empty Space (formerly Footlights in Media City); the Aldridge Studio at the Lowry Theatre; The Boat Shed (Ellesmere Port); Peer Hat; and Tribeca.
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