This summer, the award-winning Royal Exchange Theatre is setting up its eco-friendly mobile theatre, the Den, at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre.
For two weeks this unique pop-up theatre will come alive as residents of Cheetham Hill and Crumpsall take part in workshops, family craft days, book in to see a show or get on stage themselves in M8’s Got Talent.
The Den in M8 will take place this summer from 29th July – 6th August and is a celebration of creative communities and the importance of access to art in the places you live.
All tickets are either free or just £1.
For the past four years, the Royal Exchange has been working in partnership with the Cheetham Hill and Crumpsall communities developing key partnerships, running creative workshops, making inspiring work such as the Up The Hill audio-plays, and bringing together a 12-strong Local Exchange Ambassador team to help shape and deliver the summer festival for the Den.
This team of Cheetham Hill and Crumpsall residents includes faith leaders, local artists, community champions and young people from local schools all of whom are passionate about their community.
Over the past year they have been working together to develop a vibrant and varied programme of work for the Den, carefully considering what the community will want from a summer theatre festival.
They have created a programme that is bursting at the seams with something for the whole community to get involved with.
From professional performances to spoken word events, from music to a brand-new community theatre show created by local makers and performers, plus local food offers, fashion, drumming and podcast workshops delivered by talented M8 residents there really is something for everyone.
“We can’t wait for this festival,” said Roy Alexander Weise, Royal Exchange.
“We have been resident in Cheetham Hill and Crumpsall now for almost four years and have had the privilege of working alongside so many dedicated residents who are passionate about their community.
“We have such a vibrant programme on offer, the Ambassador team have built a festival for their community with everything from family events to a solo show from the Bush Theatre in London, so now all we’ve got to do is get our pop-up theatre up and throw the doors wide open. It’s exciting.”
Over two weeks the Den Festival will host 25 individual events including two exhibitions, nine free workshops (from catwalk fashion to podcast creation) and 11 incredible performances such as Invisible, a brand-new show by Manchester writer Nikhil Parmar which has just had its world premiere at the Bush Theatre, London.
Plus, the uniquely entertaining M8’s Got Talent and the world premiere of Cold Chips and Pick n Mix by Sonia Jalaly, developed with members of the Cheetham Hill and Crumpsall community.
The cast will be made up of non-professional community members as well as professional actors.
“It’s going to be the highlight of the year!” said Cheetham Hill Local Exchange Ambassador, Poppy.
“Summer 2022 the Royal Exchange Theatre is bringing the Den to M8. I can’t contain my excitement for all of us to share this unique experience.
“Something for everyone. Something for all ages to enjoy, take part, be creative and transport themselves to what it’s like to be part of a theatre.
“Learn new skills and maybe spark something inside them they didn’t know they had.
“Workshops, art and photography competition, music, dance, poetry and much more.”
The festival is packed full of a wide variety of activities and takes place at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre.
‘It is really important that life goes on and that we continue to live fully, and what better way to do that than welcome the Royal Exchange’s Den Theatre to the Ukrainian Cultural Centre this summer,” said Bob Sopel, the Ukrainian Centre Manager.
“Being able to bring the communities of Cheetham Hill and Crumpsall together, here, is a celebration of everything we have to offer as a community of people, it is a celebration of life, that feels more important than ever.
“We are really pleased to host this event and can’t wait for people to join us.”
The Den in M8 takes place from 29th July – 6th August. Tickets are either free or £1. Find out more here.