Manchester arts centre HOME will host the UK premiere of Mike Leigh’s eagerly awaited film Peterloo, with the director and members of the cast in attendance, making Manchester audiences amongst the first to see the film.

The film tells the story of the Peterloo Massacre, which took place on 16 August 1819 – 199 years ago today.

It stars Rory Kinnear, Maxine Peake, Neil Bell, Philip Jackson, Vincent Franklin, Karl Johnson and Tim McInnerny.

The HOME premiere is part of the BFI London Film Festival, now in its 62nd year. It’s the first time the Festival has premiered a film outside London, and a post-screening Q&A with the director and members of the cast will be simulcast to cinemas across the UK.

“We’re thrilled to be hosting the UK premiere of Mike Leigh’s Peterloo, and to be a part of the BFI London Film Festival, marking the first time the festival has held a premiere outside London,” said HOME’s artistic director of film, Jason Wood.

“It is fitting that Manchester audiences will be amongst the first to see this highly anticipated film which focusses on a pivotal event in our city’s and our nation’s political history.”

The film portrays the events surrounding the 1819 Peterloo Massacre, when a peaceful pro-democracy rally at St Peter’s Field in Manchester turned into one of the bloodiest and most notorious episodes in British history.

The massacre saw British government forces charge into a crowd of over 60,000 that had gathered to demand political reform and protest against rising levels of poverty. Many protestors were killed and hundreds more injured, sparking a nationwide outcry but also further government suppression. The Peterloo Massacre was a defining moment in British democracy.

Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival artistic director, described the film as “a rousing, powerful film of immense scale and ambition.”

“It’s always an honour to be included in the glorious London Film Festival, but how inspired and generous of the Festival to screen Peterloo in Manchester, where it all happened,” said Mike Leigh. “I’m truly delighted!”

The premiere will take place on 17 October 2018. Tickets for the event, which will also include a Q&A with Leigh and the cast, will go on sale to the public on 13 September.

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