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“You ain’t seen nothing yet” – The amazing theatre shows we’re looking forward to in 2023

After a bumper year for theatre lovers in 2022, theatre writer Glenn Meads talks us through what to expect in 2023.

2022 was a great year for theatre and if you caught our best of piece and/or saw the likes of Let the Right In at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Things That Divide Us at 53two or Beryl at the Oldham Coliseum, you are probably thinking that lightening cannot strike twice.

But having read through the listings for the year ahead, I can safely say you ain’t seen nothing yet.

So, there are some the highlights.

Will Young returns to the Manchester stage at HOME

Pop star and actor Will Young made his theatre debut at the Royal Exchange in Noel Coward’s The Vortex back in 2007. Since then, he has starred in Cabaret and Strictly Ballroom in the West End. He is back in Manchester, this time the venue is HOME, and the play is Song from Away – by Stockport writer Simon Stephens and Mark Eitzel. Described as a “personal letter to those left behind” it looks like one to watch.

Song from Away runs from 2nd February – 11th March.

 Mamma Mia! Here we go again at the Opera House

With news of Mamma Mia 3 being given the green light, Abba fans keen to get back to the big screen will be delighted. In the meantime, if you are looking to chase away the New Year blues, the original tale of Donna, her daughter Sophie and a quest to find out who’s the daddy – returns to Manchester’s Opera House.

Mamma Mia! Is at the Opera House from 31st January – 11th February.

If you’re a fan of The Go Gos, you will be Head Over Heels with this news from the Hope Mill Theatre

Before Belinda Carlisle discovered that “Heaven was a Place on Earth”- she was in a brilliant band called The Go Gos and they went on to become one of the most successful female rock groups of all time, paving the way for the likes of The Bangles and many more. Head Over Heels is a new musical comedy featuring The Go Gos back catalogue including “Vacation” and “We Got the Beat” and it’s coming to Manchester in January.

Head Over Heels is at the Hope Mill Theatre from 26th January – 4th March.

Rave with the miners at Contact

It is 25 years since the demolition of Grimethorpe Colliery and 30 years since the rise of UK rave culture, and a new highly original dance theatre show fuses the two together via the fractured relationship of a father and son.

Wasteland features dancers, a community group of singers, brass musicians, archive film footage, a rave soundtrack and artwork by co-founder of The KLF – Jimmy Cauty.

Wasteland is at Contact from 1st – 3rd February.

Have a peek at this blinding dance piece at the Lowry

Rambert have been bringing excellent dance productions to the Lowry for many years now and they have developed a huge following. If you combine their dazzling choreography with one of the biggest TV hits of the last 10 years, Peaky Blinders – you have a recipe for success. The show is written by the original creator of the giant gangster hit – Steven Knight.

Rambert Dance in Peaky Blinders – The Redemption of Thomas Shelby is at the Lowry from 14th – 18th March.

 I, Daniel Blake is adapted for the stage and headed to Oldham

If you have seen Ken Loach’s powerhouse of a film I, Daniel Blake – you will know that the story of poverty and a political system stacked against you has many gut punching moments. This stage version has been adapted by Dave Johns, who gave a blistering performance as the title character in the award winning 2016 film.

I, Daniel Blake is at the Oldham Coliseum from 27th June – 8th July.

53two bring new writing and more

Building on an excellent year in 2022, 53two’s new season features OffCut – a New Writing Festival, Her Productions bring something special, and the return of audience favourite JB Shorts.

More will be announced soon via the 53two’s website and social media pages.

Octagon Theatre stages a Bolton classic

Bill Naughton’s Spring and Port Wine is a 1960s classic, and it is returning to the Octagon stage with a cracking cast led by Les Dennis – fresh from his success as Grandad in Only Fools and Horses the musical in the West End. Joining him is Mina Anwar who recently starred in another West End hit, Life of Pi.

Spring and Port Wine is The Octagon Theatre Bolton from 3rd February – 4th March.

A Tennessee Williams classic returns with a new lens at the Royal Exchange Theatre

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a seminal play by Tennessee Williams and often features in new season theatre line ups. You might be sighing from here, as it has been staged at the Royal Exchange as recently as 8 years ago. But if you saw Roy Alexander Weise’s stunning production of The Mountaintop – with him at the helm for this simmering classic tale – you can be guaranteed a brand-new lens and something quite special.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is at the Royal Exchange Theatre from 24th March – 29th April.

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