HOME   ARCHIVE   GALLERY   SHOP   ABOUT US      
 

 
PROGRESSIVE PLAYWRIGHTS UNCOVERED IN NEW MANCHESTER GAIETY THEATRE BOOK
 

Star date: 23rd June 2018

FROM HOBSON'S CHOICE TO HINDLE WAKES

Staging Life: The Story of the Manchester Playwrights is a new history of Manchester's Gaiety Theatre by top author John Harding. It tracks the history of the most progressive theatre in the country which used to stage dramas by radicals including Salford legend Harold Brighouse.

Here Tony Flynn reviews Staging Life and there's a competition to win a free copy of the well recommended 'fabulously researched' book.

Full details here...


The noted author John Harding has written biographies of Billy Meredith, Jack 'Kid' Berg, and most recently the brilliant and highly acclaimed, Sweetly Sings The Donkey, the life and works of Salford playwright, Shelagh Delaney.

In his latest book, John has chronicled the history of the Gaiety Theatre, Manchester, founded by Annie Horniman in 1907 as an answer to the Abbey Theatre in Dublin which at the time was producing works by such playwrights as Yeats, Lady Gregory, Moore, Martyn, Padraic Colum, George Bernard Shaw and Synge.

Horniman threw down a challenge to Lancashire playwrights to rival their work, and out of this challenge the school known as the Manchester Playwrights was born. This included such luminaries as Stanley Houghton, Harold Brighouse and Allan Monkhouse.

With such formidable writers the Gaiety soon became the most progressive theatre in the country, the first of its kind to create an identifiably local school of playwrighting. As Tony Wilson famously said, "This is Manchester, we do things differently here".

Dipping into this fabulously researched book I was fascinated to read how shocking some of these productions were considered at the time. Take for example, Hindle Wakes by Stanley Houghton. The play concerns a young mill girl, Fanny Hawthorn, whose weekend away unravels in tragedy as it is revealed she had spent a proverbial 'dirty weekend' with a the son of a local rich mill owner.

This was in 1912 when such behaviour was certainly frowned upon. However, Fanny isn't one to conform and tells her lover that basically they'd had their fun, it was over and more importantly doesn't want or need his riches; she can make her way through the world on her own. A great example of early sexual equality. Incidentally, when a film was made of the play a lot of the scenes were shot at Monton Mill and the canal side nearby.

We all know Hobson's Choice, which finishes its run at Salford Arts Theatre tonight. Written by Eccles born Harold Brighouse, the play tells of headstrong Maggie Hobson, a woman with plenty of fire in her soul who chooses Sam Mossop as her husband; a man considered to be much lower than her on the social scale, and once again we see strong independent women at the fore.

Did you know that when the 1954 film was premiered it was shown at The Broadway Cinema, Eccles? I only learnt that from reading this marvellous book.

Staging Life offers so much and it is a pleasure to read. My eyes were opened at the wealth of talent in the area and it's a fabulous insight to the world of repertory theatre and the pleasures and pitfalls that go with it.

I can honestly recommend this book to anybody with a love of both theatre and local history. John Harding has done a marvellous job with his research and photographs that adorn the book. I doff my cap to him. It's an essential read.

Staging Life: The Story of the Manchester Playwrights
By John Harding
18.99 available from Greenwich Exchange
www.greenex.co.uk 

Win A Free Copy of Staging Life
Just answer this simple question: Who played Henry Hobson in the 1954 film classic Hobson's Choice?

Do not write the answer in the comments section email info@salfordstar.com with the answer and a contact by 1st July the first correct answer out of the hat will win a copy of the book.


Review by Tony Flynn

Tony Easom wrote
at 20:18:49 on 24 June 2018
A great review Tony. An insight in itself as to the wealth of tallent that has come from our region.

Please enter your comment below:
 
 
 
Salford Star Hoodies
Salford Star contact
Deli Lama
advertisement
 
Contact us
phone: 07957 982960
Facebook       Twitter
 
 
Recent comments
article: GOVERNMENT BLOCKS SALFORD CLADDING REPLACEMENT
So,Bob the regular,if we adobted your approach, how long would t tk to mk th tower bloks safe?... [more]
article: WHY HAS SALFORD COUNCIL NOT RELEASED SAFETY REPORT ON TOWER BLOCKS?
What about Bernard Ryan's great point ? What about Salix?... [more]
article: GOVERNMENT BLOCKS SALFORD CLADDING REPLACEMENT
Ray ,why should taxpayers and rate payers pay for new cladding, when the people who put the wrong cladding on and made a balls of ... [more]
article: GOVERNMENT BLOCKS SALFORD CLADDING REPLACEMENT
Bob the Regular, I'm starting to come around to your way of thinling. You're bolshy. You rock the boat. That's good. You're doling... [more]
article: GOVERNMENT BLOCKS SALFORD CLADDING REPLACEMENT
So basically,Bob the regular,you are more interested in knocking the council than fixing cladding!... [more]
 
 
 
 
 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds
 
 
 

Donate

Help the Salford Star...

all donations welcome

 
 

More articles...

WHY HAS SALFORD COUNCIL NOT RELEASED SAFETY REPORT ON TOWER BLOCKS?

Star date: 25th September 2018

WHERE IS THE TRIDENT SAFETY REPORT?

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, Salford City Council commissioned a safety report from a company called Trident on all the high rise blocks in Pendleton. Over a year later the report, promised at the time to residents and press, has still not been released.

At last night's scrutiny panel of Salford Council, tenants again asked the question about the Trident report and did not get an adequate response. The Strategic Director for the Environment and Community Safety admitted that he hadn't even read it all!

Full details here...

SALFORD PROTEST AGAINST CHINESE WORKER REPRESSION AT JASIC TECHNOLOGY

Star date: 24th September 2018

PROTEST AT JOHN WILKINSON CENTRE IN SALFORD OVER LINKS WITH JASIC

"There's people in China who have been tortured for trying to join a trade union...and you're in bed with them..."

This morning, trade unionists staged a protest at John Wilkinson's Wilkinson Star HQ at the Wardley Industrial Estate over the company's links with Jasic Technology Ltd in Shenzhen, China.

The company which makes welding equipment, distributed in the UK by Wilkinson Star, is accused of violent repression of its workers who have tried to form an independent trade union.

Full details here...

GIG FOR THE PETERLOO HIDDEN PROJECT AT MOSTON MINERS CENTRE

Star date: 22nd September 2018

BENEFIT FOR PETERLOO HIDDEN PROJECT

Gig at The Miners
Saturday 6th October 7:30pm
Miners Community Arts and Music Centre, Moston

On 6th October there's to be a special gig at the Moston Miners Centre to raise funds for Red Saunders' Hidden Project, which is re-creating the Peterloo Massacre in photo tableaus. Starring on the night will be Claire Mooney, Matt Hill, Free Radicals and Tony Harper,.

Full details here...

RHYL TO SALFORD WALK FOR CAMPAIGN AGAINST LIVING MISERABLY

Star date: 22nd September 2018

50 PEOPLE, SIXTY MILES, 50,000 TARGET

When three close friends of Daniel Hobbs took their own lives, he and others decided to do something about it, and have now organised a sixty mile walk from Rhyl to Salford to raise money for the Campaign Against Living Miserably, which is leading a movement against suicide in young men. They've got an ambitious 50,000 target. Can you help?

Full details here...

MIKRON THEATRE COMES TO SALFORD WITH REVOLTING WOMEN

Star date: 23rd September 2018

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE WOMEN TO GET THE VOTE?

Revolting Women
Wednesday 3rd October 7:30pm 11/9
St Peter and Paul's Church, Park Road

The superb Mikron Theatre arrive in Salford with a story based around radical socialist suffragette, Sylvia Pankhurst, complete with songs, satire and top stagecraft, perfected over 47 tours. Vote with your feet and don't miss!

Full details here...

 



written and produced by Salfordians for Salfordians
with attitude and love xxx