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:
 
 
 
Giraffe
Salford Star contact
Deli Lama
advertisement
 
Contact us
phone: 07957 982960
Facebook       Twitter
 
 
Recent comments
article: SALFORD STAR SAVED AS £3,000 RAISED BY THE COMMUNITY
Really fun day. ... [more]
article: BUILE HILL PARK HOUSING IS ONLY WAY TO SAVE SALFORD MANSION STATES DEVELOPER
Well come on then, what are we gonna get for £4million? Or is this "confidential"?... [more]
article: SALFORD STAR SAVED AS £3,000 RAISED BY THE COMMUNITY
This is the best news I have heard in a long time. We must make sure we keep Stephen and the Star out there finding out what is g... [more]
article: John Cooper Clarke On Life In Higher Broughton.
I am desperately trying to find photos of Bangor st I am desperately trying to find photos of Bangor st mum lived at no... [more]
article: SALFORD CITY MAYOR’S £1MILLION ‘DISCRETIONARY FUND’ TO SPEND AS HE LIKES
so whats all the secrecy about ? Is this money a SLUSH fund ? WE HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO KNOW ITS OUR MONEY ... [more]
 
 
 
 
 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds
 
 
 

Donate

Help the Salford Star...

all donations welcome

 
 

More articles...

SALFORD PANTO ON THE PARK IN LOWER BROUGHTON

Star date: 11th December 2018

SALFORD CINDERELLA PLUS DANCE TROUPES AND STALLS

Panto On The Park
Sunday 16th December 12noon-3pm
Green Grosvenor Park, Lower Broughton (suggested donation £1-£2)

This Sunday, 16th December, Up Ere Theatre Group will be performing their own version of Salford's Cinderella in a heated marquee at Green Grosvenor Park in Lower Broughton. There'll also be performances from dance troupes Salford Aces, Urban Angels and JD Dance, plus lots of stalls, face painting and more.

Full details here...

SALFORD STAR SAVED AS £3,000 RAISED BY THE COMMUNITY

Star date: 10th December 2018

NIGEL PIVARO CONCLUDES SALFORD STAR FUNDRAISING WITH SALFORD PRECINCT AUCTION

After two auctions, two exhibitions and a pop-up shop over just ten days, the immediate future of the Salford Star has been saved, with around £3,000 raised by the community.

At Salford Shopping Centre yesterday, over £1,000 was raised as actor and long time Salford Star contributor, Nigel Pivaro conducted an auction of Salford relics and memorabilia... "This isn't just about raising money for the Salford Star" said Nigel "It's also symbolic in terms of raising awareness of what we've done over the years...shining the torch where councils, developers and companies don't like it shone..."

Full details here...

ECCLES COMIC TONY KINSELLA DOES THE UNDERTONES

Star date: 9th December 2018

THE UNDERTONES GET OVERKILL

Tony Kinsella - More Jokes about Girls and Chocolate
Sunday 9th December
Bolton Socialist Club

Eccles comic Tony Kinsella debuts a show dedicated to The Undertones at the Bolton Socialist Club tonight. Ian Leslie checks out the laughs...

Full details here...

SALFORD STAR EXHIBITION, EVENTS AND AUCTION AND WITH NIGEL PIVARO

Star date: 8th December 2018

PICK UP BARGAINS, RELICS AND MORE IN SALFORD STAR EXHIBITION FINAL DAY AT SALFORD PRECINCT

Salford Star Exhibition, Auction and Event
With Nigel Pivaro, Simon Williams, Chris Flynn and Sandra Bouguerch
Sunday 9th December 10am - 4pm (events from 1:30pm/auction around 3pm)
Salford Shopping Centre (next to Lloyds Bank)

Tomorrow sees the final day of the Salford Star pop-up shop and exhibition, with an auction hosted by Nigel Pivaro of weird and wonderful Salford relics and bargain Christmas presents; plus street poetry from the spirit of Salford himself, Simon Williams, songs by the ace Chris Flynn and a Party On performance piece for all the family by artist Sandra Bouguerch.

Full details here...

BID FOR A WEEKEND IN A DANGEROUSLY CLADDED TOWERBLOCK IN THE SALFORD STAR AUCTION

Star date: 8th December 2018

A HOLIDAY WITH THE SALFORD STAR, THE MILLION POUND STAR AND MORE...

Salford Star Auction and Events
Sunday 9th December from 1pm
Salford Shopping Centre (next to Lloyds Bank)

The great Salford Star Auction takes place tomorrow, Sunday 9th December at the Star pop-up shop and exhibition at Salford Precinct. It's being conducted by Nigel Pivaro, with events from 1pm and the auction around 2:30pm.

Lots include a Holiday With The Salford Star (plus a night in a dangerously cladded tower block), the original Salford Star (£1,000,000 ono), artworks and photos, prints, amazing children's items from the Savannah-Rose Collection and loads more...

Full details here...

 



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