Live theatre returns to HOME’s stage in Manchester from October

We’re delighted to announce today that live theatre will return to HOME from October with a programme including World Premieres from RashDash, David Hoyle and Robin Richards & Clara Casian. Also returning will be critically-acclaimed artists Javaad Alipoor, Sh!t Theatre and Le Gateau Chocolat, among others.

HOME last presented theatre work in Manchester in March before we were forced to close due to COVID-19, and we recently announced we’d be reopening on 4 September, with our five cinemas, bar and restaurant the first to come back. During this closure period, HOME has continued to work online, presenting new artist commissions in theatre and visual art, hosting film streams and director Q&As and supporting artists through digital workshops.

Our 500-seat Theatre 1 has been reduced to a capacity of just 120 to allow space for social distancing, but despite this tickets will be priced at just £10 to ensure as many people as possible have the opportunity to return to the theatre.

Dave Moutrey, HOME’s Director and CEO, believes it is more important than ever for theatre to be both accessible and risk-taking.

He says: “Following the incredible response to our opening weekend announcement, I’m pleased to be able to unveil a theatre season starting in October that includes brand new work, boundary-pushing ideas and some of our favourite artists.

“Much has changed since we closed in March, but we must do all we can to bridge the potential growth in social inequality as a result to this pandemic. This is why, despite limited capacity due to social distancing, we will make every ticket available for no more than £10. In addition, we will give equal weight to delivering work online, to ensure that audiences who cannot return just yet can still engage with new, relevant work.”

A platform for great art

Dave continues: “The international social and political fabric has been ripped apart in the period since we closed, and it is more important than ever that we provide a platform for great art to reflect this. We are proud to be presenting every one of these works, old and new.”

The season will start with a special one-night performance and book launch Working from HOME from HOME’s Resident Artists, Young Identity (Tuesday, 13 October), and from 21 October, the Fringe First award-winning trio RashDash will present the World Premiere of Don’t Go Back To Sleep, a cross-continental musical collaboration about life in lockdown (Wednesday, 21 October – Saturday, 24 October).

In November, Javaad Alipoor returns with The Believers Are But Brothers (Tuesday, 3 November – Friday, 6 November). Originally co-commissioned by HOME, the show first appeared in Manchester in 2017, with reviewers describing it as “vital” and “a revelation”. It went on to tour the world and win a host of awards, including the Scotsman Fringe First Award. Bertrand Lesca & Nasi Voutsas will also return to HOME with The End, their 2019 exploration of the end of their relationship, whose themes of the end of the Earth and ecological crisis feel more relevant than ever (Thursday, 12 November – Saturday, 14 November).

Beats & Elements’ High Rise eState of Mind, tells difficult to swallow truths through a dystopian lens, using grime, beat boxing, hip hop, live looping and MCing (Wednesday, 18 November & Thursday, 19 November).

And HOME regular David Hoyle, presents another World Premiere, A Grand Auction of My Life where the past is examined and HOME’s theatre space becomes an auction room for the sale of memorabilia and memories.

Into December, and the month starts with a third World Premiere, an original live score and feature-length film, The Earth Asleep (Friday, 4 December & Saturday, 5 December), directed by Manchester-based visual artist Clara Casian (House on the Borderland) and composer Robin Richards (Dutch Uncles). This haunting new travelogue addresses the Oshika Peninsula earthquake and tsunami, and asks if our exposure to extreme live-trauma in the form of rolling news and citizen reportage has resulted in an inability to process grief at a manageable, human scale.

HOME’s own Accessible Music Productions (AMP) will bring House Party, their regular inclusive club night for music lovers, makers, movers and shakers aged 18+ with different abilities and additional needs to the Theatre 1 space for the very first time on Friday, 11 December. House Party is renowned for its energy, excitement and enjoyment and features a tantalising and eclectic mix of styles, musicians and moods.

Getting into the festive spirit, quite literally, the legendary Ghost Whisperer Séayoncé will take the audience to the depths of the spirit world, in Déjà Voodoo (Tuesday, 8 December and Wednesday, 9 December), where past lovers are summoned, and the powers of voodoo are unleashed. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a romcom and so HOME are obliging by treating audiences to Sh!t Theatre’s take on Richard Curtis’s festive tale of infidelity and inappropriate signwriting in Sh!t Actually (Tuesday, 15 December – Wednesday, 23 December). And for younger audiences, Le Gateau Chocolat brings family-friendly cabaret and tales of not-quite-fitting-in in Duckie, a reworked version of The Ugly Duckling with a message of tolerance and self-acceptance at its core.

Tickets for this year’s shows will go on sale to the general public on Friday, 18 September, with friends, members, NHS staff and keyworkers receiving priority booking.

Looking forward to 2021, and in January HOME’s annual PUSH Festival returns with a total celebration of the most exciting new work being created in the North West by theatre makers, companies, visual artists, and filmmakers. 2021’s edition will also be extended and run for a month from late January into February (Monday, 18 January – Saturday, 6 February).

Digital programme continues

HOME will also continue to present work digitally for those who do not feel ready to return to a live theatre environment just yet.

The groundbreaking Homemakers series will continue throughout the Autumn with premieres from Stacey Makishi, Esosa Ighodaro and Hot Brown Honey. The series has presented new commissions from over 30 artists, and been viewed by audiences from 34 different countries.

Ad Infinitum will premiere two new Homemakers works from deaf artists David Ellington and Matty Gurney which will also be part of their online festival Where You Are, exploring the themes of freedom, oppression, transformation and care. The festival will also include a new podcast and a screening of Dr Paddy Ladd’s lecture on Deaf Culture.

Online events throughout the Autumn will include Cheryl Martin’s One Woman, a hypnotic dreamscape that draws the audience inside the mind of a woman coming to terms with the childhood trauma that affected her mental health as she searches for a different way forward that will allow her to leave the past behind. The show is presented in partnership with Black Gold Arts, and was originally due to appear in a physical form at HOME in July.

During lockdown HOME commissioned Manchester-based guitarist, percussionist and music technologist Jaydev Mistry to capture the sounds from the sonic landscape of the empty building. Empty is a unique composition which will reflect the soundtrack of HOME’s sonic interior, this audiovisual exploration of a building bereft of people will be accompanied by Arvind Mistry’s photography.

HOME are also partnering with two companies well known to Manchester audiences as they present their works on digital tours around the country. Dante or Die have revisited User Not Found, which looked at what happens to our digital lives when we die, as an immersive video podcast. Alongside this Wise Children return digitally to HOME to present Emma Rice’s Romantics Anonymous which will be live streamed from the Bristol Old Vic.

There will also be a series of digital book launch events, featuring Arsène Wenger, Fatima Bhutto and Graham Norton, among others.

The theatre announcement follows news that HOME’s building will reopen for films and food on 4 September.

Over the opening weekend there will be screenings of new releases, 4k restorations and titles the HOME film team loved but which missed their opportunity to be seen on the big screen due to lockdown.

An announcement on the Autumn exhibition in HOME’s gallery is to follow in the next few weeks.