Monkeywood and their associate writer Sarah McDonald Hughes are currently developing Once in a House on Fire collaboratively with young people from Xaverian Sixth Form College in Rusholme and Chorlton High School, which both feature in the original novel. Two of Monkeywood’s Co-Artistic Directors, McDonald Hughes and Francesca Waite, also attended Xaverian and found the experiencing of returning to their roots inspiring, if surreal!
Waite said, “It was great to be able to work with the sixth formers to get their ideas on a story set in their neighbourhood, involving characters of a similar age to them. Although it was strange to return to our college, it was lovely to realise how far we’ve come since those days and share our experiences of making theatre with the drama students.”
Developed with The Lowry Studio, supported by Arts Council England and funded through grants for the arts, Once in a House on Fire is a compelling story set across South Manchester during the 1970s and 80s. Based on Andrea Ashworth’s book, recipient of the 1999 Somerset Maugham award, it is an inspiring, vibrant, truthful and moving story of sisters, survival and growing up.
Francesca recently met Mancunian Andrea in Los Angeles, where she is now based, and Andrea was delighted to hear about the project, "I'm thrilled that Once in a House on Fire is being brought to life on the stage through the fabulous Monkeywood Theatre, and immensely proud that they're devoting their unique talents and passion to sharing this story. I can't wait to see what they do...."
Once in a House on Fire runs at the Lowry Studio from 31 March - 2nd April and tickets go on sale from 4 November.