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24/7 Theatre Festival Launch

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Season 8 of Manchester’s least pretentious and most fun theatre festival was launched last night in the appropriate setting of The Comedy Store. Founder David Slack and Chair John Henshaw introduced a selection of live extracts and filmed previews for the forthcoming plays.

The former included an exceptionally disturbing monologue from Matthew Dunster’s Oldham-based play I Know Where The Dead Are Buried. The filmed previews were highly imaginative – promoting the plays in the style of cinema trialers . The Shadow Of Your Hand was suitably creepy whilst Steerage was filmed in the style of Alien which may be a little misleading.
The presentations concluded with three 24 second-long plays : Behold by Paula Henstock, Bad Day at the Office by Martin Thompson and That’s Akward by James Barron.
In a change from the past few years the plays will be held at three venues rather than just one. This unique theatre festival runs from 21 - 29 July in The New Century Hall and Sachas and The Midland Hotel. So the city centre could be full of theatregoers jogging between venues. Cheers!
Writers new to the Festival - Eric Northey, Emma Rydal, Ian Winterton, Georgina Perry, Joanne Sherryden, Michael Stewart, Joanne Sherryden and Richard Stockwell, join veterans such as Steve Pearce, Brian Marchbank, Matthew Dunster, Dick Curran and Joyce Branagh.
By now audiences have become accustomed to challenging material and it sounds like Stewart’s psychological thriller -about  an ad executive who forms a relationship of sorts with a homeless girl- will fall into that category. What surprises is that , for the first time, there is a play for youngsters - Joyce Branagh ‘s Peggy And The Spaceman will be held at 3.30pm each afternoon.
The style of productions looks suitably imaginative . We are promised a ‘graphic novel style’ for The Crimson Retribution, science fiction for Future Shock and a series of monlogues for True. Audiences are warned , however, that one of the plays features Georgie accents. Presumably subtitles will be employed.
John Henshaw concluded his presentation by mentioning that a limited publicity budget made the Festival dependent upon word of mouth to raise awareness of the plays. So: spread the word!
The full programme for the 2011 24:7 Festival is
The Crimson Retribution by Steve Pearce
Flag by Brian Marchbank
Future Shock by Richard Stockwell
I Know Where The Dead Are Buried by Matthew Dunster
Keep It Simple by Dick Curran
No Place Like Home by Rebekah Harrison
Peggy And The Spaceman by Joyce Branagh (a Family Friendly show!)
The Rainbow Connection by Joanne Sherryden
The Shadow Of Your Hand by Michael Stewart
Sherica by Ian Winterton
Steerage by Georgina Perry
Telling Lives by Eric Northey
True by Emma Rydal

I'm looking forward to seeing some great theatre at this brilliant festival. See you there!
- Dave Cunningham


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