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Five Reasons To See ... Jackie Kay's Manchester Lines

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Amelia Donkor plays Shanti in Manchester Lines, written by Jackie Kay and directed by site-specific theatre specialist Wils Wilson. The production is a Library Theatre production and runs at Number One First Street in Manchester from next week. We asked Amelia for five good reasons why you should go along.

1. Location, location, location
For the second year running the ‘homeless’ Library Theatre Company is embarking on an ambitious site specific production. The Manchester Lines team has taken over the fifth floor of No 1 First Street - a modern new building in the heart of the city. The space has been transformed into a treasure trove of lost things - the eclectic, colourful mix is a spectacle in itself. Walking in through the main entrance of the building, it’s impossible to guess what you’ll encounter inside…

2. New writing
I love new writing. As an actor it’s always really exciting to work on a new play and breathe life into characters never seen before. It’s been particularly interesting to have Jackie Kay in and around the rehearsal room to give advice and make the piece feel truly collaborative. The play has a fresh and innovative feel to it and as the cliché goes - we’ll make you laugh and cry. It’s a poignant piece about lives coming together and I think there are elements of it that will resonate with many people.

3. Music
Forget The X Factor or the latest show of that type, Manchester Lines is scattered with stunning music and beautiful voices. The entirely new score written by Errollyn Wallen is a tour-de-force of musical genres. Most characters have a song linked to their story and each one reflects the character’s style, from jazz & soul sounds to more traditional music hall. The play culminates in an epic choral piece sung by the cast and community choir. It’s a pleasure to sing as well as to sit back and listen to the rich harmonies.

4. An eclectic bunch of actors!
We’re a funny old bunch from all over the country, coming together in Manchester. Everyone is full of energy and this comes across in the work. Rehearsal wouldn’t be the same without one of the lads break-dancing when the rest of us are having a coffee or me asking to play just one more game… We’re lucky enough to have five weeks’ rehearsal time (though Bank Holidays are eating into it) so all the cast and creative team have had an awesome opportunity to really get to know each other. This supportive and stimulating environment has enabled us to delve into the script and find funny and inspiring moments in lots of nooks and crannies.

5. Randomness (though this may not be a word)
I don’t want to give too much away but this play includes: A stuffed fox wearing a crown!

Manchester Lines is at Number One First Street in Manchester from 12 June - 7 July. There is more information at the Library Theatre website or you can book via Cornerhouse on 0161 200 1500.


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