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Library moves with Wilde, Simon & Mamet

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As reported in news (22 Dec), the first North West regional production of David Mamet’s incendiary drama Glengarry Glen Ross heads up the new Library Theatre Season. They also stage a revival of Oscar Wilde’s comedy The Importance of Being Earnest in what will be a historic season for the theatre, as it will be the company’s last in its home for 58 years, the Central Library in Manchester city centre, which opened in 1952 with a production of Wilde's Earnest.

The Library Theatre Company enters a new chapter in 2010 as it begins life on the move with regular productions at the Lowry in Salford and non-theatre sites across Manchester before moving to its new home in a refurbished Theatre Royal on Peter Street, a stone’s throw from the Central Library, in 2014.

The spring 2010 season commences with the previously announced Re:Play Festival, a celebration of work seen at small-scale venues in Manchester and Salford in 2009, which takes place between Tuesday 26 January - Saturday 6 February.

Neil Simon’s touching comedy, I Ought To Be In Pictures, a charming tale of reconciliation between a film-writer father and his long-lost daughter, a wannabe actress, runs between Thursday 11 February - Saturday 27 February, and will be directed by Paul Jepson.

Leading new writing company Out of Joint are regular visitors to the Library Theatre, and their production for 2010, Andersen’s English, by twice-Booker Prize nominated author Sebastian Barry, recreates a fractious encounter between two great 19th century story-writers in Hans Christian Andersen and Charles Dickens. The cast features Niamh Cusack as Catherine, Charles Dickens’ wife. Andersen’s English plays at the Library Theatre between Tuesday 2 - Saturday 6 March.

Glengarry Glen Ross, regarded as the great American playwright’s best-known work, is the powerful story of a group of cut-throat real estate salesman who will do almost anything to close the deal. The Mamet play runs between Friday 12 March - Saturday 3 April. Accompanying the production will be Mr Happiness, a short piece by David Mamet between Thursday 30 March - Friday 2 April, directed by Katie Lewis, current assistant director at the Library Theatre.

One of the big hits at last year’s Edinburgh Festival was Morecambe - The Man What Brought Us Sunshine, a one-man-show by Bob Golding which celebrates the life and times of the late great Eric Morecambe. Coming to Manchester after a sell-out run in London, Morecambe plays for four performances only at the Library Theatre between Thursday 15 - Saturday 17 April.

The Library Theatre is also producing Manchester writer Cathy Crabb’s Beautiful House, a hit at last year’s Re:Play Festival at the Library Theatre. So that their seriously ill daughter can spend what might be her last months in her childhood home, Ronnie and Bridgette have vacated their dream house in Delph for a Salford tower block. Are Otis and Paula, in the flat below, the neighbours from hell? This affectionate drama runs between Thursday 22 April - Saturday 8 May, and will be directed by Noreen Kershaw.

Making a swift return to the Library Theatre after its sell-out run in September 2009 is Desperate To Be Doris, presented by Manchester’s favourite theatrical comedy duo LipService. A hilarious musical homage to the great Doris Day, Desperate To Be Doris runs between Tuesday 11 - Saturday 15 May. In addition, LipService mark 25 years of laughter-making with LipService - Best Bits, pulling together a selection of scenes from their many productions, on Sunday 20 June.

The annual Queer Up North International Festival returns to Manchester in May, and the festival features two shows at the Library Theatre - Road Movie presented by Starving Artists, a reprise for a show the company first presented in 1995 about a man travelling across the United States (Wednesday 19 - Saturday 22 May); and MUST - The Inside Story presented by Peggy Shaw in Collaboration with the Clod Ensemble (Tuesday 25/Wednesday 26 May) described by its performer, a 65-year-old lesbian grandmother, as “a journey across the landscape of her own body.”

The Library Theatre Company closes its near 60 years at the Manchester Central Library with a revival of The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde’s peerless satire of Victorian morals, which will be directed by Chris Honer, who says: “ Earnest was the first play produced at the theatre all those years ago, but I’ll be taking a fresh look at the play and emphasising that although it was written over 100 years ago, its social and sexual ironies are as relevant as ever. I’m sure that The Importance of Being Earnest will send us happily away on our journey into the future.” The Wilde classic runs between Saturday 5 June - Saturday 3 July.

In addition to the above productions, the Library presents David Benson Sings Noël Coward, an entertaining and amusing show about the great playwright, actor, and raconteur on Sunday 21 March, while the norfox Young People’s Theatre Company presents its sixth Library Theatre production, A Little Voice A Long Way From Here, written and directed by Liz Postlethwaite, the Library Theatre Company’s Community and Education Director, on Friday 9/Saturday 10 April.

And finally, Roger Haines, long-time Associate Director of the Library Theatre Company and the recent recipient at the Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards of the prestigious Horniman Award for services to the theatre in Manchester, will be directing a special night entitled The Last Night at the Library Theatre, a star-studded gala celebration of the history of the company, which will take place on Sunday 4 July.

The company’s first announced production at the Lowry is Charles DickensA Christmas Carol, between Thursday 2 December 2010 - Saturday 8 January 2011. The production will be directed by Rachel O’Riordan, whose Grimm Tales is currently at the Library Theatre.

Tickets for all the productions (except The Last Night at the Library Theatre and A Christmas Carol) are on sale now at the theatre box office on 0161 236 7110, or via the theatre’s website at www.librarytheatre.com


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