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Lowry New Season Offers Lennox, Sher, Bourne & Halle

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If you have a look at what’s coming to the Lowry in Salford throughout January to April 2012, you will find more than 300 performances over 100 productions including dance, theatre, opera, comedy, circus, burlesque and some important musical productions.

Dance Moves 2012 brings a wide variety of dance to Salford, with hip hop, contemporary, ballroom and ballet. Birmingham Royal Ballet start the season with Beauty and the Beast. In his final season with the company, principal dancer Robert Parker dons the Beast’s huge outfit for this slightly dark but family-friendly production. In March the BalletBoyz bring their exhilarating show The Talent and Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker also arrives at the Salford venue. Blanca Li’s Paris electro mixes streetdance with theatre in Elektro Kif and Brendan Cole’s Live and Unjudged latin and ballroom show includes former Strictly Come Dancing professionals and a 14-piece live band.

The spectacular National Theatre staging of An Inspector Calls will delight audiences 31 January – 4 February. The Lowry’s head of theatre, David Fry, tips the National Theatre’s Travelling Light as a season highlight. Starring Antony Sher in his first Lowry appearance, Travelling Light is likely to continue the great track record seen recently with the phenomenal One Man, Two Guvnors.

All-male company Propeller return to the Lowry with The Winter’s Tale and Henry V and there’s more Shakespeare when Northern Broadsides and the New Vic produce Love’s Labour’s Lost at the end of the season, in April.

Musicals feature heavily in the new season, with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in January and Curve Theatre, Leicester’s spectacular new production of The King & I in February. Then, at the end of March, New York-based Wonderful Town arrives, starring Connie Fisher in a story of two sisters taking on life in the Big Apple. It’s a unique collaboration for the Lowry with Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre and the Hallé Orchestra. Due to the demands of touring, the Lowry is the only place audiences can see the Hallé join the production.

Opera North returns in late February / early March with Madama Butterfly, Norma and Giulio Cesare (arguably Handel’s greatest opera). They’ll be back shortly after, in July, bringing with them an exciting revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel.

Elsewhere, February’s visit by the Chinese State Circus visit will feature the utterly jawdropping physical feats of the Shaolin Warriors.

Highly rated show The Oh F___ Moment appears in April at The Studio, where you can find a whole host of new and emerging comedy and theatre talent including Hot Salt Theatre’s surreal Honey Blood and another Edinburgh smash hit John Peel’s Shed. Comedy is never far from the stage at the Lowry with visits including Stewart Lee, Josh Widdicombe, Jimmy Carr and Doug Stanhope.

Family shows to look forward to include productions based on classic books The Tiger Who Came To Tea and The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark, along with The Gruffalo and a programme of family activities.

In the galleries, the V&A’s highly-rated House of Annie Lennox opens its doors on 17 March and continues into June, exploring the costumes, image and vision of one of the UK music’s most successful female artists.

Covering just about every performing arts base and offering something for all ages and tastes, there will be at least one reason, if not ten, to plan a trip to Salford Quays early in 2012.

- Laura Maley


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