Eastenders’ Anita Dobson to star in Annie at the Opera House, Manchester

image008Former Eastenders  star Anita Dobson will star as Miss Hannigan in a production of the musical ANNIE at Opera House, Manchester in February.

This production recently ran for an extended season in the West End following a sell-out tour of the UK and Ireland in 2015/16, as well as a recent sell-out season in Toronto.

As Angie Watts in EastEndersAnita Dobson created one of the most popular characters in television, winning numerous awards. Her West End theatre credits include Madame Morrible in Wicked, Mama Morton in Chicago, Mrs Meers in Thoroughly Modern Mille, Chris in Calendar Girls, Joan Crawford in Bette and Joan and Nancy in Frozen at the National Theatre for which she was nominated for an Olivier, Evening Standard and London Critics Award. Her film credits include London Road.

Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, brave young Annie is forced to live a life of misery and torment at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. Determined to find her real parents, her luck changes when she is chosen to spend Christmas at the residence of famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. Spiteful Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search…

With its award-winning book and score, this stunning new production includes the unforgettable songs ‘It’s the Hard Knock Life’, ‘Easy Street’, ‘I Don’t Need Anything But You’ and ‘Tomorrow’.

The show will run from February 2-16


Wythenshawe students capture “Greater Mancunians” on camera for exhibition

Shaun Ryder

Shaun Ryder by Harry Yeates

Movers and shakers who have influenced Manchester life are to feature in a stunning photography competition by students from The Manchester College which opens tomorrow  (September 4th).

Musicians Clint Boon and The Happy Mondays, boxer Ricky Hatton and poet Lemn Sissay are some of the famous faces from Greater Manchester who will feature in the exhibition at the Nexus Art Cafe in Manchester.

More than 30 people who have made a cultural difference to the city have been photographed for the ‘Greater Mancunians’ exhibition by 30 Level 3 Photography students from the College’s Northenden campus.

The ongoing project has been a year in the making, with students gaining unparalleled access to stars of music, sport, art and business, and directing each individual photo shoot to capture a series of striking yet intimate shots.


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Pics: John Cooper Clarke by Harry Yeates, Stacey Copeland by Kristina Salyklyte, Tierney Heap by Katie O’Neill

Now photos of celebrities, sports stars, actors and activists, including performance poet John Cooper Clarke, boy band Take That, comedian Jason Manford, Tate director Maria Balshaw CBE, ballerina Tierney Heap and boxer Stacey Copeland, will grace the walls of Nexus Café in Manchester’s Northern Quarter when the four week exhibition launches .

Photography tutor Harry Potts said: “The project started when former student Harry Yeates photographed his idol John Cooper Clarke for his end of year project. The other students asked to do more and it just snowballed from there.

“I’ll set the meetings up, but then it’s down to the students to direct the photo shoot and create the image. The celebrities are quite happy to help our students and have been very accommodating during the shoots, which have taken place in the studio, down an alley or even up a ladder.

“The project not only gives the students great industry experience and some fantastic images for their portfolio, but the one thing they gain the most is confidence and life skills to be able to direct their subject and create some truly memorable images.”

Student Katie O’Neill, who completed her Level 3 Extended Diploma in photography with a distinction and is set to study BA Photography at Falmouth University, said:

“Over the past two years, I have photographed Bill Roach, Tierney Heap, Take That, Robert Powell and Graham Nash. Each photo shoot has allowed me to gain new knowledge from different experiences, from having only 10 minutes to get the shot to capturing fast movement. This has helped me to build up my skills and confidence, and has given me insight to working in a fast paced environment and working with others to create a project.

“Having my work featured in the exhibition is really exciting. I love people being able to see my work and I love watching their reactions to it. I am proud and thankful to be a part of this project.”

‘Greater Mancunians’ runs from 4 to 29 September at Nexus Art Cafe, Dale Street, Manchester, M1 1JW.


Jason Donovan to make producer debut with Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

PRISCILLATOUR18_Collected files_A3P_14-8-18_HR.JPGJason Donovan will make his debut as a producer  when he joins forces with Mark Groucher in a new production of the  much-loved glittering hit musical Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

The show begins its tour in September next year (2019) and will be at Manchester’s Palace Theatre on November 25th.

The show makes a perfect vehicle for Donovan to begin his life as a producer, having performed in the cast of the original West End production and two subsequent UK tours.

Jason Donovan said: “Having spent years performing and always harbouring the desire to become more involved in the creative process, I am delighted to be joining Mark Goucher as producer on this wonderful show. Priscilla is perfect vehicle to venture into the world of producing and bringing all my experience on the show seems the logical next step. Priscilla is such a wonderful Australian story about diversity. It is a modern musical with a great heart.”

The iconic hit musical has more glitter than ever before, featuring a dazzling array of stunning costumes, fabulous feathers and a non-stop parade of dance-floor classics including It’s Raining MenI Will SurviveI Love The NightlifeFinally and many more.

Based on the Oscar-winning film, PRISCILLA is the hilarious adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus bound for Alice Springs to put on the show of a lifetime. Their epic journey is a heart-warming story of self-discovery, sassiness and acceptance.

This brand new production comes from the team behind the critically acclaimed UK tours of Hairspray; with direction by Paul Kerryson, choreography by Tom Jackson-Greaves with designs by Phil R Daniels and Charles Cusick Smith, lighting design by Ben Cracknell and sound design by Ben Harrison.


Monday 25 November – Saturday 30 November 2019
Tel: 0844 8713 019

Tickets on sale 14th September

When did you last see your snake?

Pensioner John Stone got a shock yesterday when he arrived home in Northern Moor to find a four foot long exotic snake on his drive.

Mr Stone, spotted the red, yellow and black reptile on Friday afternoon at Brent Close, Northern Moor, on Friday afternoon.

It is believed to have escaped from a neighbour’s home.

Mr Stone told the Manchester Evening News:I have been in some funny places, but never expected to see a snake in my driveway. What next?
Sgt Jon Kenna, from the Wythenshawe police team said: “The snake was located on Brent Close, Northern Moor, in the garden of a resident. They managed to trap the snake with their washing up bowl.”

Police are now trying to reunite the slippery customer with its owner and anyone with information should ring 101 quoting reference 1276 17/08/18.

Wythenshawe teenager heading to the LSE after A level success

Young Wythenshawe Labour party worker Joseph Murphy is heading for the London School of Economics after he aced his A Levels.

The popular Wythenshawe 18-year-old, who attended St Ambrose College in Hale Barns got two A*s in Politics and History with an A in English Literature and will now read Economics at the LSE.

He said: “I’d hope to be able to make a difference and enter Politics.”

It was another bumper year at the Catholic grammar school. “The change to a linear style of assessment,” said Head of Sixth Form Pauline Ridgway, “means there is more pressure on the final examination.”

Pauline added after revealing a 70% A* to B rate with 39% at the top A* or A grades, “this traditionally favours boys’ style of learning, but it still demands a certain resolve in the examination room and a determination to rise to the challenge while revising.”

Pauline added: “These are among our best ever results and shows how readily staff and students have embraced what has been a quite considerable change. “Joseph is a fine young man and has done himself, his family and Wythenshawe proud.”

Manchester College celebrates A level and vocational results success

Manchester College’s A Level students are celebrating today following the highest number of students achieving A* and A grades in recent years.

The results, which saw an impressive 42 per cent increase in the number of A* and A grades at A Level and a nine per cent increase in those achieving A grade equivalents on vocational qualifications, reflect an outstanding year for The Manchester College’s students.

Overall, the College’s A Level pass rate remains high at 94 per cent, with grades A*-C increasing by six per cent and those at AS Level increasing by 20 per cent.

Overall, the College’s A Level pass rate remains high at 94 per cent, with grades A*-C increasing by six per cent and those at AS Level increasing by 20 per cent.

Principal Lisa O’Loughlin said: “This is fantastic achievement, we’re really proud of all of our students and it’s wonderful to see their hard work pay off.

“Today is a celebration of all learning and we’re equally proud of all our students who have remained dedicated and completed their studies, whatever their grades and whichever pathway or qualification they have taken.”

Ailin Guo, who hopes to forge a career in finance and investment, achieved three A* grades in Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Accounting. She said: “Picking up my results has been a nice surprise, as I’ve done better than I hoped and got the grades I needed to study Mathematics at Warwick University.

“I’ve really enjoyed studying at The Manchester College. The teachers have been fantastic and many of the skills I’ve learned, such as problem solving, have been useful for real life too.”

The Manchester College’s vocational students have also excelled this year, with a huge 83 per cent of Level 3 Diploma students receiving the equivalent of high A Level grades.

Alistair Sheehan gained a Distinction in his Creative Media Production course and benefited from an industry partnership between the College and leading global marketing, technology and commerce agency Amaze.

Alistair, who was awarded the College’s Adult Student of the Year 2018, said: “My course and tutors have helped me discover things I didn’t know I could do or enjoy. Most importantly, the College has encouraged me to actually have ambitions where I didn’t before.

“My tutors set up work experience placements and we had guest speakers from the industry who came in, reviewed your work and chatted to you about what the industry is really like. We also took part in employability hour, which I found important. To have a college that helps prepare people for their future careers or further education is refreshing and takes the pressure off what will happen when you leave.”

Lisa added: “Whether you’re continuing your journey with us or moving on, we wish you all the very best with your future plans. “

An Officer and a Gentleman @ The Opera House, Manchester

8. AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN. Emma Williams 'Paula Pokrifki' and Jonny Fines 'Zack Mayo'. Photo by Manuel HarlanThe musical based on the 1980s film romance An Officer and Gentleman starring Richard Gere is in town this week.
The show tells the story of Zack Mayo who is in training to become a US Navy Pilot. When Zack rolls into boot camp with a bit too much of a swagger, drill Sergeant Foley doesn’t make life easy for him.
When he falls for local girl Paula Pokrifki and tragedy befalls his friend and fellow candidate, Zack realises the importance of love and friendship and finds the courage to be himself and win the heart of the woman he loves. It’s only then he can truly become both an Officer and a Gentleman.
The musical includes the hit song from the movie Up Where We Belong along, with 80’s classics such as Alone, Don’t Cry Out Loud, You’re the Voice, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Heart of Glass, Toy Soldiers and Material Girl and one of the most iconic romantic scenes ever portrayed on screen.
An Officer and a Gentleman is one of the highest grossing films of all time. The is by writer and director Douglas Day Stewart which was based on his personal experience as a Naval Officer Candidate. The book is co-written by Douglas and Sharleen Cooper Cohen. It is directed by Curve’s Artistic Director Nikolai Foster (Annie, What the Butler Saw, Calamity Jane and Sunset Boulevard), choreographed by Kate Prince (Old Vic Associate Artist, Everyone’s Talking About Jamie, Into the Hoods and ZooNation), has Musical Supervision by Tony Award-winning Sarah Travis (Curve Associate Artist,
Sweeney Todd, Sister Act)
The show runs to Saturday August 18.
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