Take a wonderfully heartbreaking love story and some classy music and you end up with Yank! that really packs a punch emotionally. Coming fast on the heels of the Pride parade in London, it seems even more poignant to watch Yank! as a reminder of how far we have come and how far we still… Read More
Manchester’s theatre scene has long been something to celebrate, as there is such a range of diverse venues and productions. Fringe theatre is thriving alongside the usual ATG fare and something amazing has emerged 15 minutes away from Manchester Piccadilly. The Hope Mill Theatre in Ancoats is currently home to director James Baker’s stunning production of Jason Robert Brown’s Parade.
The dimly lit, eerie walls of Manchester’s newest performance space, Hope Mill Theatre stand with pride to present the harrowing true story about the trial of Leo Frank. Frank was a Jewish pencil factory manager in Atlanta who was tried for raping and murdering Mary Phagan in 1913. The intimate performance space in the old cotton mill provides the perfect backdrop for this emotionally charged and troubling narrative driven by the murder of the thirteen-year-old girl in the factory where she worked.
As musicals go, Jason Robert Brown’s Parade is a tough gig. His Tony-winning score is an immense fusion of the sounds of America’s South, tackling a monstrous story of love in adversity and the utter depths of man’s capacity to hate. The Leo Frank trial in the early 20th century split America, laying bare the racist core of the Confederacy. 80 years later, Brown’s show was to become a troubling piece that held a mirror to its country’s soul – a mirror that to this day a large part of that nation still resolutely refuses to look in.
Reporting from Manchester, my guest contributor Glenn Meads recently met up with director-producer James Baker, who is making waves at The Kings Arms in Salford. Londoners, take note. Great theatre happens elsewhere too… James Baker’s CV Artistic director James Baker has been fundamental in developing The Kings Arms Theatre into a thriving fringe venue […]