On Corporation Street: Theatre company uses memories of 1996 bomb to stage 20th anniversary play

A play inspired by the 1996 Manchester bomb will be staged on its 20th anniversary.

On Corporation Street, named after the street where the bomb was planted, will use testimonials from people who lived in and around the city at the time of the attack.

ANU Productions, the Dublin-based theatre company who created the play, tasked Manchester’s Mighty Heart Theatre with finding people who were in Manchester before and after the blast.

Staged at HOME, the production will be a promenade performance with audience members moving around different spaces in the building.

“There’s so much material there, it’s not just specifically that one day, there’s the IRA, the spirit of Manchester and how everyone recovered from it,” actor Reuben Johnson told MM.

“It’s such a wide topic that I think it wouldn’t be as interesting to focus just on that one day and try to recreate it.

“I think that there more interesting stuff is in the aftermath and how it affected people’s lives.”

The production is the second in a trilogy of plays from ANU.

The first, SUNDER, focused on the rebels of the 1916 Easter Rising and was performed in Dublin.

The third, These Rooms, will also be staged in Dublin and will transpose the North King Street massacre of 1916 to 1966, just before The Troubles began.

The 1996 Manchester bomb, planted by the Provisional IRA, is the largest mainland Britain has ever seen.  

The device, packed with 3,300lb of explosives, was detonated inside a parked van in Corporation Street on June 15.

No-one was killed, but over 200 people were injured and buildings across the city were damaged.

The Mighty Heart Theatre gathered over 100 testimonials from people in Manchester.

“There is a sort of recurring theme of ‘no one died’ when people talk about it, but you really see how it affected people’s lives when you read their stories,” said fellow cast member Etta Fusi.

“Mighty Heart Theatre set up different points around the city with big signs saying ‘come and talk to us’ and we’ve ended up with loads and loads of testimonies – it’s amazing.”

ANU and HOME’s debut Manchester production, Angel Meadow, won Best Production and Best Ensemble at the Manchester Theatre Awards in 2015

On Corporation Street will run from June 10 – June 25.

For more information, click here.

Image courtesy of HOME, with thanks.

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