Manchester FLARE festival’s ‘bigger and better’ line-up lights up city’s theatre scene

This year, FLARE International Theatre Festival returns to Manchester bigger and better than ever.

The programme of July’s week-long festival of national and international performances has just been announced, featuring everything from a play based solely on the colour gray to the socio-political exploration of an ordinary Preston life.

Expanding on its previous ‘weekender’ arrangement, the 2015 programme now sees 23 performances over six days across various venues including The Contact Theatre, The Royal Exchange, Z-arts and The Martin Harris Centre.

The diverse programme includes works from Australia, Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Georgia, Netherlands, Slovenia and Poland, with some shedding a very unusual light on 2015 life in the north of England.

The launch of the festival sees the return of critically-acclaimed theatre company, Sleepwalk Collective and their performance ‘The Sirens, The Sirens…’, which first appeared at FLARE back in 2011. 

Rachael Clerke’s Cuncrete purposefully adds qualities in keeping with the city’s history: the colour grey, a lot of concrete, and certain socialist ideas and histories that make Manchester the perfect backdrop for her show.

While new works-in-progress come from Andy Smith’s politically charged show The Preston Bill.

Smith’s new work will resonate strongly with anyone who’s ever called the north ‘home’.

Set in Preston, it tells the story of an ordinary life in extraordinary circumstances, or the story of an extraordinary life in ordinary circumstances (you decide).

There are also performances from up-and-coming UK artists including Figs In Wigs, Jamal Harwood, Hannah Sullivan, and Thomas Martin.

Alongside the shows, audience members will be given the chance to participate in a range of workshops, feedback sessions and discussions and through online networks.

The festival hopes to build on the success Manchester International Festival has already had in cementing Manchester’s reputation as the theatre and cultural centre of the north.

The FLARE International Festival of New Theatre takes place from July 13-18 at venues including Contact, Royal Exchange Theatre, Z-arts and the Martin Harris Centre.

Festival passes and tickets for events are available here.

Image courtesy of Andy Miah, with thanks

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