By David Keyworth
Manchester’s Library Theatre Company, currently showing A Christmas Carol, is playing to bigger audiences since its move to the Lowry in Salford Quays.
The theatre company was housed in the basement of Manchester Central Library, St Peter’s for 58 years, before the library was closed earlier this year for refurbishment.
Library Theatre Company’s Executive Director Paul Clay told us that box office targets have been exceeded. He said: “We are attracting a whole new audience”. He added that there is anecdotal evidence that a lot of Central Library regulars are making their way over to see plays at the Quays Theatre, inside the Lowry Theatre complex.
Mr Clay commented that, if the same number of people had been applying for tickets at the library, it would have meant disappointing around 50 potential audience members per performance. The Quay Theatre has 484 seats in contrast to 300 at Central Library.
Speaking about A Christmas Carol, which has been adapted for the stage by David Holman, Mr Clay told us that the play fitted in with the Library Theatre’s philosophy when it came to its Christmas show. He said: “It is slightly challenging but good for audiences of all ages.”
The Library Theatre Company will be moving again in a few years time. Plans have been confirmed for it to team up with Manchester’s Cornerhouse cinema and art gallery and move into a new brand new building by 2014. The complex will include a 500 seat-theatre, up to 5 cinemas, 600 sq m of contemporary gallery space, an education space and informal and outdoor performance spaces.
It will be situated at First Street –close to the former location of legendary Hacienda nightclub, which has been converted into apartments
Chris Honer, Artistic Director of the Library Theatre Company, said: “The artistic potential of the collaboration with Cornerhouse is immense.”
The company will be continuing the Charles Dickens theme next year with a site specific performance of Hard Times at Murray’s Mill, Ancoats. Media and Communications Manager Mike Barnett explained that, depending on which history book you read, Dickens based Hard Times on either Manchester or Preston.
A Christmas Carol, directed by Rachel O’Riordan and starring David Beames as Scrooge, runs until 8th January. For tickets call 0843 208 6010 www.librarytheatre.com