Tucked in the corner, at the end of the cobbled path sits the old mill – its exterior illustrates a picture of the past while inside a cast take to their positions.
In a matter of weeks Hope Mill Theatre opens its doors for the first time as Manchester’s newest arts venue as they host the revival of Parade.
Opening on May 13th this rebirth of a classic proves to be something more than a design to fill seats but a bid to enhance Manchester’s cultural landscape.
Continuing with the theme of reinvention director James Baker heads the artistic revolution in the hope to make theatre widely accessible to audiences and actors alike.
‘This production is the spirit of something special, it’s bigger than a production – it’s about Manchester, it’s about a landscape, a city, it’s about being a cultural hub’ Says Baker. ‘We want to look after our audiences, to touch and inspire people and also inspire and change the way we ultimately connect with theatre.’
Tony award-winning musical Parade tells the true story of Leo Frank, a Brooklyn-raised Jewish man wrongly convicted of the murder of an employee. Already guilty in the eyes of the law his only defenders are a governor with a conscience and his wife Lucille who becomes his greatest champion.
The cast is led by Tom Lloyd as Leo Frank and Laura Harrison as Lucille Frank. Lloyd’s acting credits include performances on the West End as well as a nomination for Best Male Performance in the Off West End Awards. Harrison who is currently touring the UK with Blood Brothers has recently featured in Manchester’s Finest in Hometown Glory which detailed a decade of work which led her to the legendary Kenwright production.
Produced by Katy Lipson who has established work in the West End, off West End, Edinburgh Fringe and many more believes that Manchester is ready to host productions outside of the commercial realm.
‘I felt there was a market to do work here that’s never been here, that’s never been on the commercial sector, that isn’t at the Opera House or the Palace. There are so many works that deserve a platform and a home, and I hope we can do that.’
So what does this (non-violent) artistic revolution mean for you? With the cost of tickets coming in at an affordable price combined with talent who have played stages across the UK as well as the West End – leaves you asking what’s the catch doesn’t it?
There’s no catch. It’s just a team of people who love doing what they do. Who want to change the idea of arts in a Mancunian landscape to match what London and other cities have to offer.
Manchester’s Finest will follow the journey of Parade and its creative team as they establish a home for great theatre in the heart of Manchester.