From Powerlines to Wish List. Busman’s holiday for anyone who wants it.

Manchester Royal Exchange will be co-producing along with the Royal Court “Wish List” a play by Katherine Soper directed by Matthew Xia. It runs from the 24th of September 2016 to the 15th of October 2016 in The Studio.

Monday – Saturday evenings, 7.30pm
Saturday and Thursday matinees, 2.30pm

Standard tickets from £16.50
Half price previews from £5
Banquette tickets £10

BOOK TICKETS: Box Office 0161 833 9833 / online  

“I dreamt about this last night. I dreamt that I was packing boxes in boxes in boxes.”Tamsin packs boxes in a warehouse, on the clock, to a target, with a zero-hour contract. Her brother Dean is housebound. Working to obsessive-compulsive rituals of his own.

When Dean is declared fit for work, their benefits are cut. There are phone calls to make, appeals to lodge and endless forms to fill in. Tamsin must pack faster, work harder, and fight to get the support she and her brother so desperately need.

This sensitive and delicately powerful play asks what our labour is worth and how life can be lived when the system is stacked against you.

Winner of the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, Katherine Sopers debut play will premiere in a production by Exchange Associate Artistic Director Matthew Xia (INTO THE WOODS).

The production is a collaboration with the Royal Court Theatre and our second year co-producing the Bruntwood Prize-winning play together, following Anna Jordan’s YEN in 2015/16.

“The play has such eloquence, such quiet craft, such dignity and such compassion.” Sir Nicholas Hytner (Chair of the Judges, Bruntwood Prize).

“At its heart it is about the attitude we have to work, towards the unemployed and towards the rights of those who are in work. It’s also a very wistful play about possibilities that could have presented themselves and the wishes that we might have for other ways our life might go.” Katherine Soper, Playwright.

Powerlines: New Stories From The Urban Edge at the Manchester Literature Festival.

This years Manchester Literature Festival, features an event on the 20th of October 2016 which will be of interest to all GMWRAG members, If you can’t go, maybe send details to your local DWP, local councillors or your MP!.

The project began following a discussion with ex Manchester Advice worker, David Gaffney, about the lack of real, genuine voices around the subject of welfare ‘reform’ and benefits in general. In particular annoyance (to put it mildly) about the DWP inventing stories to justify sanctions.

The idea was discussed of using the Manchester Literature Festival, to create a platform  for the ‘real’ stories (from those on the sharp end of the benefit system) to get a hearing. A bit unusual for a literature festival but worth giving it a go. The festival were keen and so Church Action on Poverty were approached to become a partner (based on their previous work in this area and direct experience of working with them around financial inclusion). A successful bid was made to the Arts Council for funding, participants recruited, workshops ran and now material gathered. Other partners include The University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing and Salford City Councils Welfare Rights and Debt Advice Service.

The evening will be a mixture of pieces (poetry, prose, visual, audio), the vast majority of which will come directly from the participants themselves.

Five artists have worked with people in Salford to explore the lives unfolding far beyond the aspirational city of artisan coffee shops and slick new builds.

Join poet Jo Bell, graphic novelist Darryl Cunningham, sound artist Gary Fisher, short story writer David Gaffney and novelist Stephen May as they place these stories centre stage.

These stories will make you cry, laugh and shout with rage at inequalities perpetuated by a social security system that is no longer social or secure.

Steve Quinn from Salford Welfare Rights and Debt Advice Service was asked by David to write a short piece in the first person, from an advisers perspective, which we may use in the run up to the festival. It may or may not chime with your experience, but hopefully it contains something that you can recognise. Powerlines will shed light on some of the too-little considered realities of life in the Northern Powerhouse.

You can find out details and even hear a sound trailer here.

Please download and circulate the flyer for the event.

Tickets are free but the performance space has a 100 person capacity. We expect more people to take tickets than attend and so if people can’t get tickets online we would still encourage them to attend.

Tickets can be obtained here.