There’s no denying that the past two years have been incredibly difficult for the theatre industry. It has been battered and beaten by the Covid19 pandemic, but it remarkably still survives to fight another day.
As we welcome in 2022, so too must we move into the new year with a renewed sense of optimism that it will be better than the last two. As such, I wanted to highlight some of the most exciting theatre that Manchester has to offer this year. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the Greater Manchester theatre industry is back, better than ever!
Here are my “Must Watch” plays in Manchester for 2022:-
2nd September – 8th October 2022
Whilst the entire of the Royal Exchange’s programme looks fantastic, it is the chance to watch Atri Banerjee‘s adaptation of The Glass Menagerie that excites me the most.
Originally programmed for 2020, I’m delighted that it will finally be staged. I’m a huge fan of Banerjee’s work, having made a brilliant main stage directorial debut with Tanika Gupta’s wonderful version of Hobson’s Choice. Audiences of the Exchange will also be familiar with his work as the Associate Director of West Side Story and The Mysteries. He’s a gifted director and it’s been great to watch his career progress over the years.
Tennessee Williams’ play is a poetic, bruising portrayal of a family on the brink of change, as Tom escapes a suffocating home life through visits to the cinema. Meanwhile his sister, Laura, withdraws into her records and collection of glass animals. But their mother, Amanda, harbours dreams for the family, far beyond their shabby apartment. When Tom brings home a potential suitor for Laura, Amanda seizes the opportunity to change their fortunes.
I honestly can’t wait to see how Banerjee adapts this classic play for the Royal Exchange’s in-the-round stage.
More information and tickets can be found on the Royal Exchange’s website.
12th – 22nd May 2022
This is another play that I’ve waited years to watch, having been originally planned for 2019, but faced with many set-backs.
I will openly admit that I am a total fangirl of Rash Dash Theatre. From the moment I saw their radical staging of Chekhov’s Three Sisters, I have been continually blown away by their experimental, innovative blend of live music and physical theatre that consistently smashes conventions.
Oh Mother is essentially a look at motherhood and the importance of family. It examines how transformative it can be to take care of someone else, completely. How it rearranges you, how you might yearn to do it, and how you will definitely yearn for a break.
With Rash Dash Theatre, you never quite know what you’re going to get. But I will, quite literally, watch anything they do because it’s always guaranteed to be excellent!
Head to HOME’s website if you want further details or wish to book tickets.
7th April – 24th April 2022
Who doesn’t love The Jungle Book?
Whether it’s Rudyard Kipling’s books or Disney’s animated and live action film adaptations, the story of the young man-cub, Mowgli, has enchanted audiences for generations.
Raised by animals in the jungle, Mowgli must protect those he loves from the cruel and powerful tiger, Shere Khan.
Packed with wonderful characters, this reworking of The Jungle Book was originally planned to be staged at Oldham Coliseum in Easter 2020 and has been rescheduled twice. It promises new, original music and instantly raises exciting questions about how you can bring all these animals to life on stage.
To book tickets for this family treat, you can visit Oldham Coliseum’s website or phone their box office on 0161 624 2829.
8th – 12th March 2022
I have watched The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time on stage four times now and it still remains the best visual and technical production that I have seen. So much that I even wrote an assignment about it for university. It is a spectacular adaptation of Mark Haddon’s novel that I honestly couldn’t recommend strongly enough.
Fifteen-year-old Christopher Boone has an extraordinary brain. He is exceptional at maths, while everyday life presents some barriers. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road and he detests being touched and distrusts strangers. When the neighbour’s dog is killed, he begins an investigative journey that will turn his world upside down.
For the first time, the role of Christopher will be played by a neurodiverse actor, which is fantastic.
Please visit ATG Tickets to book tickets to this remarkably stunning production.
29th March – 23rd April 2022
Surprisingly, this is a musical that I have never seen before, so I will be sure to catch it when it takes The Lowry by storm in the spring.
Jean Valjean is a prisoner on parole, as he runs from the ruthless Inspector Javert on a journey beyond the barricades, at the center of France’s June Rebellion. Meanwhile, the life of a working class girl with a child is at turning point as she turns to prostitution to pay money to the evil innkeeper and his wife who look after her child, Cosette.
Valjean promises to take care of the child, eventually leading to a love triangle between Cosette, Marius who is a student of the rebellion, and Eponine, a girl of the streets.
Based on the popular novel by Victor Hugo, Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed production Les Misérables now has a brilliant new staging.
For tickets, please visit The Lowry’s wesbite.
27th October – 24th December 2022
Disney’s award-winning musical, The Lion King, explodes with glorious colours, spectacular effects and beautiful, enchanting music. Bedazzling London’s Lyceum Theatre audiences for the last 21 years, the show will finally get to travel its long awaited tour of the UK, which was postponed due to the pandemic.
Combing favourite songs from the Disney film and original musical numbers, The Lion King follows the powerful story of Simba as he journeys from wide-eyed cub to his destined role as the King of the Pridelands.
I’ve seen The Lion King a few times now, and it’s stunning puppetry never fails to make me emotional, particularly in the song He Lives In You.
It’s genuinely an astonishing, breathtaking production that everybody must see at least once in their lives!
For further information or to book tickets, please visit ATG Tickets.
Obviously, this is just my own personal selection of must watch theatre across Greater Manchester in 2022. Even if they may not appeal to your own individual tastes, please support your local theatres this year. After the past two years, they need it now more than ever!
Finally, I want to wish my readers a HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I hope 2022 brings you happiness, good health, and success.