Autumn Season | August - November 2015

HORNIMAN'S CHOICE

Four one act plays from the 'Manchester School' of Playwrights

 
Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, 27, 28, 29 September, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13 October 2015

The first professional UK productions for more than 90 years

“If Lancashire playwrights will send their plays to me I shall pledge myself to read them through. Let them not write as one dramatist does, about Countesses and Duchesses and society existing in imaginations, but about their friends and enemies - about real life.” - Annie Horniman

Commissioned by the Finborough Theatre, Horniman's Choice brings together four plays by the leading figures of the 'Manchester School' of playwrights – Harold Brighouse, Stanley Houghton and Allan Monkhouse, all originally championed by Annie Horniman, owner of Gaiety Theatre, Manchester, the first regional repertory theatre in Britain.

THE PRICE OF COAL by Harold Brighouse
1909. The mines. Collier Jack Tyldesley heads off at 5.30am for another day's hard graft at the coalface. His lover, Mary Bradshaw, has promised to answer his marriage proposal when he returns home, but Jack's mother is haunted by premonitions of disaster. Risk is part of the job, but too often the cost of fuel outweighs the cost of the lives of men.

LONESOME LIKE by Harold Brighouse
1911. The mill. Sarah Ormerod has worked in a Lancashire mill for many years, but age and hard work have taken their toll. When she loses the use of her hands, she is condemned to spend the rest of her days in the workhouse, unless someone can help her. Without a welfare state, what happens to the elderly and disabled?

THE OLD TESTAMENT AND THE NEW by Stanley Houghton
1914. The home. Christopher Battersby is a devout Christian, running his household in strict and obsessive accordance with the Old Testament. When his daughter runs off to London with an unsuitable man, he struggles with his faith and the limits of what he can forgive.

NIGHT WATCHES by Allan Monkhouse
1916. The trenches. A new orderly begins work on the night shift at a Red Cross hospital, only to find that two of the patients are more comically surprising and disruptive that originally seemed.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT HAROLD BRIGHOUSE

Playwright Harold Brighouse (1882–1958) remains best known for his 1916 classic Hobson’s Choice. The story of how a tyrannical Lancashire boot maker is brought down to earth by his daughter and her simple husband, Hobson’s Choice has been much revived and was last seen in London at The Young Vic in 2003. It was filmed by David Lean with Charles Laughton and John Mills, and even adapted into a ballet. Brighouse brought a new and groundbreaking style to British theatre, portraying the bleak and harsh lives of the working classes, but combining it with a unique Northern flavour and wit. He was a leading member of the ‘Manchester School’ of playwrights, along with well known Northern writers such as Stanley Houghton and Allan Monkhouse, a group of writers all largely based at Annie Horniman’s Gaiety Theatre, Manchester. The Finborough Theatre revived Harold Brighouse's The Northerners in 2010.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT STANLEY HOUGHTON

Playwright Stanley Houghton (1881- 1913) was born in Ashton-upon-Mersey, Sale, Cheshire. Educated at Manchester Grammar School, he went into his father's cotton business where he worked until the success of Hindle Wakes in 1912 allowed him to finally achieve his ambition to become a professional writer. He died just a year later of meningitis. One of the acclaimed 'Manchester School' of playwrights, championed by Annie Horniman of the Gaiety Theatre, Manchester, and including such writers as Harold Brighouse and Allan Monkhouse, Houghton's other works include The Intrigues, The Reckoning ,The Dear Departed, Independent Means (recently revived by the Library Theatre, Manchester), The Younger Generation, The Master of the House, Fancy-Free, Trust the People and The Perfect Cure. The Finborough Theatre presented an acclaimed revival of Hindle Wakes in 2012 to mark the centenary of its world premiere.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT ALLAN MONKHOUSE

Allan Monkhouse (1858–1936) was an English playwright, critic, essayist and novelist. He was born in Barnard Castle, County Durham. He worked in the cotton trade, in Manchester, and settled in Disley, Cheshire. From 1902 to 1932 he worked on The Manchester Guardian, writing also for the New Statesman. He began to write drama for the Gaiety Theatre, Manchester, shortly after it was opened by Annie Horniman. His best known plays include Mary Broome and The Conquering Hero, both recently revived by the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR ANNA MARSLAND

Anna Marsland directed the staged reading of One For All as part of Vibrant 2014 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights. She is currently Resident Director on the National Theatre's production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in the West End. She trained on the MFA Theatre Directing course at Birkbeck College, and was a finalist for the 2013 JMK Award for Young Directors. Theatre includes Twelfth Night (Victoria Baths, Manchester), Masterclass Academy Showcase (Theatre Royal Haymarket), The Leonardo Question (The Rosemary Branch Theatre and Roxy Art House), Secret Heart, Road, All the Ordinary Angels, What the Butler Saw and Two (ADC Theatre). As Assistant Director, theatre includes The White Devil, The Roaring Girl (Royal Shakespeare Company), Hope Light and Nowhere (Underbelly Theatre), A Christmas Carol (New Vic Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent), Lady Windermere's Fan, Miss Julie, The Gatekeeper, Beautiful Thing and Good (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), Othello (Rose Theatre, Bankside and Broadway Theatre, Barking) and Love and Money (Arts Educational School). As Text Assistant, theatre includes The Malcontent (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse) and Henry VI: Parts I, II, and III (Shakespeare's Globe).

THEGREATWAR100

THEGREATWAR100 series is a new occasional series of works about – or written during – the Great War to be presented by the Finborough Theatre from 2014 to 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

THE PRESS ON HAROLD BRIGHOUSE'S THE NORTHERNERS AT THE FINBOROUGH THEATRE

"Tim Newns’ illuminating and enthralling production.” Johnny Fox, The Public Reviews

“Good theatre will always leave you wanting more, and this show made me hunger for knowledge. If you’re not interested in historical dramas, then rest assured The Northerners is also full of sex and love and violence – a great recipe for a night at the theatre.” Angus Templeton, Extra! Extra!

THE PRESS ON STANLEY HOUGHTON'S HINDLE WAKES AT THE FINBOROUGH THEATRE

★★★★★ WhatsOnStage and Everything Theatre

★★★★ The Guardian, One Stop Arts and The Good Review

“Stanley Houghton was part of the Manchester school of playwrights that did so much to enliven British drama in the years before the first world war. And this excellent revival of Houghton's 1912 play reminds us of his virtues: a firm sense of structure, a rejection of fossilised attitudes, and a passionate belief in female independence.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“It is impossible to watch without feeling profound respect for playwright Stanley Houghton and the message he conveys.“ Mel West, WhatsOnStage

“We are reminded what a resilient play this is and what a loss was Houghton's death in 1913. And who is to say that, 100 years after Hindle Wakes, we still don't live in a world that has one law for sexually adventurous men and another for women?” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Set in 1912, when the women’s suffrage movement was gaining momentum and notoriety, Hindle Wakes introduces a confident, independent heroine determined to have her own voice in a world of oppressive convention. This extraordinary piece at the Finborough Theatre leaves every 2012 audience member wishing they had half of Fanny Hawthorn’s wit and a quarter of her cojones.” Mel West, WhatsOnStage

THE PRESS ON HORNIMANS CHOICE

“A lively quartet that tackle war, working-class woes and religion with luminous realism.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“An intricate weave of melodrama, humour and self-knowingness.” Traffic Light Theatregoer

“It is more than 90 years since these plays had professional productions in London. The Finborough has previously staged revivals of Houghton’s Hindle Wakes and Brighouse’s The Northerners. Now it offers a rare opportunity to see some of their one-act plays.” Howard Loxton, British Theatre Guide

“In Brighouse’s The Price of Coal, which is reminiscent of DH Lawrence, we see what the wives and mothers of miners endure while the men risk their lives every day…In their ability to deal honestly with working-class experience, the plays of the Manchester School still have a lot to teach us.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“This juxtaposition of melodrama, underpinned by documentary working class reality, comedy and a wry theatricality establishes the intriguing almost Chekhovian tone of the evening translated into Lancastrian.” Traffic Light Theatregoer

“The most dramatic is Houghton’s The Old Testament and the New, in which a chapel-going patriarch (James Holmes) and his more easygoing wife (Jemma Churchill) are confronted by the return of their prodigal daughter (Hannah Edwards)” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“The real star piece here is the second play Night Watches by Allan Monkhouse” Maryam Philpott, The Public Reviews

“Allan Monkhouse’s Night Watches was gripping” Lucy Streeten, A Younger Theatre

“These populist yet sophisticated pieces receive full justice in this production with skilful and warm performances by all the cast.” Traffic Light Theatregoer

“The brilliant Graham O’Mara shines” Lucy Streeten, A Younger Theatre

“The excellent Graham O’Mara” Maryam Philpott, The Public Reviews

“Jemma Churchill was particularly moving” Lucy Streeten, A Younger Theatre

“Ursula Mohan was a treat to watch.” Lucy Streeten, A Younger Theatre

“Anna Marsland directs the plays with precision and sensitivity” Traffic Light Theatregoer

TICKETS AND TIMES

Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, 27, 28, 29 September, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13 October 2015

Sunday and Monday evenings at 7.30pm.
Tuesday Matinees at 2.00pm.

Performance Length: Approximately two hours with one interval of twenty minutes.

Tickets £18, £16 concessions

For details of our Returns Policy for sold out performances, please click here

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Directed by Anna Marsland

Designed by Amelia Jane Hankin

Lighting by Rob Mills

Sound by Simon Gethin Thomas

Presented by Ine Van Riet in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.

JEMMA CHURCHILL

HANNAH EDWARDS

JAMES HOLMES

LEWIS MAIELLA

URSULA MOHAN

GRAHAM O'MARA