Two rescue greyhounds from the Mersey and Cheshire Manchester Branch of The Greyhound Trust will take to the stage during Ellen Kent’s production of Rigoletto at Manchester Opera House.

Producer Ellen has long been a campaigner for animal welfare, and after talking to a representative from a local greyhound charity and hearing how these beautiful dogs, the “Companions of Kings,” can be so cruelly and cold-heartedly abandoned once their running days are over, she felt compelled to try and help raise awareness of their plight thanks to the support of the Mersey and Cheshire branch of the Greyhound Trust.

Run by volunteers in their free time, the branch homes more than 100 retired racing greyhounds each year.  It is due to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year.

The two greyhounds, three year old Briersey and five year old Dash will take to Manchester Opera house with their handler Keith Johnson.

Speaking about the idea of bringing the dogs to Manchester Opera House, award-winning opera director and producer Ellen Kent commented “To be able to promote animal welfare and preservation of endangered species through the drama and spectacle of my operas is a great joy and privilege for me.”

Joanne Johnson of Mersey and Cheshire Greyhound Trust (Manchester Branch) added, “The Greyhound Trust Mersey and Cheshire is honoured to support the production of Rigoletto at Manchester Opera House. It enables us to raise the profile of the plight of the greyhound.  Briersey and Dash are both former Belle Vue racing dogs and are now enjoying happy retirements.

The Greyhound Trust looks for homes for close to 4000 greyhounds, Graeme Marsh Marketing, Communications and Events Manager for The Greyhound Trust explains: ”

“The Greyhound Trust is a national charity devoted to the welfare of all greyhounds throughout their working life and in retirement. Since 1975, we have provided a safe place for greyhounds after their racing career, helping them make the transition from track to home. Trainers and owners bring their greyhounds to one of our 50 or so branches, where they are cared for as individuals during their transition to family companions.

“Every year the Trust finds homes for close to 4000 greyhounds, but there are still many more we would like to help. With over 1000 volunteers across the UK, the Greyhound Trust is heavily reliant on the kindness and generosity of its supporters to enable us to continue working towards a day when all racing greyhounds retire to loving homes and are treated with compassion and kindness.”

Whilst most owners and racerse of greyhounds do try to responsibly re-home retired greyhounds, with 8000 retired each year because of age, injury or simply because they do not win the sheer number means that more greyhounds than any other breed end up in pounds and rescue centres.

Rigoletto is performed at Manchester Opera House

Rigoletto is performed at Manchester Opera House

Where and when is Rigoletto performed in Manchester?

Rigoletto is performed at manchester Opera House on Sunday 11 March 2018.