The story of Manchester’s original gangs
Award-winning playwright Rona Munro’s new play Scuttlers is set to receive its world premiere at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre.
Inspired by the Manchester riots of 2011 and stores of all the Manchester gangs from the nineteenth century through to modern times, Scuttlers is set in 1885, but pitched against a twenty first century sensibility, and addresses the very first urban gangs – fighting for territory with belts, fists and knives.
The story takes places against the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution, as workers pour into Ancoats, with 50,000 people crammed into one square mile, the world’s first industrial suburb developing and the first gangs taking shape. Their stories, their lives, deaths, loves, losses and energy will repeat and repeat over the following decades.
Penned by Rona Munro, who recently won an Evening Standard Best Play Award and has written extensively for stage, radio, film and television, including the trilogy The James Plays, Scuttlers receives its debut on Thursday 5th February and will run until Saturday 7th March.
Directing the production will be award-winning director Wils Wilson, whose previous works include Gastronauts (Royal Court), Praxis Makes Perfect (National Theatre Wales) and The Strange Undoing Of Prudencia Hart (National Theatre of Scotland). Bringing the premiere to the Royal Exchange Theatre is clearly something she is happy about: “I love the Royal Exchange because the relationship between the audience and the performers is so immediate. There’s a shared sense of making the theatre happen together – a kind of deal between the audience and the performers.”
A strong cast of Catriona Ennis, Chloe Harris, David Judge, Anna Krippa, Rona Morison, Tachia Newall, Dan Parr, Bryan Parry and Kieran Urquhart will be complemented by a 32-strong community ensemble, playing boys, girls and adults from rival gangs of mill workers. The community ensemble has been drawn from the Exchange’s Young Company, previous RET ensembles and partner community and young people organisations.
SCUTTLERS – Listings Information
By Rona Munro
Directed by Wils Wilson
Designed by Fly Davis
The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
Thursday 5 February – Saturday 7 March 2015
Evening Performance Times:
Monday – Friday, 7.30pm; Saturday, 8pm
Matinee Performance Times:
Wednesdays, 2.30pm; Saturday 3.30pm
Extra matinee: Tuesdays 17 February, 2.30pm
Half Price Previews: Thursday 5 and Friday 6 February
Ticket Prices: Standard tickets from £15 (Concessions Available)
Audio-described Performance: Saturday 28 February, 3.30pm
BSL Interpreted Performance: Tuesday 3 March, 7.30pm
Captioned Performance: Tuesday 24 February, 7.30pm
After-show Discussion Thursday 26 February (after 7.30pm performance)
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image credit University of Salford Press Office/flickr under creative commons licence.