Wednesday, 7 January 2015

'SCUTTLERS' at Royal Exchange

By Rona Munro   
Directed by Wils Wilson
Designed by Fly Davis   
Royal Exchange Theatre
St Ann’s Square, Manchester
Thursday 5 February – Saturday 7 March   

The Royal Exchange Theatre is to stage the world premiere of award-winning playwright,  Rona Munro’s new play SCUTTLERS - about Manchester’s original gangs – from Thursday 5 February to Saturday 7 March.   

Set in 1885, the play uncovers a world where the streets of Manchester are crackling with energy, youth and violence. As workers pour into Ancoats to power the Industrial Revolution, 50,000 people are crammed into one square mile.   

The mills rumble thunderously day and night. The air is thick with smoke. Life is lived large and lived on the street. This is the world's very first industrial suburb and the young mill workers who are the living cogs in its machines form the very first urban gangs, fighting over their territory with belts, fists and knives.   

Invisible in history their lives, deaths, loves, lusts and defiant energy tell stories that will repeat and repeat over the decades that follow. 

Inspired by the Manchester riots of 2011 and the stories of all the Manchester gangs between the nineteenth century and today, the play smashes the nineteenth century against a twenty first century sensibility to bring the young Scuttlers back to vivid, potent life.   

Rona Munro has written extensively for stage, radio, film and television including the trilogy THE JAMES PLAYS for the National Theatre of Scotland, The National Theatre and the Edinburgh International Festival which recently won an Evening Standard Best Play Award.  

Award-winning director and site-specific theatre maker  Wils Wilson directs the production. Her recent work includes PRAXIS MAKES PERFECT (National Theatre Wales); GASTRONAUTS (Royal Court); ANON, (WNO) and THE STRANGE UNDOING OF PRUDENCIA HART (National Theatre of Scotland) which has been touring nationally and internationally since 2010. 

Talking about bringing the production to the Exchange, she said:
'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.'  

The cast includes Catriona Ennis, Chloe Harris, David Judge, Anna Krippa, Rona Morison, Tachia Newall,  Dan Parr, Bryan Parry and Kieran Urquhart.   

The production will also feature a 32-strong community ensemble who will play boys, girls and adults from rival gangs of mill workers. Members have been drawn from the Exchange’s Young Company, previous RET ensembles and partner community and young people organisations.   

The production is designed by Fly Davis and the creative team is completed by Natasha Chivers (lighting designer), Peter Rice (sound designer), Denis Jones (composer), Eddie Kay for Frantic Assembly (movement director).  

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