Sep 30–Oct 6, 2018
Sponsored by embr. 01457 876235
by Fred Carmichael
Peter Knight is grinding out a murder story in an old mansion where a previous author was murdered years before. A weird electrical storm effects a cosmic mishap and his characters come to life. There’s the lovely ingenue, the trusty butler, a feisty character woman, a dauntless hero, a fascinating ‘other woman’, the always pregnant serving girl and the wily lawyer waiting for midnight to read the will. Peter loses control of his characters and there is a murder: the intended victim is Peter. Other murders follow and the culprit is among the characters who, having also worked for other authors, know a great deal about the subject. Can Peter find the killer before the killer gets his author? Is romance with the ingenue leading anywhere? Where is the fortune mentioned in the will? All is solved ingeniously with romance, suspense and cosmic wit.
Nov 24–Dec 1, 2018
Sponsored by Tanner Business Centre. 01457 872273
by Lee Hall
Exhibition: Diana Terry
In 1934, a group of Ashington miners and a dental mechanic hired a professor from Newcastle University to teach an Art Appreciation evening class. Unable to understand the teachings of the professor, together they embarked on one of the most unusual experiments in British art, as the pitmen learned to become painters. Within a few years the most avant-garde artists became their friends, their work was taken for prestigious collections and they were celebrated throughout the British art world; but every day they worked, as before, down the mine.
Feb 2–9, 2019
Sponsored by Roy Carey Bespoke Windows. 01457 875047
by April de Angelis
Exhibition: Stuart Coleman
The year is 1669 a bawdy and troublesome time. Theatres have just reopened after seventeen years of Puritan suppression. There is a surge in dramatic writing and the first English actresses appear on stage. Playhouse Creatures focuses on five of the most famous (Nell Gwyn, Elizabeth Farley, Rebecca Marshall, Doll Common and Mary Betterton) to provide a moving and often comic account of the precarious lives of Restoration actresses.
Mar 30–Apr 6, 2019
Sponsored by Plastics Direct. 0161 343 2425
by Amanda Whittington
Exhibition: Saddleworth Group of Artists
Ruth Ellis was the last woman to be hanged in Britain, in 1955, after being convicted of shooting her lover, David Blakely, in cold blood. The Thrill of Love dramatises this infamous true story and takes a closer look at the woman behind the headlines.
A divorcee with a young child to care for, Ruth Ellis works in the kind of nightclubs where there’s more than just a drink on offer. The girls work hard, play hard and dream of a movie-star life. Then she meets the wealthy, womanising David, a racing driver with whom she becomes obsessed. She also begins seeing Desmond Cussen, a man driven mad with jealousy by her tempestuous and often violent relationship with David. Whittington’s play focuses on Ruth’s interior life, as well as her friendship with three women all working the club scene: the dependable club owner, Sylvia, aspiring actor and model, Vickie and charwoman, Doris. These friends provide comfort to her as she battles abusive lovers and a rabid press. Meanwhile, Detective Jack Gale follows her story from the beginning, hoping to piece together the motive behind why she murdered David and, more importantly, whom she might be protecting.
Jun 1–8, 2019
Sponsored by Morris Gregory. 0161 626 3427
by Michael Hollinger
Exhibition: Jane Braithwaite
Welcome to Priseaux, France, c. 1250AD: The river flooded again last week. The chandler's shop just burned to the ground. Nobody's heard of the wheelbarrow yet. And St. Foy, the patron of the local monastery, hasn't worked a miracle in thirteen years. In other words, the Dark Ages still look pretty dark. All eyes turn to the Pope, whose promised visit will surely encourage other pilgrims to make the trek and restore the abbey to its former glory. That is, until a rival church claims to possess the relics of St. Foy—and "their" bones are working miracles. All seems lost until the destitute monks take a lesson from a larcenous one-eyed minstrel, who teaches them an outrageous new way to pay old debts.