Voices of the City: Bad Language at Manchester Jewish Museum for Manchester After Hours

Polly Checkland Harding

Award-winning writers respond to rarely-seen archival footage of Whit walks, weddings and even a circus in Manchester at this special Manchester After Hours event.

Next up in Manchester Jewish Museum’s hugely popular new series of highlight events (many of which have sold out) is Voices of the City as part of Manchester After Hours 2016. One of several special commissions as part of this unique evening of cultural shenanigans on Thursday 12 May, Voices of the City brings together award-winning and emerging writers to respond to rarely-seen archival footage of Cheetham Hill and Manchester from the North West Film Archive: think entirely new, carefully crafted pieces of writing performed to a background of black and white footage, including unlikely scenes such as a circus (with attendant acrobats, clowns and exotic animals) winding its way through the city, and dating back to 1955. Best of all, there’s a free drink on entry.

Entirely new, carefully crafted pieces of writing performed to a background of black and white footage

The programme has been curated by Bad Language, winner of Best Spoken Word Night in the UK at the Saboteur Awards in 2015. It features author of five books and winner of the Somerset Maughan Award for Alasdair Gray: A Secretary’s Biography Rodge Glass, as well as South African novelist Marli Roode, shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize for her debut novel Call It Dog and for the Bristol and Bridport Short Story Prizes for her short fiction. Joining the bill is Abi Hynes, trained as a playwright at the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Theatre, Artistic Director of Faro Productions, co-founder of cabaret night First Draft and regular performer at Bad Language, Stirred Poetry and The Real Story.

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On the more surreal side of things will be Dave Hartley, writer of award-winning ‘strange stories for strange people’, and published with Sleepy House Press, Structo Magazine and Dark Fiction Magazine. Benjamin Judge, meanwhile, spends ‘a lot of time thinking about how things don’t work’ and has his short stories published by Flax and Spilling Ink, as well as being a regular blog writer for Manchester Literature Festival and Bookmunch reviews. Finally, there’s yours truly, a Creative Writing MA graduate, award-winning journalist, presenter on That’s Manchester TV channel and writer of short stories that have been performed at the Royal Exchange, Write It: Mic It at the Castle hotel and more; currently working on a novel and much more comfortable writing about other people (and things) than myself.

Voices of the City promises to be a very special night, with performances happening after dark in one of the city’s most atmospheric venues. It’s cleverly programmed towards the end of the evening (9pm-11pm) and Manchester Jewish Museum is only around 15 minutes walk from town, so you can catch your favourite picks from the Manchester After Hours line-up and still make it. Tickets are only £5, and it’s worth exploring the best places to eat in the area before you go.

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