Saved, for the moment: 24:7 Theatre Festival gets a reprieve

Susie Stubbs
Photo of award cards

Without its regular funding, it looked like it was all over for the Manchester theatre festival that celebrates new talent – until a few friends stepped in.

Theatre in Manchester has rarely looked so healthy. From the Royal Exchange to the soon-to-be-opened HOME, the city is awash with venues. And with companies such as Quarantine, and an offer that ranges from trad. Shakespeare to new work fusing basketball and hip hop, if theatre is your thing, Manchester is where it’s at. Don’t take our word for it: Guardian critic Lyn Gardner recently noted the city’s “changing theatre scene.” After too long in the theatrical wilderness, here was a place, she wrote, fast playing catch-up.

After ten years at the theatrical coalface, the festival had its regular funding pulled – for good

So it seemed ironic that after ten years at the theatrical coalface, the 24:7 Theatre Festival had its regular funding pulled – for good. This is a peripatetic festival that has, since 2004, nurtured new writing talent in the city. While its festivals were almost always a mixed bag, the fact that ticket prices were low and the plays plentiful gave the public the chance to take a punt – and playwrights the chance to get their work on stage, often for the first time.

But all is not lost; the 24:7 Theatre Festival has announced that it has crowdfunded enough money to run a “Big Weekender”, to be held at the university and Manchester Museum in July, with the Arts Council matching publicly-raised funds and support also coming from Manchester City Council. Help has come in other forms and from other sources, too, with actor Julie Hesmondhalgh and some thirty playwrights and theatre professionals helping shortlist and select the work that will appear during the Big Weekender. So, it seems, that the 24:7 Theatre Festival is safe again, for the moment. Let’s just hope that we see a return to a fully-funded and fully-scaled up festival in 2016.

Culture Guides

Backyard Cinema

Cinema

It only takes a quick glance at the film listings to realise that Christmas is coming, and quick. We’ve rounded up some of our festive highlights alongside standout seasons and festivals.

Exhibitions

Pause in the hustle and bustle of festive prep to take in some inspiration from this month’s top exhibitions.

Manchester Christmas Parade

Families

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and Manchester is bursting with fun, family activities to keep the kids entertained in the run up to Christmas!

Writer Nicholas Royle. Photo by Zoe McLean

Literature

There are spooky stories, Christmas crime thrillers and plenty of books for stocking fillers as December unfolds and Manchester and the wider North region switches on the live literature lights.

Music

The festive season is here, and whether you want to escape it or embrace it, we’ve got you covered.

Theatre in Manchester and the North

Theatre

Contemporary cabaret, powerful monologues and world premiere musicals. Our theatre guide spans the festive season and beyond.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester and the north.

Food and Drink

Explore the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North for autumn.

Tours and Activities

We’re deep into Autumn now but don’t let that stop you from finding a new tour or activity to get stuck into.

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Cinema Until 8 December 2022, from £7.95

Aftersun at HOME

Elizabeth Gaskell's House garden. Photo by Chris Tucker
Literature Until 11 December 2022, from £4.50

Book sale at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Cinderella at Hope Mill Theatre
Families Until 11 December 2022, from £27.00

Cinderella at Hope Mill Theatre

Music Until 17 December 2022, from £5

RNCM Autumn Season

Melissa Wan
Literature Until 17 December 2022, from £7

Ghosts at the Old Library

Flecky Bennett’s HALLOWEEN 2018 Ghost Walk
Activity Until 17 December 2022, from £15

Flecky Bennett’s Ghost Walks

Star of Wonder at Theatre Porto
Families Until 21 December 2022, from £0.00

Star of Wonder at Theatre Porto

Cinema Until 22 December 2022, from £20.00

Backyard Cinema