Lancashire venues hosting a range of entertainment and festivals over the coming weeks

David Upton looks at the latest entertainment offerings in the area...

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 3:45 pm
Around The World in 80s Days

Lancaster Music Festival, now one of the country’s largest such events, opens next Thursday.

The four-day event, which started in 2009, usually attracts more than 50,000 visitors over the weekend to enjoy a city-wide celebration of the area’s musicians, venues and cultural organisations.

Covid put the brakes on last year but festival director Stuart Marshall says: “With more than 400 separate events we think this year’s festival will be the biggest so far in terms of its scope and breadth of activities”.

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Funding from the Arts Council has allowed greater collaboration with local music, dance, theatre and arts organisations to produce a wide range of performances, workshops and exhibitions aimed at all age the community. Stuart added: “It will be almost 100% free to attend. And for those who are still unsure about going into venues there will be a wide range of outdoor and socially-distanced events.”

Lancaster Castle will host the Melodrome mobile stage where the courtyard will allow plenty of space for dancing, theatrics and eclectic acts. There will also be a programme of outdoor events in the city’s squares and streets.

Meanwhile the Art of Music is the second time that King Street Arts in the city have presented an exhibition It opens on October 13, the day before the Festival, and runs until October 25.

Almost 50 local, national and international artists will be displaying various work.

Details: https://lancastermusicfestival.com

What goes Around The World in 80 Days . . . comes around again, when Blackpool Grand Productions re-stage their homegrown comedy musical from tomorrow night. Powered by chart hits from the 1980s Phileas Fogg or ‘Phil’, the most fabulous man on the London party scene, boards boats, trains and hot air balloons in a race against time.

Based on Jules Verne’s iconic novel, Around The World in 80s Days has been reimagined by writer and director Ian McFarlane, with musical arrangements by Laurie Denman. It runs from Friday to November 5.

Details: www.Blackpoolgrand.co.uk/80sDays

Blackpool’s Lightpool Festival is back from next Friday - bigger, bolder and brighter than ever!

The 16-night programme, from October 15-30, features a mix of light installations, live performance and 3D projection shows.

The festival, which is free to access and staged across a range of indoor and outdoor venues, showcases 16 new illuminated artworks including nine world premieres. It will be complemented by Blackpool Illuminations; the World Fireworks Championship being staged in Blackpool; and a new seafront festival village opposite Blackpool Tower.

Details: https://www.visitblackpool.com/detail/lightpool-festival-793420/

After an Edinburgh Fringe run in 2019 – in which he earned a nomination for Best Show and a top-10 listing for Best Joke – Ivo Graham’s tour of his show The Game of Life, is back on track and comes to Darwen Library Theatre next Thursday.

As an unashamedly autobiographical comedian, his previous shows have moved through the gears from singledom, to relationships, to, in 2018’s Motion Sickness, engagement and pregnancy. Expect more high-end comedy, from one of the most emotionally (in)articulate comics and prank victims in the game.

Details darwenlibrarytheatre.com

The killer West End comedy Death Drop is sashaying across the UK on tour this autumn and comes to The Lowry in Salford from next Tuesday to Saturday.

Ru-Paul USA drag legends Willam and Ra’Jah O’Hara and Drag Race UK star Vinegar Strokes, reprising her West End role, together with Holly Stars and other leading drag performers, star in this murder mystery romp. It’s 1991 and a gaggle of guests gather on Tuck Island for a soirée like no other. The tension rises as outrageous guests reveal their suspicious and sordid pasts, until the last, nerve-shredding moment surviving guests find out whodunnit!

Details https://thelowry.com

A modern version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be staged at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester October 6-16, following two similar sold-out Shakespeare shows in 2018 and 2019.

In a twist to the plot of the original – which revolves around the marriage of Theseus to Hippolyta – this reimagined version is set on Hipppolyta’s hen-do in a Manchester nightclub.

The play is produced by HER Productions in partnership with Girl Gang Manchester and directed by Kate Colgrave Pope.

It will showcase emerging local talent, with several graduates taking starring roles.

They appear alongside well-known names including Karen Henthorn, who spent 18 months in Coronation Street as Teresa Bryant in the late 2000s.

Details: https://hopemilltheatre.co.uk/whats-on

A heart-warming expression of love for Manchester by young people who call it home is to be performed October 16 and 23 at Cross Street Chapel in the city.

Devised, sung and acted out by the young participants, Umbrellas In The Sun is the culmination of a project to bring children of the world together and be creative.

The project, initiated by Manchester’s Afrocats, was postponed during Covid. But volunteers also stepped in to support families with no access to TV, radio or wi-fi to find out about the dangers to their health, to keep their children in education and know where to find support.

Details https://cross-street-chapel.org.uk

HOME in Manchester have a Black History Month programme including live and online theatre, a film programme and a new exhibition.

This year the programme will extend beyond October, with the return of HOME Comedy Club and HOME Sound Sessions to Theatre 1.

In the cinemas, a specially-curated film season will include The Story of a Three Day Pass, Barbershop, No Place Like Home, Waiting to Exhale, The Story of Lovers Rock, Hollywood Shuffle and Amazing Grace.

Throughout the month, there will be online events including a female-focused Black Creatives: In Conversation and Storytime Sessions, where families can join Steely the Steel Drum on his musical journey. The sessions will be accompanied by a storytelling workshop during half term.

Details: homemcr.org/bhm2021

Timeless, at 53Two, Manchester, October 13-14 stars John Rayment as Martin, a cabbie with a problem - he can’t make new memories.

He may have The Knowledge, but he can’t remember yesterday.

The single-hander, written by Brian Coyle, had two short runs in 2018, at the Hen & Chickens and Theatre N16 under the auspices of Mixed Up Theatre. Now it’s back, presented by Sarah Lawrie.

Details: https://www.53two.com