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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA


previews, reviews, interviews, and recommendations with Steve Cooke



PREVIEW By Steve Cooke

Factory International is staging for the world premiere of They, a new adaptation of Kay Dick’s rediscovered masterpiece adapted by Maxine Peake, Sarah Frankcom, and Imogen Knight. The production will run from 5 - 9 July as part of Manchester International Festival.

Imagine a near-future where creative expression is outlawed, all art eradicated and any resistance takes enormous courage. Would it be enough to go on quietly creating for yourself? To memorise your favourite passages before all books disappear. What is art without an audience or a debate?

For MIF23, Kay Dick’s dystopian masterpiece They: A Sequence of Unease, is brought to life as a live performance created by Maxine Peake, Sarah Frankcom, and Imogen Knight. First published in 1977, the novel went out of print for decades but was recently re-discovered and feels more relevant than ever. Step through the doors of the iconic John Rylands Library, and into a dystopian world – as Maxine performs an afterhours reading of, They.

The adaptation is their latest Festival collaboration, following The Masque of Anarchy, The Skriker and The Nico Project, which celebrated radical acts and artists. They marks the trio’s first production as the newly-formed company MAAT – a collective adventure to make new work in conversation with Music, Art, Activism and Theatre.

Maxine Peake, Sarah Frankcom, Imogen Knight said: “In a climate of escalating culture wars, the erosion of Arts in education and a continuing political disregard for the value of creativity in building a fair society, They speaks truth to power. It celebrates the importance of making art as a means of survival and resistance and rich inspiration to make something for the times we find ourselves in right now.”

Manchester International Festival runs from 29 June - 16 July


5 - 9 July 2023

John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH

Tickets from £15

Kay Dick - Original Writer

Maxine Peake, Sarah Frankcom, and Imogen Knight - Adaptation

Commissioned and produced by Factory International for Manchester International Festival.

Toad Lane Concerts - Jonathan Ellis concert pianist

REVIEW By Dr Joe Dawson

Jonathan Ellis is no stranger to Toad Lane Concerts having appeared as a soloist, chamber music player and accompanist to singers and instrumentalist over many years. He has phenomenal technique, memory skills, stamina, and powerful delivery. So, it was great to see him in his own right as a first-rate concert pianist, making the most of the vintage 1933 Challen Grand Piano in the St Mary in the Baum Church acoustic.

After starting to learn the piano at the age of three, Jonathan studied at Wells Cathedral School, and moved on to the prestigious joint music course of the RNCM and Manchester University, where he graduated first-class from both institutions and gained an impressive range of higher diplomas and prizes.

He works regularly with his Ryebank Trio as well as for City of Manchester Opera, Bury Choral Society, Opera Seria, Heritage Opera, the Pennine Spring Music Festival, and the Buxton Festival Fringe, where he has three awards and five nominations since 2010. He also works for the musical charities “Music in Hospitals” and “Live Music Now.”

Mozart’s delightful Rondo in A minor K511 was brilliant, virtuosic and with touches of deep passion.

Schubert’s mighty Sonata in B flat can be daunting in length for the listener. But Jonathan made the most of the different tempi, style, and moods of the 4 movements, taking each of them to another level with breath-taking stamina and energy … not to mention the sheer feat of memory.

Brahms’ Rhapsody in G minor was taken at a blistering pace to top off this sensational recital.

You would have to travel far to hear a performance of this quality. Here it was in the centre of Rochdale.


Thursday 06 July - Saturday 08 July

Visit Fireground Museum

Join us at Fireground this week to discover Greater Manchester's firefighting story.

Fire museum attractions are on show inside the museum including our collection of historic firefighting artefacts from the 18th century to present day, plus home-made refreshments in the new Fireground Café, and souvenirs from our fantastic new gift shop! We have a wide choice ranging from toddler to collector.

Under 4s are free, Children (aged 4-15) and Concessions £5, Adults £7, and Family (4 people) £20.

Phone: Fireground 01706 341219

Visit: Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 10am - 4pm

Fireground, Maclure Road, Rochdale OL11 1DN

Friday 07 July

The Active Living Social

Come and join them for fun-filled music and dance afternoons taking you through the decades.

Have a drink, chat in a warm space, and meet new people and friends.

Bring your own hot drinks cup to help save the environment!

Numbers limited, booking required.

Booking is available in person at the centre you wish to attend, or by emailing: or ringing 01706 926205.

2pm - 4pm

Middleton Arena, Lance Corporal Joel Halliwell VC Way, Middleton M24 1AG

Saturday 08 July

Riverside Artisan Market

Running on the second Saturday of every month, the successful Riverside Artisan Market returns again to Rochdale Riverside this weekend.

A big thankyou to all our customers for helping us to grow this market every month.

A warm welcome is waiting from over 20 small independent businesses who grow, rear, make or bake what you see. All different, all quality and made by the people you speak to.

From artisan meats to hand made fudge and glass creations.

From room sprays, wax melts, handmade soaps, and quirky gift ideas

From preserves, chutneys, oils and vinegars to delicious savoury pies, sweet treats and fresh fruit and veg and so much more.

Come say hi, let us know what you think and while you’re here check out the great Rochdale Riverside and the other lovely places Rochdale Town Centre has to offer.


10am - 4pm

Riverside Retail & Leisure Complex, Riverside Walk, Rochdale OL16 1TR

On until Sunday 09 July

Gallery Exhibition Breakaway Art Group - Watercolours

Most items on display are available to purchase.


Phone: Littleborough Coach House 01706 378481


10am - 3pm

Littleborough Coach House, Lodge Street, Littleborough OL15 9AE

Celebrating creative arts and artists - an oasis of positivity supporting individual and community wellbeing.


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