The Finborough Theatre has announced that it will present Horniman’s Choice in September 2015 bringing together four one act plays from the ‘Manchester School’ of playwrights.
“If Lancashire playwrights will send their plays to me I shall pledge myself to read them through. Let them not write as one dramatist does, about Countesses and Duchesses and society existing in imaginations, but about their friends and enemies – about real life.” – Annie Horniman
These plays by Harold Brighouse, Stanley Houghton and Allan Monkhouse, were all originally championed by Annie Horniman, owner of the Gaiety Theatre, Manchester, the first repertory theatre in Britain.
The four plays chosen are:-
THE PRICE OF COAL by Harold Brighouse
1909. The mines. Collier Jack Tyldesley heads off at 5.30am for another day’s hard graft at the coalface. His lover, Mary Bradshaw, has promised to answer his marriage proposal when he returns home, but Jack’s mother is haunted by premonitions of disaster. Risk is part of the job, but too often the cost of fuel outweighs the cost of the lives of men.
LONESOME LIKE by Harold Brighouse
1911. The mill. Sarah Ormerod has worked in a Lancashire mill for many years, but age and hard work have taken their toll. When she loses the use of her hands, she is condemned to spend the rest of her days in the workhouse, unless someone can help her. Without a welfare state, what happens to the elderly and disabled?
THE OLD TESTAMENT AND THE NEW by Stanley Houghton
1914. The home. Christopher Battersby is a devout Christian, running his household in strict and obsessive accordance with the Old Testament. When his daughter runs off to London with an unsuitable man, he struggles with his faith and the limits of what he can forgive.
NIGHT WATCHES by Allan Monkhouse
1916. The trenches. A new orderly begins work on the night shift at a Red Cross hospital, only to find that two of the patients are more comically surprising and disruptive that originally seemed.
Casting for the plays includes Hannah Edwards, James Holmes, Lewis Maiella, Ursula Mohan, and Graham O’Mara.
Horniman’s Choice will be Directed by Anna Marsland. Designed by Amelia Jane Hankin. Lighting by Rob Mills. Sound by Simon Gethin Thomas. Presented by Ine Van Riet in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.