Our upcoming productions...

Hangmen (Comedy)

BY

Martin McDonagh

Where

Blackburn Empire Theatre

DATE

21-24 September, 2022

ABOUT THE PLAY

Hangmen is mostly set in the year 1965, when the death penalty for murder is abolished in Britain. The story centres on the former executioner turned pub-owner, Harry Wade and poses the following question: what’s the second-best hangman in England to do on the day they’ve abolished hanging? Harry may seem to be enjoying post-retirement life in Oldham with his wife Alice and his teenage daughter Shirley. Spending his evenings jovially hosting his pub regulars. But his dark past comes back to haunt him, in the form of his old assistant, Syd who appears to express doubts about the justice of their last hanging, a man named Hennessey, executed on the charge of murdering a young woman. The future of Harry’s peaceful retirement is also disrupted by the mysterious arrival of Mooney, a stranger with unknown motives who flirts with Harry’s daughter and who is clearly marked as an outsider, from somewhere down south.

Goodnight Mister Tom (Drama)

BY

David Wood

Where

Blackburn Empire Theatre

DATE

16-19 November, 2022

ABOUT THE PLAY

Set during the dark and dangerous build-up to the Second World War, Goodnight Mister Tom follows sad young William Beech, who is evacuated to the idyllic English countryside and builds a remarkable and moving friendship with the elderly recluse Tom Oakley. All seems perfect until William is devastatingly summoned by his mother back to London.

Jane Eyre (Drama)

BY

Polly Teale

Where

Blackburn Empire Theatre

DATE

8-11 March, 2023

ABOUT THE PLAY

A bold and theatrically inventive adaptation of the literary classic that puts the interior life of the novel on stage.

As a child, the orphaned Jane Eyre is taught by a succession of severe guardians to stifle her natural exuberance. A part of herself is locked away, out of view of polite society… until she arrives at Rochester’s house as a governess to his young child. Soon Rochester’s passionate nature reawakens Jane’s hidden self, but darker secrets are stirring in the attic…

They Don't Pay? We Won't Pay (Comedy)

BY

Deborah McAndrew

Where

Blackburn Empire Theatre

DATE

17-20 May, 2023

ABOUT THE PLAY

Fast, furious and very funny, this is farce with fire in its belly. A comedy of cash-strapped conniving and riotous civil disobedience. McAndrew relocates the action from Italy to present-day Britain, with Brexit looming, austerity biting and the scars from decades of declining UK industry still smarting. Hunger is the starting point for Italian Nobel prize winner Dario Fo’s 1974 farce (lightly redrafted after the 2008 banking crisis). At a local supermarket the protest has escalated into full-scale looting. Police sirens wail. In her kitchen, recently redundant, punchy Anthea shares her spoils with her timid Catholic friend, Maggie. Their husbands must not find the stolen goods: stolid factory worker and trade unionist Jack and his naive-but-learning-fast workmate, Lewis, would not approve.

The women share information with the men “on a need-to-know basis” – not just about the theft, but about their losing battles against mounting arrears on rent, electricity, gas… Heading over to her own flat, Maggie hides beneath her coat a bulging shopping bag the size and shape of a baby bump. The play holds dialogue that leaps from political diatribe to pun-sprinkled banter and sly asides. However crazy the plot elements, all are set in motion by actual circumstances: price hikes, factory closures, Catholic prohibitions. If the politics are particular, though, the theme is universal: the poor pay while the rich profiteer.