Strong Manchester Women!

The Herizons group excelled themselves in a rousing performance inspired by strong women from Manchester’s history at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House last night!

From Peterloo activist Mary Fildes, to modern day anti-racism campaigner Louise Da-Cocodia, they took their audience on a lively journey through time with sketches and songs.

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The group have been working on the performance in weekly sessions since the beginning of March and were delighted to be able to share the stories they’d uncovered to an enthusiastic audience:

‘Fabulous performance – entertaining and informative, well done… When’s the next one?!’

‘I hope you continue to inspire others and carry on being powerful!’

‘Loved it all – the final song was very uplifting, great!’

Herizons is a community performance group of local women who meet every week for music and drama workshops at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. Some members of the group first came together to devise and perform ‘Gaskell: The Musical!’ – a sell out sensation at Manchester Histories Festival 2016 – and we are pleased to have welcomed new members along the way. The group were recently honoured to perform at Manchester City Council’s International Women’s Day Awards at the Town Hall. This term, the Herizons group has been funded by the One Manchester Community Fund and sessions are delivered by enJOY arts and Claire Mooney, in partnership with Elizabeth Gaskell’s House.

We’ll soon be able to share some exciting news about what Herizons’ next adventure will be – so watch this space!

 

Reprising Gaskell: The Musical!

We’ve had a fantastic week teaming up again with enJOY favourite Claire Mooney to reprise ‘Gaskell: The Musical!’ for both private and public audiences at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. The show was devised and performed by a warm and lively group of local women and originally premiered at Manchester Histories Festival back in June. The sell-out success of the initial run led to various requests for a reprise  – which we were delighted to be able to arrange with support from Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, One Manchester and Places for People.

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Production week began on Monday, bringing our wonderful performers back together to brush up on the songs and then pretty much hit the ground running with full technical and dress rehearsals. The enthusiasm and camaraderie of the cast, most of whom had never met each other before the original project, sprang quickly back to life as if they’d never been apart.

Tuesday was another busy day with 2 performances for staff, tenants and friends of One Manchester and Places for People. It was great to have another opportunity to share the piece with even more local people and the feedback from these audiences was incredibly positive:

‘It was lovely to see women that I know excelling at something I didn’t even know they were involved in. LOVED IT!!!’

‘Fantastic – actors did an excellent job – makes me feel empowered as a woman.’

‘A superb introduction to the house, which I never knew was on my doorstep! Just the right mix of prose and music, wonderfully performed.’

On Wednesday, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House had commissioned a private performance as a treat for their hard-working volunteers, most of whom know both the House and Mrs Gaskell very well. It was lovely to be able to give back to this fantastic team whose support around the House has been invaluable throughout the rehearsal process. The cast were particularly pleased to have an enthusiastic endorsement from this audience:

‘Totally outstanding. Very talented women, clearly enjoying performing together. Incredibly professionally put together. Elizabeth Gaskell would be proud!’

‘Well done! Absolutely brilliant, brought the house to life and captured the spirit of Mrs Gaskell and her family.’

‘It got right to the essence of Elizabeth Gaskell… EXACTLY what the house should be doing. A triumph!’

Thursday saw our final show of the week to a public audience, which we were delighted to find had sold out again! This audience was a real mix of people including members of the Gaskell Society, people from the local neighbourhood, students and more. It was wonderful to end the week on a high with even more incredible audience comments:

‘Great idea. Brought me to the house for the first time. Learnt some things and loved the rap!’

‘Brilliant performance. Lovely it’s local people – more please!’

‘A wonderful production. So alive, so filled with energy. Bringing history and world changing needs into music and drama.’

‘Excellent performances. Please do something else ladies – don’t go back to the day job!’

It’s safe to say our talented cast of women have definitely got the performing bug now and we’re busy plotting what our next project with this group might be… so watch this space!

 

 

 

 

Gaskell: The Musical! – back by popular demand!

After a sell-out run during the Manchester Histories Festival 2016, Gaskell: The Musical! returns to Elizabeth Gaskell’s House for one night only…

Women from Ardwick and the surrounding areas have worked together to devise songs and sketches inspired by the life, work and times of Elizabeth Gaskell. Now we want to share them with you in this musical promenade performance!

When:

Thursday 22nd September 6:30pm

Where:

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

84 Plymouth Grove

M13 9LW

How to book:

Click HERE to book tickets via the Elizabeth Gaskell’s House website.

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Behind the Scenes of Gaskell: The Musical!

Check out this lovely ‘behind the scenes’ film of Gaskell: The Musical, put together for us by the wonderful Maria Ruban:

We had such a great time working on this project and we’re now busy working out how we might be able to reprise the performance in the future – watch this space!

 

Gaskell: The Musical! – sell out performances!

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Massive congratulations to the cast of ‘Gaskell: The Musical!’ who performed 3 sell-out shows at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th June!

Over the past 10 weeks, we have been working with women who live locally to the house to devise this innovative new mini-musical – inspired by the life, work and times of the Victorian writer. The group took particular inspiration from the Mrs Gaskell’s social conscience and the diverse range of people whose stories would have echoed throughout the rooms of her house: from famous contemporaries who visited regularly, to the working people in whom Elizabeth took an active interest and whose plight she immortalised in her novels.

In a series of lively creative workshops, we explored all these ideas and more through a mixture of songwriting and drama activities. We were thrilled to partner up again with wonderful singer-songwriter Claire Mooney throughout the process. Many of the group had never performed before and some of them have been working towards an employability qualification as part of this community project. We were delighted to present these special promenade performances as the culmination of the project and part of Manchester Histories Festival 2016.

The camaraderie of the performers and their determination to perform their uplifting finale outside, despite the inclement weather, was truly awe-inspiring. Here are just some of the rave reviews left by audience members in their post-show feedback:

‘A brilliant way to see the house, bring the community together and find out more about local history!’

‘Amazing! Loved everything about it!’

‘Such an eye-opening event.’

‘Very inspiring, very interactive – felt like I wanted to join in!’

‘Brilliant performances from ordinary non-actors – some definite hits in the music too!’

‘Inspirational – more women’s projects please!’

We’re incredibly grateful to all the staff, volunteers and trustees at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House for their support in making this project possible and to Manchester Histories Festival for including the performances in their 2016 programme. We’d also like to thank Arts Council England, One Manchester and Places for People for funding the project.

Photographs courtesy of Sangita Mistry.

Gaskell: The Musical! Upcoming Performances

Just four weeks to go until the curtain lifts on Gaskell: The Musical! – an innovative mini-musical created by women from Ardwick and the surrounding area. Promenade performances will take place at the incredibly atmospheric and inspiring Elizabeth Gaskell’s House as part of Manchester Histories Festival 2016! We can’t wait to share what the women have been creating and the good news is you have not one, not two, but THREE opportunities to see it! Please call or email us for tickets (details on the flyer below) and be speedy as spaces are limited!

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New women’s performance project at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

We can’t believe it’s March already! And, in the week of International Women’s Day, we’re excited to announce our new women’s performance project which will be kicking off with taster sessions next week!

Investing in Voices – Gaskell the Musical is a project where women local to Elizabeth Gaskell’s House can come together and get creative. We’ll be taking inspiration from the house to devise and perform a new musical which will be part of the Manchester Histories Festival in June. Absolutely no experience is necessary and, with a bit of music, drama and a chance to play, there’s sure to be something for everyone!

Just by taking part, women will also have the opportunity to earn a Level 1 BTEC qualification in Employability, which will be great for anyone looking to get back into the world of work or volunteering.

The project begins with two taster sessions on Tuesday 15th March (1-3pm) and Wednesday 16th March (3-5pm). These taster sessions will be in the Community Room at Cornbrook House (please see the flyer for address details) but regular weekly sessions after that will be at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. All women are welcome, there’ll be plenty of tea and biscuits – and we’re sure to have a lot of fun!

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We’re delighted to be working again with wonderful musician Claire Mooney on this project and to have secured support and funding from Arts Council England, One Manchester and Elizabeth Gaskell’s House.

Please call the number on the flyer if you’d like any more information or watch this space for updates!