Hope Mill declares its festival intent

Hope Fest's tent: temporary community centre for the summer

Writer:

Paul Genty

19 May 2021

Powerhouse independent theatre to run three-week festival from July

Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre will launch a three-week festival, Hope Fest in its Ancoats homebase this summer,

The programme of arts and cultural events will run in a large tent from July 16-August 8.

The 250-capacity theatre tent will be situated at the New Islington tram station at the junction of Pollard Street and Great Ancoats Street, close to the theatre.

Hope Fest, which will run in association with Electric Park, has been made possible through collaboration and an ambition to champion community-centric events following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions – assuming they are.

The festival line-up offers family theatre, comedy, music, plays and musical theatre, as well as one-off special community events, and the tent will also have a bar and eating areas.

The organisers are also launching a special Fancoats scheme for local residents, offering ticket discounts and an invite to a one-off residents’ gathering to bring the community together.

The full festival line-up can be found here, but current highights include tribute acts covering music by the Four Seasons and Dolly Parton, Jason Manford’s Comedy Club, a touring production of Judy and Liza, about the turbulent relationship between mother and daughter singing icons Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli, film screenings, dog-orientated community event Dog Fest, excerpts from the finalist plays in Hope Mill's annual playwriting contest, a new murder mystery play from theatre company Up ‘Ere Productions and a celebration of the kind of musical theatre performances that Hope Mill has made its own in recent years.

Hope Mill’s executive director William Whelton said: “After a year of uncertainty we have been working hard to bring together a festival in our local area. This is an opportunity for us to bring together our audiences in a new and exciting way, as well as engaging with a whole new audience.

“The New Islington area has been our home for over five years and has many diverse and creative residents. Hope Fest offers a special opportunity for us to bring together the local community under one tent, with something for everyone.”

More shows will be announced over the coming weeks.