Taking place between October and December, Manchester School of Theatre’s eclectic autumn season showcases three uniquely captivating productions, each starring a cast of prodigious student actors from the BA Acting course, in a programme which spans searing racial satire, heartrending family drama and The Simpsons.

From Thu 12 – Sat 14 Oct, Manchester School of Theatre present the regional premiere of Brandon Jacob-Jenkins’ Obie Award-winning satire, An Octoroon. By turns darkly hilarious and blisteringly astute, the prescient satire draws inspiration from Dion Boucicault’s 1859 melodrama The Octoroon as a springboard to explore the social magnitude of race, identity and representation while forcing the audience to reckon with painful historical legacies in an uncomfortably enjoyable atmosphere. Hailed as ‘wildly imaginative’ by Village Voice, the play-within-a-play follows George Peyton, the heir of a financially doomed Louisiana slave plantation – Terrebone – who falls in love with ‘octoroon’ Zoe, threatening his planned marriage to wealthy heiress Dora and the subsequent salvation of the family estate.

From Thu 9 to Sat 11 Nov, Simon Stephens’ Light Falls offers a rich, captivating tale of life, death, family and converging fates, as five relatives in five disparate English towns are pulled together by a single devastating event. Directed by former Joint Artistic Director of the Royal Exchange Theatre, Bryony Shanahan, Light Falls is a complex and stirring meditation on living with grief, the love left behind by those who’ve gone and the strength, kindness and resolve of family and community which helps the North to survive.

From Thu 30 Nov-Sat 2 Dec, Manchester School of Theatre round off their autumn season with Mr. Burns (A Post Electric Play). Written by Anne Burns, the post-apocalyptic pop culture tale follows a group of survivors who, months after a cataclysmic nuclear war, attempt to fend off tedium by piecing together an episode of The Simpsons from collective memory. Over 75 years, fragments of the original story are passed down to new generations in a line of incremental distortion, until something ‘powerful and utterly original’ emerges, in a parable about the nature and necessity of stories across human existence.

For more information, check out the Manchester School of Theatre website.

A Manchester Wire Partnership post
Manchester School of Theatre,
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Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Mon 9 Oct 2023