manchester · university

Women in Media 2017

To celebrate International Women’s Day I was part of an incredible team running a Women in Media Conference over the 4th and 5th March in Manchester.

The weekend was full to bursting with inspirational speakers, panels, and workshops. There was something for everyone — covering print media, broadcasting, digital media and even, acting and presenting. It was amazing to watch a group of women be confident and speak out with incredible questions and anecdotes of their own experience.

From local panels celebrating ‘Our Manchester Women’ to a keynote from BBC Breakfast’s Steph McGovern the main hall was full of girl power, a theme that ran throughout the conference. It was a wonderful to hear the feedback of women feeling they could talk confidently in a supportive environment on a range of topics and issues across the media.

It was an incredible conference to be a part of, working with a fabulous team of women equally enthusiastic and supportive of one another. To check out the event, see the article I wrote for the Mancunion here, or head to our website.

manchester · Musical · Palace Manchester · performance · review · Theatre

Billy Elliot

It’s not very often that we get great northern theatre — theatre based in the north but also about the north. Now that Billy Elliot’s tour has made its way to Manchester’s Palace Theatre the north is in for a treat.

The tale of Billy Elliot is heart warming from start to finish, it explore issues covering the miner strike of 1984/5 to one boy’s dream to dance. Yet it’s the little things that also matter in this tale, Billy’s desire to be accepted by his family and a community fighting for justice in amongst the ballet and boxing lessons.

billy-elliot

I am continuously amazed by the talent in these productions; Billy can sing, can act, and boy, he can certainly dance. You forget in each scene change it’s the same incredibly talented boy who has just danced, sung and acted weaving humour and emotions when required. The set too almost comes alive, and is amusingly mirrored during Billy’s audition at the Royal Ballet School.

This tale is certainly a treat and a wonderful introduction to musical theatre, if you’re around Manchester this Christmas, I would certainly recommend a trip.

bullet journal · journal · manchester · review · university

Bullet Journal: University

The Bullet Journal was something I thought I’d start and never really finish. Surprisingly I’ve completed my first notebook with the summer’s thoughts, agenda’s and to-do lists. Now that autumn is here, and university has begun again— I’ve gained a new notebook (a dotted underwater blue Moleskin) and altered my layout for the term.

First things first, I wanted to include useful university-related items at the very front of my journal, my timetable, deadlines and weekly readings are pages I end up reaching for most days. To ensure I am extra organised in my final year, I’ve also created some checklists for each module; only time will tell if this works.

I then jump straight into the month’s overview, my general goals and to-do’s, a habit tracker and blog page. I’ve also enjoyed filling in a gratitude log each day — a little something that’s made me smile. These pages are for the whole month, little tasks and tracker’s to keep on top of, without certain days to be held down to.

My weekly layout has been updated to hold more general to-do’s for the week, alongside a meal planner as I begin to cook for myself again. Then my daily log is very much the same — most days it’s full of tasks, other days it’s a longer journal piece, or a mixture of the two. I love the freedom of the daily log, it can be filled the way you choose, long or short, decorative of simple it allows your day to remain organised, regardless of the amount of time on your hands.

I’ve found a system that really works for me, I enjoy having everything written down, moving away from the digital age for a little while. It’s keeping me organised and productive — while also encouraging a space to start writing a little more.

Let me know your thoughts on the bullet journal, the internet is already full of inspiration, so I’ve added my little corner too.

manchester · play · review · Theatre

Husbands and Sons

It’s not often I head to the theatre without really knowing what I am about to see, yet as I entered the Royal Exchange Theatre at the heart of Manchester; I knew nothing of the tale to come.

An adaption of three of D.H. Lawrence’s plays, Husbands and Sons may be titled with the patriarch, but the play itself I felt showed the strength and struggles of women. It was a celebration of the matriarch, the centre of each family who brought the individual tales to work as one. It may centre around a coal mine, but the overriding struggles are the people of this community, not the harsh surroundings they undertake. It showcases a world of physical labour, fierce pride and a sense of worth, but at what cost to the human race?

The production triumphed in its use of the stage, set in the round, the set becomes very intimate, stretching out towards the audience; allowing us to feel ever closer to the events we witnessed. The portrayal of each character, showing their strength and weakness echoed through the play as the tale span out before our eyes.

Husbands and Sons 1

It’s certainly not a production to miss, Husbands and Sons plays at the Royal Exchange Theatre until 19th March 2016.

books · fiction · literature · manchester · Waterstones

Buying a blind book

IMG_6100Occasionally bookshops can become a little overwhelming, some have far too much choice, rooms full of shelves requiring your attention. It’s hard to know where to begin. So as I headed into town with the small mission of wanting (another) new book to read, I came across a slightly different presentations of fiction.

Waterstones held a shelf in the corner of their fiction room at their Deansgate store, containing books hidden slightly from view. Instead of their covers sitting proudly on the shelves to tempt you in, they were wrapped simply in brown paper. Instead of the title and blurb you had a label with a small description upon it, these differed in detail; some gave a list of themes, others a quote and one simply said ‘If you don’t read this book, you and I could never be friends’. I was, of course, intrigued.

IMG_6103I believe it’s set around valentines, a blind book date for anyone, and everyone with a small or large book obsession. I spent a long time pondering the many choices in front of me, eager to pick something slightly out of my comfort zone, while trying to work out if it was a title I’d already read.

After making my selection, taking it to the till and the bookseller kindly ensuring I saw not a glimpse of the title as he put the transaction through, I felt as though I’d come out with a present. A gift to myself, something secret yet I was sure I would enjoy it.

Once back home, I raced to open my purchase, to see what it was I had chosen for myself. Now I just have to start reading…

Thank you Waterstones for a new and unique book buying experience, I only wish it could be all year round.

*edit: you can read my review of Station Eleven here.

HOME mcr · literature · Macbeth · manchester · performance · play · review · Shakespeare · Theatre

Macbeth

Is this a dagger which I see before me, its handle toward my hand?

Macbeth kingMacbeth, Macbeth oh worthy Macbeth. I do enjoy a bit of Shakespeare, and seeing the Bard’s work on stage overrides any understanding you can gain from reading alone. I therefore found myself at Manchester’s HOME to see a modern take on this violent and power-hungry play.

I’m always intrigued to see how a reworking of Shakespeare can be transported to modern day, this production made it look effortless. That Macbeth’s tale was written to be performed in a sort of dystopian underpass. It was clever, accurate and relatable. It gave the sense of the darkness of the play, both physically in the dungeon-like modern setting, and practically of the murderous rampage the tyrant goes upon.

Macbeth witchesBeginning, of course with the witches; who’s spirits appeared to move them, it was a clever incorporation of dance and choreography. They helped move between scenes, flawlessly being both apart and distanced from the production, it allowed their power to be felt through scenes without physical interaction required. I was, however, slightly disappointed that Hecat was removed from the play, I feel her scene allows the connection of the witches to be portrayed, adding determination to their part. Regardless, the three sisters appeared strong and feminine, mystical and alive carrying the spirits of the play through them.

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth 2Equally the leads of Macbeth, John Heffernan, and Lady Macbeth, Anna Maxwell Martin, carried through the violence, manipulation and strength required by this play. Lady Macbeth may not have been quite the innocent flower she wished to depict, instead she was surely the serpent underneath, portraying her strength and ultimate madness Matin triumphed in her portrayal. Likewise Heffernan was equally strong and persuasive in the end, overcoming his previous fears to take on his name as tyrant. The two complimented each other, passing over the power, strength of their characters to form an unruly double act.

The production was a perfect retelling of this well-known tragedy, elegantly retold in a new setting; the stage clearly the battleground of power and determination. With a cast all holding equal power in their presentation of the story, the tale shone through the stage and transported the audience to the battle of Scotland’s sovereignty. Equally it was engaging to have the play going straight through, the lack of an interval kept the suspense and darkness of the play; allowing it to unfold at a quicker pace.

If you’re around Manchester, catch Macbeth at HOME until Saturday 6th February.

manchester · Musical · play · review · The Girls · The Lowry · Theatre · Yorkshire

The Girls

Gary Barlow, Tim Firth and the Calendar Girls credit John Swannell

The Girls held its world premier at The Lowry this week, having seen the West End play a fair few years ago, I was intrigued to see how a new production of the same story would be unleashed. I was pleasantly surprised. The music added a new dimension to the tale; it allowed the characters to express their thoughts and feelings in a deeper sense then words alone can convey. It encapsulated the humour and sadness the story manages to conquer, holding and carrying the story through the music.

Being a Yorkshire girl across the roses border, The Girls made me feel very patriotic to my county, the introductory number Yorkshire, shouting proudly of the dales and fells I call home. It shows the relationship people have with their home, the pride to be a part of the community and desire to belong. It is after all the community spirit alone that triumphs in this story, the daring to stand together, and it’s surprising just what can come out of it.

Gary Barlow, Tim Firth and the original Calendar Girls credit Matt CrockettThere was the expected sad delicate numbers that deal with loss, grief and sometimes the denial of death, beautifully written and projected to the audience. Yet alongside great sadness, comes great joy. The humour brought by Claire Moor as Chris, whipping her bra off on the fell, and the humiliation of our parents every teenager goes through is conveyed expertly by the young actors playing Danny, Tommo and Jenny.

Let alone to how brilliantly the calendar shoot is played by all of ‘The Girls’, it was done in elegance, amusement and humour. Yet, best of all I felt the audience were laughing with the nervous characters on stage, impressed and amazed by the bravery the actors put on show. It was tasteful; it was funny and entertained the whole audience.

Everything from the stage set, the music to the actors was brilliant, it deepened my current understanding of The Calendar Girls story, and proves the bravery and determination of one set of ruthless WI girls. It’s an incredible true story, which only heightens the pressure and exposure of the show, a musical that brings more to life then music and words, a story to be shared.

 

The Girls deserved its standing ovation; make sure to catch this show, while you still can. The Girls is playing at the Lowry until 30th January 2016.