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.

exhibitions · fashion · galleries · gallery · review · war

Manchester Art Gallery: Fashion

As I’ve been back in Manchester for a few weeks, I thought it was about time I headed into town for some culture. Manchester Art Gallery has opened two new fashion exhibitions over the summer, and I was eager to go and take a look.

Vogue 100: A Century of Style

img_8016I picked up my first ever copy of Vogue in 2010, the queen of fashion magazine, Vogue, is celebrating 100 years in print. The exhibition featured a range of popular portraits to depict each decade alongside a timeline of all 100 years of vogue. From it’s mid-war starting point to the present day, you can see before your eyes the continued cycle of fashion — covers from the 60’s wouldn’t look out of place today.

I loved the styles of the 1920’s, and the patterns that once came with each copy of vogue, making me itch for my sewing machine. The covers over the century also depict some of the most memorable moments from British culture – the rolling stones, Lady Diana’s wedding and death to current pop stars and icons. It’s a tribute to British culture. A timeline of our history. Beautifully photographed, designed and coordinated. Vogue is timeless, and long may it reign over British fashion.

Fashion & Freedom

img_8009Another exhibition commemorating a centenary, Fashion & Freedom explores the drastic move in fashion within the First World War to the 1920’s. This shift, arguably, is one of the the most dramatic movements of fashion. We move from tight corsets, big skirts to shapeless dresses and even trousers in a decade. Has any other fashion movement altered women’s wear so quickly?

It was intriguing to compare mid-war fashion to the work of students from across the country today, holding similarities in style but differing drastically in fabric choices, colour and expression. The exhibition once again proved the resilience of fashion, it’s impact even within the darkest days.

If you’re in and around Manchester, these are two exhibition not to be missed, both free and at the centre of the city there’s no excuse for seeing a century of fashion.

 

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.

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 · music · Musical · performance · review · The Lowry · Theatre · war

The Sound of Music

The_Sound_of_Music nunsThe Sound of Music bounced onto the Lowry’s stage in a musical extravaganza of a show for this Christmas. Filled with the classics of Do Re Me, Edelweiss and Sound of Music the music carried the show and transported the audience back to the 1930s.

Beginning in the Abbey, the nuns were serious and melancholy before being slightly mischievous in How do you solve a problem like Maria. It added a sense of cheer to the rather silent abbey, a distant past to the life Maria had expected to find here. Instead she’s packed off to govern seven Von Trap children and alter the expectations of a strict and repressive father. Music is of course the answer, teaching and guiding the children with her knowledge and love.

It is the love story of war, circumstances and needs, passion and short lives that bring this family together. Happy in the music and surrounding of the mountains, their perfect life becomes shattered by war.

For me, the Sound of music was at times a little too cheery in its portrayal, even in the shadow of war the characters continue with their music and life without care. Even the finale of their escape is rather modest, without much suspense or determination. I would have liked to see a slight twit in the portrayal of the story, something new and raw that could have been brought to the production. Yet the audience seemed spell bound, even singing along in places, it was the tale they expected and the tale they clearly wanted to see.

The Sound of Music is at The Lowry until the 2nd January 2016.

art · exhibitions · galleries · review

The Whitworth Gallery

Moving slightly away from the literature theme my blog has so far taken, to an adventure around Manchester.

The Whitworth -1

The main port of call is the newly reopened and refurbished Whitworth Gallery, after its closed doors of the past two years it’s no wonder I could both hear and see the fireworks on its opening night. With the space bright and open, it’s an inviting mix of the old 19th century red brick to the great glass walls giving a largely modern feel. This theme follows through inside, most prominently in the portraits gallery, the modern and contemporary mixed with tradition portraiture. Although on first impression there is almost too much to look at, by having such contrasts surrounding each piece, it’s individual and distinctiveness arrises on its own. However these were by far not my favourites pieces, I’ve learnt I prefer more interactive art something to really study, explore and discover within.

The Whitworth -2Cold Dark Matter (pictured above) proves this the most, with a literal explosion of objects, meaning and interpretation awaiting each new visitor. Then the distribution of shadows makes the whole thing expand, I also enjoyed the room filled with the out cuts of poppies, echoing the lives lost after this centenary year. Something so small, but equally effective. A collection of embroiled definitions (pictured left) also fascinated me, viewing contrasts as a part of one another and placing the question if one can function without the other. I was also quite pleased my linguistic skills meant I could read the phonetic transcription.

There is much more to be explored, although the exhibitions don’t take long to go around, I’d be impressed if you’re able to fill half a day here. With a light and bright café, serving an array of food, lunch may help pad out an afternoon. Other then that with a disappointingly small shop it’s worth a visit; just be aware two hours may be its limit.

The Whitworth -3          The Whitworth -4

The Whitworth           The Whitworth

The Whitworth Gallery is situated on Oxford Road, Manchester.