From 11 - 19 August 2023, we brought our mobile theatre, The Den, to The East Manchester Academy in Beswick for the East Manchester Community Festival.

Nine days of events, performances, workshops and activities, co-created and delivered by a 12-strong Local Exchange Ambassador team of residents from Beswick, Openshaw and Clayton.

All tickets to shows in the Den were £1 to secure a seat, or free if you take a chance on the day. All workshops and other activities were completely FREE.

The programme included professional productions from Manchester-based companies, and productions with the local community centre-stage including a night of stand-up comedy, a performance from the Beswick Young Company and a devised collaboration between The Men’s Room and Manchester-based internationally touring dance company, Company Chameleon. The festival also saw the world premiere of a brand-new musical written about Beswick, Openshaw and Clayton performed by professional actors, four local choirs and a local Djembe group.

The people of East Manchester got involved in workshops across the festival including crafting for all ages, photography and drumming. The 13 August saw a family takeover day with crafting, face-painting, nature activities, a local scavenger hunt and a family-friendly production of new-play The Street Where I Live by M6 Theatre.

Throughout the festival there was crafts, locally provided food and exhibitions of locally made art.

The East Manchester Community Festival was supported by Arts Council England, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Esmee Fairbairn and The Oglesby Charitable Trust.

East Manchester Community Festival Audience Feedback

“Amazing experience showcasing the community. Loved it.”

“We need these stories told in the communities that need to talk about them”

“It brought people in who may never seen theatre. Told stories never heard. Consolidates community in an area people feel disconnected”

“We are quite starved of drama, theatre in the M11 area. It’s therapeutic and really helps my anxiety. It’s great that it was free, so accessible to all.”