Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Unity Theatre Goes ‘Out Of Space’ For Spring 2017

Written By: Mark Armstrong

Provided By: Unity Theatre

Unity Theatre has always had a reputation for sparking debate and challenging the norm. Whether it’s a searing show like Nina: A story about Me and Nina Simone, a festival performance at Homotopia, DadaFest or Physical Fest or the long standing and ever-popular Christmas show with Action Transport Theatre, Unity always programmes work which thinks outside of the box.

In Spring 2017, as Unity Theatre undergoes a £790,000 capital redevelopment, the theatre itself will go outside of its own box, and announces a season that reaches out of the theatre and into the community, with a selection of bold and reactive shows.

Matthew Linley, Artistic Director and CEO at Unity, explained: “We’re delighted to be presenting a season of shows across several venues in the Merseyside area between January and April next year. While our own theatre undergoes a transformation, we want to take the opportunity to use some of the fantastic venues around the city, new and old, conventional and unconventional. We will then reopen in May 2017 with a our summer season, and we can’t wait to show off our new spaces.”

The ‘Out of Space’ season will draw on Unity Theatre’s aims to collaborate and encourage new and burgeoning talent, engage families and individuals from economically disadvantaged areas, tackle current issues and say the important things that would otherwise go unsaid.

Highlights include Narvik (February 27–March 3), a show that cements Unity’s relationship with Bluecoat. Written by Lizzie Nunnery, this critically-acclaimed show crosses generations and cultures in a powerful story of love and war.

Cathy (February 11) by Cardboard Citizens, which will take place in Liverpool Cathedral’s Lady Chapel, has been programmed in response to the current homelessness crisis in Liverpool. The show aims to raise awareness and encourage audience members to make a donation to this cause instead of buying a ticket.

David Morrissey, Actor and Unity Theatre Patron, commented: “Cardboard Citizens do fantastic work for excluded people, and have done for the past 25 years. I'm really pleased that Unity Theatre are able to bring the astounding show Cathy to Liverpool, which has suffered a rise in homeless people over the last few years.

In addition to a suggested donation to the local foodbank, Hope+, Unity will also be collecting for Shelter, the housing and homeless charity. The charity was established 50 years ago in response to public calls for action following the release of the original TV play, Cathy Come Home. Even after 50 years Ken Loach's story is still very relevant today so please give generously!”

Unity Theatre is delighted to be collaborating with MDI (Merseyside Dance Initiative) to create a pop-up dance house for the flagship dance festival, LEAP 2017. From March 1-12, LEAP 2017 will be taking over the city centre’s latest venue, Make Liverpool, to offer a bold and ambitious programme of dance with performers from across the region and UK, joining together to celebrate the festival’s 25th anniversary.

Unity will also be providing the box office for the festival and presenting Hetain Patel’s show, American Man. One of Unity Theatre’s core values is to support radical festivals of new work.

Read on for a roundup of all the events in the ‘Out of Space’ season:

Saturday Splatterdays

Venue: Various

Unity’s workshops for 5-13 year olds will be making their way around Merseyside and further afield. All sessions will be free, in the following venues:

Saturday January 21 2017 Toxteth Library
Saturday February 4 2017 Spellow Lane Library
Friday February 17 2017 (Half Term) The Atkinson, Southport
Saturday February 18 2017 Norris Green Library
Saturday March 4 2017 Toxteth Library
Saturday March 18 2017 Spellow Lane Library
Saturday April 8 2017 Norris Green Library
Saturday April 22 2017 Toxteth Library

Tickets will be on sale from December 13 via Unity’s website.

Night Light by Mandala Theatre

Wednesday January 25, 7.30pm

Venue: Capstone Theatre, Liverpool Hope Uni Creative Campus

Somewhere in England two teenagers seeking asylum, fearing deportation, hide out in an abandoned factory. As the long cold night unfolds, they imagine their future and tell each other about their past. In the midst of sharing food and stories, they hear someone else arrive. Terrified, they creep towards the door where they find a familiar figure. The three of them talk through the night about home, belonging and the system...But the children remain wary: at any point he can reveal their hiding place, turn them over to the authorities and send them back to their countries and to danger.

View the trailer here:

On sale now via Ticket Quarter:

Cardboard Citizens presents Cathy

Saturday February 11, 7.30pm

Venue: Liverpool Anglican Cathedral Lady Chapel

Settled …. Until suddenly you’re not…

Acclaimed Theatre Company Cardboard Citizens presents this powerful and emotive Forum Theatre show, exploring resonances in today’s society with the story told in the ground-breaking Ken Loach film, Cathy Come Home, 50 years ago.

Candid, poignant and intimate, this four star hit new play (The Stage, The Upcoming & The Reviews Hub) by award winning playwright Ali Taylor (Cotton Wool, OVERSPILL, Fault Lines) offers a timely reflection on the social and personal impact of spiralling housing costs, gentrification and the challenges of the forced relocation away from London.

This is a free event, tickets can be reserved at Unity’s box office and there is a suggested donation to the local food bank, Hope+. Unity Theatre will also be collecting donations for Shelter at the show.

Watch the trailer here:

Tickets will be on sale from December 13 via Unity’s website.

5 More Minutes by Travelled Companions

Friday February 17 2017, 11.30am & 2.30pm

Venue: The Atkinson, Southport

When Moon and Stars are shining in your eyes
Then I will sing to you a lullaby
The day is over now it’s time for bed…
But with five more minutes we can play instead?

5 More Minutes is a funny and magical show about bedtime for children and their grown ups, in which we’ll explore the fun, frustration and fantasy that can be had in that magical time between awake & asleep. Real world play will blur with the magic of dreams as we all try to settle down and finally get ready to say goodnight, and go to sleep… unless that is, we can have 5 more minutes!?

5 More Minutes is an interactive family show with a playful performance style, live music and puppetry. In a child’s imagination, five more minutes can last forever! (But this play has a running time of approx. 50 minutes.) Bring along your bedtime snuggly. Suitable for children aged under 6 and their families.

View the trailer here:

Tickets are available here:

Box Of Tricks Theatre presents Narvik

Monday February 27–Friday March 3, 7.30pm

Venue: Bluecoat

Following an acclaimed run at the Liverpool Playhouse Studio, Narvik embarks on a national tour as part of Box of Tricks’ tenth anniversary season. Lizzie Nunnery is an award-winning playwright ('Intemperance' at Everyman Liverpool and 'The Swallowing Dark' at Liverpool Playhouse Studio and Theatre503) and celebrated singer/songwriter.

Inspired by tales of Naval veterans, Narvik tells the story of a Liverpudlian man and a Norwegian woman pulled together and torn apart by war as the events of one summer cause ripples across an ocean of time. Fusing live folk music and new writing to create a patchwork of memory and dream, Narvik is a bold new play set during the Second World War that brings to life a powerful story of love, guilt, heroism and betrayal.

Watch the trailer here:

Tickets will be on sale from December 13 via Unity’s website.

American Man by Hetain Patel (LEAP 2017)

Thursday March 9, 7.30pm

Venue: Make Liverpool

Award-winning dancer and choreographer, Hetain Patel, is just one of the national and internationally renowned artists to be joining the LEAP 2017 festival line-up to examine the theme of camouflage - the seen and unseen stories of humanity, so we are thrilled to bring you his new production, American Man.

American Man is a new one-man show, which builds on the critically acclaimed American Boy. Playing provocatively with race, gender and identity, American Man imagines a not-too-distant-future where celebrity power and political correctness have reached new heights. A future where Barack Obama’s post-Presidential role is CEO of Apple, and Stephen Hawking voices Disney characters.

Combining seamless vocal and physical impersonations with his characteristic wit and humour, Hetain Patel presents a dystopian outlook on a world where personal freedom walks hand in hand with guilt.

Hetain spent a period of time in research and development at Unity in January 2016 and the theatre are delighted to bring him back to Liverpool as part of LEAP 2017.

Tickets will be on sale from December 14 via Unity’s website.


Friday March 17-Saturday March 18, 7.30pm

Venue: Make Liverpool

Gaudete is a thrilling stage adaptation of Ted Hughes’ poetic novel by OBRA Theatre Company performed by an international ensemble of eight performers. Seven years in the making, this extraordinary piece takes Hughes’ words as a starting point to create a magical and surreal piece of physical theatre. The story follows Nicholas Lumb, an Anglican Minister from the North of England who is abducted by spirits, duplicated and returned to the world a changed man.

Watch the trailer here:

Tickets will be on sale from December 13 via Unity’s website.

Research and Development at Unity

Theatre companies will continue to develop work with support from Unity and will be using the rehearsal room next to Unity Theatre’s temporary offices on Hanover Street.

Scratch Nights

Unity will continue to encourage new writing as the regular Scratch Nights are set to continue in venues outside of Unity Theatre, the first one to be confirmed is at Make Liverpool on March 14 2017. More information and an application form will be available in the next few weeks at

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