Welcome to Midwinter Lassfest!
January 2nd – February 2nd, 2013
Who said winters were to be feared?
Once more, we welcome January with open arms! That’s because for thirty-one days, Manchester city centre’s award-winning Lass O’Gowrie – current Supreme Pub Champion of Great Britain in the Great British Pub Awards, will become a one venue fringe festival, hosting an amazing array of unique events.
So what do we have in store for you?
CORONATION STREET 1977, V FOR VENDETTA, WITHNAIL & I, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME and BLADE RUNNER. These are just some of the highlights that make up this year’s amazing Lassfest.
Building on our unenviable reputation as a one venue fringe, the Midwinter Lassfest covering an eye-popping range of genres, including comedy, live music, new writing and adaptations, revivals, ale tasting, literature events and geek culture. But drama, quite rightly is at the heart of our programme and we’ll be making full use of the ground floor of the pub as an evocative, standing set. You’ll see the Lass transformed into Seventies Weatherfield, a doom filled Yorkshire Moor, Sixties Camden and a totalitarian Britain, dripping with suspense and secrets!
Opening Lassfest is a welcome encore for HARVEY – the classic tale of a man doubting his own sanity, brought to the Lass by up and coming company Yer Maun Productions. Elwood P. Dowd is a mild-mannered, pleasant man, who just happens (he says) to have an invisible friend resembling a 6-foot rabbit!
CORONATION STREET 1977 follows on January 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th. As with January 2012, we bring you a pair of live Coronation Street episodes, this time in celebration of writer JOHN STEVENSON, one of Coronation Street’s most prolific and loved writers. Working on the programme from 1976 until 2006, John would go on to pen an incredible 399 episodes of Coronation Street and is widely considered one of the greats of the programme with a body of work spanning four decades.
As with January 2012’s critically acclaimed Coronation Street 1968 episodes, these brand new, full cast dramatisations will take place in the ground floor of the Lass making them a totally immersive and dramatic presentation.
Maureen Lipman joins members of the cast for January 2012’s acclaimed Coronation Street 1968
The two episodes featured are from 1977 and centre on original Rovers Return landlady ANNIE WALKER taking delivery of a very special monogrammed carpet for her parlour, but is all as it seems?
A classic slice of 1977 Street, these episodes are the jewel in the crown of Lassfest and include a host of well-loved characters including BET LYNCH, BETTY TURPIN, HILDA OGDEN, STAN OGDEN, EDDIE YEATS, FRED GEE, RITA FAIRCLOUGH, LEN FAIRCLOUGH, ALF ROBERTS and ELSIE TANNER.
We are hugely grateful to ITV for allowing us to stage these episodes and can’t wait for you to see them! These tickets are much sought after and bound to sell out, and with only room for thirty customers for each performance you’ll need to be on your toes!
Complementing CORONATION STREET 1977 is CORONATION STREET SHORTS (January 3rd – 7th)– a dramatic presentation of short vignettes, featuring classic characters from the Seventies. You’ll see ELSIE TANNER at her lowest ebb, finding an unlikely shoulder to cry on in MIKE BALDWIN, witness ENA SHARPLES duelling with ALBERT TATLOCK for control of the Snug and more besides. This is comedy and drama at its’ finest. A rare chance to see both performances and dialogue stripped back to the essence.
With a new brand new cast brought together by the legendary JUNE WEST, Casting Director for over 15 years on Coronation Street and the BAFTA award winning Road to Coronation Street and with direction from Lass favourite DAVID MACREEDY (who previously helmed January’s brilliant Hot Fat), these productions are not to be missed!
Completing our celebration of all things Corrie is CORRIEFEST (January 5) – a dedicated convention celebrating the worlds of Coronation Street. Expect guests drawn from both sides of the camera as well as rare footage, exclusive talks, a special quiz from our very own BIG FAT QUIZ guru Giles and guided walks – perfect for the dedicated Corrie fan!
Also on January 5 is the Manchester premiere of MY GAY BEST FRIEND, written by and starring LOUISE JAMESON (best known as Tom Baker’s companion Leela in Doctor Who) and NIGEL FAIRS. Winner of the Argus Angel Audience Award in the Brighton Fringe in 2012, MY GAY BEST FRIEND is a sparkling new play, a heady mixture of high camp, melancholy reflection on friendships and the childhood dramas that haunt us all.
V FOR VENDETTA (January 8th – 10th and 27th) takes us back into unfamiliar territories, this time in a brand new fringe adaptation of Alan Moore’s classic 1980’s comic strip from the team that brought you the Ballad of Halo Jones in January. It’s London, but not as we know it. A shadowy freedom fighter known only as “V” uses terrorist tactics to fight against his totalitarian society. Adapted by SEAN MASON (Hot Fat, the Ballad of Halo Jones, Porridge), the Lass is delighted to premiere this important and prescient tale of a struggle against oppression in the surveillance society.
Horror makes an appearance from January 13th – 15th in the form of AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON – another Lass Premiere! A brand new adaptation by the award winning Salford playwright IAN WINTERTON (Sherica, the Ballad of Halo Jones, Baby Jesus Freak), this promises to be a fully immersive experience using the entire set of the pub as the set – from the Slaughtered Lamb Pub, to the haunted Yorkshire Moors and onto the streets of London with a werewolf on the loose!
Staying in cult film territory, January 20th – 22nd brings the stage debut of WITHNAIL & I. A brand new adaptation, once again by the award-winning IAN WINTERTON, this fringe adaptation promises to delight fans of the original as well as providing new insight into this poignant, funny tale of two starving, down at heel actors struggling to survive in sixties Camden and the wilds of the Lake District. Supported by drinking games and a screening of the original classic, if you know your Camberwell Carrots from your root vegetables, this is not to be missed.
We’re also thrilled to welcome back an old friend to the Lass in the form of the Rebellion authorised adaptation of THE BALLAD OF HALO JONES. Halo and her friends live on the Hoop – a repository for the unemployed in the 50th century, but she won’t be beaten. She dreams of getting out and becomes a legend in the process. Presented on January 27th for ONE DAY ONLY as a double bill with V FOR VENDETTA, this critically acclaimed adaptation of the bittersweet tale of the 50th century girl next door, created by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson and originally presented in 2000AD in the 80‘s is not to be missed!
We stay in the future for a brand new adaptation of BLADE RUNNER (January 30th – February 2nd) from BRIAN GORMAN (Everyman). Probably one of the most influential pieces of 80’s cinema, Blade Runner is the futuristic tale of a Policeman assigned to track down and terminate 4 androids who have returned to earth seeking their maker. This stripped back fringe adaptation, a Lass Premiere, considers profound questions of what it actually means to be alive and, who defines what constitutes life.
Other Lass drama premieres include SOMEONE WHO’LL WATCH OVER ME – by Irish dramatist Frank McGuinness, (January 17-19) is a fiction but based on the story of John McCarthy, Terry Waite and Brian Keenan when they were held hostage in Beirut, brought the stage courtesy of Yer Maun Productions. The play has touches of Beckettinian absurdity as the audience tries to distinguish between the characters’ insanity and humour. It has been a massive hit on both sides of the Atlantic, scooping awards and attracting a star-studded cast including Jonny Lee Miller, Aiden Gillen and David Threlfall (Frank Gallagher in Shameless).
OFF TO DO A KILLING (January 16th) is a tale of revenge and reconciliation on a railway platform from Sean Mason and new work from a selection of Manchester’s best and brightest writers.
STRANGERS IN SPACE (January 26 – 28) is a brand new play from Keith Temple, who has written extensively for EastEnders, Byker Grove, Casualty and Dr Who. Keith has been a regular at Doctor Who conventions, having written Planet of the Ood in 2008 for David Tennant’s Doctor in the TV series, and draws on his own experiences to tell a blackly comic tale of a star, an extra and an excitable fan trapped in a lift at a sci-fi convention.
Other treats include your old favourites in our OPEN MIC on Wednesday nights, the BIG FAT STUPID QUIZ on Thursdays, LET’S SEE WHAT HAPPENS – improv comedy from COMEDYSPORTZ on the last Saturday of the Month and COMPUTER CLUB , our retro gaming nights on the second Friday and last Tuesday of the month, as well as KINO and sceenings of classic and cult films to keep you thoroughly entertained.
Stay tuned for the final line-up as we promise a few surprises. We’re adding new drama and comedy all the time and are working hard to make this the best festival we’ve ever staged!
The Midwinter Lassfest will run for every day between the 2nd January and 2nd February.
We believe strongly in an art without risk ethos, with performers either paid direct by the Lass O’Gowrie, via profit share or we simply provide the space for free, leaving artistes and promoters with all takings.