Meatballs!

John Henshaw, who plays Meatballs in Ken Loach’s new film Looking for Eric, is the latest actor to do a cameo for Angels with Manky Faces. John appears with Twisted Wheel in a film set to “You stole the sun.” The film captures the exploits of a couple of hapless husbands played by Ted Taylor and Malcolm Ryder of MaD. Ted and Malcolm play “night soil men” in Angels – there’s a Victorian euphemism and a half – and not surprisingly, they’re fond of a drink or two at the end of their shifts. You would be, wouldn’t you? But the demon drink doesn’t go unchallenged … watch out for another familiar face from Looking for Eric, Smug Roberts. Smug’s got a few things to say to Ted and Malcolm.

Preview of Angels with Manky Faces at the Bluecoat, Liverpool

A special preview of Angels with Manky Faces will be held in the upstairs bar of the Bluecoat, Liverpool, on Wednesday 24 June from 6.30-7.30 p.m. The preview will feature a talk on the historical research that went into The Gangs of Manchester, an introduction to Angels with Manky Faces by script-writers Rob Lees and Jill Hughes, and screenings of two of the film sequences specially made for the play (introduced by MaD film-maker, Paul Cliff). The films feature Clint Boon, Martin Coogan, Phil Beckett – and many more … This is a free event; tickets for the Liverpool performances of Angels with Manky Faces (Unity Theatre, 22-23 July) will be on sale on the night.

This is how it feels

Clint Boon of the Inspiral Carpets has re-recorded This is how it feels as the soundtrack for one of the film sequences for Angels with Manky Faces. The film was shot in the Castlefield district of Manchester on 24 May.

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Kathryn Edwards (left) provides a haunting backing vocal, whilst Abi Bailey (centre) plays a young suffragette.

Angels with Manky Faces

A Bengal Tiger and his molls: Rosie Phillips, Jack Williamson, and Abi Gunning.

A Bengal Tiger and his molls: Rosie Phillips, Jack Williamson, and Abi Gunning.

Preparations for Angels with Manky Faces, MaD Theatre Company’s new production inspired by The Gangs of Manchester, are gathering pace. Paul Cliff is making six short films, which will be back-projected in between scenes performed on stage. The photo above was taken during a day’s filming at the Black Country Museum.

Even though it’s early days, ticket sales are going strong – a third of the tickets for the Manchester performances (19-22 August) have already been sold.

New edition of The Gangs of Manchester

A revised edition of The Gangs of Manchester is now out. The new edition is a smaller-sized paperback and the UK cover price is 7.99.

There is one addition to the text: an astonishing postscript to the story of Billy Willan, the scuttler sentenced to death in 1892 at the age of sixteen. This was supplied by his descendants, who still live in the Ancoats district of Manchester.

Manchester Histories Festival

Andrew Davies is giving a talk based on The Gangs of Manchester as part of the Manchester Histories Festival at Manchester Town Hall on Saturday, 21 March. Andrew’s talk is at 11.30. He will joined by the Manchester-based photographer and film-maker Paul Cliff, who will be projecting photographs of Ancoats street scenes from the 1890s and mug-shots of leading scuttlers. Paul will also show a short, film preview of Angels with Manky Faces – the new stage play inspired by The Gangs of Manchester to be performed by the acclaimed MaD Theatre Company in August 2009.

You can see the full programme for the Manchester Histories Festival, and book free tickets for any of the talks, here.

Inside Out (again)

The feature on the scuttlers on Inside Out (BBC1 North-West) was broadcast on 18 February; it’s on the BBC i-player for a week and features some brilliant footage by the Manchester photographer and film-maker Paul Cliff. The historical reconstructions were staged by the MaD Theatre Company. They’re double proper good.

The Inside Out website features an interview with Rob Lees, artistic director of MaD. Rob talks about the relationship between The Gangs of Manchester and MaD’s forthcoming production, Angels with Manky Faces. You can also see Robbie Ashworth and Jack Williamson modelling scuttler chic – period costumes for Angels are being made by the wonderful Tracey King. She knows her stuff!

The feature was presented by Nigel Pivaro, familiar to most viewers as Terry Duckworth. Nigel now works as a journalist. He’s left Weatherfield, but we have asked him to do a cameo in one of the film scenes for Angels. We’ll keep you posted.

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