I’m a freelance journalist and published poet, based in Manchester.
My debut poetry pamphlet is available at www.wildpressedbooks.com/david-keyworth.html
Hop of theatrical faith
Heard the one about the man who performed a play without a director or any rehearsals and charged £10 for the chance to watch him on Zoom?
For comedian Jason Manford, it is no joke but the chance to follow in a line of distinguished performers including Whoopi Goldberg, John Hurt, Sinead Cusack, Stephen Fry, Nathan Lane, Simon McBurney, Marcus Brigstocke and Ken Loach.
Jason Manford - courtesy of The Lowry
White Rabbit Red Rabbit by Nassim Soleimanpour actually encourages audience participation, including keeping phones turned on.
It premiered in 2011 at the Edinburgh and also SummerWorks (Canada) festivals. Soleimanpour was not allowed to leave his native Iran because, as a conscientious objector, he refused to take part in mandatory military service.
Each performer reads Soleimanpour's script for the first time on stage. Since 2011, the play has been translated into over 25 different languages.
In 2019 the show Nassim, at HOME, Manchester, was cancelled when the writer was unable to travel to Manchester due to a delay in the UK visa process.
Jason Manford was recently seen on Channel 4 as a comedy mentor in the programme Stand Up & Deliver - part of Stand Up To Cancer. He was paired with fellow son of Salford - Shaun Ryder. The Happy Mondays singer struggled to remember the words for his stand-up routine, which resulted in Jason holding large cards on the front row with the lines written in black marker pen. The pair lost out to Baroness Sayeeda Warsi and her mentor Nick Helm but Shaun Ryder was judged 'amazing', by the audience/judges, on the clap-o-meter.
Tickets for the one-off performance of White Rabbit Red Rabbit on Saturday 13 March, are £10 per household. All proceeds will be donated to The Lowry's 'Emergency Appeal', a fund set-up in March 2020 to help support the Salford charity through the Coronavirus pandemic.
Jason Manford said: "I'm proud to be following in the footsteps of some truly great actors in performing White Rabbit Red Rabbit. It's a very sad anniversary that we've reached, but the end is in sight and I hope this event raises lots of much-needed funds to support The Lowry through this difficult time."
Perhaps ironically, given Nassim Soleimanpour's experience in Iran, the Lowry has been used as a Nightingale Court to help with the backlog of trials, caused by the disruption of the COVID-19 lockdown and social distancing.
The Lowry signed a deal with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) to become a temporary 'Nightingale Court' (courtesy of The Lowry).