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The Seagull @ Manchester Library Theatre Company

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by David Keyworth (subscribe)
I’m a freelance journalist and published poet, based in Manchester. My debut poetry pamphlet is available at
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New version of Russian classic
For its final production, under its current banner Manchester's Library Theatre Company is staging The Seagull by Anton Chekhov at the Lowry Centre, Salford Quays.

Graeme Hawley Seagull Manchester Library Theatre Company
Graeme Hawley rehearses

The production also marks the end of Chris Honer's over-20-year tenure as Artistic Director at the Library Theatre.

Chris said: "The Seagull has been a personal passion of mine for many years so I'm delighted to at last be directing it as my final production for the Company."

"We haven't produced a Chekhov for well over 30 years but when Anya Reiss's wonderful new version of The Seagull appeared in 2012, it was an irresistible choice," he added.

Seagull Chris Honer Manchester Library Theatre Company
Chris Honer

The play is set on a country estate and centres on a famous actress who responds less than favourably when her son shows her a new play he has written. The Seagull was first produced in 1896 in St Petersburg. The hostile audience reaction resulted in the leading actress losing her voice. The play was then staged in Moscow, two years later, by legendary director Constantin Stanislavski. This time it was a triumph and the Moscow Art Theatre made its emblem a seagull to mark the success of Chekhov's play.

The Seagull has gone on to enjoy many illustrious performances. A New York production in 2001 in Central Park included Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken and Natalie Portman amongst its star-studded line-up.

The Library Theatre production, which re-imagines the play into the twenty-first century, includes Graeme Hawley as famous writer Boris Trigorin. Graeme is familiar to Library Theatre audiences from his roles in Rock 'n' Roll and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Coronation Street fans also know him as killer John Stape.

The role of estate manager Ilyia Shamrayev will be played by David Crellin, who played the man murdered by John Stape in the Manchester-based soap opera.

I am lucky to be working with a superb ensemble cast which contains a number of actors who've done excellent work for the Library Theatre Company over the years," Chris Honer said.

Seagull Anton Chekhov Manchester Library Theatre Company
Getting to grips with Chekhov

The Library Theatre Company was originally resident at Manchester's Central Library, which will re-open next month after four years of refurbishment. In 2015 they will move to a newly created venue at First Street. The company will be joined by the Cornerhouse Arts Centre.

HOME, as the new social and cultural hub will be called, will include a theatre, studio space, gallery, cinema screens, a café bar and restaurant.

Walter Meierjohann will take over from current Artistic Director, Chris Honer, to put together a creative programme for HOME.
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Phone: 0843 208 6010
Where: Lowry Salford Quays
Cost: From £10
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