Skip to main content

Peter Kay joins playwright Jim Cartwright to open flagship arts building

Thursday 23 November 2017

COMEDIAN Peter Kay will open the University of Salford’s flagship arts building before a world premiere of work by renowned playwright Jim Cartwright performed by stars of stage and screen.

University alumnus Peter Kay and his Car Share co-star Sian Gibson will open the £55m New Adelphi building on December 1 ahead of Burning Bright: A Night Of Northern Stars – a series of original monologues performed by leading actors on the night, in the building’s 350-seat theatre.

Jim, writer of plays including Road and The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice, has created  bespoke monologues for actors including University alumnus Warren Brown, who starred alongside Idris Elba in hit TV series Luther and appeared recently in Liar.

Much loved and respected household names, including Sue Johnston of The Royle Family and Waking the Dead, and Coronation Street actor Beverley Callard will also be performing new work from Jim on the night.

Julie Hesmondhalgh, who played Hayley Cropper in the soap before going on to star in critically acclaimed TV series Broadchurch, Happy Valley and Cucumber, and Paul Hilton, who starred in Wuthering Heights and last year's Lady Macbeth, will also perform the monologues.  
Other new work by Jim will be performed on the night by Manchester born Jason Callender, who starred in the 4 O’clock Club and has recently returned from an international tour of The Play That Goes Wrong, along with Georgie Henley, who starred in The Chronicles of Narnia films.
The monologues, directed by former National Theatre Associate Director Anthony Banks, are the highlight of an evening which sees Peter Kay, Sian Gibson, and University Chancellor and Scottish Makar Jackie Kay formally open the New Adelphi Arts Centre.  

Peter Kay said: “As ex-Salford media performance students both Sian and myself are incredibly proud to be invited to open this magnificent arts facility and we're excited to think of all of the creative work that will emerge from within it in the years to come.”

Jim Cartwright Theatre Company  

Jim describes this premiere of new work as ‘a kind of prologue, a prelude, a starry beginning’,  which prefaces the first ‘main event – the premiere of my new play, Shakespeare’s Mine – the tale of a Lancashire coal miner’s journey into the world of theatre’ – which will open to the public at the New Adelphi Theatre next spring.    

As well as housing the University’s creative and arts programmes, the New Adelphi will now be home to the newly formed Jim Cartwright Theatre Company – a professional group dedicated to celebrating northern voices.

The new company will be an artistic hub showcasing the very best of current northern talent, and encouraging and supporting the work of new northern theatre, dance, creative arts and digital arts practitioners. 

Jim, who has been appointed as Honorary Artistic Director of the New Adelphi Theatre, is writing a series of new plays which will premiere at the theatre over the next few years, with a view to then touring nationally.

The playwright will also carry out masterclasses and provide opportunities for students to work alongside his company.

Celebration of northern performers 

He said: “Burning Bright is going to be a big sparkling celebration of northern performers. We're launching an exciting new theatre company with a focus on new plays, strong stories we want to tell of great energy and range here at the brand new, multi million pound state of the absolute art New Adelphi Theatre in Salford.
“With Burning Bright we want to ignite a creative flame and send out a seismic reverberation that goes locally and country blinking wide. We are here, we are here everyone, and we are here for all like-minded artists who are up for change, mischief, merriment and moving and thrilling theatre of a new and explosive kind.
“When I was starting out in theatre, there was a feeling that it was available to all if you had the talent and the rum gumption. In these trying times it's important we continue to champion that opportunity - making sure theatre is opened up to as wide a group of people as possible. I want our new company to fizz and sing and ring with the excitement of that prospect."

Frances Piper, Director of Performance at the University of Salford, said: “Jim Cartwright is one of the most important British stage writers of the last three decades and his presence has created a real buzz on campus, particularly among students who have grown up studying his plays.

“We’re hugely excited to be working with Jim, and having his new theatre company based here is extremely significant – not only because of the wonderful opportunities it will provide for our students, but in terms of creating a hub for new northern writing and performance based right here at the University of Salford.”

Anthony Banks said: “I'm looking forward to my fourth collaboration with Jim Cartwright and returning to my home city to direct this extraordinary cast of leading actors.”