The Movement of Justice and Reconciliation recently held an open meeting in Manchester, hosted by the Nazarene Theological College. During the day we discussed the possibility of the college being the base for an MJR Northern Study Centre. The college's proposal was warmly received and we look forward to working in partnership in the coming years, developing courses, initiating research and gathering resources. A Manchester support group is being formed to help take this forward. If you are interested in joining please send an email.
"Scuttlers" is a new play that recently had a well-reviewed premiere at Manchester's Royal Exchange. ("...opening a soot-smeared window into the past, as well as holding up a cracked mirror to our present." The Times) The Scuttlers were Manchester's original street gangs that grew up in the gruesome conditions of the factories and mills of the Industrial Revolution. It is a striking piece of drama which highlights the lack of ambition and bravado-covered insecurity of young people with few options and at the mercy of employers maximising profit in what seemed to be a "zero-hours contract" situation. The parallels with modern young people in the inner-city were clear to anyone with any knowledge of that context, but just in case, a clever twist at the end gives a clear reminder that the legacy of those oppressive times lives on. Watch out for future productions of "Scuttlers" and be ready to be moved and challenged.
"It's 1885 and the streets of Manchester are crackling with energy, youth and violence. As workers pour into Ancoats to power the Industrial Revolution, 50.000 people are crammed into one square mile. The mills rumble thunderously day and night. The air is thick with smoke. Life is lived large and lived on the street. This is the world's very first industrial suburb and the young mill workers who are the living cogs in its machines form the very first urban gangs, fighting over their territory with belts, fists and knives. Invisible in history their lives, deaths, loves, lusts and defiant energy tell stories that will repeat and repeat over the decades that follow. Inspired by the Manchester riots of 2011 and the stories of all the Manchester gangs between the nineteenth century and today Rona Munro's new play smashes the nineteenth century against a twenty first century sensibility to bring the young Scuttlers back to vivid, potent life." From the Royal Exchange publicity.
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