Library Theatre Company in association with Ask Property Developments present

Manchester Lines

12 June - 7 July

For Sale

In a lost property room in central Manchester, en route somewhere, six people relate their own personal journeys. Manchester Lines tells stories, reveals fragments of lifelines. It asks: is there an instant when your life changes forever? How consciously do we choose the path our lives take? Do we choose at all? What happens to all the lives we do not live? Welcome to the Lost Property Office of the Soul.

Directed by Wils Wilson and written by the award winning Jackie Kay (Red Dust Road, Trumpet), with music specially composed by Errollyn Wallen (Cautionary Tales, Opera North; One Night, BBC 1), Manchester Lines is created in Manchester, for Manchester. Staged high on the fifth floor of Number One, First Street, Manchester Lines is the most recent of the Library Theatre Company’s intimate and dynamic ‘one chance to see’ theatre experiences. All performances feature community choir specially formed from Manchester residents.

Manchester Lines contains strong language.

Still not sure if Manchester Lines is for you? Take a look at the impressive biographies of the creative team and cast.

Listen to what some of you thought of the show…

And here we look back at our journey and all the lovely things you said about the production…

Manchester Lines Performances

Tue 12 Jun 7:15pm Preview SOLD OUT
Wed 13 Jun 7:15pm Preview £15
Thu 14 Jun 7:15pm Press Night £22/18
Fri 15 Jun 5:15pm SOLD OUT
Fri 15 Jun 8:15pm £24
Sat 16 Jun 2:15pm Weekend Matinee £22/18
Sat 16 Jun 7:15pm £24
Mon 18 Jun 7:15pm £22/18
Tue 19 Jun 7:15pm £22/18
Wed 20 Jun 7:15pm £22/18
Thu 21 Jun 7:15pm SOLD OUT
Fri 22 Jun 5:15pm SOLD OUT
Fri 22 Jun 8:15pm £24
Sat 23 Jun 2:15pm Weekend Matinee £22/18
Sat 23 Jun 7:15pm £24
Mon 25 Jun 7:15pm SOLD OUT
Tue 26 Jun 7:15pm SOLD OUT
Wed 27 Jun 7:15pm Signed Performance £22/18
Thu 28 Jun 7:15pm SOLD OUT
Fri 29 Jun 5:15pm SOLD OUT
Fri 29 Jun 8:15pm £24
Sat 30 Jun 2:15pm Weekend Matinee, Signed Performance £22/18
Sat 30 Jun 7:15pm £24
Mon 2 Jul 7:15pm SOLD OUT
Tue 3 Jul 7:15pm SOLD OUT
Wed 4 Jul 7:15pm SOLD OUT
Thu 5 Jul 7:15pm CALL BOX OFFICE
Fri 6 Jul 5:15pm CALL BOX OFFICE
Fri 6 Jul 8:15pm CALL BOX OFFICE
Sat 7 Jul 2:15pm Weekend Matinee CALL BOX OFFICE
Sat 7 Jul 7:15pm CALL BOX OFFICE

Number One First Street

  • 1 First Street, Manchester, Manchester, M15 4FN

The home of Manchester City Council – and the venue for Manchester Lines…

More Info

Poet Jackie Kay’s tale, despite its heightened quality, has the lightest of lyrical touches… It’s the downbeat, low-key quality of the show that makes it so moving, as it traces the maps of the heart and lexicons of loss, not just of the characters, but – in a wonderful, final coup de theatre – of the audience, too.

The Guardian

The imaginative direction by Wils Wilson creates an anarchic atmosphere in which anything can happen… Not so much a play, more of a celebration… One of the Library Theatre Company’s best.

What’s on Stage

Highly enjoyable… Jackie Kay was an inspired choice to write the script. I hope she writes more plays soon.

Creative Tourist

Inventive… All credit to the Library Theatre Company for turning their temporary homelessness into a positive experiment.

The Arts Desk

‘The company couldn’t be boring if it tried, it just isn’t part of their DNA… An intelligent, grown-up drama.

Sale and Altrincham Messenger

Sometimes it is not the destination but the journey that counts.

The Stage

Director Wils Wilson makes magical use of the space, characters and connecting lines… The ending is stunning: It’s a wonderful, uplifting end to the unique Manchester Lines experience.

Cultural Shenanigans

Full of pathos… Jackie Kay is a wonderful writer, and Manchester Lines is a marvellous celebration of the humanity of ordinary people.

The Morning Star

A final alphabetical choral item sweeps you off your fifth-storey feet.

Remote Goat

Poetic and quietly miraculous… A show with enough heart and soul.

Manchester Theatre Awards

By the time we leave the [set], the script and the production’s detail and precision, with the skilled performance, have made the experience communal and enlivening.”


Library Theatre Company

The Cast

Bettrys Jones
John Branwell
Marcquelle Ward
Dominic Harlan
Anne Kidd
Tachia Newall
Amelia Donkor
Claire Brown

Production Crew

Jackie Kay
Errollyn Wallen
Wils Wilson
Amanda Stoodley
Anna Barrett
Lighting Designer
Dominic Harlan
Musical Director
Lesley Hutchison
Movement Director
Peter Rice
Sound Designer
Joshua Azouz
Assistant Director

Related News & Blog Posts

Blog: Director Wils Wilson shares her thoughts on Manchester Lines

Posted on 6th July 2012

Manchester Lines director, Wils Wilson tells us about the experience as the production comes to an end this weekend… Read more

Blog: Audiences praise Manchester Lines

Posted on 19th June 2012

Manchester Lines opened to fantastic audience reactions. Have a look at what people are saying about it.… Read more

Blog: Watch the Manchester Lines Trailer

Posted on 15th June 2012

Manchester Lines is now on at Number One First Street. Watch the trailer here.… Read more

Blog: Best Stage Management Team for Library Theatre Company

Posted on 14th June 2012

Our Company Stage Manager Jamie Byron tells us about the team’s latest achievement.… Read more

Blog: Meet the Creative Team for Manchester Lines

Posted on 8th June 2012

With Manchester Lines opening this week, we thought it was time to introduce you to the creative team behind the production.… Read more

Blog: Behind the scenes of Manchester Lines

Posted on 1st June 2012

Take a look behind the scenes of Manchester Lines in this short film… Read more

Blog: Update from the Manchester Lines cast

Posted on 25th May 2012

Actress Ameila Donkor plays Shanti in Manchester Lines. She shares her cast experience…… Read more

Blog: Manchester Lines - the cast

Posted on 1st June 2012

Want to know where you might have seen the cast of Manchester Lines elsewhere on stage, film, and television? Take a look at their biographies...… Read more

Blog: Transforming the Manchester Lines set

Posted on 21st May 2012

Designer Amanda Stoodley takes us behind the scenes of the Manchester Lines set and you get a sneak peek on how it's all taking shape in our short timelapse video.… Read more

Blog: Manchester Lines rehearsals underway

Posted on 11th May 2012

Assistant Director Josh Azouz reports back from Zion Arts Centre and the first week of Manchester Lines rehearsals…… Read more

Blog: Lost property for Manchester Lines

Posted on 3rd May 2012

Our Stage Manager is on the search for lost property for our next production. Can you help him?… Read more

Blog: This time last year...

Posted on 27th April 2012

Can it really be nearly a year since Hard Times ran at Murrays’ Mills in Ancoats to such praise? Mounting a site-specific production, such as Manchester Lines is...… Read more

Comments on Manchester Lines

  1. where is there any parking for first Street, please? It seems quite a way from the metro in St peters Square..

    Said charlotte gringras From Altrincham Cheshire at 18:14pm on 17th Apr 2012

  2. Hi Charlotte the best metro stop for Number One, First Street is Deansgate - Castlefield, one stop from St Peter's Square. The building is a five minute walk away. Alternatively there are parking facilities near the building:

    • Plenty of on-street parking meters (free from 8pm) close by.
    • Two on-site parks, operated by Q-Parks Ltd, as follows:

    1. Car park next to the building (gravel surface, entrances on Hulme Street and Medlock Street) £5 all day; £1.50 up to two hours.

    2.Other car park (Tarmac surface, entrance on Whitworth Street West): Up to one hour £2, up to two hours £4, up to three hours £5, up to four hours £6, up to eight hours £8. Saturday up to four hours £2, up to 12midnight £5.

    Hope this helps!

    Said Library Theatre Company at 11:02am on 18th Apr 2012

  3. Will this be a promenade performance or seated? Thanks

    Said ANN LAZA at 14:20pm on 21st Apr 2012

  4. Hi Ann the performance is a promenade style - but for the majority of the performance you will be seated. There won't be as much walking around as in Hard Times last year. We don't want to give too much away though!

    Said Library Theatre Company at 11:33am on 23rd Apr 2012

  5. My friend and I want to come to this as we are both massive Jackie Kay fans but as we are old and infirm and need to sit. I still work by the way so we are not housebound or anything we just need to be mostly seated. We are worried that the performance will be too strenuous for us. Can you advise please?

    Said Maggie Turner From Manchester/Tameside at 14:07pm on 26th Apr 2012

  6. What is a BSL performance?

    Said Joe Holdsworth From m1 7ax at 22:15pm on 30th Apr 2012

  7. Hi Maggie - the majority of the show will be seated. Don't want to give too much away but there isn't too much walking about.

    Joe - a BSL performance is a signed performance (British Sign Language).

    Said Library Theatre Company at 10:25am on 4th May 2012

  8. Hi, would you say the production is uplifting or sad? I was thinking of buying tickets as a gift for my friend who is coming back from travelling but I don't want to make her feel worse!

    Said Caroline at 00:11am on 5th May 2012

  9. Hi Caroline - we couldn't really say, but we're sure it'll make her think!

    Said Library Theatre Company at 10:29am on 15th May 2012

  10. what is the duration of the performance?

    Said Emma at 10:44am on 21st May 2012

  11. Hi Emma - approx 90 mins (no interval)

    Said Library Theatre at 11:14am on 29th May 2012

  12. Hi all,

    Just a message to inform people who are attending the event that the coffee shop in the atrium will be open as a bar for 45 minutes prior to each event.

    So if you wanted a beer or bottle of wine get down and enjoy one with Brodericks.

    Many Thanks
    Adam Martin

    Coffee Bar Manager
    Number One First Street
    M15 4FN

    Said Adam Martin From Brodericks Love Coffee at 14:18pm on 29th May 2012

  13. Hi all,

    Just a message to inform people who are attending the event that the coffee shop in the atrium will be open as a bar for 45 minutes prior to each event.

    So if you wanted a beer or bottle of wine get down and enjoy one with Brodericks.

    Many Thanks
    Adam Martin

    Coffee Bar Manager
    Number One First Street
    M15 4FN

    Said Adam Martin From Brodericks Love Coffee at 15:40pm on 29th May 2012

  14. I am trying to book tickets for Manchester Lines via your website, and it is not working. There does not appear to be a phone number for ticket booking on the website either. Please advise how I can get tickets. Thanks

    Said Clare Degenhardt From Manchester at 15:25pm on 8th Jun 2012

  15. Saw Manchester Lines last night and loved every minute. Superb writing and wonderful actors. Strong performances from everyone. It was a wonderful evening. Thank you all.

    Said james Barnard From Bramhall, Stockport at 17:41pm on 13th Jun 2012

  16. Hi all,

    Just a message to inform people who are attending the event that the coffee shop in the atrium will be open as a bar for 45 minutes prior to each event.

    So if you wanted a beer or bottle of wine get down and enjoy one with Brodericks.

    Many Thanks
    Adam Martin

    Coffee Bar Manager
    Number One First Street
    M15 4FN

    Said Adam Martin at 18:19pm on 13th Jun 2012

  17. I saw this production on Tuesday and found it a joyful experience. The writing was served brilliantly by the totally impressive production.Whilst the set was a wonder of invention my particular favourites of the evening were the novel muscial numbers. I loved the movement/dance together with the singing. Altogether a lovely evening - many thanks to all involved.

    Said Pauline Hales From Knutsford at 17:12pm on 14th Jun 2012

  18. We attended the performance on Wednesday evening (13th June). We'd certainly recommend it - sad, humorous, poignant, thought-provoking and entertaining and very, very different to anything that we've seen before.

    More practical points: we parked on the £5/day car park accessed from Medlock Street (there's a pedestrian exit taking you into the grounds of No One First Street at the opposite side to the entrance).

    Maggie - I don't think that you'll have any problems - as has been said above, the majority of the performance is seated in the same place - there are a few seats in the final location - but no-one used these last night.

    It did last significantly longer than 90 mins (nearer to 2 hours).

    If you have the chance to buy tickest - do!

    Said Graham Dean From United Kingdom at 20:21pm on 14th Jun 2012

  19. Saw this performance last week - it was amazing! Totally not what I expected but even BETTER! It's a MUST see! The cast do an excellent job of putting together a truly believable show.

    Go see if you don't believe me!

    Said Rebecca Hughes From Manchester at 12:48pm on 16th Jun 2012

  20. 2 hours is a long time for those of us ( me) with weak bladder. Is there opportunity for emergency loo visit?

    William, the performance is 90 minutes.

    Said William M From Sale at 16:29pm on 16th Jun 2012

  21. Saw this on Friday evening, an amazing performance and a very unique experience.

    Cast were fantastic, set was brilliant. I've never had a theatrical experience like this.


    Said Susan Rodgers From Manchester at 11:27am on 18th Jun 2012

  22. Loved everything about the production. Great set of characters, brilliantly performed by all. Totally sucked into the whole thing from the minute you enter the fantastic set. Lots of food for serious thought but lots of humour as well. Loved the music, the dance and loved the choir at the end - they're great.
    Lots of references to Manchester, which are enjoyable, but you certainly don't need to be a resident to enjoy this fantastic show. Go and see this if you get the chance.

    Said James Horan From Manchester at 13:41pm on 18th Jun 2012

  23. I really enjoyed Manchester Lines. The set was so interesting from the start of arriving on 5th Floor to Lost and Found and writing what we had lost (some of which were read out by the cast later). The actors were all superb and the writing and production also.

    The concept of a play set in a lost property office was not all that attractive and did not really appeal. However as we had been to see Hard Time last year I thought we should try it.

    So moving the concept of loss among the characters a must see.

    Said Patricia Davidson From Derbyshire UK at 14:28pm on 18th Jun 2012

  24. wonderful and moving play and excellent cast and production

    Said Prof louis kushnick, OBE From Gatley, via Brooklyn at 19:47pm on 18th Jun 2012

  25. Don't miss this. An innovative and refreshing concept, realised through some quite outstanding performances. It had last night's audience enthralled, moved, amused.....Well done library Theatre.

    Said Mary Radcliffe From Cheshire at 19:07pm on 19th Jun 2012

  26. GO - or next month you will have missed the best piece of theatre of the year. Saw the NT's Frankenstein, and Kinnear in Hamlet - both brilliant - but I cared much more about the characters in this wonderful, innovative and exciting piece of theatre. Jackie Kay has a got a real hit here. Music could do with some work before it makes its West End debut though - music lovers, you have been warned.

    Said Stephen Whittle From United Kingdom at 11:47am on 20th Jun 2012

  27. We went to see this last night. It was briliant, funny, moving thought provokingly excellant. I would recommend whole heartedly. Well worth the ticket price.

    Said Stu Bailey From Manchester at 13:28pm on 20th Jun 2012

  28. Saw Manchester Lines on Monday night and thought it amazing! Congratulations to the producers and the entire cast on their superb performance. I was stunned by the thought-provoking and enjoyable experience. What quality! Thank you.

    Said Sylvia LAVIN From Irlam, Manchester at 15:08pm on 20th Jun 2012

  29. A good piece of imaginative theatre. The set designers and makers deserve special congratulations. It all works a treat and makes the best of a slightly disjointed script which creates good characters but doesn't quite manage to weave them all together. The ending in particular is well done and makes the best of the site of this pop-up theatre in an office block.

    Said Steve at 13:33pm on 21st Jun 2012

  30. Brilliant, moving, witty and sad and so well written and true of life. Full of interlocking patterns and very believable characters. Daring use of street-dance moves in such a tight space and very skillful umbrella action - a health and safety potential nightmare. Even the initial lift experience had its own lines. Initial introduction to the event reminiscent of a family therapy workshop but we thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening. Thank you.

    Said Francis Laycock From Ribble Valley at 13:56pm on 21st Jun 2012

  31. What a fantastic production with a brilliant set and extremely Multi-talented cast.The script was also good. The venue- perfect, we loved it. See it if you can it's a cracker!

    Said June Britton From Marple Bridge Stockport at 11:43am on 22nd Jun 2012

  32. Looks and sounds ace. Shame it is so costly even the concessions price does not make it very accessible..

    Said caro c From Manchester, UK at 19:35pm on 22nd Jun 2012

  33. Wonderful warm production. We (I) had inadvertently booked for next Friday but the exchange of tickets was handled without fuss - our thanks to the young woman at the front desk.
    Do make use of the time at the start to peruse the lost items and make the connection to your own experiences - oh and you will never leave a theatre in quite the style you leave this production.

    Said Willie Mills From Sale at 23:52pm on 22nd Jun 2012

  34. Really enjoyed the production - definitely recommend it !

    Said Shân Spencer From Hale at 10:54am on 24th Jun 2012

  35. An unexpected fabulous performance.Loved the interactive parts.First heard of Jackie Kay some years ago when I read her book Trumpet which has stuck in my mind eversince,so I knew it would be different.All the characters were stong and the setting was great,something not to be missed.Thanks a lot for a brilliant performance.

    Said constance gillette From didsbury manchester at 11:21am on 25th Jun 2012

  36. I loved this play - in fact the total experience from beginning to end. I came with high hopes, knowing how good the Library Theatre is, and in particular what a brilliant actor John Banham is. These hopes were fully realised. When I wasn't laughing, I was wiping away an empathetic tear, and very often both simultaneously. If there are any tickets left, I hope people will ignore the lukewarm review from the MEN and take heed of the excellent ones here and elsewhere. I think Lyn Gardner in the Guardian summed it up perfectly - that it was the understatement that made it all the more moving.

    Said Donald Judge From United Kingdom at 23:59pm on 25th Jun 2012

  37. The theatrical experience of the year. The whole experience was innovative, thought-provoking and just so imaginative. Loved the lost property office and the way we were all herded into it it - lost in this oddly named office building, trapped, in a kind of way, unable to get out, powerless, as were some of the characters. This is real theatre. Everyone should see it.

    Said Shirley Hindley From Didsbury at 22:46pm on 27th Jun 2012

  38. Superb experience. The performance space was brilliantly created and exploited. Great writing, tight direction and wonderful performances all round. The play began strongly and then, from Anne Kidd's first appearance, started to take on unsettling resonances that deepened with each accumulating narrative layer. Sincere thanks to all concerned.

    Said Julian Edge From Didsbury, Manchester at 08:01am on 28th Jun 2012

  39. Original performance, innovative venue.
    Well directed & well acted - the narrative of
    the different lives portrayed is strong and will
    stay with you. The Library theatre at it's best.

    Said Jennifer Broderick From Lymm Cheshire at 13:54pm on 28th Jun 2012

  40. I thoroughly enjoyed last night's production of Manchester Lines. All the performers were excellent and the venue was extremely well prepared. The play was unique and well written. Definitely ten out of ten.

    Said Loreto Keech From Marple at 19:59pm on 28th Jun 2012

  41. Sorry folks but I seem to be the only person who didn't like it. Started well but never really came together. Too random and disjointed for me and I thought the music out of place and too discordant. I usually love the Library Theatre production, but not this time.

    Said Amanda Laing From Stretford at 22:34pm on 28th Jun 2012

  42. We came out of this show with huge smiles on our faces. It had blown us away with its originality, humour, humanity, acting, directing, writing much more do you want in under 2 hours ? SO pleased we decided to go. Well don e to everyone involved in its production.

    Said Chris Sloan From Knutsford at 23:05pm on 28th Jun 2012

  43. It was always going to be difficult to follow on from Hard Times, which was fantastic, but Manchester Lines formed a really interesting evening's entertainment. The unexpected
    admixture of song and dance worked well. John Branwell is a joy.

    Said Mark H Levy From United Kingdom at 18:16pm on 29th Jun 2012

  44. We came to the Friday night performance and thought it was splendid. great cast and thought-provoking script. loved the staging and interaction between actors and audience. the Library Theatre has built on last year's success with Hard Times and has provided another memorable Manchester moment. Please continue to search for unusual locations to stage your productions, it really brings theatre out into the city and engages in orignal formats. well done to all!

    Said andy mycock From chorlton at 12:22pm on 2nd Jul 2012

  45. So raging i won't get to see this, but we're going profile it on our monthly newsletter in our site-specific section. Sounds brilliant. Bring it to Belfast!

    Said Finn Kennedy From Belfast at 16:00pm on 2nd Jul 2012

  46. Excellent! Unlike anything I've ever seen!!!
    Poignant, moving and funny.

    Said Kaos at 08:47am on 3rd Jul 2012

  47. Some years ago I had a conversation with Chris Honer about theatre in the round and promenade theatre theatre versus the proscenium arch. At the time all LT productions were on stage with the fourth wall removed, but I had been working- possibly with Dave Moutrey!- with community plays, where there are no holds barred between actors and audience, 'poor theatre' reigns and technical improvisation is often the name of the game. Last Monday's performance of Manchester Lines was for me like a gemlike distillation of all that is best about theatre in non-theatre spaces. The poetry and poignancy of the script, the creative and stunningly appropriate use of the space and its wrap-around feel, the seeming simplicity of the lighting, the authenticity of the acting,the way the actors emerged and dissolved back into the set,singing, dancing, soliloquising, weaving the broken pieces of story together, subtly relating its themes of love and loss and coincidence to all who watched, added up to one of the most memorable pieces of theatre I've ever had the privilege to experience. Congratulations to everyone involved. When you are back on your new stage, Chris, don't forget your extra-theatre building triumphs!

    Said Maggie Willett From I live in Marple at 22:10pm on 4th Jul 2012

  48. What a fabulous evening! Everything about it was magical, from our entry to the Lost Property Office to the finale looking over the wonderful Manchester skyline. Impossible to single out any one person for congratulations as all the actors were superb, the music / dance / community choir involvement all excellent, the concept, script, setting and production representative of all that is best about creative theatre. An absolute joy, entirely absorbing from beginning to end. Congratulations to everyone concerned, particularly those who had the vision to put such a wonderfully tender, poignant, sad yet hopeful piece together for our delight.

    Said Pam Burrow From Greenmount, Bury at 17:54pm on 5th Jul 2012

  49. A joyful afternoon spent in the lost property office. The actors were very believable and there were tears of both pain and joy in the audience. Innovative and thought provoking.

    Said Carol Heald From Norden at 16:45pm on 10th Jul 2012

  50. This was a really unique experience - so glad I got the opportunity - felt like a privilege and made me proud to be a Mancunian - I also now feel much more positive about the plans for the new home for the Library Theatre Company in this area of the city - its looking really smart around there now and not how I remember it from many years ago - cant wait for the next "site specific" production

    Said Barbara Garvey From Manchester at 18:28pm on 10th Jul 2012

  51. Like the idea of going to different locations but lost my concerntration of the play due to bad seating I was so uncomfortable and hot. Shame really

    Said Maria atherton From Cheshire at 10:01am on 11th Jul 2012

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