‘If Lancashire playwrights will send their plays to meI shall pledge myself to read them through. Let themnot write as one dramatist does, about Countesses and Duchesses and society existing in imaginations, but about their friends and enemies - about real life.’Annie Horniman
In 1907, Annie Horniman established the first repertory theatre in Britain, the Gaiety Theatre in Manchester. As well as staging classic plays, she championed new and local writers, in particular three men who became known as the ‘Manchester School’ of playwrights: Harold Brighouse, Stanley Houghton and Allan Monkhouse.
Horniman’s Choice brings together four forgotten plays by the ‘Manchester School’ to celebrate Annie Horniman’s influence. Amidst four different early twentieth century Lancashire settings – in the mines, the mills, the home and the front line – these plays explore community, responsibility and loss.
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About the Author
Playwright Stanley Houghton (1881- 1913) was born in Ashton-upon-Mersey, Sale, Cheshire. Educated at Manchester Grammar School, he went into his father's cotton business where he worked until the success of Hindle Wakes in 1912 allowed him to finally achieve his ambition to become a professional writer. He died just a year later of meningitis. One of the acclaimed 'Manchester School' of playwrights, championed by Annie Horniman of the Gaiety Theatre, Manchester, and including such writers as Harold Brighouse and Allan Monkhouse, Houghton's other works include The Intrigues, The Reckoning, The Dear Departed, Independent Means (recently revived by the Library Theatre, Manchester), The Younger Generation, The Master of the House, Fancy-Free, Trust the People and The Perfect Cure. The Finborough Theatre presented an acclaimed revival of Hindle Wakes in 2012 to mark the centenary of its world premiere.
Allan Monkhouse (1858–1936) was an English playwright, critic, essayist and novelist. He was born in Barnard Castle, County Durham. He worked in the cotton trade, in Manchester, and settled in Disley, Cheshire. From 1902 to 1932 he worked on The Manchester Guardian, writing also for the New Statesman. He began to write drama for the Gaiety Theatre, Manchester, shortly after it was opened by Annie Horniman. His best known plays include Mary Broome and The Conquering Hero, both recently revived by the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond.