On 28 April 2000, The Lowry in Salford opened its doors for the very first time as the National Landmark Millennium Project for the Arts.
Eighteen years later, it is the most visited cultural venue in Greater Manchester, one of the UK’s leading combined arts organisations and among the most successful cultural regeneration projects in the world.
In May, The Lowry will celebrate this landmark birthday through its Week 53 festival, which will bring together work from across the globe that focuses on “the coming of age”
Running from Thursday 17 – Monday 28 May, here are ten things from the line-up not to be missed:
Toast (23 May – 2 June)
Based on the British Book Awards Biography of the Year, Toast is the story of Nigel Slater’s childhood, told through the tastes and smells he grew up with. From making the perfect sherry trifle to waging a war over cakes and from the pressured playground politics of sweets to the rigid rules of restaurant dining, this is a story of love, loss and…toast. This first ever stage adaptation of the work takes place in The Lowry’s Lyric Theatre, with the audience seated on-stage, side by side with the performers.
Chantal Joffe – Personal Feeling is the Main Thing (19 May – 2 September)
Regarded as one of the most distinctive and uncompromising figurative artists working today, Chantal Joffe’s fearless paintings of women and girls often share glimpses of her own relationship with her daughter, while exploring transitions into adolescence and motherhood. They confront the physicality of the human body and the complexities of human emotions in a remarkable combination of detachment, humour and intimacy. The exhibition also features a small selection of work by the German artist, Paula Modersohn-Becker, whom Joffe cites as one of her maininspirations.
Brighton Rock (22 – 26 May)
Pilot Theatre and York Theatre Royal bring the dark underworld of Graham Greene’s classic novel,Brighton Rock, to the stage in this new adaptation by acclaimed writer Bryony Lavery. As two 17- year olds, Pinkie and Rose get embroiled in a vicious gang war in Brighton where one brutal murderleads to the next. The police are impassive – but the courageous and life embracing Ida Arnold wants the truth. Nothing scares her. Whatever the cost, she’ll see justice done.
Everything I See I Swallow (24 – 25 May)
An aerial performance featuring Japanese knot-tying in Everything I See I Swallow by circus duo, Tamsin Shasha and Maisy Taylor. Using aerial circus, theatre and the ancient Japanese art of shibari, ‘Everything I See I Swallow’ is an aerial examination of a mother and daughter’s sexuality as they asksome of life’s biggest questions.
Nervous (17 May – 12 July)
Tom Dekyvere is an international artist who uses digital media to explore the deeper layers of reality and the human mind, probing for unexpected connections and disconnections. In ‘Nervous’, Dekyvere will transform The Lowry foyer space into a stunning physicalisation of the human nervous system using lights, mirrors and ropes. It becomes an installation that the spectator can literally plug themselves into, enabling us to search for new perspectives and means to connect.
School of Moon (20 May)
The UK premiere of French choreographer, Eric Minh Cuong Castaing’s artificial intelligence-inspired work, School of Moon, which features both child and robotic dancers. This celebration of a micro- society on building, between robotics and a iconographic dance inpired by Pieta of Michelangelo, questions our the representation of childhood, fascination for artificial, and empathy for human body dancing.
Hikikomori (17 – 18 May)
Hikikomori is a modern-age social phenomenon: it literally means withdrawal from others inJapanese. Based on this new social act of reclusion, Joris Mathieu and the Haut et Court Collective – a leading French theatre team working out of the National Drama Centre in Lyon – have created a futuristic story about a teenager’s decision to withdraw from the world. Three storylines offer three perspectives on a single performance on stage. Using headphones, audiences can choose to experience the story through the eyes of the mother, father or Nils himself.
Madhouse (17 – 26 May)
Award winning theatre company Access All Areas return with a fantastical, disruptive, immersive experience that explores what this history means today. Inspired by a refusal to be silent, and a history of being ignored, five learning disabled artists take us on a wondrous adventure underground.
Swan Lake / Loch na hEala (18 – 19 May)
Michael Keegan-Dolan’s Swan Lake / Loch na hEala – a magical new staging of the classic ballet from one of Ireland`s foremost dance and theatre-makers which collides ancient mythology and the complexity of modern Ireland. A critical smash In Dublin and at Sadler’s Wells, winner for best production at the Irish Times Theatre Awards 2017, this ‘Swan Lake’ is rooted in a place where ancient Irish mythology and modern Ireland meet.
Teentalitarianism (18 & 20 May)
Teentalitarianism is a series of “social-specific” performances that invites an adult audience to enter a very different world, a world where the tables are turned, and the teens are in charge. Mammalian
Diving Reflex will work with a group of local teenagers to create a series of performances, events and interventions that will take over an area of Salford, creating a teen-infused environment where the youth rule the roost.
Thurs 17 – Mon 28 May 2018
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, M50 3AZ
Tickets: Free, £10, £20 and ‘Pay What You Decide’
@The_Lowry / #Week53
Some elements of the programme are free of change and those that are ticketed are set-priced at £10 or £20. For all ticketed performances there will be an allocation of ‘pay what you decide’ seats available both in advance and on the door – to encourage audiences to ‘try something new’.
For more information, check out the festival website thelowry.com/Week53 or follow the
conversation on social media using the hashtag #Week53