First Break Festival returns to Oldham Coliseum for 2017

AFTER ITS most successful festival to date in 2016, Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s popular First Break Festival of new writing and emerging talent returns Thursday 22 – Friday 30 June.

There will be a packed programme of plays, rehearsed readings, showcases and discussion in the Coliseum Studio.

First Break opens on Thursday 22 June at 7pm with a rehearsed reading of Shiver, a new play by Daniel Kanabar, from Box Of Tricks Theatre.

Box of Tricks is a Manchester based theatre company that commissions and develops new plays in partnership with leading local theatres.

Immediately following the rehearsed reading of Shiver, at 8.30pm First Break Festival’s annual Panel Discussion will delve into the issues around making work, getting seen and breaking into the theatre industry.

Car Park King

On Friday 23 June at 7.30pm Every Egg a Bird Theatre Company present Car Park KingCar Park King is a play about one of the most controversial kings of England, Richard III, with a drop of Monty Python, a dash of Spymonkey, and a sprinkle of Spike Milligan.

On Saturday 24 June at 7.30pm Lewis Bray follows his brother Jack, a young man with severe autism, through the imaginary world he creates in their back garden in Cartoonopolis.

Manchester ADP come to First Break Festival on Monday 26 June at 7.30pm with Scripts Aloud. The evening features script-in-hand short plays by local writers with a mix of comedy, politics and drama.

Scripts Aloud

On Tuesday 27 June Reforma Movement Theatre present Butterflys – a fusion of drama, dance, film and challenging live performance highlighting domestic abuse.

The winners of this year’s First Break Writing Competition: Futurist showcase their work on Wednesday 28 June at 7.30pm. The Competition, launched in November, asked writers to script an original short play imagining the what the future will look like based on current trends.

The four winning scripts: Macaroni by Sam Orton; Resistance by Megan Holland; The Warning by Aisling Caffrey and Waiting by Aimie George will be presented as rehearsed readings.

Later that evening, at 8.45pm, the Coliseum’s scriptwriting group led by award-winning playwright Cathy Crabb, Scribbles, will showcase a collective piece written over three terms, Defeat the Clowns.

The play follows a group of employees at a run-down theatre. Some have been picked specifically to ruin the place, but other employees have worked there for a lifetime (and beyond) and they won’t be letting go that easily.

If I Should Fall

On Thursday 29 June Red Bobble Theatre presents a rehearsed reading/work in progress performance of If I Should Fall by Charlotte O’Leary. Inspired by original letters and real accounts from the people of Oldham and the surrounding areas, If I Should Fall explores what it means to be at war – then and now.

First Break Festival comes to a close on Friday 30 June at 7.30pm with Church Blitz by Naughty Corner Productions, a surreal dark comedy where seven paranoid strangers take cover in a nearby church from strange flashing lights in the sky.

Tickets for all First Break events are available from Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s Box Office, by phone on 0161 624 2829 or online at



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