A drab, wet February Sunday couldn’t have asked for a better pick-me-up as the University’s drama society (UMDS) held their first HIVE event at HOME.
For those who haven’t yet meandered through the Manchester mill conversions to discover HOME, it is a tall, warm, glass building just off First Street, and is Manchester’s newest cultural triple-whammy, containing cinemas, theatres, and exhibition spaces. For those of you who’ve been around Manchester prior to 2015, it’s Cornerhouse’s new residence.
HIVE was held on the second floor in a low-lit room by a quiet bar; minimal yet sophisticated in a no-nonsense way, the event space was full of interested and interesting performers, writers, and spectators.
The night contained eight performances, four on either side of an interval, modestly compèred by Ollie Norton-Smith, whose intermittent advertising for the Drama Society was effectively both charming and necessary for the evening’s new venue. The space made for a more attentive audience and was deserved by the standard of work showcased.
All performances were capped at twelve minutes meaning there was a mixture of full and part extracts. The professional attitude conducted by all the performers, however, left me wanting to see each piece in its entirety.
Several of the performances were monologues brought in by themes at the precipice of our university lives: the common biography of the drama student status and its subverted prosperity, the ongoing struggles in communication in Alfie Clark’s Penetralia, sex in Ellie Klouda’s Oceans and Aeroplanes, body image in Evie Appleson’s Does My Brain Look Big in This? and recognition of identity in Sam Whitehouse’s Dress.
Comedian Emily Fitzpatrick, with her female lecturer aesthetic crucial to the routine, exposed us all to the world of SpongeBob Literotica – a place I only intend to revisit when she performs again.
Extracts from Krea by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola and A Place by Sassy Holmes opened the door to what could be on the horizon for future drama society productions, managing even in their small window of time to bring us into their fictional worlds.
Bitter by Georgia Carney and Stella Ryley exhibited the vulnerable inner world so many of us experience at university refreshingly without criticism or diagnosis.
Efficiently run and ending appropriately for my new third-year bedtime, the fourth HIVE was an extremely successful student scratch night and nestled in comfortably at HOME. If you missed it, there’s another one before the year’s out – keep your eyes peeled.