Salford’s very own The Lowry theatre is set to become the first temporary ‘Nightingale Court’ in the UK after signing a deal with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).
In an attempt to aid in the clearing of a backlog of cases accumulated due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the arts venue will host trials in three temporary courtrooms during the daytimes from Monday to Fridays.
In the evenings and weekends, the venue will then stage shows and open its galleries again using funds from the court deal.
The Lowry is the first arts centre in the country to have secured a contract as a temporary ‘Nightingale Court’ after the scheme was announced in mid-July, and the income from the deal is set to help ensure the organisation’s survival and safeguard hundreds of jobs.
The deal – which begins on Monday 28th September – will provide a “much needed source of income” for the art gallery and theatre, as the necessary social distancing measures that are currently in place make theatre performances economically challenging.
It’s also projected to help the government alleviate the pressure on courts and tribunals as a result of the ongoing pandemic, with judges based at The Lowry set to hearing civil, family and tribunal work, as well as criminal cases.
It’s been reported that pre-lockdown, the crown court backlog in England and Wales stood at some 37,000 and it is now at over 46,000.
Speaking on the new deal with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), Julia Fawcett OBE – Chief Executive of The Lowry – said: “Like arts venues up and down the country, we simply cannot operate our building as normal in the current climate, and with no regular source of income since March, this partnership provides vital funds to enable us to relaunch our programme.
“This includes online, open-air and community performances by some of the UK’s most creative dance, circus and theatre companies as well as creative engagement activities that will improve the mental health and life chances of more than 2,000 young people in Salford.
“Furthermore, we hope to spread the benefit of this partnership across Greater Manchester by commissioning new work from local artists specifically designed for the post-COVID audience environment.”
Two shows, Six – the musical about Henry VIII’s wives – and The Gruffalo will be staged at the main theatre – the Lyric Theatre – in evenings over Christmas and then during the day, trials will take place in the building’s two smaller auditoria – the Quays and the Studio – as well as a conference suite.
The galleries will also re-open at weekends from 1st November, when the court will not be sitting.
You can find more information via The Lowry website here.
Wrexham AFC announce Manchester United friendly with hilarious Sir Alex Ferguson video
Manchester United confirmed that they would be playing Wrexham AFC as part of their US tour on Tuesday, but the Welsh club’s Hollywood owners had a much better way of announcing the pre-season friendly.
While the Red Devils put out a simple statement revealing that one of their games would come against the resurgent Red Dragons, Wrexham‘s celebrity owners in Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney once again decided to put their acting to good use and inform their own fans of the upcoming match.
So, what’s the best way for a National League club to announce a massive fixture with one of the biggest sporting franchises in the world? Well, ideal scenario: getting a United legend and perhaps the greatest football manager of all time to help you do it would have quite the impact. Surely not?…
Yes, somehow, Rob and Ryan managed to convince Sir Alex Ferguson to be in the video and while they’re the ones known for their funny bones, it’s the gaffer who shines as the star of the show.
So good. We almost thought we were staring at a still image at one point and the gag was going to be along the lines of him not even being there while they wonder, ‘is he frozen’?, but the punchline was the perfect level of dry for Scotsman who is literally known for his infamous ‘hairdryer’.
Now, we’ve seen plenty of parodies and funny videos since the acting, writing and comedy-producing duo first bought the club back in November 2020, but I think it’s fair to say we never expected to see Sir Alex in a sketch.
Obviously, we’ve seen countless commercial ads involving United down the year working — including that time the players met Deadpool himself (remember that?) — but we can’t remember the legendary coach ever getting involved with these kinds of shenanigans before.
Suppose retirement has given him the free time to focus on the things he enjoys: i.e. more United.
As detailed in the video and United’s tour teaser at the start of the week, the two teams will be playing in a pre-season friendly at the Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego on July 25 later this year.
Not only will there be plenty of American Reds piling through the doors this summer, but there’s also sure to be a fair few transatlantic Wrexham supporters too, as the story of the club’s takeover has captured the attention of millions, especially after their hugely popular documentary series.
To make things even cooler, it isn’t the only connection between the Devils and the Dragons we’ve seen of late either, as former United keeper and Premier League veteran Ben Foster came out of retirement to sign for Wrexham 18 years on from his previous loan spell. What a coup
Reynolds even popped up in his latest matchday vlog. Wrexham really is one of the strangest sporting stories we’ve witnessed in quite some time.
And that’s just part of the first wave of celebrity contestants – more famous faces will take part in I’m A Celebrity… South Africa, entering the camp as the series goes on.
The new series will ‘push them to their limits and test them like never before’, ITV has said, promising bigger and tougher challenges and an even harsher environment.
Also taking part from the launch episode will be Diversity star Jordan Banjo, TV presenter Carol Vorderman, Olympian Fatima Whitbread, former royal butler Paul Burrell, ex-England cricketer Phil Tufnell, and supermodel Janice Dickinson.
ITV said: “Whilst nodding back to the Australian jungle, I’m A Celebrity…South Africa is a uniquely different series so viewers can look forward to lots of unexpected twists and turns.”