The packed 1,700 seat Lyric Theatre thrummed with anticipation, the heady mix of Lynx Africa and Marc Jacobs ‘Daisy’ lay heavy in the air. The cause of this unusual theatrical aroma was the opening night of ‘An Inspector Calls’, now firmly established on the GCSE syllabus, annually affording delighted English teachers the opportunity to hear what Year Eleven make of JB Priestley’s timeless morality piece.

“Fifty and Nifty” is a self-help group for the fifty-plus, a national franchise. The local group is run by Marjorie Pardoe, whose aim is to prepare you for a sedentary life waiting for death and not get any silly ideas about trying new things, keeping fit or having fun. After all, the last person to try this “moved to Uttoxeter and joined a cult”.

I just love the King’s Arms.  I believe it is one of the coolest pubs in Salford. . .and by that I mean, it is not a trendy wine bar with generic leather seating and smoky cocktails, it is a good old fashioned boozer with a cosy bar, serving decent ciders and ales with its very own quirky beer garden, just a stone’s throw from the city centre. But what makes this venue special, isn’t just the pub, it is the three performance spaces this pub offers and I’m yet to experience anything less than a brilliant night out here.

Dr Seuss’ timeless classic; How The Grinch Stole Christmas has been adapted for the stage directed and conceived for the stage by Jack O’Brien and is currently touring the UK after a sell-out Broadway run currently at The Lowry Theatre in Salford Quays over the festive season.

Pendleton Sixth Form College continues its run of productions with their rendition of Guys and Dolls, I had high expectations for the final 2019 musical and I was definitely not disappointed!

Things go wrong on stage, believe me I know. As an amateur performer for many years I can tell you I have experienced my fair share of cock-ups whilst treading the boards. These things happen at all levels of theatre and often they leave an entertaining theatrical anecdote in its wake.

The great actor Mark Rylance commented, when he was on Desert Island Discs, that he enjoyed it when things go wrong on stage.

Art imitates life and art improves life. For many art is life and nothing else matters but art. It is everything. All they live for is art.

This magical production is about the compulsion of artistic impression. The need to perform and the sacrifices paid. Love, loss, jealousy and passion are all part of life but they are essential to art.

In the stunning Quay’s Theatre at the infamous Salford’s Lowry Theatre hosted for one night only a contemporary circus piece titled ‘Lola’ leaving little clue to what the performance was about. I’ve always associated the title ‘Lola’ with The Kinks 1970’s song in which several artists have copied over the years, which was notoriously controversial in that era for its risqué lyrics, so I did wonder if this was to follow in a similar vein of controversy.

Splendid Productions are an educational theatre company who specialise in bringing challenging work to younger audiences and exposing theme to a wide variety of techniques and practitioners. As part of their 2019/20 programme, they have reimagined Kit Marlowe’s classic Elizabethan story of a man who sells his soul to the devil, unfortunately the experience left me colder than the freezing water of Salford Quays.

Based on Maya Angelou’s epic poem ‘Still I Rise’, newly established dance company TRIBE// strive to channel its message of defiance in their ambitious debut work. In the sixty-five minute single act piece, held in the Lowry's Quays theatre, the five female performers attempt to use their radical and visceral style to convey the source material's resilient rallying call. It’s possible that you'll take some inspiration from the skills on show or from the masterpiece of modern poetry it is based on, but there were serious deficiencies in the execution which meant for me the work largely missed the mark.

Roll up, roll up the circus is in town and tonight, ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, we went back in time to 1903 – the golden age of circus – at the Lowry theatre in Salford.