The Forum Theatre, Wythenshawe, Manchester

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This Theatre opened on 3rd November 1971 in Wythenshawe, besides being a major theatre in one of Manchester suberbs it featured a main hall, meeting rooms, leisure centre and library but by the mid 1990’s it had closed down as a theatre.  It was an extention of the Library Theatre and was run by their production team.

The directors in this theatre were mainly Howard Lloyd-Lewis who sadly died in a car crash in 1986; also Roger Haines and Paul Kerryson.  all three of them were involved with both the Library and the Forum Theatres.

obituary

In 1971 a play written by Colin Wellard ‘Say Goodnight to Grandma’ was on, it starred Colin Wellard, Susan Jameson and Ken Farrington. In 1972 Peter Adamson, who gained fame as ‘Len Fairclough’ in Coronation Street as did Ken Farrington appeared in a play.

1974 saw the a production of ‘Lock up your daughter’ by Lional Bart and Laurie Johnson also that year Richard Griffiths appeared in an Alan Ayckbourn‘s play

The Panto in 1979 was a bit different as it was written by folk singer, comedian and  the multi-talented Mike Harding ‘the Witch that nicked Christmas’ . I have seen many  of his plays and loved them all, I was sad to find that this was one I hadn’t seen but I can imagine how different it must have been. This was typical of the shows that were put on at the Forum.

I remember going to see the wonderful story teller in ‘An evening with David Kossoff and sitting spellbound listening to the dulcet tones of his voice and being carried to off in my mind to far off  places.

In the 1980’s they put on a suberb array of shows including ‘Roll on 4 O’Clock’ (which starred John Jardine,  Jack Smethurst and Glynn Owen)’ Oh What a lovely War; What the Butler Saw and Habeas Corpus by Alan Bennett.  Bury’s  own Victoria Wood starred in ‘Talent’ which she wrote.  Another Manchester icon Foo Foo Lamour, famous as the top drag queen of the North-West  whose club was re-known for its great party nights appeared in ‘the Rocky horror show’

In 1985 they put on the musical ‘Follies’ written by Steven Sondheim and among the cast was Meg Johnson and David Scase.

In 1991 the play ‘Driving Miss Daisy’starring Stephanie Cole which had previously gained fame as a film.

In Feb 1991 both Roy Hudd and Barbara Windsor appeared in a Music Hall show.  A Manchester tribute to ‘The Good Old Days’ which was filmed at the Leeds City Variety Theatre.

Finally an apt tribute to Roy Hudd and the Theatre!!

 

Marilyn Shalks

17 Responses

  1. I have some old programmes from the forum and the library theatre dating the late 1980s and early 1990s and wondered whether they would be of any use to an archive

    • Hi Shirley,

      I will enquire when I go into the library next week if they would like them, if not I would love them. Please bare with me and I will come back to you about them. Where do you live?

    • Hi Shirley, sorry it’s taken me so long to reply to you but I ave spoken to someone at Central Library Archives+ and he said can you contact him, his email address is t.lees@manchester.gov.uk
      If he isn’t interested please let me know and I would be interested myself in them.
      Kind regards

      Marilyn

  2. Hi, I worked as a technician at the Forum and occasionally at the Library during the 90’s. I did the sound design and board operation for the shows. I did enjoy most of my time there but sadly the politics did annoy me at times. I suppose it’s the same with any council run theatre I’ve worked for.

    • Hi Sophie
      later on
      I intend to redo my blogs on the library theatre and the forum. It must have been very exciting working at both of these theatres and seeing lots of famous people before they were famous. I presumed that the politics must have been rife being council run. Thank you for reading my blogs
      When I go into the Library now it seems funny that there is no theatre or visible signs that there was ever one there

      Kind regards

      Marilyn

  3. I came to see Follies and was so thrilled and overwhelmed saw it again the same week, the last night. I still recall every moment of that show. It had such an effect on me, like a drug, I have withdrawal symptoms and search to see if any company is performing it in the UK. Does anyone know if a video was made of the Forum production ?. Oh, how I would love to see that .

    • H sylvia

      I am glad that you enjoyed the show, sad that the Forum closed. I have just replied re the video. The Library theatre and the Forum were the same company.

      Good luck

      Marilyn

    • Hi Sylvia

      I dont know about that but if you contact the Library Theatre, now called Home and they may be able to help you

      Good luck

      Marilyn

  4. I worked at the Forum Theatre from it opening in 1971 and worked as part of the Theatre Company unit it closed and move the it’s new vue “Home” 38 years later. Howard did NOT die in a car crash. He had a heart attack whilst Have a drink in Cox’s Bar.

    • Hi Michael

      Thank you for the information,sorry I got it wrong, I must have read it somewhere I will definitely alter it in my blog

      If you have any other information about the forum I would love to hear from you.

      Many thanks for reading my blog

      Marilyn

  5. I had the pleasure of working with Mike Williams at the Forum and Library Theatres from 1978 until 1982. There were some real characters that came and went over the years in both the acting and technical departments of the Library Theatre Company. We put on some marvellous shows and one or two that should never have seen the light of day! LOL
    I still miss it after all these years.

    • Hi Mike

      Thanks so much for getting in touch. I love all theatre, and I also have wonderful memories of the shows at both the Library theatre and the Forum, sadly either are inexistance in the way we remember. Can I ask what you did you do there?

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