Canal Street Online Manchester

Christine Mackie writes her first play for GM Fringe 2019

Christine Mackie writes her first play for GM Fringe 2019

CORONATION Street star Christine Mackie has written her first play about losing her veteran father to suicide - and she will be played by her daughter Lois.

The semi-autobiographical drama Best Girl will be premiered at the new Hope Aria Theatre, as part of Greater Manchester Fringe in July before it goes to Edinburgh Fringe in August.

Christine, who plays Coronation Street's Dr Gaddas, said: "Lois had the opportunity to do a scratch night and I wrote the piece for her. It is based on my life experience as a kid but updated to present day Manchester. It is about what happens to a child of a veteran.

"Everybody is very familiar with the problems that veterans face, the experiences they have when they have served, and when they come back. But this is what happens to the generation after and it is much funnier than it sounds."

Lois, who performed in the all-female Romeo and Juliet at Hope Mill last year as Lady Capulet, said: "It sounds like it is going to be sad but it is fairly uplifting."

Having played stand-up Beth Black's mum Fiona in Banana and Daphne Bryant in Downton Abbey, added: "It is extremely positive. So you met Annie, who is a woman on a mission to find some happy ending and she engages with the audience. 

"They see how she behaves, how she is and then they understand why she is like she is... and the potential of a hopeful future."

Lois said: "It started as a little 20 minute piece and from that we got amazing feedback. That's now the ending of the whole show. Mum has gone back and written the beginning of how she developed. So it is now set in two different time frames, two years apart.... It keeps changing all the time."

Best Girl was staged at the Dukes in Lancaster, where Christine lives, and at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester, where Lois lives.

"The two theatres have been very helpful," said Christine. "We went backwards, like Star Wars."

She added: "She's in a reaping pattern of behaviour and lots of people are experiencing that. She's able to make that change, as I was, thanks to the NHS.... 

"But it is really about that, that change is possible. You have to wait a long time to get the opportunity to find the help you need. But when you find it, it can be absolutely transforming."

Best Girl is at Hope Aria Theatre, as part of Greater Manchester Fringe, 18-20 July at 7pm plus a Saturday matinee at 3pm. It is directed by Kayleigh Hawkins (The Loves of Others, Romeo & Juliet, Purge and Hamlet).

Christine and Lois are currently crowd funding on Go Fund Me to help fund the the tour, with a percentage of ticket sales going to Firstlight Trust and YoungMinds (veteran and children's mental health charities): gofundme.com/best-girl.

Like Edinburgh Fringe, Greater Manchester Fringe is an open access arts festival, and there is still time for new writers and performers to register their shows.

Wednesday 1 May, when tickets go on sale. For more details visit link below.

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Published: 2-May-2019

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