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Once a Year on Blackpool Sands at 3MT

Once a Year on Blackpool Sands is written by Karlton Parris and presented by Manchester-based theatre company Skint Productions.

Set in Blackpool 1953, before homosexuality was legal in the UK, this real-life gritty Northern LGBTQ comedy focuses on Eddy and Tommy, as they head to Blackpool for their annual wakes week holiday.

The lads check into the surprisingly empty Withering Heights on Sea guest house, run by the caustic and alarmingly odd Gladys, her rebellious and very flirty daughter Maureen and the infamous Red Ethel, ex-communist stripper show girl. 

Upstairs the only other guest Mr Elbridge is trying to muster the courage to unleash any of his three female alter egos and walk the fabled transvestite walk from north to south pier as a woman. 

As events unfold, six lives will be changed forever and - as Eddy reveals a shocking truth - it will lead to a lifetime of activism in the fight for equality and freedom for the LGBTQ community.

Once a Year on Blackpool Sands stars Kyle Brookes as Eddy Corkhill; Macaulay Cooper as Tommy Price; Dominic McCavish as Phyllis (Mr Elbridge) and Red Ethel is played by Linda Clark, who has appeared on Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Doctors, Dr Who and That Peter Kay Thing.

Real life mother and daughter Wendy Laurence James and Mollie Jones, from Lowton in Greater Manchester, play mother and daughter Gladys and Maureen in the stage production.

Cheshire-based writer Karlton Parris met the real-life Eddy and Tommy in a bar in Greece 30 years ago and heard their powerful, enthralling, inspirational, and funny, true story.

McCauley, who studied at Arden School of Theatre in Manchester said: "This holiday on Mykonos was one last hurrah for two lovers, who were both ill from AIDs. Tommy died in Eddy's arms. They'd been best friends from school and, later that year, Eddy also died."

He added: "When I was first offered the role of Tommy Price my first reaction was I need to get this right... I have no historic reference point other than Karlton's account of a story told to him 30 years ago. 

"However the one tangible thing that shines through the stage play and film script is just how much these two young men loved each other, in a time when to do so was to risk it all.”

Linda said: "The story they told Karlton that evening was full of Northern humour. Three generations of funny women, a brave transvestite, and a gay love story that soared the heights."

Kyle, who is from Liverpool, said: "I see them as working class heroes. What they did that night in Blackpool was amazing, brave and so inspirational. This story needs to be told. 

"These guys, Mr Elbridge, and the ladies, most probably did the first gay pride march in the UK, only they had to contend with of a barrage insults, a few thrown punches and broken beer bottles. 

"My biggest challenge was working through the knowledge of Eddy's abusive childhood, I have to do justice to any child gay or straight, who carries that level of damage with them.

"However that said, this script is so funny it turns on a sixpence, so to speak. It's harrowing one minute, thoughtful, even charming, the next. Then laugh out loud hysterical. 

"The cast are wonderful and we all share this overriding commitment to doing justice to these six real people."

Tickets are on sale now for Once A Year on Blackpool Sands is at Three Minute Theatre 11-13 July and Salford Arts Theatre 20-21 July, as part of Greater Manchester Fringe 2018.  

Greater Manchester Fringe is on 1-31 July 2018 at a wide variety of venues throughout Greater Manchester. The full programme will be revealed when tickets go on sale on Tuesday 1 May.

There is still time to register a show for GMFringe 2018. For more details visit www.greatermanchesterfringe.co.uk or email GMFringe@gmail.com

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Published: 5-Apr-2018

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