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Writers in the Manchester Salon Review section

Writers of articles on this site are not paid for anything published here, and shouldn't be seen as necessarily reflecting the views of the people behind the Salon - they're primarily published to bring to the fore some nuances and insights on trends in culture.


Alexander BeaumontAlexander Beaumont

Alexander Beaumont is a lecturer in the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York. He has research interests in post-war British literature, film and television; Thatcherism and the politics of culture; neoliberalism, political theory and contemporary novel; and the recent history of the British level. He is currently working on a monograph entitled Freedom and the City: Contemporary British Fiction and the Cultural Politics of Disenfranchisement.

Articles: The Olympic Dream


Andrew MarsdenAndrew Marsden

Andrew Marsden is a professional actor and has performed on stage in productions across the North of England and appeared in several short and feature films. In late 2016 and for all of 2017, he took a break from acting to study an MA degree in Literature, Culture and Modernity at the University of Salford, marking a return to academic studies after first graduating from the University of Reading with a BA in Film & Drama in 2004. He has interests in how literature and culture inform one another, theatre, film, art, and music. Andrew tweets from @LifeonMarsden.

Articles: Demob Happy, Swan Lake, Un Chien Andalou, Night Terror, Hamlet


Anne RyanAnne Ryan

Anne Ryan is currently working at Wythenshawe Hospital, trying hard to keep her particular corner of the NHS going. She is keen to extend her experience and reviewing of Manchester's cultural life, complimenting her wide range of interests including politics, current affairs self-development and culture in the widest sense. When the opportunity arises, Anne is looking to get back into charity fundraising.

Reviews: Moonrise Kingdom, She Stoops to Conquer, The Kid With a Bike, The Comedy of Errors, A Dangerous Method, Travelling Light, Carnage, Coriolanus, J Edgar, Shame, The Artist, The Iron Lady, Dragon Tattoo - remake, Dreams of a Life, Deep Blue Sea, Wuthering Heights, Talk about Kevin, Badlands, One Man, Two Guvnors, Jane Eyre, The Skin I Live In, The Tree of Life, Of Gods and Men, Inside JobPrivate LivesThe King's Speech, Hamlet, The Social Network, ArcadiaDr Faustus, Salt and Salander, Coco Chanel, Pygmalion, Dragon Tattoo


Bill HughesBill Hughes

Bill Hughes was recently awarded a doctorate from the University of Sheffield. His thesis explored the interrelation of the formal, printed dialogue and the English novels of the long eighteenth century. He is conducting further research on conversation in general in the novel and on eighteenth-century dialogues. He has publications forthcoming on Jane Austen, Bernard Mandeville, Maria Edgeworth, and Frances Burney.

Bill has also published on Richard Hoggart, with contributions in Richard Hoggart and Cultural Studies, ed. by Sue Owen (Palgrave, 2008), and Richard Hoggart: Culture and Critique, ed. by Michael Bailey and Mary Eagleton (Critical, Cultural and Communications Press, 2011). In addition, he is researching intertextuality and the Semantic Web, and contemporary vampire literature, co-editing with Dr Sam George and contributing to the forthcoming collection, ‘Open Graves, Open Minds’: Vampires and the Undead from the Enlightenment to the Present (Manchester University Press, 2012), and co-organising the Bram Stoker Centenary Symposium (University of Herts, April 2012: This apparently disparate research is not unfocussed; it has at its core Bill’s concerns with the Enlightenment as viewed through the theory of Habermas and the Marxist tradition.

Reviews: Miss Julie


Catherine Smyth

Catherine Smyth

Catherine Smyth had been a journalist since 1988 and previously worked on evening, weekly and free newspapers. In her last role she was the news editor in charge of a busy newsroom at a weekly newspaper. Since 2009 she has worked for herself, writing Press Release articles, freelance news and creates newsletters for organisations, developing a programme to produce daily or weekly newspapers in schools. She has also written a book about the murder of Sophie Lancaster – Weirdo Mosher Freak. For more information check out the website

Reviews: Boomtown RatsBlack Roses


Dave PorterDave Porter

After more than 20 years working in weekly newspapers in Manchester, Dave Porter has now established his own business, Porter Media, to provide freelance media services - everything from old fashioned journalism to media training, writing Press Releases to undertaking research work into the current state of the UK media. His interests in terms of reviewing life in the theatre (well catered for in Manchester), music and books.

Reviews: Orpheus Descending, Momus, Beautiful Thing, FlashbackDavid McAlmontMemento Park, Changing face of journalism, Lloyd Cole, The Lady from the Sea, The Illusionist, Sheesha in Radcliffe, Skeletons, Wallpaper, Art and CulturePygmalion, The Road


Emma ShortEmma Short

Since moving back to Manchester from the Cornish coast Emma has been working in education. She has a background in Philosophy & Ethics, Counselling & Music. She partakes in spoken words events around Chorlton and enjoys a variety of writing projects and collaborations.

Reviews: The Accrington Pals, Red Baraat, Ian Tilton, Henry V, Oedipussy, Two, Celluloid, Tindersticks, Life in the UK, Thrasher



Fat RolandFat Roland

Fat Roland is a Manchester writer and DJ. He has won awards for his writing, including Blog Of The Year at the 2010 Manchester Blog Awards for his website Fat Roland On Electronica. He has contributed to 330 Words, Greenroom United, Manchester Salon, Write In For Writing's Sake and several other websites, has an extensive history of print journalism snuggled neatly under his belt, and is writer of the comedy lecture "The Gospel According To Aphex Twin". His DJing gigs include various Northern Quarter electronica nights, lengthy skate park mix sessions and pretend-scratching in front of 3,500 pop fans at Manchester Apollo. In 2010, he gave up his telly to concentrate more on writing, though confesses to missing "Homes Under The Hammer".

Reviews: Manchester Sound, Omid Djalili, John Barrowman, Method Lab 2011, Zack, Frankophilia!, The Social Network


Georgina Kirk

Georgina Kirk

Georgina Kirk is a freelance public speaking coach with over twenty years’ experience of helping clients to find their voices and express themselves clearly, confidently and effectively. Her background is in language teaching and, more recently, psychotherapy. She is interested in all aspects of human communication. When she is not involved in public speaking training, Georgie enjoys watching and performing magic, travelling, walking, swimming, dancing, theatre, cinema and reading.

Reviews: Magic's popularityMaster and MargaritaResolving Zimbabwe, Quality in Public Performance, Derren Brown: Svengali


Hannah MasonHannah Mason

Hannah Mason is a high calibre student at New Mills School Business and Enterprise College and since an early age has excelled in English and Drama. Getting all ‘A’ and ‘A*’s’ in recent work, Hannah is a young student wishing to pursue a career in Journalism or in the Performing Arts. Hannah is a huge fan of William Shakespeare as she feels he helped shape the English Language, finding his stories and tales both fascinating and unique. On a recent work experience placement, Hannah interviewed and then wrote about several local business people, and was lucky enough to read and review Melvin Burgess’ new novel prior to its publication, which has helped publicly test out her writing skills greatly, and subsequently has setup her own blog to review life for young people called Fresh Look.

Reviews: Melvin Burgess, Work Experience, Kill All Enemies


Iain BrassingtonIain Brassington

Iain Brassington is a lecturer in Bioethics at the Centre for Social Ethics and Policy and the Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation at the University of Manchester. He's also an editor of, and contributor to, the Journal of Medical Ethics' blog, and recently judged school students reasoning in the Debating Matters competition.

Reviews: Not a Chimp, The Bacchae, Glengarry Glen Ross


Jane TuttleJane Tuttle

Jane Tuttle is a trained, professional actor who produces, writes, directs and performs on stage, radio and television. Her acting name is Alexis Tuttle and uses the pseudonym, Jane, to help keep her brain in order when donning the various ‘hats’ of life. With a history in Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising, all reviews reflect a broad and diverse understanding of performance, resulting in a passionate approach to critiquing creative art in the North West.

Reviews: The Newspaper Boy, Macbeth, The Play That Goes Wrong


Jennifer IddonJennifer Iddon

Jennifer Iddon has worked in Arts marketing for almost a decade. Jennifer has a love of the Arts with a particular interest in theatre; both as an audience member and a performer. She lives in Greater Manchester with her husband and daughter, and in her free time enjoys going for walks with her family, reading a variety of books, listening to and trying to play music, singing, visiting galleries and theatres. About to complete an acting course Jennifer is contemplating what interest to pursue next.

Reviews: Crossing Points


Johanna Hassouna-SmithJohanna Hassouna-Smith

Johanna Hassouna-Smith is an Irish/ Egyptian Drama teacher with a degree in Creative Arts (Acting and Directing) from Manchester Metropolitan University, and currently works as Head of Drama at a Greater Manchester school. Since childhood she has loved all things theatrical and has participated in theatre companies and performances across both England and Ireland as performer and director. Johanna has also dabbled in TV background work, advertising and amateur operatics, is a lifelong fan of the theatre, loves Shakespeare, contemporary theatre, children’s theatre, and is a sucker for a great big showbizzy musical!

Reviews: East is East, The Importance of Being Ernest, Circle Mirror Transformation, Hard Times, Go Back for Murder, Shakers Re-Stirred, Vampires Rock


John WaterhouseJohn Waterhouse

John Waterhouse has been involved at various times with amateur theatre groups including The Guild Theatre in Wilmslow, Macclesfield Amateur Dramatic Society, The Brookdale Theatre, and Poynton Players in Bramhall. John has gained experience in acting, set construction, scene painting and back stage work. Roles played include Sam in ‘Wait until dark’ at Chads Theatre, Cheadle Hulme, The Bishop in ‘See how they run’ at MADS Theatre, Macclesfield and Frank in ‘The female of the species’ at Poynton Players. He is represented by the Acting agnecy EKA and has appeared as an extra in various television productions including ‘Scott and Bailey’, ‘Shameless’, ‘Last Tango in Halifax’, ‘Mount Pleasant’, ‘Fresh Meat’, ‘The house of Anubis’ and ‘Foyle’s War’ (playing William Knowles, the murder subject of an episode).

Reviews: Art, The Dinner Party, Whisky Galore, An Evening with Eddie Fontana, The Little Matchgirl, Up and Coming, West Side Story, Hamlet, Brief Encounter, ImproQuo, Jane Eyre, Gates of Gold, Kicking against the Pricks, Welcome to Paradise, The Actress, Metamorphosis, Dick Whittington, The Haunting of Blaine Manor, The Kite Runner, Up 'N' Under, One Man Bond, Oh what a lovely war, How the Other Half Loves, Bring on the Bollywood, Forever Changes, The Father, Out of Order, Hard Times, Spring and Port Wine, Meat Pie, Sausage Roll, Looking at the lesser postcodes, French without tears, Jumpers for Goalposts, Spoonface Steinberg, Ladykillers, Pygmalion, Kiss Me Quickstep, Our Gracie, Pitmen Painters, Mother Goose, Humpty's Bones, 'Hot Stuff', Together in Electric Dreams

Katherine Sansom

Katherine Sansom

Katherine Sansom is the editor of Freedom in a Puritan Age. She is a playwright and has won a number of prizes, including the BBC Northern Exposure prize, and had a play performed at Bradford Theatre-in-the-Mill and the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Katherine graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a master's degree in creative writing, and works as an online copywriter, is a director of Bank Street Arts, is the business manager of The Poetry Business and is also web-manager of the Leeds Salon website.

Reviews: SlutWalks


Kathrine PayneKathrine Payne

Kathrine Payne is a student at New Mills Business & Enterprise College. Her wide range of interests includes acting, dancing, and playing both piano and guitar. She is an A and A* student, and generally too cool for school. She’s taken various exams for music, drama and dance and really enjoys the pride that comes from completing them. Other interests include writing, art, and watching plays. Kathrine has a really varied love of books, and always tries to make time to read. In the future she wants to continue writing in her spare time, as this has always been a passion of hers.

Reviews: Melvin Burgess, Work Experience, Kill All Enemies


Katie Leicester and Victoria WilmotKatie Leicester and Victoria Wilmot

Being twins born in the 1960’s before twins were common we always were a bit of a novelty and would often be stopped in the street, so you can say we were thrown in the limelight right from the start. Also with a ballroom dancer for a grandparent named Grace Kelly again our exposure to glitz and glamour is one of our earliest memories, from the age we could sit independently we were taken to theatre shows and we can both remember vividly being sat up on coats so we could see the stage. In the summer holidays we were privileged enough to be sent to our great aunt's in London to watch the latest West End Musicals where our passion and interest in the theatre world grew into a more mature hunger.

With over forty plus years of going to the theatre on a regular basis we think we have earned our stripes to critique shows as we have seen shows with a zero budget to the Broadway no limit budgets, and have watched many generations of amateur dramatic students’ progress onto the professional stage. Both of us love and adore the theatre and enjoy nothing more than watching the theatre for pleasure and to critique. Neither twin has ever studied performing arts after college but we both write as a layman and will give our honest and humble opinions on what we see during the show, hopefully making it easy to read and user friendly.

Reviews: Miss Saigon, Cinderella, Vincent River, The Replacement Child, Chancer's Cabaret, Dancing Bear, Air Play, Holly Christmas, Little Women, Merry Little Christmas, Winter Wonderland


Marie-Anne McGibbon

Marie-Anne McGibbon

Marie-Anne has worked as a midwife all her professional life, mostly around Stockport, Manchester and Ashton, though included a couple of years in the United Arab Emirates. For an additional challenge Marie-Anne has studied for teaching and counselling, and completed a Masters degree in Law and Ethics at Manchester University. Enjoying the vibe of live performances, she regularly attends both established and newer theatres in Buxton and Manchester, readily losing herself in the storylines.

From school age she has played individual and team sports for school and clubs. The sports may have mellowed to concentrate on golf, but the combination of individual and team playing remains, as she's now an active member of New Mills Golf Club where she thinks it provides some of the friendliest Golf in Derbyshire, especially when the weather is good.

Reviews: Ladies Golf in Derbyshire, Grumpy Gay Men


Matthew Dougall

Matthew's interest in theatre started as a young boy and has taken him through many different genres of the performance arts from playing the piano, singing, dancing, acting and even backstage work. Joining the acting profession after leaving school he forged a career as an actor / performer, but now prefers to write and is a published playwright and poet. As well as being a regular contributor to Schauspiel Und Buehnenkunst he also sits on the adjudication panel for many Dance and Musical Theatre contests. A qualified educator and trainer with over 20 years experience within the profession he now also gives masterclasses and private acting tuition.

Outside the theatre world, Matthew can often be seen walking his dog on the Pennine foothills and drinking tea at a local cafe.

Reviews: Fat Friends, The Sound of Music, George's Marvellous Medicine, Dance: sampled, Teddy, Flashdance, Showstopper!, The Man of Mode, Rattle of a Simple Man, Strangers on a Train, RNCM Big Band, North West Wonders, Nina, Wear Pearls and Smile, The Weir, Risa Hall, The Little Angel, TaPestries 2018, Shrek, [insert slogan here], Halle/RNCM, The Manchester Project, The Return, Blue/Orange, Vampires Rock, Bluebeard's Castle, Cinderella, A Christmas Carol @ 53two, A Christmas Carol, Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, MUMS Festive Concert, Beautiful, Dick Whittington, Cendrillon, Around the world in 80 days, The Gruffalo, Eight, Carols by Candlelight, Kalinka Youth Balalaika, 9 to 5, Nativity! The Musical, Crazy for You, The Ladykillers, Wind Orchestra Concert, Juggling on a Motorbike, The Full Monty, Spoiler Alert, Daisy Pulls it Off, CILLA: The Musical, Never Mind The Weather. The Little Greats, PICNIC, Avenue Q, Jason Manford, J B Shorts 18, Into the Underworld, Spamalot, RNCM Symphony Orchestra, Collision Course, The Wipers Times, The Suicide, Oliver, Slava's Snow Show, Sunset Boulevard, Stay Happy, Keep Smiling, Joseph, The Threepenny Opera, Days of Wine and Roses, Antigone, Ghost Dances, THE BAND, One For The Road, Aladdin, Up the Bunting, The Addams Family, Wizard of Oz, Dirty Dancing, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Toad Knew, Lord of the Dance, Evita, Grease, Legally Blonde, Gymfusion, An evening with 007, Christmas at the Movies, Siege of Christmas, Halle Youth Orchestra, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Yama, Little Shop of Horrors, The Wind in The Willows, The Rocky Horror Show, Classical Extravaganza, U.Dance, Big Bang!, 32 rue VandenbrandenDvorak Saint LudmilaSean Lock, The Birthday Party, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Halle Thursday, Something Wonderful, Footloose, Once Upon a Time


Paul Thompson Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson is a journalist, journalism tutor, playwright and scriptwriter who plies his trade from a box room in the family home in leafy Glossop - from time to time making it as far as MediaCity in Salford via the gift of motorcycle. His work was recently produced at the inaugural Irlam Festival Fringe, and he's working on a children's TV drama about kids with superpowers. He loves theatre, movies and television, and could happily spend every minute of every day telling you precisely what he thinks about stuff.

Reviews: The Curious Incident, Peter Pan Goes Wrong, Twelve Nights, My Baby Girl, John and Mark, Mojo, Iris, JB Shorts 12


Sara PorterSara Porter

Sara Porter originally studied a chemistry degreee, before then retraining as a teacher. Sara now is now a freelance photographer based in the High Peak but travels across the UK for her work. Her work covers a variety of genres including fine art, commercial, wedding, portraiture and event photography. Sara is a member of the Royal Photographic Society, and the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers.

Reviews: Iraq: Photographs by Sean Smith, The Lion King, The Lion King (launch), Life in the UK, Anarcadia, Nadav Kander, Birth of British Rock


Sarah Bartlett

Sarah Bartlett

Sarah Bartlett is a successful freelance copywriter who specialises in the production of marketing materials for technology companies in both digital and print formats. Sarah combines excellent writing skills with elements from her extensive professional background, which spans software development, library management and marketing communications. Her professional portfolio is available through her own website at Bartlett Editorial. Sarah was a founding member of the Birmingham Salon, a debating forum, which she continues to co-organise. In her spare time, Sarah is writing her first novel and is an active member of the Pow Wow writers’ group.

Reviews: The Master and Margarita


Stephen Bowler

Stephen Bowler

Stephen has published on a wide variety of topics, including nationalism, Irish history, the bodyhealth, crime fiction, and modern literature. More significantly, he sings Second Tenor with Salford Choral Society. He lives in Rusholme with his wife and child.

Reviews: Die Diana, The Art of Success, King LearTwelfth Night, Fourplay, Smoke and Mirrors, The Beanfield, Summer... to SpringZero, You're Not Alone, On the couch, Negative Space, Endgame, The Gospel, Life Stories, Girl with Dragon Tattoo


Stuart CominsStuart Comins

Stuart is passionate about music - writing and performing his own music, and producing it at his QWAX Recording Studio in Huddersfield. QWAX Studio has the highest technical standards, helping with arrangement, performance, vocal delivery and much more. Having worked in and around music for many years, Stuart knows plenty of additional musicians for those wanting a complete house backing band. He's now extending his knowledge and experience of music through the review section to write about contemporary trends.

Reviews: Hans Island and Little Comets


Temi OgunyeTemi Ogunye

Temi is a columnist for Manchester's student paper, the Student Direct: Mancunian Edition.

Reviews: I Ought To Be in Pictures



Una CottrellUna Cottrell

Una Cottrell has been putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) since childhood. She has also spent half a lifetime working in Business and Marketing. Putting these two elements together, Una has set up as a freelance writer offering copywriting, PR and web content, newsletters, scriptwriting and editing under her company Writemark2012. Having to adapt to writing for a variety of sectors has meant Una can write for any genre or discipline, but she is particularly at home in the mad world of media!

Reviews: WickedThe Great Gatsby

Yasmin RedfearnYasmin Redfearn

Yasmin Redfearn is at New Mills Business & Enterprise College with a particular academic interest in history and geography. Having spent her life living on farms, Yasmin is a very rounded and practical individual with a bubbly personality that comes out through her drama studies, and young farmers activities. Not one to know her place, Yasmin aspires to be a barrister or criminal.. lawyer. She is a mostly A'S canditate and always tries her best.

Reviews: Melvin Burgess, Work Experience, Kill All Enemies


Yvonne CawleyYvonne Cawley

Yvonne Cawley is a timed served civil servant adept in a variety of roles from personnel through support to small businesses and even rent redemption. Very widely read with a real passion for murder mystery and crime novels that mask a very warm and friendly nature.

Reviews: Madness of George III, Boy on a BedDear Daughter, OthelloHarpington Toads, How to Releax in Amsterdam, David Copperfield, M, Cry Baby, How to Relax in Andalucia, Messrs Comedy, Call Me!, Dog Day Dimp, Diaspora

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