Anthem Tuition 'Rocks' Christmas

(December 2022)

Anthem Tuition held their Christmas concert at the Academy Theatre for the first time , and it proved a great hit.

Over the course of the day, three concerts were mounted and performed by the core tutors and the gifted students. The theatre foyer hosted a novelty cart which served (non-alcoholic) Mulled Wine with mince pies for the adults and hot chocolate with gingerbread for the children. There were opportunities to buy merchandise and have photos taken on the red carpet.

In the Theatre Anthem took a distinctly 'rock' interpretation on their traditional songs, which included: Santa Claus, Little Drummer Boy, Jingle Bells, Christmas Lights as more usual rock songs: Teenage Dirtbag, Let's Go Crazy and Shut up and Dance.

The founders of the school Adam and Rachel certainly assembled a top team together, both on and off stage, making their Christmas Concert and ideal launch into the final week before Christmas.

Christmas Comes to Co-op

(December 2022)

Music and drama were the key elements making up the first live Christmas Concert by Co-op Academy students for the first time since December 2019.

Introduced by Maya and Lexia, the audience were treated to the Big Band under the direction of Mr Rudden who opened the concert with such classics including Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. Ella and Yilei delighted the packed audience with piano renditions of Someone Like You and Clair de Lune respectively.

String orchestra under Mrs Wren were Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, then followed it with the popular seasonal song Little Donkey and accompanied by Mr Thom on guitar for their final number Fairy-tale of New York.

The rock band played their own composition 51, followed by Jingle Bell Rock where they were joined by Summer on Vocals and the Choir giving backing. The Choir under Miss Stott sang some well known festive tunes, including Silent Night and Let it Snow.

The drama group did their own original take on the Grinch. Directed by year 10 student Mel, it had Year 10 student , William, running around with a furry green beard and gloves!

There was also a sneak preview of the school musical Sister Act which will be performed in February 2023. Tickets are available now

STEM CINEMA in Theatre

(December 2022)

To tie in with the STEM astronomy night, the Academy Theatre became a venue to screen a fascination documentary about the origins of the universe and what makes up the stars.

Our backstage entrance was the access point to a range of telescopes and weather conditions were perfect for some star gazing.

The theatre foyer became the site of model space buggies and moonscapes which could be remotely controlled to cross the rugged terrains.

Rocket making proved a popular activity and were being fired up into the air with great enthusiasm by the many students, accompanied by their parents and guardians.

The highlight for many was an actual rocket in the the school grounds which attracted massive attention.

One Education Concert

(December 2022)

Once again One Education performed its Christmas Concert for their appreciative audiences made up of proud family and friends of the young musicians.

With a rousing samba band warming up the atmosphere on a cold winter's night, the audience were treated to some singing, rock, string and swing groups sharing the culmination of the terms work.

Young musician, Joshua, summed up the evening when her exclaimed, "One Education's Christmas Concert is a collection of a plethora of skilled musicians of all ages, playing different genres and styles of all types of music." He added, "My band, The Conspirators, had the wonderful opportunity to be part of this phenomenal concert, and alongside many other musicians share our passion and evergreen love about music."

SM School of DANCE

(December 2022)

Stacey Madden School of Dance held their first ever dance show and the Academy Theatre were proud to host them.

With students aged between 4 and 13 years, the programme reflected the age and abilities of all the classes. With colourful costumes and dances ranging from ballet to street dance, the audience had a great time.

Opening the show with The Greatest Showman, the girls (in their black and red costumes) made a dramatic impact as they danced in synchronised show of talent. Other dances were performed to Up Town Funk, We Go Together (from the musical Grease) and the pop hit Hey Mickey rounded of with the finale Together Again.

SJ Dance

(November 2022)

Playing to packed houses, SJ Dance presented their Christmas Show. Full of variety and with classes composed of primary, secondary and adult dancers, the audiences loved the colourful costumes and toe tapping numbers.

With ballet, modern, street dance, commercial and jazz dances on display and music classics such as Sugar Plum Fairy, Last Christmas and Jingle Bell Rock audiences left with a spring in their step as they welcomed in the Festive Season.

"Oh no it isn't!"

(November 2022)

"Oh yes it is!" M&M Theatrical Productions' Pantomime of Sleeping Beauty live at the Academy Theatre. The company had been engaged by E-ACT Blackley Academy as part of their Yuletide celebrations and the primary students loved every minute of it.

The children all joined in with audience interactions and in the end evil was vanquished and the good lived happily ever after. A perfect end to this pantomime production.

Protecting Our Planet

(November 2022)

On the 10th November, Students came to the theatre to have a live careers session looking at the green jobs required for tackling climate change.

This session was part of PROTECTING OUR PLANET DAY 22 (POP22) – an inspiring, live-streamed event for primary and secondary schools.

POP22 featured live link-ups, talks full of inspiration and exciting classroom activities from innovators and experts working to tackle climate change.

Running in parallel with the COP27 event that took place in Egypt, students from technology and maths joined POP22 presentations that highlighted the roles tech, engineering and maths have in the climate change programmes taking place around the planet.

POP22 was presented by STEM Learning and organised in collaboration with the leading organisations and renowned societies of the UK’s Climate Change Educational Partnership.

Science Magic Show

(November 2022)

We were happy to welcome back Dr. Matt Pritchard and his Science Magic Show to the Academy Theatre. On his visit he came to amaze, inform and enlighten our Year 7 students with some marvellous magic and engage students with tricks which he actively encouraged students to 'guess how it was done'.

With gravity defying tins, impossible to stand matchboxes and unbelievable balancing, the Scientific Sorcerer created logic defying trickery with household objects and furthermore encouraged the captivated audience to raid their own cupboards and create their own magic show and engage other with the magic of science.

Mock Interviews

(November 2022)

Over 40 visitors attended the Year 11 Mock Interviews and gave Co-op Academy Manchester students some valuable experience in interview technique.

Our Academy Theatre guests came from a wealth of backgrounds. Some examples of the diverse careers experience our visitors had were from: the Police Force, Nuclear Decommissioning, Quantity Surveying, the Health Industry and Independent Business Owners.

After the interviews were completed the interviewers filled in a form to highlight the candidate's strengths and further areas to develop improvement.

Co-op Trust Visit

(November 2022)

We were delighted to welcome our Academies Trust CEO Chris Tomlinson and Headteachers from across the Academies for their Headteachers' Forum hosted in the Academy Theatre. This is the first time in three years that heads from Trust Primary, Secondary and Tertiary education have had a chance to meet, listen to some keynote speakers and discuss how the Co-op can develop its provision for students and support colleagues and continue ensuring that the Co-op Values are embedded in all aspects of the Trust and implemented in the wider community.

The following day the Co-op Group CEO, Shirine Khoury-Haq came to have a look around Co-op Academy Manchester and she was naturally shown our Academy Theatre on her tour. She met with Principal Chris Beard, witnessed a number of lessons and held discussions with students. A particular highlight for the Group CEO was when she was presented with some honey collected from our very own Bees!

Sustainable Planet

(October 2022)

‘Big Ideas: Solutions for the Planet’ is a group focussed on inspiring our young people to identify an issue affecting them and come up with a viable, sustainable way to solve the problem. The day-long workshop consisted of 90 year 8 students being invited to participate, with staff on hand to guide and advice students on the feasibility of their project. The day concluded with every team presenting their design idea to the rest of the cohort, with the 20 best and most engaged students being invited to develop their ideas and participate in the national competition, where the finalists will get to attend a development session at the Palace of Westminster in June/July.

Girls Out Loud

(October 2022)

'We want to inspire girls to believe in themselves, know they are enough and encourage them to find their inner gumption to make the right choices.'

This year the Co-op Academy Manchester begins a year long collaboration with Girls Out Loud.

The scheme sets out to empower girls and match them up with a successful business woman who act as a 'Big Sister' to their Year 8 student. Who, over a year will offer them support, guidance and advice. The project was launched in the Academy Theatre with over 40 'Big Sisters' in attendance.

Careers Fair Success

(October 2022)

October saw the Academy Theatre as a careers hub for the entire school. All school years were invited to attend and the experience proved very popular for both students and careers providers.

The Amy, Navy and Air Force were in attendance as well as many colleges and apprentice scheme facilitators, as well as businesses and industry professionals.

The free give-aways proved particularly popular with the students.

DNA in Theatre

(October 2022)

DNA is a disturbing play dealing with bullying and manipulation. Written by Dennis Kelly, it came to the Academy Theatre in October.

Presented by Quirky Bird Theatre, the cast of 10 excellently portrayed the story of the disappearance of a boy and the way the boy's associates cover up his absence by implicating an innocent stranger in his murder.

Tense and gripping, the Year 11 audience were completely engrossed in the horrific tale.

Question Time

(September 2022)

The BBC’s flagship political debate programme Question Time was broadcast live from Co-op Academy Manchester to iPlayer on Thursday 29 September, and broadcast a few hours later on BBC1. The show, presented by Fiona Bruce, welcomed an audience of local people asking big questions on current affairs to a panel of politicians and journalists.

The Academy Theatre was the venue for this show, which often visits town halls, schools and other public buildings around the country.

Our Year 11 Media students got to view the set and recording set-up, and even practice with the cameras and boom mics in a hands-on exploration of professional TV production. Floor Manager Evan Beaton and his team was generous with their time in showing how the TV programme is made.

In addition, two Year 11 Sociology students who are interested in politics helped the production team gather questions from the audience, and welcomed the panellists. The guests included Minister for Local Government Paul Scully MP; Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson MP; Executive Editor of The Economist and presenter of The Economists Asks podcast Anne McElvoy; Chairman of Cobra Beer and Vice-President of the CBI Lord Karan Bilimoria; and TV presenter and producer Richard Bacon.

The debate focussed on the big economic issues currently in the news but they also had the chance to discuss the topic of which city will host the next Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine.

The panellists were impressed by our students and by our facilities and we were proud to show these influential people our commitment to offering the young people of north Manchester the very best.

Open Evening

(September 2022)

Once again records were broken as Co-op Academy Manchester welcomed more prospective new students with their parents / carers to look around the academy than ever before.

The many guests had a chance to see the many exciting educational opportunities the school offers to all students aged from 11 to 16.

The swift signing in and ticketing process ensured that Principal Chris Beard had a huge audiences, as he gave his welcome speech and championed the school's vision of striving for Excellence in everything. Guided around the academy by our students, with some using their bilingual language skills, the feedback from our visitors was very positive, especially from the young prospective students who left with their own 'goody bag' of treats.

Rest in Peace Your Majesty

(September 2022)

We at the Academy Theatre wish to pass on our deepest condolences to the Royal Family at this time of national grief on the loss of Her Majesty the Queen.
Previously Queen Elizabeth visited the Co-op Headquarters at 1 Angel Square and musicians from Co-op Academy Manchester played to welcome her and his late Royal Highness Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. May 'flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest'.

Midsummer Musicians

(July 2022)

As we bring our summer term to a close, we proudly presented Mrs Compson with her saxophone and clarinet trios with two contrasting music numbers: House of the Rising Sun and an extract from a Tchaik Symphony. Mr Rudden conducted the Big Band, as they performed the famous work of Henry Mancini, the ever-popular Pink Panther Theme.

All student's had a great time working with our peripatetic staff and appreciated the work done by Head of Music, Mr Stannard in arranging the many lessons and rehearsals which enabled this mini-concert to come to fruition.

Check out our YouTube channel for the full mini-concert!

Murder Most Foul

(July 2022)

After a wait of two years, the Academy Theatre warmly welcomed Manchester Arts Education Initiative (a.k.a MAEI) and their production of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare.

It was great to see primary students from Claremont, Crab Lane, Crumpsall Lane, St. Mary’s Middleton and St. Mary’s Moston performing this Tragedy. Each school had a day to rehearse, dress rehearse and perform the play in the theatre. A number of schools filmed a piece of shadow puppetry representing the play within a play Mousetrap.

Telling the story of Prince Hamlet and his plan to exact revenge on his Uncle Claudius for the murder if his father, this well known play was greatly enjoyed by the casts as they got to grips with Shakespeare's wonderful words and story.

With clear direction, dramatic choreography and original music, the performances were warmly received by the schools' staff and audiences.


(July 2022)

With two productions: Summer Dance Showcase and Musicals Through the Decades JSTAR wowed audiences with their impressive double bill.

The 'Glitz and Glamour' section of the dance Show proved very popular with the audience.

The musical selection had a variety of well known toe-tapping numbers from shows ranging including The Wizard of Oz, Annie, Grease, Les Misérables and School of Rock, the audience loved every minute of the JSTAR showcase.


(July 2022)

With the tag line of 'The World is waiting for you' Pro Dance presented their large scale production Me In Full Colour in the Academy Theatre. The evening was made up of Ballet, Contemporary Dance, JAZZ, and vocal numbers, played against impressive video artwork.

With over ninety young girls on stage and a packed audience, the evening was one to remember.

Challenge of Champions

(June 2022)

Medical Mavericks returned to the Academy with more interactive sessions and digital equipment to monitor students as they carried out a series of physical activities.

The sports science workshop tested students' sporting prowess. They completed 10 challenges to see how they compared to professional athletes. The most popular activities included: - Racing a virtual Usain Bolt on The Accelerator - Testing their reactions on the BATAK Wall - Seeing how fast they can throw ball - Measuring how high they can jump on a jump mat and recording peak power output on a Watt Bike. There was lots of links to engineering in the sports workbook which looked at how cycling has used engineering to improve athletic performance.

The students had fun engaging in the activities, which certainly brought out their competitive nature.

Aircraft Challenge

(June 2022)

We welcomed educational charity Smallpeice Trust to the Academy Theatre. Its mission is to 'inspire young people to pursue careers in science and engineering through events and workshops'.

The challenge of the day was to create a design, which was developed into a prototype and then into a model aircraft. The students embraced the task and a selection of wonderful craft were created.

At the end of the day each aircraft was given an outdoor test flight and the model which flew the longest distance was judged the winner.


(May 2022)

"We're so excited to share today's long awaited show with you all." exclaimed Theatre Dance Academy's founder and principal, Miss Sally. Judging by the reactions of the both audiences, they were just as excited to watch an action packed show filled with variety and music and dancing styles.

The two hour long show contained solos and ensemble work, featuring dances inspired by a number of Disney films including: The Circle of Life from The Lion King which had some great acro-dancing and sequences . I'm a Believer originally written by Neil Diamond for The Monkeys in 1966, but more popularly known by the young dancers as a the finale to the film Shrek. It was then "All aboard!" on the Choo Choo Express from the Mickey Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. The Princess and the Frog was represented by the song Almost There as well as the Jungle Book classic Wanna be like You.

The magic continued with music from the Harry Potter film franchise which incorporated wands and the Sorting Hat in the dance.

There was come excellent solo work from Ballet to Street and the young dancers exuded confidence and character as they showed off their talents to the audience of over three-hundred.

With colourful costumes and lighting, Theatre Dance Academy's show came to a wonderful finale as the near one-hundred strong cast assembled dancing to Disney's It's Our Time (to Shine) from The Lodge to rapturous applause, proving the show a massive hit!

"You're Hired!"

(May 2022)

Former contestant from the BBC television programme The Apprentice, Adam Corbally came to inspire our year eleven and ten students with his motivational seminars.

Speaking to year elevens, he told his life story which reinforced the message to students that they should make the right choices in life and how friendship groups can have positive or adverse affect on the decisions you make. Also they should never be afraid of asking for help off teachers and staff, as they want to see them succeed.

The year ten enterprise students were tasked by creating their own business idea for a a new product or service which could serve to make life better.

Firstly, students had to appoint roles for each team member; from Team Leader to Brand Designer. The teams then had to create a brand name, logo and slogan. They then had to look at the cost / profit of the scheme and create a poster advert and finally present the idea to a panel of three judges, made up of Mr Corbally and two other members of Co-op staff.

Adam Corbally was certainly impressed with the passion and creativity of all the students, who got quite competitive over wanting to win the challenge.

The wining idea was for fitness / exercise devices which would generate(through kinetic energy) electric which could then be fed back to the National Grid, with the generator (cyclist / rower etc.) receiving payment for the amount of generated units.

A story of love and woe

(May 2022)

The story of two star-crossed lovers came to the Academy Theatre in the form of ManActCo's production of William Shakespeare's classic tragedy Romeo and Juliet.

The year 8 students were thoroughly immersed in this clever telling of a well known tale. Condensed into an hour, with narration to add clarity to the verse and prose, the production had pace and a sense of fun as the three actors switched between the many characters with lightening speed.

After the show, the actors, along with their director (Stephen) took once more to the stage to engage in a question and answer session with the students, who asked a variety of questions about the Arts industry and the characters and themes of the play.

Charity Talent Show

(March 2022)

Devised and organised by year 10 student, Ezekiel, the Charity Fashion Show was a sell out success.

Originally scheduled before Christmas, but postponed due to the effects of the pandemic, students and staff eagerly awaited this anticipated event.

The varied acts included solos, duets, singing and dancing as well as some rapping.

The enthusiastic audience lapped up all the performances.

The overall winner decided by a panel of staff and students was year 7 Chikae, who sang the song 'Home' from the musical 'Beetlejuice'.

One Education Concert

(March 2022)

Our friends at One Education presented their spring concert in the Academy Theatre before the Easter Break.

The programme consisted of a rich mixture of music including : bands specialising in samba, wind, strings and recorded music - which brought a real contemporary feel to the concert.

The Rock Band played popular hits and the choir of young students (also know as the 'Vocal Collective') sang a medley of songs, including introducing many of the audience to a song from the recent Disney film 'Encanto'.

The concert was an excellent showcase of the many students who attend the One Education sessions at Co-op Academy Manchester every Thursday evening during term time.

Ways of Being Play

(April 2022)

Staff took to wearing uniforms in an interactive performance for year 8 students, where they could stop and comment on the action to improve behaviours in a classroom scenario.

By the end of the role-play the students had identified key Ways of Being which the staff actors could employ to improve the learning environment.

After the performance, students reflected on their own behaviours and how we all should work together to create a more productive working environment.

West African Dance

(March 2022)

Global Citizens Club hosted a West African Dance session, run by famous TikTok dancer Inès Kaney. Students were taught a series of routines which they combined to create a mini showcase at the end of the session.

The turn out was amazing and Inès was impressed at how polite, enthusiastic and engaged the students were. She went on to say the motivation levels were higher than other schools she has been to.

The students had such an enjoyable time too. Praise said she had a "really good, nice experience were we could express a side of us that we don't really show." Joy added, "You could be free and not worried about being embarrassed. We were encouraged to be ourselves." Tara concluded, "We were inspired to be confident with our cultural dancing."

Thanks to Huge thanks to Rykielle Tchamoum who is friends with Ms. Kaney and managed to book her to come in. Inès really was a huge hit! The students loved it all.

Medical Mavericks

(March 2022)

Running an exciting interactive session, Medical Mavericks aimed to raise the aspirations of students to enter the medical profession.

The session raised awareness of the huge variety of job roles available within the medical industry, from the more commonly known nursing and pharmacy, to the less well known cardiac physiologist to cryogeneticist.

Running as a cross-over link between science and Health and Social care, this activity exposed over 150 year 9/year 10 students to a variety of equipment and instruments important in monitoring and diagnosing people’s well-being.

Students were fascinated and engaged by the many opportunities on offer and by Tom the session leader, who had a wealth of knowledge to share and answered the many questions the student had.

Proving very popular, we hope to have the Medical Mavericks back in the future.

Almost Famous Addams Family

(March 2022)

Almost Famous Theatre Company is run by students of Salford University and regularly perform plays, musicals and original content for their audiences. This year the Academy Theatre is proud to host their large-scale musical production of The Addams Family. Based on the cartoons of Charles Addams in The New Yorker in 1938 and made popular by the 1964 television series of the same name, the musical takes the eccentric, ghoulish family on a new journey, as daughter Wednesday falls in love with 'normal' boy!

Running from Thursday to Saturday Almost Famous Theatre Company delighted their audiences with a fun filled production with some scene stealing performances and astounding singing with some creative choreography. The principal line up delivered their lines with aplomb and when appropriate a twinkle in the eye. There were also some reflective scenes, the song sung by Gomez to his daughter, Wednesday, was particularly poignant. This was truly an ensemble production with some great attention spent on the chorus of ancestors who included a caveman, cowboy, ballet dancer and flapper.

The splendid set was hired from Bristol and the actual set designer came up to ensure the structure was safely and securely erected. On closer inspection, it was easy to see the designer was a joiner by trade and the set had been mad with love.

The music was provided by backing tracks, but that did not limit the cast or musical director who ensured all ran smoothly. Director / Choreographer Emily Cramby should be delighted at the success of her production.

The students were a pleasure to host and conducted themselves in a professional manner at all times. We hope we can welcome them back to the Academy Theatre in the future

Anyone wishing to fin out more about this great group can check out their website:

Extra-curricular Fair

(March 2022)

With stalls showing the many activities Co-op Academy Manchester offers to its students, the extra-curricular fair proved a great success with students. Along with a wealth of engaging opportunities provided by the PE Department: football, basketball and rugby to name three, Drama and Music were well represented by extra drama and music clubs and the Technology surpassed itself with their Scalextric set and electric go-cart. The Science club's microscopes proved a hit as students got the chance to look at insects in detail. Students also had the chance to sign up for the Bee Keeping Club and see the honeycombs created by our very own bees. Knitting and Nattering and the Chess Club were well represented too.

One comment was, "I thought it was great how inclusive it was - something for everyone. From A Level maths to Beekeeping!" A member of staff added, "I think this has definitely helped to promote our current offer amongst all students at KS3. "

A parent contacted the school to say her son came home a different boy after finding out about Green Power! She had lots of praise for the fair and thought it was a great idea.

babyballet back

(March 2022)

After all to long a wait, the Academy Theatre welcomed back babyballet, the franchise organisation which provides "fun, educational ballet and dance classes for children aged 6 months to 6 years." Performing the interactive story of Twinkle's Dream the audience where taken on a magical dream. Accompanying Twinkle were her friends: cousin Teddy, Flutterstar the Fairy and Cowgirl Chuck. They all went to the Castle in the Sky, to the Circus, then Under the Sea and finally travelled to the Movies. Twinkle's favourite part was meeting all her babyballet friends and also saying hello to her former class members, who entertained the babyballet classes with dances which they'll perform in Disneyland Paris as part of the grand parade later this year!

'Time' to have a musical production

(February 2022)

The Academy Theatre were happy to welcome back the girls' group BNOS AGUDA for their second visit to our venue and their first since the pandemic appeared back in 2020.

These enthusiastic performers always make an impact and their year away has done nothing to reduce that. The varied evening had singing, dancing, acrobatics and acting in a variety of guises. The programme contained acts including 'Time for Everything Choir', 'Time to Learn Act', 'Time to Paint Acrobats', and 'Time to plant Dance'.

The audience of mothers, sisters, grandmothers and aunts lapped up the labours of their girls' endeavours. The uplifting evening's sentiments are perhaps best conveyed by the lyrics of their 'Welcome Song' - 'A time to be happy, a time to respect, a time to dance and sing, And now it's time to thank for everything.'

Audiences wowed by magical Beauty and the Beast show

(February 2022)

A tale as old as time came to Higher Blackley on February 10th, 11th and 12th as students at Co-op Academy Manchester staged a spectacular production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

Audiences were wowed by the multi-level composite set, and professional-quality lighting and haze that greeted them as they walked in. As the story unfolded, our guests were treated to lovely costumes and well-choreographed dance numbers, as well as beautiful singing for the songs made famous by the well-known animated and live-action films.

The academy’s state-of-the-art, professional theatre was the venue for a stunning show, accompanied by live music that played to packed-out audiences, including special guests Councillor Tommy Judge, the Lord Mayor of Manchester with the Lady Mayoress.

On Twitter, The Lord Mayor commented, “The Lady Mayoress and I were blown away by the amazing Beauty and the Beast production. The acting, set design, & costumes were so impressive. Bravo!”

The show included a large cast of students from all year groups, as well as an army of behind the scenes supporters made up of staff and students.

Rae Daly, who took the leading role of Belle said, “I’ve never done anything like this before. It’s been my first experience of performing like this and I’ll never forget it. I’ve discovered things I didn’t know about myself. I can do things I didn’t know I could do. I hope the audience could feel the same magic that we felt creating and performing it.”

Academy Principal Mr Beard was proud to support the show, saying that “at Co-op Academy Manchester we strive for excellence in everything. The performing arts have an important role in our broad and balanced curriculum and these kinds of experiences will stay with our students for a very long time. It was our pleasure to welcome the whole community to our school to enjoy this show from our extremely talented young people.”

Full cast and crew of Beauty and the Beast

COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) Audience Guidance

(Update - 9:00am 28th February 2022)

We continue to regularly monitor the government response and Co-op Trust guidance to Covid-19.

Before arriving at the theatre Audience are encouraged to:

1] If you/ party feels unwell/ symptomatic, don't attend the event and let the academy know as soon as possible.

When arriving at the theatre Audience are encouraged to:

1] Join any queues and maintain your distance.

2] Bring minimal belongings with you as there are no cloakroom facilities.

3] Comply with any Security checks for your safety.

4] Ensure you have your eTicket / Ticket / Ticket printout ready for inspection.

During your visit to the theatre Audience are encouraged to:

1] Be aware of those around you. Face coverings can be worn by choice. We advise the wearing in busy areas such as the foyer.

2] Use the hand sanitiser stations found throughout the theatre and wash your hands regularly.

3] Be aware the theatre is professionally cleaned on a continual basis.

4] Know that the theatre ventilation system is regularly checked to ensure fresh airflow.

5] Ask staff for help and provide guidance around the theatre.

When leaving the theatre Audience are encouraged to:

1] Be aware of those around you and maintain your distance

To keep updated check our website: and Twitter feed: @CAM_Theatre .

Festive Concert Returns Online

(December 2021)

We are proud to present our talented singers and musicians who performed in our Christmas Concert, which is a virtual event this year.

Once again staff and students combined to create that little bit of Christmas magic to end the term in a celebratory style.

Showcasing the Big Band, Choir, String Group, Choir and vocal, piano and clarinet soloists, there is a diverse range of

Thanks must go to Head of Music who helped plan the transition from stage to video and Mr Rudden, Mrs Wren, Mrs Compson, Mrs Lawrence and Mr Thom with Miss Stott who flexibly adapted to the rapid production schedule.

Sit back and enjoy as we wish you and your loved ones and peaceful Christmas and a healthy new year.

Click the Time Link to select your particular festive highlights:

0:22 Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer performed by the Academy Big Band (conductor, Mr Rudden)

1:44 Where are your Christmas? performed by the Academy Choir (lead by Mrs Lawrence)

4:14 Black Swan performed by Alfred on piano

7:39 Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree performed by the Academy String Group (conductor. Ms Wren)

10:21 Choson Kale Mazel Tov performed by Matthew on the clarinet, accompanied by Mrs Compson

11:47 Merry Go-Round of Life performed by Yilei on piano

14:34 Sleigh Bells Polka performed by the Academy String Group (conductor. Ms Wren)

15:49 Jazzy Jingle Bells performed by the Academy Big Band (conductor, Mr Rudden)

16:59 I Dreamed a Dream performed by Electra

20:31 Silent Night, Holy Night performed by the Academy Choir (lead by Mrs Lawrence)

One Education – Christmas Concert

(December 2021)

It was with great anticipation that we welcomed back One Education for their North Centre Music Concert in early December.

Regulars Mr Rudden and Mrs Compson were re-joined with freelancers Mrs Wren and Mr Thom as well as stalwarts Mr Mooney and Laszlo Palko plus new recording music artists to create a varied evening’s entertainment.

Starting off with some scintillating samba, the concert set off with some great Brazilian beats. The Wind Band then presented ‘Rock-a-bye Baby’, ‘Big Rock Candy Mountain’ and from the film Rocky III ‘Eye of the Tiger’. The Community Band then delighted with ‘Soldier’s Joy’ and ‘Sleigh Ride Polka’.

‘In Dulci Jubilo’ played by the Folk Band followed by festive favourite ‘Fairy Tale of New York’.

The ebullient Carla Jane then provided the evening with some song as her vocal group took to the stage with ‘Count on Me’, ‘Simple Song of Freedom’ and ‘Big Wide World’.

A medley from ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Christmas Party’ wound up the Wind Band’s contribution to the evening in style, whilst the evening concluded with the Stage Band playing ‘Moanin’, ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Keep the Change’.

The programme was interspersed with original recordings from young artists: Ivy, Joe, Nigel and Ali who created digital music, influenced by various genres, including horror and comedy.

A welcome way to begin the Yuletide Festivities as we count our way down to Christmas.

JSTAR Return to Theatre

(December 2021)

The JSTAR Academy of Performing Arts returned to the Academy Theatre after an absence of over a year with a series of performances and showcases highlighting the diverse range of classes the performing activities the the organisation offers.

The Street Dance Winter Showcase proved very popular with the audience made up of the families of the performing children. 'Our Fairy-tale Ending (to magical year)' was the grand finale pantomime, complete with Dame and Principal Boy.

It was evident that the staff and students enjoyed being back on stage and performing. The audience seemed to think so too.

Scrooge on Stage

(November 2021)

As we entered into the festive season, students sat down to enjoy an energetic interpretation of Charles Dickens’ novella A Christmas Carol, performed by academy regulars manACTco (Manchester Actors Company).

Three actors took students creatively on the journey of Victorian miser, Ebenezer Scrooge. Assuming multi-roles and using props and minimal quick changes, they portrayed a vast array of characters from this classic tale, although members of the audience had to be conscripted in to play the many children of poor clerk, Bob Cratchit.

Guided through Christmas Days, past, present and future, Scrooge learns the value of kindness and how by giving, his life becomes richer.

The year seven audience were totally engaged, enjoying both the story and its dramatic adaptation, which was interactive at times. Following the play, the actors held a question an answer session, where the students asked them about the themes of the story and the characters they created. This proved most helpful to the keen 11 to 12-year olds, who study A Christmas Carol at this time of year. The forthcoming actors gave answers which really helped highlight some key points and issues of Dickens’ work.

Far from being ‘Humbug’, this production (given on a cold Manchester morning) warmed the hearts of the captivated crowd.

We're Back!

(September 2021)

After over a year of being dark, light once again illuminated the Academy Theatre as its doors where opened, once again, to students and staff of Co-op Academy Manchester.

With assemblies underway, it was splendid to see audiences back. We also were the host venue for the Year 11's GCSE Drama exam. Over ten students planned and plotted lights for their group's scenes, which greatly enhanced the work of their performing peers.

September has been a busy month for the theatre: Principal, Mr Beard, gave his welcoming address to prospective students in the theatre during the academy's open evening. Dr Matt Pritchard brought the 'wow!' factor to Year 7 and 11 students with his Surprising Science Show, which used magic to encourage critical thinking in our students as they desperately tried to work out how the many tricks were done.

A highlight of the month was the Co-op Academy Trust's Reach awards ceremony, when we welcomed other Trust schools into the theatre and students were award certificates by Trust CEO Chris Tomlinson. The programme organised by Director of CEIAG, Jo Sykes, aims to lift aspiration and challenge students through the Co-op's 'Ways of Being' values.

October Events

(October 2021)

Due to the lockdown restrictions of the past year, usual schooling activities have had to change and adapt. How happy we we to see John from Our Futures back discussing and inspiring Year 10s to sort out their work experience placements out for next year.

With powerful and positive reinforcement, the Academy Theatre was the venue for C.E.L.L.S. (Choices, Education, Lifelong Learning Skills). This Liverpool based group told of their authentic experiences when faced with the effects of Cross County Lines. The stark and direct testimonies and offered from different view points: a former detective, gang member, ex-convict, victim and mother of son who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The CELLS Project CIO writes on their website "CELLS has provided proven solutions to crime and related societal issues since 2009. Using innovative approaches, props, awareness, intervention and support techniques that work. Our work is Delivered by trained support workers with lived experience, who genuinely want to help our beneficiaries avoid the mistakes they once made." For more information see their Website:

Other events hosted in the theatre were our popular Careers Fair, which brought together Colleges, Apprenticeship providers and Businesses, to open students future horizons to the many options they could choose. The Punctuation Show finished off the October. With silly songs and much laughter, the one-man show certainly made his (punctuation) mark with the Year 7 and 8 students!

Nov. News

(November 2021)

Co-op Academy Manchester's assemblies continued at the start of the month, focusing on the Co-op's Ways of Being. Lead by Vice Principal, Mrs Marshall, the message was simple , if you folow the ways of being, not only would the school be a better place, but the world would be better, and acts of kindness my the giver feel better too.

To a packed audience e of year 7s, we also had the CLIFE* Team's Ways of Being Play. During classroom scenario, members of staff became students (complete with uniforms) and acted out poor behaviour in lesson. Using the Ways of Being the watching audience could (at specific times) suggest ways in which the 'students' on stage, could modify their behaviour to create a positive atmosphere for learning. By the end of the play Mrs Robert's Spanish lesson was a picture of harmony and a positive learning environment - all through the suggestions offered by the young audience. *CLIFE Team are a group of staff who focus on developing teaching and learning strategies throughout the entire academy.

We also invited speaker and Consultant Trainer Lynn Fox from Ruth Miskin Training to work with a core team of staff in the development and use of phonics in teaching. The English as a Second Language Department found this particularly useful.

Online Summer Concert!

(July 2021)

Once again Covid-19 tried to thwart our theatrical endeavours as we regrettably came to the conclusion that with the delay in the Government's easing restrictions and due to students having to rehearse and perform in 'bubbles' a face to face summer concert would be out of the question.

However, the tenacious staff and students at Co-op Academy Manchester would not be beaten. Having already created a virtual Christmas Concert, it was decided that a recorded summer celebration would be a fitting way to end the academic year.

Hosted by Maja, the concert featured two of our leaving Year 11 students singing At Last by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren, Mrs Wren leading our Year 7 strings playing Hugh Jones' Toodle Pip and The Boat to Inverie by Alexandra Wood and Huw Watkins.

Hosted by Maja, the concert featured two of our leaving Year 11 students singing At Last by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren, Mrs Wren leading our Year 7 strings playing Hugh Jones' Toodle Pip and The Boat to Inverie by Alexandra Wood and Huw Watkins.

Year 11 Harriet gave a charming solo rendition of the Carpenter's classic (They Long to Be) Close to You written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. The folk song All My Trials was arranged by our own Mr Rudden and featured vocals by Electra and Louella with our guitarists and percussionists representing all academy years.

The concert concluded with our Year 11 girls giving their own rendition of You Can't Stop the Beat from the musical Hairspray.

We look forward to welcoming audiences back to the Academy Theatre when restrictions are eased, until the enjoy our concert by clicking on the link opposite.

Versatile Venue converted to examinations room

(June 2021)

Co-op Academy Manchester's Year 9 and 10 students have been having their own performances judged in the Academy Theatre as they sat down for their exams. Ranging from Maths and English to Textiles and Hospitality and Catering, the students were given a chance to shine and demonstrate the extent of their learning. With the academy continuing to grow with student intake, we know this won't be the last time our terrific theatre will be used for exams.

Theatre Test Centre

(January 2021)

The Covid-19 Pandemic will go down as one of the most challenging times in modern history. This devastating disease has tragically affected the lives of many… but even in the darkest of times there is light.

Having been closed to the public for almost a year, the Academy Theatre had been lying dormant, until this January, when the lights were on and it was once again time to perform. But this was a performance with a difference. This was a select ‘cast’ of Co-op Academy Manchester staff performing the ‘Lateral Flow Rapid Covid Test’ on staff and students of keyworkers plus a small group of other identified children.

Safety and hygiene is essential for all, with the performance theatre now resembling an operating theatre with it being cleaned and disinfected after every test by mask and gown wearing staff.

Whilst we do miss the applause of our audiences, last year many clapped for the NHS and carers, this year we applaud the academy staff who have volunteered to do their bit in fighting Coronavirus.

Until we meet again. #TheShowMustGoOn

Bernie Meme visits Academy Theatre

(January 2021)

On 20th January the 46th President of the United States was sworn into office. Wearing a smart Ralph Lauren suit of navy blue, Joe Biden hoped to represent confidence, unity and stability.

But the President Elect was not the only one who attracted attention on inauguration day. Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders was snapped by Brendan Smialowski looking distinctly casual, in stark contrast to the formal attire of the other dignitaries and guests. Wearing a large parka jacket and woollen mittens (a gift from a teacher in gratitude for his State’s education policies), Mr Sanders was dressed for warmth, not the historic occasion.

The photograph has since been cropped and the #BernieSandersMeme has swept social media, being placed in locations all around the world, the moon and in many film and television scenes.

We wanted to join the fun, so above is our meme of when #BernieSandersMeme visited the Academy Theatre.

Celebrating Christmas with a virtual concert!

(December 2020)

We were delighted to get back into the theatre to record a socially distanced mini - Christmas Concert. Individual students and small class 'bubbles' were filmed and brought together by the magic of editing.

Introduced by three year nine students and three year eleven students, the programme began with the 1847 Adolphe Adam 's classic "O Holy Night". Under the lead of Miss Stott, the six year eleven students were in perfect harmony.

Our friends from One Education Music Service worked with strings and percussion to create a special rendition of "Fairytale of New York" by Jem Finer and Shane MacGowan. Many thanks to our Peripatetic Staff: Mrs Compson, Mrs Wren, Mr Rudden and Mr Thom for bringing this together and for their wonderful extra provision they give to our students throughout the year.

Year eleven Harriet then gave a heartfelt rendition of the Sia Furler and Greg Kurstin 2017 hit “Snowman”.

Finally re-joined the year eleven girls who sang the poignant Francis Xaver Gruber and Joseph Mohr carol "Silent Night ". As they performed, lyrics ran along the bottom of the screen giving the opportunity for those viewing to sing along too.

The sentiments of the concert are best reflected in the closing words of the presenters:

"No matter how you spend your Yuletide this year… whether, you have a large bubble of three families, or a small bubble of one, we at Co-op Academy Manchester look forward to seeing you in person next year. But until then, we wish you all a… "Merry Christmas!"

For those wishing to view the 10 minute concert, click the clip opposite.

Minecraft make-over!

(July 2020)

How can you engage potential students to enrol at at Co-op Academy Manchester when the country in lockdown due to the Covid-19 Pandemic and all schools are closed?

This question was on the mind of Principal Mr Steve Brice until he found the answer in an idea given to him by his daughters. Why not build a virtual school on the Minecraft Video Game? What started out as a simple idea, grew into a massive project with Mr Brice producing scale plans of the building to ensure all the rooms were in the right place and scale.

After a month of hard work the game was ready for release and students and other Minecraft players can login and start the tour. The Academy Theatre is well represented, including own Theatre Manager Philip J. Hindle 'Mr Pip' who can be found in the Box Office.

The news of this virtual tour quickly spread and has been reported in the Manchester Evening News, TES and on BBC's Newsround programme.

Virtual Open Day

(September 2020)

For the first time since March, the Academy Theatre was briefly opened for Co-op Academy Manchester's socially distanced Open Evening. Strict attention was given to 'Hands', Face', 'Space' guidance as the groups arrived at their allotted time and the socially distanced groups of five were given a min-tour of the academy building by their tour guide.

The 'jewel in the crown' was the theatre, where guests were greatly impressed by the soundscape, projections and lighting effects re-created from from the academy's February 2020 production of We Will Rock You. Perhaps the Killer Queen had survived after all...

If you are interested enrolling at Co-op Academy Manchester, check out the website:

Promotional Film

(September 2020)

Co-op Academy Manchester was pleased to welcome Doodledo Motion (Film Company) into the school and Academy Theatre over the holidays.

Joined by the Co-op Trust's new Greater Manchester Executive Principal Mr Brice, keen students worked with the filmmakers to produce a promotional film and radio advertisement for the Co-op Trust.

The students from various years worked in their own 'bubbles' and were filmed independently to give a flavour of a day in the life at a Co-op Trust Academy.

The edit has now been finalised and will shortly be heard and seen around Manchester, just in time to promote the new Co-op Academy Belle Vue which is already enrolling its Year 7 Cohort for September 2021.

Coronavirus Announcements

Coronavirus Announcement

(December 2021)

Following Trust, and government advice and guidance, it is with great reluctance and regret we have made the decision to postpone / cancel the remainder of our planned scheduled events until January. We want to protect all our audiences and ensure the Christmas break and festivities are not negatively impacted by any Academy Theatre event.

Where applicable, all ticket holders have been notified and refunds have been given.

The situation will be reassessed at the beginning of January 2022, when a further announcement will be made .

If you have any queries, email the Theatre Manager directly:

Visiting our Re-opening Theatre

(September 2021)

COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) Audience Guidance - (UPDATE - 6:00pm 27 September 2021)

We continue to regularly monitor the government response and Co-op Trust guidance to Covid-19.

Before arriving at the theatre Audience are encouraged to:

1] Take a COVID lateral flow test within 48 hours of your visit to the theatre (if over the age of 11 years).

2] Check you have no Covid Symptoms.

3] Pack your face covering.

4] Consider travel options - Please plan ahead and adhere to local guidance.

5] Arrive in plenty of time.

When arriving at the theatre Audience are encouraged to:

1] Join any queues and maintain your distance.

2] Bring minimal belongings with you as there are no cloakroom facilities.

3] Comply with any Security checks for your safety.

4] Ensure you have your eTicket / Ticket / Ticket printout ready for inspection.

During your visit to the theatre Audience are encouraged to:

1] Be aware of those around you and maintain your distance.

2] Use the hand sanitiser stations found throughout the theatre and wash your hands regularly.

3] Be aware the theatre is professionally cleaned on a continual basis.

4] Know that the theatre ventilation system is regularly checked to ensure fresh airflow.

5] Ask staff for help and provide guidance around the theatre.

When leaving the theatre Audience are encouraged to:

1] Be aware of those around you and maintain your distance.

To keep updated check our website: and Twitter feed: @CAM_Theatre .

The Academy Theatre and Box Office are now open for booking enquires - click and fill out our easy to use Hire request form on our 'Hire Us' page. If you have any further questions please email:

To keep updated with what we're doing, regularly check our website and our Twitter feed: @CAM_Theatre

UPDATE (10:00m 22nd September 2021)

We're Reopening! After over a year of being 'dark' the Academy Theatre and Box Office are now open for booking enquires - click the easy to use Hire Request form on our 'Hire Us' page. We look forward to welcoming audience and hirers back to our venue. Please check out our helpful guidelines for visiting us post Covid.

UPDATE (1:00pm 6th September 2021)

We continue to regularly monitor the government response and Co-op Trust guidance to Covid-19. Any further updates will be posted on our website and Twitter feed: @CAM_Theatre .

UPDATE (10:00am 19th July 2021)

We regularly monitor the government response and Co-op Trust guidance to the ongoing pandemic. Our aspiration is to reopen the Academy Theatre in mid/late September 2021; although this may be subject to change due to the developing Covid-19 situation. We will continue to post updates on our website and on our Twitter feed: @CAM_Theatre Our next scheduled update will be in early September 2021.

UPDATE (1:00pm 30th June 2021)

We regularly monitor the government response and Co-op Trust guidance to the ongoing pandemic. Our aspiration is to reopen the Academy Theatre in late August 2021; although this may be subject to change due to the developing Covid-19 situation. We will continue to post updates on our website and on our Twitter feed: @CAM_Theatre Our next scheduled update will be in late July 2021.

UPDATE (1:00pm 23rd March 2021)

We regularly monitor the government response and Co-op Trust guidance to the ongoing pandemic. Our aspiration is to reopen the Academy Theatre in late August 2021; although this may be subject to change due to the developing Covid-19 situation. We will continue to post updates on our website and on our Twitter feed: @CAM_Theatre Our next scheduled update will be in May / June 2021.

UPDATE (3:00pm 28th January 2021)

We regularly monitor the government response and Co-op Trust guidance to the ongoing pandemic. Our aspiration is to reopen the Academy Theatre in Summer 2021; although this may be subject to change due to the developing Covid-19 situation. We will continue to post updates on our website and on our Twitter feed: @CAM_Theatre Our next scheduled update will be in May / June 2021.

UPDATE (3:15pm 15th December 2020)

We regularly monitor the government response and Co-op Trust guidance to the ongoing pandemic. Our aspiration is to reopen the Academy Theatre in Summer 2021; although this may be subject to change due to the developing Covid-19 situation. We will continue to post updates on our website and on our Twitter feed: @CAM_Theatre Our next scheduled update will be in May 2021.

UPDATE (9:00am 1st October 2020)

After assessing the current Covid-19 situation, we regretfully announce that the Academy Theatre will remain closed until December 2020. In December we will re-assess the situation and take appropriate action.

UPDATE (9:00am 1st September 2020)

After assessing the current Covid-19 situation, we regretfully announce that the Academy Theatre will remain closed until December 2020. In December we will re-assess the situation and take appropriate action.

UPDATE (3:30pm 1st June 2020)

Co-op Academy Manchester have been closely following advice and guidance from the government and Co-op Academies Trust to ensure we follow best practice in dealing with Covid 19. We are now in a position to inform you that the Academy Theatre will remain closed until September 2020. In September we will re-assess the situation and take appropriate action.

All bookings from now until the end of August will be cancelled. We will do everything we can to assist in any rescheduling of events.

Our Theatre Manager will contact organisations which need to refund patrons who have already paid for tickets on the TicketSource system and our Lettings Officer will further contact groups who have to reschedule or arrange refund for hire charges on any block bookings in due course.

Once we are in a better situation to assess the long term prognosis of Coronavirus, we sincerely hope to welcome you back to the Academy and will do everything we can to accommodate your future booking/s in our calendar.

If you have any questions or queries please contact the Theatre Manager directly, his email is: For any urgent enquires please email:

Coronavirus Announcement

(3:45pm 17th March 2020)

Until further notice the Academy Theatre and Box Office is closed. For any urgent enquires please email: or check our Twitter feed: @CAM_Theatre

Please note there will be no-one at the theatre to respond to telephone calls or reply to answer machine messages.

Following the advice from Government regarding large gatherings (specifically theatre), Co-op Leadership has made a decision to postpone all Academy Theatre bookings until after Easter at the earliest. We appreciate this is a massive inconvenience, but we can only follow the Government guidelines in these extra-ordinary times.

Coronavirus News

(16th March 2020)

The academy continues to monitor updates provided by Government, Public Health England and other relevant bodies and will continue to implement all and any instructions related to our operation designed to help contain the spread of Coronavirus. We have already taken some initial precautions (including extra hand sanitisation dispensers, posters and information made available to our community).

External lettings, theatre performances etc. are going-ahead as scheduled unless informed otherwise by the organisers. We would, however, remind all visitors of the importance of maintaining good hand and personal hygiene at all times.

In the event of a performances being cancelled (rather than being postponed) monies will be refunded to customers via the TicketSource website. We have been informed by TicketSource that there might be a slight delay due to the amount of traffic on their system.

Once we are in a better situation to assess the long term prognosis of the Coronavirus threat, we sincerely hope to welcome you back to the Academy Theatre.



The Jewish Theatre Company have decided to postpone their March production. They released this statement on their Facebook page:

"To our lovely community... I’m really sorry to tell you that the committee have made the decision to postpone the show. Moving forward as soon as we have the new dates later on in the year we will let you know. Rest assured, this show WILL go on and any tickets bought will be refunded. Keep well everyone and see you very soon!!! The JTC Committee"

Ages & Stages

(February 2020)

The Bnos Aguda (which roughly translates from Hebrew as Girls Group) certainly has the right name, as approximately 280 year 5 and 6 primary aged girls took to the stage to entertain their mothers, aunts and sisters in a two hour epic which ran for three performances.

Devised by their producer, the show contained a varied programme of choirs, acrobatics, dramas and dances provided by a number of groups brought together under the Bnos Aguda banner.

The show celebrates all stages of life, from nursing babes in arms, family life, going through school and graduating, getting married then on to retiring in the old folks home and playing bingo! One of the many highlights of the evening was the Mother's Song Act which had the young girls donning wigs and headscarves, bringing up their families, feeding them breakfast, shopping, cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing, taking out the rubbish, making supper and driving in their cars to collect their children in a constant battle against the clock.

We Will Rock You!

(February 2020)

Record audience numbers helped save live rock music during an epic school production of We Will Rock You at Co-op Academy Manchester. The show, which ran for four performances between 6th and 8th February 2020, was written by Ben Elton and features the songs of Queen. Guests clapped along and stamped their feet to hits including Radio Ga Ga, Bohemian Rhapsody and of course, We Will Rock You.

Set in the future, the story tells of a time where the Earth is ruled by the Killer Queen who dictates that music should be mass produced for money. The Bohemians have rebelled against this. They lie in hiding and await the legendary ‘Dreamer’ who will bring live music back to the world and destroy the soulless consumer driven manufactured music.

Talented students from all year groups auditioned for a role back in September, and have been working hard on rehearsals three times a week since then. Audiences were mesmerised by the stunning dance routines and fantastic performances of Queen songs.

The cast included a large ensemble of over 40 students, some of whom have appeared in many academy shows and some of whom have tread the boards for the first time. Our heroes – the rebellious Bohemians Galileo Figaro and Scaramouche, were played by Year 7 students William and Leyli. You might have spotted talented William on Channel 4's Hollyoaks, where he plays Lucas Hay.

One of the academy's most prolific actors of recent years is Year 10 student Sean. She started in the chorus of Grease back in 2017, and then moved on to leading roles in The Wiz and Chicago, before taking on the role of the villainous Killer Queen. She said, “It was an amazing experience taking part in the show. It was the most challenging and enjoyable show yet”. Another Year 10 student who is familiar to regular audiences is Harriet who made a great impact with a heart-stirring rendition of No One But You.

The production was by far the most ambitious ever staged by the academy. Live music was provided by a talented orchestra of staff and students. Backstage, a large team of staff and students managed the huge set, the lasers, smoke effects, lighting and sound.

The academy is committed to promoting the Arts and giving students chances to take part in professional level productions. The state-of-the-art Academy Theatre is at at the centre of a multi-million pound expansion of the school.

Terrible Tales

(February 2020)

Storyteller Gav Cross has been entertaining people for years with his sheer exuberance and warm personality. So the Academy Theatre was delighted to welcome him onto the stage during National Story Telling Week in conjunction with Alison from Manchester Libraries where he gave his one-man rendition of Terrible Tales for Terrible Children.

Gav took his audience of young people, made up from visiting local primary schools, on a series of gripping stories and brought out a darker interpretation / re-contextualisation in each of them.

Using audience participation and often asking for volunteers, each tale was acted out in a way which engaged all.

The audience will never sing "A sailor went to sea, sea , sea..." again without pondering what did really happen to the poor sailor. As for the story of a young lad called Jack and his adventure when he climbed up a beanstalk... are things really how they initially appear?

We certainly look forward to more collaborations with the Manchester Library Service as they continue to bring stories to life in the most engaging ways.

Jazz Jamaica

(January 2020)

One Education Music Service came together with organisers Band on the Wall and award winning group Jazz Jamaica who The Independent newspaper described as "one of the UK's leading 'good-time' bands" to bring students from six schools to the Academy Theatre for a concert of Ska jazz and Reggae as well as a brief history into Trojan Records and the respective genres.

After the toe tapping performance which featured many a catchy tune including My Boy Lollipop, the students from Co-op Academy Manchester, Co-op Academy North Manchester, Parrs Wood High School, Saint Peter's High, Didsbury High School and Trinity High were divided into their specialist areas (singing, guitar, bass, drums, keyboard and reeds) and mixing with other schools came together to create their own section of music.

The afternoon concluded with all the sections coming together as one creating an impressive new piece of Jazz with a fine flavour of Jamaica thrown in for zest!

Passing Out Parade

(January 2020)

The Academy Theatre was honoured to host the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) Volunteer Police Cadets Passing Out Parade in early January. This parade is the culmination of months of training and celebrates the achievements of the cadet officers. Tasks which the 13 to 17 year old young people undertook over their induction period included: drill, physical exercise classes and lessons on the law, public order awareness, phonetics, radio use and problem solving.

There were a number of divisions present including the Blackley and Bury Cadets and the honorary guest, the High Sheriff Mark Isaac Adlestone Esq OBE DL who gave a keynote speech about the benefits of the Cadet Programme and its role within the community. Also in attendance were popular proud local officers Terry, Wesley and Karl who had been instrumental in taking their charges through training.

It wasn't just a night for the cadets. A number of Co-op Academy Manchester Staff received the Divisional Commander's Commendation, presented by Elaine Clarke - Williams, Head of Profession for GMP, in recognition of their services in supporting the cadets and giving them a base to train from. Academy Principal Steve Brice was also honoured for his work in enabling the Cadets to flourish in the Blackley district.

manACTco Macbeth

(January 2020)

How do you engage young people with Shakespeare? The inspired answer found by the Academy English Department was to engage popular local group Manchester Actors Company (a.k.a. manACTco). The troupe of three players along with their director came to the Academy Theatre and presented the Bard's bloody tale of lust for power as embodied by the eponymous anti-hero Macbeth.

The skilfully edited down version of the play, had all the salient plot points and quotes necessary to fulfil the rigorous brief of a Key Stage 4 curriculum.

The audience were taken from the wild wasteland of the witches, to Castle Macbeth where good King Duncan has his life snuffed out, then onto Macduff's English sanctuary, where he with the late King's son, raise an army to revenge the murder of the noble Duncan.

After the play, the actors, who all multi rolled, and director had a question and answer session with the transported students. There were many questions about motivation and the themes of this popular play as well as some top tips on revision.

Whilst Macbeth might have lost his head, the English department's stratagem of making Shakespeare accessible will ensure the students don't lose their's when it comes to exam time!

Rockin' Rehearsals!

(January 2020)

It's all systems go at the Co-op Academy Manchester as it's three weeks to before before the opening of the school's annual large scale musical production.

This year the Academy presents the show We Will Rock You (Schools Edition) on 6th, 7th and 8th February at 7:30pm each evening, plus a 2:30pm Saturday matinee. The show features music by legendary rock band Queen.

Director Philip J. Hindle is looking forward to mounting the most spectacular production the Academy has ever seen, with lasers and projection as well as a top cast and band.

Tickets are available at: or from the Box Office (Cash Only)

A fond farewell...

(December 2019)

Inspirational Vice Principal, Mr Knowles, has trod the boards for the last time on the Academy Theatre stage as he moves on to be the headteacher of Broadoak School, Manchester.

Mr Knowles, who as well as being a master of data and curriculum as well as being an incredible mathematics teacher, discovered his stage legs whilst at the Co-op Academy Manchester. Taking part in many role-plays for staff and students, Mr Knowles excelled at being the 'troublesome' teenager who caused chaos in the classroom at every opportunity - usually aided by a variety of wigs!

Perhaps his finest moment was as stepsister Emily in the Staff Pantomime Cinderella, where he donned bigger wigs, bloomers and dresses for the entertainment of unsuspecting staff, students and general public.

In true theatre spirit, an oblivious Mr Knowles was called onto the stage by Academy Principal Mr Brice, where a surprise round of Mastermind was held, with Mr Knowles having two minutes answering questions on himself and his time at the Co-op Academy Manchester.

Mr Brice said, "[We're] sad to say goodbye to our Vice Principal, John, but know he will be great in his new role as Head at Broadoak."

Aim High Workshop

(December 2019)

Mr Chechi brought Greater Manchester Higher to the Academy Theatre to speak to students and parents / carers and raise aspirations about the benefits of higher education.

The workshop featured Mr Chechi and GMH representative Chloe as they spoke of their experiences in the world of college and university.

Issues such as student loans and gap years were covered as well as the positive impact a university can have on a person's life.

Greater Manchester Higher is a part of the National Collaborative Outreach Programme, which helps people access higher education.

CAM Bake Off

(December 2019)

Baking came to the Co-op Academy Manchester (CAM) as it launched its own competition inspired by the television programme Bake Off in which a group of bakers compete against each other in a series of rounds, attempting to impress a group of judges with their baking skills.

The competition was stiff and the final task involved the student competitors building and baking their own festive gingerbread house.

The regular judges Mr Simpson from Science and the deputy catering manager Mr Roberts were joined by a third guest judge each day. The gingerbread houses had to endure the 'earthquake' and the 'snap' test.

The Bake Off proved a hit and all 'Co-op Families' did well, getting through to the finale.

Winter Wonderland 2019

(December 2019)

The Academy Theatre welcomed Co-op Academy Manchester students as they brought some festive warmth and cheer to the cold and dark December evening. The evening showcased the range of talent found within the Expressive and Performing Arts Faculty at our Academy.

There were performances from the Choir and Big Band, who had recently toured local primary schools bringing some festive cheer into the community, as well as music from the Rock Band and String Orchestra. In addition to some seasonal drama scenes and solo performances, the evening previewed numbers from the Academy's forthcoming production of We Will Rock You (Schools’ Edition). The festive celebration concluded with carols and the audience were invited to sing along with the choir and band.

Throughout the evening the foyer displayed work from the school's Art and Photography students making this and eveing which celebrated the Arts.

Please click on the link below to read an independent review by Reviewer Number 9:

JSTAR: Pantomania

(December 2019)

There were pantomimes galore in the Academy Theatre... "Oh no there weren't!", "Oh, yes there were!" as regular guests JSTAR presented five 20 minute pantomimes to a sell out audience. From Cinderella to Sleeping Beauty much fun was had by the young performers.

The highlight of the afternoon was surely when the JSTAR staff took to the stage in their adaptation of Snow White, featuring staff dancer Maria as the eponymous heroine, JSTAR owner Jaynie as a suitably wicked stepmother Queen and office manger Helen as one of the most inventive Magic Mirrors ever seen!

Cirque du JSTAR

(December 2019)

With the recent reception The Greatest Showman film, coupled with the rapturous reviews of the touring Cirque du Soliel company, it is evident that there has been a general renaissance in all things 'circus'.

JSTAR threw their hat into the ring as they had cartwheels and acrobatics galore in a feel good afternoon of entertainment.

Appearing as a clown, red nosed Maria went down a storm as she got audience members on the stage and they clowned with her. No doubt she will be back next year for more fun and frolics!

Gang Leader makes amends

(2019 December)

Co-op Academy Manchester students were transfixed by the dramatic story of former gang member / leader Matthew as he talked candidly spoke about his life, drugs and gangs and how he is now committed to educating others as to the consequences of their actions.

The year 9 and year 10 students listened attentively to Matthew as he told the harrowing story of his life, family and the experience of being incarcerated in prison. There was then a question and answer session were students asked some soul searching questions to Matthew.

Students left the session in no doubt that drugs and gangs ruin not only the lives of the members, but their family and friends too...

Such was impression Mathew left, he was booked to come in January 2020 and speak to Year 11 students.

One Education Christmas Concert

(December 2019)

Christmas came to the Academy Theatre as it hosted *Blackley Music Centre's Yuletide celebration. With range of music from festive to classical and pop to jazz, the programme was as rich as a Christmas pudding.

The music was as diverse as the number of performing groups:

  • Manchester Youth Wind Orchestra

  • Blackley Centre Stage Band

  • Brasilia Samba Band

  • Ceilidh Band

  • Ukulele Group

  • Brass Group

  • Woodwind Group

  • Recorder Group

  • Junior Strings

  • Blackley Junior Wind Band

  • Blackley Junior Samba

Introduced by Ms. Wren and the indomitable Mr Rudden, the lively pairing took the audience on a musical sleigh ride. The ages of the groups ranged from 5 to 18.

One Education runs regular music sessions every Thursday during term time at the Co-op Academy Manchester.

*Blackley Music Centre is part of the One Education Music Service

Coaching unlocks individual Development

(December 2019)

The CAM* CLIFE** Team gave an excellent session to all teaching and some support staff about the benefits of coaching. The session was structured in three parts: Explanation of the coaching stages, a real scenario with coach and staff participant - observed by all staff and finally the opportunity to work in threes with staff dividing into the roles of coach, participant and scribe / observer. By the end of the session the benefits of coaching were self evident.

Coaching develops an individual's:

  • performance, targets and goals.

  • openness to personal learning and development.

  • ability to identify solutions to specific work-related issues.

  • ownership and responsibility.

  • self-awareness.

"Coaching can unlock some amazing benefits... like boosting employee morale, retention rates and even performance."

It is a testament to the Co-op Academy Manchester's ongoing pursuit to ongoing professional development and its investment in its staff which underpins the positive ethos for developing staff, students and the community at large.

*Co-op Academy Manchester Challenge **Literacy, Independence, Feedback, Engagement

Middleton Gymnastics Club

(November 2019)

The Academy Theatre was delighted to welcome Middleton Gymnastics Club as they made their debut at the theatre with a showcase performance of their work. Focusing on floor-work and fun, Director Maxine hit the right note with a variety of dances ranging from 'Cotton Eye Joe' (which featured club founder Glen on an inflatable horse!) and a couple of numbers from The Greatest Showman as well as some modern covers of old classics.

The technique and flexibility of the performers was a sight to behold as they used their gymnastic skills to enhance and develop their dance work.

Club chairman, Stuart was delighted by the work of the staff and students as it all came together under technical supremo Gaz's delicate touch on the sound desk.

Academy Theatre Manager was delighted to be presented with a framed photograph of the group, saying, "I've thoroughly enjoyed welcoming the club to the theatre. The students and their parents / carers are very fortunate to have such a wonderful organisation where the young gymnasts can not only learn about gymnastic techniques, but become educated in life skills as well. The framed photo is a lovely memento and will be place in my office with pride."

Presentation Evening 2019

(November 2019)

It was a proud evening for all when Co-op Academy Manchester opened its doors to welcome back last year's 11 students. Last year the Academy had its best ever examinations result. Principal Steve Brice expressed his pride in the cohort who, not only were the highest achievers in the school's history, but also displayed the Academy's high values throughout their time in secondary education. He urged the leavers to keep hold of these values and they would open many doors to them as they progressed through life.

The evening's key note speaker was Dr Chris Tomlinson CEO of Co-op Academies Trust who talked about his journey through life. This included the positive strengths of being resilient and how the experience of failure can be turned into a great positive.

Whilst the certificates and awards were given out the Big Band, under the direction of Mr Rudden, played throughout the evening, giving an air of glamour to proceedings.

Further entertainment was given by Amber at the piano, Harriet who sang a transfixing song from the school's forthcoming February 2020 musical, We Will Rock You and Sean, Isabel, Kirsty and Lydia who gave a fine performance of I'll Put a Spell on You.

The closing address was given by Chair of Governors, Jane Bates followed by a vote of thanks by Senior Prefects Faith and Emily.

Chaos in the Co-op Classroom!

(November 2019)

Ofsted rates the Co-op Academy Manchester as 'Good' with many 'Outstanding' features, which is why there is a significant waiting list for student places at the Academy. So what event changed this smooth running school into a classroom of chaos? The answer was in a drama which was presented to Year 7 in the Academy Theatre by staff members who performed a play, demonstrating the key behaviours required for learning to take place.

The staff actors showcased the CLASS FROM HELL, a real worse case scenario, showing behaviour and attitudes which are far from the norm in the calm Academy's daily environment.

Senior Vice Principal Mrs McMorrow, playing a 'girl with attitude' made a dramatic entrance in a shopping trolley and 'trouble-maker' Vice Principal Mr Knowles (in what, he has assured us, will be his last participation in this annual treat) throwing water over another 'student'!

At various points throughout the chaotic performance, the action was stopped by Mr King, who as the host, then asked the audience of Year 7's to challenge and improve the 'students' behaviour in the play, using their experience of the way they and other students normally conduct themselves in the school. The Year 7s also suggested strategies which the long suffering teacher (played by the indefatigable Mrs Roberts) and 'students' could modify to to enhance the lesson. These ideas were adopted by the actors. Over the course of thirty minutes, the classroom of chaos became the classroom of calm.

Finally the performers initial poor behaviours and their journey forward through low level disruption, to being a model classroom for learning were summarised for the audience. The Year 7s then reflected on how they could improve their own behaviours for learning and that even low level disruption, such as not focusing 100% on the teacher, or on a task, makes a significant impact on the effectiveness of their and other students' learning journey.

The Year 7s left the theatre aware of how to apply the changes they had made to the 'staff students' to themselves. Focusing their mindset so that they too can be the architects of their own success.

Brilliant Ballet Comes to Blackley

(November 2019)

The prestigious London Russian Ballet School came to Blackley and presented a matinee and evening performance of Ballets Russes and Beyond which featured music from composers Tchaikovsky and Chopin.

The partnership is testament to former Co-op Trust Director Frank Norris and the Director of the Ballet School Harriet Pickering. Both parties are passionate about engaging communities using the Arts.

The Co-op Academy Manchester's Academy Theatre were delighted to be the flagship venue on a two stage tour which also incorporates the theatre at the Co-op Academy North Manchester.

The matinee audience was made up of Academy Students and a number of local Primary Schools. They were treated to a series of extracts, including sections from Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote and Swan Lake.

When questioned later about the performance Maya from year 7 said the show was... "very entertaining, mesmerising. I felt like I was inside a story." whilst Abby in year 10 enthused, "[the performance] inspires me to incorporate different elements into my dancing."

The evening performance was enhanced by the addition of an extract from Les Sylphides.

Audiences went away absolutely enthralled be their enchanting evening, when ballet came to Blackley.

Matthew Dougall @reviewernumber9 wrote, "Ballet is about beauty, artistry, spectacle, and this company had all of these. The costumes (all originals from Russia) were superb, and the discipline and talent on display was awe-inspiring."

Read Matthew's full review here:

A Splendid Journey to Hell!

(November 2019)

Splendid Productions took year 10 and 11 Co-op Academy Manchester students on a journey to hell and back with their maverick interpretation of the Marlowe classic play Dr Faustus.

The three strong band of actors played a multitude of roles and used an astonishing amount of humour in this darkly tragic theatre piece. After the performance the actors Nick, Grace and Tanya held a question and answer session and then workshop, which focused on the performers physicality. Performers, staff and students enjoyed every minute and they all agreed they had had a 'splendid' time!

Movie Music Dance Showcase

(November 2019)

Prima Ballerinas presented their winter showcase, themed around movie musicals. The talented troupe opened with a dance to 'The Greatest Show' from the popular hit The Greatest Showman. They then travelled to the Middle East to the Disney version of Aladdin to see a fun rendition of 'Never Had a Friend Like Me'. The next journey was to the meet Matilda and have a dance to 'Little Bitty Pretty One'. Stepmom followed and the Marvin Gaye hit 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough'. It was then time to chill as Frozen featured with the popular song 'Let It Go'. Stepping back in time to The Great Gatsby when dancing was all the rage it was very evident that 'A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)' in this exuberant romp. From Disney's The Lion King audiences were left in no doubt that the characters had high hope as they majestically moved to 'I Just Can't Wait to Be King'.

A highlight of the performance was when Prima Ballerinas owner and lead teacher presented a dance duet with another staff member, raising the temperature and the roof with an excerpt from the hit musical Chicago, 'All that Jazz'. Still keeping with the 1920's feel we then were presented with the poor orphans from Annie and their 'Hard Knock Life'. A trip into the world of television and a visit to a Girl's School in Paris where the audience encountered Madeline and her classmates who where given the opportunity 'To Be a Star' from episode 8 of the first series "Madeline at the Ballet". The Finale once again used music from The Greatest Showman as the dancers gave their interpretation of 'A Million Dreams' and the audience did 'Come Alive' as they gave the dancers rapturous applause during their curtain call.

Halloween Happenings

(November 2019)

What happens when a group of children decide to go on a Halloween adventure and travel to the Town of Halloween meeting a variety of strange and scary creatures? The answer lies in the short performance poem Halloween Happenings, which was presented in early November in the Academy Theatre.

After the success of last year’s mini-production Musical Mission, Mister Pip and Miss Stott decided to collaborate on a further Primary School / Co-op Academy Manchester project. Each section of the piece was worked on by one of three Primary Schools and was linked by three year 10 Academy Students, who were joined by a further year 10 student who gave a magical performance of the song 'I'll out a spell on you'. This collaborative approach really exemplified the ethos of working co-operatively.

Special thanks should go to the three Primary Schools and their teachers: Mr Ball and Mrs Jones from Charlestown Community Primary School, Mrs Cork from E-ACT Blackley Academy and Mr Johnson and Ms Taylor from Pike Fold Community Primary School, who gave up so much of their time to rehearse and contribute to the success of the production.

manACTco's Powerful Poetry Performance

(November 2019)

Manchester Actors Company (a.k.a. manACTco) visited the Academy Theatre giving dramatic interpretations of the 'AQA POWER AND CONFLICT POETRY CLUSTER IN PERFORMANCE’ which features heavily in the GCSE English literature syllabus. Taking the poems from page to stage brought the text to life. Stories and Characters were explored and atmosphere created giving the year 10 and 11 audience an insight into the poems and their context.

After the performance, the three actors, joined by their director, had a question and answer session with the audience. An interesting discussion developed. The audience benefited hearing about the company's techniques on learning the poems and also the way live performance could ignite imaginations, making the poetry more accessible.

Flagging up October Highlights

(October 2019)

Another busy month as the Academy Theatre gets more visible with the purchase of four two meter flags to publicise the venue.

The theatre also hosted Co-op Academy Manchester assemblies, an open evening, careers fair, VoiceBox meeting, Writers' Studio, Year 7 students' settling in evening as well as wearing pink to raise breast cancer awareness.

A student lead Assembly highlighted the issues of pollution and the devastating effect it can have on the environment. Cleverly the presentation showed the issues, but then suggested ideas about how we all can make a change. An individual in isolation can have a minimal impact, many individuals together can achieve great results.

The annual Co-op Academy Manchester's Open Evening took place at the beginning of October. This gave prospective students and their parents / carers a chance to to see for themselves all the facilities the school has to offer. The Academy Theatre hosted the School Choir who sang a touching version of 'Hold Back the River' and the warm welcoming speech by school principal Mr Brice. There were many positive comments from visitors who, after seeing the Academy had resolved to make it their first choice secondary school for their children.

Careers Adviser, Mrs Godfrey, once again hosted her Careers Fair at in the theatre. The armed services were present as well as apprenticeship scheme, colleges. Once again we were joined by Arts Organisations who enlightened attendees as the the many career paths the Arts offer. ALRA North and Royal Exchange Manchester enthused participants with the provision they offer to those wishing to engage in the industry.

VoiceBox is a pupil participation network for secondary schools which encourages Manchester pupils to use their voices in meaningful and effective ways. The idea is to increase participation and engagement to ensure that young people in Manchester schools are linked to and represented at strategic and decision-making levels in the city. The theatre housed around 70 students from 11 schools in the Manchester area with Healthy Lifestyles being a main topic of discussion.

The Co-op Academy Manchester Year Seven Writer's Studio showcased the launch of their anthology of work in a professionally designed and published book containing short stories, poems and raps. The evening commenced with a TED (or CAM) style talk on storytelling through the ages by Year 8 student Maja. Mr Moosa, Assistant Director of the English Learning Zone said, “As a faculty, we passionately encourage our students to develop their own creative voices. We are so proud of the pieces chosen by each writer: they really exemplify the outstanding talents of all our students.”

The Year Seven Settling Evening gave parents and carers the opportunity to attend the school and see and hear how their child was progressing at the Academy. Staff gave feedback, help and advice as well as a presentation lead by Mrs Baldwin in the Academy Theatre.

Finally as the month draws to a close, the Academy Community Team joined their fellow colleagues and wore pink to highlight breast cancer awareness. The team develop the use of the school's facilities for both students and the wider community. The Academy Theatre is one facility which is becoming more and more popular with external organisations and at the time of writing, the theatre has bookings up to July 2020!

Photos (From top to bottom): New Academy Theatre Flags, Eco-Warriors presentation, Open Evening, Careers Fair, Maja giving her CAM talk, Writer's Studio contributors, the Community Team.

Raising Aspiration

(September 2019)

As the new academic year speeds on, the Academy Theatre has already hosted a number of events to raise aspiration in Co-op Academy Manchester students.

The AWS Get It Programme is a scheme launched by online retailers Amazon to inspire and encourage woman to look into careers in technology.

Highlighting the many after school opportunities for students, the CAM Extra-curricular Fair saw the theatre packed with stalls, hosted be student leaders and staff. From Athletics to Art, Bee Keeping to Band and Drama to Debating, this rich mix of activities catered for a variety of interests. Some other clubs included: Chess, Football, Minecraft, Homework Help, Choir, Science and IT.

IntoUniversity based at Co-op Academy North Manchester visited the Academy Theatre and held a day of workshops with students where Co-op Academy Manchester students engaged in the IntoUniversity Secondary FOCUS Programme. The aims are to develop students' skills of communication, confidence, leadership and teamwork as well as develop their knowledge of what universities offer and also their career goals.

UK Safer Internet Centre who are the co-coordinators of Safer Internet Day in the UK visited with their film crew and promoted online safety . The fun activities included some presenting and filming. Students were enthused and challenged as they performed in front of the camera.

(Photographs - top: extra-curricular fair, bottom: UK Safer Internet Centre)

Something Good Theatre Company checks in for an evening of Drama!

(August 2019)

With a remarkably challenging story to tell, the play It's Probably Thrush tells the story of living with endometriosis and one woman's ten year struggle to be diagnosed correctly by the medical profession.

This production was presented by the touring Something Good Theatre company and directed with sensitive understanding by Georgi Mckie. Written by its founder Kailey McGowan Lowry, the forty five minute play is very informative and enlightens, rather than lectures, about the day to day struggles of those who are faced with endometriosis. The educational, raw and real performance followed Liv and her boyfriend Tom on her journey to diagnosis and the effect it can have on relationships, work and mental health. The audience then joined in a Q&A session after the performance to share their experiences on living with the condition.

In dealing with the implications the condition has on women, their partners and families, this drama hits all the right notes as it sheds light on a particular aspect of women's health which is all too often misdiagnosed as a yeast infection.

With one in ten women living with endometriosis, Something Good Theatre should be applauded for their work in promoting awareness for this invisible condition.

For more information about endometriosis, click the link below.

Debate Mate

(July 2019)

The Academy Theatre is a community resource and so we were delighted to welcome a number of primary schools to take part in Debate Mate. This is a programme in which secondary school debaters visit primary schools and share good practice with the aim to develop debating skills, looking at issues and creating coherent arguments for opposing views for and against a single proposition.

The young debaters had a series of notions to discuss, including: Is homework necessary? and Should all primary classes have a pet? It was fascinating hearing the pros and cons for each argument.

Despite the stiff competition, Pike Fold Community Primary School came out as victors. Congratulations to all on a great success.

Award winning author entertains

(July 2019)

Holding court to over two-hundred teenagers can never be an easy thing to do, yet Alan Gibbons did just that as he enthralled and entertained students from the Co-op Academy Manchester. With his down to earth wit and self deprecating charm, Alan had the audience of students and staff in the palm of his hand.

For twenty three years Alan Gibbons has been writing children's books. His best selling book Shadow of the Minotaur was the winner of the Blue Peter Book Award 2000 'The book I couldn't put down'.

This popular event was due to the work of Alison Gill, Service Development Coordinator of Manchester City Council Library Service in partnership with the English Department of Co-op Academy Manchester.

We look to seeing our organisations relationships flourish as we look to hosting more great events in the Academy Theatre.

Pro Dance debut!

(July 2019)

How do you begin to tell the the Torah's story of Creation in one evening using dance and song? Pro Dance answered that question when their female only dance group trod the boards of the Academy Theatre in July. The dancers ranged from young primary school girls who melted the hearts of the audience when they came on as stars and angels, to older secondary school students who represented animals of the earth. Working with professional choreographers and richly voiced vocalist (Edina), organiser Mrs Harari mounted a memorable and thought provoking evening's entertainment.

JSTAR Dance Academy Entertains

(July 2019)

Once again we welcomed back the JSTAR Dance Academy to the Academy Theatre as they presented a double bill of entertainment: Musical Magic - in which a selection of musicals were performed. The short extracts incorporated music from Oliver!, School of Rock and Mary Poppins. The second show was the Arabian Nights Dance Showcase which had themed dances based on the classic tale and then ended with a selection of contemporary dance.

These performances saw a final contribution of a number of JSTAR staff who had qualified for university and were continuing there dance studies.A packed audience really enhanced the atmosphere and JSTAR owner, Jaynie, was overwhelmed by all the talent both on and off stage.

Midsummer Madness!

(July 2019)

Manchester Arts Educational Initiative (MAEI) brought a darkly magical adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream to the Academy Theatre over a two week period.

The MAEI have been running for over twenty years and this is the first year they have used the Co-op Academy Manchester's Theatre as a venue.

This year they have worked with six primary schools and produced one of Shakespeare's most popular plays. Whilst each school presented it's own play on a separate night, the production, direction, costumes, sound and lighting were the same - only the cast changed!

We were delighted to host (In order of performance date):

  • Crab Lane Primary School

  • Crumpsall Lane Primary School

  • Holy Trinity C of E Primary School

  • St. Mary's C of E Primary School Moston

  • Claremont Primary School

  • St. Mary's RC Langley

This production adapted 'The Dream' and focused on the Mechanicals and Fairies, blending the Bard's language with soundscapes and pseudo-rave music!

Proving a hit, the MAEI have already booked the Academy Theatre for next year!

S J Dance Celebrates Success

(June 2019)

Samantha Jane and her team of teachers celebrated the achievements of their dance school as they announced and presented awards, trophies and certificates to all of the students who had recently completed their dance examinations.

As well as the awards, the students presented their dance pieces to the packed house of family and friends, many of whom had never been to the Academy Theatre before. There were and incredible variety of dances and styles, from classical ballet to more modern dance. All were enthusiastically received.

We look forward to welcoming S J dance back in the near future.

Cabinet visit to CAM

(June 2019)

We welcomed the Rt. Hon. David Lidington CBE, MP (Mrs Theresa May's de facto Deputy Prime Minister) to the Academy Theatre. As Trust Director Frank Norris Tweeted, "[The] Focus of the visit was to highlight the great community work the Co-op, our Trust and Yes are involved in. The sun shone brightly, the students were brilliant and a great sense of pride."

The Minister was very happy with his time spent engaging with the community, staff and students and answering a variety of questions. His main message was to be resilient and keep on aiming towards your goals. He Tweeted, "Thank you for your welcome today. The optimism & ambition of your students is the best advertisement for what @CoopManchester @CoopAcademies is achieving ."

A very positive day, where once again the Co-op was recognised for the key role it plays in enriching the lives of the community it serves.


(June 2019)

Theatre Dance Academy (TDA) presented their end of term showcase to parents and families as they cheered their children on in Showstoppers.

Formed in September 2017 by Sally and Jordan Makin, TDA 's ethos is "all about having fun whilst learning to dance."

Miss Sally said, " All the children have worked incredibly hard on the dances for today's show and I know they'll be brilliant, but they'll also show the confidence, dedication, teamwork and sense of fun that makes me so proud to be their teacher."

TDA must have enjoyed the facilities at the Academy Theatre as they've already booked in for next year. Now that's dedication!

The Rubbish Shakespeare Company entertains and educates

(June 2019)

With a selection of badly fitting wigs and props The Rubbish Shakespeare Company rolled up to the Academy Theatre to bring two of Shakespeare's classic plays to life.

The all male cast of four brought The Tempest to life with great energy, water pistols and laughs as they shamelessly mugged to the audience whilst seamlessly weaving in and out of the original text. The Year Seven students lapped it up, particularly the kiss between Miranda and Ferdinand!

Year Nine students where treated to Macbeth and the tale of lust for power. The audience were in the middle of a chase between a Scouse Assassin and Fleance and then later became Birnam Wood!

The actors were overwhelmed with the theatre's facilities. They looked around with admiration, with one cast member saying that, "It's inspiring to work in such a space... full credit should go to the Principal (Mr Brice) for his belief in the Arts and how they can enable and develop people."

We loved having the company in and can't wait until next year to welcome them back!

Dracula descends on Theatre

(June 2019)

Students and staff were terrified when the Prince of Darkness appeared at the Academy Theatre. With billowing cape flowing and walking through an eerie fog, Dracula manifested himself before a number of Year 9 students.

However the vampire's motives for visiting the students were for more benign than could ever be imagined! It transpired that he was at the theatre to offer an exciting opportunity to Co-op Academy Manchester students.

Dracula (a.k.a actor Peter Clifford) and Feelgood Theatre Productions director Caroline Clegg are presenting Dracula in Heaton Park Manchester this summer as part of the company's 25th Year Anniversary, and they offered the young people a series of workshops and the opportunity to join the company and take part in the open air performances this summer!

The students were delighted and during the workshops, certainly got their teeth into playing many roles! We hope this will be the first collaboration of many and we wish students and Feelgood every success in their show.

Dracula The Blood Count of Heaton Park runs from from 24th July until 11th August 2019.

Concert is "Wunderbar!"

(June 2019)

With a wide ranging programme, Co-op Academy Students entertained an enthusiastic audience with the repertoire they will be performing on their forthcoming trip to Germany in July.

The choir, lead by trip organiser Miss Stott, sang 'A Million Dreams' from The Greatest Showman, an a capella version of 'Lean On Me' and the classic 'If You Where the Only Girl in the World'.

We where then treated to the String Group, Rock Band, Big Band, Samba Band and grand finale when a the bands accompanied the choir in a rendition of 'Hey Jude'.

Miss Stott said, "I am very proud of all our students and wish to thank them for committing to this massive project. This year promises to be bigger and better than ever! I also want to thank Ms Compson, Mr Rudden, Mr Thom and Ms Wren our peripatetic music staff from One Education Music for all their hard work in getting each element of the concert ready for tonight’s performance. Finally, I wish to thank you for your support. All monies raised tonight, will be added to the fundraising pot which enables us to engage with more students and give them the chance to travel to Germany and make music!"

We all wish these talented musicians every success when they head off to Sebnitz, near Dresden in Germany.

Hearst Publishers Visit

(June 2019)

"Engage with positive people in positive environments" is the at the core of this publishing group and we were delighted to welcome them to the Academy Theatre where they worked with a number of girls in a publishing workshop.

The girls budgeted an advertising campaign based on positive body image for the brand Nike and presented their plan to the group.

The Hearst representatives were so impressed with the girls, they wish to return and work with these 'creative', 'well mannered', 'inspiring' students again. We also heard that one of the slogans created by the girls would be used in a campaign .

As a result of the workshop, some of the girls want have a career in advertising.

Doctor Who writer materializes in theatre!

(May 2019)

We were pleased to welcome script writer Joy Wilkinson, a noted writer for stage, television and radio to the Academy Theatre in May. Joy held question and answer sessions with Year Sevens and Year Eight Co-op Academy Manchester Students, where she talked candidly about her life as a writer and the experience working on Doctor Who and her episode The Witchfinders. Her advice to students was to "not to take no for an answer, and don't give up!"

Joy's work includes writing episodes of Doctors, Holby and Casualty for the BBC. Her adaption Nick Nickleby, also for the BBC, of the Charles Dickens' novel Nicholas Nickleby was critically acclaimed. Joy has also adapted many Agatha Christie stories for Radio 4 and continues to write for the stage. Her current project is The Sweet Science of Bruising, a revival of her play which premiered last year at the Southwark Playhouse about Victorian women boxers!

Twinkle and Teddy's Big Day Out

(May 2019)

babyballet packed out the Academy Theatre for their two shows as Twinkle and Teddy took the audience on a big day out! The audiences were treated to an amazing journey through various adventures, from experiencing the animals in the zoo, surfing at the beach, meeting the swans at the lake and ending at the castle in the clouds. Accompanying the popular bears were Flutterstar the Fairy, Chuck the Cowgirl and good old Grandad Jack, king of the Castle in the Clouds.

We were delighted to hear such positive feedback from the organisers and audiences as they complimented our wonderful theatre and staff. babyballet have already booked for their next show and we can't wait to have them back!

Northern Powerhouse

(May 2019)

Frank Norris, the head of the Co-operative Academies Trust and Steve Brice (Principal of the Co-op Academy Manchester) were pleased to show the economist Lord Jim O’Neill (vice-chair of The Northern Powerhouse) and Henri Murison (Director at The Northern Powerhouse Partnership) around the Academy's wonderful facilities. The tour included a visit to the Academy Theatre where Mr Norris, Mr Brice and two students explained the journey of the academy and how, through our passion for the Arts, communities and education, we could hopefully influence strategy for Northern Powerhouse Partnership.

Company Chameleon creating choreography!

(April 2019)

Another exciting start to the term as the Academy Theatre opens its doors to a professional dance company.

Company Chameleon are joining with four schools across Manchester to create a piece of dance which will be performed at One Angel Square, the headquarters of The Co-operative Group.

Although the dancers tour internationally, Company Chameleon are coming back to their roots, having been formed by two Manchester dance graduates in 2007.

Students were given a series of basic choreographic phrases and developed these into solo and group dances.

Visits from Something Good Theatre, Middleton Gymnastics Club and Manchester City Council Library Service

(April 2019)

We warmly welcomed guests form Something Good Theatre, Middleton Gymnastics Club and Manchester City Council Library Service as they looked around the facilities and took in all the Academy Theatre had to offer.

Alison and Jodie from Manchester City Council Library Service even had a meeting on the tensile steel grid - a first for both of our visitors!

We hope that these meetings result in some positive partnerships which will further develop our community engagement strategy.

Co-op and BBC Executives at the Academy Theatre

(April 2019)

Co-op Academy Manchester Principal, Mr Brice, showed guests around the Academy Theatre this afternoon as they saw year 11 students rehearsing and operating the state of the art lighting console. The students were working towards their final GCSE Drama examination which is at the end of April.

The Co-op and BBC Executives were impressed at what facilities the theatre has offer and we hope to see our guests back sometime soon.

The Covasettes on Tour!

(April 2019)

The Academy Theatre welcomed The Covasettes to the stage as they performed their music to a selection of students from all years. This up and coming Manchester Pop Rock band entertained their audiences with a section of their own songs. They went on to give a talk about how they all met at university and found that music was the passion which brought them together.

Currently in the middle of their UK tour, and just having played Glasgow the previous night, this vibrant band has a style comparable to Razorlight and The Kooks as well has having an influence of some of the great Manchester bands.

The boys got the students rocking, as well as sharing some great anecdotes about how they had a wide selection of jobs as teenagers as well as how they balanced their academic studies with their music and a variety of other jobs.

They really enjoyed their time at the Academy Theatre and loved performing to our students as well as our first class facilities.

We wish them well as they certainly hit the right notes with us.

Academy Theatre on Twitter

(April 2019)

As of today, 1st April, the Academy Theatre is LIVE on Twitter - and this is no joke! Check out our tweets @CAM_Theatre to keep up to date with news and exciting happenings in our Academy Theatre. The amount of events we present will surprise you!

Stuff by Tom Wells

(March 2019)

The Academy Theatre welcomed CAM Theatre Company as they took to the stage to present two previews of the one act play Stuff before it goes to the Quays Theatre in the Lowry as part of the National Theatre Connections Programme in April. The cabaret style seating proved very effective as later in the the play the audience became part of the action!

Directed by Miss Donohoe, the play features a cast of the Academy's Year 11 and 10 students with the lighting and sound operation performed by a year 8 student.

The plot is as follows:

Vinny's organising a surprise birthday party for his mate, Anita. It's not going well: his choice of venue is a bit misguided, Anita's not keen on leaving the house, and everyone else has their own stuff going on. Maybe a surprise party wasn’t the best idea?

A play about trying (but not really managing) to help.

Suitable for ages 14+

If you didn't get chance to see it at the Academy Theatre, tickets can still be obtained for the Lowry performance.

JSTAR Returns

(March 2019)

We were delighted to welcome back JSTAR Academy of Performing Arts as they presented two performances featuring dance, drama, singing and a film showcase. The young participants and their teachers provided a great variety of entertainment which was lapped up by the appreciative audiences.

Feelgood Theatre Productions

(February 2019)

With a mission to "create theatre with a definite sense of risk and adventure" the Academy Theatre was pleased to meet with Feelgood Theatre Productions and discuss how we can work together and form collaborative links to develop community relations. Feelgood Theatre Productions is a very vibrant company who have, since 1994, reached 350, 000 people through their innovative and original performances. We look forward to see what the future holds between them and the Academy Theatre.

Manchester International Festival

(February 2019)

This February our Academy Theatre is delighted to house an international group of dancers who have come together to create and rehearse a performance for this year's Manchester International Festival. Rehearsing from 3:00pm until 11:00pm Monday until Friday and then in over the weekend too, this remarkable group is a fine example of the dedication, commitment and hard work which goes into professional theatre making.

Valentines Concert

(February 2019)

Love was in the air when Academy music students arranged and managed a concert as part of their BTEC course. From planning the acts and booking the theatre, they also took on roles of running the Box Office, operating the sound and lights, plus compering the show itself. The variety of acts was made up of Academy staff and students and included: a duet, piano recital from The Greatest Showman and a memorable rendition of I Would do Anything for Love complete with wigs!

Visit from Shakespeare's Globe

(February 2019)

The Academy Theatre was delighted to host visitors from Shakespeare's Globe Theatre from London. They were astounded at the theatre's specification and were very positive about building links with the Co-op Academy Manchester and using the Academy Theatre as part of their (and our) drive to engage communities with the Arts.

Chicago (High School Edition)

(February 2019)

Murder, treachery… and all that jazz!

Hundreds of people came to watch our show, Chicago (High School Edition) for a hugely successful three date run in February 2019.

The hit Broadway musical came to the Academy Theatre, which was spectacularly transformed into a 1920s circus. Students from Years 7-10 took on roles as the merry murderesses (who walk a tightrope with the law), the lawyers and judges of the establishment (who run the show), the victims (the simple clowns caught up in the mayhem) and the chorus ensemble.

The story follows the media circus that erupts around a group of women who have murdered their husbands and lovers.

The show was by far the most ambitious production that the academy has yet seen, and made full use of our new state-of-the-art theatre, with professional lighting, a two-tier set, confetti canons and a 12-piece orchestra providing the live music.

The cast have been working hard on the show for many months, and put on four glorious performances during a busy week which also saw them perform in assemblies, undertake a gruelling rehearsal schedule and still find time for their Independent Learning Tasks!

During the months leading up to the show, Director Mr Pip tried to develop the cast and crew’s experience of a professional production, enlisting the help of Actor Anna-Jane Casey who played one of Chicago’s leading roles in London’s West End for almost 10 years. The cast were also buzzing before Christmas to receive a special video message from the current London cast, including Alexandra Burke and Duncan James from Blue!

Mr Pip said, “It’s been a delight working with the cast they’ve achieved so much. From the auditions through to the final night it has been a pleasure to see how they have all grown in confidence and have developed both their acting and stage technique. There have been some remarkable performances and I’m immensely proud of these extraordinary people and the way they leapt on-board with my directorial vision. I am also indebted to the staff of CAM who pulled together and supported me, whether it was providing food for the team, opening / closing the building, being chaperones, helping with make-up and costumes, or taking warm-ups. They were great. As well as their other (main) roles in the production, Mr Brice, Mr Stannard and Mr Montgomery have spent many late nights and early mornings working on the set and lights with me seven days a week! This has been inspiring… now the show’s over I hope their families recognise these strangers!”

Cinderella - a staff pantomime

(January 2019)

For two special performances in January 2018, academy staff swapped boards for bloomers and writing for wigs, to put on a special production of Cinderella.

Our vibrant Panto brought together a fairytale princess, a charming prince, two ugly sisters and the servant Buttons (with his mate Cadbury) for this classic rags to riches story. Tickets were only £2.50 for students, but our sell-out performances raised around £1000 which will go to support a school trip for our choir and musicians, who will be travelling to Germany later in the year.

One Education Music's Christmas Concert

(December 2018)

A wonderful mix of music was heard as One Education Music (Blackley Music Centre) presented their end of term music showcase. All the tutors and classes came together to perform everything from pop to jazz and classical to festive songs. It was a delight to see so many ages represented on stage from primary school children to students who had graduated college.

There was a real community festive feel to the evening as the audience was invited to sing Christmas Carols along with the players.

We look forward to their next concert in the theatre.

One Education Music runs regular music classes at the Co-op Academy Manchester every Thursday from 3:45pm until 8:00pm - check their website if you're interested in learning to play an instrument.

Winter Wonderland

(December 2018)

On Monday 10 December the Academy Theatre welcomed parents, carers and the general public to enjoy a festive concert, showcasing our talented singers and musicians.

The event featured the Rock Band, Big Band and String Orchestra performing seasonal classics, and a selection of songs from the Academy Choir.

In addition, some talented soloists wowed the crowds. Prince (Year 11) sang and played piano, and Kian (Year 10) sang Mr Cellophane from our upcoming musical Chicago (High School Edition). The merry murderesses of Chicago also gave a preview from the show, before the audience were invited to sing along to some Christmas carols.

First external hires as local dance groups book our theatre

(December 2018)

Our first external hire welcomed Prima Ballerinas School of Dance to our theatre. The young dancers certainly enjoyed themselves as they entertained their audience with a variety of dances from Baby Shark to Lollipop to great applause.

The following week JSTAR Academy of Performing Arts presented their dance showcase and acted, danced and sang away with gusto in the intriguingly titled Happy Never After, which incorporated classic fairy tale characters in a new and original story.

We certainly enjoyed hosting these two young dance companies and hope to welcome both groups back soon as we develop our links with the local community.

Musical Mission

(November 2018)

As part of our ongoing 'mission' to use Arts engagement within the community, three of the Co-op Academy Manchester's Year Seven students performed an original piece entitled the Musical Mission with three local primary schools: Charlestown Primary School, Crosslee Community Primary School and Moston Lane Community Primary School. Featuring an incredibly diverse range of music and dance the piece had its premier at the Academy Theatre.

"We're always looking for ways to use the Arts to bring people together," said Theatre Manager, Philip Hindle. "This project has seen four different communities coming together to create one performance. It really has been a pleasure to see how the students' confidence has grown throughout the process and see their enjoyment as they worked worked with each other."

Academy students stage a dramatic production to commemorate Armistice Day

November 2018

On Monday 12 November, students from all Year Groups staged a powerful performance to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War.

The whole community was invited to watch the show which followed a regiment of soldiers from their enrolment in the army, to their experience of the Battle of the Somme. Through poetry, song, acting and physical theatre, the students evoked the emotional journey faced by soldiers and those they left behind at home.

Ticket sales for the show, which took place in the academy’s brand new professional theatre, raised hundreds of pounds for the Poppy Appeal. Dave Fells, who attended on behalf of the Royal British Legion said, “I just had to write to tell you how much I enjoyed the performance last night. The students did so well portraying such an important topic. I was very moved and found it quite emotional.”

Head of Drama Emma Lees explained, “With Lest We Forget we wanted to commemorate the sacrifices made during The Great War not just by the soldiers who died or returned changed but the people left at home. This was a project designed to give the pupils the opportunity to share their own family’s story be it through the poppies on display from the Art department or through their storytelling on stage through song or acting. It has been a true and humbling experience putting this performance together and I am immensely proud of what we have achieved.”

James Llewellyn Burke, a Year 11 student who gave a commanding performance of an officer urging men to enlist as soldiers said, “It was very important for us to commemorate such a horrible tragedy. We wanted to put on a performance that was not only heart-wrenching but respectful too.”

The performance complemented the other ways in which high school students have been respecting those who gave their lives in war. This has included special assemblies, observing a two-minute silence, and an art display made up of hundreds of poppies created by students.

Careers Fair

(October 2018)

Proving the versatility of Academy Theatre, we hosted a Careers Fair which saw the raked seating pushes back and stalls set around the the theatre. There were a rich variety of career pathways on offer, from various colleges and apprenticeships, to the armed services and the Arts. Building on from previous meetings we were delighted to welcome back a representative from the Contact Theatre and well as make new links with ALRA North.

Forging links with creative industry professionals

(October 2018)

The Academy Theatre hosted a number of meetings this month in an effort to develop relationships with industry professionals. We were please that both the Contact Theatre and Royal Exchange Theatre were keen to engage with us and were very impressed with our new theatre. The Contact Theatre focuses on youth leadership and the Royal Exchange Theatre family and community projects and developing opportunities for young people.

We were also delighted to host the Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) and a representative from the Theatre Project, who were very impressed with our facilities and the high specification of our technical equipment. One literal high point was a tour of our tensile steel grid which allows riggers to walk out across a steel mesh to access our lighting rig.

All meetings were very productive and a very positive networking experience for all parties.

Gala Opening of the Academy Theatre

(July 2018)

A special concert was held in July to mark the official opening of the Co-op Academy Manchester's new £18m extension, which has a 229 - seat Academy Theatre, climbing wall, sports pitch and fitness suite.

The concert, hosted expertly by Year 10 prefects, featured amazing performances from our Big Band, Choir and Drama students. Talented student Prince sung whilst playing piano, and Georgia and Reece joined Ms Compson for a woodwind performance.

There were also some very special performances as the Big Band was joined by extra musicians from the Blackley Music Centre Band, our choir was joined by three future students from E-ACT Blackley Academy, and past students came back to resurrect numbers from our past musical shows on our new stage.