Popular Musical Presented

(February 2024)

When hapless florist Seymour Krelborn discovers a "strange and interesting plant" at the Skid Row Flower market, he could little know the dangers instore for him  and his crush on fellow worker Audrey.

With music Alana Menken and book and lyrics by  Howard Ashman Howard, the story is based  on the 1960  The Little Shop of Horrors film by Charles B. Griffith. The musical has been popular since it first appeared in  1980 and later made in to a film in 1986.

The plot focusses on Seymour buying a unique plant which appears during a total eclipse of the sun and him traying to keep it alive, without much success, until he discovers the one ingredient which sees the planet thrive an flourish. As the plant, which he names Audrey Two, grows, it needs more to sustain it. So in return for granting Seymour his wishes, the plant becomes more demanding... with Seymour resolving to take desperate measures to end his Faustian pact.

Directed the Co-op Academy Manchester's Expressive Arts Department, Seymour was played by William, Audrey by Leyli, Shop owner Mushnik by Ruby and Orin Scrivello DDS by Noah.

As the audiences  heard the story of Audrey Two, let's hope they remember the final warning of the show...  "Don't feed the pants!"

History Tips

(January 2024)

The academy's Head of History, Miss McFadyen with her team spent an evening with Year 11 History students and their parents / guardians going over top tips to help them succeed in GCSE History.

In the revision packs the entire syllabus was broken down into topics which the students would face on their Exam Paper One and Two.

America: Opportunity and Inequality 1920 -73, Conflict and Tension 1918-29, Britain: Power and the People 1000- Present and Norman England c1066-1100 were the topics on offer for the students and their families.

Practical revision techniques were also given such as Mind Maps, Notes, Flashcards and links to useful websites.

All this was framed with how students should use Mindfulness  (which can be defined as 'Paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present, moment, and non-judgmentally') so students can look after their mental we-being during the upcoming pressure of their examinations.

With around forty student and guardian partnerships attending, Miss McFadyen was very pleased by the dedication and commitment shown by her students as they clearly modelled the Co-op Way of Being, to Succeed Together.

Check Mates!

(January 2024)

The Key Stage Four and Year Nine Chess club hosted a chess tournament in the Academy Theatre, all arranged by the Manchester Co-op's own grandmaster, Mr Harris.

Knights took pawns, queens were taken and kings were trapped in checkmate in this strategic game where two opponents wits are locked together until the bitter end, or until the timer ran out!

The origins of the game are referenced in texts dating from the beginning of the seventh century, with the oldest known manual on the board game is written in Arabic and dates to circa 840. The game as played today evolved around the 16th century, with chess sets being standardised in 1849 into the pieces we know today called the Staunton Pattern, named after Howard Staunton, a talented player of the mid nineteenth century.

With approximately eighteen players, with reserves and a number of students and staff in the audience, the competitors moved from player to player in a knock out tournament.

Battling against each other and the clock, the competitors had to either get their opponent in checkmate, or outlast their rival on the clock.

It was a tight competition but eventually a victor was crowed and all the competitors parted as 'mates' in the end.


(January 2024)

Co-op Academy Manchester's  STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) Team, headed by Doctor Hopper, invited the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, in conjunction with BAE Systems, to the Academy Theatre to present Year Eight with an exploration of electricity and its many applications.

Armed Forces used 'The Force' to bring the eager audience to the Light Side with greener and more sustainable ways to light our homes and create electricity with engaging presentations and delivery, including a lightsabre battle!

Going up in the world!

(January 2023)

It was time to give the team a lift when Ian of Horizon Platforms Ltd. came to the Academy Theatre to deliver training to the Site Staff, Community Director, External Contractors,  and Theatre Staff.

After taking a rigorous online training course, the team were lead into the theatre and completed another test, consolidating their knowledge and emphasising the many Health and Safety aspects of working on a MEWP (Mobile Elevated Work Platform).

It was the onto the practical part of the course and with safety checks completed, each course course member had to complete a mini 'driving test' which entailed driving the MEWP around a set of cones and the some reversing at height on the raised platform.

Ian imparted his wealth of knowledge in a fun and informal way, ensuring all participants had a laugh whilst learning. His entertaining anecdotes reinforced the serious training which underpinned the course.

The team's spirits were all raised as they successfully passed their tests on what was an excellent day's training.

Festive Fun for Christmas

(December 2023)

The Co-op Academy Manchester singers and musicians put on a special Christmas Concert for the community in the Academy Theatre.

On a very cold evening, the two Year 11 student 11 comperes warmly welcomed the audience to an evening of fine entertainment. They confidently introduced a wide-ranging selection of performers. These included a variety of ensembles who practice each week after school, as well as talented musicians who have instrument lessons organised by our music department and delivered by our talented peripatetic music staff.

Highlights included tunes from our Big Band such as the well-known film theme ‘The Final Countdown’, the Rock Band Serenade performed their own composition named ‘Purple Haze’. The academy String Orchestra delighted with a broad selection of tunes including ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’. A particular highlight was talented pianist Yilei who played 'Liebestraum No. 3 in A♭ Major' by Liszt. The audience were also given a sneak preview from the cast of the school’s upcoming production, Little Shop of Horrors.

Mrs Lotus conducted the school choir as they entertained with some charming Christmas tunes, including the harmonious acapella rendition of ‘Mary Did You Know’.

In conclusion Principal Mr Glover gave a short speech thanking all the students and staff for a great evening, whilst revealing he always wanted to play the saxophone and drums as youth as he thought they were the ‘coolest’ instruments.

Spelling Bee

(December 2023)

Co-op Academy Manchester hosted its second annual Spelling Bee, and the theatre was absolutely buzzing with talent and tenacity - a real hive of activity! Attended by the Co-op Trust's Director of English and Co-op Academy Manchester's Principal Mr Glover, the evening was one to remmember.

The event provided our most talented spellers in Years 7 and 8 with an opportunity to really showcase their skills in front of an audience of family, friends and teachers. Every competitor was so well-prepared and enthusiastic - each one hoping to bee the best on the night! Such was their level of preparation that at one point, organiser Mrs Howarth, thought she was going to run out of words!

The students played strategically, using their knowledge and lifelines effectively against each other in a battle of determination and will. The final round saw Sophie And Sahid go head to head - both meant beesness and performed astonishingly well, but in the end, it was Sophie who claimed victory, stinging Sahid with her accuracy and taking home the honey pot prize of a £20 Amazon voucher. Sahid, as the runner-up, was also rewarded with a £10 voucher. 

Mrs Howarth enthused, "The bravery of the competitors filled me with such pride: they really were a credit to themselves and the academy. Furthermore, three competitors will go on to represent CAM in February when we compete in the Trust-wide Spelling Bee at Angel Square. We are current reigning champions in this event, a title that I am sure we will retain!"  

Thank you to all the students who accepted the challenge - Reyazul, Farhan, Vit, Jess, Sophie, Jacob, Zuzanna, Sahid, and Declan. They were beeyond brilliant!

One Education's Winter Concert

(December 2023)

Once again the Academy Theatre was pleased to host One Education's Winter Concert. In an evening of variety the talented young musicians delighted and entertained with a series of marvellous music and splendid songs. The audience were welcomed by North Music Centre Coordinator, Mr John Rudden  in his own inimitable style.  This lead on to the Samba Reggae under the sound direction of Lazlo Palco. Under the expert tutorage of Clare Compson, Karen Cottam, Paul Mooney and John Rudden the Wind Band engaged the audience with Jingle Bells, March for the Young and Dr Rock. North Sings Junior gave renditions of Live Your Story and We are all Stars led by the charismatic Carla Jane. Next it was time for some Carnival Samba under instruction of Laszlo Palko.


A change of tone came next as the Folk Band helmed by Laszlo Palco and Pijus Jonusas played Soldier’s Joy, The Moreen and the Dashing White Sergeant. Carla Jane was returned with her Senior Group as they sung Up Above My Head and festive classic Snowman.  The MYWO (Manchester Youth Wind Orchestra) proved popular with their interpretations of Queen on Stage arr. Paul Murtha, Christmas Carillon arr. James Curnow, and Smoke on the Water arr. Paul Murtha. These were under the instruction of Steven Millington, Karen Cottam and Clare Compson.

Finally the Blackley Community Stage Band under the musical direction of John Rudden concluded with Moondance, Big Band Holiday and I Wish Upon a Star. The receptive audience left the concert having experienced a wonderful winter's concert.

JSTAR Returns back to the '90s and with a Pantomime

(December 2023)

At the beginning of December, JSTAR presented their end of season showcases at the Academy Theatre to family and friends of their young dancers. The first show was a medley of three Pantomimes; Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Tots Pantomime and the second showcase were dances inspired and choreographed to music from the 1990's popular music. This season's programmes had been sponsored by some local businesses and with their glossy finish, gave an extra touch of class to proceedings.

Celebrating Success

(November 2023)

Co-op Academy Manchester had the pleasure of welcoming back former year eleven students from the Class of '23 to celebrate success in style.

The former pupils were given a warm welcome by Academy Principal , Mr Glover, after which Head of School Mrs McMorrow and Assistant Vice Principal Mrs Antrobus lead the evening. During a packed night of awards, GCSE Certificates and Subject Awards were presented to the young people.

Entertainment was provided by the Big Band and two sketches featuring Mrs McMorrow and Mrs Antrobus, with guest appearances by Ms. Heslop and Mrs Samuel who played her tuba to dramatic effect.

A vote of thanks from current year eleven prefects, William and Elektra, was well received and the Big band concluded the evening with a musical send off.

Looking to the Stars

(November 2023)

Have you ever wondered how mankind might live sustainably on Mars? Well that question and many more were answered when Co-op Academy Manchester held their astronomy evening.

Building on the success of last year's event the academy's science team hosted an interactive evening with partner organisations, aiming to showcase the fascinating topic of space.

A Polestar Planetarium took over the Academy Theatre, and visitors were wowed with a dazzling visual exploration of the cosmos.

Championing Careers

(November 2023)

With over twenty stalls dotted around the Academy Theatre, the 2023 Co-op Academy Manchester's Careers Fair proved a popular event. With hundreds of students having the access to the many careers advisors , there were plenty of options for the young people to learn and ask about the many career pathways on offer.

The Armed Forces were represented in strength, as well as various apprenticeship organisations and colleges. Offering coursers as diverse as veterinary to performing arts, the providers had something for everyone at this  inspiring event organised by the school's careers team.

Bee a Star Festival

(November 2023)

It was a pleasure to welcome Bee a Star Festival to the Academy Theatre as the audience was treated to the best of Polish culture in this showcase talent competition. Founder Aleksandra ensured that the programme  had variety and fun. With twenty acts there was a tight schedule in place to ensure the event ran like clockwork.  The acts ranged from the charming Ramię w Ramię (Hand in Hand) and Złap lato za rękę (Take Summer by the Hand) to the comic Ballada z Trupem (Ballad with a Corpse).

Hosted by Dorota, each section was interspersed with guest performances including a Pole Dance to Barbie Girl and the cherubic Polish Children's Club singing a selection of Polish Folk Songs in national dress.

After the Awards Ceremony the wining act proudly performed their song to the enthusiastic audience.

Welcome to Mr Glover

(November 2023)

It's not every day a school gets a new Principal, but taking over the reins from Executive Principal Phil Quirk is Allan Glover.  Mr Quirk, with Head of School Mrs McMorrow, have successfully been running the academy since Easter, but after Christmas Mr Quirk is returning Co-op Failsworth on a full time basis. 

The hand-over process has begun and Mr Glover booked  a series of Assemblies in the Academy Theatre  to introduce himself to all the academy's students.

In his presentation, Mr Glover gave a brief history of his background and his links to Liverpool as well as his first job in education as a PE teacher.  He is 'passionate about the life chances of young people and removing stereotypical barriers to achievement.' Mr Glover also celebrated the 'Amazing, vibrant and multicultural community' here at Co-op Academy Manchester as well as the excellent relationships students have with staff and the extra effort and care the staff give to students. 

We wish Mr Glover well as he leads the school into the next chapter of shaping young people's lives for the future.

Chetham's Make Music!

(October 2023)

In collaboration with Co-op Academy Manchester, One Education Music Service and Chetham's (pronounced Cheethams) School of Music, eight members of the Chetham's Symphony Orchestra entertained and enlightened students from the academy throughout day. With excerpts and movements from Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony Number 5 in D minor, Op. 47,  the students were entranced by this dramatic work which premiered in 1937.

Under the baton of conductor Karen Ni Bhroin, the orchestra of young people aged between 16 and 18 played with passion and sensitivity. There was also time for some improvised moments as Karen introduced the sections of the orchestra to the academy audience, with the percussion section busking their way through the 20th century Fox Fanfare!   Karen was impressed by the questions the audience asked.  The music school's joint principal Nicola Smith was also delighted how the day went, saying, "This has been a great opportunity for young people to come together and experience something special."

Academy Principal Mr Glover enthused, "What an amazing opportunity for our students! Mesmerising performances! Thank you to One Education and Chetham's School of Music for organising [this great event]."

Chetham's Creative Engagement Manager, Vicki Ciaputa, said, "It was a delight to bring our 80 piece student orchestra to the Cooperative Academy Manchester Theatre. To be welcomed so warmly and supported to make the student and staff experience of the highest quality was hugely appreciated. It can be tricky to find a space that is big enough, flexible enough, and acoustically suitable for the orchestra, so this has been a real find. Thank you for everything. "

After the school day ended, it was the turn of One Education Music Service to benefit from a mini concert featuring the music of Alexander Arutunyan and his  Concerto for Trumpet & Orchestra and Vivaldi's – La Follia for Chamber Orchestra – arrangement by Tom Coult.

How to Revise

(October 20223)

A big thank you to all the families that came to our Year 11 'How To Revise' event in the Academy Theatre. on Monday. A variety of resources were shared by staff to the students and their families on an evening headed up by Head of School Mrs McMorrow. Many other departments were represented (including English, Science and Maths) and as well as revision techniques, staff also talked about how a students  diet and emotional welfare was important in achieving the best results.

Newly appointed  Academy Principal Mr Allan Glover  said the revision evening was " A really productive and well attended event on Monday! A great example of our school culture, where our parents, students and staff collaborate."

Benefits of studying Arts subjects

(September 2023)

Students  from  Oldham College came to the Academy Theatre  after an invitation by Head of Drama Mrs Lawrence to  perform their  short play about how to get careers in the Arts Industry.

The  college students  played any characters as  they presented their piece about the many opportunities  studying the Arts offers to an appreciative audience of year 10 Drama students. The play's message was that  Creative Arts  isn't just about getting  a role in a West End musical. One of  the surprising facts was that  having experience in drama is considered an asset to becoming a barrister. The play dealt with debunking the stereotypes of the those who chose the Arts and how a career in the Arts is not considered a 'proper' job by some. It  also hightlight the many 'behind the scenes roles', such as camera operators, stage management crew and designers.

According to the Centre of Economics and Business Research, the Arts contributes £8.5 billion to the UK economy and Culture pays £2.6 billion in taxes, £5 for every £1 of public funding

At the end the play, the sixth form students answered questions from the audience and reinforced the  the value of the Arts to individuals and to society at large.

Surprising Science Returns

(September 2023)

Doctor Matt Pritchard once again entertained and enlightened his year seven audience as he revisited the Academy Theatre with his Surprising Science roadshow. 

Arranged by Mr Evans, the amazed audience puzzled and pondered over how  a  biscuit tin could roll up an inclined surface, or a can roll in one direction, stop and then return to its initial position.

Two students faced the steely gaze of the 'Dog' - which may have looked like a cute soft toy, but when students where fixed by its eyes, they were incapable of doing the simplest of tasks.

With fun and magic, three pieces of string were joined as one, the number 13 was transformed into the letter 'B' and without touching the text, reflections disappeared and beads had a life of their own as they tumbled out of their container.

Matt's magic had all of the audience thinking and although he gave the scientific solutions to most of stunts, he still had a few unanswered tricks up his sleeve which left unanswered!

SJ Dance Delight Audience

(2023 September)

Samantha the owner of SJ Dance must be be feeling very proud of her team and students after a spectacular three show run of their 2023 Dance Show presented at the Academy Theatre. Simply the Best of Broadway lived up to its name with students of all ages taking to the stage in two terrific acts.

An unexpected highlight were the Dad Dancers - 13 dads with girls who attend the school who were brought together to dance for charity.  In shimmering gold jackets and revelling in every moment these fantastic fathers set the audience alight with their rollicking rendition of I Will Survive.

With diverse dances from musicals including  Moulin Rouge , Chicago, Dreamgirls, The Bodyguard, Rent, We Will Rock You and Priscilla Queen of the Desert, the audience were very appreciative of the colourful costumes and many moves of the talented troupe.

Sports Awards Evening

(July 2023)

Co-op Academy Manchester's Head of School Mrs McMorrow, was in attendance for the PE Departments Sports Award Evening  which celebrated the best of the year's sporting achievements.

Hosted by Director of PE Learning Zone  Mrs Lock, trophies and  certificates were presented to sporting students from Years 7 through to 10 for being the best in their particular sport or lesson.

The Girls Football Team were particularly noted for the way they had worked together and competed in their after school fixtures.

Nine Academies, One Show!

(July 2023)

After months of planning and hours of rehearsal, Co-op Academies Trust's first Greater Manchester production  was brought to life on the Academy Theatre Stage.  The idea was conceived by Co-op's Executive Principal Stave Brice who also acted as Producer. Directing this epic production was Philip J. Hindle, with Musical Direction on the baton of Matt Asher, with Anna Jewitt taking on the role of Assistant Musical Director.

Co-op Academies Trust CEO Dr Chris Tomlinson said, "The production was truly brilliant and a wonderful representation of the Performing Arts talent we have in the Trust. The students were incredible and you can see that the staff team had done a brilliant job in working with them to give their very best. To have all the schools in Greater Manchester come together and work so well as one group was excellent for me to see. The show was an outstanding advert for Co-op Academies Trust and the values we stand for."

Reviewer Number 9 wrote, 

"Wow....just wow!!

A total of 44 young students aged between 9 and 16 took to the Academy Theatre stage this evening to perform perhaps the world's most famous piece of emotionally-charged musical theatre. Albeit this was the "school edition", it really didn't skimp or pull any punches, and these youngsters pulled out every stop to make it one of the best shows performed by children that I have seen in a long time.

The students were taken from 9 Greater Manchester schools al under the Co-op Academies Trust, and as such getting them all to rehearsals each week must have been something of a logistical nightmare. But it paid dividend many times over. And with a dedicated and passionate creative team behind these students, we had a superb multi-level set and barricade, a large live band made up from both school teachers and RNCM students (another brilliant collaboration idea), and a creative and professional lighting design. We even had a large screen to the rear of the stage upon which pertinent images were projected to ameliorate and enhance the settings, which were, by and large, the art works of Les Miserables author, Victor Hugo. (with a little tampering to make them work for this production by Steve Brice).

A thrilling and very enjoyable production created with obvious love and skill from all involved. "

Thank you to all the Greater Manchester Co-op Students, Staff and Volunteers who came together to create a truly memorable production. 

Intrigue, War and Death grip Co-op Academy Manchester


Manchester Arts Educational Initiative (or MAEI  for short) presented Peter Wilkinson's adaptation and edit of William Shakespeare's history play The Life and Death of King John.

The play tells the story of the newly crowned King and how by tenaciously holding on to power, John provokes a war with France.

Directed by Peter Wilkinson and Choreographed by Jen Jones, the creative pair set to work realising the play with five primary schools. 

Working with the primary teachers from five schools, each school casts the play and working with Peter and Jen create one production which has five different casts - each school being a cast  on each weekday of the five day run.

With up to seventy stylised costumes designed and made by  Sarah Oxley and set of impressive castle ramparts and a looming throne constructed by Nick Tiernan the play had an epic feel.

Andy Boothman composed original  music and sound effects for the play, with lighting designed by Philip J. Hindle. 

Once Education Summer Concert

(June 2023)

14 groups of young musicians showcased their talent at the Academy Theatre, when One Education team presented their summer concert. The concert was the culmination of the term's work from the many classes run on every Thursday during term time from Co-op Academy Manchester.

The evening contained music from the all of the classes. The Youth Wind Orchestra played music from films Back to the Future, Frozen and an exciting piece entitled Aztec Fire. Other performances included music from  the String Group, Samba Group, Vocal Group and the New Tracks Group. The latter being a group which samples and creates music tracks based on themes and issues which affect young people.

Playing to a well attended event, parents and friends of the musicians certainly seemed to have enjoyed themselves as they left the theatre on their way home.

Showstoppers Success

(June 2023)

Theatre Dance Academy returned to the Academy Theatre and entertained their audiences with two wonderful acts which highlighted the talented performers and placed them all firmly in the spotlight. From nursey rhymes to pop music and ballet to songs from the shows, Miss Sally the owner and principal of the Academy, put together a diversely entertaining showcase for her students.

Act one opened with the toe tapping Happy Feet which certainly entertained. Stepping back to New York in the 1920s we met Fat Sam's Bad Guys  as they introduced themselves in style from the 1977 gangster musical comedy Bugsy Malone. In complete contrast Baa Baa Black Sheep  featured some of the youngest members of the Academy  which the audience were delighted to see. Some other acts included dances to Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake and Lionel Bart's Oliver! and the popular A Million Dreams from the film musical The Greatest Showman.

Act two began with more number from musicals. Set in the 1960s Hairspray introduced the audience to The Nicest Kids in Town. Then we went into the future with the Queen musical We Will Rock You as the cast performed the eponymous song. From Matilda the Musical the family audience saw their children being Naughty on stage, which they we certainly very good at! Other dances were to the Disney tunes Under the Sea  from  A Little Mermaid and Wanna Be Like You from The Jungle Book.

A successful performance by  Theatre Dance Academy was greatly appreciated by a very grateful audience.

D'or Cinquante

(June 2023)

The Anita Tymcyshyn School of Dancing has been running for 50 years under the professional and passionate principal's stewardship. Anita started off taking dance  as a little girl, this eventually lead to her dancing in professional shows and finally forming her own dance school.

The varied programme began with a film taking the audience through the dancing career of 'Miss T' as Anita is affectionately known. 

From the Lullaby of Broadway from the film and stage musical 42nd Street to the Aqua pop classic Barbie Girl, Miss T's show had it all, including an aerial  artist and dancers from each of the many classes the school runs. The age of the performers ranged from primary school starters through to pensioners and all ages in between.

With glittering costumes, bowler hats, fishnets and heals, sailor suits and prison uniforms the dancers brought each number to life with  slickness and style, plus a passion which is clearly inspired by Mrs T herself.

There was dances to music from the musicals HairsprayJoseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Singin' in the Rain, A Chorus Line, Puttin' On the Ritz and Hollywood Hotel, plus a ballet section  with music from Léo Delibes' Coppelia and a dance set to the music of Mozart.

It was a wonderful celebration of the 50 years of work Miss T has put into creating her school of dance. When the glitter cannons went off at the end of the show the audience were on their feet. A glittering celebration to a sparkling lady and all her achievements.

Charity Culture Night

(June 2023)

It was cabaret style seating and a three course meal to celebrate cultures  and raise money for Rainbow Surprise charity  in the Academy Theatre last Monday.

Organised by Miss Samantha Stott, the evening also had entertainment from the Academy String Group, Choir and Samba Group as they played and sang songs and tunes from around the world. 

The finale of the evening was a student fashion show as each student in national dress took to the catwalk in an amazing spectacle of colour and culture, compered by a student with all the confidence and humour of a pro!

Rainbow Surprise is a charity which aims to provide skills for life and inspiring activities to create strong and vibrant communities. This is done through with events that bring people from different faiths and cultures together to improve community cohesion. 

A Wiz of a Show

(June 2023)

JSTAR held their annual summer showcase at the Academy Theatre. The shows consisted of an array of performances from their dance, gymnastics from their stage schools. It was great to see such a varied programme and young students showing off their gymnastic skills on the bars and beams.

JSTAR presented a variety of dance styles, including: street dance, contemporary, ballet, tap and musical theatre. The final performance was themed on Lyman Frank Baum’s classic book ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ and the two musicals it spawned: ‘The Wiz’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz’. This was danced and sung by the Prestwich dance classes, made up from children were aged 2 to 18.

For most of the showcases, the performers were smartly attired in their JSTAR uniform and leotards, but when performing their ‘Oz’ extravaganza, the cast transformed in a series of colourful costumes. A particular memorable moment from the showcase was a street dance style number from ‘Wizard of Oz’, when the Lion, Dorothy, Tin Man and Auntie Em entered wearing sunglasses doing a hip-hop routine! The ‘twister’, cleverly realised with video projection and a fog machine proved very effective. In another unforgettable scene, Auntie Em went riding around the stage on a bike, which the audience found very entertaining. When asked about the showcases, JSTAR owner, Jaynie, replied, “The JSTAR team were incredible as always and the audience feedback has been so positive. The Academy Theatre team are always warm and welcoming too.”

Les mis newest.MOV

"Do you hear the People Sing?"

(June 2023)

Rehearsals are in full flow for the flagship Co-op Academies Trust production as the nine Co-op Academies of Greater Manchester assemble in the Academy Theatre for what will be an epic production of Les Misérables, Victor Hugo's classic 19 century novel, telling the tale of Jean Valjean and his journey of self redemption.

Rehearsals are well underway. Book your tickets now to avoid disappointment. Ticket link:

“Do you hear the distant drums?”

(May 2023)

Well - that could be the sound of our first ever Trust production of the smash hit musical Les Misérables drawing closer! 

This July, students from all nine of our Greater Manchester academies are coming together to perform this spectacular show in the Academy Theatre at Co-op Academy Manchester.  Accompanied by a full orchestra and with an impressive set and technical design, this show is not to be missed. 

Tickets are already on sale and are moving fast.  The show runs from Wednesday 12th to Saturday 15th July with performances starting at 7.30pm (and 2.30pm & 7.30pm on Saturday).  Tickets are just £8 (adults) and £5 (concessions).  What better way to support our fantastic students, to witness our first ever joint production and have a great night out! 

Tickets can be purchased online by visiting

(Rehearsal Photographs showing the cast in action.)

Asthma Awareness Week

(May 2023)

The Co-op Academy Manchester was proud to introduce Asthma Friendly Schools to the Academy Theatre as they highlighted causes and treatments for an illness which effects over 8 million people (approximately 12%) of the UK.

Research has found that asthma is the cause for children missing more than 10 million school days each year. The academy has over 150 students with  asthma. 

Nurses from the NHS  and independent health groups spoke to students from all years about effective inhaler use, how it feels to be asthmatic and how the academy can inform staff and  students about asthma. The experts also talked about the many triggers for asthma, such as: allergens, exercise, smoke, pollution and airway infections.

Both visitors and staff found the event very productive and agreed that a future visit would further develop the the academy's asthma awareness.

No More Knives

(April 2023)

 The No More Knives tour came to the Academy Theatre highlighting knife crime and the devastating impact it has on lives, the show aims show young people there is another way other than violence.

Combining music with powerful stories and teaching, the group of delivered assemblies  to the Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 capacity audience throughout the day, equipping young people with the skills and knowledge they need to say no to knives and start to discover their full value and identity.

The tour is done in partnership with the local police force and Redeeming Our Communities initiative.

TV Talent's trip through Time

(April 2023)

With monologues, scenes and singing,  professional actress Saira Choudhry 's company TV Talent Drama Dance Academy presented six showcases over two days at the Academy Theatre. The audience were treated to songs throughout the ages. Starting off with some rock and roll the 1950s rockers made way for the swinging sixties. Flared trousers heralded some seventies sounds and then big hair and luminous colours welcomed the 1980s. We then entered the 1990's with the Spice Girls and into the millennium with more recent songs. 

Taking to Intsagram, managing director Saira exclaimed, "You smashed it students! We are so proud of each and every one of you. And thank you to my wonderful dream team for making this weekend a success."

Writing Competition

(March 2023)

Earlier this year, Co-op Academy Manchester invited Year 5 and 6 students from  local feeder primary schools to participate in a creative writing competition. Their brief was to write a piece entitled ‘The Future’. The format was undefined: poems, stories, raps and songs were all welcome entries. The students created their work in class; from this (based on effort as well as ability), their teachers chose who would represent their school in a spoken-word showdown here on stage in the academy's state of the art theatre. 

In front of a captive audience of friends, family and staff members, each student took to the stage and under the spotlight, performed their pieces with confidence, clarity and care. Each and every student was an excellent orator. An ultimate winner was chosen, but all students won the hearts of the judges and audience!

Community Afternoon Tea

(March 2023)

Members of the local community were invited into the academy for an afternoon tea during Fairtrade Fortnight. The evening started with performances from the academy choir before our guests were served sandwiches, cakes and hot drinks, and ended with some fun board games!

Students completing their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award volunteered to make and serve the refreshments:

“The afternoon tea was lovely. I got to make cakes for the community in the morning and in the afternoon I spent time with them. This taught me how to communicate and took me out my comfort zone, but I really enjoyed it and would love to do it again.” Cheich, Year 11

Feedback from one of our guests:

“I just want to say how much my friend and I enjoyed the afternoon tea. The students were polite and friendly plus the food was delicious too!

Hitting the right Notes 

(April 2023)

Twenty-one students took part in a series of workshops with professional musicians over six weeks, based at the Academy Theatre. 

The musicians were brought together by the Abram Wilson Charity, named after the late American musician. The charity aims to "inspire, connect and open doors to the music industry so that minoritised young talent [have] an equal chance to realise their creative potential."

Working with a vocalist, bass guitarist, saxophonist, trumpeter, keyboard and percussionist the students  created two whole group compositions. and also in three smaller groups, writing two songs per group. 

All the rehearsals took place in the theatre with a final performance entitled Future Sound Live at Manchester music venue The Yard. Parents were very impressed with the high standards of music created over the short period.

Sensational Showcase!

(March 2023)

J Star Academy of Performing Arts have been working on their latest presentation for ten weeks. The talented students didn't disappoint as they produced  a wide range of song and dance. 

Branching out, the young people also starred in their own films based on work they had done in their weekly sessions.

The appreciative audience, made up of mums, dads, grandparents and other proud family members certainly enjoyed an afternoon of fun watching their young performers in a sensational showcase.

Grand Day Out!

(March 2023)

Once again it was time for Twinkle and Teddy to have a Grand Day Out at the Academy Theatre. Once there, the two lovable bears, accompanied by their friends Flutterstar the Fairy, Grandad Jack and Chuck the Cowboy visited the Zoo, Seaside, Swan Lake and finally the land of Fairytales and Dreams. 

Also joining the gang of friends were the babyballet dancers who joined the team on their adventures. Wearing some wonderful costumes the whole cast certainly dressed and ready for their two performances and their Grand Day Out.

Sister Act - Fabulous Baby!

(February 2023)

For its annual musical Co-op Academy Manchester offered the popular musical Sister Act Presented on the Academy Theatre stage in February, the show played to audiences over three fabulous performances. 

The cast of 40 students included students from all Year Groups, as well as a further group of students working behind the scenes.  For the first time since 2019 the production was directed by the Drama Department.

Head of Drama Mrs Lawrence said, “This has been a particularly difficult show to stage and there were instances where we thought the complexities of the show might be too great. However, time after time, our cast came together and proved to us how talented and hard-working they are, creating the amazing spectacle we saw on stage.”

“For our Performing Arts staff, putting on our school production is the highlight of our year and after a busy or challenging day of teaching, working with these students always puts a smile on our faces as we walk out the door.”

Theatre Reviewer Matthew Dougall, writing on the Number9Reviews blog said, “the school has provided these students with a professional set and wonderful costumes as their playground, and every one of them strives for excellence. They are all enjoying themselves, and creating interesting characters whom we can follow on their journeys.”

“All-in-all, the Co-op Academy have done themselves proud again, and produced a quality production, showcasing the talent, commitment, energy, and desire to succeed from a whole team of both students and staff.”

Splendid JSTAR Showcase

(January 2023)

Once again JSTAR Academy of Performing Arts were welcomed to the Academy Theatre as they presented a triple bill of entertainment.

The two Showcases were made up of their Sunday & Salford Classes and Prestwich Dance & Singing Classes. Both groups displayed a a range of dancing styles, thoroughly entertaining the delighted mums, dads, families and friends.

Annie in Pantoland had all of the Yuletide season of spirit  wrapped up in a fun sized parcel f song, dance and acting. Inspired by the 1924 comic strip Little Orphan Annie the audience witnessed  Annie on a series of exciting adventures and finally finding a  home with millionaire Daddy Warbucks.

With a spring in their step, the audience left the theatre filled with festive cheer, ready to take on the New Year in their stride.

Years 7 & 8 Spelling Bee

(January 2023)

Co-op Academy Manchester were very proud to host its first ever Spelling Bee in January, and what a buzz it was! After completing the initial heat rounds in class, a group of our most accomplished spellers were selected to come together in the state-of-the-art Academy Theatre (a hive of activity!) to compete for the crown of CAM champion. Under the spotlight, on stage, and in front of a captive audience of family, friends and staff members, the students were slightly nervous but all remained calm and focused under pressure. They played tactically (as some of the trickier words were a real sting in the tail), using their lifeline cards to help them out of some sticky (like honey!) moments, but there could only ever be one winner… Zuzanna. Relentless, resilient and remarkable, Zuzanna is, very deservedly, our new Queen Bee! Well done! A resounding success, we very much look forward to repeating the event next year.

Presentation Evening

(January 2023)

Co-op Academy Manchester's former Year 11 students (Class of 2022) were welcomed back to celebrate their achievements in style in the Academy Theatre.

The Presentation Evening successfully recognised the hard work and effort the Academy's former students has invested in their work and enrichment opportunities offered by the school.

The students' GCSE Certificates were handed out by the examination team as well as subject specific awards, presented by the staff themselves to the students.

Principal, Mr Beard, presented a number of special recognition awards.

For entertainment, Mrs McMorrow, Mrs Marshall and Mrs Antrobus threw themselves into a roleplay, highlighting how making the right choices in life, will lead to a better life. 

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 Delights

(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:

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:

"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):

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.