24:7 has been one of the highlights of my theatre going year for a while now. A festival of new theatre writing, in the form of one hour plays, rehearsed readings and various other events, it has often provided unexpected thrills and has introduced a lot of new talent to the artistic world. Sadly this year it lost its Arts Council funding, something I find quite hard to understand when a ridiculous amount of public funding has been allocated for another large arts venue that Manchester doesn't really need at this time. I'm not sure whether this is connected with why 24:7 has decided to retire it's festival after this year, or whether they feel it has run its course as we do have an embarrassment of theatrical riches in the North. However 24:7 will live on in other guises, but the thrill of a week of theatrical adventures in the heart of the city courtesy of the festival will be sadly missed by many, myself included.
Luckily, the festival decided to bow out with a bang, putting on a Big Festival Weekend with four new plays, rehearsed readings, a children's adventure, a promenade production of monologues inspired by Manchester Scientists and workshops for writers and actors. It was all based around the Martin Harris Centre, a sparsely signposted but excellent venue on the University campus. I was limited for time this year so could only spend one day down there, but, clutching my lovely 24:7 Goodie Bag (as I had taken part in a crowd funding to support the festival earlier in the year) I managed to see all four of the main shows.
So it only remains to say - 24:7 Theatre Festival thank you. You have delighted and surprised me over the years, I've seen so many new plays, some of which still stay with me to this day,(and only one that I detested - that's not a bad hit rate), I've discovered new venues, made new friends, cried and laughed. You will be very much missed.