Manchester theatre company loses venue for charity events

A charitable Manchester theatre company, which relies on organisations to provide event space, has lost its venue after support was withdrawn.

Reload Theatre Company, founded in 2022, is a volunteer led group which donates all profits from its shows to charity.

The company relies heavily on the generosity of theatres offering a place for rehearsals and shows, but has been left without a place to perform after its previous venue dropped out.

Danny Ryder, company director, was born and raised in Manchester. He decided to return to the city after a long career in TV, to contribute to creative industry at home.

After reaching a professional level in poker, Ryder was able to devote more resources to his passions, such as fringe theatre.

Danny said: “It’s a hard time for theatres and venues everywhere. To accommodate a show for free is hard for many, but it’s a brilliant night.”

Reload performs based on a concept called, One Play One Day. It starts at the pub on a Friday night, where four writers, four directors and 16 actors meet up, and draw names out of a hat: splitting them into four groups.

As they drink and chat over ideas, the performance begins to form. Each writer goes away and produces a 15-minute play which is submitted by 8am on the Saturday morning.

Actors and directors meet up at 10am for rehearsals, then performing the final pieces in front of a live audience that night. The plays are comedic in nature, to keep the evening light and fun.

“It leaves people in good spirits and in turn they will put a lot behind the bar,” said Danny.

“It’s a unique experience. Whether you want to do it again or not, you come out of it learning a lot.”

Last February, Reload Theatre Company raised money for the Bolton Neonatal unit in memory of Millie O’Malley, a premature baby who died after 33 days in NICU, back in 2022.

One of the performers, John, a friend of Millie’s dad Fintan O’Malley, offered to donate his profits from the show to Bolton neonatal unit. Instead, Danny offered to use all of the sales from their next show.

He said: “John gave a speech about Millie after the show which had the whole audience in tears.

“That was a night I will never forget.”

For Danny, the impact the company has on the community is what keeps him going amid extreme economic and venue struggles.

He said: “I just reflect on the community we have built, coupled with the difference we have made for charities and it’s all the motivation I need.”

Looking forward, Ryder is optimistic that the company will continue to help the community through theatre.

“We are flexible with dates so I think we will fit somewhere. Obstacles are common doing a show like OPOD…this is just another one to overcome and we will.”

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