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Up Next Festival returns to Liverpool's Unity Theatre in expanded programme

The Up Next Festival returns to the Unity Theatre this autumn – and now it’s been extended to run for almost a fortnight.

The annual event, organised by the Hope Place venue to celebrate Merseyside artists, will feature newly commissioned shows and events from 14 of the region’s most exciting artists and companies, chosen through its Open Call scheme.

This year’s festival runs from October 4-14 and features a programme of play premieres, poetry, comedy, cabaret, music and installations.

Premieres from playwrights include Borrowed by Sasha Georgette, the award-winning Jess Green’s At the End of the Day She’s Still Your Mother, Smashed by Helen Jeffery, and Sass: A Chained Melody from Olayemi Z Ade.

A Friday night double bill on October 6 features Habibi Theatre’s Berber Boy and Space Invaders x Liar by Tip Tray Theatre, while Sonic Mutiny’s Earth is Lost sound installation takes over the Unity One space on October 11.

Meanwhile Skywriters Ltd presents Revival, a showcase of writing by Black and minoritised women.

The festival opens on October 4 with Andrew McKay, whose alter ego is drag persona Filla Crack, and concludes on October 14 with drag king comedy Cockroach by The Barry, Brian & Bean Company, followed by the festival’s first ever comedy night.

Running throughout the festival is an exhibition by photo journalist Hellen Songa.

More events are yet to be revealed. But all tickets will be £8 and performances will be BSL interpreted and/or audio described.

The Open Call programme offers successful creatives funding, producing support and a slot in the Unity’s programme.

Unity associate producer George Soave says: “Up Next is a cornerstone of the Unity calendar. Since the inception of Open Call in the pandemic, the project has gone from strength-to-strength, providing more than 50 Merseyside artists to date with funding, training, and a slot in the Unity programme.

“The expansion into a two-week festival will see our whole venue packed out with a wide variety of performances which are diverse in artform and story. This year’s Up Next will offer something for everybody.

"It will inspire. It will provoke. It will offer new perspectives.”

The Up Next Festival is at the Unity Theatre from October 4-14. Full details HERE

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