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Following a sell-out run at MIF23 in the iconic John Rylands Library, Maxine Peake, Sarah Frankcom and Imogen Knight return with the film premiere of They directed for the screen by Joseph Lynn.

Imagine a near-future where creative expression is outlawed, all art eradicated and any resistance takes enormous courage. Would it be enough to go on quietly creating for yourself? To memorise your favourite passages before all books disappear? What is art without an audience or a debate? First published in 1977, Kay Dick’s novel They: A Sequence of Unease went out of print for decades but was recently re-discovered and feels more relevant than ever. 

The adaptation is Maxine Peake, Sarah Frankcom and Imogen Knight’s latest Festival collaboration, following The Masque of Anarchy (2013), The Skriker (2015) and The Nico Project (2019), which celebrated radical acts and artists. The trio, as the newly-formed company MAAT – a collective adventure to make new work in conversation with Music, Art, Activism and Theatre – join forces with acclaimed electronica artist Gazelle Twin and Booker Prize-shortlisted writer Daisy Johnson for Robin/Red/Breast in May.

Watch On Demand

THEY is free to watch on demand until Wednesday 8 May 2024. To watch, purchase a free ticket and return to this page while logged in to your Factory International account.

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  • Maxine Peake portrays a powerful yet soft, dynamically charismatic, and introspective protagonist

    A Youngish Perspective

  • This powerful performance is a perfect representation of Manchester International Festival

    Manchester Evening News

  • We tiptoed out, still quivering, until the bright lights of the foyer gave us the courage to speak above a whisper

    Theatre Reviews North


Written by Kay Dick

Adapted and co-created by Maxine Peake, Sarah Frankcom and Imogen Knight

Directed for screen by Maxine Peake, Sarah Frankcom, Imogen Knight and Joseph Lynn

Lighting Designer - Amy Mae

Sound Artist/Composer - Melanie Wilson

Produced by Factory International

Access Information

THEY is also available to watch with audio description, open captions and BSL translation.

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