Limited Availability ● 
Portrait of Maxine Peake

5 - 9 Jul 2023

John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH


Standard Tickets £30
Affordable Tickets £15 & £10
A maximum of 6 tickets per person applies.

Wed 5 July: 9pm

Thu 6 July: 10pm

Fri 7 - Sun 9 July: 7pm and 9pm

We’re putting art in the heart of Manchester, within reach of everyone; and have affordable options including £10 tickets for those on limited incomes.

For information about who qualifies for £10 and affordable tickets, visit our Affordable Ticketing Policy page

For information on Access tickets and how to book Personal Assistant discounted tickets, visit our How to Book Access Tickets page

Age Guidance: 14+, under 16s to be accompanied by an adult aged 18+
Running time: 45 minutes.

Limited Availability

Accessibility features available for this event: BSL Interpreting Wheelchair Access

Maxine Peake, Sarah Frankcom and Imogen Knight adapt Kay Dick’s rediscovered masterpiece.

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?

These are just some of the questions raised by They: A Sequence of Unease, Kay Dick’s dystopian masterpiece. First published in 1977, the novel went out of print for decades but was recently re-discovered and feels more relevant than ever.

For MIF23, the book is brought to life as a live performance created by Maxine Peake, Sarah Frankcom and Imogen Knight. The adaptation is their latest Festival collaboration, following The Masque of Anarchy, The Skriker and The Nico Project, which celebrated radical acts and artists. They marks the trio’s first production as the newly-formed company MAAT – a collective adventure to make new work in conversation with Music, Art, Activism and Theatre.

Step through the doors of the iconic John Rylands Library, and into a dystopian world – as Maxine performs an afterhours reading of They – in one of the last safe spaces left for artists in the city.

Image: Paul Husband


Written by Kay Dick

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

Commissioned and produced by Factory International for Manchester International Festival.

Lighting Designer - Amy Mae

Sound Artist/Composer - Melanie Wilson


For ticketing and box office related enquiries, please contact

For more information please visit: Ticketing and Sale of Goods Terms & Conditions – Factory International

Accessible ticketing can be booked online and email for this event.

Below is an overview of access booking information:

Online booking: How to book Access and PA Tickets

Email Address:

Please note for this event, wheelchair users should book via phone by calling our Access line on 0161 817 4531 (phone lines are open 10am to 5pm, Monday to Friday).

There may be filming at this event. By their attendance, ticket-holders consent to filming, sound recording and being photographed as members of the audience.

Access Information

The event takes place in the Reading Room of John Rylands Library. The full address of the venue is John Rylands Research Institute and Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester.

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Accessible ticketing can be booked online and via email for this event.

Below is an overview of access booking information:

Online booking - How to book Access and PA Tickets

Email Address:

The main entrance to the Library is located just off Deansgate.

Entrance to the Library is through a modern extension that links to the Historic building, the modern extension is accessible, with level access. The Library has a power-assisted entrance door to the left of the revolving door, operated by a push button.

There is level access via lift to all floors with the exception of the historic entrance.

The corridors around the building are wide with stone flags.

There is one accessible toilet in the basement of the modern building, which has left hand transfer. This is accessible by lift and a RADAR key is required to access this facility. A key is available at the main reception desk or from our Front of House team at the event.

A pre-recorded audio-described introduction for this show will be available on this page prior to the opening performance.

The Library welcomes assistance dogs.

There will be no captioned performance of this show.

A signed performance of They will take place on Sunday 9 July at 7pm.

There will be no relaxed performance of this show.

Further Information about accessibility can be found on the Visit (The University of Manchester Library)

Travel Information

The closest stations to John Rylands Library are:

St Peter’s Square tram: 0.3 miles

Salford Central station: 0.4 miles

Manchester Oxford Road station: 0.6 miles

Deansgate station and Deansgate-Castlefield tram: 0.6 miles

Click on the links above to find detailed access information for each station.

The easiest way to reach the Library from Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Victoria railway stations is via the free buses that travel around the city centre.

The number 1 free bus runs from the forecourt of Piccadilly station every few minutes. Alight on John Dalton Street at stop WX, turn left onto Deansgate and you will see the Library in front of you.

The number 2 free bus runs from Victoria station approach every ten minutes. Alight on Deansgate, opposite the Library

Buses on these free routes are wheelchair accessible. For full details of the free bus routes, please visit the TfGM website.

There are four bike parking spaces near the venue. Additionally there are:

4 spaces on Hardman Street, Manchester M3 3AP

10 spaces by Tesco, 11 Quay St, Manchester M3 3BB

16 spaces on John Dalton Street, Manchester M3 2BY

There is no parking at the Library. There are several car parks within walking distance of the Library.

The nearest car parks are:

NCP Blackfriars street - 0.3 miles away from John Rylands Library

NCP Watson Street car park - 0.4 miles away from John Rylands Library

NCP New Quay Street - 0.4 miles away from John Rylands Library

The nearest on street Blue Badge bays are at Dolefield (off Bridge Street outside the law courts). There are 4 bays available here (0.2 miles from John Rylands Library).

For a list of other parking bays available in the area, visit Manchester City Council website.

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