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KENNETH BRANAGH

10/07/2013
MACBETH (St Peter's Church, Ancoats)
MANCHESTER INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL 2013

As a privileged member of the Ken-Friends we met up for the day at the Marriott Victoria & Albert Hotel in Manchester to celebrate all things KEN. Audio/visual recordings, a quiz and raffle were all part of the meet-up that culminated in attending that evening's Macbeth performance.

My day went like this:
0730: Left home to drive to Manchester.

0930 for 1000: Arrived at Marriott Victoria & Albert Hotel to attend my first meeting with the Ken-Friends. Had a great time meeting new friends and old acquaintances. Lots of Branagh's Wallander business cards handed out along the way.

1600: Travelled to my hotel (a ten-minute walk from the evening's venue in Aincoats, Manchester).

1830: Regrouped with the Ken-Friends an hour before the start of the performance to collect tickets from Murrays Mill before being escorted in sections to the the play's venue St Peter's church, Aincoats.

1930: The play begins. Two hours of the most amazing live performance I have ever seen. Words do not do it justice.

2130 to 2200: Waited with the Ken-Friends outside the venue in the hope of meeting the stars of the show. Disappointed not to see Ken, but did get to speak to a very friendly Ray Fearon (in video below) who was happy to pose for photographs (with the ladies) and sign autographs.

2230: Returned to my hotel for a well-earned rest.

©2013 Johan Persson
01. Macbeth publicity shot.

Kenneth Branagh
©2013 Johan Persson
02. Macbeth publicity shot.

©2013 Manchester International Festival
3. Macbeth at MIF 13.


11/07/2013
Q&A SESSION (Pavilion Theatre, Festival Square)
MANCHESTER INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL 2013

The Ken-Friends group were invited to meet Ken before taking their front row seats at the Q&A session. Hosted by Gordon Burns (of Krypton Factor fame) there were many questions regarding the previous night's performance, the unique production values, and the possibility of future events. Ken, along with fellow cast members Alex Kingston and Ray Fearon, handled each of them expertly. 

My day went like this:
1115 for 1130: Arrived at Pavilion Theatre, Festival Square to meet-up with Ken-Friends again.

1130: Ushered through security into theatre to meet Ken before the Q&A. He welcomed each and every one of us with the most of hearty of welcomes and an enthusiastic handshake! He continued by thanking us for being there and for all the fund-raising the group does every year for the Bursary fund in his parents' names. He then posed with us for photographs before he was whisked away backstage to prepare for the Q&A session.

1230: Left Manchester for home after saying goodbye to all the Ken-Friends friends I had made during those two days. A never-to-be-forgotten experience. Thank you everybody.

©2013 Manchester International Festival
4. Ken shakes everyone's hand enthusiastically! (I'm 4th from left in back row, Ken is centre floor with his back to camera.)

©2013 Manchester International Festival
5. The formal shot! Happy Ken and Friends.