Theatre owners bring Hair to the Palace Theatre stage in Manchester

William Whelton and Joseph Houston
William Whelton and Joseph Houston opened Hope Mill Theatre in 2016

The founders of an award-winning fringe theatre in Manchester are celebrating after their critically-acclaimed 2016 revival of classic 60s musical Hair returns to the city as part of a massive nationwide tour – this time on the historic Palace Theatre stage and with an all-star cast.

Macclesfield-born William Whelton and his husband Joseph Houston opened Hope Mill Theatre in 2016 in a Grade 11-listed former cotton mill in Ancoats.

Since then Hope Mill Theatre has won a number of awards and produced 11 critically-acclaimed musicals, four of which have transferred to London following their runs in Manchester.

One of these was the 50th anniversary production of the cult show Hair, directed by Jonathan O’Boyle and also choreographed by William.

It won rave reviews both at Hope Mill in November 2016, and at the Vaults in London the following year where, scooping the What’s On Stage Award for Best Off West End Production.

Now the show has set off on a major nationwide tour – the first of Hope Mill’s productions to do so – starring famous faces Jake Quickenden and Marcus Collins.

It comes to the Palace Theatre for a week-long run, something William and Joe say is a massively exciting and very personal landmark for them and their theatre.

William said: “Being originally from Macclesfield my first trip to a theatre was to the Palace as a little boy, so it is a dream come true to be now taking one of my productions to the same theatre – especially one that I also worked on creatively as choreographer.

“At Hope Mill the Manchester audiences completely embraced the show and i know that this new and exciting production – all be it – on a bigger scale will have the same impact and will rock the city.”

Hair is at the Palace Theatre, Manchester, from Monday, April 8, to Saturday, April 13.