roofSaddle Sore is coming to The Manifest Theatre, Manningtree from Friday 23rd to Saturday 24th August 2024. There will be 3 performances, Friday and Saturday evenings from 7.45pm with a Saturday Matinee from 2.30pm.

The show, co-written by Kevin Topple and local author, Ian Hornett, follows two men who embark on a sponsored bike ride in memory of their friend Dave who died from prostate cancer. While on their journey, they begin to open up about their own physical and mental feelings.

Manifest Theatre’s members and patrons have a proud record of supporting our charity productions and this one will be close to many people’s hearts. As this is limited to only 3 performances, we would suggest booking early to avoid disappointment.

Hopefully, Saddle Sore will help to get the messages out there, and at the same time raise lots of money for Prostate Cancer UK - a disease which affects 1 in 8 men in the UK. "Events like this will help us drive home that message further and fund vital research that will help us save and enrich the lives of men with prostate cancer. Tickets £10 for members and £12 for Non Members (which includes your 2024 membership). Tickets are now available via our website booking office at  manifesttheatre.co.uk or direct through Ticketsource Our Box Office phone line is also available on 0744724271 - Please support your local Manifest Theatre to help the fight against this terrible desease.



Auditions were held on Sunday 30th June at the theatre. The team have now been selected and rehearsals have started in earnest- Performance Dates  Monday 4th – Saturday 9th November 2024. 7.30pm at the Manifest Theatre.
Made in Dagenham is based on the book by Richard Bean with Music by David Arnold and Lyrics by Richard Thomas. Directed by Alison Baker with Musical Director Phil Toms.

The musical is about the leader of an historic strike, Rita O’Grady, after women are re-classified as unskilled workers. She encourages the women of the Ford factory in Dagenham to walk out after their male counterparts see their wages increase.
When Rita is patronized and snubbed at a union meeting, the women’s grievances over their worker status turn into a fight for equal pay. Determined not to be treated like second class citizens, the women vote unanimously to strike action (“Everybody Out”) and encourage the women at the Liverpool factory to strike also.

For more information about tickets, which will be on sale nearer the time, click link for Ticket Source Booking Office or for futher information on booking, pricing and seating plan click here for Manifest Booking Office. You can find many ways of contacting us on this website.


shalersManifest Theatre hold regular play reading sessions to evaluate a programme of performances for the following year. However, as we have been so busy and decided on a number of potentially productions, monthly play readings are suspended until further notice. Occasionally there will be re-evalution of the current programme where circumstances beyond our control affect that programme. Updates and changes will always be notified on this website as will the resumption of monthly play readings. All are welcome to attend such sessions, whether from curiousity, an interest in getting involved or to get an insight into how our programmes evolve.

Our sessions are usually on the last Thursdays of the month from 7.00pm - 9.00pm. Please check the interactive calendar below or, for any further information with regard to the work being read contact:  Sarah McCarthy sdyer1@hotmail.co.uk. support your local theatre.


If you would like to get involved with the Manifest Theatre you could start by checking the calendar below. There are lots of dates where play readings are held in an informal way, to which everyone is invited. Up and coming performances are listed so you can put them in your diary. Amateur Dramatics is enjoyed by thousands of people as their main hobby, there is something for everyone, from actors to wardrobe technicians to handymen, in fact, there is a plethora of skills required from volunteers. Come and join us.

August 2024 Saddle Sore is coming to The Manifest Theatre, Manningtree from Friday 23rd to Saturday 24th August 2024. There will be 3 performances, Friday and Saturday evenings from 7.45pm with a Saturday Matinee from 2.30pm.(See above for more details)
November 2024 "Made in Dagenham" is a musical with music by David Arnold, lyrics by Richard Thomas, and a book by Richard Bean. Based on the 2010 film of the same name. Performance Dates  Monday 4th – Saturday 9th November 2024. 7.30pm at the Manifest Theatre
Check our Calendar below Keep upto date with all things Manifest related and plan for future productions that may appeal to you.
You can also check useful dates for national events

There's a wealth of history and info about The Manifest Theatre on this website including lots of ways to contact us
You can download and print our annual programme and information Pamphlet from here--->pamphlet

Recent Productions

Some of the great shows that have been presented at the Manifest Theatre over the years


Dear Members

That time of year is quickly approaching when renewing of membership is due. New members are also welcome. Becoming a member is easily done, just follow instructions below. How to Renew / Join Method 1. Download and complete a membership form from here, and send payment to the Membership Secretary. Method 2. When purchasing tickets for your next visit, use the Non-Member rate which includes the £2.00 annual membership fee, complete the membership form and your membership card will be emailed to you. Members receive our newsletters and are welcome to purchase tickets for all our productions, attend our Wednesday Club Nights at the theatre for a friendly social evening.

Stay safe and hope to see you at the theatre soon!


To all you talented and community spirited friends out there. We would love to have you join our team of volunteers at the theatre. Let us know what you like to do and how you think you could help us, the roles are many and varied and we are a welcoming happy bunch who would love to have you on board. Current vacancies Occasional Bar Staff . But if you can paint, build, sew, mend, create, organise, photocopy, or clean WE NEED YOU !!
Come and see us or fill out our contact form.

Your 2023 - 2024 Committee

At the 2023 Annual General Meeting your new committee was elected for 2023 - 2024. Committee members are as follows:
Chairperson : Alison Baker Bar Manager : Nigel Morton
Vice-Chair : Jonathan Abbott Social Secretary : Lea Friend
Treasurer : Sue Halsey General Committee Members:
Secretary : Loraine Crook   Ben Maytham
Membership Secretary : Nigel Morton   Alan Wheeler
Box Office Manager : Heather Thompson   Will Parrick
Publicity Officers : Jude Hussey   Sarah McCarthy
  Alison Baker   Nigel Morton
  Eleanor Chandler    
Children Representative Chris Sadd    
Judith Hussey, Bruce Emeny, Kerry King, Terry Cousins


Thank you to those who asked to receive their newsletter by email. If anyone else would like to benefit from this service, please email me at info@manifesttheatre.co.uk and we will add you to our email mailing list. Not only will you get your newsletter a little faster but also help save the environment!

Newsletter April 2024
Newsletter January 2024

  Our newsletters are in Adobe Acrobat format.

Older newsletters have moved to our Archived Newsletters page.


Nominations from North Essex Theatre Guild 2019/20

Santa Goes on Holiday - Directed by Kerry King

King Costume Award.
Award for Technical Achievement.
Award for Best Dame - Nigel Rowe as Flossy and Rob Sadler as Droopy Drawers. (Joint award)
Best Actress - Amanda Rowe as Wicklepedia.
The Debbie Millar School of Dance Award for Choreography - The Bollywood routine.

Sherlock Holmes and the Seven Wooden Figurines - Directed by Lea Friend

The Terry Sadler Memorial Trophy for Front of House.
The Millenium Writers Award for Best Original Script - Tom Hitchcock.
Full-Length Play Festival Costume Award.
Set Design/Construction/Dressing Award.
Best Supporting Actor - Paul Man as Sir Cuthbert Worthington-Jones.
Best Supporting Actress - Bethany Jones as Lady Arabella Thorn.
The David Knight Shield for Best Actor - Rob Sadler as Sherlock Holmes.
Best Actress - Amanda Rowe as Lady Veronica Worthington-Jones.
The Cliff Hudson Award for Comedy. (Production)

Of Mice and Men - Directed by Alison Baker

Award for best Director - Alison Baker (won award)
Award for Set Design/Construction/Dressing.
Lyndon Trophy for Technical Achievement.
Best Supporting Actor - Nigel Morton as Candy.
The David Knight Shield for Best Actor - Paul Reed as George and Brandon Lee as Lennie. (Joint nomination)
The Doris Griffith Memorial Cup for Best Dramatic Full Length Play.

View the full list of our awards & nominations -->


Shows you may have misse. You can always join us, for a very modest fee, and have our newsletters sent to you. Contact our membership secretary and sign-up.
Summer and Smoke, New Writers Showcase & Signing in the Reign

A Handprint in Time

A work by Ben Maytham.

Summer and Smoke

Scene from rehearsals

Summer and Smoke

Scene from rehearsals 02.

An odd Little Child

A work By Rob Sadler.
smoke 3

Summer and Smoke

Scene from rehearsals 03.

The Brain's to blame

A work by Jazz Ely.

An Office for One

A work by Ryan Curtis.


A work by Sarah Jane Baxter

Ben Maytham

A Featured Writer

Summer and Smoke

Scene from rehearsals 04.

Singing in the Reign

Our tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.

Jazz Ely

A featured Writer

Ryan Curtis

A featured Writer

Sarah Jane Baxter

A featured Writer

Do You Hear the People Sing

Our tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.

The Dead Parrot

Our tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.

Summer and Smoke

Scene from rehearsals 05.

Rob Sadler

A featured Writer

Alison Baker

Director of Summer and Smoke

Love Me Do

From our tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.

Send in the Clowns

From our tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.

Signing in the Reign

From our tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

Hit the Road Jack

From our tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

About Us

The Manifest has a long and distinguished history for producing and performing quality entertainment. The Manifest Theatre's ethos is to promote live theatre in all it's forms in our local area. This history can be read by accessing our achive section, which includes details of, not only productions, but also accreditation of actors and support staff including directors. Below is a synopsis of that history.The Manifest Theatre Group made an contribution to the Manningtree Festival by six of its members broadcasting a series of short comedy stories written by Walter Beaney on Festival Radio. You can listen to them here. There is also some archived recordings of the Sherlock Holmes and The Thrill of Love Plays, here.

The Manifest Theatre History

ManifestThe Queen´s Silver Jubilee Celebrations in 1977, on the Welcome Home Field in Mistley, was the location where the company was conceived. It was the heady excitement of the day that spurred Dennis Murfitt to discuss the possibility of forming a theatre group of local enthusiasts in Manningtree. Following eager conversations between Dennis, Val Taylor, Viv Wheatley and Bruce Emeny they decided to pursue this idea. There was a need for a drama group in the area as many local people used their theatrical talents in various surrounding towns and villages: not in Manningtree. There was a gap that needed to be filled.

Dennis was the inspiration and driving force during the early stages of the group´s formation. So many people worked tirelessly to make the dream a reality.
The Inaugural Meeting took place at the Waggon and Horses public house on the 10th July 1978. The first Management Committee was elected, the business of running a theatre group discussed and an implementation plan agreed. The Committee was made up as follows - Chairman: Ernie Norfolk. Secretary: Irene Hacon. Treasurer: Jack Hacon. Producer: Dennis Murfitt. Other Committee Members: Val Taylor, Viv Wheatley and Bruce Emeny. Others present were: Adrian Bolton, Kevin Brown, Brenda and Bill Chapman, Yvonne Cobbold, Jane Cousins, Sally Mann and Jean Murfitt. Special mention must also be made to Geoff Taylor and Terry Cousins for their skills in realising a vision and turning a hall into a working theatre.

Pauline Emeny thought up the name of the group.
Man - Manningtree: Manifest - as to show or appear. Thus we arrive at The Manifest Theatre Group.

The first venue we appeared at was the Old British Legion Hall, affectionately known as Robin´s Shed, at the top corner of South Street, Manningtree. Due to the enthusiasm and dedication of the membership the hall was transformed into a theatre in time for our first production in May 1979. Genuine tip up theatre seats, sets and scaffolding for lighting positions were erected. The first production was the comedy “Breath of Spring” by Peter Coke. Nineteen productions were performed in our first venue.

In 1984 a former primary school in Oxford Road came up for sale. It was the only property that was ever likely to be on the market in the area that was suitable for conversion to a theatre. It was decided we should go for it and approach our bank for a loan to purchase it. After heroic fund raising efforts we purchased the building at a cost of £35,000, The group had already raised £14,000 towards the cost of a permanent home for the theatre. The members with the required specialist skills managed to completely refurbish the building without any outside help. In just a few months the group was ready to stage the first play in its new home. All this was achieved without any grants but through hard work, blood sweat and a few tears. The 10-year bank loan was paid of in just 5 years. An amazing effort by the loyal membership.

The sense of unity and working together was the reason for such a success for the group. To posses our own theatre is a remarkable achievement and is the envy of many amateur drama groups in North East Essex and beyond.
To show our appreciation to our loyal benefactors and owners of our previous home Hilary and Robin Wilshaw were made Honorary Presidents.
The first production in our own theatre was in October 1985. A comedy by Alan Ayckborn called “ Bedroom Farce”.

Thanks to our active membership and fundraisers we are now what can be termed a fully self-sufficient and self-supporting theatre. From the humble beginnings in 1978 of just 16 members the group has grown and now has a membership  of over 1200.

In June 2013 it was decided to extend and improve our unique theatre. The new build included new ladies and gents toilets, plus new toilet facilities for the disabled. Improved backstage work added a kitchen, toilets and at the rear of the building a new stage management and scenery dock area, with access to stage right. We can now make an entrance stage left without having to go outside the building and face the elements. The building work team was headed by members of the group: The Architect was John Roberts and the Project Manager was Andy Terry who nursed the building work, so expertly, to its fruition. To keep the cost down a number of members volunteered the time and skills {View details and images of project here}. The valiant efforts displayed are a testament to their commitment to the Manifest Theatre.
A topping out ceremony was held on Friday 25th October 2013. The Mayor of Manningtree Kerry King, another valued member of the group, officiated. The building project and fund raising efforts were overseen by our hard working Committee led by Chairman Alan Wheeler and was completed in November 2013. Owing to financial donations and the hard work put in by the volunteers the total cost of the extensions and improvements was held at £40,600
A great big thank you to all involved is due for this lasting legacy.

We always strive to be extremely professional in all we do. With a varied mix of thought provoking plays, hilarious comedies and highly acclaimed musicals we endeavour to perform exciting drama for our membership.

Bruce Emeny: Founder Member, Lighting Designer and Trustee.

Come and join us you will be more than welcome

missingBecome a Member Today!

We are always keen to welcome enthusiastic new members to our group.

Young or old (age 16 upwards), there are numerous ways in which you can participate and contribute to our lively little theatre. If acting is your thing why not come along and try out for one of our plays or musicals?

Or join the active members who make our productions possible. Help is often required with Stage Management, Set Building, Decorating, Props, Wardrobe and Costumes, Prompting etc.

We are always in need of people who can sew and make costumes as well anyone with skills in Carpentry, Plumbing, Electrics etc., who could undertake odd jobs to help maintain the theatre.

The Manifest Theatre Group is committed to producing plays to as professional a standard as possible and we also have a lot of fun!

Membership of the Manifest ensures you are kept up to date with a quarterly newsletter giving details of all news, forthcoming events, auditions and productions.

For further details about membership or how you might like to become involved at the Manifest please call the theatre and leave a message, or email us at info@manifesttheatre.co.uk.

Or simply drop into the theatre. We are in there most Monday and Wednesday evenings rehearsing!

Lifetime membership - £150
(A one-off life subscription.)

Full membership - £10
(For those actively involved in productions and the running of the theatre.)

Friend of the Manifest - £5
(people who support the theatre regularly and voluntarily donate a little more)

Associate membership - £2
(Those who wish to pay the minimum charge in order to purchase tickets for our productions.)

Download our membership form

(Subscriptions now run from January to December)


Click Here to view our Affilations and other local Theatres.


playWe have a Junior Group for those aged eight up to the end of school Year 6 and an vibrant and enthusiasticYouth Group for School Years 7 to 11.
We meet on Thursday Evenings; Juniors from 5:30 to 6:30 and Youths from 6:30 to 7:30. We have three terms a year in line with School years.

For both groups, membership is £5 per year and the fees are £10 per term.If your child is interested, please contact us at juniors@manifesttheatre.co.uk


We are not hard to find, you are already on our website, see to the left, our email address, our street address, our telephone number (you can always leave a message). If you want more information kindly complete the form below and we will get back to you.
To view an Interactive Map that will also provide directions; Click Here