When Mark was growing up in the entertainment business he would give my time freely to learn his trade.  It seems most of today’s young actors don’t want to put a shift in.  We need to reinvent our theatre and we need to do it now.



I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s where everyday we’d play out on the street, because we didn’t have any proper recreational activity areas or skate parks or leisure centre we could afford. Every night we’d have Jam butties, because we couldn’t afford proper protein. We drank water out the tap cause no one ever washed the pots. We had 3 shit television channels with nothing on, then Channel 4 started and there was still nothing on. Nothing. Blue peter was shit and so was Tiswas. Watching a smug Judith Chalmers telling us where ‘abroad’ is and knowing full well the family allowance would only get us to Mablethorpe. I was lucky being a boy, at least I wasn’t just an object or what you now call a female. Jimmy Saville! We rode our death traps of a bike for hours, cause we didn’t have a car and the public transport was rubbish. Flares! Football on Saturday was cheap, but you got a good kicking by hooligans most weeks. School teachers hit us. Policemen hit us. Our parents hit us. Rolf Harris. The only people we knew at University, cleaned it. The pop man and ice cream man would taunt us, as they knew we couldn’t afford them. We all sat round candles when the general strike blacked us out. Having to watch the Two fucking Ronnies and being told it’s good. And god help you if you didn’t have white skin.

don’t look back with rose tinted spectacles.


This is a quick story about love and violence.  About being terrorised by a soldier.



Children’s Christmas show was Pinocchio. 1000’s of families love our shows and over 10 years we have grown out of 4 venues across Manchester and the North West.

Without sour grapes we look at our 2 poor reviews and ask the question…What are your qualifications to review professional theatre?

Also, Christmas telly, Wedding bells and Tenerife.



On my last ghost walk in Uppermill a member of the audience came up to me and asked if I was going to tell the story of the drowned woman. We were on the top of a footbridge crossing the Huddersfield Canal so I didn’t think it a strange request, but this lady looked me in the eyes and said “I have just seen the spirit of woman dressed in black and she looked like they had just dragged her out of the canal”. I was indeed about to tell that same story and I can tell you that when I did it had an even more chilling feel to it.

You meet all sorts when you are ghost walking, believers, sceptics, spiritualists and the ones who have no idea, but love a good story. I tell 90 minutes of local ghost stories, whether in Burnley or Uppermill but my favourite time is the interval. We always have a fifteen-minute break in a Cafe or pub and that’s when the magic happens. These people, this audience, having listened to me then start to open up. They have told me amazing stories of ghosts, or strange happenings in their lives. From the dog spirit that lived (or possessed) a wardrobe for thirty years to the spirit who didn’t like Bruce Forsyth and threw things across the room when he was on telly.

When I started telling ghost stories I sat firmly on the fence, now after 4 years I think I’ve seen and heard enough to change my mind.

Oldham and Uppermill Ghost walks are for kids and grown ups next week 29th, 30th, 31st October 2016

Book NOW


10 years of Christmas from Hard Graft
10 Years of Children’s’ shows.

For the last 9 years we have been building a long-term legacy of entertaining and educational children’s theatre in Greater Manchester. As we all know every Christmas there is a lot of theatre aimed at children. Last Christmas in Manchester alone audiences could find a Children’s show at every venue, from Panto to Dickens. All of these performances are between 120 to 150 minutes long and cost on average £17.50. That’s brilliant, but if you’ve got a child under 7 we at Hard Graft feel that these shows are too long and far too expensive, we have proved that there is a substantial audience for gateway theatre shows, not too long, not too expensive, but with all the talent and high quality production values audiences expect today.
I am the Dad of 5 & 9 year old kids. I know how expensive Christmas can be. I know that 150 minutes sat in a theatre seat watching a panto can be too long.

That is why, 9 years ago, we introduced our very own Christmas treat for your kids.

  • 70 minutes long (Disney & Pixar are no longer than 80 minutes)
  • Prices from £7 (No Booking fees)
  • Child friendly venue and staff. (We know kids walk around)
  • All inclusive (We welcome everyone)
  • Fast, interactive, funny, theatre (if you don’t laugh, your money back!)



Award winning Hard Graft theatre company are holding open auditions on 10th September, we are looking to recruit 3 teams of 5 performers as part of our Christmas show Pinocchio.
If you are aged 8-14 years and talented in dancing and acting, Hard Graft and Infinity Dance want to hear from you!

The Christmas Elves and the Shoemaker

A short dance routine will be taught and few lines of dialogue will be given to act out.
OPTIONAL – Those auditioning are asked to prepare a short song to perform (one verse or chorus is sufficient)

If you think your son or daughter has what it takes to be part of this professional show please contact Katie at Infinity Dance.

All performers must be available on 10th September from 3.15
If you are lucky enough to be selected you will rehearse most weekends until December and perform from 8th December till 24th December.

All performance times and dates are here, but remember there are three teams so you’ll only be doing a third of them! DATES