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Peter Hook and Mike Sweeney to headline Salford Arts Theatre fundraiser

Salford friends Peter Hook and Mike Sweeney are to host a special event of live music and conversation at Salford Arts Theatre to raise funds for the theatre in the local community where they both grew up.

The Friday 26 February evening event – dubbed ‘Local’ – will feature up and coming Salford band Death to the Strange as Hooky and Sweeney discuss their shared musical and Salford backgrounds.

Salford Arts Theatre in Pendleton is famous for the being the starting point for actors such as Christopher Eccleston, Sir Ben Kingsley, Robert Powell and Albert Finney, among others.

Following a visit from Hooky to the theatre to see the initial plans to transform the building and facilities, the Joy Division, New Order and The Light bassist promised to help raise money to pay for new seating at the 138-capacity theatre.

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Salford Arts Theatre was originally built for The Salford Players, a local group who gave opportunity to tread the boards to the community and aspiring actors.

When the group dissolved, the theatre was given back to Salford City Council who opened it as a professional theatre, before eventually having to close the venue.

In 2007 Roni and Scott Ellis took over and reopened the theatre for the community. The venue is now used for regular shows, as well as workshops to help local children take their first steps to an acting career.

Having performed an intimate Q & A event with old pal Mike Sweeney last autumn, Hooky decided to renew the partnership in aid of the theatre.

The pair will perform live on the night, and decided to invite Death to the Strange after seeing them take hold of a knockout performance at The Factory in Manchester.

SalfordOnline.com filmed with Death to the Strange at The Crescent pub way back in 2010 for their ‘On The Clock’ single launch.

Since then, the band have gone from strength to strength, supporting Babyshambles, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly and The Fall, and putting out cracking singles like ‘Openshaw Blues’ and the fan favourite ‘Sign On’.

The theatre has already undergone improvements as part of the Pendleton Together regeneration of the area, but now needs to raise around £40,000 for new seating.

Peter Hook said: “This event will showcase the area’s brand new groups and reflects the ethos of theatre in encouraging local talent.

“It is a chance for people to hear some of my stories about growing up around here and no doubt there will be a few stories about my music career.

“I spent most of my young life around here and I know the area has had some tough times. That’s why the theatre needs to be supported – it provides a real lifeline for local people.”

Theatre manager Roni Ellis said: “The theatre is only a small venue, but it has a big reputation. Theatre in Salford has produced some of the big country’s biggest stars.

“We are so grateful for Peter and the local bands giving up their time for free to support us. He is an inspiration, showing you can go from the streets of Salford to the world stage. We’ve a real legend taking to our stage.”

Tickets are available via the theatre’s online box office or by calling 0161 925 0111.

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.