DNA by Dennis Kelly

We are delighted to offer you two great one act plays to start our 2023 season. DNA, Directed by Ben Maytham, Performance dates are, 23rd,-,25th February 2023.
"A group of teenagers do something bad, really bad, then panic and cover the whole thing up. But when they find that their cover-up unites them and brings harmony to their once fractious lives, where is the incentive to put things right", A great play put together by Ben Maytham and featuring some of the younger members of our great team here at the Manifest Theatre.




SHAKERS by John Godber


Our second offering of theatrical magic on these nights in February 2023 is a one act play Directed by Lea Friend, Performance dates are, 23rd,-,25th February 2023.
The play tells the story of a typical night in a wine bar (aptly named Shakers) as four waitresses; Carol, Adele, Nicky and Mel struggle through their long shift, serving demanding customers who come and go on their nights out. Another great play put together by Lea Friend.
If you joined us for "Ladies Day" and "Ladies Day Down Under" you will surely look forward to seeing this production.

Recent Productions

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


Dear Members

Happily, the restrictions that have affected all of us over the past two years are now behind us and we are able to resume our normal activities once again, domestically as well as at the Manifest Theatre. The new ventilation system serving the bar and auditorium is now fully operational. The installation will provide theatregoers with a safer and more comfortable environment in which to enjoy our productions. Our first production of the year, Ladies Down Under, proved to be a great success and we promise to keep you entertained with two further productions this year

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 2021 - 2022 Committee

At the 2021 Annual General Meeting your new committee was elected for 2021 - 2022.
Committee members are as follows:
Chairperson - Alison Baker, Vice-Chair - Chris Sadd, Treasurer - Sue Halsey, Secretary - Nigel Rowe, Membership Secretary - Nigel Morton, Box Office Manager - Heather McCollin, Publicity Officers - Lea Friend and Alison Baker, Bar Manager - Amanda Rowe, Social Secretary - Lea Friend, General Committee members: Jon Abbott, Ben Maytham, Jo Simons, Alfie Lucas and Alan Wheeler


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 November 2022
Newsletter June 2022
Newsletter September 2021
Newsletter June 2021
Newsletter March 2021
Newsletter February 2019 (colour)

  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 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 -->


Some of the great shows you may have missed. You can always join us, for a very modest fee, and have our newsletters sent to you. Contact our membership secretary and sign-up.
Featured : Singing in the Reign
no biz

No Business Like showbusiness

The Chorus from the show.
Sing Rain

Singing in the Rain

The opening number of the show


A stunning performance of Fever.
Les Mis

Les Miserable

Do you hear the people sing.
the compare

Our Presenter

The presenter and commentator of the show.

That's what Friends are for

A moving finale to the show.

Gimmee Gimmee

There had to be a tribute to Abba.

Hit the road Jack

Ray Charles' Hit the road Jack combined with the sound of music.

The Class Sketch

A Monty Pyphon classic.


A great rendition of the title song from Caberet.

The Sound of Music

How do you solve a problem like Maria, I think they solved it.

Four Candles

The classic two Ronnies sketch.


The emotive John Lennon song infused with some sign language.

Thank you for the music

There had to be a tribute to abba, and here's a second.

Send in the Clowns

A Stephen Sonhiem Classic, Send in the Clowns.

Dead Parrot

Monty Python The dead parrott sketch, brilliant.


When you're good to Mama.

Tribute to Elvis

Elvis and Neil Diamond songs by Graham.
this is

This is me

from the Greatest Showman, This is me.

Sweeney Todd

Sweeney Todd excerpt for the show.

About Us

The Manifest has a long and distinguished history for producing and performing quality entertainment. 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 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 700.

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. 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 Theatrical Friends.


playWe have a Junior Group for those aged eight up to the end of school Year 6 and a Youth 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