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About Voices of the polar night

The Sunday Boys, Manchester’s low-voiced LGBTQ+ choir, are heading to The Whitaker Museum and Art Gallery this month to perform a brand-new innovative experience.


‘Voices of the Polar Night’ is a 30-minute immersive experience where a blindfolded audience will be plunged into darkness, surrounded by singers and enveloped in music, sound and unforgettable tales from lands where winter expels the sun.


Based on an Icelandic legend of a man in search of fear, this queer retelling brings together a new text by writer-performer Jonathan Ainscough with the powerful voices of The Sunday Boys. Audiences will experience singing and stories like never heard before in this presentation of music from the darkest places on earth.


Michael Betteridge, Artistic Director of The Sunday Boys, said: “The choir are now in their eighth year, and this is by far, one of the most experimental, engaging, and exciting projects we have set to perform.


“In a world where visual technology can take people to new places through cinema, art and virtual reality, we want to strip back the layers and use all the power of sound and song to a blindfolded audience, to take them on their own personal journey.


“We’re really excited to bring such a daring and thought-provoking performance to a beautiful space like The Whitaker and we’re looking forward to engaging with new audiences.”


In 2023 The Sunday Boys sold out performances at The Lowry, The Stoller Hall and Manchester Cathedral as well as completing their first European Tour in Paris, Milan and Bologna.

Michael Betteridge

Artistic Director - The Sunday Boys

Michael is a composer and choral conductor based in Manchester. Specialising in working with young and leisure-time music makers and in theatrical settings, he has led choral and opera performances across the UK and abroad, most often giving new works their
premieres, including his own.

After studying composition at the Royal Northern College of Music, he was one of the first recipients of Sing for Pleasure’s Young Conductors Programme. More recently he has
been involved in projects such as From Footy Fan to Opera Star – training real-life football fans to become an opera chorus for a new opera with tenor Nicky Spence, Sky Arts and Grange Park Opera.

Jonathan Ainscough

Writer | Storyteller | Accordionist

Jonathan trained at Manchester University and the Royal Northern College of Music
(RNCM), and now works as a writer, director, actor, singer and multi-instrumentalist
across the UK and beyond. He is a member of the Olivier Award-winning ‘Showstopper!
The Improvised Musical’, leads on English National Opera’s groundbreaking Covid-19
rehabilitation programme ‘Breathe’, and is an Associate Artist of the acclaimed homeless
charity Streetwise Opera.

He is currently writing opera librettos for the Royal Opera House and English Touring
Opera, directing the RNCM’s first-ever community opera and creating a new family show
for Opera North.

Mark Croasdale

Creative Producer

Mark is a producer, writer and theatre maker inciting gentle, radical change through intimate, quality encounters. Mark’s work spans performance, installation, public happenings, and participatory experiences. Their practice encourages direct contact and encounters with people, ensuring artists and audiences co-exist in a realm of curiosity. Sometimes they find each other in a theatre or passing in the street. Other times a chat over the phone, the page or a meeting through a screen. 


Mark curates experiences that embrace vulnerability and nurture connection by finding joy in unexpected and often neglected conversations.  

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