Manchester Rain is a micro-opera that explores how a moment of kindness can be a catalyst for change. In this work three characters are encountering Manchester’s infamous rain with each one having a very different relationship to the city’s weather. Dr Rose Autumn, a shy and solitary individual, is clinging to an heirloom umbrella, which, despite the rain pouring harder she does not want to use in order to preserve her dead mother’s memory. A business person is frustrated by how the weather ruins his expensive suits, but also how it makes everyone in the city so miserable; all he wants is to make a connection and exchange a smile with passersby. A brolly seller is, of course, revelling in the weather: rain equals cold hard cash. As rain turns to thunder and lightning, we witness a moment in which Rose’s umbrella is about to become a lightning rod, surely killing her. She is saved by the business person who strides off into the distance leaving Rose in shock. Comforted by the brolly seller, who saw the whole encounter, they remind Rose not to put all their emotional energy into an object like an umbrella. They gift Rose a transparent ‘I heart Manchester’ umbrella and tell her that, whilst we shouldn’t put our emotional energy into objects, at least you can see what’s ahead of you when your umbrella is see-through!
Manchester Rain was co-created by composer Michael Betteridge and clients of Cornerstone Day Centre in Manchester, across six sessions.