• Image of Issue 1270: January 21-27

She’s a midwife to chickens, cares for cows and makes sure the tortoise is fed, but Jodie Prenger is leaving the zoo at home for her new role as Beverly in Abigail’s Party. A decade after winning I’d Do Anything Prenger, from Blackpool, tells us why the role is perfect for her.

After suffering the biggest parliamentary defeat in recent history the government is no closer to a Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. But if and when the deal does come, how will it affect small communities? The people of Westhoughton have their say on Brexit.

Some forests in Mexico are put at the heart of communities rather than in the hands of private companies. But these acres of land are at risk of a new enemy – the sawfly. Battling against climate change, community leaders are urging for more forest management.

Julie Hesmondhalgh takes centre stage in her new role in Mother Courage and her Children. Hesmondhalgh tells us why the play, said to be Brecht’s finest, remains relevant for today’s politics.

On the news pages, concern for Whitehaven Academy’s future and homelessness charity Emmaus opens a three-floor charity department store in Rochdale.

Plus a look into ways we can ease the ageing process, some unmissable events in the north this week, a Q&A with author Alice Clark-Platts as she releases her new book The Flower Girls, and ballerina Shirley Ballas writes a letter to her younger self. And a crossword, Sudoku and a chance to win a Big Issue North 2019 calendar.

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