Art Party by Rob and Roberta Smith: Paint, baking & Michael Gove

Polly Checkland Harding

A cake and paint celebration of Art Party, a new artists’ feature film, at Manchester’s Cornerhouse.

What’s the connection between Michael Gove, fluorescent paint and a “pornicakor extraordinaire”? The answer isn’t a risqué, bakery-based revenge plot aimed at the outgoing Education Secretary (much as you might like it to be). It is, in fact, Art Party. This feature film from Tim Newton and recent exhibitioner at Castlefield Gallery, Bob and Roberta Smith – and the anarchic events surrounding its premiere at Manchester’s Cornerhouse – are a way for all involved to bite their thumbs at Gove and his arts-negative educational policies.

The film itself, which takes Bob and Roberta Smith’s boldly-painted Letter to Michael Gove several giant (and semi-absurd) steps forward, is a mix of performance, artist interviews and imagined scenes. It features the likes of Cornelia Parker, Jeremy Deller and Richard Wentworth alongside actors representing the unpopular politician and his aide. In the light of this week’s cabinet reshuffle, the film is perhaps more of a warning for Gove’s successor, Nicky Morgan. Similarly, it seems likely that the “Frankenpudding” cake creation, lined up as part of the celebrations surrounding the film, will be more an edible effigy than an altar in honour of the MP.

A risqué, bakery-based revenge plot designed for the outgoing Education Secretary

That’s right, a Frankenpudding – a man-gateau made from cupcakes and icing, designed by you, the sticky fingered public. This is just one element of Squirtapalooza, a session of baking revelry organised by the aforementioned “pornicakor extraordinare” of Home Sweet Home, Charlotte O’Toole. Decorate a doughnut or sponge, have a go at the edible firing range or submit your face for a baked-good makeover. It’s all free and gloriously bonkers.

Alternatively, if creating chaos across white walls is more your bag, then don overalls, goggles and a mask for Dirty Protest, also at Cornerhouse. Rainbow paints, charcoal, crayons and, bizarrely, mega jars of chocolate spread will all be on hand to make a really good mess with. The event is organised by Bren O’Callaghan, part of the team behind the upcoming Cockadoodle show of erotic illustration. Obviously.

Art Party – both the film and the events paired with it – is lined up for the day the GCSE results are announced. For those of you several years/decades clear of curriculum horrors, it’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate Gove going and, essentially, to have your cake and eat it. Artistically-speaking, of course.

Culture Guides

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester and the north.

Food and Drink

Explore the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North for autumn.

Backyard Cinema


It only takes a quick glance at the film listings to realise that Christmas is coming, and quick. We’ve rounded up some of our festive highlights alongside standout seasons and festivals.


Pause in the hustle and bustle of festive prep to take in some inspiration from this month’s top exhibitions.

Manchester Christmas Parade


It’s the most wonderful time of the year and Manchester is bursting with fun, family activities to keep the kids entertained in the run up to Christmas!

Writer Nicholas Royle. Photo by Zoe McLean


There are spooky stories, Christmas crime thrillers and plenty of books for stocking fillers as December unfolds and Manchester and the wider North region switches on the live literature lights.


The festive season is here, and whether you want to escape it or embrace it, we’ve got you covered.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


Contemporary cabaret, powerful monologues and world premiere musicals. Our theatre guide spans the festive season and beyond.

Tours and Activities

We’re deep into Autumn now but don’t let that stop you from finding a new tour or activity to get stuck into.

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Elizabeth Gaskell's House garden. Photo by Chris Tucker
Literature Until 11 December 2022, from £4.50

Book sale at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Cinderella at Hope Mill Theatre
Families Until 11 December 2022, from £27.00

Cinderella at Hope Mill Theatre

Music Until 17 December 2022, from £5

RNCM Autumn Season

Melissa Wan
Literature Until 17 December 2022, from £7

Ghosts at the Old Library

Flecky Bennett’s HALLOWEEN 2018 Ghost Walk
Activity Until 17 December 2022, from £15

Flecky Bennett’s Ghost Walks

Star of Wonder at Theatre Porto
Families Until 21 December 2022, from £0.00

Star of Wonder at Theatre Porto

Cinema Until 22 December 2022, from £20.00

Backyard Cinema

The Lanterns at Chester Zoo
Families Until 23 December 2022, from £5

The Lanterns at Chester Zoo