HOME's first birthday weekend, preview: Art, theatre, music, film, fun

Suzy Prince

HOME is celebrating its first birthday with an ambitious weekend of art, theatre and film.

HOME has had a lot to live up to as Manchester’s new arts centre; when the Cornerhouse closed down early in 2015 there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and uncertainty about whether HOME would be able to fill its shoes adequately. So, a year on, how are things looking?

Since the opening weekend there have been more than one million visits to HOME, and a whopping 211,000 tickets sold, with the art exhibitions alone attracting more than 57,000 visitors. The theatre has produced its own work (The Funfair, The Oresteia and Inkheart) and has also collaborated with renowned national and international theatre companies to bring the best UK and global theatre to Manchester. Meanwhile, over 530 different films have been screened in the cinemas from more than 40 countries.

It’s safe to say that HOME has good reason to celebrate

It’s safe to say that HOME has good reason to celebrate and, sure enough, the venue is throwing one heck of a party, lasting from the evening of Friday 20 May until late Sunday 22 May. On Saturday , visitors will be treated to a Rooftop Festival, featuring music, entertainment and great food, plus a special programme of live music performance and DJ sets, all curated by events promoter Greg Thorpe, who was the primary mind behind the initial HOMEwarming weekend.

The weekend will also feature roving musicians on the outside square, including The Gypsies of Bohemia and Dr Butler’s Hatstand Medicine Band. Sunday night will see a pub quiz, followed by a ‘vinyl jukebox’, where guests are invited to bring along your own vinyl and have it spun in public. Over the course of the weekend, everyone who visits HOME is invited to contribute to an exciting collaborative sculpture by artist Nicola Dale. It’s the venue’s ‘paper’ anniversary, meaning that Nicola will be supervising the construction of a huge paper sculpture that will travel from the top floor of the building all the way to the bottom.

The HOME projects space offers the last chance to see What Would Billie Do? By Najia Bagi, who uses brutally raw love songs as inspiration.  Downstairs in the main gallery space the exhibition Imitation of Life continues, and the weekend will host the accompanying book launch of Fear Eats the Soul, a complementary collection of new poetry, fiction and essays.

The cinema will be screening the preview of Studio Ghibli’s When Marnie Was There, the final release from the legendary Japanese animation house. And there will be various family events taking place, including theatre production At the End of Everything Else, a puppet workshop by Joseph Richardson (puppeteer of the goose from War Horse) and a dance workshop from ZooNation. With all of this crammed into just one weekend, and so much achieved already over the first year of its existence, we’re excited to see just what will happen at HOME in year two. Meanwhile, let’s raise a toast to a job well done so far.

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