The HOMEwarming weekend: Danny Boyle, fireworks and The Funfair

Susie Stubbs
Slow exposure photo of a big wheel

HOME sets out its artistic stall with a Bank Holiday weekend’s worth of theatre, art, film, music, premieres – and the unexpected. Here are the highlights.

HOME marks its opening with five days’ worth of celebrations – staged over the second May Bank Holiday weekend – that it is calling a HOMEwarming. “It’s our first opportunity to bring all the artforms together in one programme, and to start to show what we can do as HOME,” says Director and Chief Executive, Dave Moutrey. With that in mind, here’s our run-down of the best of what’s on between 21 and 25 May.

#1 Exploring and discovering

Take in this new building, with its 500-seat theatre, five cinemas, galleries, shop and bar, and a new part of the city; the public square, bars, hotel and offices that make up First Street. The weekend thus kicks off a “funfair fanfare”, an after work, outdoor event that features Brazilian-inspired carnival arts troupe, Juba do Leão, a fire, light and pyrotechnic performance from the pa-Boom co-operative, and a guest appearance from HOME patron, the filmmaker Danny Boyle (21 May, 5pm-6.30pm, drop in/free). Backstage and building tours will also be on offer over the weekend.

#2 Thinking about love, and art

HOME’s first exhibition is all about love – or, more specifically, lost love and what it is to be in a relationship during turbulent, uncertain times. The heart is deceitful above all things opens on Friday 22 May and includes both new and existing work from artists such as Jeremy Bailey and Douglas Coupland (6pm-11pm). There’s also a chance to see the premiere of Rosa Barba’s Subconscious Society (22 May, 4pm), an artist’s film made in Manchester, or the latest film work from LA artist Stanya Kahn (23 May, 4pm). Elsewhere, debate bubbles up with a series of daily panel talks; billed as “The Review Show meets Loose Women”, artists and special guests unpick love and heartbreak (22-25 May, times vary). Or get an insight into what makes the visual arts tick at HOME with Open House, a talk chaired by Northern Soul arts editor, Helen Nugent, and including Artistic Director for Visual Arts, Sarah Perks (23 May, 1pm).

#3 Doing something unexpected

Try the adaptation of 1962 film Carnival of Souls (23 May, 10pm), played back via wireless headsets – there are no images, only sound. Or try the world premiere of Lonesome, a 1928 black and white film accompanied by a new live score, created by musicians from RNCM and Dutch Uncles songwriter, Robin Richards (24 May, 8pm). “Lonesome shows how we bring film and music together, working with the city’s most innovative musical talent to reimagine historic footage and put it into a contemporary context,” says Artistic Director for Film, Jason Wood. That theme continues with Celluloid History Songs, where singer-songwriter Josephine performs against a montage of archive films (25 May, 6pm).

#4 Getting theatrical

There’s no denying that one of HOME’s biggest draws comes courtesy of its theatre – and the world premiere of The Funfair (daily, times vary). This version of Ödön von Horváth’s hidden masterpiece Kasimir and Karoline has been written by the Olivier Award-winning playwright, Simon Stephens. His credits include National Theatre production, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (returning to The Lowry in November), and this play sets the theme for HOME’s opening programme. You can also try a backstage tour of the new theatres (22 May, 12pn), an in conversation with Meierjohann and his theatre team (22 May, 3pm) as well as the theatre season launch, chaired by the ebullient writer, DJ and historian Dave Haslam (23 May, 12pm).

#5 Enjoying film

HOME’s opening film programme features a mix of documentary, such as Wim Wenders’ The Salt of the Earth (21 May, 8pm), artist and foreign language films – try Ukrainian flick The Tribe (22 May, times tbc) – and classics. Then there’s the premiere of John MacLean’s directorial debut (starring Michael Fassbender; Slow West screens on 23 May) with a live Q&A with the director, and a series of films that riff on the theme of The Funfair. Tod Browning’s Freaks (24 May, 12.50pm) is a great example, an uncompromising 1930s film that features a travelling circus, an attempted murder and a trapeze artist.

#6. Taking the kids

The new HOME looks set to be as much for young people as it will be for older cultural connoisseurs – as the First Street Party ably demonstrates (24 May, 11am-8pm). A family-focused day of art, music, food and theatre, it includes The Whale, a metal creature that swallows small people for a three-minute theatre performance (don’t worry, it spits them out again; 24 May, 11am-1pm & 2pm-4pm). Another micro-performance comes in the shape of The Incredible Book Eating Boy (24 May, 11am-12.30pm & 1.30pm-3pm) – a piece of film-meets-puppetry performed for just two people (a parent and a child) at a time – while an interactive screening of 1980s classic, Big, brings the Tom Hanks-fronted comedy to life for a younger audience (24 May, 12pm). And that, as they say, is all folks!

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Image credit: Maryna Makarenko, Sun-Eaters, 2022

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