One Good Thing in 2015: Sheila McGregor, Richard Gregory & Nija Dalal-Small

Polly Checkland Harding

If you had to list just one thing you’re looking forward to this year, what would it be? We ask some of the north’s cultural movers and shakers.

To mark the launch of our Cultural Calendar 2015, we asked some of our favourite people to tell us the one thing they are looking forward to most this year. So far, we’ve had incredible picks from Everything Everything, from the new Artistic Director for film at HOME Jason Wood, from the brilliant Video Jam, and many more. Next up is Sheila McGregor, Director of arts directory Axisweb, Richard Gregory, Artistic Director of inventive theatre company Quarantine, and Nija Dalal-Small, representing the superb In the Dark Radio. Here are their very top picks.

Sheila McGregor: The Leeds Picture Library

The thing I’d really like to shout about is not a one-off exhibition or event, but a little-known, 50 year-old resource that gets original works of art into people’s homes – works by Matisse, LS Lowry and more. For only £48 a year, anyone in Leeds and Yorkshire can subscribe to the Leeds Picture Library and select art for their walls. There are hundreds of works to choose from, some by household names and others by artists you might not have heard of. And if, at the end of a few months, you decide you no longer like it, well you can always try something else. It’s a reminder that all art was contemporary once, and that it can and should be part of everyday life. Sheila McGregor is the Director of Axisweb. She curates our Axisweb Selects series of emerging artists.

Richard Gregory: La Mélancholie Des Dragons

One of the exciting things for me about 2015 is that some of the most interesting artists in contemporary theatre in Europe are paying us a visit in Manchester. There are some exceptional people arriving on our doorstep. I’ll be booking tickets for Philipe Quesne’s La Mélancholie Des Dragons at HOME in October. I’m excited to see HOME’s programme embracing this kind of adventure; Philipe’s work is really distinctive – odd, smart, searching, funny and visually idiosyncratic – and his company includes painters, actors, dancers, musicians and, once in a while, animals. Rich stuff indeed. Richard Gregory is the Artistic Director at Quarantine.

Nija Dalal-Small: Tree of Codes

This year, I feel especially lucky to be living in this amazing city. I’m giddy about it. Because this is, of course, a MIF year. The full line-up hasn’t yet been announced, but so far, the event I’m most excited about is Tree of Codes, a specially-commissioned collaborative performance from visual artist Olafur Eliasson, musician Jamie xx & choreographer Wayne McGregor. It’s inspired by the Jonathan Safran Foer novel of the same name (which itself is an experiment in form and collaboration). I first saw an Olafur Eliasson installation in Sydney – anything he’s involved with is going to be stunning, if not life-changing. Roll on summer, roll on MIF 2015. See – told you I was giddy. Nija Dalal-Smith is writing on behalf of In the Dark Radio. Read our profile here.

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