One Good Thing in 2015: Sally McDonald, Everything Everything & Matt Fenton

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. First up are Jeremy Pritchard from Everything Everything, new Director at MOSI, Sally McDonald, and the new Artistic Director at Contact, Matt Fenton.

Jeremy Pritchard: The Music and Film Project at HOME

Something I’m looking forward to in 2015 is the Music and Film Project, as part of the launch of HOME. The Music and Film series is a load of Manchester musicians creating original scores for early 20th-century silent cinema, archive footage and artist film. One of our good mates, Robin Richards of Dutch Uncles (arguably the most gifted individual on the local scene), is one of the confirmed composers. Also Josephine, who has already previewed the concept at our own Central Library residency in 2014, using footage from the North West film archive. The series will shed new light on films that probably wouldn’t be viewed in great numbers otherwise, certainly not in the modern day. It also provides an extensive and challenging canvas for the composers. It’s no mean feat to conceive and entire film score, it’ll be like turning up to see an artist perform a brand new album in its entirety. Jeremy Pritchard is the bassist in Everything Everything.

Sally McDonald: The Age of Starlight, MIF 2015

It’s a few months since I started in my new role, and I’m thrilled to be back in Manchester for such an amazing year of cultural events. I grew up here but have lived away for over 20 years and it’s a different city to the one I left. There is such a buzz here now, so much experimental work going on in different areas. There’s almost too much to choose from for 2015, but I’ve picked Manchester International Festival and in particular The Age of Starlight. The big questions around the birth of the universe, the building blocks of life and the beginnings of our existence are captivating more and more people, through discoveries such as the Higgs Boson and the Philae landing. I’m also fascinated by new connections between science and art, as we saw with Marcus Coates’ The Sounds of Others for Manchester Science Festival this year. A few years ago science would never have been part of an arts festival yet now it’s a big part of our programme. The other big draw in The Age of Starlight is Brian Cox who has undoubtedly helped grow the popularity of science and physics. The combination of his very human style, Kevin MacDonald’s direction and cutting edge technology, on a subject that is so thought-provoking, makes The Age of Starlight unmissable.  Sally McDonald is the new Director of the Museum of Science & Industry.

Matt Fenton: SICK Festival

I’m looking forward to SICK Festival, taking place for the first time in Manchester in March 2015. SICK presents a brilliant mix of performances, events, discussions and art installations exploring the tough things that can happen in life, be that illness, adversity or abuse. It brings together the NHS, universities, artists and communities, and despite the sometimes difficult themes, manages to capture something life-affirming and totally energising. SICK takes place across several cultural venues, including the newly reopened Whitworth, The Lowry and Contact. Matt Fenton is the Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Contact. Read our interview with him here.

Culture Guides


We advise booking early this month as cinemas fill up with brand new award winners and offbeat classics.

Phoebe Davies: Points of Rupture at Site Gallery in Sheffield


Art and women’s wrestling, Ancient Akkadian gravesites and invented artefacts – check out this month’s pick of exhibitions from across the north.

Half term fun - Young girl sat next to the tiger as part of the The Tiger who came to tea and the adventures of mog the forgetful cat exhibition


Check out our top picks for Families this month. Whether it’s art, music, theatre, science, crafts or insects (!) you’re after, we’ve got you covered…

Poet and performer Kate Tempest.


From Helen Fielding to Hilary Mantel, the literati hard-hitters are in town as Manchester Literature Festival and UNESCO City of Literature turn up the gas.


Lost in the middle distance between Christmas and spring, this funny old time of year has a saving grace: So. Many. Gigs.

Theatre in Manchester


Stage adaptations of cult film classics, award-winning verbatim performance and charming slapstick. You’ll find all this and more in our guide to the best theatre in Manchester and the North.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

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

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

It’s time to find the best restaurants for the weeks ahead. Here’s our guide to the best Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

Tours and Activities

Expect thrills, informative discussion, politically charged tours and wobbly towns in this month’s guide of Tours and Activities.