The Manchester Weekender 2011 – Secret city arts highlights

Creative Tourist

1. Beating Wing Orchestra

A Manchester-based international music collective with members from refugee and migrant backgrounds, The Beating Wing Orchestra originated as part

of the Manchester International Festival but is gaining a growing renown beyond the region. The group will stage a one-off performance within the unusual and fitting surroundings of an alternative VISA application and training centre installed at Castlefield Gallery, part of an ambitious multi-platform exhibition

by international artists Osman Bozkurt and Didem Özbek (PiST) for Asia Triennial Manchester. No passport required.

Saturday 15 October, 6pm, Castlefield Gallery, 2 Hewitt Street M15 4GB.Free, booking advised via eventbrite.

2. Hey! Afternoon Tea with Liz Green

The Portico is an historic members’ library that’s something of a hidden gem, tucked away above street level in the busiest part of the city centre. Instead of checking out books, you can check out the homespun folk and grassroots jazz performed by local chanteuse Liz Green on the eve of her debut album (and enjoy foodie delights from Vintage Afternoon Teas while you’re at it). We think Green’s poetic lyrics will be perfectly suited to the ornate, literary surroundings of this one-of-a-kind gig, with a fancy tea to boot. Part of Manchester Food and Drink Festival

Sunday 16 October, tea served at 3.30pm, Portico Library, 57 Mosley Street M2 3FF. £12,

3. Sacred Hearts

Beautiful Manchester Cathedral will echo to the voices of cloistered nuns, as Sarah Dunant and early music group Musica Secreta present a semi-dramatised

version of Dunant’s novel Sacred Hearts for Manchester Literature Festival. Set in the convent of Santa Caterina, it tells the story of two spirited young women

who struggle to adapt to the rigid life of the nunnery. Don’t miss this uniquely atmospheric event that will transport you to 16th Century Italy.

Sunday 16 October, 7.30pm, Manchester Cathedral, Victoria Street M3 1SX. £12 (£10 concessions). Book on 0843 208 0500 or

4. The Culture Gym

Why not kick start your Manchester Weekender with an experience bound to leave you on a high for the rest of the Weekender? Fusing The Quays two passions – culture and sport – this is a workout with a real difference. The stunning architecture of The Quays provides inspirational backdrop and unusual gym equipment for this creative urban bootcamp. Making the most of  sweeping, traffic-free boulevards, bridges, steps,  and grassy banks, these taster sessions will have you exercising in the great outdoors in small, sociable groups and add a new dimension to the idea of cultural participation. The sessions will adapt to suit both the experienced and the novice and are led by professional trainers from All Fitness Bootcamps.

Saturday 15th October, sessions at 10.30, 11.00, 12.00, 12.30,  1.30, 2.00. Each session lasts one hour and all are suitable for people of all abilities, over 16s only. Meet at Esporta/Virgin Active, The Lowry Outlet Mall 20 minutes prior to start time. £2.50. Booking via

5. EthniCITY

An afternoon of live professional world music from the diverse cultures of Manchester, including Jali Nyokoling Kuyateh (Gambia), Calaita (UK/Spain), Sanat Mahmudova (Uzbekistan) and Luciano Gerber (Brazil). Hosted by DJ Mayeva (ALL FM) this Cultural Collage World Music Festival event, will offer a soundtrack for the Made for Manchester exhibition, part of Asia Triennial Manchester. Here local makers have worked together with artisans from the city of Ahmedabad in India, known as the Manchester of the East, to explore, unite and utilize each other’s creative worlds.

Saturday 15 October, 2-4pm, Manchester Craft and Design Centre,17 Oak Street, M4 5JD. Free, drop in.

6. Gothic Splendour

It doesn’t matter how many times you visit the Town Hall, Alfred Waterhouse’s gothic revival masterpiece never fails to impress. Inside is a sequence of twelve murals by Ford Madox Brown, subject of the exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery nearby. These murals are a fascinating insight into the obsessions of Victorian Manchester, and the stories they chose to tell about the city’s pioneering history. Pop in and see them.

Sunday 9am-5pm. (note – from 3pm the Close Up event is being set up in the Great Hall), Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square, M2 5DB. Free, drop in.

7. Lost and Found beneath Bridgewater Hall

Discover secret spaces, giant springs, and strangely familiar tunes in a tour behind (and under) the scenes at Bridgewater Hall. You just might hear an eerie musical performance somewhere along the way. Afterwards, participants can attend a free performance of Shostakovich’s Viola Sonata by the BBC Philharmonic’s principal viola, Steven Burnard, before the evening’s concert of thrilling modern Russian masterpieces conducted by Vassily Sinaisky, for whom this music is truly in the blood.

Saturday 15 October, 5-6.30pm, Bridgewater Hall, Lower Mosley Street M12 3WS. £5 (£4 concessions) Tickets for the evening concert available separately from Bridgewater Hall

Eat & Chill

Mount an expedition to find This & That, a rice n’ three cafe hidden on tiny Soap Street in the Northern Quarter. Its continuing popularity proves that people will find a good curry joint no matter how obscure its location.

Seek out “secret” unmarked bar Corridor in Salford. (It’s not really a secret: it’s in an alley off Chapel Street, there’s even a map on their website.)

Images: Top: Liz Green; Middle: Manchester Town Hall

Spotlight on

International Women's Day in Manchester and the North

Here's a rundown of the most eye-catching events happening on and around International Women's Day in Manchester and the North.

Take me there

Culture Guides

Music in Manchester and the North

Fresh concert seasons, forward-thinking festivals and a revolving door of amazing gigs. Things are looking bright as spring comes into view.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

February is a month of love so art lovers in the North - rejoice! There is lots to choose from: two photography festivals, gorgeous crafts and shows celebrating local talent.