It was Manchester that gave rise to socialism, the British Labour Party and the Suffragettes. Wildly ambitious, Manchester was the original industrial city, once the largest centre of manufacturing in the world. This is not the kind of past that a city forgets. Go into its museums and you’ll find the evidence: their collections are among the best in Britain. But before you write this off as just history, think on.
Manchester is steadily reinventing districts that were once busy with industrial factories and warehouses; the red-bricked buildings of the Northern Quarter and Ancoats are now taken up with independent shops, bars, and restaurants. The city boasts two universities along Oxford Road, as well as the award-winning Whitworth and Manchester Museum – with cross-arts space HOME a short stroll away on Tony Wilson Place.
There’s the Royal Exchange in the centre, the UK’s biggest theatre in-the-round, housed in what was once the largest single room in the world. Not forgetting MediaCity UK, which shares The Quays with major arts organisations IWM North and The Lowry and is home to BBC North and ITV. So while this is a city with a past, Manchester has its eyes on the future. The joy of visiting today is that, without too much effort, you get to experience a slice of both.
Set in 1930s Paris, where cosmopolitan gaiety has reached new heights of frivolity, Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne is a brilliant tangled tale of flirtatious masquerading and romantic intrigue.
Personally I’m not a massive fan of big stage blockbuster productions, but I will make an exception for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which is one of the stage shows I have ever seen.
Alban Berg dedicated his Violin Concerto ‘to the memory of an angel’, a young woman who died aged 18 just weeks before he started writing it.
A major solo exhibition of entirely new work by acclaimed Scottish artist Rachel Maclean, who will represent Scotland at the 2017 Venice Biennale.
Filled with objects on a small-scale, Castlefield Gallery’s latest exhibition asks some big questions about life.
If you’ve seen one exhibition about Andy Warhol, you’ve seen a thousand… Not so with ARTIST ROOMS: Andy Warhol at the Whitworth, which brings the master of repetition’s work into an entirely new context.
Yule be Sorry is a show of serious Santa substance – an excellent alternative xmas night out. Hosted by living performing art legend David Hoyle, this is a night of comedy and cabaret chased down with a good glug of mega-strength mulled wine.
From the same creative team behind the hilarious Little Shop of Horrors comes this high-kicking cocktail-drinking entertainment extravaganza that distils the glitz and glamour of 60s New York and delivers it to the stage.