Benjamin Disraeli argued that “what Manchester does today, the rest of the world does tomorrow,” while writer and DJ Stuart Maconie reckons, “Manchester has fancied itself rotten for as long as anyone can remember”. The thing is, Manchester fancies itself for a reason.
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 has fancied itself rotten for as long as anyone can remember”
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, restaurants and businesses. The city boasts two universities along its Oxford Road Corridor (also, incidentally, the busiest bus route in Europe), as well as the award-winning Whitworth, a stunning gallery amid the trees.
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.
Manchester Science Festival returns with its innovative combination of science, technology, music, art, literature, fashion, food and more. The programme for this, the festival’s tenth year, is bigger and better than ever, featuring the science of gin and gambling, a sleep lab in the Arndale, a Harry Potter-inspired tea and, of course, a very special birthday party.
Hair deals with difficult issues – drug use, sexual revolution and political protest – but is packed full of proper pop songs, and should be another singalong success for Hope Mill Theatre.
Enter the world of Harry Potter and experience a family afternoon tea like with Roger Highfield, author of The Science of Harry Potter: How Magic Really Works followed by a screening of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Award-winning poet and meteorologist Rachel McCarthy performs works from her Carol Ann Duffy-lauded debut collection, Element.
Idris Khan’s artworks are that rare thing: both visually and conceptually fascinating. A number of Khan’s seminal pieces will be on show at this new solo exhibition at the Whitworth, showcasing the artist’s preoccupation with representing time over duration within a single instance.
Are you a creative writer with aspirations to be published? Come and pitch your ideas to literary agents; learn about the writing life through panels, workshops and networking opportunities, and hear a keynote speech from author Kit de Waal.
A candle infused with 23 unique scents from space – including ‘burnt gunpowder’ for the moon and an ‘old penny’ for Mars – will be burnt at the finale of this major new exhibition at The Lowry. Part of a nationwide programme marking the Rambert dance company’s 90th anniversary, Perpetual Movement brings together work by international artists with objects, footage and costumes from the Rambert archives.
Sex, scandal and syphilis – as you might well imagine, not everyone approved of this play when it was first performed in 1880, but Ibsens classic is just as powerful as it ever was.
A major solo exhibition of entirely new work by acclaimed Scottish artist Rachel Maclean, who will represent Scotland at the 2017 Venice Biennale.
National Ballet of China are one of the world’s biggest and best ballet companies, and their adaptation of The Peony Pavilion is even more romantic than Romeo and Juliet. For those seeking a second dose of ballet to follow up on the superb Giselle – look no further.