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.
Get down to Contact this Saturday as it is transformed into a family friendly creative paradise. Fly a virtual kite in spectacular settings across the world, DJ, dance and draw on the windows.
Master of transformation Kathryn Hunter brings to life an extraordinary fable of corruption, avarice and the collapse of absolute power.
The annual Humanities in Public Festival enjoys a strong reputation for its city-wide programme of events – and over 7,000 regular attendees.
The team behind DM16 celebrate design in cinema with a terrific short season of films each introduced by an industry expert.
in Khan we’ve got a real master of the craft. Pair him up with the immaculate dancers of the English National Ballet and it is hard to see what could go wrong
Join poet, author and MBE Lemn Sissay as he closes this year’s Black & Asian Writers Conference.
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.
The Other Room introduce poet, essayist, editor and critic Charles Bernstein, artist Susan Bee, and Maggie O’Sullivan.
One of the top 40 genre film festivals in the World, Manchester’s annual festival of horror, cult and fantastic film at Odeon Printworks returns this October.