Cross over the River Irwell, and you’ll find yourself in another city entirely – Salford. You’ll barely feel the transition, though; despite locals who are fierce about the fact that Salford is a city in its own right, it’s only separated from Manchester by the width of the river, distance-wise. Which is not to say that you won’t see differences between the two.
Gritty urban realism has been this city’s stock in trade since L.S. Lowry painted his very first matchstick man. Some will have read about it in Love on the Dole. Some will have seen it depicted in kitchen sink dramas or Corrie. And others will forever associate the city with John Cooper Clarke rasping his way through ‘Evidently Chickentown’, or the dystopian anthems of Joy Division.
Now, however, Salford has an up-and-coming feel; the Chapel Street area of the city, the focus of an ongoing regeneration project, is home to a creative community including Hot Bed Press and over 100 artists and 50 innovative businesses at Islington Mill. If you’re visiting around May, look out for the highlight of Salford’s strong music scene, Sounds from the Other City festival, which brings an incendiary mix of live bands, literary readings and art hi-jinks to an eclectic selection of venues.
The Council-run Salford Museum and Art Gallery is a friendly city museum with special appeal to families, and the nearby Working Class Movement Library provides a fascinating look at the past. The personal collection of labour historians Ruth and Edmund Frow, it’s a veritable treasure trove of material dating back to the 1760s. Ordsall Hall, the city’s beautifully restored (and supposedly haunted) Tudor mansion, has a busy programme of events and activities all year round, including events as part of horror film festival Grimmfest.
Salford inspires fierce loyalty among its inhabitants. Spend any significant period of time here, and you may begin to understand why.
Charlotte Delaney, daughter of the late Salford-born playwright and ‘Morrissey muse’ Shelagh Delaney, premieres her play Sweet Responsibility, about friendship and activism between two 70-something women in Greater Manchester. She will also be in conversation with historian and Shelagh Delaney biographer Selina Todd.
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.
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.
Salford’s Sounds from the Other City festival showcases the best of new and avant-garde music, arts and performance.
Multi-award-winning comedy captains Kill the Beast present a new twisted tale, inspired by 80s sci-fi, 90s gaming and cracking superhero theme-tunes.
Based on the award-winning novel by Mark Haddon, adapted by Simon Stephens and directed by Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a thrilling new stage play from the National Theatre.
Starring Jason Manford (The Producers, Sweeney Todd) as Caractacus Potts, Claire Sweeney (Tell Me on A Sunday, Hairspray) as Baroness Bomburst, and Phill Jupitus (The Producers, Hairspray) as Lord Scrumptious/Baron Bomburst.
Kenneth Grahame’s wild tale about the thrill-seeking, lovable menace Mr Toad comes to life in a brand new stage musical.
Join us as we walk from central Manchester to the heart of Salford, passing landmarks of the two cities’ radical past and ending with supper and a radical Pub Quiz.
IMPLFN, along with himHallows and Textbook Studio, will be exorcising the terrifying mockumentary of 90’s childhoods everywhere and bringing it oozing and clawing out into the 5th floor of Islington Mill.