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.
Salford’s Sounds from the Other City festival showcases the best of new and avant-garde music, arts and performance.
Dave Lynch will present three models of art. The gallery space will act as a dynamic artists’ pop up studio, meeting hub & venue which will host a series of events.
The Lowry galleries are turning into project spaces giving Manchester-based artist Rachel Goodyear room to be impulsive and experimental.
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.
As the Bennet sisters haplessly search for love in Jane Austen’s ultimate romantic comedy, it is Mr Darcy who unwittingly finds his match.
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.
An unmissable ballet from one of the greatest companies in the world providing an evening of spectacle and World-class exquisite dancing.
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.