Arts organisations from across Manchester have joined forces for a major campaign to encourage people to rediscover the city’s culture after almost 200 days of venue closures.
From May 17, more COVID-19 restrictions are being relaxed in England – enabling bars, restaurants, theatres, libraries and cinemas to welcome back guests indoors.
To celebrate the momentous step, local venues have launched a #HereForCulture campaign supported by the UK Government’s Culture Recovery Fund – portraying culture as the beating heart of Manchester; inspiring confidence that venues are safe; and reminding people that a cultural experience can have a transformative effect.
A major poster, radio and digital campaign goes live today – with designs by Manchester’s Instruct Studio featuring emotive imagery and uplifting poetry to highlight the range of cultural experiences on offer in the city.
#HereForCulture will run throughout the summer and into autumn, with multiple arts organisations involved including Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Chetham’s Library, Contact, GM Independent Artist Initiative, HOME, Hope Mill Theatre, The Lowry, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Camerata, Manchester International Festival, Manchester Libraries, Manchester Museum, Music Venues Trust, National Football Museum, Palace and Opera House Theatres, People’s History Museum, Royal Northern College of Music, Royal Exchange Theatre, Science and Industry Museum, The Stoller Hall, The Whitworth and Z-arts.
The campaign is supported by Arts Council England, Creative Tourist, Oxford Road Corridor, Manchester City Council, NHS and Network Rail.
Dave Moutrey, Director of Culture at Manchester City Council, said: “It’s been a long road to get here, but from today cultural venues across Manchester begin to reopen and they couldn’t be more ready or more excited to welcome back audiences. This new joint campaign is backed by some wonderful organisations and its message is very clear: come visit our venues and embrace what’s on offer.
“Whether you want to keep the kids busy throughout the holidays, have a shared night out with friends, or just enjoy a day of solo reflection; immersion in culture has been proven to help improve mental health and our arts venues and organisations are returning a brilliant selection of shows, exhibitions and events, with something for everyone.”
Sheona Southern, Managing Director at Marketing Manchester, said: “Last month when we moved to Step Two of the Government’s roadmap, it was a big moment for operators in our retail and hospitality sectors who were given a chance to reopen and welcome people back safely; however, that same opportunity was held back for museums, galleries and theatres, meaning many venues have gone over 200 days without audiences.
“That changes today and it’s fantastic to see so many venues working together to celebrate the value of cultural experiences in Manchester. It’s a fun and inspiring campaign and we’re proud to be hosting some amazing content on visitmanchester.com and promoting our strong cultural offer.”
More information is available about the campaign online.
Featured Image: #HereForCulture
Art & Culture
A series of candlelit concerts is coming to some of Manchester’s most beautiful buildings
A series of concerts that take place surrounded by thousands of flickering candles will be taking over several of Manchester’s most beautiful landmarks.
The Candlelight Concerts series takes the work of world-famous artists like Beyonce, Oasis, Fleetwood Mac and Coldplay, but strips it right back to basics.
Gone are the high-tech special effects and lighting installations we’re all so accustomed to now, replaced instead by simple candles and a small orchestra, plus occasional ballerinas.
As well as paying tributes to huge pop acts, there are some events focused on more classical artists, like a production of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker with ballet performances.
The work of legendary composer Hans Zimmer (The Lion King, Interstellar and The Dark Knight) also stars in another event, and the late, great Amy Winehouse is honoured in another.
Venues being used include Edgar Wood, Manchester Cathedral, Stoller Hall and Halle St Peter.
The event organisers say: “Candlelight concerts bring the magic of a live, multi-sensory musical experience to awe-inspiring locations never before used for this purpose in Manchester.”
Each candlelit concert lasts around an hour and is fully accessible.
There are usually two showings per day, at 6.30pm and 8.30pm.
You can buy tickets for different zones within each venue, but then it’s first-come first-served to get your actual seat.
The full list of upcoming events is below and you can get your tickets here.
A Tribute to Beyonce – Edgar Wood – 2 December
Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and More – Manchester Cathedral – 27 January
Christmas: Love Actually, Home Alone and more – 13 and 21 December
A Tribute to Fleetwood Max – Halle St Peters – various dates
A Tribute to Amy Winehouse – Halle St Peters – 24 November and 12 January
A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald – Halle St Peter – 14 January
Hans Zimmer’s Best Works – Halle St Peters – 22 December and 2 February
A Tribute to Coldplay – Manchester Cathedral – 11 November and 20 January
A Tribute to Oasis – Halle St Peters – 15 December
Manchester Laces’ Helen Hardy honoured with massive mural painted on the Wembley steps
Manchester Laces founder Helen Hardy has been honoured in a giant mural painted on the steps of Wembley Stadium in London.
Championing both women’s and non-binary football since the organisation was created back in 2021, Helen Hardy has been at the forefront of inclusivity in Mancunian and British sport, in general, reminding everyone that football is game for everyone.
To celebrate her incredible contribution, the National Lottery’s Good Causes scheme unveiled the massive piece of art stretching across the legendary Wembley steps.
England Women‘s captain Leah Williamson even turned up to show her support.
Channelling the pride flag’s rainbow palette, the mural is realised in vibrant technicolour — as are the LGBTQIA+ inclusive club’s already iconic kits.
Expressing her gratitude on social media, Hardy said, “It’s been an absolute honour to have my face painted on the steps of Wembley. I can’t quite believe it!” She also went on to thank the artist, Charlotte Archer (pictured right), who captured her likeness.
We can only applaud the pair of them.
In a relatively short space of time, Manchester Laces has going from strength to strength, setting up their own division (the Alternative Foootball League) and even expanded into London, with three different clubs located in the capital.
Their work in providing everyone a place to play across Greater Manchester and further afield has already been recognised by the likes of the National Football Museum and many more.
The first of its kind in the UK, this wonderful group of people is only getting bigger.
Speaking in an interview with The Independent following the reveal, Euro 2020-winning footballer Williamson said that Helen and Manchester Laces are “normalising what should already be normalised”.
“That’s why I love this campaign… because it’s someone who doesn’t even see themselves as a leader, Helen, deciding to pave the way and something she believes should be available and a space that she believes should be available for people to be able to positively impact the world a little bit.”
The 25-year-old also went on to say of the women’s national team: “I wouldn’t want anyone to feel like it wasn’t their game. We wanted to show that supporting England is an open invitation to be exactly who you want to be, because that’s what we do too.”
The Lioness and Arsenal defender concluded by saying that while she’ll “support England until the day [she dies]”, people have been left “alienated in terms of the LGBTQ+ community” and believes that this year’s tournament is fundamentally “wrong”.
We can only echo her statement and reiterate our support for women’s and non-binary football, as well as wonderful institutions like Manchester Laces.