A new community-lead art trail is set to line the streets and brighten up Old Trafford when it arrives next month.
The OT Art Trail – which has been organised by OT Creative Space and is funded by Arts Council England – sees a number of artists work together with members of the local Manchester community to create six individual large scale murals, which are soon to be painted onto walls and building gable ends around the area, including in Seymour Park and Ayres Road.
The new murals will add to murals and artwork already seen around Old Trafford.
The several new street art sites will be linked together via a downloadable audio tour, which is said to be suitable for people of all ages.
Five artists, all bringing an individual and different style to the mix, have been commissioned by OT Creative Space to paint the new murals, and they include Old Trafford artist and designer Robert Lomas, aerosol and graffiti art specialist Jamie Rennie, fine artist Sam Owen Hull, Russ Meehan, who is also known as Mural Life and graffiti artist, and photographer Martene Rouke.
On top of that, Old Trafford-born spoken word artist and writer Isaiah Hull will also create a piece of spoken word to connect the murals as part of the audio tour.
Each mural on display will centre around the theme ‘community togetherness and diversity’.
Due to several lockdowns and ongoing restrictions amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the workshops that the art trail team had originally planned to hold in local schools, residential homes and other community settings had to be put on the back-burner, and they instead sent out 300 creative packs.
The team also involved the community through a number of activity sessions over Zoom and through social media, as well as with interactive displays in the window of OT Creative Space on Ayres Road.
Several local organisations also lent a hand in recruiting the community on board, and creative packs were even handed out to families in local parks.
That’s not all either, as last month, the trail team ran a prize draw with local shops in the Old Trafford area to encourage residents to submit their ideas, and pupils from two local schools – St Alphonsus RC Primary and Old Trafford Community Academy – were also asked to get involved and share their thoughts on what Old Trafford means to them.
Speaking ahead of the arrival of the OT Art Trail, Lynda Sterling – from OT Creative Space – said: “We had to be very creative in order to maximise community participation at a time when we are being encouraged to stay apart rather than come together.
“Technology has played a part, but also good old fashioned paper and colouring pencils”.
She continued: “To find the locations, we walked around the local area and picked out key places [and] it was then a case of knocking on doors and putting notes through people’s doors if they were out.
“We found people extremely keen to have original artworks painted on their houses, [and] we estimate the murals will last between five and 10 years before they start to fade, so it’s quite a commitment”.
Michelle Griffith, one of the Old Trafford residents who has volunteered her home on Ayres Road as a blank canvas for a mural, has said that the trail is “just what Old Trafford needs”.
“It will bring some colour to an otherwise muted part of Old Trafford.” she continued.
“I’m really excited by the community engagement and getting to work with and alongside the artists.
“It’s bringing together factions of the community that are normally dormant”.
You can find more information ahead of the launch of the OT Art Trail in early May via the OT creative SPACE website here.
Manchester’s massive Irish Festival is back next month with 200 events over 10 days
Manchester’s massive Irish Festival is returning to the city centre next month, and bringing hundreds of events over 10 days along with it.
And when we say massive, we do mean it.
Manchester Irish Festival is the biggest of its kind in the whole of Europe, and it’s known and loved for putting on 10 whole days of Irish revelry in the heart of the city centre every year – with something for everyone of all ages to get involved with.
Taking place from Friday 8 March, right through to St Patrick’s Day on Sunday 17 March, you can expect a jam-packed lineup of events spanning the whole city this year.
Expected to shine a light on the vibrant Irish community here in Manchester, and flood the city with the best celebrations outside of the Emerald Isle itself, this year’s Manchester Irish Festival is will be made up of whopping 200 different events across the city, including a lively pop-up Irish Festival Village, a Limerick competition, and, of course, the return of the legendary Irish Parade.
Manchester’s massive Irish Festival has been confirmed to return next month / Credit: Colin Home (via Supplied)
This year’s Parade on Sunday 10 March will see more than 30 floats, dozens of stunning and colourful Irish dancers and bands, and hundreds of people march through the city centre with pride to showcase the culture, heritage, sounds, and joy of the Manchester Irish community.
Some of the other exciting events on this year’s Festival lineup include a traditional Ceili-Cise dancing class for adults, with everyone of all abilities able to take part and the promise of a “fun and friendly atmosphere”, and a huge 12-hour St Patrick’s Day party at the city’s biggest and best-loved Irish bar, O’Sheas.
If you head on down to the Irish World Heritage Centre, there’s also the chance to learn, network, and attend talks from social historians and more as part of the Irish National Studies Conference.
There’ll be a whopping 200 events happening over 10 days up until St Patrick’s Day / Credit: Kevin Gallagher (via YouTube)
And then, when it comes to the musical offering, Irish sensation Damien Dempsey is stopping off at Manchester Club Academy on Saturday 9 March – right in the middle of the scheduled celebrations – as part of his 2024 UK tour, and the “true master” of Irish music, according to Irish Music Magazine, John McSherry and band will perform songs from their debut album at Band On The Wall on Sunday 17 March.
So, like we said, there is quite literally something to satisfy everyone.
Manchester Irish Festival 2024 is from Friday 8 – Sunday 17 March, and you can find out more about everything happening here.
Featured Image – Colin Home (via Supplied)
The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 26 February – 3 March 2024
The time has come, once again… we need to wave goodbye to one month, and welcome in another with open arms.
This week is bringing with it the last few days – and even an extra one, for the first time in four years – of February, all before March arrives for the weekend, and there’s absolutely no shortage of exciting events and activities in the Greater Manchester social calendar to be getting involved with.
If you’re finding it a bit tricky to pick what to do though, not to worry, we’ve chosen a few of the best bits for another edition of our ‘what’s on‘ guide.
Here’s some of our recommendations.
Pretty Woman – The Musical
Opera House Manchester
Monday 26 February – 17 March
Pretty Woman The Musical / Credit: Marc Brenner
Pretty Woman The Musical is arriving in Manchester this week.
Taking over the iconic Opera House Manchester stage from Monday 26 February, on an extended run right through to 17 March, the smash-hit musical production is based on the beloved 1990 romantic comedy film of the same name starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.
It’s described as being a “a sensational show guaranteed to lift your spirits and light up your heart”, and there’s still a few tickets on sale.
This is your last week to make the most of The Black Friar’s popular ‘Pie Festival’.
There’s nothing that sounds more inviting on a cold evening than a lovely warming pie, right? So when we heard that The Black Friar’s now-annual Pie Festival was making a 2024 comeback, we have no shame in admitting we did a little dance.
Now in its third edition, the Salford restaurant has brought back the parade of meat and gravy, sweet and savoury, and all things pie and pastry-encrusted – with something for everyone on the menu.
Best of all, not only are there some enticing flavours on offer, but they’re also only £10 each.
Did you know there’s 15,000 free cinema tickets up for grabs in February?
And, of course, there’s only a few days left to claim them.
It’s all part of Escapes – a new project supported by the British Film Institute (BFI) and National Lottery funding that’s giving everyone the opportunity to “enjoy the big screen experience” and “discover independent cinema”.
The thousands of tickets are now available across the UK for completely free of charge, and there’s a handful of Greater Manchester cinemas taking part.
Escapes / Credit: Unsplash | A24
So whether you’re someone who prioritises a trip to the cinema, someone who treasures a visit but only on a special occasion, or someone who’s just keen to discover more, there’s a free ticket to see brand-new wrestling biopic film, The Iron Claw, with your name on it
The Six Nations is back, and in full swing across the UK.
With the international rugby tournament having now officially kicked-off, we thought it would be only right to put together a list of the very best places in Greater Manchester to head on down to and catch a game.
After all, we don’t want you scrambling around to find places showing the action, we just want you to sit back and enjoy the games.
Read our round-up of the best places to watch the Six Nations here.
Science and Industry Museum
Monday 26 February – onwards
Power UP / Credit: Science Museum Group
Did you know there’s a huge gaming event currently happening in Manchester?
With more than 160 consoles and hundreds of games to play, Power UP is back for more in 2024 down at the Science and Industry Museum, and it’s taking ticket-holders on a journey through five decades of gaming every weekend.
There’s everything from retro arcade games, to state-of-the-art virtual reality, and so much more to get stuck into, and each ticket includes unlimited play all day.
Hamilton: The Story of Tonight / Credit: Danny Kaan (via Supplied)
Kimpton Clocktower Hotel is celebrating Manchester hosting the multi award-winning cultural phenomenon Hamilton for the very first time with a photography exhibition showcasing moments both on and off stage.
Open for free to the general public until the end of February, Hamilton: The Story of Tonight offers a glimpse into the journey of the musical that captured the imaginations of audiences in our city.
20 photographs taken by Hamilton’s production photographer, Danny Kaan, are currently on show – and this is your last week to see them.
Manchester Open Exhibition is back for the third time in our city.
Taking place every two years down at HOME, the Open Exhibition is the biggest celebration of Greater Manchester’s creative talent, and sees HOME’s Gallery walls filled with 480 artworks created by the people of our region that have been specially-selected by a panel consisting of art experts and community representatives.
Open to all, the Exhibition brings together artwork including paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, ceramics, digital and mixed media, video, audio, and so much more.
Is your birthday on 29 February? Are you one of the rare ‘Leap Day’ babies?
We can’t imagine many answered ‘yes’ to that question, given that there’s only an estimated 4.1 million people worldwide who were born on this date, but if you just so happen to be one of them AND you live in Manchester, then one popular local bar has a free pint waiting for you.
Not only that, but one of the city’s legendary burger joints also has free burgers ready and waiting for you too, so it really is your lucky day.
All Leap Day babies can head on down to Society, and one of two Almost Famous restaurants, all in Manchester city centre this Thursday, prove its their birthday with a valid ID, and sip on a pint of house Vocation Pure Pilsner to celebrate, or tuck into one of the heartiest burgers there is.
Find out how to claim your complimentary cold one here, and your free burger here.
Red Rose Diner
East Lancashire Railway
Friday 1 March – onwards
Red Rose Diners / Credit: ELR
Greater Manchester’s iconic heritage railway is hosting one of the most unique fine dining experiences in the region this week.
Running on selected Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 1 March right through to November this year, East Lancashire Railway’s Red Rose Diners are described as being “the ultimate first class foodie experience”, as they start with a glass of fizz and stretch over an almost three-hour steam train journey through the Irwell Valley.
The experience includes a four-course dinner with complimentary sparkling wine, followed by tea or coffee and after-dinner chocolates.
Manchester’s massively popular East and South East Asian street food fair is returning to the city centre this weekend.
Taking over street food and social hub, GRUB, the three-day event is set to treat festivalgoers to food from five different vendors, who’ll all be serving delights directly from the East and South East of Asia.
You can get your hands on Malaysian dishes from Little Yellow Rice Co, South Korean wonders from the aptly-named Korean Grub Club, and Japanese savoury pancakes from Osaka Local, as well as deep-fried delights from All Fried Up too.
Manchester Song Festival 2024 / Credit: The Stoller Hall
Manchester Song Festival is back for another year this weekend.
Taking place down at The Stoller Hall, with an exciting weekend of live performances from some of the region’s finest musical talent, as chosen by Artistic Director Marcus Farnsworth, the annual three-day Festival includes a packed programme of concerts so song lovers can come together to be inspired, learn, and take part.
The music and composers selected for this year’s Festival have drawn inspiration from ‘Sounds of Nature’ – which is The Stoller Hall’s year-long theme inspired by the natural world.
Find out more about everything happening at the 2024 Manchester Song Festival here.
Saturday 2 March
00s Brunch / Credit: Brickhouse Social
Brickhouse Social has announced that it 00s-themed brunch is back by popular demand.
The Manchester social hub is inviting music lovers down to enjoy 90-minutes of bottomless pizza slices, fizz, bottled beers, and select cocktails on its ooftop terrace every Saturday over the nexr couple of months – with a resident DJ playing all the best tunes from the 2000’s.
Tickets will set you back £33pp, and there’s two Brunch sittings available, so you can opt for 1-3pm, or 3:30-5:30pm.
Did you hear that six cult Manchester restaurants have recently scooped coveted Deliveroo awards?
The results of the 2024 Deliveroo Restaurant Awards are in, and six of our city’s most-popular and best-loved eateries have been announced as claiming coveted prizes, after the food delivery service’s loyal customers voted with their hearts – and stomachs – for their favourite local establishments.
Slap & Pickle, Double Zero Pizzeria, and Mughli are among the local restaurants in Manchester that fought off competitors across the North and Midlands to take a title.
Six cult Manchester restaurants have scooped prestigious Deliveroo awards / Credit: The Manc Group
Then, a further five restaurants were recognised in the region’s best cuisine awards – with winners including Burgerism for ‘Best Burger & American’, and Unagi Street Food & Sushi for ‘Best Japanese’.
A total of 60 honours were up for grabs in this year’s Awards.
So, if you’re wondering where to order a takeaway from this weekend, then find out which locals won big in the 2024 Deliveroo Restaurant Awards here.
Rochdale Town Hall – Grand Reopening
Sunday 3 March
Rochdale Town Hall – Grand Reopening / Credit: The Manc Group
The grand reopening of Rochdale Town Hall is happening this Sunday.
The stunning Grade I-listed building in the Greater Manchester town recently underwent a major restoration, and it’s been a long time coming, but this weekend, residents and visitors will finally be able to see the results for themselves when the building throws open its doors to the public on Sunday.
Teams of specialists and more than 500 volunteers have spent four years transforming the space and restoring it to its former glory.
Spaces previously been hidden from view are also now accessible for the first time ever.
Find out more, and catch a glimpse of the new Town Hall here.
Seconds Sunday Roast Carvery
Sunday 3 March – onwards
Seconds Sunday Roast Carvery / Credit: Freight Island
Freight Island’s most famous Sunday feast, Seconds Carvery, is back to bring the good people of Manchester some proper winter-warming comfort food.
Diners can now dive into this modern take on a classic carvery every Sunday.
Running between 12pm and 6pm, you book yourself a half-hour slot to see the carvery chef on the terrace, where you choose a main from roast topside of Highland beef, marmalade glazed gammon joint, roast turkey crown, or roast squash and wild mushroom wellington.
But the stand-out feature of Seconds has to be the bottomless trimmings – including proper Yorkshire puddings, garlic and rosemary roast potatoes, buttered mash, broccoli, glazed carrots, petit pois, and 48-hour gravy.