GREATER MANCHESTER WELCOMES INCOMING CULTURAL WAVE
Back in 2015, Manchester welcomed two major cultural developments with the reopening of the award-winning Whitworth art gallery and the arrival of HOME cultural hub. These developments cast a fresh light on the city, helped by the increasing profile of the Manchester International Festival which took place that summer.
Five years on and now over £200 million of additional investment in culture has been committed and is about to take Greater Manchester to a whole new level as a world-class city-region of cultural significance.
Major projects that will complete in 2020 include: the opening of a new special exhibition gallery at the Science and Industry Museum; the reopening of Contact and Bolton’s Octagon theatres after significant upgrades; the expansion of iconic music venue Band on the Wall; the rebirth of iconic Wigan Pier; and the phase one opening of Europe’s biggest heritage gardening project, RHS Garden Bridgewater.
These projects will be followed in 2021 by the opening of several new galleries at Manchester Museum, a new wing and restructure at Manchester Jewish Museum, and arguably one of the most significant cultural projects in Europe when The Factory, a highly flexible new arts structure designed by world-leading architects OMA, founded by Rem Koolhaas, opens.
Supporting these new developments will be DEPOT at Mayfield and CULTUREPLEX – both opened in the latter part of 2019 and establishing themselves in 2020. The former is a 10,000-capacity industrial space venue set in a former railway depot, and the latter is a place to hang out, meet friends, have dinner, watch a film, take a class, or get some work done.
Furthermore the city’s food, drink and hotel offering will continue to flourish with the likes of the boutique, 40-room Stock Exchange Hotel offering food by acclaimed British chef Tom Kerridge and Street Feast arriving in the city, whilst new neighbourhoods like Piccadilly East will begin to emerge featuring all manner of new bars, restaurants, coffee shops, breweries and workspaces for residents and visitors alike.
20 STORIES FOR 2020
ATTRACTIONS AND MUSEUMS
- RHS Garden Bridgewater to open phase one of Europe’s largest gardening project
The RHS is creating a stunning new 154-acre garden in the heart of the North West by bringing back to life the lost historic grounds at Worsley New Hall in Salford. The creation of RHS Garden Bridgewater – the Society’s first new garden in 17 years – is the largest gardening project in Europe and will include an Orchard Garden, Wellbeing Garden, Kitchen Garden, Paradise Garden, a Learning Garden and community teaching allotments, all set within the Weston Walled Garden, one of the biggest walled gardens in the country. RHS Garden Bridgewater will have a phased opening from summer 2020.
- Science and Industry Museum to add new gallery and exhibit Factory Record collection
Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum is undergoing a full redevelopment of its site which will include the creation of a major exhibition gallery designed by award-winning architects Carmody Groarke. By refurbishing and adapting a Grade I listed railway station, warehouse and railway viaduct, the new exhibitions gallery will allow the museum to bring world-class science exhibitions to Manchester from autumn 2020, kicking off with Top Secret, a major exhibition exploring over a century’s worth of communications intelligence. In July 2020, the museum will host an exhibition of its significant Factory Record collection, marking 40 years of the infamous label, whilst October 2020 will see the return of the Manchester Science Festival – the UK’s largest science festival – after a hiatus year in 2019.
- Iconic Wigan Pier to reopen with new gin distillery and food hall
Wigan Pier – made famous by George Orwell’s 1937 book, The Road to Wigan Pier – will be given a new lease of life when the long-vacant 18th Century industrial buildings are transformed into a vibrant new visitor attraction set to open in March 2020. A new wedding venue, gin-distillery, micro-brewery, food hall and town houses will occupy the previous Orwell public house, Heritage Centre and The Way We Were Museum which all sit on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.
- Marketing Manchester to introduce the Manchester Visitor Pass
Several years in the making, 2020 will finally see the introduction of a region-wide Manchester Visitor Pass. The one, two or three-day prepaid visitor pass will offer free and easy access to several paid attractions and tours across Greater Manchester, value added offers for free attractions and an array of exclusive experiences and discounts at bars, restaurants and cafes across the region. The pass is expected to launch in early 2020 and will be available to all visiting media and influencers to support hassle-free and flexible itineraries.
THEATRE AND MUSIC
- Contact theatre to reopen after expansion
Contact is the UK’s leading arts organisation for new, innovative works by young people. After three years of site-specific work at partner venues across Greater Manchester, the major transformation of the current building into a state-of-the-art performance venue will complete in 2020. A grand reopening over the weekend of 12-13 September 2020 will feature a new commission by artist Richard de Dominici. The opening season will include Paper Cinema’s Macbeth, a retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein using beat box, gigs and theatre and a family Christmas show, Forest of Forgotten Discos.
- Octagon theatre to be reimagined for the future
The multi-million-pound redevelopment of the Octagon theatre in Bolton is the largest transformation of the building in the organisation’s history. Setting the stage for generations to come the new building will improve visitor experience, update backstage facilities, grow the capacity of the Octagon to work with young people and the community and make the building more accessible than ever before. The new theatre will be at the heart of cultural, business, educational and community activity in Bolton when it reopens in spring 2020.
- Back to the Future the Musical to premiere at Manchester Opera House
Following in the footsteps of sleeper hit & Juliet, which premiered in Manchester in September 2019 before transferring to London’s West End, Back to the Future The Musical will receive its world-premiere at the Manchester Opera House in February 2020. The 1985 movie and pop culture phenomenon will be transported to the stage by the film’s original creative team of Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis and promises to send audiences on an electrifying ride through time with an all-new score alongside the movie’s iconic hits, including The Power of Love, Johnny B Goode, Earth Angel and Back in Time. It joins a strong line-up of musicals old and new coming to Manchester in the first half of 2020 including: We Will Rock You (January); Phantom of the Opera (March); Zorro The Musical (March); Les Misérables (May); and Everyone’s Talking About Jamie (July).
- Band on the Wall to fulfil expansion plans
Iconic Northern Quarter music venue Band on the Wall is due to reopen in autumn 2020 following significant expansion plans. Inner City Music Limited, the charity that owns and operates the multi-award-winning music venue, will reopen the Victorian Cocozza building at the rear of the venue and uncover the social and musical history of the two buildings and the local Northern Quarter and Ancoats neighbourhoods. Plans will see the main venue capacity increased from 340 to 520; new flexible studio classroom and rehearsal spaces; a second 80-capacity venue for live music and film screenings; and digital displays with short films celebrating the history of the Northern Quarter and its communities. There will also be a programme of events for the community, rooted in the music and culture of Manchester’s migrant histories.
- DEPOT at Mayfield to evolve into leading special events space
Depot is a 10,000-capacity venue operated by Broadwick Venues for night life and culture located at Manchester’s historic former railway station, Mayfield. Part of the £1 billion regeneration of the Mayfield neighbourhood, the Depot launched in summer 2019 with events as part of the Manchester International Festival 2019 and Manchester Pride and then became the new home of iconic Manchester clubbing series, The Warehouse Project throughout autumn 2019. In 2020 expect to see the venue animated with a range of special cultural events, seasonal activities and food experiences. Depot is intended to operate as a venue and arts space while the wider Mayfield neighbourhood masterplan develops around it.
HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS
- Stock Exchange Hotel to open and add Chef Tom Kerridge restaurant
Set within the former home of the Manchester Stock Exchange, every detail of the new Stock Exchange Hotel has been meticulously considered to create a five-star 40-room boutique hotel. Located on Norfolk Street, in the heart of central Manchester, the Edwardian Baroque building – with its original marble, brass and woodwork – has been carefully restored to breathe new life into one of the city’s most historically symbolic institutions. Opening in late 2019, the hotel includes an exciting new restaurant concept called The Bull & Bear, overseen by renowned British chef Tom Kerridge and located within the grand domed room which was previously the trading floor.
- Hotel Brooklyn MCR to offer accommodation with theatrics
Opening in February 2020 on Portland Street, Bespoke Hotel’s Hotel Brooklyn will offer 189 innovative and stylish bedrooms, events space for up to 220 people, as well as a panoramic rooftop bar, known as Brooklyn Heights, and restaurant, named Runyon’s. A homage to the New York City borough of Brooklyn between 1870-1910, around the time when the Brooklyn bridge was built in 1883, Hotel Brooklyn promises to stand as a hive of theatricality and energy alongside its sister property Hotel Gotham, which opened on King Street in 2016.
- Street Feast to bring street food concept to Manchester
After several years of rumours, Jonathan Downey, co-founder of the iconic London street-food group which includes Dinerama, Model Market and Hawker House, has announced that Street Feast is coming to Manchester in 2020. Manchester-born Downey is rumoured to be looking at several sites with plans to open possibly three locations in the city-region. Manchester already has a successful track history of transforming former derelict and disused industrial spaces into buzzing markets and food halls – see Mackie Mayor, GRUB and Hatch – so all eyes will be watching for updates.
- CULTUREPLEX hub to become city’s top hangout space
CULTUREPLEX is a new social and cultural destination featuring restaurant Bistrotheque, coffee counter Klatch, events spaces and cinema. Opened in autumn 2019, in 2020 CULTUREPLEX will establish itself as one of the city’s hottest hangout spaces, joining the likes of The Refuge, Mackie Mayor and Hatch when it adds a set of beautiful and much-needed outdoor terraces in spring. Overlooking Piccadilly Basin and hot new neighbourhood Piccadilly East (see below), the former goods warehouse also houses the Native Manchester aparthotel and is the latest of the city’s heritage buildings to take on a new purpose for the 21st Century.
EVENTS AND EXHIBITIONS
- Dippy the Dinosaur to visit Rochdale on UK tour
The Natural History Museum’s superstar dinosaur, Dippy, is currently on a record-breaking UK tour and he lands in Rochdale in February 2020. Dippy’s star power has already drawn more than 1 million visitors to venues across the tour, and thousands more are expected to visit him in Number One Riverside, his only stop in the North West of England. Accompanying the dinosaur in Rochdale will be a major family-friendly exhibition at Touchstones Rochdale where children can explore all aspects of the natural world, from the dark swamplands of millions of years ago to our future planet and what it might look like. Dippy will be in Rochdale from 10 February to 28 June 2020.
- HOME to turn five and debut Manchester Open Exhibition
Five years on from opening on First Street with a party led by patron Danny Boyle, HOME cultural hub will kick-off 2020 with the inaugural Manchester Open Exhibition. Set on the premise that ‘everyone’s an artist’, this open-entry art show will celebrate the creative talent of Greater Manchester residents from January-March 2020. Then following the two-week run of a new musical commission Insane Animals in February, HOME will gear up for a celebratory programme of special events throughout May and June to mark its five-year anniversary.
- Whitworth to mark five years since transformation and open the British Art Show 2020
The beautiful Whitworth art gallery – then under the guidance of Tate’s Maria Balshaw – opened a new chapter in its history in February 2015 following a £15 million development that doubled its size, creating spaces and embracing the surrounding Whitworth Park. The gallery immediately went on to win the UK’s prestigious art prize for Museum of the Year 2015 and remains one of Manchester’s flagship arts venues. Five years on, 2020 is the perfect time to get (re)acquainted with the gallery which has so far announced: a new Whitworth Collection show Utopias from January 2020; a major exhibition by the American artist Suzanne Lacy from April 2020; and perhaps most significantly, the Whitworth, HOME and Manchester Art Gallery will be the opening venues of the British Art Show 9 – the biggest touring exhibition of contemporary art in the UK – from October 2020 before it moves on to Wolverhampton, Aberdeen then Plymouth.
- People’s History Museum to celebrate ten years at the Pump House
2020 will mark the tenth birthday of People’s History Museum being in its home on the bank of the River Irwell in city centre Manchester; a site that combines a restored historic Pump House building with a magnificent contemporary extension. It is from this location, with two permanent galleries, a state-of-the-art conservation studio, a changing exhibition gallery, archive and study centre and extensive learning and community spaces, that the national museum of democracy invites people to discover over 200 years of ideas worth fighting for. In 2020 the museum will launch a year-long programme of new exhibitions, events, learning and collaborations that will explore the theme of migration. As a museum that leads the way with co-creation, integrating campaigning into its approach and working with international partners, this programme will be curated in partnership with the communities whose lives have been shaped by migration
BEST OF THE REST
- Piccadilly East to emerge as one-to-watch neighbourhood
While neighbourhoods like Ancoats and rising-star suburbs like Stockport and Urmston garner acclaim, an unloved patch of Manchester city centre has been slowly developing into one of the most exciting places to watch. Piccadilly East, located in the industrial back streets behind Piccadilly train station is set for a landmark moment in 2020 when the much-profiled Crusader Mill conversion by Capital & Centric completes, bringing a new owner-occupied community to the area. Keeping the seats warm in the recent years are several independent businesses including Track and Squawk breweries, Chapeltown Picture House and live music venue Yerrrr, with a new Leonardo Hotel due to follow in 2021. The neighbourhood is bounded by several places of interest including CULTUREPLEX, Native Manchester aparthotel and Dakota Hotel Manchester to the west and Mayfield Depot to the south, and should HS2 plans continue the new terminal will open out into the area making it comparable in the long-term to King Cross in London.
- Metrolink to complete Trafford Park Line
After years of waiting 2020 will finally see the opening of a Metrolink tram connection to Manchester’s iconic Trafford Centre. The new Trafford Park Line will add six new stops to the network including one adjacent to Manchester United Football Club, one outside the Imperial War Museum North and one terminating at the Trafford Centre which will become the 99th Metrolink stop. The latest phase now means that visitors can travel seamlessly across a network that goes as far north as Rochdale, Oldham and Bury, east to Ashton-Under-Lyne, and south to Manchester Airport. Proposed future developments include lines to Stockport, Wigan and Stalybridge.
- Manchester Airport to complete next phase of £1 billion transformation programme
A key phase of the £1bn Manchester Airport Transformation Programme is the extension of Terminal 2 which will see it more than double in size. The extension will open in 2020 and will provide major improvements to the customer experience with a new security hall, the introduction of the latest technological advancements for check-in and security, a modern spacious environment offering fantastic views of the airfield and 40 new food and beverage outlets and shops including several iconic brands born-and-bred in the region: purveyors of fast food Archie’s, coffee stalwarts Grindsmith and Pot Kettle Black and a drinks venue created in partnership with Salford brewery, Seven Bro7hers. The upgrade will also see Virgin Atlantic introduce its iconic Clubhouse experience to the airport for the first time.
AND INCOMING IN 2021
The Factory to deliver flagship arts venue for the North of England
The Factory is a world-class centre for arts and culture being developed in the heart of Manchester, which will be the permanent home of Manchester International Festival (MIF). Open year round, MIF will commission and present the world’s most exciting artists, as well as the Festival, which takes place every other year. Designed by Rem Koolhaas’ Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), The Factory’s size – 13,300 square metres – and highly flexible structure will allow artists to create work of huge ambition and see it hosting everything from major exhibitions and epic concerts to intimate performances and immersive experiences, including dance, theatre, music, opera and visual arts. It is due to open in 2021 and is expected to attract up to 850,000 visitors a year.
Manchester Museum to add several new galleries in ambitious renovation plans
Manchester Museum is on a mission to become the UK’s most imaginative, inclusive and caring museum. Already the UK’s leading university museum, a £13 million series of transformation works are underway as part of the ‘hello future’ project that will complete in 2021, including: a new special exhibitions space; the North of England’s first large-scale South Asian gallery – co-curated in partnership with the British Museum; a new China Gallery showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Manchester’s Chinese community; and an extended and more ambitious programme of activities.
Manchester Jewish Museum to expand with new museum wing
Manchester Jewish Museum was recently listed in the UK’s top 10 small museums and over the next few years it will be doubling in size. Work has now started on a £5 million development project that will see a major extension built with new galleries, learning spaces, shop and café. The extension will be built alongside the museum’s historic building, a former synagogue. Built in 1874 by Jewish textile merchants, the museum’s Grade II* listed Spanish and Portuguese synagogue will be restored to its original architectural splendour in time for the reopening in early 2021. Whilst the construction work is underway, the museum has temporarily vacated its synagogue home and opened an interactive ‘pop-up’ Jewish Museum at Manchester Central Library.