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Greenroom closes

A Manchester art stalwart dies: how many people actually went?

Published on April 18th 2011.

Greenroom closes

Creative venue greenroom (we’re going to call it the Greenroom in the rest of this piece for clarity), on Whitworth Street West will close its doors at the end of May. The decision comes after Arts Council England’s review which saw The Greenroom dropped from its national portfolio for 2012/2013 onwards.

Chip, chip away. Manchester, in line with other UK cities, is having its culture funding cut which in turn leads to the loss of venues such as the Greenroom. Several questions here. Will the Greenroom be missed?

A spokesperson for the venue said, “We would like to have continued but are unable to do this without confirmed funding or alternative income going forward.”

The avant-garde institution opened in 1983, “to develop and present local, national and international performance”. The Greenroom “has been at the forefront of discovering and pioneering Manchester, national and international ‘firsts’”.

Arts Council funding, as well as money from the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities and Manchester City Council, has helped The Greenroom to support artists, provide resources and run participation projects with the community, including with young and disadvantaged people.

The venue has a theatre seating up to 200, a studio style rehearsal room, exhibition spaces, a cafe/bar and offices.

Although the Greenroom will close, it “aims to ensure that this important work continues through other organisations”.

A total of 206 existing regularly funded organisations were turned down in the Arts Council review, the new portfolio has 154 fewer organisations following a cut of 14.9% in the Arts Council’s budget for funded organisations between 2011 and 2015. Manchester’s big arts organisations including the Royal Exchange Theatre, the Cornerhouse, The Lowry and The Library Theatre, were successful in securing funding.

Chip, chip away. Manchester, in line with other UK cities, is having its culture funding cut which in turn leads to the loss of venues such as the Greenroom. This is terrible news for those who will lose jobs, a nightmare for those who have tried to give the place life.

But several questions do leap to mind.

Will the Greenroom be missed?

Outside a small arts loving fraternity had the Greenroom made an impact?

Did people always meet the same like minded people at performances there?

Should the State subsidise projects with such a narrow audience base?

Did most people think it was just a bar?

Any cultural loss is a shock. And any loss to the arts seems wrong.

But could there be a case for a subsidy for the Manchester darts league in East Manchester – that is a league with a unique dartboard particular to the region, it is a real and living tradition?

Should there be a subsidy for the Willows club in Weaste with its raw humour and unpolitically correct jokes – again part of a living tradition?

Art for art sake, something curious and quaint for the intelligentsia for God sake.

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13 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

TomegranateApril 18th 2011.

I'm flabbergasted by the attitude in the last few paragraphs above. Has the MEN's resident reactionary pitbull Ms Epstein infiltrated the ManCon office?

Greenroom's content may indeed have been avantgarde, of interest to a relatively small group, but where does class come into it? What a depressing and narrow-minded outlook, that art, even avant-garde art, is a 'middle class pursuit' - how incredibly patronising on behalf of working class people! I've only been to greenroom a few times, but the people I saw there were a real mix, certainly not just middle class, whatever that even means in Manchester. Please don't apply your outdated outlook to the rest of us, whatever class we may be.

Even if you do buy into the false idea that middle class = art, working class = sport, well, sports DO get stacks of public subsidies, far more than the arts I would hazard to guess.

ValidApril 18th 2011.

There is a need to question subsidies to small scale limited appeal companies such as these. They should be troubadours producing theatre and art that people will pay to see.

TomegranateApril 18th 2011.

Valid, if that was directed at me, I'm not questioning that principle at all.

AnonymousApril 18th 2011.

i agree with tomegranate. I also think its really important to have arts spaces that nurture and support new ideas, i've only been to the green room a handful of times (much of it's output isnt my cup of tea) but when i did go it was friendly and inspiring. i am very sad to see it go as manchester seems to have an increasingly dull sense of culture (I am still baffled why urbis was allowed to go). And at least when the greenrooms output did appeal to me as a local person in a low paid job (whatever class that makes me) i could afford a ticket and was able to get one; unlike say MIF which i (and everyone i know) find totally inaccessible as tickets are too expensive or gone before anyone not in a clique even knew they were available. Incidentally mancon its quite rude to not even bother writing their name as they choose to do so

TomegranateApril 18th 2011.

Christ don't get me started on Urbis! It will be boring for all and I'm likely to end up embarrassing myself.

Harry RaffertyApril 18th 2011.

I love this from a person posing as Anonymous: 'Incidentally mancon its quite rude to not even bother writing their name as they choose to do so'

EditorialApril 18th 2011.

Anonymous probably means our use of the Greenroom rather than greenroom. The reason is that when brand designers come up with lower case names it gets confusing in text as to whether we've made an error or not. Best to go for common usage. Prince learnt the lesson of trying to be too clever with a moniker.

Binary OstrichApril 19th 2011.

Could the Cornerhouse take on the Greenroom venue?

tomegranateApril 19th 2011.

Not likely to happen seeing as CH is due to move to a new purpose-built, er, building on First Street in the near future.

Peter RivendellApril 19th 2011.

I was actually hoping (before this) that Greenroom would take on some of the Cornerhouse space when it moves...

Yes, Greenroom was niche and small-scale and experimental, but the city will be the poorer for its loss - not just culturally but in the use of space on Oxford Road when the Cornerhouse goes.

Manchester is shrinking as a significant arts centre. And please don't cite MIF with its barely off-mainstream pop offerings this year.

AnonymousApril 19th 2011.

I thought that the CH has to move out because the current building(s) is too old and reaching its "limit".

Paul ClarkeApril 20th 2011.

Does anyone really care that this boring and pointless venue has gone?

I like edgy art but I never went cos they just booked rubbish which I suspect was put by thier mates.

Good riddence.

Thomas13215April 21st 2011.

You know all that without ever having gone. Your powers of perception are most impressive.

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