THIS autumn, The Manchester Weekender returns to the city for its third year: a weekend-long snapshot of the best of the city’s art and culture. From performance art to pop-up cinema, from music premieres to intimate gigs, from superstar authors to Britain’s best bloggers, from art exhibitions to secret theatre, The Manchester Weekender features dozens of events and hundreds of artists – in some of the city’s most iconic and historic spaces.
Taking place on 11-14 October the Manchester Weekender acts as a taster as well as an insider’s guide to the city’s art, museums, authors and music-makers, all staged within very Mancunian locations. It launches the city’s autumn cultural programme in its galleries, theatres and concert halls. It’s a chance to get up close to a host of artists, writers and musicians at intimate events - but it is often the small events with unusual ties to the city that gives the Weekender its unique appeal and creates the motivation for participating in a day-out or weekend break, revealing a place that even its own residents will be surprised by.
Programme highlights include:
Kirsty AlmeidaThursday Lates at Manchester Art Gallery with Kirsty Almedia.
Riffing gently on the theme of paper, and inspired by new exhibition, The First Cut, singer-songwriter Kirsty Almeida gives an intimate and atmospheric performance to mark the launch of this year’s Weekender. A delicious evening of art, craft, and music that blurs the lines between folk, jazz and soul, food and drink and socialising, and, of course, entry to an exhibition that showcases 31 international artists whose work with that most humble of artistic materials - paper - is nothing short of revolutionary.
David Shrigley: Show & Tell at Cornerhouse.
How Are You Feeling, the new exhibition by David Shrigley, features drawings, paintings, sculpture and never-seen-before live performance. As part of the Weekender, Shrigley leads a playful audio-visual presentation about his work, followed by questions from the audience.
Sketch-O-Matic at Cornerhouse.
In an age of buy-to-invest instead of buy what you like, and multimillion pound works being sold to the highest bidder, Sketch-O-Matic brings art back to earth. Actually, it brings art and sticks it into a fully-sized photo booth in Cornerhouse’s café, but instead of an anonymous machine whirring out photos, here an artist sits waiting to sketch your likeness.
Will Self‘Close Up’, featuring Will Self at The Royal Exchange Theatre.
Marking the publication of his latest, Booker long-listed novel, Umbrella, the writer and journalist Will Self talks to DJ, historian and cultural commentator, Dave Haslam.
Borderline Vultures at The Quays (secret location).
Infused with visual beauty and pathos, Happystorm Theatre’s latest production, Borderline Vultures is an immersive, 360-degree adventure, putting the audience at the heart of the action. The experience starts with finding a secret and unusual location at The Quays and from there they must navigate their way through a multi-storey universe of touching and absurd encounters.
Joke Boat at The Quays.
Hanging in The Lowry are the portraits of rich and famous comedians (via National Portrait Gallery exhibition, Comedians). Nearby, families can join comedian Sam Avery as he gives a comic’s view of the buildings, local facts, fiction and unsuspecting passers-by along the way, in a stand-up comedy boat ride around the waterways of The Quays and Manchester Ship Canal. Hecklers under the age of 10 are especially welcome.
The Flaneurs’ Guide to the Northern Quarter.
Northern Quarter Stories presents sensory walking tours led by contemporary flaneurs that explore the history of a much-loved part of the city. The four walking tours are: ‘Tribes of the NQ’ (an anthropological tour); ‘NQ Canvas’ (layers of art and architecture); ‘NQ Soundscape’ (an immersive tour for the ears); ‘NQ for Sale’ (240 years of wheeling and dealing).
Songs of the Caged Bird performed at People’s History Museum.
This powerful new song-cycle sets original recorded speech from the US Civil Rights movements against a piano and string accompaniment. Written by composer-pianist George King, and performed by Doreen Edwards, arguably Manchester’s finest jazz diva - it is staged at the People’s History Museum where the story of civil rights and the struggle for democracy in the UK takes centre stage.
Lawrence Of BelgraviaPop-up cinema in the 1830 Warehouse, MOSI.
This atmospheric, beautifully-restored Grade I-listed building was once the world’s first railway warehouse and played a pivotal role in Manchester’s industrial past. Tucked in among a weekend of railway-related classics (such as Brief Encounter, SteamBoy, Days of Heaven) is music documentary Lawrence of Belgravia. As lead singer with the band Felt, Lawrence of Belgravia won hearts and a cult following in the 1980s, and he went on to form Denim and Go Kart Mozart. Lawrence will be present at this special screening of Paul Kelly's intimate, smart documentary film – plus there’s a chance to see the Rob Gretton ‘Hacienda archive’ housed at the museum too.
Bunford & Kashiwagi...in the mix at The Manchester Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery and John Rylands Library.
Musician Huw Bunford (Super Furry Animals) and artist Naomi Kashiwagi collaborate on a brand-new performance of unique soundscapes that tune into and crank up the volume of found sounds amidst the collections in three of Manchester’s most atmospheric spaces: the Alfred Waterhouse-designed Manchester Museum, gallery-in-the-park Whitworth Art Gallery and the neo-Gothic, red sandstone John Rylands Library.
Speed Chess at The Manchester Museum.
Alan Turing is known to many for building the world’s first programmable computer in Manchester, for codebreaking at Bletchley Park, or for his work on the Fibonacci sequence . But he was also an Olympian (a runner) and a chess player. For ‘fun’ he married these two interests in a game he called Speed Chess, which the Weekender will attempt to recreate with willing participants.
Umbrella Doodles at The Royal Exchange Theatre.
A wonderful walking tour where kids customise their own see-through umbrellas, drawing the landscape they meet as they walk around the city centre. Sarah Marsh leads the tour, drawing inspiration from Manchester’s city architecture old and new.
Tickets for events are available from individual venues and online here.
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