Monday, 26 January 2015

7 reasons why being in Manchester in 2015 is going to be awesome

New year, new you? Well pop these dates in your diary because these will certainly keep you on track for a right good 2015.

Cornelia Parker headlines the opening schedule

1. The Whitworth opens. The Whitworth Art Gallery at Whitworth Park, part of the University of Manchester, closed its doors last year to make way for a £15m make-over and extension. The art gallery was the first in the UK to be situated within a public park, and the new glass extension helps to better embrace the surrounding environment with an "inside-outside," kinda feel that any TV interior designer would be proud of.

Doors open 10am 14th February 2015.

Coming HOME?

2. HOME opens. The new joint venture between The Library Theatre Company and The Cornerhouse will see a 450-seat theatre, a 150-seat flexible theatre space, a 500m2 4m high flexible gallery space, five cinema screens, digital production and broadcast facilities, a bar, cafĂ© bar and cinema bar plus a bookshop open at First Street. Not to mention the first purpose built cultural quarter Manchester has seen. 

Opens May 2015

3. Manchester Central Library will be finished. The £50m refurbishment that has taken over 4 years to complete is nearly finished, with the finishing touches to the Town hall connection and the surrounding St. Peter's Square area being put into place. Whilst St. Peter's Square will continue to transform as the Second City Crossing for the MetroLink is built, the Library is open for all to enjoy and is a wonder to behold - testament to the fabulous restoration work that has happened, alongside modern improvements that make this library future proof.

Now open

NOMA Masterplan

4. NOMA phase 2 (public realm) begins. The new district of Manchester city centre, NOMA (NOrth MAnchester) continues its £800m evolution, with the Phase 2 of public realm development underway this year. Phase 2 will see a new public square open, nestled between iconic listed buildings within the old The Co-operative Group offices, including art deco Redfern House and New Century House. The development will see the northern corner of Manchester city centre fully connected with the retail core and surrounding communications links, including the Green Quarter residential development, for the first time since the rise of The Co-op and what became affectionately known as "Co-op quarter." Instead, new businesses will be welcomed into the area and more residential developments will help make the area a "living, breathing," organic place to be.

Starting early 2015

5. MIF is back. Manchester International Festival, the biennial arts and culture festival of global acclaim, is back. Taking over Manchester's arty hot spots for a little over two-weeks, MIF will see Professor Brian Cox and Peter Saville collaborate to tell the tale of how the Universe began and where we fit into the story, + much more yet to be announced. The festival is an amazing thing, with tonnes of pop-up, free to attend art works around the city, complimenting and often connected to the works in the city's theatres, galleries and show spaces. Very much worth a trip!

2nd July - 19th July

Candle Light Vigil

6. Manchester Pride turns 25. Manchester's premier LGBT+ pride festival turns 25, after a quarter of a century raising money and eyebrows for Manchester's LGBT+ community and HIV/AIDS charities. The event has sparked much controversy over the years, as ticket prices rose and charitable donations fell, but the charity has always managed to whip Manchester into an excited frenzy and hold a right gay old party over the August bank holiday weekend, a party recognised as the top Pride event by numerous awarding bodies. Highlights include the Pride Parade (Saturday), Main stage acts (throughout) and the Candle Light Vigil (Monday).

August Bank Holiday Weekend

7.  Trams and train, fit for purpose. The development of the MetroLink Second City Crossing and refurbishment of Manchester Victoria Station will come to a close in 2015, sparking a renaissance for Manchester light and heavy rail communications services. Further developments will continue, including the proposed HS2 stops at Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport and the HS3 connections (via the Ordsall Viaduct) between Manchester and neighbouring Northern cities. But, this phase of the upgrade will see a new MetroLink stop at Exchange Square, an "urban oasis" green space at the new Deansgate-Castlefield MetroLink stop and the unveiling of Manchester Victoria, a beautiful old station with a new roof, purpose and lease of life.

Throughout 2015