Live entertainment venues, museum transformations, a poetry library…and that’s just for starters
£6.6 million leisure venue for young people, welcomed its first members
(Please note these are only rough opening dates, as the ongoing pandemic may change plans; indeed, some venues were due to open this year and have already been postponed)
MANCHESTER POETRY LIBRARY | MMU | January
Based at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), this will be the North West’s first public poetry library. Built on the site of a former Singer sewing machine factory, it will hold late 19th, 20th and 21st century poetry in English from around the world - as well as journals, pamphlets, books, collections, anthologies, audio recordings, films, press, poetry for children and poetry in translation. The library will also run events series, reading groups, workshops, performances and more.
In other literary news, this summer saw the launch of HarperNorth, a new northern office from publishing giant HarperCollins. Other upcoming openings include Stanfords - the world's biggest map and travel bookshop, which plans to open a branch in St Ann’s Arcade - and the £20 million transformation of Crumpsall's library and leisure centre.
MANCHESTER JEWISH MUSEUM | Cheetham Hill | Spring
It’s an exciting time for Manchester Jewish Museum, which is temporarily residing in Manchester Central Library. As part of a £5 million two-year masterplan, its Grade II-listed synagogue (built in 1874, and the oldest of its kind in Manchester) is being restored and repaired, while a massive two-storey extension will see the museum double in size. Find out more about the Central Library pop-up (temporarily closed due to COVID-19) and transformation here.
53TWO | Watson Street | Spring
After obtaining planning permission late 2019, arts charity 53two (which formerly occupied the old Bauer Millet showrooms) was set to begin development of a new, fully accessible 150-seater theatre, arts bar and venue - spanning two Grade II* listed arches on Watson Street - early this year, however plans were delayed due to COVID-19. The organisation now plans to launch the theatre bar in spring 2021, and the wider theatre space at a later date TBC.
SPECIAL EXHIBITIONS GALLERY | Museum of Science & Industry | Easter
Transforming the lower floor of the Grade II-listed New Warehouse, the Science and Industry Museum’s new £5m Special Exhibitions Gallery - by award-winning architectural practice Carmody Groarke - will launch with a Top Secret: From Ciphers to Cyber Security exhibition next Easter. Find out more about the new gallery here (please note the October 2020 opening date has been postponed due to COVID-19). The museum’s Power Hall is also currently undergoing restoration and is now due to reopen in 2022.
RHS GARDEN BRIDGEWATER | Worsley New Hall | May
This spectacular new 154-acre garden will transform the historic grounds of Salford’s Worsley New Hall into a beautiful green place for the local community and visitors to enjoy all year round. One of the most significant events in the 215-year history of the RHS, and its first new garden for nearly 20 years, the garden will bring world-class horticulture and a host of health and wellbeing benefits, within an hour’s journey of 8.2 million people in the Greater Manchester region. It’s one of a series of major green spaces set to open, also including two large city centre parks (Mayfield and Symphony) and the Northern Roots project in Oldham.
BAND ON THE WALL | Northern Quarter | September
Band on the Wall’s long-standing plans to expand the venue and restore its derelict ‘Cocozza’ building are to bear fruit next September following successful funding applications to Arts Council England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and a series of foundation grants. It’s not all good news however; the historic non-for-profit institution recently had to make 26 redundancies and close until the works are completed due to the effects of COVID-19 - statement here.
FASHION GALLERY | Manchester Art Gallery |November
Once housed in a separate venue, Platt Hall, Manchester Art Gallery’s costume collection will be joining the museum’s other exhibits next year thanks to a new Fashion Gallery; which will launch in November with an exhibition on the male image and ‘dandy’ style. Platt Hall itself is currently under review, as curators work with local communities to decide on its future use; more here.
VARIOUS | TraffordCity | 2021-22
In what is a slightly convoluted chain of events, the humungous 28-acre site currently occupied by EventCity is to become ain 2022/3, after planning was approved this year. EventCity will therefore be relocating into a new purpose-built building on the Soccerdome site, where it’s set to open in April 2021, and Fives Soccer Centre - formerly based in Soccerdome - will meanwhile be getting that’s also due to open 2021. Did you get that? We told you it was convoluted.
Update Sept 2020: EventCity announced it is permanently closing in March 2021 so will no longer be relocating; TraffordCity owners Peel L&P are considering other leisure options for the Soccerdome site.
In other news, the Trafford Centre - based in TraffordCity but no longer owned by Peel - is now up for sale, after owners intu entered administration in June. Shoppers can currently still visit the centre as normal.
THE WATERGARDENS | MediaCityUK | TBA
Another Peel L&P venture, and part of a £26 million development to Quayside MediaCityUK, The Watergardens - ‘Manchester’s only waterfront leisure and dining destination’ - promises a variety of restaurants, bars and coffee shops plus new waterfront terrace and two-storey ‘glasshouse.’ Other features include The Treehouse restaurant, and ITV’s new I’m A Celebrity Jungle Challenge.
CANVAS MANCHESTER | Circle Square | TBA
Subject to planning permission, this ‘first-of-its-kind’ lifestyle venue will open in the ongoing Circle Square development on Oxford Road. Spearheaded by music events and entertainment specialists BeSixth, it will feature three distinctive spaces; Canvas Kitchen (a restaurant), Canvas Club (a private members’ club) and Canvas Events (an events space) - find out more in our article. Other public amenities at Circle Square - which also features workspace, homes and hotels - will include 100,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space; including a variety of boutique retailers, restaurants, bars and cafes centred on Symphony Park. Confirmed brands so far include fitness studio .
PRINTWORKS 2.0 | Printworks | TBA
The Printworks has been granted planning permission for a £9 million redevelopment, which includes the introduction of Europe’s largest indoor digital ceiling. Measuring 1,300m², the ceiling will create a ‘canvas for fully immersive visual and audio experiences’ and will be accompanied by a large interactive screen situated in the central Pump Yard for social gaming and more. Following Treetop Adventure Golf and Escape Reality, Printworks will also be welcoming another activity-led venue in Tenpin Bowling.
HAT WORKS | Stockport | TBA
Stockport’s iconic Hat Works closed in 2019 for some important redevelopments, which were due to be completed in time for its 20th anniversary this year…the coronavirus pandemic, however, put a spanner in the millinery machine. Plans include the development of the Gallery of Hats, including a new learning space and more of the collection on display, and restoration to the Victorian hatting machines on the factory floor.
OLDHAM MUSEUM AND ARCHIVES (OMA) | Oldham | TBA
Transforming the former Oldham Library building into a new arts and heritage centre, this £13 million project will offer three new state-of-the-art galleries, a modern archive facility for local and family history and a performance space offering a diverse programme of music, comedy, talks and theatre - plus new shop, café and bar. It forms part of a wider plan to regenerate the town alongside an improved cultural offer.
THE FACTORY | St John’s | 2022
Manchester International Festival’s new home was due to open in 2021 but is now forecast for 2022. While construction is now underway at its home of St John’s, the new neighbourhood being developed at the former site of Old Granada Studios, the arts centre has been plagued by delays and price hikes. Meanwhile MIF continues to support young people and creatives via various schemes such as Factory Academy.
Update Oct 2020: The Factory costs were increased yet another £45 million, taking its budget to a whopping £186 million. Completion is now due in December 2022.
HELLO FUTURE | Manchester Museum | August 2022
It’s already the UK’s largest university museum but Manchester Museum is set to get even bigger thanks to Hello Future; a £13.5million capital expansion. At its heart will be an ‘architecturally exceptional, two-storey extension,’ which (together with extensive reconfiguration of existing spaces), will create: a major new Exhibition Hall, a South Asia Gallery in partnership with the British Museum, a Chinese Culture Gallery, the world’s first Centre for Age Friendly Culture and more inclusive features. During construction, the museum - which is set to reopen in September after closing due to COVID-19 - will remain open.
HOPWOOD HALL ESTATE | Middleton | TBA
This bizarre true story has seen Hollywood writer and performer Hopwood DePree forsake the sunny stardom of Los Angeles…to restore his crumbling ancestral home in Middleton. DePree, who is charting the mammoth task of renovating the dilapidated Grade II* manor house via comedy shows and a YouTube channel, eventually hopes to open the site as a community centre. The Hall already has a lively group of volunteers, and is involving the local community in activities such as restoring its leaded glass windows.
And if all that doesn't make you feel hopeful about the future, read more: Manchester arts and culture - what’s reopening when?