An updated list of theatres, comedy and music venues
We stopped updating this article on 31st October due to the announcement of the second lockdown; all non-essential retail stores and entertainment venues will close - as well as leisure and personal care facilities - while hospitality can only open on a takeaway basis. The closures will be accompanied by new rules on gatherings and the advice to stay at home unless for purposes such as work that cannot be done remotely or exercise. See the full guidelines here.
Check out our Things to do section for further updates.
It remains a challenging time for performing arts, which nationally reached stage four (socially distanced indoor performances) of the reopening ‘roadmap’ outlined by culture secretary Oliver Dowden on 15th August; in Greater Manchester, this was even later due to local lockdown restrictions. You can see the reopening tale up to stage four in our Octagon article (please note its reopening has since been postponed to early 2021) and the ongoing story at the bottom of this article.
Social distancing regulations unfortunately mean reopening unfeasible for many venues, making that elusive stage five (full reopening) the one that really counts; some such as Waterside have already announced they won't be reopening to the public until 2021 while leading venues such as Royal Exchange have already been forced to make redundancies.and
Despite the devastating hit to profit margins that social distancing entails (something HOME highlights in its quirky empty seat campaign), several Manchester performance venues have nevertheless announced live performances this autumn/winter. See their websites for what’s on and show them some support…
Please note some of these venues opened earlier in other capacities; the dates below reflect the return of theatre, comedy and music with a live audience…
THEATRE AND COMEDY
Frog & Bucket - September
Contact - October
The King's Arms - October
Z Arts - October
HOME - October
Hope Mill Theatre - October
The Lowry - November
Opera House - December
The Whiskey Jar - September
Manchester Academy - October
Albert Hall - October
YES - October
Matt & Phred's - November
For more festivals and happenings putting live performance back on the map, see our.
REOPENING PERFORMING ARTS - THE STORY CONTINUES
With social distancing regulations preventing many venues reopening, and severely affecting those that do, the challenge continues for live performance - which has adapted via everything from online streaming to fundraising compilations and even hosting court cases. Despite increased funding from bodies like Arts Council England, there are fears that chancellor Rishi Sunak’s autumn/winter economy plan will leave many in the sector behind (you can find further analysis in some of the articles below).
Needless to say, it isn’t going down without a fight. Here are some milestones for performing arts and the wider live events industry so far…
29th September: Academy award-winning actor Vanessa Redgrave CBE came to Manchester as part of her campaign to save the arts. The event also included Mayor Andy Burnham, theatre director Marianne Elliott OBE and renowned violinist Jennifer Pike.
-night entertainment venues.
We took a moment today to light our stage up red in solidarity with #WeMakeEvents global action day, calling for support for the live events and entertainment sector. There are so many challenges still to face, and for theatre, gigs, festivals and others to survive we need help. pic.twitter.com/4DXRwn7XmT
— Welcome HOME (@HOME_mcr) September 30, 2020
3rd October: Five industry stalwarts (plus one driving the bus) embarked on a fundraising bike ride from Newcastle to London - via cities including Manchester - as part of the #WeMakeEvents campaign, which also includes the aforementioned Light it in Red.
5th October: The deadline for entering- a prize draw to win tickets to a series of special gigs, raising money for grassroots venues and MVT’s crisis fund - was extended to 26th October.
5th October: This date additionally saw the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) announce a six-month cultural recovery plan for the region; also highlighting the key role our arts organisations play in inspiring communities and promoting wellbeing.
6th October: Rishi Sunak appeared to suggest that those in the arts industry should retrain, prompting outrage across the country. The same day saw hundreds of musicians host a poignant protest outside Parliament; followed, three weeks later, by six days of creative protests from dancers to comedians and technicians.
9th October: The first major tranche of the £1.57 billion culture recovery fund was announced, £103 million for 445 heritage organisations including Manchester venues like Elizabeth Gaskell's House.
10th October: A mural of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis - who sadly took his life at 23 - was unveiled on World Mental Health Day in the Northern Quarter. Created by local artist Akse P19, it was commissioned to launch Headstock Festival, which this year took place online; raising money for Manchester Mind and Help Musicians.
12th October: The second major tranche of the £1.57 billion culture recovery fund was announced after being delayed from 5th October. Recipients of the £257 million fund include theatres, music venues and other art organisations; more here.
17th October: Saturday saw a further round of support, with 588 candidates receiving a share of £76 million nationwide. But the week didn't bring good tidings for everyone, with venues including Waterside and Frog and Bucket seeing their bids rejected.
24th October: Another weekend, another funding announcement; this time £75 million for culture recovery fund applicants of £1-3 million grants, including over £2.85 million to Manchester’s Royal Exchange - unfortunately too late to prevent a recent round of redundancies but vital support in the months to come - and £620K for Bolton Octagon, not the £1 million-plus applied for but much welcomed nevertheless; this was followed by a £54,768 grant from the National Lottery Community Fund in November.
The same day saw Hope Mill criticised for its COVID-19 reopening measures; can’t do right for doing wrong?
28th October: As the Nightingale Hospital North West prepared to reopen, part of the fight against COVID-19, we investigated how event venues like its host Manchester Central are struggling; already, fellow conference and exhibition centre EventCity has announced it will close in March.
Main image: Neil Winward