Journey into the unknown this Thursday 18th May with Manchester After Hours (MAH) and explore the city’s rich and vibrant arts and music scene as never before. Familiar venues and spaces transform into places of wonder and curiosity as one-off and unusual couplings form in celebration of this annual night of city wide culture – part of the UK wide Museums at Night arts extravaganza.
From gigs on wheels, video installations projected onto landmark aircraft and live musical experiences staged within the city’s most treasured literary collections to internationally acclaimed sound collectives, contemporary music performed from the heart of one of the city’s oldest buildings plus walking art tours, hands-on digital innovation and even a spot of football – there are 15 original, largely free and exciting events to discover and experience right across the city throughout this unique evening, co-ordinated by Creative Tourist.
Embark on your cultural exploration with a ride on TfGM’s Metroshuttle 2 for a special and musical Manchester After Hours route, joining the dots between many of the evening’s events. For one night only, Metroshuttle 2 will operate an extended route stopping within a 1-4 minute walk of every participating MAH venue - enabling visitors to experience as much of the evening’s line-up as possible whilst being entertained on route. Travel on board is free throughout the evening and features intimate and live performances programmed by acclaimed local music promoter, Hey! Manchester.
Here is a list of the events happening throughout the city on the night...
Exclusive Look at Object Lessons
Manchester Museum is keeping its doors open late for an exclusive look at its major new exhibition, Object Lessons. Showcasing a selection of outstanding and rare pieces from the private collection of George Loudon, an art collector fascinated by 19th century life science teaching objects, the exhibition features Blaschka glass models of soft-bodied animals, made using techniques no one has been able to replicate.
6-8pm, Manchester Museum, part of The University of Manchester, Oxford Road / Free (drop in)
Thursday Lates: NTS Takeover
Cult online radio station NTS Radio brings DJs and visual artists to the Whitworth for a night of left-field music and off-kilter video projections. Expect idiosyncratic playlists and a party atmosphere within the gallery’s impressive surrounds.
7-11pm (entrance after 9pm through Parkside entrance only), the Whitworth part of The University of Manchester, Oxford Road / Free (drop in)
Bad Language at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House
Multi award-winning literature organisers Bad Language present an immersive evening of storytelling in the beautifully-restored surrounds of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. The city’s finest writers and live performers will read specially-commissioned pieces responding to the living history of the house of Elizabeth Gaskell, author of Mary Barton and North and South, in a promenade style performance.
5-9pm, performances 6.30-9pm, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, Plymouth Grove / Free
Juliet the Moon: A Live Installation for the Reading Room
RNCM composers Philippos Rousiamanis and Deane Smith have written two new works specially for Central Library’s Reading Room, featuring extracts from letters sent between Frank Merrick, pianist and tutor at RNCM, and his wife Hope Squires throughout Merrick’s imprisonment during WWI for being an opponent to the war effort. Exploring themes of loss and intimacy, the two pieces are performed by an ensemble of singers and cellists, with singing glasses. There will also be a display of letters, programmes, articles and other materials uncovered during the RNCM’s research into Manchester’s musical life in the First World War.
6-8pm, Manchester Central Library, St Peter’s Square / Free (drop in)
First to see
Manchester Art Gallery stays open late for the launch night of two new exhibitions: be among the first to see Shirley Baker: Women, Children and Loitering Men, a showcase of the trailblazing British street photographer’s work around the urban clearance programmes in Manchester and Salford from the 1960s onwards, as well as an exhibition that spans South Asian craft over the last three centuries - including ceramics, textiles and metalwork from Manchester City Galleries’ historic collections that have been specially conserved for display - alongside the contemporary art it has inspired.
7.30-9pm, Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street / Free (drop in)
Breaking the Sound Barrier: The Delia Derbyshire Legacy
The John Rylands Library presents unpredictable, evocative and outstanding performances by female artists whose sound and method echoes that of Delia Derbyshire, a pioneer of electronic music at the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop who contributed to the original Dr Who theme tune.
7-9.15pm, performances at 7pm and 8.30pm (arrival on time recommended, space limited), The John Rylands Library, Deansgate / Free
Soup Kitchen present Wouter van Veldhoven at Chetham’s Library
Coupling cutting-edge music with Manchester city centre’s oldest building, award-winning venue Soup Kitchen has programmed an experimental electronics installation from Dutch musician Wouter van Veldhoven and special guests in the atmospheric surrounds of Chetham’s medieval Baronial Hall.
7.30-10.30pm, Chetham’s Library, Long Millgate / Free (drop in)
@SoupKitchen_Mcr @chethamslibrary @WvVeldhoven
Pelé: Art, Life, Football After Hours
Caipirinha cocktails and live Samba music feature in this launch of the National Football Museum’s next major exhibition. Pelé: Art, Life, Football traces the stages of the Brazilian icon’s life and career in the spotlight - from Santos to New York via four World Cups - through international art, photographs and iconic items from the National Football Museum’s own collection, and those owned by private collectors.
6-10pm, National Football Museum, Urbis Building / Free (drop in)
Freds at Night IV: Make Stuff
Fred Aldous and MadLab’s evening of free workshops and activities across three floors of the art supplies shop in Stevenson Square includes an opportunity to create a piece of wearable tech, use conductive paint, have a 3D portrait made, or go on a Virtual Reality journey - to Everest or the Milky Way, and beyond. Drinks are supplied by Fred Aldous.
6-9pm, Fred Aldous, Lever Street / Free (drop in)
Be Our Guest
Bad Uncle and Manchester Craft & Design Centre join forces to present a showcase of art, music and performance by practitioners based around the North West, inspired by the work of Alan Menken, the Oscar winning musical theatre and film composer best known for his scores for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Pocahontas.
6-9pm, Manchester Craft & Design Centre, Oak Street / Free (drop in)
Film Focus: Big City Little Man
A Chinese tea tasting experience from CFCCA partner Tea Mandala opens this one-off screening of Big City Little Man, a short silent film by renowned Hong Kong street photographer Ho Fan. Telling the story of a man who is lost in a big city, pretending to be someone he is not, Big City Little Man is followed by She Said Why Me, another short film by filmmaker, video artist, curator and critic May Fung, in which a woman walks blindfold from an ancient countryside temple to a bustling city.
6-8pm, tea tasting on arrival, screening 6.15-7.15pm, Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA), Thomas Street / £3adv from Eventbrite and the CFCCA shop
Now You See Me Now You Don't
The Museum of Science and Industry has teamed up with Islington Mill’s Engine House Collective to create an audio-visual installation that uses enveloping sound, atmospheric lighting and bold projections directly onto the Air and Space Hall’s enormous Avro Shackleton aircraft - once used as an eye in the sky in the pre-digital age - in order to explore ideas around surveillance. Immerse yourself, or try your hand at creating your own visual designs.
7.30-10pm, with a special live music performance at 9.30pm, Museum of Science and Industry, Liverpool Street / Free (drop in)
Hey! Manchester On The Buses
For one night only, TfGM’s Metroshuttle 2 bus will follow an extended route to join up all of the events happening as part of Manchester After Hours, stopping within a 1-4 minute walk of every venue. Travel is free throughout the evening, and includes intimate live performances programmed by music promoter Hey! Manchester.
7-11pm, stops within 1-4 minute walking distance of every venue / Free
This walking tour for Manchester After Hours and TfGM’s Walking Festival is a unique chance to experience three of the city’s top exhibitions in a new way: exclusive introductions will be given to Jai Redman: Paradise Lost at Manchester Art Gallery, La Movida at HOME and Andrew McDonald at Castlefield Gallery in this after hours Art Walk coordinated by Castlefield Gallery.
5.30-7.30pm, begins at Manchester Art Gallery (Mosley Street), stops at HOME (Tony Wilson Place), finishes at Castlefield Gallery (Hewitt Street) / Free (drop in)
@CastlefieldGall @HOME_mcr @mcrartgallery
Manchester After Hours forms part of the national Museums At Night celebrations taking place across the UK in May - which aim to offer one off and exciting collaborations and cultural partnerships between venues and city-wide spaces that would not otherwise come together or open their doors after dark. Creative Tourist is the originator of Manchester After Hours and supplies the energy, ideas and the tools behind a collaboration which brings together museums, galleries, arts organisations and local producers across the city.