Manchester added more reason for confirmation that it is fast-becoming the cultural hub of the country by officially opening the £25m HOME arts centre this week. Danny Boyle, the man who opened up the London Olympics, saw hundreds flock to see this new arts addition to the city.
With a stunning firework display marking the opening ceremony, the Hollywood film director – who is also a patron of HOME – kicked off the #HOMEwarming weekend on Thursday. Live choir and music, DJs and a fun-fair style evening made it a night to remember as the evening program promised a jam-packed Bank holiday weekend of art, film, theatre and more partying.
Boyle delivered a speech to open the venue, which includes two theatres, five cinema screens, a restaurant and an art gallery. He praised the city council for having “the courage to put their money where their mouth is about the importance of culture economically and socially”.
Home is a replacement for Manchester’s much-loved Cornerhouse cinema and gallery and Library Theatre Company. Boyle said cultural venues could stimulate economic growth, but that Manchester should not be seen as a competitor to the capital.
He said the city has to stop thinking about rivalling London. “That’s one of the things I feel very strongly. People were saying to me [Home] is like the Barbican. It’s not like the Barbican at all. It’s much better than the Barbican”, he said.
However Ben Walmsley, a lecturer in audience engagement at the University of Leeds, queried why so much money was being spent in Manchester. “There are people looking over the Pennines and wondering why all this investment’s going into Manchester and if it needs to be more equally spread perhaps across the north of England and different communities”, he said.
Whether for or against it, the new arts centre is teeming with things to do and see this weekend with fantastic prizes being given away to visitors who share their visual experiences of the new kid of Manchester’s arty block.
TNT will be giving you more feedback of the centre as the weekend progresses.