I’m a freelance journalist and published poet, based in Manchester.
Published September 12th 2015
Go home for art’s sake
A mixture of classics and world premieres, cross-art and multimedia is at the heart of HOME'S new season.
Manchester's new centre for contemporary visual art, theatre and film opened in May 2015 and is resisting any temptation to put its feet up and have a rest.
Speaking at the launch event for the new season, Dave Moutrey, Director and Chief Executive, said he wanted HOME to be a people-place and not a cultural palace. With this in mind, the organisation offers educational events and apprenticeships, as well as working with established names.
Here is a completely subjective pick of the season's highlights:
Theatre Company 1927 ask who or what is in control of our technologies.
Mixing live performance, music, film and animation, Golem follows the life of a man who buys a golem - a creature who will improve the efficiency of his daily affairs. But things don't quite unravel as he hoped they might.
The play is directed and written by Manchester Metropolitan University drama graduate Suzanne Andrade.
The turbulent period in German history between 1919 and 1933, which saw an economy spiraling out of control and the rise of the Nazi Party, will be explored in a carefully chosen series of cinema. Films such as Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, The Golem and Metropolis, will make the case for this period being one of the most fertile in German cinema or cinema as a whole. They include a preview screening of Rudiger Suchsland's documentary From Caligari to Hitler. The series coincides with 1927's production of Golem.
More familiar to TV audiences as Roy Cropper and Peter Barlow in Coronation Street, actors David Neilson and Chris Gascoyne are the protagonists in Samuel Beckett's Endgame.
The play and production offers laughter and despair in roughly equal measure, as chair-bound Hamm (David Neilson) engages in brutal, verbal jousting with his dutiful companion Clov (Chris Gascoyne). Endgame is a co-production between HOME and Glasgow's Citizen Theatre.
AL & AL, Icarus at the Edge of Time, Courtesy the artists
4) Incidents of Travel in the Multiverse
6 February - 27th March
A live concert hall performance with music by Philip Glass, is just one element of artists AL and AL's (Al Holmes and Al Taylor) ) project inspired by both science and science fiction. The concert will feature visuals by AL and AL and will take its place alongside film and an exhibition by the artists. AL and AL have drawn inspiration from Einstein's theory of general relativity, computer pioneer Alan Turing and nanobiophysicist Dr Bart Hoogenboom.
Speaking to HOME, Al Taylor said: "All three journeys in Incidents of Travel are really love stories: they explore a love of art, a love for one another and a love of exploration."
Rounding off the new season and timed to coincide with Easter, Streetwise Opera and The Sixteen will be leaving HOME to present a site-specific opera in the surroundings of Campfield Market Hall. The promenade performance features an abridged version of Bach's oratorio St Matthew Passion. The cast includes performers who have experienced homelessness and they have jointly written a new 'resurrection' finale with Sir James MacMillan. The composer is famous for both his orchestral and choral music, as well as his conducting.
The theatre component of HOME's new season also includes Macbeth and The Oresteia, written two and a half thousand years ago and first performed in Athens in 485 BC, The trilogy of Greek tragedies is condensed into one play for the HOME performance, in a translation by former Poet Laureate Ted Hughes.
Walter Meierjohann, Artistic Director, Theatre said: "I'm thrilled about our upcoming season. We span 2,500 years with three playwrights who defined the history of theatre: Aeschylus, William Shakespeare and Samuel Beckett. At HOME, we welcome highly original theatre makers bringing us new stories or original perspectives on familiar stories."
Dave Moutrey said: "Our aim is to continuously find new ways of developing cross art form links, but also to create a HOME for everyone that introduces audiences to new and extraordinary experiences of outstanding art - showing off to the world just what is possible in our amazing new building."
HOME includes a 500-seat theatre, as well as a studio space, five cinema screens, digital productions and broadcast facilities, a café bar and restaurant. It was purpose-built by Dutch architects Mecanoo. Since opening in May, the centre has welcomed 400,000 visitors.
It was formed by the merger of Manchester's Library Theatre Company and Cornerhouse arts centre. The Cornerhouse, which was built in the early 1900s, became an arts centre in 1985, replacing a family-run furniture store. The Library Theatre was officially opened by King George V in 1934. It had to find new venues to perform at, when Manchester Central Library was closed for a major refurbishment in 2010. Chekhov's The Seagull marked the final production by the company, in 2014, at the Lowry, Salford.