Manchester’s First Street development is turning around 20 acres of city centre land into a pioneering mixed-use centre for synergistic art and business, and at the heart of the project sits the hugely impressive HOME — a £25 million cultural hub and events space from Dutch architects Mecanoo that enjoyed a successful opening weekend at the end of May.
Merging the much-loved Cornerhouse and Library Theatre Company operations, the new base boasts five cinema screens, a 500-seat theatre, a 150-seat “flexible” theatre, a cavernous 500 sqm exhibition space, digital production and broadcast facilities, and a café-bar and restaurant. Manchester City Council stumped up £19 million of the total cost, with Arts Council England’s lottery fund providing another £5 million and the remainder coming from fundraising pledges and initiatives including sizeable contributions from the Garfield Weston Foundation (£250,000) and The Granada Foundation (£150,000). Patrons of the centre include film director Danny Boyle, local actress Suranne Jones, writer and performer Meera Syal and playwright and poet Jackie Kay. Among the first wave of events is the Music & Film series, pairing Manchester musicians including Josephine and GoGo Penguin with 20th Century silent films and archive footage, and the visual arts group show The heart is deceitful above all things which looks at online spam and scamming through film, sculpture, photography and installations, and runs until 26 July.