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Manchester’s museums and arts venues open late for one night only and everyone’s invited


Familiar venues and spaces will transform into places of wonder and curiosity on Thursday May 18th to celebrate Manchester After Hours, an annual night of citywide culture, part of a UK-wide Museums at Night arts extravaganza.

There are 15 original and exciting events to discover and experience right across the city  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. And most of them free.

Here’s a taste of what to expect…

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 and 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.

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, 7.30-9pm. Free

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.

The John Rylands Library, performances at 7pm and 8.30pm (arrival on time recommended, space limited). 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.

Chetham’s Library, Long Millgate, 7.30-10.30pm. Free

Fred’s 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 supplied by Fred Aldous.

Fred Aldous, Lever Street, 6-9pm. Free

Art Walk

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.

Starts at Manchester Art Gallery (Mosley Street), stops at HOME (Tony Wilson Place), finishes at Castlefield Gallery (Hewitt Street). 5.30-7.30pm. Free

Hey! Manchester On The Buses

For one night only, TfGM’s Metroshuttle #2 bus will follow an extended route to join up all 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.

Thursday 18th May from 5pm.

For more information and full programme

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