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An immersive light show featuring projected birds ‘flying’ across buildings is touring Manchester and Salford

Make sure you don’t miss this!

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Chris Payne

The travelling art installation Mystery Bird has officially landed in our city, bringing a magical story to the people of Salford and Manchester. The tour will take place over the coming days, visiting families and residential homes across the city.

The travelling ’show’ has been created by a collection of artists from the North West whose combined skills in model-making, projection, design, sound, augmented reality and even beatboxing have brought this spectacular piece to life. 

The Mystery Bird is a giant birdcage filled with projected birds and accompanied by a bespoke soundscape, which will be released to ‘fly’ across buildings, trees and the streets of Greater Manchester. 

Chris Payne

In addition to the Mystery Bird travelling installation, Quays Culture worked with artist Jack Hardiker to create a special free Instagram filter so users can welcome the birds into their own homes and gardens via their mobiles. 

Using the filter, Quays Culture are also asking for the public to share a video of their own Mystery Bird experience that will be collated into a community film to share the joy of the experience with the nation.

To get involved follow these steps: 

  • Open the filter via the Quays Culture Instagram and record the birds flying around you.
  • Make bird sounds to release more birds!
  • Save the video to your camera roll and email to mysterybird@quaysculture.com
  • Tag @quayscultureuk in your IG videos #mysterybird

The idea has taken inspiration from the public’s heightened awareness of nature during the pandemic, offering solace, comfort, motivation and relaxation.

Programme Producer at Quays Culture, and Co-Creator of Mystery Bird, Jude Jagger said of the project: “So many people mentioned enjoying birds, listening to birdsong and getting involved with nature in general during the first lockdown.”

Co-Creator Gemma Saunders added: “Despite Covid-19 being devastating there are some aspects of this situation that have made us re-focus on important factors in our lives. We want to play that back to people and deliver an ‘art at your front door’ wonder that will be truly special.”

Manchester based beatboxer and vocal sculptor Singh is best known for the Tweet Music album, commissioned by the National Trust after research found that listening to bird song before you are twelve makes people calmer and boosts positivity. And indeed, listening to bird song is relaxing, soothing and a re-connect to nature for all age groups.

This latest work features endangered birds on the RSPB list and local birds like the Willow Tit (a regular in Wigan), Grasshopper Warbler, Lapwing, tree Sparrows, Starlings plus ‘saved’ birds like the Peregrine Falcon intertwined by his electronic score, creating the sounds, rhythms and feelings of bird song. This premiere performance will be broadcast from the travelling installation.

“This work celebrates all birds, big and small; birds with personalities, displayers, the gangster birds as I call them – the sparrows; birds that people aren’t familiar with.  I hope my work will connect everyone to the amazing creatures in our life that perhaps we haven’t noted until now,” said Singh.

Chris Payne

The birds themselves have been created by artist Helen Musselwhite. She said: “I have worked with these six birds, some of whom aren’t commonly known, to show their personality, their lives and their passions. I show the birds in flight, banking, swooping, flying and static. I have ‘lived’ these birds for months and want to share their story. It is the story of us all at present; a feeling of being trapped, unsure, not able to be free – that is the Mystery Bird story.”

Helen worked with animators Illuminos to make the birds ‘come to life’, and Jack Hardiker has produced an Augmented Reality element for the public to interact with.

Rob Vale and Matt Vale, from Illuminos, are tasked with bringing the birds to life. They have spent months studying the six birds to then animate them realistically.

Chris Payne

“It has been fascinating to watch the movements of the group as they are so different,” said Illuminos director Rob. “The Willow Tit for example is a nervous jumpy bird. It jumps around and then perches. The Grasshopper Warbler sits with its head down and makes a strange insect noise then leaps straight ahead and starts it’s strange performance over again.”

“The Starlings are so interesting too,” said Matt. “They run and rattle about then hop around. The characters of the birds are so different and it has been incredible to bring them to life.”

The team at Illuminos had the huge challenge of how to present the birds in a cage, fabricated by M3 Industries, with a 360 degree viewing programme whilst travelling on a moving vehicle.

Mystery Bird is on until this Sunday, December 13th, and will be touring neighbourhoods in Salford and Manchester so keep your eyes peeled.

Keep up to date on the Mystery Bird website, or on Quays Culture’s socials, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

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LS Lowry’s Sunday Afternoon painting to go on public display for first time in 57 years

It will go on display for the first time in 57 years before it goes to auction

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Christie's

LS Lowry’s painting Sunday Afternoon is to go on public display for the first time in 57 years.

The painting, worth more than £4 million will go on display in Christie’s London on March 13th before it goes to auction on March 20th.

Lowry, who was born in Stretford in 1887, painted industrial districts in Greater Manchester and around the North West. He mainly depicted Salford in his works.

Christie’s

Laurence Stephen Lowry’s Sunday Afternoon illustrates a densely populated industrial landscape, which shows what Lowry described as the ‘battle of life’. 

Before his death in 1976 at the age of 88, Lowry produced more than 1,000 artworks.

Auctioneers expect the painting to go for between £4 million and £6 million at the Modern British and Irish Art Evening Sale on March 20th.

Wally Gobetz / Flickr

The artwork was previously sold at the Christies in 1967 for a ‘record price’ and was obtained from the collection of Keith Showering, who was a former chief executive of Europe’s biggest drinks business Allied Breweries.

Phillip Harley, senior director at Christie’s, said: “Sunday Afternoon by LS Lowry will return to the public eye at Christie’s for the first time since it was last seen here 57 years ago.

“This important painting has remained in the collection of Sir Keith and Lady Showering since 1967, offering a once-in-a-generation opportunity to acquire a work of this magnitude and scale.

Gerald England / Geograph

“The composition represents the wonder the artist felt as he recorded his many observations of the evolving society around him.

“We are thrilled to bring Sunday Afternoon back to auction in the Modern British and Irish Art Evening Sale. We look forward to welcoming our clients and visitors alike to view the painting when it goes on free display in London on 13 March.”

LS Lowry’s Sunday Afternoon will go on public display at the Christie’s London from March 13th to 20th.

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Justin Timberlake announces Manchester show as part of huge world tour

Timberlake will bring his tour to Manchester’s huge new music arena in August 2024

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Co-op Live

Justin Timberlake has announced the much anticipated European and UK leg of his momentous The Forget Tomorrow World Tour – and he’s coming to Manchester.

The ‘Cry Me A River’, ‘SexyBack’ and ‘Rock Your Body’ hitmaker will perform live on stage at the huge brand new indoor music arena Co-op Live this summer.

Timberlake will tour at three UK arenas including Utilita Arena, Birmingham on August 7th, Co-op Live, Manchester on August 8th and The O2, London on August 11th 2024.

Co-op Live

Fans can expect to dance along to their all-time favourite Timberlake hits along with songs from his forthcoming new album Everything I Thought It Was such as ‘Selfish’ and his latest single ‘Drown’ out now. 

His sixth studio album Everything I Thought It Was will be out on March 15th.

Last month, Timberlake dropped his single and music video ‘Selfish’, which garnered over 57 million worldwide streams and over 14 million views on YouTube. 

The former Disney and NSYNC star also made a special musical guest performance on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, where he performed his single ‘Selfish’ and ‘Sanctified’, featuring Tobe Nwigwe.

Co-op Live

Throughout his career, Justin Timberlake has sold over 54 million albums and 63 million singles globally, and a further 70 million records as the lead vocalist of NSYNC.

He’s won ten GRAMMY Awards across the pop, dance and R&B genres, including his successful solo albums Man of the Woods, The 20/20 Experience, FutureSex/LoveSounds, and his debut solo album, Justified – as well as his collaborations with Jay-Z.

Co-op Live – Europe’s most sustainable music-first arena – is edging closer to its official opening in April this year, when a diverse range of global superstars will head to Manchester.

Expected to be the busiest UK arena opening season ever, Co-op Live will host 25 shows within its first month of opening. 

Co-op Live

A joint venture between Oak View Group and City Football Group and backed by pop-singer Harry Styles, Co-op Live has been designed to transform the live music experience for both artists and fans and is set to host some of the biggest acts from around the globe.

Co-op Members will be first in-line with exclusive access to presale tickets along with other exclusive benefits. 

Presale tickets to see Justin Timberlake perform at Co-op Live in Manchester this August will be available at 10am on February 28th, 2024. You can get presale tickets by signing up to be a Co-op Member HERE.

General onsale tickets go live at 10am on March 1st.

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Europe’s biggest Irish Festival returns to Manchester with live music and epic parade

Come along for the craic!

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Democracy / Press photo & Engin Akyurt / Pexels

The Manchester Irish Festival celebrating the culture and heritage of the Emerald Isle is set to descend on the city again next month.

Ten days of Irish revelry will take over the city from March 8th-17th, shining a light on its vibrant community and flooding the city with live music and dancing, including the ‘best St Patrick’s Day celebrations outside of Ireland’. 

Manchester’s Irish Festival is Europe’s biggest Irish festival, hosting 200 events across the city including a lively pop-up festival village, a legendary parade with more than 30 colourful and impressive floats featuring dancers and bands, through to a 12-hour St Patrick’s Day party. 

Colin Home / Press photo

With so many activities and events available, here are the top 10 you won’t want to miss: 

  • The Irish Parade

The Irish World Heritage Centre will once again provide the starting point for this year’s Irish Parade, happening on March 10th from 12pm. 

The parade will return to its full glory, with incredible floats featuring hundreds of people showcasing the culture, heritage, sounds and joy of the Manchester Irish community. 

Local organisations and communities will be flying their county flags and Manchester’s vast array of Irish dance teams will dazzle spectators with glittering costumes, as marching bands bring the sounds of the Emerald Isle to the streets of Manchester.

Manchester’s Finest Group

The route will see the parade – sponsored by local Irish construction group Blue Central – travel along Cheetham Hill Road, to the AO Arena, passing Manchester Fort, before turning around, and heading back to the Irish World Heritage Centre – lasting approximately two hours. 

  • Irish Festival Village

All roads lead to the Irish Festival Village – filled with vibrant pop-up venues on St Ann’s Square, all taking place under a huge tent.

Visitors can expect the best of live Irish music, a huge screen showing Ireland’s Six Nations games, Manchester’s creamiest pint of Guinness and mouth watering Irish-themed food. The Irish Festival Village launches on the 8th March and will run right up to St Patrick’s Day, on March 17th.

Marco d’Itri / Flickr
  • Ceili-Cise

This Ceili-Cise dancing class for adults promises a fun and friendly atmosphere for beginners. Based in Levenshulme’s Klondyke, anyone can join this event which will take place from 5:30pm on March 11th. 

  • St Patrick’s Day at O’Sheas

Manchester’s iconic Irish bar is back with a huge day of shenanigans for St Patrick’s Day. Entry during the day is free with their famous Irish Breakfast served from 10am and the very best of live music throughout the day from Lochin, Joe Keegan and Green Hot Clover. 

  • Damien Dempsey

After a triumphant run of sold out Summer dates across Ireland last year, Irish sensation, Damien Dempsey has announced a tour for March 2024 with dates in England and Scotland including performing at the Manchester Club Academy on Saturday, March 9th. 

@osheasirishbar / Instagram
  • John McSherry Trio performance

Hailed as a ‘true master’ of music according to Irish Music Magazine, John McSherry will launch ‘Féile’, the live debut album of the John McSherry Trio. Watch them perform on March 17th, at 8pm at Band on the Wall. 

  • Palace Nightclub Reunion Quiz

This event is a reunion for Palace nightclub in Levenshulme that opened in 1989. The Irish Club hosted some of the biggest names in Irish Entertainment, and this quiz night will be hosted in Hennigan’s Sports Bar – just a stone’s throw away from the original nightclub. This will take place from 7pm on March 12th. 

@osheasirishbar / Instagram
  • Irish National Studies Conference

Attend talks from social historians and more, providing a space to learn and network. Centred at the Irish World Heritage Centre from 9am, this day exploring identity will be accompanied by Irish music from the McGuire family. 

  • Limerick Competition

A limerick competition is a fun event to get the whole family involved in. On March 13th, the Bowling Green, in Chorlton, will be hosting this competition, so brush up on some Edward Lear and give it a go. 

Mikey / Flickr
  •  St Patricks Day at Rustik West Didsbury

Venture outside of the City Centre to West Didsbury and you’ll come across Rusitk, the only place to be around St Patricks Day if you’re on Burton Road. Two weeks of non stop live music, the Cheltenham festival races, mouth-watering food and creamy pints of Guinness. Events happening from March 12th – 17th.

Sláinte!

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