Dazzling new images have revealed the vision for Manchester’s ‘first city centre public park’ currently under construction at Mayfield.
The images, shared with the Manchester Evening News by developer The Mayfield Partnership, show how the park’s unique design will be formed around six dramatic towers, all of which will reach ten metres in height and will be shaped like chimneys in tribute to Manchester’s industrial past.
The park, named ‘Mayfield Play Yard’, will cater to children of all ages and abilities with crawl tunnels, elevated rope bridges, eight slides and wheelchair accessible play equipment, and will span more than 6.5-acres in size, making it the largest public playground in the city.
There will also be an 18m-long see-through slide crossing over the newly-restored River Medlock, featuring clear polycarbonate windows.
Mayfield Play Park comes as part of the £1.4billion regeneration project at Mayfield, which includes the construction of thousands of new homes, offices and leisure attractions. The project has been brought to life by The Mayfield Partnership, a public private joint venture partnership between LCR, Manchester City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester and regeneration specialist U+I.
A statement on the Mayfield website reads: “Together, we have a vision for a bustling, buzzing, inclusive world-class urban neighbourhood that’s like nowhere else in the city. We want to create an area with soul that’s a magnet for families, businesses and visitors.
“The long-term plan for Mayfield is to create an iconic, £1bn mixed-use community over the next 10 years, including a 6.5-acre public park, outstanding office space, and unique shopping and leisure experiences.
“Rest assured, as partners we’ve got the skills, experience, intelligence, imagination and audacity to turn the Mayfield vision into a brilliant reality that everyone in Manchester can be proud of.”
Manchester City Council leader Bev Craig added: “Mayfield is one of the key developments creating new opportunities, and crucially significant new public green space for Manchester people to enjoy, in the coming years. The opening of the new park later this year will be a big moment.
“It’s incredibly well-connected, close to Piccadilly Station and will help enhance links with Ardwick, Ancoats and New Islington.
“It’s another vibrant symbol of ongoing confidence in the city’s recovery from the economic impacts of the pandemic and I’m glad we’ve had the opportunity to showcase it to a senior government figure.”
Mayfield Play Park is set for completion this autumn. For more information and updates, visit the Mayfield website.
Contact returns with its annual Vogue Ball for LGBTQ+ festival 2023
Make sure you don’t miss this!
For its 50th anniversary, Contact is set to return with its annual House of Suarez’s Vogue Ball, celebrating the most extraordinary and exciting LGBTQ+ talent, as part of the Queer Contact festival.
Running from February 4th – 18th, Queer Contact festival 2023 will be bigger and brighter than ever, with Drag Race royalty gracing the stage and its annual extra, show-stopping Vogue Ball, presented by House of Suarez , kick-starting a two weeks celebration of queer artistry.
Set to be even more fierce and fabulous, highlights will include Drag Race UK’s talented queens Ginny Lemon and Sister Sister, as well as an evening in conversation with Heartstopper actor and Contact alumni Fisayo Akinade.
Along with the outrageous cabaret Vogue Ball — a yearly highlight for fans of Contact — which will take place at Manchester Academy, it will travel back to the glorious decade of disco for a night of glitter and glam MCed by the iconic, Rikki Beadle-Blair.
Houses from across the UK compete for the coveted titles of best choreography and best design — awarded by an esteemed panel of judges — as they pose and perform in an unapologetic celebration of inclusivity, queerness, and diversity.
Ginny Lemon and Sister Sister, the breakout stars of Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK Season 2, will not fail to live up to their reputations as the most despised queens, as they try to bring the most disappointing drag show you’ve ever seen to the Manchester Stage — as part of their, You Keep Me Hanging On Tour.
In their debut for Queer Contact, this will mark the duo’s first joint show, and promises to be hilarious, if average.
To add another festival highlight, Heartstopper and Cucumber actor Fisayo Akinade will also explore the many different elements that have influenced his life and career. Inspired by Contact’s celebration of its 50th anniversary, an In Conversation with Contact’s artistic director and CEO, Keisha Thompson, will see her talk with him about the 50 things that shaped his career.
One of the breakout comedy acts from the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, comedy performer François Pandolfo will make his debut at this year’s Queer Contact as Milly-Liu, with his ‘one-man-cat-drag-late-night comedy show.’ Join her as she is ready to spill the beans on all your favourite celebrity pussies.
You can also jump onboard the queerest Tardis with Doctor Who inspired entertainment by Carrot and Friends. Be transported through time and space with their cosmic comedy as you experience dimension-defying drag, stratospheric stand-up, burlesque to make a Cyberman blush, and an oncoming storm of many other surprises.
Bradford’s bad girl Lady Bursha will bring her hilarious and iconic drag queen comedy to the stage. Shortlisted for the 2021 BBC New Comedy Awards, Lady Bushra is the brainchild of British Asian comedian Amir. His alter ego Lady Bushra is known for her stand-up comedy, ingenious lipsync performances and one-liners, often seen performing her sold out ‘Drag Comedy Cabaret’ across the nation.
Other cabaret and comedy highlights include a night with the Cocoa Butter Club, an evening in the company of The Bitter Peach’s Peach Chutney Crew, and Luke Hereford brings their autobiographical musical adventures on their journey of queer self-discovery.
CEO and Artistic Director Keisha Thompson said: “We’re so excited to be bringing the best in LGBTQ+ arts and culture together once again for Queer Contact 2023. Our flagship queer arts festival has been central to our mission and vision for over a decade and will continue to cement our spot on Manchester’s cultural map for many more decades to come.
“In 2023, as we celebrate our 50th birthday, Queer Contact is characterised by joy; from a Dr Who-themed cabaret to an evening with Heartstopper’s Fisayo Akinade, we’re here to platform a huge spectrum of queer lived experience; focusing on kindness, community and celebration.”
Tickets for Queer Contact 2023 are now on sale and can be booked via Contact’s website.
Europe’s largest sneaker festival is returning to Manchester this spring
‘Cause there’s nothing like the smell of a fresh box of trainers.
Back by popular demand, Crepe City Sneaker Festival will showcase the rarest and most desirable pairs of trainers as it returns to Manchester this spring.
Prepare to be impressed by an incredible selection of brands as you can expect to see the best trainer vendors from around the city, bringing with them some of the most exclusive sports shoes and streetwear you can find — and tickets are available NOW.
For those early birds, you can bag yourself a free beer or a soft drink as well as the chance to have the first pick of the rarest trainers with an Early Admission ticket.
The event will also be a great experience with a live host, plus Manchester DJs pumping out the tunes throughout the day, a bar to quench your thirst, and local street food vendors supplying a variety of tasty goods for you to sink your teeth into.
The official event page reads: “The Crepe City Sneaker Festival returns to Manchester! Expect to see the city’s best sneaker vendors bringing the rarest and most exclusive pairs of sneakers as well as the hottest in streetwear.
“You can also find some of the best and most varied street food on site, as well as live performances and a DJ playing throughout the day. There’s a good reason Crepe City is the leading sneaker event in Europe. Get your tickets for the Crepe City Manchester Sneaker Festival!
“Crepe City will make its return to Bowlers Exhibition Centre in Trafford Park on Sunday March 19th, 12-5pm and tickets are on sale now.”
Standard tickets cost £12.50 and Early Admission tickets cost £16.50 (entry from 11am).
Book your tickets here.
Chester Zoo is giving away free tickets for children during teacher strike
What an offer!
Chester Zoo is offering free tickets for children during the teacher strike on Wednesday, as the walk-out will affect classrooms across the UK.
The conservation zoo, a popular visitor attraction for families and animal enthusiasts alike, originally made 2,000 tickets available. But as families prepare for a day off work and keeping the children entertained, they quickly sold-out due to popular demand and another 1,000 were made available.
School-aged children can take advantage of the offer, which runs this Wednesday, February 1st, when thousands of teachers will be taking part in industrial action over pay and conditions.
There will be plenty of educational activities for youngsters to take part in as the zoo’s ranger team will be hosting interactive events where children can learn about its mission to prevent the extinction of endangered species.
The zoo hope’s to inspire new generations of conservationists with young people playing a vital role in creating a sustainable future for the planet and its wildlife.
Charlotte Smith, Director of Conservation Education at Chester Zoo, said: “Our education team will be hosting lots of extra fun interactive activities on Wednesday – all aimed at helping educate children about the incredible animals here at the zoo, as well as equipping them with the skills they’ll need to become the conservationists of the future.
“As one of the world’s leading conservation zoos, we put everything into our work to prevent extinction both here in the UK and globally. Our huge team live and breathe wildlife conservation – so we want to give children and young people the opportunity to learn all about how they can help play a vital role in creating a more sustainable future for people and wildlife.”
Staff at the much-loved Cheshire zoo, one of UK’s largest, are supporting a move to see conservation education – including issues such as climate change and sustainability – embedded into the UK curriculum, having already seen it work successfully in the North West.
A range of in-zoo activities will be available at no extra cost on the day. Free tickets will be available on the zoo’s website and must be pre-booked, with children accompanied by a paying adult – you can grab tickets here.