Last week I was on holiday in the western Pennines, not far from Manchester. So it was a coincidence to hear, as I drove home southwards, that a youth charity is opening a new theatre there today.
Had my holiday fallen a week later I might even have broken my no-commitments-on-holiday rule and dropped in to meet the movers and shakers.
The Factory Youth Zone in Harpurhey, Manchester launches The Garage Theatre tonight with a short showcase performance by Factory members and the cast of North West Theatre Arts Company.
Having secured a grant from Manchester City Council’s Regeneration team, the charity has converted its garage into a theatre space and aptly named it The Garage Theatre. A black box space 13m x 9m, it can be configured in various ways for performances and comes complete with seating, theatrical lighting and PA system, as well as a separate 5m x 3m space for use as a dressing room, small rehearsal room or recording space. The conversion of the new theatre is also supported by the North West Theatre Arts Company, Bruntwood (the property compoany that is a major sponsor of the arts in the north west) and HMG Paints.
The Factory is a £5 million facility which opened last year to provide young people in Manchester with sports, dance, music, drama, fashion, media, crafts and arts activities, as well as mentoring, enterprise and employability opportunities.
The new theatre adds to The Factory’s facilities and activities, which include a fitness suite, boxing gym, outdoor pitch, music suite, dance studio, climbing wall, sports hall, radio station, arts and crafts, mentoring and support into work. Open seven days a week to young people aged 8-21 (or up to 25 for young people with a disability), The Factory Youth Zone welcomes over 1,300 young people through its doors every week.
Paul Bird is CEO of The Factory Youth Zone. He says:
The addition of The Garage Theatre will bolster our performing arts provision which already includes dance and music. With the theatre we can now offer drama workshops and young people will be able to get involved with scriptwriting, producing and performing in regular productions.”
Our aim is to make The Garage Theatre a central hub for youth theatre projects in North Manchester and we’re now seeking funding to help make this happen.
See what I mean? A worthwhile cause which, like most performing arts activities, has the potential to change young lives.
Tonight’s event is at The Factory Youth Zone, 931 Rochdale Road, Harpurhey, Manchester, M9 8AE. Thursday July 11 from 7pm – 8.30pm.