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Disused Manchester train depot to become large-scale cultural venue under new proposals

The disused Mayfield Depot could be brought back to life as a theatre and music venue
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A former train depot in Manchester that has lain empty for more than 30 years could be brought back to life as a theatre and music venue if plans for a major new development are approved.

The disused Mayfield Depot, next to Manchester’s Piccadilly station, has been used to stage occasional entertainment events. However, the new proposals include opening up the 12,500 sq metres of floor space to be used all year round.

This would include “theatre, music, dance and performance-related activities”, as well as cinema screenings, immersive events, art exhibitions and food and drink festivals.

The depot sits in an area of the city that is slated for a £1.1 billion regeneration, and the plans for the depot are being put forward by the Mayfield Partnership, which was set up to oversee the wider redevelopment of the area.

This application is asking to create the entertainment venue for a temporary period of five years, to “generate activity in advance of the comprehensive redevelopment” and build a “unique sense of place” in the area.

Plans include dividing the building into three separate performance areas, with a total capacity of about 10,000 people.

It will include a main performance space, with two smaller areas, as well as low-cost rehearsal and studio space for local artists.

The documents submitted to Manchester City Council said bringing the depot back into use would have “significant and genuine public benefits” for the city, and will make “an important contribution to the objectives of the Northern Powerhouse”.

If approved, the venue would be managed by event companies Vibration Group, which operates London’s Printworks, and Ground Control, the company behind festivals including Parklife and Festival No 6.

In its capacity as an occasional venue, the depot will host several events for the 2019 Manchester International Festival this summer.

Maxine Peake, Ivo Van Hove and Lolita Chakrabarti to feature in Manchester International Festival 2019 programme

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