Manchester Wakes, at Manchester Central Library

Manchester Central Library delivers an exciting series of events this May with the Manchester Wakes project.

11 May - 5 June 2015

Old photograph of the wakes

May 2015

Manchester Wakes is inspired by the tradition of "Wakes Week", which saw factory workers travelling around the UK to enjoy family holidays by the sea.

The project brings the library and The University of Manchester together, through a collaboration with MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies and MA Arts Management, Policy and Practice students. Central Library will open after hours on Friday 15 May for 'Workers At Play' - and presents the 'Wonderland By The Waves' exhibition from Monday, 11 May - Friday, 5 June. 

Workers At Play is an evening curated by Tom Hingley, former frontman of Inspiral Carpets, and will officially launch the 'Wonderland By The Waves' exhibition. Hingley has developed a unique programme that is inspired by leisure practices of the past. It will feature live music, experimental sound performances and storytelling. Workers At Play aims to bring back the spirit of Wakes Week in a night of entertainment presented in a truly modern context. 

The live part of the evening will feature award-winning performance poet JB Barrington, with special guests from the RNCM and collaborative folk performance from Monologue John Bartley and Manchester's broadside ballad singer Jennifer Reid. The night will also bring together local choirs - The Cosmo Singers and a mixed group from the Kadenza and Bolton Clarion choirs - magician Jez Mansfield, ukulele group Levy Uke Up, Oldham Youth Wind Ensemble and newly commissioned, experimental, responsive soundscapes composed by members of NOVARS - all reflecting on ideas of work and play.

I am more than excited to be acting as curator for Workers at Play, on Friday 15 May. I have been ably assisted in the project by library staff and postgraduate students of Arts Management at The University of Manchester, in putting together a programme of musical spectaculars to accompany the official opening of a wonderful archive exhibition. Whether you're a Central Library stalwart, or a novice; whether you've seen the beautiful newly updated library, or have not stepped inside the cultural spaceship for years, we can guarantee music, sights and sounds to make you laugh, cry, reminisce and look backwards to the future. I couldn't be prouder to be asked to put this evening of entertainment together for Manchester Wakes at Central Library.

Tom Hingley / curator, Manchester Wakes

Wonderland by the Waves, an exhibition curated by MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies students, is open throughout the month of May - aiming to bring holiday memories back to life.

Booking details

  • Workers at Play event 15 May 2015, 6 - 9pm
    Tickets: Free, available at required)
  • Wonderland by the Waves exhibition 11 May 2015 - 5 June 2015
    Free, open during Library opening hours

Further information