Welcome to the Autumn/Winter 2013 season at the Martin Harris Centre.
Celebrating 10 years of public engagement at the heart of The University of Manchester.
I am delighted to have been invited to write the foreword for this brochure to mark the 10th anniversary of the Martin Harris Centre. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate colleagues associated with the Centre on reaching this milestone.
The Martin Harris Centre has made an enormous contribution to the Arts at The University of Manchester, enriching the cultural life of the University. Its growth and success over the past 10 years owes much to the dedication and commitment of academic colleagues, support staff and students who work and study there. I would also like to extend my thanks to Jeremy Gregory, Head of the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures who ensures the Centre is supported in its activity.
The Martin Harris Centre is a special venue. It offers a diverse and exciting programme of events across many art forms including music, drama, literature and comedy. I have had the pleasure of enjoying several concerts and literature readings in the space over recent years and I am sure you will agree with me that it is a truly inspirational place. For a decade the Martin Harris Centre has hosted both internationally renowned and also emerging musicians, novelists, poets, and comedians. There have been events with world renowned quartet Quatuor Danel, the Hallé Youth Choir and Orchestra, Martin Amis, Clive James and Jeanette Winterson to name but a few. Indeed the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures itself has produced well-established, influential and successful alumni, many of whom have performed at the Centre, including Master of the Queen’s Music Sir Peter Maxwell Davies CBE; comedian, author and playwright Ben Elton; actress and comedian Meera Syal; actor Benedict Cumberbatch; comedian and singer Adrian Edmondson and actor Toby Jones. In addition there have been more recent graduates such as Assistant Conductor at the Hallé Orchestra Jamie Phillips and English National Opera baritone Marcus Farnsworth, who have also been involved in performances at the Centre.
The Martin Harris Centre is indisputably a great asset to The University of Manchester. It offers students a fantastic space in which to study and perform. Whilst visiting the Centre, it has always delighted me that students feel such a sense of belonging to the space, and take great pride in it.
The Centre contributes towards the University’s strategic goals surrounding social responsibility, which ensure that the University contributes to the social, cultural and economic success of the local, national and international community through its activities. Indeed the Martin Harris Centre provides the local community access to the Arts, with many performances including the Walter Carroll Thursday Lunchtime Concerts, being free of charge.
While the Martin Harris Centre celebrates its birthday in October 2013, there will be a series of events throughout the season to celebrate the occasion, so look out for these in this brochure. On 17 October 2013 there will be a special celebration including a keynote speech by Sir Martin Harris CBE, formerly the Vice-Chancellor of the Victoria University of Manchester (1992-2004) and more recently Director of Fair Access at the Office for Fair Access (2004-2012). We are delighted to welcome Sir Martin back to campus. As an ardent supporter of the Arts, he played an integral part in securing the original funding for the Centre to be developed, along with Music and Drama colleagues, in particular Professor John Casken and Professor Vivien Gardner. We, and indeed future generations have so much to thank them for with regards to their long-lasting contribution to Arts in Manchester.
Please enjoy the fabulous programme of events to celebrate the 10th anniversary, and let’s look forward to the wonderful performances which lie ahead over the decades to come.
Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell
University of Manchester President and Vice-Chancellor
Our Autumn/Winter 2013 Brochure
The Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama is a performing space situated at the heart of the oldest part of the University. It incorporates a 350-seat concert hall, a 150-seat studio theatre and an electroacoustic music studio.
The foyer makes an immediately striking impact: its use of light, open space and bold areas of colour blend with Alice Kettle's dynamic textile artwork, Red and Blue Movement in Three. In September 2010 we unveil a newly commissioned piece of work between Drama and the Martin Harris Centre - Kshitij (unlimited horizon) - by contemporary abstract artist Shameela Hussain.
The Centre hosts many musicians, performers and prize-winning authors. It provides an excellent space for contemporary and classic theatre, music and comedy events, and holds a reading series that has in the past featured such literary luminaries as Martin Amis, Will Self, John Banville and Clive James. We also present new and exciting artists who go on to become household names as well as established artists performing to sell-out audiences all over the world.
So please come along, and discover why the Martin Harris Centre is attracting attention as an important arts venue throughout the North West.