Corridor of Light: the spectacular cultural event set to illuminate Manchester

Artistic talent is set to burn brightly through a swathe of the city centre as a unique event comes to the city.

Our Beating Heart. Photo: Studio Vertigo

Manchester city centre is all set to be lit up by artistic talent next month as a unique and spectacular cultural celebration takes place.

The Corridor of Light is coming to a one square mile area in the middle of the city and is hosting new visual artworks, installations and live entertainment.

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It is hoped the cultural extravaganza will light and liven up the city centre each evening.

What is the Corridor of Light event and where is it taking place?

The Corridor of Light will take place in a one square mile area south of Manchester Central Library in St Peter’s Square.

That means the event will be happening in the heart of the city’s innovation district.

The Oxford Road Corridor is home to an array of Manchester’s most important institutions, including the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester City Council, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, cultural venue HOME, and the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM).

Where There Is Light. Photo: Mikal Ludlow

From 21 October to 23 October spectacular art works and other live entertainment will transform the corridor each night from 6pm until 10pm.

The organisers hope the Corridor of Light will embody the city’s innovative and international spirit as well as fitting in alongside the academic, literary, musical, and political history of the area hosting it, which has also seen significant financial investment in recent times.

What’s on the programme?

The organisers are particularly excited about the world premiere of a new neon work by Tim Etchells.

It will be appearing on the bridge high above Booth Street East, reflecting the landscape around it and playing on ideas of language, the city and the present moment.

Tim Etchells has created a new neon work for the festival

There will also be an Algorave, which brings together coding and clubbing.

Revellers will dance to unusual rhythms and visuals created from code displayed and created before their eyes.

There will also be live performances from some of the scene’s frontrunners on the Friday.

Recovery Poems, a three metre high light poem by artists Deanna Rodger and Robert Montgomery, will be travelling to a dozen different locations along the Oxford Road Corridor during the event.

Its arrival at Manchester Central Library also kicks off the event, with choral singing from LGBTQ+ low voice choir The Sunday Boys in the Reading Room and the recital of parts of a specially-commissioned poem.

LGBTQ+ low voice choir The Sunday Boys

Manchester-based text and light artist Elisa Artesero’s installation The Stories Under Our Feet at the library sees short observational poems illuminated beneath the benches surrounding the building, while the curved surface of University Place will become a vast canvas for a new video by artist and curator Antonio Roberts.

Inspired by the first computer to store and run a program, built nearby, the fast-paced projection reflects on the comparatively innocent origins of computing.

At Number 70 Oxford Street, comic artists Sayra Begum, Ian Bobb and Francis Desharnais will transform the windows of the former Cornerhouse building into a giant comic strip for The New Arrival, responding to a treatment by poet, fiction writer and playwright Pete Kalu and each representing a UNESCO City of Literature.

Two new installations at the RNCM will showcase the state-of-the-art technology within Studio 8, the conservatoire’s brand new digital studio.

Social arts practice May Wild Studio and RNCM’s international students have created an innovative, participatory work in the building’s long window, exploring experiences of living and studying nearby, while a new installation merging the recorded sounds of Oxford Road, spoken word and electronic music immerses listeners in enveloping surround sound, either in Studio 8 itself or as they walk down the Corridor.

As part of Black Gold Arts Festival, Oxford Road theatre Contact’s windows will be lit up with images of Manchester artist and theatre-maker Chanje Kunda.

The images feature Chanje’s new film Plant Fetish which is premiering at the festival.

Contact will also be open during the Corridor of Light to give audiences a taste of its new café and bar, following a major redevelopment and expansion.

What do the organisers say?

Maria Bota, artistic director of Corridor of Light, said: “Oxford Road Corridor is a brilliant canvas for Corridor of Light.

“We invite you to regather, share in the stories of today, and celebrate the stories of the past as well as the difference those who dwell, study and work here are making to our futures, in this celebration of language in its many forms through music, light and ideas.”