Last year, during the first lockdown, leading Greater Manchester arts venues, Hope Mill Theatre, The Edge, 53two and The Kings Arms Theatre joined forces to launch Greater Manchester Small Venues Network (GMSVN).
The four venues, which have been operating collectively across the Greater Manchester area for over 30 years, felt there was a need now for a network like this and have taken inspiration from other venue networks across the UK.
The Greater Manchester Small Venues Network was established to speak collectively for independent venues with less than 200 seats. These smaller venues are a vital part of the local arts economy, development and existence of the cultural scene across Greater Manchester. In joining forces, the GMSVN now has a combined voice both locally and nationally.
GMSVN aims to combine expertise and resources and provide a support network for each other when it comes to profile development and outreach. Made up of venues that offer theatre, music, comedy, artist development and participation, the group believe that together, they can bring a greater recognition to their increasingly important position in the cultural landscape. With a focus on inclusivity, diversity, accessibility and opportunity, there has never been a more important time for unity and this network will play it’s part in the healing and recovery of our wonderful region and its independent arts scene.
Joseph Houston, Artistic Director of Hope Mill Theatre, Ancoats, said: “We are so proud to have our roots in the Greater Manchester region and are constantly inspired by the work being created by northern artists and theatre makers. The past year and the impact of Covid on our industry, proved the need for strong links and collaboration with other similar venues in order for the longevity and sustainability of the Greater Manchester small venues landscape. Smaller venues across the country are the life blood of local communities, they are a springboard for many artists to pursue a career in the arts and they also bridge the gap between smallscale work and the subsidised and commercial sector.”
Janine Waters of The Edge, Chorlton, said: “It’s the perfect time to be coming together with these other great venues. We are all passionate about giving our audiences, artists and participants the best experiences and we share a determination to support the healing of our wonderful region after the pandemic. The power of a network strengthens the cultural sector, strengthens the member venues and helps us to secure the position of high quality small scale theatre in Greater Manchester”