Manchester Day 2009 – 2016
Walk the Plank was once again commissioned by Manchester City Council to produce its annual celebration of all things Mancunian with a one day event that taps into the collaborative energies of artists and local community groups representing a wide range of people across the city. For 2015, the theme was 'Game On' - celebrating Manchester's reputation as a city that knows how to play hard, as well as work hard.
We decide on a theme, and invite community groups to respond with ideas. A selection process takes account of the capacity of each group to match the ambition of their ideas, and artists are chosen to work with groups over a twelve week period. Community engagement and artistic collaboration lie at the very heart of this one day celebration which has evolved from a simple parade to a much more ambitious programme of events: in effect, a one day festival that starts with a parade and encourages an audience of 75,000 to stay for the day and enjoy a wealth of eccentric and exciting performances, bands, and displays across four of its city squares.
In 2015 over 80 groups came together to respond to the ‘Game On’ theme. Responses ranged from chess pieces created by the Indian Association of Manchester to the BBC’s newly resurrected Clangers characters collaborating with local disability empowerment charity Venture Arts.
Manchester Day is fantastic vehicle for providing the people of Manchester with a very public channel for creative self-expression. It also gives artists from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to use their talents and skills to help each group’s idea for a parade structure come to life.
Carl Gabriel, one of the UK’s leading practitioners in wire sculpture for carnival, is one of several artists showcasing their skills to emerging outdoor arts practitioners through our Elevate training programme, funded by Arts Council England in partnership with Manchester City Council. Elevate enables us to train and develop local artists by bringing established nationally significant artists to work on the Parade, passing on their skills and expertise through workshops, talks and placements.