Attractions and Destinations

Manchester’s Lowry Theatre to Become Nightingale Court

The Salford theatre is set to become the UK’s first temporary court, after signing a deal with the Ministry of Justice.

The deal, which begins on Monday 28 September, will provide a much-needed source of income for the art gallery and theatre while social distancing measures make theatre performances challenging.

It will also help the Government alleviate the pressure on courts and tribunals resulting from the pandemic – with judges based at The Lowry hearing civil, family and tribunal work as well as criminal cases.

The Lowry is the first arts centre in the country to have secured a contract as a temporary Nightingale Court and the income is set to help ensure the organisation’s survival and help safeguard hundreds of jobs.

Julia Fawcett OBE, chief executive of The Lowry, said: “Like arts venues up and down the country, we simply cannot operate our building as normal in the current climate. And with no regular source of income since March, this partnership provides vital funds to enable us to relaunch our programme.

“This includes online, open-air and community performances by some of the UK’s most creative dance, circus and theatre companies as well as creative engagement activities that will improve the mental health & life chances of more than 2,000 young people in Salford.

“Furthermore, we hope to spread the benefit of this partnership across Greater Manchester by commissioning new work from local artists specifically designed for the post-COVID audience environment.”

The MOJ partnership supports the venue’s plans for Christmas – with performances of the hit musical SIX and family favourite The Gruffalo set to go ahead in the venue’s Lyric Theatre. The galleries will also re-open at weekends from 1 November, when the court will not be sitting.

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