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Crossing communities

Helen Nugent finds out how we intend to “enrich our landscape” via our work with the young, the old and everyone in between…

Both Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company have long traditions of working creatively with communities in the North West. Now, as they come together to form HOME, they will take this engagement to the next level. “Our ambition is to work with communities in Manchester,” says Marisa Draper, Head of Engagement at HOME. “It’s about enriching our landscape and making the region’s cultural offer greater.”

What this means in practice are the sorts of creative activities that cut across art forms, from theatre and film to visual art and digital development – and across age groups. “Our work is part of our main programming and it can be anything,” says Draper. “It can be someone seeing something and having a better understanding about a specific art form to a really in-depth development of talent. And it will be inter-generational.”

Under the new plans, schools and colleges will benefit from a wide range of programmes, from talks, tours and practical workshops to career weeks, in-school projects and study sessions. According to Draper, the aim is to raise educational attainment by working with local education providers. “We want to provide opportunities for young people to get inspired by the arts, learn through creativity and develop their talents,” she says. “Creatives often learn by doing, and our projects will provide young people with industry-standard environments within which they can hone their skills.”

Meanwhile, local communities will have access to cheap ticket schemes and open house events as well as the prospect of staging their own productions and exhibitions. In the same way that work with students will promote debate and open opportunities to learn, HOME wants local people to get closer to artists, expand their skills and contribute to Manchester’s creative economy. “The community work we do is branching out,” says Draper. “People can expect a lot more opportunities. We are seriously upping our game.”