HOME Manchester is targeting a reopening date of 4 September 2020 for its cinemas, bars and restaurant followed later in the month by a reopening of the gallery and theatre space.

The new comes following Government guidance on the re-opening of venues, with HOME aiming to restart theatre and gallery programmes later in the Autumn with engagement and talent development work also returning in September.  Whilst the Government has permitted cinemas to reopen from 4 July, HOME Manchester is delaying their reopening to ensure that they are able to make appropriate adjustments.

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A new HOME Soon Panel – including audience members – will be set up to be part of the discussion about additional safety measures, approaches to programming and how HOME will engage with those most affected by the coronavirus crisis.

In addition HOME Manchester has been consulting expert advice, speaking to colleagues from across the UK and analysis examples of best practice internationally to ensure that staff and artists will be safe and feel welcome once the building reopens.

Measures which HOME Manchester are taking include the redesign of spaces to allow for social distancing, a reduction in capacity and enhanced cleaning.

Speaking about the reopening, John Gilchrist, Executive Director at HOME explained, “While we are aware that the Government has stated cinemas may reopen from 4th July, this is not the best option for many independent cinemas like ourselves whose programmes do not focus on the Summer blockbusters. Instead we want to take the time to ensure that we have time to make the necessary adjustments to the building, and to speak to our audiences about how they can be involved in our plans.

“The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating effect on the cultural sector, and we are lucky that our building allows us the option to open with social distancing in place. By opening as soon as it is safe and affordable to do so, we will play our part in the re-opening of the city, the recovery of our communities and the survival of the arts. We are planning an amazing programme that will repay our audiences and patrons for the generosity and goodwill they continually show us. And more than anything we miss doing what we do best – bringing great art and audiences together in a welcoming and engaging place.”

The announcement follows a recent industry-wide survey of arts audiences, After The Interval, which found that the majority of people surveyed would return soon if they saw the highest possible standards in hygiene and social distancing.

The reopening of HOME Manchester comes as the cultural sector battles against the financial impact of the pandemic, with the arts centre working with colleagues across the country to make the case for Government support in helping the critical sector to recover.

Further details of the HOME Manchester reopening programme will be announced later this Summer.  In the meantime, HOME Manchester is continuing to produce its series of online commissions, Homemakers.