Week 53 festival, organised by The Lowry, includes performances by 200 national and international artists over 63 shows and exhibitions. The result is a glorious extravaganza of contemporary dance, visual arts, music and theatre. As well as filling all available space within the arts centre itself, Week 53 sees normally off-limits spaces within the Lowry and the surrounding area opening up to create new platforms for performances. Living as we do, in an age of digitalisation and social media, we no longer have to be literally present to experience as sense of place, and Week 53 sees world class thinkers and creatives exploring what the idea of place (among other things) means to us today. We’ve picked out five must-see events below – and you can explore the whole programme here: www.week53festival.co.uk

Space invader: Katie Paterson’s cosmic Syzygy exhibition
Leading on the festival’s theme ‘place’ and intricately weaving it with ‘time’, this gallery takeover is Katie Paterson’s largest solo show to date and is named after a powerful alignment of celestial bodies. This aptly-named show includes new commissions such as Totality (2016), a mirrorball that reflects nearly every solar eclipse seen from earth, featuring 10,000 images of solar eclipses from across the world as well as an immersive light installation, Constellation, Capricornus (2016), and a recording of Beethoven, hauntingly reflected back from the surface of the moon. Paterson has previously sent a re-cast meteorite into space, mapped dead stars and transmitted the live sound of a melting glacier via a mobile phone link into a gallery. Paterson’s portfolio takes in film and interactive elements as part of an immersive show, suitable for all the family.
Fri 29 Apr – Sun 17 Jul, The Lowry Gallery, 11am-5pm, FREE, www.week53festival.co.uk

The Lowry as you’ve never seen it before: An Anatomie in Four Quarters (see clip below)
Offering the chance to experience The Lowry’s Lyric theatre in a completely different way, this thrilling ‘visual poem’ is set to an original score, which includes live strings, percussion and voice, performed by Manchester Camerata. The piece has been re-formed specially for Week 53 in order to explore the ‘anatomy’ of the Lowry’s Lyric theatre. Ideal for those who like to get close to the action, each performance has space for 200 audience members who are directed and moved around during the show. An Anatomie in Four Quarters is performed by Clod Ensemble.
Thu 28 – Sat 30 Apr, The Lowry’s Lyric theatre, times vary, £15 www.week53festival.co.uk

Unflinching theatre: Last Resort by 2Magpies
Having explored doping scandals and state-sponsored assassination in previous productions, 2Magpies Theatre company offers up a fresh take on the concept of Guantanamo Bay. This new piece of theatre asks questions about how we should deal with terror suspects and to what extent we should protect ourselves from attack. It also explores what happens to a place after torture has happened there, and touches on tough themes which we, as a nation, find hard to address or even verbalise.
Fri 6 -Sat 7 May, The Dock, 7.30pm (Fri) & 8.30pm (Sat), £10, www.week53festival.co.uk

Music/exhibition: 30 Days of the Smiths
The band have given their official approval for this project to go ahead. Sound artist Oberman Knocks (Dliankex) and poet Jackie Kay (Chancellor of the University of Salford) come together to interlace the lyrics and music behind one of Britain’s greatest bands and the sense of community behind their hometown, Salford. A soundscape including 30 interviews with local ‘Salfordians’ of the name ‘Smith’ is set against the backdrop of several Smiths’ classics, and the work also welcomes contributions from writer Ali Smith and BBC Radio 6’s Mark Radcliffe.
Thu 5, Sat 7 & Sun 8 May, The Dock, times vary, FREE, www.week53festival.co.uk

Club night: House Party
We like the sound of this one. For one night only, the Lowry is turned into an actual house, complete with beds to jump on and draws to rummage through. Perhaps you’ll even find a bottle of vodka down the back of the sofa. If the hugely popular Juicy DJs have anything to do with it, you’ll be jiving on the bed to sizzling tracks in no time, probably wearing Granny’s knickers as a hat.
Sat 7 May, The Lowry, 10pm-2am, £15, www.week53festival.co.uk

Thu 28 Apr - Sun 8 May
Wire Editor
Published on:
Tue 3 May 2016