Tens of thousands of people lined the streets today (Sunday, 19 June) to experience the city-wide celebration of Manchester’s achievements in science and discovery with this year’s theme – EUREKA!
The huge crowds created a festival atmosphere as they enjoyed the fantastic floats, amazing costumes, musicians and more than 80 local community groups weave their way down Deansgate and perform across multiple city square locations.
Many took to twitter using #mcrday16 making the day a truly international party.
One of the stars of show, along with all the other participating groups, was this year’s Manchester Day mascot, Albot². The time-travelling robot has been zipping through time meeting notable scientists and visiting amazing discoveries through history. See more of her travels @Manc_Day!
Highlights included Archimedes, the Eureka! moment man himself, sitting in his bath tub, a creation led by Fi Smith and Jo Foley in collaboration with Handmade Parade and St Oswald’s Primary School.
A new feature for 2016 was the WoW Crowd, a group of individuals not connected to any community group who came together to work in collaboration with a choreographer to form their own performance piece within the parade, and wearing costumes made as part of their collaborative project.
Another great new element of this year’s parade was ‘The Eureka! Moment’, choreographed by Ruth Jones, and designed to give the public the chance to feel part of the big event. Staged throughout the day and promoted virally on social media and in the Manchester Evening News, ‘The Eureka! Moment’ became a fun, four move moment for celebrating discovery.
Now customary for Manchester Day, the event spilled over filling the public squares as the creative canvass was stretched across the city centre for the afternoon. The crowds were spoilt by a spell-binding array of performance and entertainment – along with delicious food – in Great Northern Square, Albert Square, New Cathedral Street and Exchange Square.
In Albert Square audiences were treated to an innovative new performance piece - ‘Come Pain or Shine,’ an aerial circus show made in collaboration between Arthritis UK and local community circus organisation Circus House. Inspired by the ARUK’s Citizen Science project ‘Cloudy with a chance of pain’, the performance was influenced by the collection of data from the audience on their experience of pain in different parts of their bodies.
The Brain Box exhibition in town hall provided budding young scientists a fascinating glimpse into the inner working of the brain with hands on experiments and curios. Thousands of people crammed in to the historic building during the collaboration between the city’s universities and other organisations.
Commissioned by Manchester City Council, and produced by local outdoor arts experts Walk the Plank, Manchester Day is now in its seventh successful year and has evolved into so much more than a parade. The driving principle behind this hugely popular civic celebration is inclusivity and participation, with contributions from groups representing the city’s diverse spectrum of cultures as well as people with disabilities. The event has also attracted internationally renowned artists and guests from other countries, including Ireland, Italy and Bulgaria, who have come to see how Manchester puts on such a big show or be part of the action.
Cllr Pat Karney, Chair of Manchester Day, said: “I’m always impressed by the sheer number of things to marvel at during Manchester Day. The ambition and scope of the event grows with the years and now in our seventh celebration it feels like the whole of the city centre has been dressed for the occasion and the majority of the city has come in to town to enjoy it.
“The parade, as always, was spectacular in its vision and creativity. The mind boggles at the hours that must’ve gone into creating each of the artworks and all the costumes – but to watch 2,000 people dance down Deansgate is an unforgettable.
“It’s great to see generations of families all enjoying the show together. After all, Manchester Day is an event for everyone and there is something that everyone can enjoy. We’re already thinking how we can top this next year. It seems an impossible task at the moment, but of course we’re up to the challenge.”
Liz Pugh, Producer at Walk the Plank, said: “Once again Manchester Day has proved to be a fantastic shared experience for so many different people in Manchester, providing a fun and exciting way for community groups to be seen and heard. The creative responses to this year’s Eureka! theme have been as amazing as ever and provide the perfect way of celebrating Manchester’s 2016 status as European Centre of Science and the city’s wider reputation as a centre for ingenuity and inventiveness.
“As a National Portfolio organisation of Arts Council England we’re delighted to have collaborated with Manchester City Council on another season of Elevate training programmes, which give emerging artists the opportunity to learn alongside renowned creative practitioners.
“We were equally delighted to have been chosen by ISAN, the Independent Street Arts Network, to be the first location for their national roadshow giving outdoor arts professionals the opportunity to discuss topical issues connected to a local event. In this instance the Town Hall played host to a discussion on the importance of outdoor arts in civic life, chaired by ISAN Executive Director Angus McKecknie.”
The parade also received significant private sector sponsorship with Select Property Group as Principal Sponsor for the first time. Select invited the public to help them build a new intergalactic community in the Select Your Universe attraction.
Mark Stott, CEO of Select Property Group, Principal Sponsor of Manchester Day, said: “Today has been fantastic. It’s been a pleasure to meet so many people celebrating Manchester and getting involved with the Select universe. Manchester is a truly remarkable city and today has clearly demonstrated that.”
Other sponsors include: Galliford Try, Wates, G4S, Redgate, Keepmoat, Allied London, Turner and Townsend, Great Northern Warehouse, Laing O’rourke, Biffa, NCP and Cimputacenter.
Our other supporters were: Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue, The Manchester College, Metrolink, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, and the Manchester Chinese Centre.
Media partners were Global Radio and MEN Media.
For more information visit: www.manchesterday.co.uk or join the conversation on Twitter via #MCRDay