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The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence -

Bri­tain’s plan for a “north­ern pow­er­house” to counter the eco­nomic dom­i­nance of Lon­don is well un­der way in Manch­ester, at least on the stage. The city’s ro­bust cul­tural cre­den­tials have been boosted by a raft of projects. The most prom­i­nent is the re­open­ing of the Whit­worth Art Gallery (pic­tured) af­ter a two-year ren­o­va­tion that has dou­bled its size. The gallery’s sum­mer pro­gram in­cludes the only Bri­tish show­ing (July 1-Septem­ber 20) of a Chi­nese con­tem­po­rary art col­lec­tion des­tined for Hong Kong’s M+ mu­seum. The city’s Cen­tral Li­brary has re­opened af­ter a £50 mil­lion over­haul, and in March eight smaller, quirkier mu­se­ums and gal­leries formed the Hid­den col­lec­tive to high­light their trea­sures. Last month an arts com­plex called Home opened in the city cen­tre, said to be Bri­tain’s largest arts hub out­side Lon­don; it will be given a work­out dur­ing the 10th an­niver­sary of the bi­en­nial Manch­ester In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val, open­ing on July 2. Among the high­lights is Won­der.land, a reimag­in­ing of Alice’s ad­ven­tures with mu­sic by Damon Al­barn. More: manch­ester.ac.uk/whit­worth; the­hid­den8.com; mif.co.uk; vis­it­manch­ester.com.

HE­LEN AN­DER­SON

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