Life in Manchester
Manchester is steeped with British film and television history. From historical social realism films such as ‘Room At The Top’ and ‘A Taste of Honey’ to the more contemporary ’28 Days Later’ and ’24 Hour Party People’.
Iconic TV shows like ‘Cracker’ and ‘Queer as Folk’, through to the likes of the ‘Royle Family’, ‘Shameless’, ‘Life on Mars’ and ‘Fresh Meat’, not to mention the institution that is Coronation Street. More recently, large blockbusters, Netflix dramas and Sky Originals have been shooting around the Northern Quarter and Space Studios, whilst Media City continues to play host to shiny floor productions, BBC Sport, CBeebies and ITV studios. Whatever your taste, whoever you are, Manchester prides itself as a city anyone can call home.
Manchester is a city which constantly feels on the verge of something exciting, revolutionary. Generally known for the proud swagger and sense of humour of its locals, it’s most famous exports include Oscar-winning film director Danny Boyle, countless game-changing bands such as The Smiths, Oasis and Elbow, as well as of course those world-famous football teams who play in the red and blue shirts.
Continuing on the progressive, ground-breaking theme, historical figures from the city include suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst who helped shape the battle for women’s votes, ‘Matchstick Men’ artist LS Lowry, A Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess, scientists John Dalton (theory of the atom), presenter Professor Brian Cox, and philosopher Fredrich Engels. Historically a city that boomed in the industrial revolution, it’s intricate weaving of canals plays homage to its rich industrial heritage and its Victorian nickname ‘Cottonopolis’ as it became the world’s centre for cotton spinning processing.
The Mardi Gras festival (now Manchester pride) began in 1985 as a fundraising event for victims of AIDS, thriving in the 90s as a unifying community event making it a national focal point for change and inclusivity. Contemporary Manchester is now a highly creative city with a diverse cultural scene and a wealth of theatres, galleries, live music and cinemas. Aside from the City’s musical hotspots, you can soak up some history, art and culture at key locations such as Manchester Museum, Manchester City Gallery, MOSI, The Imperial War Museum, The Lowry, Palace Theatre and Manchester Opera House, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester Craft Centre, HOME and Bridgewater Hall.
An amazing cinema and gallery for independent films with consistently impressive free exhibitions.
A four-storey gem of the Manchester scene, featuring a club space, a pink live venue, bar and food hall.
The Lowry hosts visual and performing arts presenting audiences with a diverse programme of theatre, opera, musicals, dance, music, comedy and visual arts.
Manchester’s Open-Air Cinema opens most summers to host free or low-cost screenings of films and more. The public gets the chance to choose between two films each week, one being a classic played in previous years at Screen fields.
Manchester Film Festival (MANIFF) is an event to showcase strong and inventive filmmaking and is a British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) qualifying festival. Their goals are to promote UK filmmakers to a wider audience supporting and celebrate the British independent film community and promote British film and talent to the public.
There are three main areas of the city where film production happens: in the East – Space Studios and the Sharp Project, in the city centre indie companies cluster between the Northern Quarter and Spinningfields, and the renowned Media City in the West.
Space Studios and The Sharp Project
On the East side of the city Space Studios and The Sharp Project are key film industry locations. Built on virtually the same location as iconic Mancunian show ‘Shameless’, Space Studios is a purpose-built studio lot, home to the largest sound stage in Europe, on a par with the Bond stage at Pinewood. Recent productions based there have included series 6 of Peaky Blinders and the Sky Original Intergalactic.
The Sharp Project houses a central campus, with numerous companies such as Brown Bag and Brickhouse; and is also home to smash hit Sky TV series ‘Brassic’.
The city centre is thriving with commercial and indie film companies. From production houses who create high-end commercials and premier football content, to the UK’s biggest regional post-production house and indie film companies making feature films released on Netflix. There are numerous large new developments, including the St John’s development of Old Granada Studios comprising new Arts venue The Factory part of Enterprise City, and N.O.M.A. a larger creative development than Media City. These all make the city centre of Manchester an incredible, transformative and exciting place to be right now.
A renowned area of Manchester is, of course, Media City. Predominantly home to what are known as ‘shiny floor’ studio productions from CBBC, BBC Sport and ITV studios. The iconic drama production company RED also have their home here alongside other broadcast TV companies specialising in factual TV.
Film in its many forms are very much the fabric of Manchester night life. The jewel in the cities cultural crown is the recently opened arts venue HOME, known as a leader for international contemporary art, theatre and film. It hosts a variety of installations, dance shows and independent film festivals. There’s also the Printworks Imax, luxurious Everyman and several multiplexes across the city. Every summer Spinningfields Open-Air Cinema invites people to vote online for what they want to watch, as over 100,000 cinephiles each year flock to see releases old and new underneath the stars.
Be sure to visit ‘The Curry Mile’ in Rusholme (past the universities up Oxford Road) for affordable, good quality Indian food. China Town (just off Portland Street) has a wide choice of Chinese, Thai and Japanese places to suit any budget. Close by, there’s also a fantastic fish & chip shop called Portland Plaice.
In the Northern Quarter, check out Sugar Junction for a quaint vintage tea-room. Almost Famous, Luck Lust Liquor and Burn are amazing for deliciously dirty burgers and quirky Mexican street food.
There’s a deep sense of pride running throughout Manchester’s live music and nightclubbing scenes, with the Warehouse Project attracting headline acts like Mura Masa, Jon Hopkins, Caribou and other big-name DJs.
Manchester’s Gay Village caters for a vibrant LGBTQI+ scene and with four universities, Manchester has a huge student population and there are plenty of student club nights and events going on throughout the year to suit all music tastes. Manchester Academy 1, 2 and 3 are just a short walk from the City Centre, as are the O2 Apollo Manchester and Manchester Arena. Plus, venues such as Soup Kitchen, Gullivers, YES and Gorilla are the perfect places to catch the best new bands.
There are plenty of open spaces and green areas in which to grab a break and enjoy some fresh air in Manchester.
Just a short walk away from our Bank Chambers building you’ll find Piccadilly Gardens – a nice spot to hang out in the sunshine between lectures. A little further south, just off Canal Street, you’ll find Sackville Park, which is home to the Alan Turing memorial statue.
Look a little further afield, and you’ll find Manchester and its surrounding areas are teeming with numerous wide-open spaces to enjoy like Heaton Park, Alexandra Park and many others.
Screen and Film School Manchester is well connected to the rest of the city via public transport.
Manchester is very cyclist-friendly with accessible cycle lanes. If you live a short distance from the city centre it might be the most cost-effective way to travel. Find out more about cycling in Manchester at cycling.tfgm.com
Commercial bus services run right across Greater Manchester which is useful for students living in the surrounding areas of the city centre. Within the city centre, a free bus operates a no-cost ‘hop-on, hop-off’ service linking all the main rail stations and shopping districts.
Manchester is well serviced by taxi cabs, UBER and other minicab companies. Always make sure to pre-book your taxi from a fully licenced taxi firm.
Manchester is well connected for transport outside the city with three central train stations. Trains run regularly from Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston. There are trains to Glasgow, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, and train connections to many other places in the UK including direct links to some airports.
The Metrolink runs frequent services within Greater Manchester including links to Chorlton, Didsbury, and Salford. Remember to buy your ticket at the machines before you board for a quick and easy route to Manchester surrounding areas.
The nearest major airport is Manchester Airport (MAN / EGCC). This airport has international and domestic flights and is 13 miles (half-hour train journey) from the centre of Manchester.
For any questions regarding Manchester student life or if you’d like more information on how to apply to Screen and Film School, please contact our Enquiries Team on 01273 840 346 or email [email protected].