Inner City Music Limited, the charity that owns and operates Manchester’s music venue Band on the Wall, has announced Arts Council England has approved £1.65 million stage two Capital funding for the venue’s Bigger, Better, Stronger expansion plan.

The funding represents a significant milestone in plans to expand the venue and bring the derelict Cocozza building, at the rear of Band on the Wall, back to life.

The expansion plans see the main venue capacity increase from 350 to 500, significantly improved facilities for education and community engagement programmes, and the Picturehouse Bar remodeled with external terrace space increased and a new small second venue for emerging artists. 

The planned learning complex will include a rooftop A/V suite, allowing young people and education participants to create new work by engaging with international touring artists.

The new learning spaces will be home to Band on the Wall’s improved archive facilities, enabling the organisation to better catalogue its rich library of historical content. Selected archive materials will continue to be exhibited throughout the venue.

The Cocozza building is one of only a few remaining structures from the days of the Victorian Smithfield Market. Inner City Music is in the final stages of negotiating the purchase of the building and, subject to funding, the building façade will be saved and fully restored.

The inclusion of the Cocozza Building creates new opportunities in the Northern Quarter and Ancoats areas, and it is planned to install digital artworks in place of venue windows. These changing displays will provide a canvas for artists to tell the story of not just Band on the Wall, but the surrounding area.

Gavin Sharp, CEO, Inner City Music said:

“Band on the Wall has worked closely with Arts Council England for many years. The welcome news of a successful stage two Capital funding will help transform Band on the Wall into a world-class space for music performance, education and cultural engagement for the people of Manchester and further afield.

The Capital funding will allow Band on the Wall to significantly enhance its facilities for learning and participation activity and performance, and the expanded building will be a space for the public to experience both music from around the world, and participate in programmes that explore and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the local area.”


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