On Thursday 09 November 2017, Lord Watts visited contemporary arts centre HOME, in Manchester, as part of his Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) Fellowship* exploring the implications of Brexit on the UK’s culture and creative industry.

HOME, which opened in 2015, is the city’s newest centre for international contemporary art, theatre and film, formed by the merger of two of Manchester’s most-loved arts organisations, Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company.

Manchester now has the biggest UK creative and tech centre outside of the capital, and in recent years the region has a prosperous track record in the delivery of high-end drama production in the UK. In the last five years this industry has seen a significant growth, with one in four dramas being filmed in Manchester.

During the visit, Lord Watts met with Director & Chief Executive Dave Moutrey and Ian Tabbron, Senior Relationship Manager for Arts Council England, where he was given a tour of HOME and insight into the multimillion pound project, which has attracted over 2 million visits to date.

During his visit to Manchester, Lord Watts had the opportunity to hear about the development of The Factory as well as the Manchester Metropolitan University’s School of Art. Throughout the day, Lord Watts also met with various leading cultural figures from Manchester, including Penny Macbeth, Dean of Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University and Mark Dobson, Executive Director, Royal Exchange.

A highlight of the visit for Lord Watts was a tour of the 734, 000 sqft Space Studios; which is a purpose built facility for high end TV, film & commercial production. The facility has five sound stages, and is currently undergoing a £14 million expansion, including a sixth stage that will measure 30,000 sqft.

Lord Watts’ visit allowed him to gain an overview of recent investments made to the region and develop an understanding of the opportunities and challenges they face in today’s climate.

Commenting on the Visit Lord Watts said:

“I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to HOME today; it was incredible to see the different facilities available here. I am extremely grateful to all the staff that made my visit possible and so insightful.”

Dave Moutrey, Director & Chief Executive, HOME, added:

“It was great to host Lord Watts at HOME today and give him an overview of our recently established hub. The aim of the project, rooted in local voices and talent, has seen artists and audiences come together regionally, nationally and internationally, providing Manchester audiences with world-class art, theatre and film.”

Ian Tabbron, Senior Relationship Manager at Arts Council England, said:

"It is good to see our cultural organisations in Manchester welcoming Lord Watts as part of the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) Fellowship. Artists and arts organisations are invaluable in themselves but also underpin our hugely successful creative industries.  This is a great opportunity for Lord Watts to explore the benefits that those arts and creative industries are offering to citizens across the city region."

ENDS.

Notes to Editors

*IPT Fellowships are educational, non-lobbying attachments for parliamentarians, providing a unique perspective of the challenges and issues facing UK industry. Fellowships can take place in a range of organisations, from FTSE 100 companies to SMEs and voluntary organisations.

About the IPT

To find out more about the Industry and Parliament Trust please visit: www.ipt.org.uk or contact Rioco Green, Communications Officer on 020 7839 9409 or RiocoGreen@ipt.org.uk.

The Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) is a registered charity dedicated to promoting mutual understanding between Parliament, business, industry and commerce for the public benefit. This is achieved by encouraging dialogue between legislators and wealth generators from all sectors of business. The IPT is independent, non-partisan and non-lobbying.

Fellowships are bespoke placements in industry for MPs, MEPs and peers structured around a set of learning objectives dictated by each parliamentarian at the beginning of their programme. Fellowships are non-lobbying, non-partisan and educational in ethos and are supported across Parliament. There are currently 80 parliamentarians undertaking a Fellowship. There have been over 500 Fellows since the IPT was founded in 1977.

About HOME

HOME, Manchester’s centre for international contemporary art, theatre, film and books, officially opened its doors over the 2015 May Bank Holiday weekend. Designed by Dutch architects Mecanoo and featuring a 500-seat theatre; a 150-seat flexible theatre; a 500m2, 4m high gallery space; five cinema screens; digital production and broadcast facilities; a café bar and restaurant. HOME's theatres are a platform for questioning and ambitious artistic projects that involve audiences with new and extraordinary theatrical experiences.

The international contemporary visual art programme is dedicated to presenting new commissions by emerging and established artists of regional, national and international significance, with a bold, proactive policy of visual, innovative storytelling with the ability to experiment and explore, probe and provoke, creating a distinct experience for both artists and audiences. HOME's five cinemas showcase the very best in contemporary and classic cinema, screening works by artists and filmmakers both established and new.

HOME is a centre for co-production, talent development and artistic creation, dedicated to learning, for people of all ages. A place for new work and playful ideas; of festivals and commissions; of artists and of audience engagement. The patrons of HOME are Danny Boyle, former National Theatre Artistic Director Nicholas Hytner, actress Suranne Jones, playwright and poet Jackie Kay MBE, artists Rosa Barba and Phil Collins, filmmaker Asif Kapadia, and actress and author Meera Syal CBE. www.homemcr.org | @HOME_mcr.