Inside Band on the Wall after their £3.5m Expansion Project

By Eliza Barrett | Last updated March 15th '22

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Following the completion of the £3.5 million expansion project, Band on the Wall has opened its doors this week with a larger stage, increased capacity and a whole floor dedicated to its innovative learning programme, World of Music.

As a registered charity since 1984, the driver for the transformation of the venue is to create a collaborative hub for young people, the local community and Manchester’s creatives, and to celebrate the cultural diversity of Greater Manchester.

Designed by Manchester-based architects OMI, with accessibility in mind, Band on the Wall’s ground floor step-free entrance leads into both the venue’s main performance space – which has an increased capacity of 500 – as well as access to the grand and ambient bar space.

The new bar space, which will serve hot and cold food also has a new stage for smaller capacity performances (up to 80 people). The bar area will open during the day to serve as a community space and will be open for free to the general public. Both the bar stage and main stage are designed with step-free access.

The venue has been expanded into the three-storey Cocozza Wood building adjoining the back of Band on the Wall. The historic building dating back to the 1860’s has been described as a highly ornamental ‘tour de force of High Victorian Gothic’ and as the earliest surviving local example of commercial chambers.

Following its closure, the building has been unoccupied and deteriorating since 1972. Now, the Cocozza and Band on the Wall buildings have been joined together to form the larger ground floor venue space and upper floor learning suite.

Band on the Wall continues to nurture a hotbed of Manchester talent with local and grassroots community projects. The first floor is a dedicated space for Band on the Wall’s learning programme, World of Music – a broad and integrated programme of heritage, music, learning and research projects. It delivers community-based learning engagement that celebrates Manchester’s migrant communities and their musical legacies.

Previously occupying just two rooms, the learning facilities now take over the whole top floor of the venue, with one large main group space, two breakout group rooms and a state-of-the-art AV suite where budding creatives can record music, interviews, podcasts and film.

Gavin Sharp, CEO of Band on the Wall, said: “Band on the Wall has always been bigger than just a venue, and over the last two years we’ve been very busy working on our expansion project – including an increased main venue capacity, new café bar, a second smaller performance space, and significantly enhanced and expanded learning facilities to support our exciting and brand-new learning programme, World of Music. We are delighted to open our doors once again this March, and we look forward to welcoming guests back to our newly improved venue.”

Reopening season highlights and full listings can be found here…