Cornerhouse was a centre for cinema and the contemporary visual arts next to Oxford Road Station on Oxford Street, Manchester, England. It had three floors of art galleries, three cinemas, a bookshop, a bar and a café bar.
Cornerhouse occupies two buildings. The main building, 70 Oxford Street, was built for John Shaw in the early 1900s and was a furniture store run by the family until it closed in 1985. The building on the other side of the approach to Oxford Road station was built as a cinema and went through many changes of name (News Theatre, Essoldo, Classic, Tatler Cinema Club).
Cornerhouse was conceived by the Greater Manchester Visual Arts Trust, chaired by Sir Bob Scott. It opened with the support of the then Greater Manchester County Council and Manchester City Council, North West Arts Association (now part of Arts Council England) and the British Film Institute.
Cornerhouse's first Director was Dewi Lewis, who had previously been Director of Bury Metro Arts. The building opened on 3 October 1985. The first film screened (on 18 October) was Nic Roeg's Insignificance. Dave Moutrey has been Director and CEO since 1998.
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The Cornerhouse offered independent cinema, and contemporary art in the galleries. Cornerhouse’s contemporary visual art programme was dedicated to launching artists who had not received major institutional recognition in Britain. It also let mid-career artists realise new projects in commissions and exhibitions on and off-site. The visual arts programme presented works in all media, with an emphasis on film and video that has a strong link with the film programme.
Cornerhouse produced or co-produced all of its exhibitions as well as a programme for each show. A regular feature of its visual arts programme was international group exhibitions which explored socio-political concerns. In 2011, Cornerhouse launched Artist Film, a project for the production and distribution longer films, starting with Gillian Wearing’s Self Made. Cornerhouse was a partner in the plus Tate programme.
On average, 30 titles were screened across the three screens every month. The cinemas were open seven days a week, with daily matinee and evening performances (no matinees on Monday), making a total of almost 3,500 screenings annually.
Cornerhouse film programme was international in scope and offered new and innovative film and video alongside more familiar work. This resulted in the screening of new films and re-releases; second runs of overlooked or underrated titles; classic and archive material; shorts, animation and documentary; avant garde film and television; and foreign language films. Alongside a variety of touring film programmes, Cornerhouse also ran two festivals every year ¡Viva! Spanish[n 1] and Latin American Film Festival and exposures.[n 2]
In 1987, Dewi Lewis launched the Cornerhouse Publications imprint with 'A Green and Pleasant Land' by John Davies. Cornerhouse Publications was joint winner of The Sunday Times Small Publisher of The Year Award in 1990. The imprint continued to be active until 1994 and over the period published books by many major international photographers. [n 3]
- The ¡Viva! Spanish website is here.
- The exposures website is here.
- As examples: Chris Steele-Perkins, The Pleasure Principle (1989, ISBN 0948797509); Nick Waplington, Living Room (1991, ISBN 0948797568); Bruce Gilden, Facing New York (1992, ISBN 094879707X); Richard Misrach and Susan Sontag, Violent Legacies (1992, ISBN 0948797274); Robert Frank, The Americans, new ed. (1993, ISBN 0948797835, ISBN 0948797827).
- "Closed for good: Manchester's Cornerhouse bows out with final rave". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
- "Cornerhouse". Culture24. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
- "Greater Manchester Arts Centre Ltd". Open Charities. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
- "Greater Manchester Arts Centre Ltd". Charity Commission. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
- "Manchester: Cornerhouse". Local Government Improvement and Development. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
- "About Us". Dewi Lewis Publishing. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
- "Dewi Lewis - The man who switched focus onto photographers - and founded a cultural gem". Manchester Evening News. M.E.N. Media. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012.