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25th November 2019

The Old Bank Residency: more than a cinema

Visiting The Old Bank Residency in NOMA, Darcie Tickner chats to the owner and discovers what the space is all about
The Old Bank Residency: more than a cinema
Photo: Stephen Richards

City centres are renowned for being clogged up to the brim with the kings of the commercial industry and conventional nightlife entertainment. They yank up the prices and are, ultimately, the place you always end up going because you can’t be bothered to look hard enough for somewhere new. Therefore, it’s always exciting when we get something a bit different — and we have!

I visited the Old Bank Residency to enjoy a viewing at the 16-seat built-in cinema and learn more about this unique addition to Manchester. 

The creative space supports non-profit companies, art schemes and workshops as well as having a small cinema that shows exclusively documentary films every Monday and Tuesday evening. They aim to create a different kind of experience for the public that doesn’t exist in the mainstream flow of Manchester’s commercial centre.

The Old Bank Residency’s general goal is to “help build a sense of community and neighbourhood at NOMA” — NOMA being the company running the space — and they offer the disused bank as a location for a wide range of non-profit organisations to “change the world around them for the better.” Charities such as Rethink Mental Health, Manchester Cares and National Youth Advocacy Service have used the space in the past and the company says that they are always looking for more. 

In terms of accessibility, the Old Bank aims to be inclusive, progressive and politically neutral. The manager of the space stated “we are on the lookout for more charities, community [and] environmental groups, book clubs, choirs and meet-up groups to share our space.” You can contact the company if you would like to use the space for your own work or enjoy the diverse range of exhibitions and various activities they provide for some relaxed and unique entertainment. 

The documentary screenings offered by Old Bank are intimate and unique. Currently showing exclusively Dogwoof productions (with the exception of various collaborations with smaller, independent filmmakers), Manchester is given an exciting opportunity of entertainment that’s different from your average night at the Odeon. The documentary genre is rich in diverse content and enlightening points of view; this has influenced ‘poignant, thoughtful and wide-ranging’ conversations after screenings at the venue. A documentary only cinema is something Manchester doesn’t have, so I can’t recommend enough to go and support this unconventional venture by buying a ticket and enjoying the entertainment they have on offer. 

Go to their website if you wish to know more about the company or to get your own work included within the space.

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