October 19th, 2017

Manchester Academy

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University of Manchester Students’ Union have signed an initial 3-year management agreement with VMS Live, to oversee the operations of the Academy venues with immediate effect.

Both parties will continue to look at all 4 of the main Academy venues to ensure that best practice and commercial success is being offered and delivered.

There is most definitely not a one size fits all policy with venues and each project is different in its requirements and delivery, this is very much the approach that will be taken going forward.

Steve Forster, Managing Director, VMS commented:

We are absolutely delighted to be involved with the Manchester Academy. What always offer a ‘bespoke solution’ that fits the needs of the venue and the Students’ Union both now and in the future. I believe they had other options on the table that involved other organisations effectively taking over their operation; I think we presented a different option whereby we will work with the organisation to develop their venues both commercially and operationally.

Andrea Strachan, Union Director commented:

VMS were the only organisation that realised that while we want to develop the venues and increase the trade through them, at the same time we wanted to retain our independence and ensure that our programming becomes more diverse and represents the preferences of our members and the wider Manchester public. We were very clear that, with our chosen partner, we did not want to merely become a small cog in a large wheel. As well as improving our commercial position, we also hope that VMS will further develop the skills and expertise of our already knowledgeable staff team.

Forster further commented:

it really is a truly fascinating site with a legendary history. Pretty much everyone who is anyone has graced one of its stages. It is also relatively unique in that most artists can visit it across all the stages of their development prior to Arena status. Anyone who knows anything about our history knows that we get a real buzz in reinvigorating spaces. The real challenge for us is that Manchester Academy is already a phenomenally successful site and by working with the Union and investing in the venues we plan to make them better and busier.

Manchester Academy History

The Students’ Union at University of Manchester has an incredible and varied entertainments history. Starting in the early 60’s in the Main Debating Hall (now Academy 2), with performances from the likes of Humphrey Lyttleton, Little Eva and The Who, through to the 70’s with The Velvet Underground, Supertramp and AC/DC. The 80’s saw the opening of The Hop & Grape (now Academy 3) and some performances from legends such as John Peel, The Pretenders and The Vapours. Academy 1 was opened in 1990 with a show from the Buzzcocks and has since seen some incredible performances from everyone from The Ramones and Sonic Youth, to The Foo Fighters, The Beastie Boys, Kylie Minogue & Eminem.

Manchester Academy continues to go from strength to strength with an upcoming line up including Beady Eye, Bastille, Alice in Chains, Primal Scream, The Cult, Suede, Warpaint and the list goes on and on…

Venues Information

  • Academy 1 – with a recently increased capacity of 2600 (September 2013), 4 bars, a VIP lounge and an accessible viewing balcony, this is our flagship venue. Purpose built and now offering excellent in house production the Academy remains a must play on the UK touring circuit.
  • Academy 2 – Following a significant capital investment in 2012 Academy 2 now offers an increased capacity of 900 alongside fantastic in house production, making the space cost effective and increasingly popular choice for promoters.
  • Academy 3 – With a capacity of 450, great In-house production Academy 3 is one of the busiest venues of its like in the UK, wonderfully intimate and loved by artistes and promoters the venues boasts a rich musical heritage.
  • Club Academy – With a capacity of 620 and of course a production complete offering Club Academy works well for both live bands and club nights.

In 2012 the venues staged in excess of 400 events and 2013 is projected to produce over 450 shows making it one of the busiest venue sites in the UK.

Download Venue Information