Having opened in October 2022 as a temporary unique viewing experience, showing classic Christmas films, Backyard Cinema was never sure to secure a permanent spot on the roof of Depot Mayfield, overlooking the new Mayfield Park. But now Manchester City Council has approved plans for it to stay, ensuring it continues to give us great immersive experiences and days out for at least another three years!
The cinema, bar, immersive performance space, and street food site is just one of many updates to the formerly derelict train station site of Mayfield Depot and its surroundings. The legendary Warehouse Project moved into the Depot in 2019 from its much smaller Store Street home, with Escape To Freight Island joining a year later, occupying the rest of the indoor depot space and a chunk of the outdoor space.
Mayfield has since become a booming source for Manchester’s economy and has elevated the nightlife scene even further, providing yet another area where customers can spend an entire day, full of activities. Mayfield Park was also unveiled last year, adding yet another string to Mayfield’s bow, giving Mancunians more outdoor space and the option to bring family and children along.
This context seems to have welcomed in a project such as Backyard Cinema, adding an element of family-friendliness to the complex, but also an extra option for those wanting to explore what Manchester has to offer in terms of arts and culture.
Backyard Cinema said in a statement to planners: “The proposals will represent an excellent new cultural addition to the city and will cater for all ages. It will bring the rooftop of the Depot back into activation, which has been immensely successful in relation to the Mayfield Depot and Freight Island.”
On the opening of Backyard Cinema last year, Dominic Davies, founder and CEO, said: “The whole point of Backyard Cinema is that you can come for a whole day out, so we’ve got the waiting room bar and the Tavern where you can enjoy mulled wine, boozy hot chocolate, beers, wines and chillout to some live music.
“We’re incredibly proud of the Waiting Room bar because we loved the station, it’s 150 years old and been derelict for 60 years – this was the original waiting room so we tried to keep it as true to it as we could – old school greens tiles and we’ve kept the iron exposed. It will be really cosy with heaters, tables and chairs.”
Although there’s been no word on when Backyard Cinema will reopen, their website has already stated what’s to come this year: “Coming to Depot Mayfield in March/April is the hotly anticipated Romeo + Juliet show! Immerse yourself in Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 film adaptation of the quintessential tale of tragic lovers, with musical accompaniment”. Watch this space!