Something For The Weekend: Fri 29 – Sun 31 August

Hello, all. Here’s this week’s brand new Something for the Weekend blog – just a note to say that from now on we’re going to be pursuing a slightly different editorial angle on here. As well as keeping you informed about what’s coming up, we’ll also bring you an inside line on behind-the-scenes stories from within The Lowry. This week it’s all about a ketchup stain on a million-pound painting, an alien invading Salford Quays and a very special Agatha Christie competition… Enjoy!
Jimmy Smallwood
Digital Communications Executive

Elizabeth Jowett Conservation of Paintings

1. Red all about it, red all about it

Two very small, very old tomato sauce stains. That’s all it takes for a very rare and very expensive painting to be damaged irrevocably. Well, this week we revealed that two LS Lowry pictures showing views of The Thames at Greenwich, held in a private collection since the 1970s, are to go on public display.

What’s more, having come from that private collection and been displayed in a house containing children and then grandchildren, damage to the oil painting was discovered by our experts; a light layer of surface dirt and, yup, two ketchup splurges from dinnertimes past.

Not to worry, though. The painting has been cleaned specially for display at by a professional painting conservator and neither it nor the drawing have been exhibited in public before. They will be on display until December.

This story really grabbed the attention of the local and national media, with articles on the BBC News website, the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, Manchester Evening News, Salford Online and ITV, among others.

Want to know more about being a conservator, and the process of preparing and hanging art in our galleries? Well, this week’s Backstage at the Lowry blog is with Chris Bowler, our Senior Visual Arts Technician. “I was taught about paper and paintings,” he explains. “I was taught how to cast and rebuild frames, reguild them, take them apart and put them back together again, distress the guild back to a certain period.” You can read more in his blog post – it’s fascinating.


2. Hirsute Hercule kicks off competition

The first competition of the new Autumn/Winter season, and it’s tinged with intrigue and intrepid investigation.

We’ve got Agatha Christie’s Murder on Air appearing in the Quays Theatre from Tuesday 16 to Saturday 20 September, and we’re offering you the chance to win two tickets. It’s expected to sell fast, so this is as good a way as any to see it.

And you don’t even have to be Miss Marple to figure out how to be in with a chance of winning. Using Twitter, tweet us with the hashtag #poirotpic and a snap of you doing your best Hercule Poirot impression.

The key thing here is the moustache; it must be lustrous, fulsome and either grown yourself of fashioned to within an inch of its upper-lip life.

Submit your entry and we’ll pick our favourite on Wednesday 11 September – we’ll then be in touch, and you could enjoy two free seats on opening night!

Within minutes of the competition opening on Thursday we were receiving our first entries – well done to @tillytilton for submitting not one entry but three, of himself, granddaughter Lottie and grandma Marjorie. Good luck to them all!

Tickets remain available – this week we learned that both BAFTA-nominated actor Robert Powell and Bergerac veteran Liza Goddard are part of the stellar cast.

Puppetry Group

3. Ferdinand Foundation’s Final Exhibition

Former Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand helps runs a charitable foundation which has offices across the globe, and over the summer months it has run a free programme for young people in Greater Manchester.

The wonderfully-entitled Alien Touchdown Summer Bootcamp provided a range of media, arts and sports activities and short courses, all themed around an imaginary alien landing in MediaCityUK! Worryingly for us, that means this extraterrestrial force has been operating just over the Quays’ water…

Over 100 young people have taken part, and this Saturday sees the University of Salford host their Final Exhibition on the Salford Quays campus.

Animations, radio shows, wearable/movable stage puppets and documentary films will all be showcased in an event running between 2-4pm – it is completely free to attend and everyone is invited along.

But if you cannot make it then keep an eye on the Foundation’s YouTube channel for examples of the great work done… or follow @MediaCityAlien on Twitter for the same information.

And well done to everyone who took part!