CT Consults

Manchester – the music city

Orchestra members moving off stage in a crowded theatre with a classical music audience

The challenge

Manchester is known worldwide as a music city, but not necessarily for its classical music provision that spans professional orchestras, traditional and non-traditional concert venues including the internationally recognised Bridgewater Hall, traditional, specialist and contemporary classical music ensembles, and wide-ranging education, learning and outreach work across Manchester and the Greater Manchester region.

Yet despite this impressive breadth and depth in classical music, the audience trend for attending live classical music concerts is not increasing.

Laptop and technical equipment to the foreground. Orchestra and large tv screen to background

Our response

In partnership with The Audience Agency, we were commissioned by Manchester City Council to research classical music audiences in Manchester and identify ways to grow audiences for live classical music concerts. The Audience Agency analysed audience data from the multiple partners to identify audience trends. We conducted in-depth consultations with all the partners and looked at national and international comparators.

Our detailed report with costed recommendations was completed and presented to the City Council’s Leader, Director of Culture and the Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kickstarting a new approach

Despite the project completing in the middle of a pandemic, the partners are identifying ways to work collaboratively to raise their collective profile with audiences and stakeholders.

Closeup detail of old wooden violin with four strings
The report provides great analysis and insight and will be a useful tool to improve audience engagement in Manchester.”

Thorsten Mayer, Principal Resources and Programmes Officer, Culture, Manchester City Council

Manchester Week

Many of the orchestras, classical music ensembles and concert halls in Manchester are working in partnership with BBCRadio3 to produce a week of live and recorded concerts (postponed due to Covid-19).

Pivoting to digital

With live concerts cancelled during the pandemic, the orchestras and concert halls have creatively developed live classical music experiences for audiences to experience digitally.

Reaching beyond traditional boundaries

There's nothing like a crisis to enable new collaborations and Manchester's classical music sector is part of wider discussions for collaborative joint marketing to engage audiences.

More like this

Front of building lit at night with neon signage, groups of people in the street to the foreground - Everyman and Playhouse Theatres

Revisioning and repositioning theatre in Liverpool

Working with Liverpool's Everyman and Playhouse Theatres to create a new ambitious business plan

Find out more
Orchestra members moving off stage in a crowded theatre with a classical music audience

Manchester – the music city

Looking at ways to grow Manchester's classical music audience

Find out more
Detail of stone built theatre with canopy to front

Buxton – a visitor economy strategy to help us to ‘take the waters’ once more

Maximising Buxton's contemporary and heritage assets to grow its visitor economy

Find out more
Old style, masted wooden sail boat on sea, with green landscape behind. A destination management plan for the Isles of Scilly

Isles of Scilly – a destination management plan for the edge of England

A road map for a sustainable visitor economy

Find out more
Foot bridge over river, with buildings on banks

Northern cities assemble

Five cities come together to develop international cultural tourism markets.

Find out more

Do you think we can help?

Then get in touch

We’re serious about protecting your privacy and won’t share your details with anyone, ever. (read our privacy policy)

    Sign up to our newsletter


    Keep in touch to see our latest projects, thoughts and news. We promise we’ll only send you interesting content.