It is a rare opportunity to attend an event without any prior knowledge as to what is about to take place. Our journey began upon arrival at two buildings separated by a large car park and two odd cabins just off Upper Cleminson Steet, a site recently vacated by the University of Salford's media department. Here, we were handed tickets to enter 'Party Skills for the End of the World'.
When walking through the entrance, we were navigated by helpful staff to the top floor, which offered incredible views of Islington Canal and the far south side of Manchester. The room was large and filled with party essentials, and more alcohol beverages than you could ever dream up. This was accompanied by instructions on how to make the perfect martini, presented artistically. If that hadn’t enticed you to start dancing, there was an isolated record player in the centre of the room with the addition of two dartboards at the back. When all the guests had arrived, an intercom system and a humble assistant dressed in a flamboyant suit emerged from the crowd and swallowed a long balloon whole. That feeling of shock, amazement and confusion was to continue as the theme for the evening.
The event could be described as immersive theatre but it also had a great party atmosphere and the aesthetics of an art piece. After the initial welcome, the party was led down stairs to sing, tear apart oranges, sow them back together and help bash apart a piñatas. The space, particularly the choice of lighting, was well-polished and immersive.
Following this, workshops opened up on each of the three floors, which gave tips and demonstrations for parties of the post-apocalypse. These included the creation of balloon animals and gas masks, as well as knife throwing and hair platting, although it felt as if time ran out before you could properly explore the gamut of workshops. Hastily, we were ushered down into the basement, running passed strobes, sirens and eerie rooms. We finally emerged into the library of the Adelphi building, where two drummers were playing intensely synth heavy music. The atmosphere was brought down from chaotic to celebration. The finale involved a DJ, with surrounding rooms filled with games and fun activities for everyone to enjoy.
As a whole, the evening was an incredible experience, full of individual exploration and communal activities. It was a great opportunity to converse with new people and also get involved without any pressure. Although the theme was the end of the world, the atmosphere was never depressed and always unpredictable. To top it all off, there were party bags for each guest, containing advice and instructions on how to correctly use the contents of the bag. These items included a condom, seed, elastic band, pencil sharpener and further common house hold items. The lasting contemplation of this event has been nothing but positive and I hope there are many similar projects, especially in these rare spaces.
Words: Kelly Raymond
Photography: Donald Christie