ENYAN Simon Usborne: The experience economy and how we turned our backs on ‘stuff’

New figures show we are continuing to spend less money on buying things, and more on doing things – and telling the world about it online afterwards, of course. From theatres to pubs to shops, businesses are scrambling to adapt to this shift.

“It was an audacious plan for an unloved bit of Manchester. A £25m arts centre to be built on a derelict plot that had not felt a cultural pulse since the closure, 15 years earlier, of the legendary Haçienda nightclub. It would be called Home, formed by the merger of two proud but financially imperilled institutions – the Cornerhouse cinema and gallery, and the Library Theatre Company – and would, its backers hoped, revive a forgotten corner on the city’s southern edge.

“There was confidence from the city leadership that it would work, but a lot of my peers and colleagues in the arts were saying to me, ‘Who’s going to go there?’” says Sheena Wrigley, executive director of Home, which includes two theatres, five cinema screens, an art gallery and a restaurant and bar. “It was a very unprepossessing area with a big car park and one large office block. It wasn’t visible or on a main thoroughfare.”

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