Photography by Ella Chester and Katie O'Neill
Dave Moutrey is Director & Chief Executive at HOME and Director of Culture for Manchester City Council.
He was born in Sedgefield, County Durham, a working-class area where young people’s career opportunities were traditionally limited to an apprenticeship in the ICI, shipyard or working on the railways. He was the first person in his family to study at sixth form and then university. Dave studied art education at Leeds Polytechnic at the time the punk movement was emerging with its philosophy of DIY art. He had the realisation that art has the power to shift thinking, as well as provide a great night out. As a result, he set up his own small-scale part-time touring theatre company touring political work – to working men’s clubs, community venues and schools.
He moved to Manchester 35 years ago to teach but then started working full time in the arts at the Abraham Moss Centre Theatre in North Manchester. “The world felt very different, during this period, we saw the collapse of traditional industries, mass unemployment, increased poverty, the rise of the right and civil unrest. Nevertheless, it felt like change was possible and that art had a role to play in bringing communities together and standing up to injustice”. Dave was Chief Executive of Arts About Manchester from 1990-1998, before joining Cornerhouse as Chief Executive and Director.
HOME is the city’s purpose built multi art form venue which opened in May 2015. In his role as Director and CEO, Dave conceived and led both the merger of Cornerhouse and Library Theatre Company and the £25m capital project to create HOME which has attracted almost 1m visits per year since its opening. HOME includes 5 cinema screens, education spaces, digital production and broadcast facilities, a 500 seat theatre, 150 seat flexible theatre, 500m2 gallery space, café bar, restaurant, offices and other ancillary spaces consistent with a production centre. It is a ‘making place’, providing new opportunities for artists and audiences to create work in a different way together, as well as a social and cultural hub. Dave has overall artistic control of the programme and executive produces major film, theatre and exhibition projects working closely with this team of Artistic Directors.
I feel creativity and innovation in Manchester benefits from the city being and magnet for and generator of all sorts of creative people and that is unpinned by it being small enough to try things out and big enough and confident enough to make things happen.
In April 2018 he was seconded to Manchester City Council in a part time role of Director of Culture. He is responsible for advising the Council on policy and strategy for culture.
Dave was awarded a Doctor of Arts honoris causa by the University of Salford, is a Fellow of the RSA, a member of the Chartered Management Institute, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. He is also an advisor to the British Council and holds a number of nonexecutive roles on not-for-profit boards.
In January 2022, Dave was invited to become a member of the Greater Manchester Music Commission, championing music and arts throughout the city. The initiative was launched by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).
HOME: Manchester's centre for contemporary theatre, film, art and music
THE SHOOT: HOME
In the art venue's theatre, gallery, foyer and outside in Tony Wilson Place
Student reflection: Ella Chester
This was my third Greater Mancunians shoot and it proved to be both enjoyable and challenging. Dave was very down to earth and approachable and happy to suggest possible locations within the building. HOME as a venue was technically challenging to photograph in; the subdued lighting of the theatre and gallery and the strong direct sunlight outside tested my camera control. This gave me the opportunity to utilise the knowledge learned at college, in a professional setting.
I am really pleased with my final work from the shoot. The tricky lighting scenarios actually produced some exciting images of Dave in context with the art spaces that HOME offers. I’m certainly growing more and more confident with every shoot. 😀