Visual arts meets Darts on Thursday May 12th when these two vastly contrasting worlds come together for one night only for an original and unexpected cultural fusion – D’Arts Festival – as part of the annual citywide and nocturnal arts extravaganza – Manchester After Hours.

Produced by Engine in collaboration with the Whitworth, part of the University of Manchester, A180 Darts, top Manchester beer Manchester Pale Ale (MPA), Creative Tourist, Arts Council England and Culture24 – this dynamic D’Arts Festival brings together local darts teams and leading artists for a one of a kind darts tournament right from heart of this award-winning and internationally acclaimed gallery.

Enhancing this bespoke fusion of darts meets arts are specially commissioned, never seen before oches on which the competitors will play. Designed by four professional local artists: Mary Griffiths, Jai Redman and Joe Hartley (in collaboration with) Rob Bailey, each oche has been created as a response to their grand setting, with all four artists seeking inspiration for their sporting creations from the Whitworth’s vast and eclectic collection.

The brainchild of artist and Engine co-founder Jai Redman, the D’arts Festival has come about from the desire to challenge notions of “value” in the art world. By inviting the public to literally throw darts at these brand new creations, situated amongst some of the city’s finest treasures, he is opening up the debate around “preciousness” and how and why we save and preserve art.

As Redman comments: “There has always been a lively debate about art’s worth. We all have our own views about what constitutes a national treasure. You’ll get politely asked to step away from a Grand Master’s painting in any gallery if you get too close, but you’ll also get in trouble if you try to bounce on Tracy Emin’s bed. I love that we all enjoy the debate, even if we don’t always appreciate the object. It’s a small step from there to having a proper darts competition in an art gallery.”

This one off tournament takes place for Manchester After Hours at the Whitworth from 7pm(doors open at 6pm) with the grand finale at 10pm. Limited places are still available for local and interested darts teams (made up of 5 players). The competition will run along the 501 ‘Best of 3’ format. Entry is £20 per team – and free to non competitors and spectators. Details of how to enter: Eventbrite

For the winning team there will be a cash prize of £500 and £250 for the runner up. The beer, Manchester Pale Ale and the bar for the evening will be supplied by Manchester brewery, JW Lees. Alongside the main event is a host of pub themed activities taking place within the rest of the Whitworth’s gallery spaces for the enjoyment of competitors and spectators alike. There will also be a live screening of the darts finale from 10pm to ensure everybody catches the winning throw!

Manchester After Hours **- noted for its unique and dynamic creative couplings – forms part of the national **Museums At Night celebrations taking place across the UK in May. This innovative pairing of darts and arts epitomises the spirit of both** Manchester After Hours** and Museums At Night – which aim to offer one off and exciting collaborations and cultural partnerships between venues and city-wide spaces that would not otherwise come together or open their doors after dark.

This D’Arts Festival is one of a number of similarly unique and exciting events taking place across the city for Manchester After Hours on May 12th. Most events are free and will bring the city’s vibrant arts scene together and to life at dusk. Full MAH listings are available here: www.manchesterafterhours.co.uk

Maria Balshaw from The Whitworth comments:” The Whitworth is delighted to work with the dynamic team at Engine on D’arts Festival for Museums at Night. It’s almost twelve months since we won the Art Fund’s Museum of the Year prize for our engagement with local communities while closed for redevelopment, and we continue to look for bold and challenging ways of engaging new, diverse audiences. In this spirit, we look forward to welcoming the darts teams, fans and Manchester artists to our Grand Hall in May for this exciting collaboration. “

William Lees-Jones, Managing Director, JW Lees adds “We love the off the wall concept behind this D’Arts Festival and are excited to be helping bring together the unique, lively culture of Manchester arts, the historic Manchester Dartboards and locally brewed Manchester Pale ale. The Manchester After Hours event looks set to be a huge success and we can’t wait to see everyone enjoying a pint of MPA in the gallery.”

Press contact: Rachel Furst, t: 07957 457668, e: rachelfurstcomms@gmail.com

Listings Info: D’Arts Festival as part of Manchester After Hours Thursday 12th May The Whitworth 250 Oxford Rd., Manchester M15 6ER Doors Open to the public: 6pm Darts Competition begins: 7pm. Grand Finale: 10pm

Please note spaces are limited in the Grand Hall for watching the actual tournament and entrance to spectators will be on a first come served basis.

Admission is free to spectators

How to Enter: Teams of 5 players are needed Entry is £20 per team. Full details: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/darts-festival-tickets-23090131204