Housed in the University of Manchester campus, the Academy provides four independent venues for live musical performances, known as Academy 1, 2, and 3, and Club Academy. The first of the collection is located in the former Student Union building, hosting its first performance in 1963 by Humphrey Lyttelton and his group.
Its relationship with music began with several jazz shows, however later expanded its genres to host some of the world’s biggest artists throughout the years, including Prodigy, The Cure, Oasis, AC/DC, Nirvana and Prince.
Academy 1, the largest of the group, was opened in 1990, and has the largest capacity of 2,300. Its visitors continue to be headline artists, who often celebrate afterparties at nearby bars on Oxford Road, such as Big Hands. The second is slightly smaller featuring a 900 maximum capacity, which is frequented by many up-and-coming artists and tribute bands. The smallest of the four, Academy 3, is nestled at the top of the Students Union and has seen notable artists, such as Amy Winehouse and Pulp, pack out its 450 capacity space. Club Academy is a versatile space used for both live performances and club nights, holding up to 620 partygoers.
Though comparably smaller than the likes of the MEN Arena and Manchester Apollo, the Academy has expanded in size and in 2007, was awarded the Best Entertainment Venue by MCR Awards. It was also recognised as one of the UK’s greenest venues since its refurbishment, and secured a Silver Status for disabled access by Attitude is Everything.