'FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology)' on Wood Street in Liverpool
I have to confess, I have a dilemma in writing this blog; I want to tell you all about Fact in Wood Street and sing its praises, but part of me doesn't want to share one of my favourite places in Liverpool with, well, everybody. Am I wrong in saying it's not always good to share?
But share I must; it would be wrong not to.
Fact (which stands for Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), which recently celebrated its 10th Birthday, will probably be known to most of you as a first-class cinema, showing everything from the latest Hollywood blockbusters to obscure art-house films and classics – something I'll return to towards the end of this blog.
What Fact is less well known for is the wealth of support it provides for artists from a dizzying variety of disciplines. The ground and first floors regularly play host to a wide variety of exhibitions from cutting-edge artists, old and new, young and old. And when I say cutting-edge, I mean it; at Fact you will find robots that talk back to you, laser beams that shoot across the Liverpool skyline and most recently, Winter Sparks – a fantastic interactive exhibition that used electricity, Tesla coils and light to stunning effect. The design of the building (by British architectural firm Austin, Smith, Lord) is modern and futuristic, and you would be forgiven for thinking that you are in a scene from Spielberg's Minority Report. Inevitably, some of the art and installations on display won't be to everyone's taste, but you would be a grump if you didn't applaud the sheer variety on offer: digital portraits of Liverpool; a current exhibition celebrating the art of the music video; even a ping-pong table that makes sounds when you play on it.
In addition to all this, it has been said that Fact provides support to artists that is unparalleled anywhere else in the UK. Fact hosts the Young Liverpool Film Night (encouraging local filmmakers) and film seminars (on everything from Alfred Hitchcock to The Matrix), as well as providing specialist training in digital editing, photography and more. Fact was instrumental in helping Liverpool become the 2008 Capital of Culture, and they can be justly proud of their work the local arts scene and beyond.
Fact also boasts four fantastic cinema screens, fully equipped with the latest 3D technology and sound. A quick scan of today's listings will give you an idea of the wide variety of films on offer: Ben Affleck's Oscar-winning Argo; Oz: The Great and Powerful (in 3D), as well as art-house films from Germany and Romania. Fact also welcomes filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, Ken Loach and Nicolas Roeg (who made my day when he signed my DVD copy of his film Don't Look Now – in my opinion, the scariest film of all time). And where else can you watch classics we've all grown up with like The Goonies, Labyrinth and Dirty Dancing?
And if you're looking for a link to The Beatles, look no further than Fact: it currently has a Sgt. Pepper inspired collage on the ground floor, featuring everyone from Noel Gallagher, Kylie and Dave Grohl – and there are spaces where you and your friends can stick you faces and take pictures.
In these times of austerity measures and arts budgets being slashed with depressing regularity, Fact should be applauded for providing Liverpool with an embarrassment of artistic riches. Oh, and best of all, Fact has a cracking bar, which hosts Merv's brilliant film quiz on the first Tuesday of every month. I'll see you there!
FACT, 88 Wood Street, Liverpool, L14DQ
Information - 0151 707 4464
Bookings - 0871 902 5737