From brand new opera to reimagined Greek classics, electronic contemporary music to experimental physical theatre, the CLF Art Cafe is a venue known for its eclectic and adventurous programme, specialising in new and contemporary work across the arts. 



If you a have fully worked-out script, production (short or long run) we'd love to hear from you.  We are actively taking on new collaborations and productions. Get in touch with James ( for further information. See pictures of our performance spaces here


The CLF Theatre seats up to 110 people. Please note the Theatre is on the third floor, so those who have problems with stairs, or for those requiring disabled access, please make yourselves known and we will arrange for Lift access. Call 020 7732 5275.

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The Centre is Everywhere |
Manchester Collective
presented by CLF Art Cafe

Tue 26 Nov, 8.00pm

His music is a breath on the wind.

His music is light dancing on water.

His music is a lover’s whisper in the dead of night.

It is both beautiful and strange.

This season, MC is very proud to be touring a new work by Edmund Finnis. It’s called The Centre is Everywhere, and MC gave the first ever performance of it this summer, at the Southbank Centre in London. Now, MC is bringing this mysterious and beautiful object on tour, to be performed in seven cities by the full Manchester Collective lineup - eleven solo string players.

Alongside Edmund’s “iridescent and compelling” music (The Guardian), the show also features an unholy mashup of Ligeti’s Métamorphosen Nocturnes and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, performed by MC's very own Rakhi Singh. They close the show with Richard Strauss’ devastating Metamorphosen - a piece of music written by an old, dying man during the last months of the Second World War. The piece is an elegy for Europe.

Metamorphosen is a piece MC have wanted to play for a long time - it’s a real “Mount Everest” for string players - and they can’t wait to share it with you in this, their largest and most ambitious programme to date.


The commission of The Centre is Everywhere by Edmund Finnis is kindly supported by the PRSF Foundation’s New Music Biennial.


Creative Team

Edmund Finnis - composer

Rakhi Singh - solo violin

Manchester Collective - string orchestra



LIGETI Métamorphosen nocturnes

VIVALDI Four Seasons

FINNIS The Centre is Everywhere (Touring Premiere)

STRAUSS Metamorphosen

Venus & Adonis |
New Renaissance Collective
in association with CLF Art Cafe

Thu 5 - Sat 7 Dec, 7.00pm

'No more of love. The sun doth burn my face, I must remove.'


Venus is in love with Adonis. One morning she finds him out hunting, and wildly confesses all.


Affairs of the heart, though, are never simple. And love and hunting are dangerous occupations.


Having captivated audiences throughout the year with their reworkings of opera and drama, the New Renaissance Collective returns to its artistic home this December for its long-awaited production, Venus and Adonis.


Adapting Shakespeare's strange, dreamlike poem and the only surviving fragment of Monteverdi's lost opera l'Arianna, the NRC is proud to present a show devised by its artists.


Showing for a limited run of just three nights, come and experience this bold new adaptation from one of London's most experimental interpreters of the classics.


Direction - Sam Rayner

Musical Direction - Frederick Waxman

Dramaturg - Angus Bower-Brown


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Ecstatic Dances | Manchester Collective
presented by CLF Art Cafe

Thu 23 Jan, 8.00pm

Poul Høxbro has been called “the great man of small instruments”. He’s an endlessly fascinating and inspiring musician - a Danish master of ancient flutes and bells, of bones and drums. As soon as MC met him, they knew they had to work with him.

While MC were building the show, they had a moment when they realised that this combination of instruments has literally never been heard before. The set that MC are presenting is all new - terrifyingly, ink-barely-dry new. Ancient music, brought vividly to life for 21st century ears.

Rounding out MC's artistic team for the project is composer Paul Clark, who will be writing new music for the show. Paul makes his Manchester Collective debut fresh off the back of a hugely successful collaboration with Renee Fleming and Ben Whishaw at The Shed in New York. We’re thrilled to have him along for the ride.

Full disclosure - “Ecstatic Dances” feels scary for MC. New work is always frightening, mostly because until you start making it, you never really know what you’re going to end up with. Fortunately, they’re not particularly fond of being comfortable. Come join us. Let’s get risky.

Creative Team

Ecstatic Dances - created by Poul Høxbro and Manchester Collective

Paul Clark - composer

Poul Høxbro - pipes and drums

Manchester Collective - string quintet


To include

CLARK New Work (World Premiere)

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Cries and Whispers | Manchester Collective
presented by CLF Art Cafe

Tue 10 Mar, 8.00pm

MC's string quartet concerts are some of the most personal shows that they build. There’s something about that particular lineup which feels terrifyingly intimate - like there’s a direct connection between each of the four players, and every listener in the room.

There is darkness in this programme. Widmann’s “Chorale” Quartet is inspired by the seven last works of Christ on the cross - his string music is augmented by unsettling sounds of rubbing and scratching that evoke skin and bone on wood. Britten’s music emerges from a mist: fragile, lost, and precious. MC perform some intensely expressive and sacred music by Carlo Gesualdo, an Italian musical genius hundreds of years ahead of his time.

Finally, they conclude with the huge emotional impact of Shostakovich’s Eighth String Quartet, a biographical scream written by a man desperate to create, haunted by fear and political oppression.

This music will move you if you let it - it will scare you and inspire you. 


Creative Team

Manchester Collective - string quartet



WIDMANN String Quartet No. 2, "Choralequartett"

BRITTEN String Quartet No. 1

GESUALDO Selected Madrigals

SHOSTAKOVICH String Quartet No. 8

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Enescu Octet | Manchester Collective
presented by CLF Art Cafe

Sat 27 Jun

Quite simply, MC have put a bunch of their favourite music into this show. Rather than sticking to a single theme or composer, in this programme they get the chance to show off their musical range - to flex their muscles as they get close and personal with some of the greatest music ever written.

This show takes us from focused and intense works for just one instrument (Bach’s G Major Cello Suite), to the huge combined string sound of Enescu’s String Octet; from the shape-shifting Koan by James Tenney to the haunting Modlitwa, a musical prayer by father-daughter compositional team, Andrzej and Roxanna Panufnik.

In the words of Stephen Pritchard (Observer/Guardian/Bachtrack): “Catch it if you can - the future has arrived.”

Creative Team

Manchester Collective - string octet


BACH Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major




ENESCU String Octet in C Major, Op. 7

Block A, Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, London SE15 4ST

020 7732 5275

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