Unmissable things to do in Manchester and the North

Discover acclaimed music and stand-out exhibitions, groundbreaking theatre, family, cinema and literary events in Manchester and the North.

Our top picks
Theatre 22 September–7 October 2017, from £10

People, Places and Things at HOME

Emma is an actor trying to overcome addiction, but what else can help her cope with life’s problems?

Sports 20–23 September 2017, from £10:00 - 15.00

We’re Not Really Here – A Football Opera at Contact

The excitement of a goalmouth scramble and the pressure of a penalty shootout are put under the spotlight in this new theatre show about football fandom.

Exhibitions 21–24 September 2017, from £9.75

Abandon Normal Devices 2017, Castleton

Experience art in caves, valleys flooded with light, and the ancient mythologies of the underground world this September at Abandon Normal Devices 2017.

Theatre 14 September–14 October 2017, from £10.00

Our Town at the Royal Exchange

Thornton Wilder’s play about everyday life is far from ordinary, and captures something eternal and cosmic.

Dance 28–30 September 2017, from £12.50

Rambert – Ghost Dances Plus Other Works at The Lowry

Spirits of the dead take over the stage in an electrifying dance piece at the centre of this unmissable triple bill at The Lowry.

Music 24 September 2017, from £12.00

BBC Philharmonic: Mahler – Symphony No. 3 at The Bridgewater Hall

Juanjo Mena will be joined by a vast ensemble of musicians and singers for Mahler’s Symphony No.3, as he begins his final season as the BBC Philharmonic’s Chief Conductor.

Music 4 October–11 December 2017, FREE

RNCM Autumn Season

Featuring a legendary chanteuse, an exploration of science in music, a bombastic orchestra recital and a classic film with musical accompaniment, the RNCM’s Autumn Season is action-packed and offers something for everyone. Read on for our top picks.

Families 19 October–5 November 2017, from £6

Big Imaginations Festival

This autumn, Big Imaginations will celebrate and showcase the highest quality theatre for children and families in over 26 venues across the North West.

Exhibitions 7–30 September 2017, FREE

Fabrications Festival in Lancashire

The UK’s first festival dedicated to exploring and celebrating textiles and the textile industry through the eyes of contemporary artists.

Music 11 October 2017, from £15.00

UpClose: Aziz Ibrahim – From Lahore to Longsight at HOME

Longsight-born guitarist Aziz Ibrahim has worked with the likes of The Stone Roses, Simply Red and Paul Weller – but his own album, Lahore to Longsight, is the focus of this concert, which charts the journey of Aziz’s father from a divided India to Pakistan to Manchester, recording Aziz’s own path to self-identity and cultural acceptance in the process.

Exhibitions 14 September–12 November 2017, FREE

Katab: Quilting Stories from India at Manchester Craft & Design Centre

An exhibition that looks likely to challenge perceptions of ‘traditional craft’ in the world of today, while deepening our understanding of an old form of Indian quilting and the women behind it.

Festivals 25–29 October 2017, from £10.00

Gothic Manchester Festival 2017

Gothic Manchester Festival is back in style this October. Goths, steampunks and assorted ‘weirdo mosher freaks’ can let their hair down with a series of film screenings, literary events and the annual conference.

Festivals 8–24 September 2017, FREE

New Mills Festival 2017

Featuring music, poetry, film, talks, walks, exhibitions and more, New Mills Festival provides something for everyone in the heart of the Peak District. Highlights this year include concerts by Dutch Uncles and Holy Moly & The Crackers, which book-end this 16-day-long celebration.

Music 25 September 2017, from £45.00

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds at Manchester Arena

One of the most critically acclaimed acts in the world, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds stop off at Manchester Arena as part of their eight-week-long European tour – promoting their 16th studio album, Skeleton Tree.

Hidden Altrincham
Exhibitions 14–24 September 2017, FREE

Hidden Altrincham Festival 2017

This year’s edition of Hidden Altrincham makes clear that the leafy Greater Manchester town is far from just a food lover’s paradise. It’s throbbing with creativity too.

Culture Guides


As the festival season draws to a close, live music returns to the city’s concert halls and venues. Why not check out Manchester Folk Festival – new in 2017 – plus major events like Transformer and Manchester Psych Fest.


Gig theatre, an American classic and two people dancing like idiots – all this and more in our monthly guide.


From big brash musicals to terrifying horror and silent movie masterpieces – there’s something for everyone in our latest Cinema Guide.


This month’s top picks all share a notably political emphasis – using art to highlight the many vast divisions that have underpinned society over the last 100 years.


Tip top experiences for families that stretch our perceptions and minds right now – experimental new technology to radical re-imaginings, awe-inspiring outdoor arts and the last two glorious festivals this summer.

Lemn Sissay.


There’s plenty to see and do this autumn in live literature land – not least because Manchester Literature Festival is back in town, and tickets are selling like hot cakes so you need to get in there quick-sharp!

Destination Guides

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