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
Sergey Ponomarev Damascus, Syria, 24 August 2013 Assad's Syria (2013-2014). IWM North
Exhibitions 16 February–28 May 2018, FREE

Syria: A Conflict Explored at IWM North

IWM North launches a season of exhibitions and events that attempt to cut through the complexity surrounding the Syrian crisis, and offer a human account of what’s happening in the country today.

Noor Afshan Mirza & Brad Butler - The Scar. Photo credit - Emma Jane Richards. HOME, Manchester
Exhibitions 10 February–31 March 2018, FREE

Noor Afshan Mirza & Brad Butler: The Scar at HOME

Starring an ex-beauty queen, a Kurdish MP, a notorious gangster, and a former agent; The Scar attempts to imagine an alternative future outside of the structures of patriarchy.

Hamlet at Bolton Octagon
Theatre 15 February–10 March 2018, from £12.00

Hamlet at Bolton Octagon

David Ricardo-Pearce cast as Hamlet in Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy brought to life in Bolton by David Thacker.

wonder women 2018
Festivals 1–31 March 2018,

Wonder Women 2018

Wonder Women 2018 is a special edition of Manchester’s annual radical feminist festival, marking 100-years since some women first won the right to vote in Britain with a city-wide programme of art, culture and debate.

Exhibitions 16 February–3 June 2018, FREE

Anthony McCall: Solid Light Works at The Hepworth, Wakefield

The world premiere of three new immersive, interactive ‘solid light’ installations by Anthony McCall opens at The Hepworth Wakefield, as part of a major survey of the artist’s work.

Euphonia by Emma Smith, Bluecoat
Exhibitions 27 April–24 June 2018, FREE

Euphonia by Emma Smith at Bluecoat

Bluecoat’s gallery is transformed into a sonic chamber for collective singing in this ground-breaking new sound installation by Emma Smith, based on the music of social communication.

Poet Helen Mort.
Literature 20–26 February 2018,

International Mother Language Day 2018

Manchester’s UNESCO City of Literature holds the first in a brand-new series of events – this one celebrating International Mother Language Day, marked globally on Wednesday 21 February.

Cinema 2–22 February 2018, from £5.00

Phantom Thread at HOME

Set in the glamour of 50’s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Day-Lewis in his final performance) and his sister Cyril (Manville) are at the centre of British fashion in Phantom Thread, the latest film from Paul Thomas Anderson.

Music 28 February 2018, from £25.00

Nils Frahm at Albert Hall

German pianist, composer and producer Nils Frahm returns to Albert Hall three years after his last visit. Since then, he has established an innovative annual Piano Day project, and produced film and game soundtracks that have raised his profile even further. Don’t miss out on this much-anticipated return to the live arena.

Robots at the Museum of Science and Industry
Exhibitions 19 October 2017–15 April 2018, from £5

Robots at the Museum of Science and Industry

A once-in-a-lifetime look at one of the largest collections of robots together. A mind-bending, 500 year journey to being human in a robotic world.

Exhibitions 3 February–15 April 2018, FREE

The House of Kings & Queens at People’s History Museum

Using powerful images, documentary photographer Lee Price explores life as a member of the LGBT+ community in Sierra Leone.

Music 2 March 2018, from £12

The Endellion String Quartet at The Stoller Hall

Now in its 38th year, the Endellion is without doubt one of the world’s most enduring and respected string quartets in the world. With enviable experience together, expect to hear a rare uniformity of thought from its members as they perform pieces by Mozart, Beethoven, Webern and Brahms in The Stoller Hall.

Music 17–25 March 2018, from £21

RNCM Opera: Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck at the RNCM

The RNCM Opera tackles Engelbert Humperdinck’s operatic version of the Brothers Grimm’s early 19th Century fairytale Hansel and Gretel for its major spring production. Expect a tale of transition, redemption and resolution, set to folk music-inspired themes, for a piece that is equal parts dark and magical.

Company Chameleon 10 at The Lowry
Dance 1–2 March 2018, from £13.50

10 at The Lowry

Company Chameleon rewinds and fast forwards in a new triple bill celebrating its 10th anniversary year.

The Newspaper Boy
Theatre 13–24 February 2018, from £11.00

The Newspaper Boy at 53Two

After a successful production back in 2009, Chris Hoyle’s semi-autobiographical coming-of-age play, The Newspaper Boy, returns this February at Manchester’s newest and most exciting fringe venue, 53Two.

Culture Guides

Motherlogues Theatre Deli


Queer Contact Festival, verbatim performances and sport-art collaborations top our eclectic list of drama, opera and dance this month.


Get ready for some heady cultural adventures this February with our guide to the best things to do right now with kids and book ahead for.

Author Joe Dunthorne. Photo by Angus Muir.


We have a fun-packed February leading up to a mad-busy March. There’s lots of brand-new work from both established and emerging writers, and plenty of prose and poetry to fill your mornings, afternoons and evenings.


Manchester’s top music venues have been busy filling their diaries for the year ahead – with spring highlights including Fever Ray and Joan as Police Woman, plus new seasons by the likes of Manchester Camerata and the BBC Philharmonic.


Featuring live scores, intriguing film seasons and art-house gems – we take a look at the best cinema coming to a screen near you.

Changing Lives: 200 Years of People and Protest in Sheffield at Weston Park Museum


Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s packed 2018 programme, 200 years of activism and protest in the Steel City, and the curious history of colour top our latest list of exhibition highlights.