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 25 May–10 June 2017, from £10.00

Rose at HOME

Academy Award nominee Dame Janet Suzman stars as Rose, taking us on a journey through her life that charts the fate of Europe’s Jews through the Twentieth Century and into the Millennium.

Festivals 25 May–16 June 2017,

Liverpool presents Sgt Pepper at 50

It was 50 years ago this year that Sgt Pepper taught the band to play. And now, Liverpool is presenting a series of events to celebrate this landmark occasion – from mass-participation free music events to dance exclusives, plus exhibitions, brass bands and more.

Contact Summer Season
Theatre 16 May–30 June 2017,

Contact Summer Season 2017

While other theatres are shutting up shop Contact has launched a summer season packed with powerful theatre performances.

Leeds Indie Food Festival 2017
Festivals 11–28 May 2017,

Leeds Indie Food Festival 2017

The Leeds Indie Food festival is back for a third mouthwatering edition, celebrating the best of the city’s thriving independent food and drink scene.

Exhibitions 19 May–20 August 2017, FREE

Object Lessons at Manchester Museum

Extraordinary objects from the private collection of art collector George Loudon go on display to the public for the first time in Object Lessons at Manchester Museum – a showcase of 19th century life science teaching objects that blurs the boundary between art and science.

Theatre 27 May–16 July 2017, FREE

IRIS by Marshmallow Laser Feast at The Lowry

The Lowry’s Lyric Theatre is set to be taken over by a stunning spectacle of lasers, light, sound and colour from leading creative studio Marshmallow Laser Feast. Audiences will experience IRIS – a unique digital art installation created using laser technology.

Festivals 29 June–16 July 2017, from £12.00

Manchester International Festival 2017

Manchester International Festival, the world’s first festival of original work and special events, returns in 2017 under new Artistic Director 2017. Here’s our guide to the unique programme, taking place across Manchester.

Families 18–20 August 2017, from £20.00

Just So Festival 2017 at Rode Hall, Cheshire

The best family festival in the UK? We think so. Adventure together into a wonderland of the best outdoor theatre, music, comedy, literature and other curious creative escapades. With midnight feasts, pillow fights and the bonkers Tribal Tournament be sure to snap up a ticket fast.

Families 10–11 June 2017, FREE

Rita Riot / Rita Dreaming / Rita Requiem at Hope Street, The Oratory and Liverpool Cathedrals

Change the way you feel about traffic wardens forever. Join over 300 brass musicans and parking attendants kicking off a weekend of riotous street performance and events by international performer Meow Meow. Experience the song Lovely Rita through new eyes as part of Liverpool’s Sgt Pepper at 50 celebrations.

Dance 1–4 June 2017, from £10.00

DEPART at Stanley Park

DEPART is a unique circus show that has you stumble across performers like fairies in an enchanted forest.

Music 28 July 2017, from £55.00

Brian Wilson presents Pet Sounds at 50 Summers of Love

To mark 50 years since the Summer of Love, Liverpool welcomes the producer of one of the period’s most influential albums, Pet Sounds. Brian Wilson performs the psychedelic pop masterpiece, as well as rare cuts and other Beach Boys hits, for one of the very last times.

Exhibitions 25 February–3 September 2017, FREE

Never Going Underground at People’s History Museum

January 1967: it’s illegal for men to have sex together, lesbianism is seen as a medical misfortune, and trans rights are non-existent. 50 years later, LGBT+ legal protection and equality is almost UK-wide. This exhibition charts the activist struggle to get where we are today.

Exhibitions 16 March–27 August 2017, FREE

The Life of Objects at John Rylands Library

Featuring objects including a fragment from the lining of Napoleon’s coffin, The John Rylands Library’s latest exhibition sets out to prove that a library’s stories are not just contained within books.

Exhibitions 16 November 2016–1 July 2017, FREE

After The Bees at Manchester Museum

This exhibition explores the haunting consequences of a world without bees through a series of photographs and artworks.

Lovell telescope in cloudy sky
Music 7–9 July 2017, from £129.00

bluedot 2017 at Jodrell Bank

Bluedot is a brand new festival of discovery located in the shadow of the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics; the iconic space observatory and the heart of our quest for knowledge.

Culture Guides

Food and Drink

Discover the best food and drink that the North has to offer in our expert guide to food and drink in Manchester and beyond.

Exhibitions

A number of radical exhibitions feature in this month’s Exhibitions guide – which includes cutting edge-digital art and giant, endangered animals at MediaCityUK.

Families

Theatrical adventures reflecting on our changing world, sleep walks, a ridiculous art race through the forest, and our guide to Just So Festival.

The Real Story: Live with Lauren Elkin

Literature

Spring is well and truly in the air, and there are plenty of prose and poetry events blossoming this month across the North West, and the chance for budding writers to scribe some site-specific stories.

Music

As we enter festival season, the likes of bluedot, Cloudspotting and Manchester International Festival offer the chance to see some of the biggest artists on the planet in our own backyards…

Theatre

Secrecy, spying and subterfuge are the name of the game for our latest theatre picks.

Cinema

This month, we round up some of the disreputable treasures and genuinely ambitious pieces of film art that are screening around Manchester and the North.

Destination Guides