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
Dance 24 October 2017, from £16.50

Candoco Dance Company: Double Bill at the Lowry

Candoco’s ability to mix serious art with self-deprecation marks them out as one of the best dance troupes around.

Families 24–25 October 2017, from £5.00 - 13.00

Duckie at Contact

Le Gateau Chocolat is back, this time with a re-telling of the Ugly Ducking story that is both cute and clever.

78/52 - Image courtesy of HOME
Cinema 26–31 October 2017, from £5.00

FilmFear at HOME

FilmFear is back as HOME team up with Film4 once again for another season of new and classic scary movies, premieres and director Q&As.

Music 31 October 2017, from £15.00

UpClose: Hugo Ticciati – Spiritualism and Minimalism at Manchester Cathedral

The atmospheric Manchester Cathedral provides the perfect setting for this concert, themed around spiritualism and minimalism. Hugo Ticciati, a violinist who takes a holistic approach to music, and visual theatre company Clod Ensemble will tackle works by Arvo Pärt, Vasks and Haydn.

Exhibitions 21 October 2017–7 January 2018, FREE

The Return of Memory at HOME

A major new exhibition at HOME sets out to re-examine the legacy of the Russian Revolution through the lens of the ‘New East’ today.

Music 4 November 2017, from £12.00

BBC Philharmonic: Brett Dean | Beethoven | Sally Beamish | Elgar at The Bridgewater Hall

Completed at the end of 2016 and premiered by tonight’s soloist, Jonathan Biss, in the US in January, Sally Beamish’s potent and political new piece was written in response to Beethoven’s immaculate First Piano Concerto.

Music 1 November 2017, from £15

RNCM Big Band with Christian Garrick and Tina May: A Hot Night in Paris at the RNCM

The RNCM Big Band is joined by jazz singer Tina May and violinist Chris Garrick for a Gallic-inspired programme featuring a tribute to Édith Piaf plus Hot Club de France tunes, Michel Legrand classics and more.

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 29 September 2017–3 June 2018, FREE

New North & South: South Asia art and culture programme 2017–18 across Manchester

A major programme of exhibitions and events reflecting on the shared heritage and historic connections between South Asia and the North of England opens across the city.

Exhibitions 23 September–19 November 2017, FREE

Arts and Wonder season at Quarry Bank

Quarry Bank’s new season of contemporary art exploring themes of work, leisure and the legacies of industrialisation, seems particularly prescient in today’s world of rapidly advancing technology.

Writer Michael Symmons Roberts.
Festivals 1 November–8 December 2017, FREE

RAH! Research in Arts and Humanities Programme

Exciting new public engagement programme from Manchester Met’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities, with talks, screenings, fairs, workshops, artist happenings and augmented reality.

Music 17–26 November 2017, from £9

Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2017

The UK’s largest international festival of new and experimental music returns for its 40th edition. Featuring the music of Kraftwerk and Lou Reed, as well as countless exclusives and premieres from composers and ensembles from throughout the world, 2017 promises to be the festival’s biggest and most adventurous outing to date.

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.

Families 21–31 October 2017, FREE

Halloween in the City

Creepy capers across Manchester City Centre for little and big ghosts with the most.

Exhibitions 23 September–5 November 2017, FREE

British Ceramics Biennial 2017 in Stoke-on-Trent

Head down to the world’s pottery capital to experience the cutting-edge future of one of the world’s most ancient disciplines.

Culture Guides


Everything’s gone a little spooky. We pick out the best scary screenings on offer in Manchester and the North this October.


From cutting-edge ceramics to steampunk fashion, festival season is far from over in the world of contemporary art.


This month it’s all about spectacles and dramatic adventure at the Dashehra Diwali Mela, an enchanted Chester Zoo, the bonkers Winter Droving in Penrith and the Big Imaginations Festival of children’s theatre

Writer Luke Kennard.


Fantastic free live lit, Gothic goings-on and bookings being taken for this year’s Creative Writing Graduate Fair – plus tickets on sale for MLF Bookend events!


As the festival season has well and truly ended, 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 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.


Politics both personal and global make this month’s theatre guide, all backed up by the reassuring presence of Sherlock Holmes.

Destination Guides