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
Heart of Darkness at The Lowry
Theatre 16–18 April 2019, from £17.50

Heart of Darkness at The Lowry

This April at The Lowry – imitating the dog will bring their bold and original vision to Joseph Conrad’s timely novel, Heart of Darkness.

Music 23–27 May 2019, from £5.00

Manchester Jazz Festival 2019 – MJF19

MJF returns with a fresh new look, a new festival hub location and more venues across the city than ever before.

Music 21 April 2019, from £11.25

Nina: An Orchestral Rendition at The Niamos Centre

Celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Niamos Centre and the 16th anniversary of Nina Simone’s death, The Untold Orchestra will perform her best works.

Humber Street Gallery, Hull, 2019 spring programme
Exhibitions 6 April–7 July 2019, FREE

Spring 2019 at Humber Street Gallery

Featuring free haircuts, sculptures made out of edible matter, and a ‘Journey to the Centre of the Couch’, Humber Street Gallery’s spring 2019 programme has certainly piqued our interest.

Survey at Bluecoat, Liverpool
Exhibitions 13 April–23 June 2019, FREE

Survey at Bluecoat, Liverpool

Survey at Bluecoat will offer a major study of new work by early career artists from across the UK. The exhibition is the largest review of contemporary art practice in Jerwood Visual Art’s 12 years of programming, spanning a breadth of disciplines including film, performance, and painting.

Visitors at Oldham Coliseum
Theatre 18 April–4 May 2019, from £17.00

Visitors at Oldham Coliseum

Following the critical success of The Father, the Coliseum revisits the urgent topic of dementia in Visitors, Barney Norris’ first full-length work for the stage.

Music 13 June–6 July 2019, from £12

RNCM Summer Season 2019

Read our picks for the exciting months ahead at the RNCM.

Zara courtesy Matt Vale
Families 19–20 April 2019, from £8

Zara at The Piece Hall

A soaring musical score, a cast of over 100, cherry pickers, tanks, 3D projections and a mechanical, moving ‘baby’ that’s bigger than a double decker bus. Zara is a giant outdoor theatre event for the whole family, which tells the epic story of one learning disabled mother and her fight to protect her baby.

Cinema 29 March–25 April 2019, from £5.50

Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story at HOME

Manchester native Chris Sievey dreamed of pop-music stardom but belated recognition only came incognito, through his loveably anarchic creation.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh: making the Glasgow Style at Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool
Exhibitions 15 March–26 August 2019, from £2

Charles Rennie Mackintosh: making the Glasgow Style at Walker Art Gallery

Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool present one of the blockbuster exhibitions of 2019, dedicated to the life and work of the Glaswegian artist, architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh – father of the UK’s part in the international Art Nouveau movement.

Ericka Beckman and Marianna Simnett at FACT, Liverpool
Exhibitions 29 March–16 June 2019, FREE

Ericka Beckman and Marianna Simnett at FACT

A duo-exhibition of work by the eminent American filmmaker Ericka Beckman and rising London-based video artist Marianna Simnett marks a strong start to FACT’s year-long season focusing on identity, representation and gender.

UnDoing at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester – Creative Tourist
Exhibitions 22 March–26 May 2019, FREE

UnDoing at Castlefield Gallery

UnDoing at Castlefield Gallery explores our often conflicted relationship between past and present in architecture.

Families 6–28 April 2019, from £5.25

Steampunk Science at Eureka!

Steampunk shenangigans ahoy at the UK’s only national children’s museum. Brace yourselves for a cacophony of light, sound and creation.

COLETIVA OCUPAÇÃO: When It Breaks It Burns
Theatre 8–9 May 2019, from £10.00

ColetivA Ocupação: When It Breaks It Burns at Moss Side Powerhouse Library

Using dance, live music and performance ColetivA Ocupação tell the real and brutal story of the high school occupations of 2015 and 2016 in Brazil.

Music 25 April 2019, from £12.5

Sibelius | Tippett | Stravinsky at The Bridgewater Hall

Steven Osborne made the definitive recording of Tippett’s masterpiece several years ago – and tonight, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, he joins the BBC Philharmonic to perform it live. Also on the programme, two symphonies by 20th-century pioneers: Sibelius’s brilliant Sixth, and a vital work written by Stravinsky ‘to the glory of God’.

Culture Guides


MIF make a big announcement, Women, Organise! at HOME and we highlight some festivals across the region.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the north


Not an exhibition but a narrow, soot-stained Georgian terrace earns its place at the top of our list this month.

Fashion Fun at the Science and Industry Museum


Nature-inspired outdoor literary larks, scientific shenanigans and a giant mechanical baby larger than a double decker bus. It’s all here.

Sheri Benning


April showers us with plenty of prose from some big-name authors, lots and lots of avant garde and experimental poetry, creative nonfiction and memoir a-go-go, and even words and music. We’re gonna need a bigger diary.


In this month’s music guide, you’ll find some of the most creative and forward-thinking artists that 2019 has to offer.

Theatre in Manchester


Our picks of the hugely impressive MIF19 line-up feature in our guide this month, alongside innovative binaural performance and world premiere literary adaptations.

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

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

Tours and Activities

As spring emerges we highlight tours from Manchester’s heritage sites, with a mixture of well known civic treasures as well as some hidden gems.