Event Radar: 13 unmissable things to do in Manchester this June

Suzy Prince
Woman jumping into glass

What not to miss in Manchester this month – including whisky and histories festivals, film and supper clubs and sizzling spoken word.

Our top cultural picks for the month to keep our spirits high. You can also check out our Cultural Calendar picks for June for more tips.

many-splendoured thing at The Portico

Triptych of photographs

This month, in the run-up to the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, Brazilian artist Gê Orthof is resident in this historic library’s free public gallery space, in an exhibition that has been guest curated by Raphael Fonseca.  Inspired by the story of Thompson Vitor, whose Mother salvaged old books from landfill sites to enable her son to study, this project uses discarded and donated books to deal with social conditions, history and narrative processes. The artist has transformed the gallery space into a temporary installation, whose cardboard walls remind us both of the shelters of rough sleepers and refugees, and the materials from which books are made. Portico Library, 1-29 June, free

Manchester Histories Festival

Stained glass window in Victoria Baths

The biennial Manchester Histories Festival returns, featuring more than 180 events over ten days. It aims to celebrate the familiar and to reveal previously hidden histories in Greater Manchester. Highlights are numerous, including a Celebration Day on 11 June, which will see almost 100 history and heritage organisations convening at the Town Hall, plus heritage bus rides taking place outside. Then there’s a feminist bike ride, an audience with 98 year old activist Betty Tebbs,  a re-enactment of a First World War Debussy concert at RNCM… The list is huge, so get planning. Here’s both our festival preview and our guide to events by district to help out. Various venues, 3-12 June, many events are free (see website for details)

susan pui san lok at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art

Susan Pui San Lok - RoCH Fans & Legends

This year, CFCCA has been celebrating its 30 year anniversary with a six month programme that’s welcomed back artists who have gone on to achieve international recognition since exhibiting there. The season of monthly exhibitions is closing with susan pui san lok’s new body of work RoCH Fans and Legends, which draws on differing media adaptations of The Condor Trilogy: a classic Hong Kong ‘wuxia’ epic (a distinct historical genre of Chinese film and fiction involving martial arts, swordplay and women wariors). The exhibition invokes changing modes of wuxia spectatorship over the decades, from bootleg videos to online streaming.  Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, 3 June – 3 July, free

Fashion on the Ration Weekender at IWM North

Women walking in wartime

Imperial War Museum North is hosting Fashion on the Ration, a major exhibition (here’s our preview) looking at the impact that the Second World War had on clothing and attitudes to making do and mending. The first weekend of June sees a weekender event to celebrate. Events taking place throughout the weekend will include t-shirt turban making workshops, Odette Toilette’s fragrance tour, a talk by Julie Summers, author of the accompanying Fashion on the Ration book, and an opportunity to meet mobile milliner Mary Jane Baxter, alongside her campervan Bambi. Imperial War Museum North, 4-5 June, free

Whiskey Jar Whisky Festival

Photo of a Jameson barrel of whiskey with candles in jars

The Whiskey Jar is a Northern Quarter bar, specialising in its namesake, with over 300 whiskies to choose from on any given day. They’re hosting their first Whisky Festival (yes, the name is spelt correctly – as in real life the bar is happy to chop and change between selling whisky and whiskey) on the first Sunday of the month, and the entrance fee will grant attendees access to talks and seminars, live music and food stalls with a whisky twist. The Whiskey Jar, 5 June, 12pm-4.30pm or 5.30pm-9.30pm, tickets £25

Morning Gloryville at Gorilla

Conscious clubbing pioneers Morning Gloryville are bringing their sober dance movement to Manchester, making this the 24th city to join in the fun. These early morning raves, which are open to all, encourage people to start their day in style, meaning increasing productivity for the day ahead. It’s been described as ‘an energetic buzz coated in laughter, hugs and glitter’. Sounds like a very nice way to start the day. Gorilla, 8 June, 6.30am-10.30am, tickets £10-£16 (you can arrive and leave at any time; tickets for children under six are free)

Biological Atelier: The Showroom at Manchester Craft & Design Centre

Woman wearing biological jewellery

The European City of Science comes to Manchester Craft & Design Centre with designer Amy Congdon’s futuristic new exhibition. She’s been taking a look at how tissue engineering could be used to grow new biological textiles for the fashion industry, and the exhibition showcases some of the unique jewellery and skincare that she’s produced using biological textiles. Manchester Craft & Design Centre, 9 June – 28 August, free (launch event 9 June, 6pm-8pm)

On Corporation Street at HOME

Woman jumping into glass

2016 marks the twentieth anniversary of the bombing of Manchester by the Provisional IRA. On Corporation Street responds to this pivotal moment that transformed the shape of the city, with a series of fearless and personal encounters. This is the second in a triptych of productions by ANU marking the centenary of ireland’s Easter Rising and promises to be a powerful, if not entirely comfortable, experience (those who saw ANU’s Angel Meadow will have some idea of what’s in store). HOME, 10-25 June, tickets £10-£23 

Gaucho Film Club: Reservoir Dogs

Upmarket steak restaurant Gaucho continues its series of cult screenings; the twist is that if food or drink appears in the film then it also appears in front of you. This time around they’re screening Reservoir Dogs. We’re hoping that no severed ears will be on the menu. Gaucho, 19 June, 12pm-2.30pm, tickets £55 (including all food and accompanying beverages)

The Real Story: Live with Amy Liptrot

Amy Liptrot

The Real Story are hosting author Amy Liptrot’s debut event in Manchester. Amy’s book The Outrun tells of her recovery from alcoholism and her return to her childhood home on the Orkney Islands. It was shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize 2016 and broadcast on Radio 4 as Book of the Week. As ever, the headliner will be supported by a carefully curated lineup of new and established non-fiction writers, this time including Ebba Brooks and Kate Jones. Gullivers, 23 June, 7.30pm, tickets £5.50/£3.50

Heart & Parcel Supper Club

Heart and Parcel chinese dumplings

This month it’s all about the Chinese dumplings at Heart & Parcel’s supper club, at a secret location in Levenshulme. These wonderful super clubs aren’t just about enjoying an evening of food. They are also fundraisers for projects run by the organisers where women from migrant communities are brought together by making dumplings and learning ESOL skills. Knowing that’s going to make your food and drink taste even better. The evening includes a welcome drink, an array of dumplings and a dumpling folding workshop. Location specified on purchase of ticket, 24 June, 7pm, tickets £25

Fast Fringe at the Dancehouse

So much to see: so little time. This event is a bit like speed dating, but with comedy, as many comedians and variety acts perform ridiculously short sets in one fast-paced showcase. The action is held together by compere and Greater Manchester Fringe patron Justin Moorhouse, and acts include the likes of the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre (the mind boggles), Gary from Leeds (ditto) and Scarlet SoHandsome. Great fun. The Dancehouse, 24 June, 8pm, tickets £15/£12.50 

Vogue 100 and Boris Nzebo at Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery will present a solo exhibition, Urban Style, by Gabonese artist Boris Nzebo. In his work, Nzebo overlays stylised silhouettes of human heads onto architectural facades and interior spaces. He then contrasts these with vivid street cultures and a more heavily built-up environment. His work is evocative of the murals and graffiti found in Douala, his home city. 24 June – 13 November, free

Also at Manchester Art Gallery, don’t miss the Vogue 100: A Century of Style exhibition, which has come up from the National portrait gallery in London. 280 modern and vintage designs from the Condé Nast archive and international collections  will be showcased, telling the visual story of the world’s most iconic fashion magazine. 24 June – 30 October, free

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