Event Radar: April days (no fooling)

Stevie Mackenzie-Smith
Northern Quarter Market

From markets to record shopping, via an internationally-acclaimed dance company, we’ve rounded up the best things to do in Manchester in April.

There we were, minding our own business and before we know it, April springs out of nowhere. Lo! April! The season of mild showers, daylight-saving imbued optimism (and, of course, practical jokes). It’s the month when the birds are really starting to go all out singing. If you find yourself limbering up, like a sleep-creased bear rising from hibernation, then these are the dates to stick in your diary for cultural goings-on across Manchester. The pranks are up to you…

Dance the night away

House, techno and disco night Hi-Ku teams up with Horse Meat Disco for this pre-Easter weekend special. Inspired by the inclusive ethos of the New York dance scene in the 70s and 80s, a night on the tiles with Horse Meat Disco is always guaranteed to be a soul-warming affair. Dust your dancing shoes of for a night of unabashed moving and shaking. (Hi Ku with Horse Meat Disco, Xolo, 3 April)

Arty eating at Islington Mill

Islington Mill welcomes pop-up dining event Eat/Art to its gallery space for an evening of, well, food and art. There’s a four-course menu from Sclater Street Kitchens, who have hosted temporary restaurants and supper clubs in London since 2012, alongside ‘Composition’, a live performance exploring the relationship between sound and the visual, from Manchester-based artists Aliyah Hussain and John Powell-Jones. (Eat/Art, Islington Mill, 5 April)

Indulge in existential crises

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is the focus of the next instalment of monthly performance event Flim Night. Writers, comedians, poets and performers take turns to transform chunks of the film, resulting in a wonderful and surreal re-telling of director Michel Gondry’s cult classic. (Flim Night: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 3 Minute Theatre, 6 April)

Tickling the status quo with art

Beijing-based artist Li Binyuan comes to CFCCA for solo exhibition Social Behaviours, which opens this month. Binyuan’s ‘social artworks’ encompass sculpture, video art and live-action pieces involving a series of (often nude) public disturbances staged in Beijing, which have included streaking with a crucifix and walking a rooster in public during the 2013 bird flu outbreak. (Social Behaviours, CFCCA, 10 April-31 May)

Independents Day

Saturday 18 April marks the return of Record Store Day; the annual Saturday earmarked for celebrating the UK’s independent record stores. Obviously we should be celebrating these stores all year round, but RSD is an excellent excuse to buy some of the exclusive releases, which this year include the likes of David Bowie, Steve Reich, a collaboration between Toy and Jane Weaver and the re-release of Now! That’s What I Call Music 1. (Record Store Day, various locations, 18 April)

Let’s talk about sex (and desires, most difficult to tell)

This talk, taking place at Castlefield Gallery to coincide with current exhibition Superior Goods and Household Gods, invites author Katherine Angel to discuss sexuality, psychiatry and pornography, all aspects of her book Unmastered: A Book on Desire, Most Difficult to Tell, which overlaps with the ideas explored in the exhibition. (Talk: Katherine Angel, Castlefield Gallery, 18 April)

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

The brilliant Real Story returns for a second outing. This quarterly evening, tucked cosily into the upstairs room at Gullivers Pub, celebrates creative nonfiction in all it’s forms. This month, broadcaster and author Stuart Maconie headlines, with Danielle Peet, Sarah Handyside and Mark Powell also on the bill. (The Real Story, Gullivers, 22 April)

Shoot hoops at the theatre

Hip hop, poetry, music and beatboxing combine in The Spalding Suite, a physical theatre show inspired by the UK’s basketball sub-culture. Six performers explore the gravity-defying game, the hopes and dreams of the players, and the physical effects of the sport. (Fuel presents: The Spalding Suite, Contact, 23-25 April)

Craft fairs and good grub on a Sunday

The Little Northern Contemporary Craft Fair pitches up in Altrincham, with over 40 designer-makers and artists selling jewellery, interior furnishings, ceramics and fashion accessories. This one-day event is the smaller sister of The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, so expect high-quality craft. Combat tired legs by heading to the pop-up tea room hosted by Vintage Afternoon Teas. Afterwards, be sure to swing by Altrincham Market to survey your wares over a well-earned glass of wine and wood-fired pizza. (Little Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, April 26)

Take to the streets

This month, Manchester New Walks launch their new Daily Discover Manchester tour, starting at the beautifully orbicular Central Library and winding through the streets to give a taste of the city’s history, architecture and culture. Look up, and look closer. (Daily Discover Manchester tour, starts at Manchester Central Library, daily, 11am-1pm, no booking required)

Internationally-renowned dance at HOME

Hofesh Shechter & Friends sees the world premiere of new work from one of the world’s leading dancing companies at new arts centre HOME. The second part in a trilogy, the performance features five dancers alongside a dark score of percussive electronics. The evening also includes a rare performance of Fragments, Hofesh Shechter’s first choreographic work from 2003, which explores the evolving dynamic between a couple. (Hofesh Shechter & Friends, HOME, 30 April-2 May)

To market, to market!

Pop along to Stevenson Square’s newly-launched monthly Northern Quarter Market, from the team behind Levenshulme Market. Expect street food, groceries, fresh flowers, cheese wheels the size of your head, independent clothes makers and live music. Special tip: seek out Soup Kitchen’s pop-up stall for barbequed Jamaican food including jars of delicious homemade jerk and hot sauces. (Northern Quarter Market, Stevenson Square, third Sunday of the month)

Realist painting at Manchester Cathedral

Nip into Manchester Cathedral this month and cast your eyes over The Good Thief, or St Dismas, who was thought to have been crucified alongside Jesus, depicted in a beautiful life-sized realist work by painter Louis Smith. Manchester-based, Smith trained in Florence and was awarded second prize for the BP Portrait Award in 2011. Combine your visit with a damn fine cup of tea at Proper Tea, or a peruse of the bottles at Hanging Ditch, both in the Cathedral Quarter. (The Good Thief, Manchester Cathedral, until 19 April)

Camera-less photography from a ground-breaking artist

How exactly do you make photography without a camera? Find out by taking a trip to Tate Liverpool. Here, the first UK solo exhibition of the work of artist, designer and educator Gyorgy Kepes is on show, displaying photograms produced by exposing objects atop light-sensitive paper. These delicate still life portraits show alongside Kepes’ distinct photomontages, surveying his experimental work and interest in science and nature. (Gyorgy Kepes, Tate Liverpool, continues until 31 May)

Culture Guides

Image credit: Maryna Makarenko, Sun-Eaters, 2022

Cinema

Classic pre-Code cinema, the Artist Film Weekender and the music of John Williams are amongst our highlights this month.

Exhibitions

Pause in the hustle and bustle of festive prep to take in some inspiration from this month’s top exhibitions.

The Ocean at the End of The Lane at the lowry

Families

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and Manchester is bursting with fun, family activities to keep the kids entertained in the run up to Christmas!

Writer Nicholas Royle. Photo by Zoe McLean

Literature

There are spooky stories, Christmas crime thrillers and plenty of books for stocking fillers as December unfolds and Manchester and the wider North region switches on the live literature lights.

Music

The festive season is here, and whether you want to escape it or embrace it, we’ve got you covered.

Theatre in Manchester and the North

Theatre

Alongside radical sci-fi adaptations and free arts festivals, we take a look at some of the Christmas shows happening in the North.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester and the north.

Food and Drink

Explore the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North for autumn.

Tours and Activities

We’re deep into Autumn now but don’t let that stop you from finding a new tour or activity to get stuck into.

Things to do right now

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Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £20

Pottery at Earth Pig Pottery and Fine Art in Buxton

Visual Arts Until 1 December 2022, from £20

Graffiti at Zap Graffiti

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £95

Blacksmithing at Forge Four

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £15

Embroidery with Sara Dennis at Lancaster Castle

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £59

Making silver stacker rings at The Old Granary

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £13

Candle making at Cheshire Workshops

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £60

Glass fusing at Glassmonkey Studio

Textile taxidermy
Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £80

Textile taxidermy with Jaki Bogg at Craven Arts Studios

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £3.50

Knittaz with Attitude: Yarnbombing at Upside Down Coffee

Cinema Until 8 December 2022, from £7.95

Aftersun at HOME