It’s all a bit fringe-y: this month’s best independent arts events

Phoebe Hurst

Who says you need a festival to have a fringe? One-off performances, book readings and new theatre productions happen in Manchester all year round. The folks behind 24:7 Theatre Festival help us to round up this month’s best fringe events.

Proving theatres don’t have to go dark in the summer, Contact stages Lounge Fest, a festival-style take over that showcases two nights of new-writing. Featuring 24:7 alumni Ian Winterton as well as Liverpool’s Annexe Writers, the festival centres around Contact Compacts, a series of short plays from the North West’s brightest writing talent.

And we couldn’t talk fringe without mentioning Manchester Pride. The Big Weekend returns this Bank Holiday with its infamous parade but Pride Fringe runs throughout August with a programme of exhibitions, film screenings and performances. Highlights include Identity Parade at the Lass O’Gowrie, an evening of storytelling, poetry and comedy that explores Queer identity, and Chris Hoyle’s latest play, The Other Team. Portico Library also tempts bookworms with a fund-raising book fair this Friday and Manchester magazine, Nous continues its As We Are Away Festival with readings, screenings and live performances.

And for anyone venturing North of Hadrian’s Wall, Manchester theatre company Leading Van takes its slice-of-life comedy, Loving Dick to Edinburgh Fringe and the Royal Exchange Theatre flies the flag for Manchester at the Northern Stage with a production of Chris Thorpe’s There Has Possibly Been An Incident. Articulate Elbow also represents the city with its production of Mother F, a celebratory tale about mothers and 24:7’s very own David Slack speaks as part of the Edinburgh Showcase at Waverley Gate.

Culture Guides


From basement crawlers to stadium stars, there are some electric live acts heading our way this summer. Here are our top picks.

Theatre in Manchester


Eclectic theatre festivals, silly slapstick and dreamy outdoor shows, there’s lots of brilliant performances happening inside and outside over the summer.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

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

Baekdu Korean BBQ Restaurant

Food and Drink

Plan for July’s food and drink outings at some of the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North.


Explore Hollywood history, queer rarities and squirm-inducing horror across the big screens of Manchester and the North this month.

Patron Mono by Carolina Caycedo, image depicts a figure standing in a room with a three channel video emitting a yellow light


From immersive playgrounds and mythological journeys to tackling injustice, this month is filled with fresh art to see all around the North.

Geronimo Festival 2022


Festivals, shows, museums, and much, much more – there’s plenty of summer fun to be had for families in Manchester and the North, whatever the weather. Here are our top picks.

Poet Caroline Bird


There’s plenty of sunshine-drenched reading to immerse yourself in from established names and emerging talent, poets and prose writers alike, both in real life as well as online.

Tours and Activities

Get out in the sun this month with tours and activities that will have you engaging positively with the climate, taking the plunge in Salford Quays and getting creative.