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


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


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.

Image credit: Maryna Makarenko, Sun-Eaters, 2022


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


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


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!

Poet Helen Mort. Photo by Jan Bella


There’s live literature and book-buying opportunities a-plenty as November unfolds and Manchester – celebrating five years as a UNESCO city of Literature – and the wider North region welcomes some great writers, both in real life and online.

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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Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty at The Lowry
Dance Until 26 November 2022, from £17.00

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty at The Lowry

Compass Festival 2022
Activity Until 27 November 2022, FREE

Compass Festival 2022

sunny bank mills
Activity Until 27 November 2022, from £2.00

Sunny Bank Mills Christmas Art & Makers Market

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