Festivals and Events

LGBT History Month: the best of what's on in Manchester

Jenny White
LGBT History Month Manchester, Flesh ticket

Celebrate the best of gay culture with a month’s worth of theatre, dance, talks and more.

If you thought gay culture started and ended with cocktails and Kylie on Canal Street, you’d be wrong. Luckily, LGBT History Month, which runs throughout February across the country, is a chance to learn more about the incredible diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lives past and present. The reason we need this celebratory month is simple. Time was that any folk seen to deviate from society’s straight and narrow path were labelled as mad or bad; an attitude that meant that what the LGBT community had achieved was often overshadowed or hidden entirely. And if you think such attitudes died out with the dinosaurs, it’s worth bearing in mind that a) Tory MPs are currently getting themselves in a froth over gay marriage and b) it is only ten years since the repeal of Section 28, the 1980s law that banned schools and local authorities from “intentionally promoting the acceptability of homosexuality”. So when LGBT History Month was set up in 2005 by the anti-homophobia charity Schools OUT, it was done so to overcome such lingering attitudes – here are our picks of what’s on in Manchester this month.

Queer Contact 2013

Contact offers a strong queer arts programme throughout the year, but it pulls out all the stops for its innovative history month celebration. This year’s Queer Contact festival runs until 9 February and showcases the best theatre, comedy, spoken word, dance, cabaret, music and visual art from established and emerging artists. Don’t miss the live Vogue dance off between Darren Suarez in Manchester and Javier Ninja in New York at the House of Contact on 6 February, made possible by the venues’ pioneering “beam me up Scotty” telepresence technology (and also check out our interview with Sarah Evans ahead of her performance of The Secret Diaries of a Teenage Queer).

Other events across the city

MOSI has an solid programme charting the development and impact of Manchester’s LGBT communities. Learn science facts from Alan Turing, as a costumed performance brings the war hero and father of computer science to life, or spend an evening with Paul Cons as he talks about Flesh, the legendary monthly gay night he ran back in the day at the Hacienda. Or join Dr Sonja Tiernan at the Working Class Movement Library on 9 February as she traces the convention-defying relationship of Eva Gore-Booth and Esther Roper, Manchester based social justice campaigners, from their chance encounter in the 1890s. And we like the look of the evening of evening of film and discussion around marriage equality that’s being staged by the Lesbian and Gay Foundation on 16 February.

Culture Guides

Victoria - Image courtesy of HOME


As always, October brings with it a surplus of scary films timed to coincide with Halloween.

Cape Farewell presents: Cloud Crash


The very best exhibitions in Manchester and the North include a collaboration with a renowned dance company, the return of Manchester Science Festival (bigger and better than ever), a showcase of exquisite craft at the Old Granada Studios, and much more. All in all, it’s an exciting, boundary transcending time for art in the North.

Dr Dee’s Secret Curiosity Shop


Autumn, half term and Halloween adventures are here. Here are our top tips for outdoor and indoor hot tickets to book and do now.

Image of David Gaffney copyright Kezia Tan.


With Rising Stars and World Literature, nothing says October in the Rainy City like Manchester Literature Festival. As we enter the final furlongs, there are still tickets available for some events, from creative non-fiction to a canalside special commission. And once MLF is over, Manchester Science Festival will be chemically enhancing words with poems about the periodic table.

Field Music


As the days get shorter, Manchester’s music calendar gets busier – with the city’s music…

Penny Arcade at Unity Theatre


You’ll be pleased to hear that this month’s theatre selections serve up a rich slice of everyone’s three favourite things: sex, swearing and scandal.

Destination Guides

Things to do right now

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Thick Richard Swear School
Theatre 20 October 2016–22 October 2016, from £8.50

Swear School at Waterside Arts Centre

mancehster gothic fesitval 2016 image by mmu
Exhibitions 20 October 2016–23 October 2016, from £10

Gothic Manchester Festival

Design City Film Season
Cinema 12 October 2016–23 October 2016, from £7.00

Design City Film Season

Literature - vivienne westwood cover shot
Literature 7 October 2016–23 October 2016, from £5

Manchester Literature Festival 2016

Festivals 19 October 2016–24 October 2016, from £3.00

Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival

Theatre 5 October 2016–29 October 2016, from £9.50

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Science Showdown
Families 20 October 2016–30 October 2016, FREE

Manchester Science Festival free family events

HAND 01.1_1
Exhibitions 8 September 2016–30 October 2016, FREE

HAND CRAFT at Manchester Craft & Design Centre

The Chronarium.
Exhibitions 20 October 2016–30 October 2016, FREE

The Chronarium Sleep Lab at Manchester Arndale

Members of Public Service Broadcasting in space
Exhibitions 20 October 2016–30 October 2016, FREE

Manchester Science Festival 2016

Theatre 20 October 2016–30 October 2016, from £2.00

Women in Comedy Festival