1 December – Street Scene at the RNCM & Levy Christmas Markets

Polly Checkland Harding

Our cultural countdown to Christmas… Spend an evening in summertime New York, and plan a trip to Levy Market’s special Christmas events.

First up, a production that is widely known as the first American opera: the RNCM is bringing Kurt Weill’s Street Scene to life, with what set designer Kate Ford describes as “a transparent house where there is no place for secrets” acting as the perfect stage for family and community tensions bubbling over during 24 hours in the high summer of 1946. The hopes, dreams and tensions between the characters make for a gripping, escalating operatic tragedy – a melting-pot that’s not to be missed in the chilly run up to Christmas. Street Scene, RNCM, 2-12 December, tickets from £12

The first American opera & festive markets in Levenshulme

Off-set the tension a little by planning a trip to one of Levenshulme Market’s special Christmas editions later in the month. There are three themed markets to choose from – first up is the Handmade and Home market (5 December), with nearly 50 traders, and hot food and drink to keep you going. Next is the Food and Drink special (12 December), with the very best street food, local produce, foodie gifts and hampers on offer (plus lots of lovely mulled wine and festive treats). Finally, there’s the Christmas Night Market Party (18 December) – a last hurrah for Christmas shopping, as well as a chance to kick back with some live music and entertainment. Levenshulme Market Christmas events, 5, 12 & 18 December, free entry

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Fringe Theatre in Manchester and the North

Check out our top picks of shows previewing in the North West before heading to Edinburgh Fringe Festival later in the summer.

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