Cinema in Manchester and the North

Tom Grieve, Cinema Editor

At Creative Tourist we advocate for a trip to the cinema all-year-round, but we’ll readily admit that as the nights draw in and the temperatures drop, those cosy arthouses can become even more alluring. So, whether you’re a dedicated film buff, a Christmas shopper with tired feet, or if the rain has just put you off the markets, we’re here to round-up the best cinematic experiences available to you in Manchester and the North this winter.

Showing at HOME – and other first rate independent cinemas – we’d recommend you check out two new releases. Joachim Trier’s Thelma is a queer coming of age thriller reminiscent of Carrie in its depiction of a teenage girl who discovers that she has psychic abilities. Good Time, on the other hand, shines a light on the poorest inhabitants of New York as it charts a hellish 24-hours in which Robert Pattinson’s Connie attempts to break his brother out of a guarded hospital room – propulsive and intoxicating in a scuzzy-neon way, this is one of our picks for film of the year.

Whilst perhaps not strictly “cinema”, we’d also like to recommend a new double video installation at the Whitworth. Turner Prize winning artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen won the Oscar for his last feature film, 12 Years a Slave, and he brings the same aesthetic restraint and simple power to Ashes – a work which explores the life and death of a young Grenadian man – which is on show into next year.

Over in Liverpool, FACT take a thorough look at the history of the fairy tale in cinema. Their 20-film programme, entitled The Enchanted Screen, stretches into the festive period as it reflects upon the magic and monsters that make these age old fables such great cinematic fodder. Audiences can look forward to a range of Disney favourites, art-house classics and just about everything in between.

One filmmaker who has made a career out of constructing his own slices of storybook magic is Tim Burton. The director is duly celebrated at HOME this December with a trio of his most Christmassy films sure to warm the hearts of misfits and outcasts everywhere.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a little more traditional, then HOME have also lined up Vincente Minnelli’s decadent musical, Meet Me in St. Louis – if the dulcet tones of Judy Garland don’t get you in the holiday spirit then we can’t help you.

Here are our picks

Culture Guides


With a diverse offering of shows, we’ve got the guide to Manchester and the North’s festive theatre scene all wrapped up.


Manchester’s concert halls and former Wesleyan chapels serve up folky treats in the form of Lau, Jesca Hoop, The Unthanks and more over the coming months. We also explore all things classical from Manchester Camerata and the BBC Philharmonic – and start looking ahead to next year’s festival season.


Can you imagine what Armageddon smells like? Want to learn how to grow your own hormones? Read on for this month’s top pick of exhibitions.


Adventure and light are where it’s at. Chester Zoo is transformed into a magical sorting office, there’s detective heaven at the Secret Seven and we preview some alternative things to do and see this winter holiday.

Nicholas Royle. Credit Zoe McLean


Some fantastic live lit offerings, including the 13th Chorlton Book Festival, avant-garde regular Peter Barlow’s Cigarette showcasing some Forward Prize-winning work, Bad Language v Lit Up, Verbose and Evidently, and the annual glittering Manchester Prize Gala.

Destination Guides

Things to do right now

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Childrens 16 November–20 December 2017, FREE

Chester Christmas Market 2017

Childrens 11 November 2017–13 January 2018, from £13.50 - 20

Dick Whittington at Oldham Coliseum

Theatre 9 November–9 December 2017, from £20.00

Little Women: The Musical at Hope Mill Theatre

Exhibitions 18 November 2017–25 February 2018, FREE

humansbeingdigital at The Lowry