things to do in december

December

Creative Tourist

There’s no denying that Christmas is coming, but there’s still plenty of things to do in December in Manchester and across the North.

A lot of the things to do in December are festive-themed; from Christmas shows and concerts to hip-hop holiday specials. But don’t worry, there’s plenty out there for you Grinch’s too; with literary nights, exhibitions and gigs galore.

Here’s where you’ll find our editors this month.

The December Longlist

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All I Want for Christmas is Attention at the Palace Theatre
Theatre 1 December 2019, 7:30 pm–10:00 pm, from £16.90

All I Want for Christmas is Attention at the Palace Theatre

Contact welcome back BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon for a brand new, double the fun, Christmas extravaganza at the Palace Theatre.

Music 2 December 2019, 7:00 pm–11:00 pm, from £14

Julia Jacklin at Gorilla

Now Wave and Kilimanjaro present Julia Jacklin, who’s back in Manchester to show off her world-renowned album, Crushing.

Music 3 December 2019, 8:00 pm–10:00 pm, from £5

Joby Burgess ‘Credo in USA’ at RNCM

Percussionist Joby Burgess performs a non-stop soundtrack of 20th century classics, arrangements and new works from the East and West Coasts of the US.

Music 5 December 2019, 7:30 pm–11:00 pm, from £25

White Lies at Manchester Academy

White Lies are celebrating the 10th anniversary of To Lose My Life with a unique tour, during which they’ll perform the album in its entirety.

Activity 7 December 2019, 10:00 am–3:30 pm, from £56

Copper Foiled Stained Glass Workshop

Join Wakefield Adult Education for a crash course in copper foil technique stained glass decoration.

Music 8–14 December 2019, from £21

RNCM Opera ‘Dialogues des Carmélites’ at RNCM

A powerful story of faith, bravery and redemption, Poulenc’s ‘Dialogues des Carmélites’ promises to be a highlight of the RNCM’s Autumn season.

Music 8 December 2019, 7:30 pm–11:00 pm, from £33.25

The National at First Direct Arena

Following their much-celebrated album, I Am Easy to Find, The National are bringing their melancholy alternative rock to Leeds’ First Direct Arena this December.

Vivian Suter at Tate Liverpool
Exhibitions 13 December 2019–16 March 2020, FREE

Vivian Suter at Tate Liverpool

Drenched in the rich beauty of the Guatemalan rainforest, Tate Liverpool presents the first UK solo exhibition of work by the Swiss-Argentinian artist, Vivian Suter.

Theaster Gates: Amalgam at Tate Liverpool
Exhibitions 13 December 2019–4 May 2020, from £8.5

Theaster Gates: Amalgam at Tate Liverpool

Tate Liverpool presents ‘Theaster Gates: Amalgam’, the first major exhibition of work by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gatesa in the UK.

Music 14 December 2019, 7:30 pm–10:00 pm, from £12.50

BBC Philharmonic: Gubaidulina/Bruckner at The Bridgewater Hall

Omer Meir Wellber’s first Bridgewater Hall concert as the BBC Philharmonic’s Chief Conductor is set to be a great one, featuring works by Sofia Gubaidulina and Bruckner.

Music 29 December 2019, 7:00 pm–10:00 pm, from £32.50

The Hallé – Skyfall in Concert at The Bridgewater Hall

Film Concerts Live! is proud to present Skyfall in Concert, the second instalment in the James Bond Concert Series, produced in association with EON Productions and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios (MGM).

Still showing this month

Activity 22 September 2018–31 December 2019, FREE

Sí Manchester Daily Tour

Sí Manchester’s daily tour is a brilliant way to get an overview of the city with tours running in both English and Spanish.

Activity 20 October 2018–31 December 2019, FREE

Documentary Challenge at IWM North

Make and feature in your own mini-documentary at IWM North.

Cinema 1 January–31 December 2019, from £5.50

Celebrating Women in Global Cinema at HOME

In 2019 HOME host a year-long programme of films and special events highlighting and celebrating women in film from across the world.

From specially curated retrospectives, seasons and special events, to takeovers of annual favourites, this branded series of screenings and events will explore and challenge the place and space of female filmmakers from a variety of cultural, social and political perspectives.

HOME
Festivals 1 January–31 December 2019,

HOME 2019 Season

With a continuing drive towards bold global programming, HOME Manchester welcomes friends, old and new, for an exhilarating new season.

the night sky as explored in the planetarium shows
Education 1 January–30 December 2019, from £2

Planetarium Shows at World Museum Liverpool

Take your family on a trip through space and time in this fully immersive cinema experience.

Families 9 January 2019–9 January 2020, FREE

Telescope Walking Tours at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre

Join one of the Centre’s Explainers as they take you on a tour of the iconic Lovell Telescope. Find out how it came to be and discover more about the ground breaking research it enables.

Holly Hendry, Cenotaph, 2018. Liverpool Biennial Touring Programme 2019
Exhibitions 18 January 2019–3 May 2020, FREE

Liverpool Biennial Northern England Tour

Whether Liverpool Biennial 2018 passed you by or you diligently ticked-off every last one of its multiple offerings (if so; bravo), the Liverpool Biennial Northern England Tour seems unlikely to disappoint.

Music 30 January–31 December 2019, from £19.62

Striking Gold Piano Series at The Stoller Hall

This year-long celebration of outstanding pianists marks Chetham’s School of Music’s golden jubilee year.

Experience The Magic of Trees at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens
Families 5 March 2019–1 March 2020, Normal admission charges apply/free to National Trust members

Autumn at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens

If ever there’s a time to explore Beningbrough Hall, this is certainly it. Check out the packed programme of seasonal events and activities at the National Trust property this autumn.

The Reno at the Whitworth
Exhibitions 15 March 2019–1 March 2020, FREE

The Reno at the Whitworth

Award-winning playwright Linda Brogan and a group of local residents who used to attend the Reno nightclub in the 1970s and 80s prepare to occupy the Whitworth for one year. Located in Moss Side, the Reno was known as a space for young mixed-race Mancunians. This living exhibition will tell the story of the club through art and archive materials.

Exhibitions 16 March 2019–23 February 2020, FREE

A-Z of Salford’s Collections at Salford Museum and Art Gallery

Discover how Victorian gentlemen protected their moustaches from tea, which monarch’s pair of stockings reside in Salford, get up close to incredible art and more.

Exhibitions 23 March 2019–1 March 2020, FREE

In A League Of Their Own at Castleford Museum

Rugby League is born and bred in West Yorkshire. From its beginnings in Huddersfield in 1895 to the Super League superstars of today, celebrate over 120 years of blood, sweat and tears.

Disrupt? Peterloo and Protest at People's History Museum
Exhibitions 23 March 2019–23 February 2020, FREE

Disrupt? Peterloo and Protest at People’s History Museum

Marking the 200-year-anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, ‘Disrupt? Peterloo and Protest’ at People’s History Museum takes visitors on a journey through the past, present and future of protest in this country.

Families 7 April–24 December 2019, FREE

Explore & Draw stations at The Hepworth Wakefield

The Explore and Draw stations are open daily and are free to use.

Families 13 April 2019–25 January 2020, FREE

Family Fun at Pontefract Museum

Lively activity sessions that everyone can take part in.

Families 1 May 2019–5 February 2020, FREE

Castle Crafts at Pontefract Castle

Get creative together and explore and learn about the history of Pontefract Castle through play or crafts. A different activity each month.

Cinema 6 May–3 December 2019, from £5

Now Showing Club at Old Bank Residency, Manchester

Now Showing Club is Manchester’s first dedicated documentary cinema and will be showcasing 50 films from Dogwoof’s back catalogue in 2019.

Activity 7 May–7 December 2019, FREE

National Football Museum Guided Tours

Discover ‘the beautiful game’ with a guided tour of the National Football museum. You’ll learn about the sports origins as well as getting up close to a collection filled with infamous cups, shirts and artefacts.

Yemen: Inside a Crisis at Imperial War Museum North
Exhibitions 17 May 2019–26 January 2020, FREE

Yemen: Inside a Crisis at Imperial War Museum North

Curated with support from award-winning journalist Iona Craig, Yemen: Inside a Crisis at Imperial War Museum North offers a powerful look at one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

Exhibitions 17 May 2019–15 May 2020, FREE

Poulsen Arc Dream Radio at Storyhouse in Chester

What does it mean to be transported into another person’s memories? Step into a new digital art commission at Storyhouse in Chester to find out.

Li Yuan Chia: His Late Photographs at Whitworth Art Gallery
Exhibitions 18 May–15 December 2019, FREE

Li Yuan Chia: Unique Photographs at the Whitworth

The Whitworth presents a quiet, yet arrestingly beautiful series of hand-coloured photographs taken by China’s first conceptual artist, Li Yuan Chia, nearing the end of his life.

Exhibitions 18 May 2019–12 January 2020, FREE

Pearl Alcock at the Whitworth

Part of the Windrush generation, artist Pearl Alcock’s series of ‘visions’ and ‘moods’ realised as drawings and paintings go on display at the Whitworth.

Exhibitions 6 June 2019–20 April 2020, FREE

Louise Giovanelli at Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery prepares to present a series of new paintings by artist Louise Giovanelli, alongside rarely-seen early Renaissance panel paintings.

David Smith: Sculpture 1932–1965 at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Exhibitions 21 June 2019–5 January 2020, FREE

David Smith: Sculpture 1932–1965 at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Yorkshire Sculpture Park presents a major exhibition of work by the great American artist David Smith (1906–1965) – the first solo exhibition of Smith’s work in the UK since Tate Modern’s 2006 project and the largest ever outside the capital.

Holly Hendry / Taus Makhacheva at The Tetley, Liverpool Biennial 2019 touring programme
Exhibitions 22 June 2019–3 May 2020, FREE

Holly Hendry / Taus Makhacheva at The Tetley

As part of the Liverpool Biennial touring programme, The Tetley is hosting works by artists Holly Hendry and Taus Makhacheva.

Exhibitions 20 July 2019–5 January 2020, from £6

The Sun at the Science and Industry Museum

Museum of Science and Industry’s blockbuster summer exhibition, The Sun, sets out to bring us as close to the star as many of us are likely to ever come.

Maddi Nicholson: a place lived at Hardman Square in Spinningfields
Exhibitions 20 July 2019–20 July 2020, FREE

Maddi Nicholson: a place lived at Hardman Square in Spinningfields

‘a place lived’ by Maddi Nicholson is a new public artwork that delves into the near-forgotten history of Manchester’s thriving financial district.

Unreformed: Wallpaper and Design Diversity at the Whitworth
Exhibitions 17 August 2019–5 July 2020, FREE

Unreformed: Wallpaper and Design Diversity at the Whitworth

Unreformed: Wallpaper and Design Diversity at the Whitworth examines the powerful the voices of the Design Reform movement.

Cézanne at the Whitworth
Exhibitions 24 August 2019–1 March 2020, FREE

Cézanne at the Whitworth

This exhibition celebrates an extraordinary collection of drawings and prints by Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) that has been gifted and placed on long-term loan to the Whitworth

Activity 11 September 2019–28 February 2020, from £5

Meditation at the Manchester Buddhist Centre

Learn how to meditate with the welcoming community at Manchester Buddhist Centre. Their beginners classes are the perfect way to find your feet and develop your own meditation practice.

Hallé
Classical Music 19 September 2019–30 May 2020,

The Hallé 2019-20 Season

From a brilliant range of symphonies, concertos, vocal works, operas and more, we select our five top picks from the Hallé’s 2019-20 season.

BBC Philharmonic 2019 2020 season bridgewater hall manchester
Classical Music 21 September 2019–13 June 2020,

BBC Philharmonic 2019/20 Concert Season

An outstanding orchestra live in a world-class concert hall – read about the BBC Philharmonic’s 2019-20 season at The Bridgewater Hall.

Everyman & Playhouse Autumn Season
Theatre 24 September 2019–18 January 2020,

Everyman & Playhouse Autumn Season

A busy and brilliant season, expect award-winning musicals, stage adaptations of revered literary classics and celebrated cult films, alongside high-quality family shows. There is plenty to enjoy in Liverpool’s theatres this autumn.

Rewriting The Future at Site Gallery, Sheffield
Exhibitions 27 September 2019–26 January 2020, FREE

Rewriting The Future at Site Gallery, Sheffield

Rewriting the Future at Site Gallery explores how feminist speculative perspectives can offer new insights into how we can restructure society in a more equal way.

Alexis Teplin at Bluecoat
Exhibitions 1 October 2019–1 February 2020, FREE

Alexis Teplin at Bluecoat

This solo show of new work at Bluecoat marks artist Alexis Teplin’s largest major UK exhibition. Her work crosses between painting, performance and film, drawing parallels between the process of each art form.

Activity 3 October 2019–2 July 2020, FREE

Technical Tours at the National Coal Mining Museum

Get into the the heart of the machinery with technical tours of the mines at the National Coal Mining Museum.

Second Nature: What is 'nature' anyway? at The Portico Library
Exhibitions 4 October 2019–6 January 2020, FREE

Second Nature: What is ‘nature’ anyway? at The Portico Library

Second Nature at The Portico Library brings together literature, artefacts, research and new works by contemporary artists and young people to ask what we mean by ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’ today and how these terms have been used throughout the modern age.

Ilona Sagar: Deep Structure at S1 Artspace, Sheffield
Exhibitions 11 October–14 December 2019, FREE

Ilona Sagar: Deep Structure at S1 Artspace, Sheffield

Deep Structure by artist Ilona Sagar explores the links between architecture, health and community wellbeing through the lens of Sheffield’s Park Hill estate.

Music 15 October–12 December 2019, from £5

RNCM Autumn Season

From concerts to film screenings to operas, we select our top 5 highlights from the RNCM Autumn Season, whose thematic focus is Migration.

We Two Boys: Early Works by Alan Davie & David Hockney at The Hepworth Wakefield
Exhibitions 19 October 2019–19 January 2020, FREE

Alan Davie & David Hockney: Early Works at The Hepworth Wakefield

A major new exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield brings together the work of two major figures of post-war British painting: Alan Davie and David Hockney.

Christina Quarles at The Hepworth Wakefield
Exhibitions 19 October 2019–19 January 2020, FREE

Christina Quarles at The Hepworth Wakefield

Marking her first solo exhibition outside of America, ‘Christina Quarles at The Hepworth Wakefield’ offers an incredible window onto the inner world of the Los Angeles-based artist.

Elizabeth Price at the Whitworth
Exhibitions 25 October 2019–1 April 2020, FREE

Elizabeth Price at the Whitworth

‘Elizabeth Price at the Whitworth’ brings together new and acclaimed works – including drawings, sculpture, and video – by the Turner prize-winning artist.

Described by the Wall Street Journal as one of ‘China’s Rising Art Stars’, encounter the work of Shanghai-based artist Cui Jie at CFCCA.
Exhibitions 25 October 2019–19 January 2020, FREE

Cui Jie at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art

Described by the Wall Street Journal as one of ‘China’s Rising Art Stars’, encounter the work of Shanghai-based artist Cui Jie at CFCCA.

Cheng Ran: Diary of a Madman, Manchester Plan at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art
Exhibitions 25 October 2019–19 January 2020, FREE

Cheng Ran: Diary of a Madman, Manchester Plan at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art

Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art presents an exhibition of newly commissioned work by Cheng Ran, representing a further Manchester chapter in the artist’s ‘Diary of a Madman’ series.

Exhibitions 26 October 2019–1 March 2020, Normal admission charges apply/free to National Trust members

Winter Wildlife in print at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens

After the leaves have fallen and the flowers have gone, discover beautifully crafted artwork by Yorkshire artist Gerard Hobson inspired by real-life creatures that call Beningbrough their home.

Northern Chamber Orchestra
8 November 2019–15 May 2020,

Northern Chamber Orchestra 2019/20 Season

Northern Chamber Orchestra’s 2019/20 Season features the likes of violinists Chloe Hanslip and Anthony Marwood; pianist Martin James Bartlett; percussionist Colin Currie; and their President, cellist, Raphael Wallfisch.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto: Sleeping Beauty at Liverpool Everyman
Families 23 November 2019–18 January 2020, from £15.00

Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto: Sleeping Beauty at Liverpool Everyman

Well, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to see Liverpool’s jukebox-sensational Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto, would it?

Things to do right now

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Cinema 15–18 September 2019, from £5.50

MIF19: Sunset Boulevard at HOME

Visual Arts 20 September 2018–19 September 2019, FREE

Manchester Art Gallery Highlights Tour

Red Dust Road at HOME
Literature 11–21 September 2019, from £10.00

Red Dust Road at HOME

A Taste of Honey at The Lowry
Theatre 13–21 September 2019, from £12.50

A Taste of Honey at The Lowry

Cinema 13–22 September 2019, from £9

The Shock of the Future at HOME

MIF19 David Lynch at HOME Manchester International Festival
Cinema 6 July–29 September 2019, FREE

MIF19: David Lynch at HOME

Exhibitions 6 April–29 September 2019, Quarry Bank admission prices apply (free for National Trust members)

Rights of the Child at Quarry Bank