With the big school holiday approaching, use the free time you now have to find interesting things to do in July in Manchester and the North. We have options of activities for both families and adults without kids.
Manchester International Festival is the world’s first festival of original work and special events – a biennial celebration of performance and art.
We Dwell In Possibility, is the third Virtual Factory commission in which you can control AI people and watch them develop their identities through planting trees.
The Portico Library presents an installation of immersive sculptural and textile works by world-renowned Brazilian artist Maria Nepomuceno.
Tomáš Hanus conducts the Hallé in a vibrant programme of Schumann, Mendelssohn and Louise Farrenc, featuring Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing.
Let Kendal Mountain Festival guide you through stories from across the globe, told by a unique collection of travellers, athletes, activists, and creatives.
Manchester poet Mike Garry will be performing live online as part of Didsbury Arts Festival 2021, this year taking place virtually, with an audience Q&A part of the event. Having previously lived in Didsbury for 20 years, Mike Garry is a great choice for the biennial event, bringing arts to south Manchester this year from May through to September.
Bolton Octagon have announced a summer season of ‘Warm Up’ events, which includes a hilarious new adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic novel.
Forensic Architecture investigates, explores and exposes how power reshapes the very air we breathe in this urgent and compelling exhibition presented at the Whitworth.
Kemang Wa Lehulere collaborates with 11 Manchester writers and over 100 residents of the city to create a surprising collection of love letters – a new book for Central Library.
Commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival and premiering at Manchester Central this July, All of This Unreal Time is a brand new short film and immersive installation written by Max Porter, directed by Aoife McArdle, and starring Cillian Murphy.
The Manchester Jewish Museum celebrates its reopening with a major new installation by Turner Prize-winning artist Laure Prouvost.
Fusing dance, music, theatre and puppetry, this bright, family-friendly show explores the concept of play and how we connect with one another.
Enjoy Zog live at The Lowry in an incredible new adaptation which is packed with lively songs from Joe Stilgie and lots of fire-breathing fun.
New for 2021, FACT presents Cinema in the City, a curated selection of critically-acclaimed indies at Cotton Exchange Rooftop Garden.
Artist Tarek Lakhrissi presents a nuanced examination of community and how it can exist as a paradoxical space of solace and tension.
An epic and extraordinary travelling artwork will set off from the Turkish – Syrian border for Manchester this April. Adventurous and inventive, this is the first event to be announced for MIF21.
Danny Jacobs’ last exhibition was expensive, so he decided to do his next on a £99 budget.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s powerful reflection on family, love and loss journeys from page to stage in Rae McKen’s new production.
The 106th Un-Convention brings together artists, professionals and organisations from the independent music sector.
One of the country’s hottest new acts, Arlo Parks will play her largest headline show to date at MIF21.
Mike Skinner and the Streets will be igniting old flames and fanning new ones at Castlefield Bowl this July, as part of Sounds of the City.
A tale of comedy, passion and endless dancing, and one of the most cherished love stories in English literature plays in the open air this summer.
Be the first to experience new work at MIF’s future year-round home with a special installation bringing the natural world into the heart of the city – created especially for the site by director Deborah Warner.
Join MIF on a journey deep into Manchester’s hip hop underground, guided by some of the most trusted voices in the city’s hip hop roots.
The second edition of Yorkshire Sculpture International – the UK’s largest dedicated sculpture festival – opens this summer.
Haçienda legend Laurent Garnier joins MIF for the UK premiere of Off the Record, a film about club culture and the part he played in its relentless rise.
The perfect teaser event for Liverpool Theatre Festival in September – Little LTF offers audiences the chance to experience an eclectic programme of brand-new performance.
Damon Albarn returns to MIF to perform a rare solo set spanning his extensive songbook, including his latest project The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows.
Artwork by jazz saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, Mercury-nominated singer Cate Le Bon, and folk musician Richard Dawson, will feature in the touring exhibition at Birkenhead’s Future Yard.
We’re thrilled that a new adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s fantastical story will play in the open air in Manchester this summer. Perfect.
MIF and Lagos-based festival Homecoming present a one-night showcase of the most exciting music from Africa, the diaspora and beyond.
New for 2021, The One in the Woods music festival will bring giants of the techno and drum & bass scene to Orrell Hill Wood, near Liverpool.
Join Stephen Bell and the Hallé for Russell Garcia’s Porgy and Bess, re-orchestrated by award-winning trumpeter, Ryan Quigley.
Mothers Who Make (MWM) is a peer support group and creative exchange session for mothers who are artists – professional and/or passionate – writers, painters, actors, dancers, filmmakers, photographers…every kind of maker welcome, and every kind of mother.
The sessions, which have gathered momentum over the past few years, aim to give creative mothers the chance to explore their practice in a room with their child. Professional connections have been formed and led to the beginning of joint projects between participants – so it’s a great way to meet and collaborate with other mothers from different creative backgrounds.
You are invited to join this inspiring and growing initiative. Please feel free to bring along your children, of any age, whether they are inside you, beside you or running around the room!
During and post Covid 19 the hub has, and will, be needed more than ever as we navigate our roles in this evolving world of change and uncertainty, but also possibility.
Trafford’s flagship arts festival returns to Waterside for ten days of experiential performance and cultural delight.
Entering its fifth year in 2020, Bluedot is a festival of discovery located in the shadow of the world-renowned Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank.
Sir Mark Elder leads the Hallé in a spectacular Russian programme, featuring three masters: Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninov and Stravinsky.
A 40,000 strong army descends on Sunderland; catch Sir Antony Gormley’s iconic Field for the British Isles at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art.
Tate Liverpool presents the first major display of portraits by Lucian Freud in the North West in over 30 years.
Elaborate vases, intricate centrepieces, and ceramics – Potfest in the Park celebrates the creative possibilities of clay.
Brighter Sound are offering the chance for early career musicians aged 16-21 to spend a week creating, learning and collaborating with PINS.
The shades and glades of Williamson Park will provide an atmospheric setting for this magical outdoor show.
Featuring over 200 artists and performers, immersive arts experiences and kids activities, Kendal Calling is a great, family-friendly festival set in the stunning Lake District.
Experience YBA artist Damien Hirst’s towering and provocative outdoor sculptures at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Trading Station at Manchester Art Gallery charts the history and changing social role of hot drinks in our lives.
A collaborative project that takes inspiration from the history of the Leigh Female Reformers of 1819 and the monstrous representations of them in the media of the time.
Take your pick from The Little Library’s carefully curated collection of classics and new releases, adding a recently read book of your own as a replacement.
The Portico Library marks 250 years since British explorer James Cook first landed on the shores of what we now call Australia with an online exhibition that explores the history of violence and resistance that followed.
NOW EXTENDED: HOME have invited theatre and live art makers to create new works at home, for an audience who are also at home.
Produced by Complicité for Homemakers: Join a virtual gathering of women for an online dance project celebrating female movement throughout history.
Politically charged with a hip-hop soundtrack, there is no doubt that this filmed performance is one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of 2020.
Manchester Art Gallery reopens with a thought-provoking new exhibition that delves into the history of the public institution and its role within the city.
Aid Workers: Ethics Under Fire at Imperial War Museum North takes a close look at the moral dilemmas surrounding overseas aid.
Cornwall has seldom seemed eerier than in Make-Up, the vivid first feature from director Claire Oakley.
#WELCOME? at the People’s History Museum explores the wider impact of media coverage and changing immigration controls.
Over 3 years, forgotten walls of Blackburn were brought to life with the creation of a vibrant outdoor gallery, by international, national and local artists, who together over 2 weeks, created a collection of large scale murals and art walk trails for the residents and visitors of Blackburn to enjoy.
Group tours of Lancashire in the area surrounding Pendle Hill. Through visiting the countryside and villages of Pendle, visitors learn all about the dark deeds and wicked plots surrounding the Pendle Witches in the 1600s.
Enjoy a journey through time on Discover Buxton Tour’s unique vintage tram.
These colourful character guides offer unique and entertaining insights into the history of some of Buxton’s most iconic buildings.
Have your history delivered by expert guides whose passion for the heritage of Buxton spills into the unexpected.
Join local historian Brian Shepherd for a walk around the town and learn what Buxton may have looked like during Britain’s Roman occupation.
Discover Buxton’s audio tours of The Peak cover the area around Buxton and are designed to be enjoyed from the comfort of your own vehicle.
The world’s first ‘visual dictionary’ of movements found within Bhangra, compiled by World Bhangra Day founder, Hardeep Sahota.
Pick up a pen and encourage the whole family to explore the art of peaceful protest.
Science Learning at Home with Jodrell Bank is a perfect way to keep children (and their adults) busy while learning from home.
Fearless social activism meets unapologetic hip hop. A concentrated dose of Hot Brown Honey is just what we all need right now.
Round the family up and head outside for this wonderful story walk adventure from Stand and Be Counted Theatre. Perfect for livening up a lockdown walk.
To coincide with LGBT History Month, Heart of Glass launches Queer Treatment, a new animated short film by the amazing Amy Pennington. Queer Treatment is inspired by conversations with members of the LGBTQIA+ community and explores connection, identity, representation and celebrating queer icons past and present.
Thrilling and challenging, HOME’s annual festival is a glimmering reminder that new performance continues to be developed, despite ‘you-know-what’.
An interactive, experimental and political video game exploring the complex effects of extremism and radicalisation.
Unease is an exhibition of work by glass artist Grace Sharp.
Venture Arts presents the first of three online exhibitions featuring new work made by learning disabled artists over lockdown.
Join expert tour guide Johnathan Schofield as he travels chronologically and geographically through the culture, architecture and geography of Manchester.
An exciting, new audio-digital venture, Sound Stage has been designed by theatre-makers and leading technologists, to give audiences a unique online theatre experience.
Turner Prize winning artist Tai Shani takes us on an LSD-inspired hallucinatory journey across time and space. Prepare to have your consciousness expanded.
The Earth Asleep, a new film and original live score from creative duo Clara Casian and Robin Richards, premieres this spring at HOME.
Feel connected and stay creative with a group of like minded older people with Elders Mondays from the Royal Exchange.
Argentinian artist Ad Minoliti’s immersive exhibition draws upon queer and feminist theory to offer new understandings of the world around us.
The Hallé performs a varied programme of Grazyna Bacewicz, Aaron Copland and Dmitri Shostakovich under the baton of new Assistant Conductor, Delyana Lazarova.
Join Projekts skate park for exclusively women and girls skating, every Thursday from 7 – 9 pm. Be warned the sessions are very popular so book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and award-winning garden is a must-see, with the famous book sale back on 18 April and scheduled thereafter for 9 May, 13 June, 11 July, 8 August, 12 September, 10 October, 14 November and 12 December 2021, 11am-4pm.
The Hallé is joined by Stephen Hough for Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, before the world premiere of Huw Watkins’ Second Symphony.
Created in collaboration with service users and staff, this online interactive game explores the benefits system and the process of applying for Universal Credit.
A brand-new online work, by Amsterdam-based Theater DEGASTEN, exploring the connection between mental health and where we live.
Sir Mark Elder conducts a staged performance of Stravinsky’s 1918 masterpiece The Soldier’s Tale, directed by Olivier Award winner Annabel Arden.
Whilst walking tours are still limited, join Skyliner for unique and thought provoking video tours, taking you through the modern history of Manchester’s street art.
Eat your way through the dairy based delights of Manchester, with the Manchester Cheese Crawl walking tour.
Embark on a short story exploration of your own writing with Désirée Reynolds to help guide you on your way. Learn technique, structure and other writing ‘tools’ that will allow your stories to come to life.
VIRTUALLYREALITY is an artist led events series that brings the work of multimedia artists from around the world to Manchester. Their latest series of online performance, workshops and installation is definitely not to be missed.
Open air theatre shows are happening across the north over the next few months – we’ve collated our top picks into a neat guide for you.
Barbican’s major exhibition, AI: More than Human, comes to Liverpool, offering a tantlising look into the future.
Portable Sculpture will explore sculptures from 1934 to the present day that are designed to fold up, pack down or dismantle.
Visitors are taken on a journey through multiple dimensions by five animal guides which speak of the damages caused by industry and resource extraction.
The Last Bohemian at Lady Lever Art Gallery explores the life and work of one of the UK’s most iconic and controversial artists – Augustus John.
Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry presents a major exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery featuring work made by the nation during the initial weeks of lockdown.
TOP SECRET: the Science and Industry Museum digs into the history of British national security over the last 100 years.
An exhibition inspired by the legacy of Jo Cox MP and which represents the culmination of a community-led project involving over 30 people who made the city their home.
Kiara Mohamed’s film Soft Boys explores highlights how conservative perceptions of masculinity still remain, even within the Trans community.
Part of Liverpool Biennial 2021, FACT presents new work by Zheng Bo and artist collective Black Obsidian Sound System (B.O.S.S).
Cecil Beaton’s glittering portraits from a golden age are brought together at Millennium Gallery in Sheffield in a major new exhibition direct from the National Portrait Gallery, London.
The Hepworth Wakefield celebrates its 10th birthday with the largest exhibition of Barbara Hepworth’s work since the artist’s death in 1975.
Abandon Normal Devices Festival, the UK’s only roaming digital festival, resurfaces in 2021 with a new hybrid format, exploring the post-industrial landscapes of the Manchester Ship Canal and River Mersey.
National Football Museum’s English Football Hall of Fame celebrates the great game. A full-scale exhibition showcasing some of those who’ve made an outstanding contribution to football.
Discover the magical world of Judith Kerr’s books and learn more about the life of their legendary author in this eagerly awaited exhibition.
Every last Friday of the month, Hope Mill host a (currently online) pay as you feel play reading group facilitated by actor Janelle Thompson.
People’s History Museum in Manchester presents a powerful display highlighting the perilous journeys made by refugees, and the ongoing humanitarian crisis.
Salford Museum & Art Gallery presents an exhibition that highlights the city’s green spaces and the stories that they tell.
A vivid new version of this charming story will swing into Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre this summer.
Get your hands messy with Earth Pig pottery studio in Buxton and their pottery classes and workshops for all abilities.
Satisfy your hunger for knowledge as well as lunch with Scranchester’s food tours of the city centre. You may discover a new favourite hidden gem or learn a bit more about the cultural or historical significance of the food you eat all the time.
This Summer, The Untold Orchestra are packing six of their renowned ‘icon’ shows into eight dates at Escape to Freight Island.
The Hallé returns to The Bridgewater Hall in glorious style this summer, with six thrilling concerts for audiences to experience in person.
Enjoy this hilarious Shakespearean comedy in the wonderful open-air surroundings of Grosvenor Park.
Stop and spend an hour or two with this special creation, nestled within a stand of birch trees beside Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s Upper Lake.
My First Protest Song goes online. Round up the family and join Matt Hill for this live-streamed event full of toe-tapping tunes.
NQ Jazz have teamed up with The Stoller Hall and The Yard to bring us dozens of COVID-safe jazz events featuring established and emerging artists.
After a year of mostly silent and empty galleries, we look forward to this clamorous return to exhibiting ‘in the flesh’.
Return to the Forest captures a seminal moment in the development of one of Britain’s most important contemporary sculptors.
Use Hearing Protection tells the story of Factory Records’ formative years from 1978-1982, when the label made waves with its innovative work in music, technology and design.
Join exuberant and charismatic tour guide Laura as she takes you through the history of Manchester’s Powerful women with Invisible Cities.
Free Manchester Walking Tours offer a friendly introduction to the city. Setting off every day at 11am, they’ll help you get into the architecture, art and culture of this diverse microcosm.
A one-woman show written and performed by the brilliant Lauryn Redding telling the story of a young woman who falls in love for the first time.
Sutapa Biswas’ major solo show explores the artist’s role in illuminating the imperialist structures that still exist within British society.