Theatres in Manchester

Polly Checkland Harding

Manchester is a theatre city, with a set of excellent venues for both fringe and blockbuster shows. Perhaps the most striking of these is the Royal Exchange, a theatre in-the-round built within the city’s former cotton trading hall (and that rather resembles NASA’s lunar lander). Then there’s HOME, opened in 2015, which has quickly become a hub for the creative community. And, on the fringe side of things, Hope Mill Theatre has added a touch of industrial beauty – not to mention some great musicals – to the scene.

Our top picks

HOME Manchester

HOME Manchester, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 4FN - Visit now

Manchester’s new, £25m arts complex boasts 500 square metres of gallery space and five cinema screens as well as its 500 seat theatre; host to UK premieres, visiting companies and internationally focused work, the offering at HOME is as ambitious as it gets.

HOME Manchester
Paul Karalius

Contact Theatre

Contact Theatre, Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 6JA - Visit now

With a recent £7m refurbishment, Contact is the place for emerging theatre, dance, spoken word, hip hop and digital performance mash-ups.

exterior of Contact Theatre building

The Lowry

The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Salford, Greater Manchester, M50 3AZ - Visit now

In addition to award-winning theatre, the programme for The Lowry’s two theatres also includes touring popular acts, classical music, dance and opera. Just opposite Media City, a decent café (with good kids’ options), a restaurant and ‘terrace bar’, plus a shop all fit under its unusually shaped roof.

The Lowry Theatre and Gallery in Salford Quays Manchester.
Image courtesy of Visit Britain

Royal Exchange Theatre

Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 7DH - Visit now

This former trading hall underwent a £32m redevelopment after being severely damaged by the 1996 IRA bomb in Manchester’s city centre – and has been delivering stellar productions from its unusual seven-sided glass and steel theatre-in-the-round (the biggest in the UK), and smaller (but still excellent) studio, ever since. Productions here are renowned – both Vanessa Redgrave and Helen Mirren have graced the Royal Exchange’s stage.

Royal Exchange Theatre
Image courtesy of Lee Baxter.

Palace Theatre

Palace Theatre, 97 Oxford Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 6FT - Visit now

A Manchester landmark for almost 130 years, The Palace Theatre is situated on Oxford Street and is one of the main theatres in Manchester.

Palace Theatre Manchester
Image courtesy of Palace Theatre Manchester.

Octagon Theatre

Octagon Theatre, Visit now

Octagon Theatre in Bolton was the first professional theatre to be built in the North West of England after World War Two. Its flexible main auditorium space is perfect for entertaining and thought-provoking productions alike, including Shakespeare, American drama, great European plays and contemporary classics, alongside brand new work, musicals and plays for families.

Octagon Theatre Bolton
Image courtesy Bolton Octagon

Manchester Opera House

Manchester Opera House, 3 Quay St, Manchester, M3 3HP - Visit now

The Grade II Manchester Opera House, affectionately referred to as the Opera House by most Mancunians, is one of the largest theatres in Manchester.

Manchester Opera House by Phil Tragen
© Phil Tragen

Hope Mill Theatre

Hope Mill Theatre, Hope Mill, 113 Pollard Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 7JA - Visit now

Hope Mill Theatre is open for business, bringing exciting fringe theatre productions back to Manchester.

Parade ensemble


Z-arts, 335 Stretford Road, Manchester, M15 5ZA - Visit now

With lots of shows and activities for children and families, Z-arts is a theatre and arts venue in Hulme.

Z-arts / Lesley Chalmers

The Edge Theatre and Arts Centre

The Edge Theatre and Arts Centre, Manchester Road, Chorlton, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M21 9JG - Visit now

Based in a former Red Cross Hospital in Chorlton. South Manchester, The Edge is a little theatre with big aspirations.

The Edge Theatre and Arts in Chorlton
The Edge via Flickr


Waterside, 1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, Trafford, M33 7ZF - Visit now

Waterside is a thriving and vibrant arts venue in the heart of Sale in Greater Manchester. Comprising a theatre, art galleries, studios and workspaces, the centre is an important regional hub for both performance and visual art.


Where to go in Manchester

Stride Theatre

Stride Theatre is a diversity and SEN focused theatre company at the heart of the Wakefield community, looking to ‘bring people together’ and ‘allow individuals to flourish’.

Versa Manchester Studios

Formerly the Old Granada Studios, VERSA Manchester Studios is evolving into a dynamic Studio Campus with TV, Film, Motion Capture and VR / AR Studios alongside a glamorous new Soho House.

Company Chameleon Studios
Event venue
Company Chameleon Studios

Home of Manchester dance company, Company Chameleon, offering dance classes, one-off events and a dance studio space available to hire.

The Vale Reopening Programme
The Vale

Boasting a specially curated live programme of music, dance, cinema, theatre and visual arts, the newly renovated centre will host a special launch weekend from 10 – 12 September 2021.

Event venue

Homeground is HOME’s brand new outdoor venue, providing an open-air space for theatre, food, film, music, comedy and more.

HOME Manchester
HOME Manchester

Offering a packed schedule of events and things to do, HOME Manchester is one of the city’s leading hubs for arts and culture.

The Altrincham Garrick Playhouse
The Altrincham Garrick Playhouse

Established in 1914, Altrincham Garrick Playhouse presents a variety of performances and screenings, as well as hosting term-time drama classes and a popular summer school for young people.

New Adelphi, University of Salford
New Adelphi, University of Salford

New Adelphi is the University of Salford’s newest building, and is home to the School of Arts & Media and the New Adelphi Theatre. The £55m New Adelphi building opened on…

The Lowry Theatre and Gallery in Salford Quays Manchester.
The Lowry

With two theatres, galleries and a studio space, award-winning Quayside arts centre The Lowry combines the performing and visual arts to impressive effect.


Z-arts was formed in 2000 as a ‘creative space for young people’ with a priority on providing participatory activity.

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