There are loads of things to do in March in Manchester and across the North.
In theatre, Back To The Future The Musical at Manchester Opera House continues to make audiences party like it’s 1985 (or should that be 1955?). Figs in Wigs bring a pleasing blend of fierce feminist performance art, dance and avant-garde humour to HOME with Little Wimmin, where you can also see cult cabaret duo Bourgeois and Maurice’s time-travelling comedy Insane Animals. Staged in a former cotton exchange, Rockets and Blue Lights is an award-winning play that confronts an ugly time in history head-on. Then finally RNCM Opera presents a daring adaptation of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, by composer Jonathan Dove and librettist Alasdair Middleton.
In Halifax, Alice Irwin’s giant sculptures at The Piece Hall embody a spirit of play, early innocence and imagination. Yet, People Play also has a more serious side. Gallery Oldham presents a nationally touring exhibition of photographs by Yorkshire-born Syd Shelton, capturing the legendary Rock Against Racism movement. Welsh artist Phoebe Davies presents a new body of work at Sheffield’s Site Gallery inspired by her time spent with a group of teenage female wrestlers. The High Dam at The Tetley in Leeds is the latest new work by upcoming artist Emii Alrai. Towards the end of March, Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here opens at Manchester Art Gallery and marks the only UK stop of a major touring retrospective dedicated to the American feminist artist.
Picturehouse at FACT’s cult strand goes back to the 80s with a mini-season of films by cult auteur, David Lynch. In a similar vein, Grimmfest presents a celebration of David Cronenberg at Stockport Plaza — think you can handle a day-long session? Head to Sheffield’s Reel Steel Cult Weekender Film Festival for three days of action, justice-dealing cyborgs and Studio Ghibli — including rare 35mm screenings.
It’s a great month for classical music with stand-out concerts from BBC Philharmonic who begin March with Beethoven – Mass in C Major, bridging church and concert hall better than almost any other work. The Halle take us Beyond the Score with a breathtaking multimedia experience of Beethoven’s iconic Fifth Symphony. Elsewhere, virtuoso pianist Benjamin Powell joins the Northern Chamber Orchestra for an exciting programme of Shostakovich, Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Handel.
Gig-wise, Manchester-based Julia Bardo is making a big splash with her 1960’s-leaning pop. With rumbles of a breakthrough year ahead, don’t miss the chance to catch her in a venue as intimate as YES. The last decade has seen a new crop of ambient artists come to the fore. One of the most experimentally-minded of these is Steve Hauschildt, who plays The Yard.
Following the success of 16 sell-out seasons of the popular Carol Ann Duffy & Friends evening, the former Poet Laureate is back to introduce a new crop of student writers, plus guest poets Andrew McMillan and Ella Duffy, and a bit of live music to boot.
Finally, Aerial, a new festival of contemporary music, literature and performance takes place in and around the Lake District town of Ambleside.
Why not use the improving weather to take a trip into Manchester and the North for the best things to do in March, ranging from acclaimed music performances to stunning exhibitions and you can find some great places to eat and drink too.
Trading Station at Manchester Art Gallery charts the history and changing social role of hot drinks in our lives.
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.
Brittany, France 1770. Portrait painter Marianne (Merlant) is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse (Haenel), a reluctant bride to be who has just left the convent.
Heart surgeon Juha has lived life at an unengaged distance since his wife’s passing. And although it is often debilitating, his grief also throws up some rather surprising sexual urges.
Controversial from the moment it premiered in Competition at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival, documentarian Nora Fingscheidt’s fiction feature debut portrays the life of a chaotic and troubled young girl.
Working Class Movement Library presents an online exhibition of powerful posters made by young activists fighting for civil rights in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.
FACT’s year-long programme, The Living Planet, seems even more timely than first imagined – and has been created for people to interact with and enjoy remotely for free online.
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.
the Whitworth in Manchester invites you to step into the garden as subject with an online version of its 2016 exhibition, The Gardener Digs in Another Time.
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.
Celebrate the spirit of adventure, learn more about the Cumbrian landscape and uncover the inspiration behind Arthur Ransome’s classic tale.
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.
Exploring digital legacy and online identity, acclaimed theatre-makers Dante or Die are back with a video podcast version of their hugely successful show.
Tate Liverpool presents a major retrospective of work by Don McCullin, widely considered to be one of the greatest photojournalists of our time.
Wakefield’s art collection was established in the 1920s to nurture a public understanding of contemporary art and its relation to modern life – a collecting principle still followed by The Hepworth Wakefield today.
This exhibition will demonstrate how the collection has been strategically developed over nearly 10 years since The Hepworth Wakefield opened.
Vision & Reality features works of art selected in order to address historic imbalances in the collection or to enrich narratives explored by artists in shifting contexts over the decades. A number of previously unseen new acquisitions will go on display for the first time, enabling new stories to be told and showing how contemporary narratives and ideas can cast new light on historical works of art.
The exhibition will also showcase major gifts to Wakefield’s collection, from the War Artists Advisory Committee works gifted in the 1940s, to the first public display of a very significant bequest of ceramics and paintings by Yorkshire collectors Terence Bacon and John Oldham in 2020.
This is a fascinating opportunity to see the ambition and depth embodied in Wakefield’s significant public art collection and how it continues to be a vital and growing resource.
This exhibition is kindly supported by The Hepworth Wakefield Collection Circle.