March

Creative Tourist

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.

Things to do in March

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Activity 17 March 2022 5:00 pm, from £6

Lampshade Making with Wakefield Museums and Castles

Bring a natural theme into your home by making a wildlife lampshade you’ll love to use for those cosy nights in.

Still showing this month

Flecky Bennett’s HALLOWEEN 2018 Ghost Walk
Activity Until 13 May 2022, from £15

Flecky Bennett’s Ghost Walks

Meet, Flecky Bennet, your guide through the dark and demonic side of the city as he takes you on one of Manchester’s award winning ghost walks.

Damien Hirst at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Exhibitions Until 31 May 2023, FREE

Damien Hirst at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Experience YBA artist Damien Hirst’s towering and provocative outdoor sculptures at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Activity Until 26 March 2022,

Curious About Leeds, Self guided walking tour of Leeds

Alternative to walking tour guides, Curious about Leeds give you the materials to experience Leeds’ heritage in your own time with their self guided tours.

Literature Until 5 February 2025, FREE

The Little Library in Spinningfields

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.

What is Manchester Art Gallery?
Exhibitions Until 31 January 2023, FREE

What is Manchester Art Gallery? at Manchester Art Gallery

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.

Hardeep Sahota: Bhangra Lexicon – Online
Dance Until 1 April 2022, FREE

Hardeep Sahota: Bhangra Lexicon – Online

The world’s first ‘visual dictionary’ of movements found within Bhangra, compiled by World Bhangra Day founder, Hardeep Sahota.

Tai Shani: The Neon Hieroglyph – Online with Manchester International Festival Virtual Factory
Exhibitions Until 31 March 2022, FREE

Tai Shani: The Neon Hieroglyph – Online with Manchester International Festival Virtual Factory

Turner Prize winning artist Tai Shani takes us on an LSD-inspired hallucinatory journey across time and space. Prepare to have your consciousness expanded.

Ad Minoliti at BALTIC in Gateshead
Exhibitions Until 13 March 2022, FREE

Ad Minoliti at BALTIC in Gateshead

Argentinian artist Ad Minoliti’s immersive exhibition draws upon queer and feminist theory to offer new understandings of the world around us.

Mindscapes While Waiting, Wait Here
Visual Arts Until 16 May 2022, FREE

MINDSCAPES: While Waiting, Wait Here – Merel Smitt

Created in collaboration with service users and staff, this online interactive game explores the benefits system and the process of applying for Universal Credit.

Mindscapes //OUTSIDEIN//
Visual Arts Until 16 May 2022, FREE

MINDSCAPES: //OUTSIDEIN// – Theater DEGASTEN

A brand-new online work, by Amsterdam-based Theater DEGASTEN, exploring the connection between mental health and where we live.

More in Common: In memory of Jo Cox at People's History Museum, Manchester
Exhibitions Until 24 April 2022, FREE

More in Common: In memory of Jo Cox at People’s History Museum, Manchester

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.

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £15

Embroidery with Sara Dennis at Lancaster Castle

Learn embroidery in a fun and relaxed environment with the BBC’s Sara Dennis at Lancaster Castle’s famous Witches Tower.

English Football Hall of Fame
Exhibitions Until 31 March 2022, from £5.5

English Football Hall of Fame

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.

Visual Arts Until 1 December 2022, from £20

Graffiti at Zap Graffiti

Liverpool’s Zap Graffiti teaches all the basic skills and techniques you need to make a street-style creation you’ll be proud of.

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £95

Blacksmithing at Forge Four

This beginners workshop will teach participants the traditional skills associated with blacksmithing, in the ‘Steel City’ of Sheffield.

Activity Until 1 December 2022, FREE

Stone carving at West Riding Stonecarving Association

The West Riding Stonecarving Association is dedicated to keeping the art of hand-carving stone alive and bringing it to the general public.

Textile taxidermy
Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £80

Textile taxidermy with Jaki Bogg at Craven Arts Studios

Head to Skipton’s Craven Arts Studios to create a unique mounted animal head for your home with local textile artist Jaki Bogg.

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £13

Candle making at Cheshire Workshops

Try your hand at candle making with the experts at Cheshire Workshops, this fun and creative skill is suitable for all ages.

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £20

Pottery at Earth Pig Pottery and Fine Art in Buxton

Try your hand at pottery at Earth Pig Studio in Buxton’s Green Man Gallery; a longstanding community arts hub, shop and gallery.

Silence – Alone in a World of Wounds
Exhibitions Until 5 June 2023,

Silence – Alone in a World of Wounds at Yorkshire Sculpture 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.

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £60

Glass fusing at Glassmonkey Studio

Come and experience the magic of fused glass at Glass Monkey Studio in Burnley, where workshops cater for all levels and abilities.

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £59

Making silver stacker rings at The Old Granary

One of many workshops hosted by local jeweller Helen Drye, here you’ll learn the technical skills required to make a chic stacker ring.

Sutapa Biswas: Lumen at BALTIC, Gateshead
Exhibitions Until 20 March 2022, FREE

Sutapa Biswas: Lumen at BALTIC, Gateshead

Sutapa Biswas’ major solo show explores the artist’s role in illuminating the imperialist structures that still exist within British society.

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £3.50

Knittaz with Attitude: Yarnbombing at Upside Down Coffee

Knitting, crochet, yarnbombing and contemporary needlecraft. Not a workshop as such but a ‘learning’ social with Knittaz with Attitude.

Rachel Kneebone: 399 Days at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Exhibitions Until 24 April 2022, FREE

Rachel Kneebone: 399 Days at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Encounter artist Rachel Kneebone’s most ambitious sculpture to date, presented in the unique setting of YSP’s 18th century chapel.

Activity Until 31 July 2022, from £12

Heaton Hall & Park Tour: Glorious interiors and glorious landscape

Heaton Hall and the surrounding park are a reminder of Manchester’s complicated past, join this walking tour to see the beauty and hear the stories behind these cultural monoliths.

Interruptions: Sounds – Online with Holden Gallery, Manchester
Exhibitions Until 5 August 2022, FREE

Interruptions: Sounds – Online with The Holden Gallery, Manchester

‘Interruptions: Sounds’ is an online collection of new audio works by seven artists, spanning spoken word, ambient sound and musical tracks.

At Home with the Pankhurst Family at the Pankhurst Centre
Exhibitions Until 29 August 2024, FREE

At Home with the Pankhurst Family at the Pankhurst Centre

The Pankhurst Centre’s new permanent exhibition offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of the people behind the iconic Pankhurst name.

Albert Potrony: EQUAL PLAY at BALTIC, Gateshead
Exhibitions Until 31 October 2022, FREE

Albert Potrony: EQUAL PLAY at BALTIC, Gateshead

Artist and educator Albert Potrony sets out to explore non-gendered and non-prescriptive modes of childhood play in a major new exhibition at BALTIC.

CYC: Everything All of the Time at Contact
Theatre Until 17 May 2022,

Contact Reopening Season

Following the extensive transformation of their iconic Oxford Road venue, Contact has announced a vibrant and progressive reopening programme. Read our preview of the upcoming season.

Electric Gamebox at the arndale
Childrens Until 22 October 2022, from £5.00

Electric Gamebox at The Arndale

Get ready for an immersive, digital, gaming adventure at the Arndale Centre in Manchester.

Jadé Fadojutimi at The Hepworth Wakefield
Exhibitions 20 November 2021–1 May 2022, FREE

Jadé Fadojutimi at The Hepworth Wakefield

The Hepworth Wakefield will present an exhibition of new work by British artist Jadé Fadojutimi.

Sheila Hicks: Off Grid at The Hepworth Wakefield
Exhibitions 27 November 2021–29 May 2022,

Sheila Hicks: Off Grid at The Hepworth Wakefield

Drawing together over 70 pieces from international public and private collections, this major exhibition will explore the many facets of Hicks’ ground-breaking work – from her intimate Minimes, small woven drawings she creates on a hand-held frame, to large-scale installations that fill gallery spaces with vibrant colour.

Derek Jarman PROTEST! exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions 1 December 2021–10 April 2022, FREE

Derek Jarman: PROTEST! at Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery is open again and they present the UK edition of PROTEST! – a major retrospective dedicated to the life and work of the iconic British artist Derek Jarman.

Manchester Open Exhibition 2020 at HOME
Exhibitions 14 January–27 March 2022,

Manchester Open Exhibition 2022 at HOME

Featuring over 500 artists from across Greater Manchester, the inaugural edition of the Manchester Open Exhibition at HOME should be a highly eclectic and exciting affair.