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.
Hailed a “gripping thriller” and “pacy outdoor odyssey” – here’s an inventive outdoor performance we can all look forward to in 2021.
Thrilling and challenging, HOME’s annual festival is a glimmering reminder that new performance continues to be developed, despite ‘you-know-what’.
Join Lydia Swinney for a thoughtful dive into how we can use collage to deconstruct and reconstruct large ideas.
Manchester Film Festival is running an online edition for 2021 with a selection of streaming premieres available to watch at home this March.
Nottingham-based post punk band Do Nothing are bring their ever-changing live show to Manchester in March.
Set in a profile photo-obsessed and filter-fixated world, this contemporary digital reimagining of Oscar Wilde’s classic seems more relevant than ever.
Offering a contemporary take on the NYC art-rock of the late ’70s and early ’80s, Dublin 5-piece Silverback are performing live at The Castle.
Huddersfield Literature Festival is an annual celebration of books, authors, poetry and performance, spanning 20 venues across Huddersfield.
Sir Mark Elder conducts a staged performance of Stravinsky’s 1918 masterpiece The Soldier’s Tale, directed by Olivier Award winner Annabel Arden.
Head on over to the Little People’s History Museum without leaving your own home… get ready for bed and settle in for a livestreamed story.
The 11th edition of the UK’s oldest and largest festival of contemporary visual art is about to open, with work by over 50 artists.
Tony Phillips’ 12 Decades continues a survey of modern history that has occupied him over the last 40 years. The series will go on show at Bluecoat in 2021.
Signed to Bella Union, enigmatic duo Drab City are bringing their cinematic, disorientating sounds to the basement of YES this March.
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra return with their next ‘On Demand’ concert for 2021, as Vasily Petrenko conducts music by Shostakovich and Beethoven.
The Hallé is joined by Boris Giltburg for Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, before the world premiere of Huw Watkins’ Second Symphony.
Psappha explores the full range of the lesser-spotted cimbalom with a varied programme that features several world premieres.
Amsterdam psych-pop duo Feng Suave make silk-smooth music that feels like a warm blanket on a winter’s day. Catch them live at YES.
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.
Following their signing to Fire Talk Records, Manchester’s newly-formed Gary, Indiana are performing a socially-distanced gig at YES.
Manchester and Liverpool unite to host The North Will Rise Again, a live-streamed micro-festival headlined by The Charlatans and The Lightning Seeds.
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.
As we learn to live with uncertainty now is a better time than ever to explore meditation, let the friendly community at Manchester Buddhist Centre help you on this journey.
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.
The follow-up to Aquarius from director Kleber Mendonça Filho, this time co-directing and co-writing with long term producer Juliano Dornelles merges sci-fi, the western, Brazilian bandit movies (cangaço) and horror for a highly original and ultra-violent look at a town under siege from a mysterious threat.
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.
NOW EXTENDED: HOME have invited theatre and live art makers to create new works at home, for an audience who are also at home.
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.
Martin Scorsese’s epic saga of organised crime in postwar America, The Irishman weaves an engrossing and intricate web of connected events, audaciously cutting back and forth across decades.
Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson excel as a couple whose once enviable union crumbles under the weight of mounting resentments and divergent needs.
Jonathan Demme x Talking Heads. Find out why Stop Making Sense is widely regarded as the greatest concert film ever made.
Bigger Than Life presents a 35mm screening of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1947 film, Black Narcissus at Stockport Plaza on Sunday 2nd September with an introduction by film scholar, Andrew Moor.
Now showing on BFI Player is Wanuri Kahiu lyrical lesbian romance, Rafiki. Notable as the…
One of the most noteworthy films to be released direct to streaming during lockdown so far, Eliza Hittman’s Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a vital depiction of women’s rights in the contemporary United States.
The popular Northern Quarter community, Life Drawing Manchester, have migrated to zoom, opening up their classes to models and artists from all over the world.
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.
Celebrate the spirit of adventure, learn more about the Cumbrian landscape and uncover the inspiration behind Arthur Ransome’s classic tale.
Bong Joon-ho’s Cannes Palme d’Or-winning thriller finally hits UK cinema screens this February following months of awards, nominations and critical adulation.
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.
After waking up convinced that she is going to die tomorrow, Amy’s (Kate Lyn Sheil) belief begins to spread to those around her.
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.
Psappha’s 2020–21 season explores the sharpest and smartest sounds in contemporary classical music, presented in concert and streamed online for free.
Aid Workers: Ethics Under Fire at Imperial War Museum North takes a close look at the moral dilemmas surrounding overseas aid.
Escapades and hi-jinks in moneyed Manhattan, Sofia Coppola’s new film is a pleasurable throwback to the golden age of screwball comedy.
British filmmaker Yemi Bamiro looks stateside as he surveys the Nike Air Jordan phenomenon.
Commissioned in the mid-1980s, The Sheffield Project focused a lens on a unique chapter in the city’s history, when it embarked on a journey of radical change.
Cornwall has seldom seemed eerier than in Make-Up, the vivid first feature from director Claire Oakley.
Although his cutting lyrics speak provocatively about identity politics, it is not until Zed (Riz Ahmed) returns home after two years on tour that he is called by his real name: Zaheer.
Josephine Decker’s psychodrama blurs the boundaries of biopic and fiction in exploring the cruel forces that can feed creativity.
Open Eye Gallery pays tribute to the proud city it calls home with three exhibitions about the people who live there.
Small Axe is a brand new series of films set in Londons West Indian community from 12 Years A Slave director, Steve McQueen.
Fabric of the North is a blog with an excellent gift directory. They champion independents maker from across the North who are creating beautiful and ethical work.
Fun & Games at The Portico Library explores the evolution and traditions of games and play throughout the ages up to today.
#WELCOME? at the People’s History Museum explores the wider impact of media coverage and changing immigration controls.
The Hallé returns to the stage for a streamed Winter Season packed with world premieres, Manchester originals, the familiar and the new.
The first concert in the Hallé’s Winter Season sees Sir Mark Elder conduct two glorious Romantic works plus a world premiere by Huw Watkins.
Castlefield Gallery presents ‘Obstructions’ – a rather unconventional group show about the freedoms within restriction, and rules that are sometimes there to be broken.
The Hallé is joined by baritone Roderick Williams for a programme of works that reflect on the poignancy and fragility of human life.
Aspiring young aspiring hunter Robyn Goodfellowe arrives in Ireland alongside her father, who has been tasked with exterminating a local wolf pack.
Unhappy at being left behind while her father sets to work, Robyn ventures into the local forest where she meets Mebh (Eva Whittaker) and is inadvertently drawn into the world of the wolfwalkers — an endangered tribe who transform into wolves when they sleep. There have been favourable comparisons with the work of famed Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli, in part due to the gorgeous two dimensional style which combines woodcut design and free, expressive hand drawing.
Those comparisons also take into account Wolfwalkers’ focus on childhood and fables, as well as its interest in balance in the natural world. Moore is a co-founder of Kilkenny studio Cartoon Saloon who co-produce here with Melusine Productions, and there is a throughline here from his Irish-folklore themed previous features The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea.
The film has been compared to the work of Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli due not only to the beautiful hand drawn animation techniques, but its interest in magic, balance and the natural world. This is absolutely an Irish production though, right from its traditional stylings to the voice work from Kildare’s Eva Whittaker, who graces the film with a wonderfully feral performance as troublemaking wolfwalker, Mebh.
International portrait artist Aliza Nisenbaum will present a new painting at Tate Liverpool this winter, depicting members of the city’s key workers.
Join Breathworks teacher Bridget Fitzpatrick on a Wednesday morning or evening for half an hour of calm, where you can focus on just being rather than doing.
OUTPUT in Liverpool launches a new programme of mail-based exhibitions, sending original artwork directly to your home.
When British-Nigerian poet and activist Femi Nylander discovered Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the novel that Barack Obama claims helped him understand why ‘white people are afraid’, he was immediately drawn to understanding this distorted vision of Africa.
In his wildly popular Broadway show American Utopia, David Byrne reflects on human connections, life and how on earth we work through it.
While her husband is on a business trip, Gamhee meets three of her friends. She visits the first two at their homes, and the third she encounters by chance at a theatre.
Babyteeth, the debut feature from Australian director Shannon Murphy, balances heartbreak and humour, with a little grit, as it depicts one teenager’s struggle with cancer.
It’s the final night for Las Vegas dive bar The Roaring 20s, in Bill and Turner Ross’ extraordinary hybrid docu-fiction film Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets.
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.
Join the World of Music Choir to learn a mixture of traditional and modern tunes. With no previous experience necessary and an ethos of no judgement, it’s the most friendly introduction to group singing you could wish for.
Lithuanian artist duo Pakui Hardware presents an immersive art installation about the future and ethics of virtual health care.
The world’s first ‘visual dictionary’ of movements found within Bhangra, compiled by World Bhangra Day founder, Hardeep Sahota.
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.
The Hallé are joined by poet laureate Simon Armitage, virtuoso saxophonist Jess Gillam and Former Hallé Assistant Conductor Jonathon Heyward.
One Night in Miami is a fictional account of one incredible night where icons Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown gathered discussing their roles in the civil rights movement and cultural upheaval of the 60s.
Barbican’s major exhibition, AI: More than Human, comes to Liverpool, offering a tantlising look into the future.
100 years of contemporary art in one sitting? Feast your eyes at The Hepworth Wakefield and discover the story behind its remarkable collection.
Manchester-based award-winning theatre and performance company Quarantine host an online version of their monthly get-together.
Presented by the BBC’s Petroc Trelawny and conducted by Stephen Bell, the Hallé celebrates classical music on the silver screen.
Part of Manchester Science Festival 2021, this online exhibition showcases the stand-out entries to the Royal Photographic Society’s prestigious Science Photographer of the Year competition.