Containing 2 bank holidays, sunny weather, great exhibitions and live shows accompanied by some great food- this May could be a month packed with unforgettable experiences. Here are some of the best things to do in May in Manchester and the North.
One of the largest and most successful open studio events outside of London, Open Up Sheffield is taking the party online this year with a diverse range of artists and makers from across the South Yorkshire region opening their practice to the public online.
Contemporary Six presents a very different kind of portrait of the last year focused around the peace and solace nature can provide.
Between the Layers of… is a unique collaboration between PAPER Gallery in Manchester and Execute Project in Dallas, Texas.
A Smart Price way of Life is the first solo exhibition by Manchester artist, and recent graduate of the University of Salford Contemporary Fine Art Masters, Jade Magenta Williams.
Hear Dean Atta discuss his works and read some excerpts from his award-winning novel The Black Flamingo in this Queer Contact live online event.
Showcasing artists who have an innovative approach to literature; expect to see poetry expressed through rhythm, movement and sound.
Outdoor movie specialists The Luna Cinema are back at Tatton Park this Spring with their big screen set to showcase a variety of classic and cult films alongside some more recent hits.
For one night only, join drag legend Cheddar Gorgeous and some guest stars for a special evening of cabaret and live conversation.
Say farewell to Queer Contact 2021 with feel-good vibes and classic sounds from the RebeccaNeverBecky collective.
Escape to Freight Island presents a socially distanced all-dayer featuring Jenna G & Werkha plus local techno collective, Meat Free.
Liverpool-based poet Eleanor Rees will be reading at the online launch of Suzannah V Evans’s new pamphlet Brightwork, out with Guillemot Press.
Sutapa Biswas’ major solo show explores the artist’s role in illuminating the imperialist structures that still exist within British society.
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.
Spotlighting an instrument that usually remains in the concert hall shadows, Psappha invites sitar virtuoso Jasdeep Singh Degun to join them at Hallé St Peter’s.
This event has been postponed and will now take place from 11 – 15 May 2022. The line-up is subject to change and we will bring you up-to-date information as soon as we have it.
TOP SECRET: the Science and Industry Museum digs into the history of British national security over the last 100 years.
Mothers who Make welcomes all types of mothers who work in creative worlds, to gather and share their experiences of balancing motherhood and creative exploits.
Chapeltown Picture House is a relative newcomer to Manchester’s cinema scene, but this small movie theatre hits all the right notes with its re-reopening week programme this May.
From the folks behind street food sensation Grub, Chapeltown opens up with a bit of Nazi-hunting in Quentin Tarantino’s explosive Inglorious Basterds (Mon 17 May), before a dedication to the power of the big screen in tough times, in the form of Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso (Tue 18 May).
For those who’ve really missed the communal cinema experience, how about Peter Jackson’s epic The Lord of the Rings trilogy? Screening over three nights (Fri 21 – Sun 23 May), fans can follow Frodo and company from the Shire to Mount Doom with screenings in pristine 4K resolution.
In between, there’s a little of something for everybody, with a 4K double bill of Lamberto Bava’s cult horror films Demons and Demons 2 (Thu 20 May), joined by a bit of bombast in the form of Arnold Scwarzenegger in John McTiernan’s Last Action Hero (Sat 22 May), before the sheer exuberance of Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain (Sun 23 May).
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.
Portable Sculpture will explore sculptures from 1934 to the present day that are designed to fold up, pack down or dismantle.
Hailed a “gripping thriller” and “pacy outdoor odyssey” – here’s an inventive outdoor performance we can all look forward to in 2021.
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.
Joining Psappha, world-class accordionist Miloš Milivojević guides us through a variety of music written for this unexpectedly versatile instrument.
Kantina Weekender runs on May Bank Holiday, from 28 May to 31 May. Celebrating the joy of food and drink, the in-house vendors at Escape to Freight Island will be paired with some of the UK’s most prestigious chefs, cocktail makers, brewers and local restaurant heroes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
International portrait artist Aliza Nisenbaum will present a new painting at Tate Liverpool this winter, depicting members of the city’s key workers.
OUTPUT in Liverpool launches a new programme of mail-based exhibitions, sending original artwork directly to your home.
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.
My First Protest Song goes online. Round up the family and join Matt Hill for this live-streamed event full of toe-tapping tunes.
Barbican’s major exhibition, AI: More than Human, comes to Liverpool, offering a tantlising look into the future.
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.
Presented by the BBC’s Petroc Trelawny and conducted by Stephen Bell, the Hallé celebrates classical music on the silver screen.
The prestigious John Moores Painting Prize moves online for the first time, featuring the best in contemporary British painting.
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.
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.
This wide-ranging programme looks set to invite a fascinating closer look at the digital space in which so much of ‘real life’ now occurs.
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.
Have a go at designing your own jewellery with Wonderhaus’ Carve and Cast kits. You’re given the tools to carve your own designs in jeweller’s wax which will then be professionally finished and cast at Wonderhaus.
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.
The Hallé are joined by virtuoso pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason for Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, plus Sibelius’s magnificent Third Symphony.
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.
Independents Biennial has revealed a packed programme that will celebrate Merseyside’s creative talent and cast a fresh eye on how we see, make and use art. The festival, which runs alongside Liverpool Biennial, puts the spotlight on the region’s grassroots creative community, many of whom have been hardest hit by lockdown.
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.
PHM has launched its online shop, stocking a wealth of unique products that celebrate radical histories and ideas worth fighting for.
The Hallé will be joined by Paul Lewis, one of the country’s most distinguished artists, for a dazzling programme in which he directs from the piano.
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.
Grundy Art Gallery reopens with two exhibitions wrapped inside one – REMOTE WORK and Lubaina Himid: The Mourning Kangas.
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.
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 Natasha Howes and Fiona Corridan for a curator’s tour of Grayson’s Art Club, with some of the pieces that didn’t make it on T.V.
Rose is a chilling, deeply moving and critically-acclaimed horror thriller starring Sophie Rundle (Peaky Blinders, Jamestown, Bodyguard) and Matt Stokoe (Cursed, Jamestown, Misfits).
Learn new skills, refine techniques and explore different medias with ColourWheel Art Classes in Didsbury.
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.
German auteur Christian Petzold leans into fantasy and folklore, as historian and museum guide Undine (Paula Beer) falls for industrial diver Christof (Christof Rogowski).
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.
Head over to Mottram Hall where, in the depths of stunning Cheshire woodland, you’ll discover an immersive walking trail. Totally Roarsome promises to excite your little ones with huge figures of animals – from the Jurassic to the mythical.
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.
Streets Of Poetry is produced by Young Identity, Manchester’s spoken word and arts organisation, bringing together poets and communities to create new work written on the pavements of Moston, Harpurhey and Manchester city centre.
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.
A unique city-wide project, presented across Greater Manchester Metrolink poster-sites exploring mental health and the places we live.
Created by SICK! Festival, MINDSCAPES is a collection of five inspirational brand-new artworks and online events happening in Manchester for free this spring.
Experience Moston and Harpurhey in a brand-new way through an app on your phone.
Sir Mark Elder conducts a staged performance of Stravinsky’s 1918 masterpiece The Soldier’s Tale, directed by Olivier Award winner Annabel Arden.