There’s plenty of things to do this October in Manchester and the North as the galleries and auditoriums step up and start knocking out some of the year’s best work.
We say goodbye to Liverpool Biennial this month, if you’ve still not been you’ll be after our weekend guide. But as we say goodbye to the Biennial, we say hello, hello to great new seasons from Contact, RNCM, The Stoller Hall, BBC Philharmonic, Everyman & Playhouse and many more.
Really, there’s just absolutely loads on this month and you owe it to yourself to get involved.
For Black History Month, HOME presents examples of joy, love and light from the history of Black cinema.
British Textiles Biennial 2021 has an impressive list of headliners, including Maxine Peake, Lubaina Himid and fashion designer Patrick Grant.
WordFest is a festival celebrating the spoken and written word in all its forms and its important place in our culture.
Curated by Bren O’Callaghan, renowned transgender visual artist Cassils brings their first UK solo exhibition and contemporary dance piece to HOME.
Pushing paper is an exhibition that explores the past 50 years of drawing, catch it at the Cooper Gallery this winter.
Create your own bespoke scented candle with Lizzy from Cedar Manchester and their excellent candle making workshop.
The spectacular season of dance includes DeNada Dance Theatre, Northern Ballet, Ballet Cymru and Humanoove, alongside free performances happening as part of Light Night Leeds 2021.
An intimate series of evening events taking place in the atmospheric and beautiful surroundings of Manchester Jewish Museum. Step out and experience something new.
Taking place during Blackpool’s annual Illuminations display, Lightpool is a celebration of spectacular art works and live, illuminated performance across the iconic town.
The first major UK solo exhibition of work by award-winning artist Deborah Roberts challenges notions of the body, beauty, race and identity.
Rosa-Johan Uddoh’s exhibition ‘Practice Makes Perfect’ at the Bluecoat responds to the lack of Black British history taught in schools.
Scottish artist, Jock McFadyen, displays key work from throughout his life at The Lowry Galleries, home to one of his artistic influences, LS Lowry.
John Powell-Jones’ first major exhibition transports visitors to the inhospitable planet of Durt, 1,000 years after the Quantum Crash.
An outstanding festival line-up of Black-led art, performance and film which includes a live premiere of mandla rae’s as british as a watermelon.
Spanning post-war muralism, fashion, music subcultures, gender politics and more, Lucy McKenzie’s first UK retrospective is not to be missed.
Venture Arts presents a full studio exhibition at Manchester Central Library, where you can experience brand new work from over 70 artists.
The Reader’s Spoken Word evenings at the Mansion House in south Liverpool’s Calderstones Park are back inside, with a packed line-up running into the New Year.
Bringing together 11 stunning audio and visual installations, the River of Light trail will mark the first anniversary of the start of lockdown, symbolising light and renewal for the city.
Jacob Cartwright and Nick Jordan present two new films exploring the ‘edgeland’ landscapes close to their studio in Manchester.
Join the Science and Industry Museum this October half term for a safe, scientific and inspiring day out.
Get ready for an immersive, digital, gaming adventure at the Arndale Centre in Manchester.
This October Half Term head to the Pumpkin Patch at Tatton Park Farm, where you can pick a perfect pumpkin, meet your favourite farmyard friends and head to the Medieval Old Hall for The Lost Crystal quest through Tatton’s medieval grounds.
Northern Monk, one of Leeds’ best breweries, is kicking off the weekend with a brewery tour to kick start your Saturday afternoon.
Join Showroom this half term break for a spooky double bill of Tim Burton films in the run up to Halloween.
Set in a creaking mansion, this creepy whodunnit makes its way into Manchester just in time for Halloween.
Looking for a family-friendly Halloween adventure? Join Rusticus Arts for a magical quest around Tatton Park’s Medieval Old Hall.
FACT presents an ‘alternative museum’ of artworks that question our past and offer new ways of understanding who we are.
An incredible wonderland of outdoor arts, masquerade and pint carrying competitions in Penrith.
FilmFear is back as HOME team up with Film4 for another season of new and classic scary movies, premieres and director Q&As.
Climb aboard the hair-raisingly spooky Halloween Ghost Train at the East Lancashire Railway this October half-term and expect a journey of spooktacular fun and delight!
London-born singer-songwriter and composer Ana Silvera will explore her Sephardi heritage through traditional ladino songs and original tunes.
Poetry London will be launching its 100th issue in the UK’s major poetry libraries; key among them the brand-new Manchester Poetry Library.
Cultural Comedy Tours offers entertaining guided tours of galleries, museums and other cultural heritage sites, conducted by professional comedians. Thursday’s tours at Salford Museum and Art Gallery are hosted by Hannah Platt and Foxdog Studios.
Kurosawa expertly sustains the suspense over a lengthy duration, imbuing this classic story with an almost Shakespearian grandeur.
Join storyteller and musician Emmanuela Yogolelo for a session exploring the traditions of songs and storytelling in the Congo Basin, Africa.
This October welcomes the live return of Fat Out Fest, bringing all the noise, queer energy and mayhem to Salford over Halloween weekend.
Granfalloon (AKA Richard Lomax) and his collaborators Dom Major + Chloe Jones perform a special set of songs from the legendary director David Lynch’s body of work.
Exciting and terrifying in equal measure, with a good dash of humour, this award-winning play asks what does it take to enact real change? And what would you sacrifice to keep it?
Looking for laughs this Halloween? Check out this haunted house-style comedy from the multi award-winning duo, LipService Theatre.
Bring your ghoulish gals and supernatural pals for a Gal-oween Girl Gang spectacular, in the middle of the Northern Quarter.
Halloween In The City is back to haunt Manchester over the Halloween weekend, with a petrifying programme of Halloween-themed events taking place across Manchester city centre.
RAD Screenings deliver an all afternoon festival of 80’s hair metal horrors that will see you through the devils night into the twilight of Halloween itself.
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.
Experience YBA artist Damien Hirst’s towering and provocative outdoor sculptures at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
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.
Join Joe Feeley a Mancunian through and through, who guides you into Manchester’s two pillars of cultural excellence with his Rock and Goal tour.
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.
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.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park presents the monumental work of celebrated Portuguese sculptor Joana Vasconcelos.
Below the Salt is an exhibition of new works by Catherine Bertola, shown alongside the first inventory of Temple Newsam House, made on 12 September 1520.
The Sounds of Our City Online Exhibition gives you a chance to visit the current exhibition at Abbey House Museum virtually. Find out how the different musical styles and venues of Leeds interact.
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.
#WELCOME? at the People’s History Museum explores the wider impact of media coverage and changing immigration controls.
Expect chilling street theatre and immersive thrills as the award winning Shiverpool return to Liverpool’s streets.
In the Thwaite at 30 online exhibition, uncover the fascinating story of Thwaite Watermill as it celebrates its 30th year as a museum.
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.
Bring your football-loving family for a visit to England’s one and only national museum for football, with activities for families available throughout the museum.
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.
With the support of Manchester Independents, Kate Feld’s project is a chronicle of the writer’s experiences during the winter of 2020-21, documenting a single mother’s lived experience of the structural inequalities laid bare by the pandemic and offering a harrowing case study of how capitalism fails women.
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.
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.
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.
Thrilling and challenging, HOME’s annual festival is a glimmering reminder that new performance continues to be developed, despite ‘you-know-what’.
Turner Prize winning artist Tai Shani takes us on an LSD-inspired hallucinatory journey across time and space. Prepare to have your consciousness expanded.
Argentinian artist Ad Minoliti’s immersive exhibition draws upon queer and feminist theory to offer new understandings of the world around us.
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.
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.
Barbican’s major exhibition, AI: More than Human, comes to Liverpool, offering a tantlising look into the future.
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.
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.
Learn embroidery in a fun and relaxed environment with the BBC’s Sara Dennis at Lancaster Castle’s famous Witches Tower.
Part gallery, part studio, ‘Constellations: Care & Resistance’ showcases Jade Monserratt’s work exploring race, the body and language.
The Hepworth Wakefield celebrates its 10th birthday with the largest exhibition of Barbara Hepworth’s work since the artist’s death in 1975.
Discover the unique history of a textile mill and the community that surrounds it at the Sunny Bank Mills Archive Open Saturdays.
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.
Liverpool’s Zap Graffiti teaches all the basic skills and techniques you need to make a street-style creation you’ll be proud of.
This beginners workshop will teach participants the traditional skills associated with blacksmithing, in the ‘Steel City’ of Sheffield.
The West Riding Stonecarving Association is dedicated to keeping the art of hand-carving stone alive and bringing it to the general public.
Head to Skipton’s Craven Arts Studios to create a unique mounted animal head for your home with local textile artist Jaki Bogg.
Salford Museum & Art Gallery presents an exhibition that highlights the city’s green spaces and the stories that they tell.
Try your hand at candle making with the experts at Cheshire Workshops, this fun and creative skill is suitable for all ages.
Try your hand at pottery at Earth Pig Studio in Buxton’s Green Man Gallery; a longstanding community arts hub, shop and gallery.
Satisfy your hunger for knowledge as well as lunch with Scranchester’s food tours of the city centre. You may discover a new favourite hidden gem or learn a bit more about the cultural or historical significance of the food you eat all the time.
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.
Come and experience the magic of fused glass at Glass Monkey Studio in Burnley, where workshops cater for all levels and abilities.
One of many workshops hosted by local jeweller Helen Drye, here you’ll learn the technical skills required to make a chic stacker ring.
Return to the Forest captures a seminal moment in the development of one of Britain’s most important contemporary sculptors.
Use Hearing Protection tells the story of Factory Records’ formative years from 1978-1982, when the label made waves with its innovative work in music, technology and design.
Cleaning Conditions and Uncertain Futures at Manchester Art Gallery brings together two of artist Suzanne Lacy’s Manchester-based projects.
Sutapa Biswas’ major solo show explores the artist’s role in illuminating the imperialist structures that still exist within British society.
The Portico Library presents an installation of immersive sculptural and textile works by world-renowned Brazilian artist Maria Nepomuceno.
Knitting, crochet, yarnbombing and contemporary needlecraft. Not a workshop as such but a ‘learning’ social with Knittaz with Attitude.
Encounter artist Rachel Kneebone’s most ambitious sculpture to date, presented in the unique setting of YSP’s 18th century chapel.
Tate Liverpool presents the first major display of portraits by Lucian Freud in the North West in over 30 years.
Thirteen independent publishing houses set out their stalls at the Christmas Northern Publishers’ Fair at Manchester Central Library.
Take a culinary tour of Ancoats, the world’s first industrial suburb where an award-winning chip shop (which pays homage to hip-hop) sits alongside a Michelin starred fine dining restaurant.
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.
Featuring work by numerous contemporary artists, Earthbound explores how Sheffield has been shaped by the landscape it exists within.
‘Interruptions: Sounds’ is an online collection of new audio works by seven artists, spanning spoken word, ambient sound and musical tracks.
Join Craft Beer Tour Manchester for a journey through some of the cities best local breweries and artisanal beer serving bars. Discover the personality of Manchester’s beer through a diverse range of pints.
Every second Saturday of the month, Leeds Record & Book Fair is indoors at Kirkgate Market, one of Europe’s largest indoor markets. Next dates are 14 August, 11 September, 9 October, 13 November and 11 December.
Manchester Taxi tours are the most personalised guided glimpse of the city you can find and now you can get to know Manchester better whilst enjoying a delicious afternoon tea.
Join RobinGo for Urban Buddies, a 2 hour walking tour of Manchester, exploring the cities past and future in Mandarin.
Canal, Coal and Cake is a walking tour that takes you through the industrial past, present and patisserie of Worsley.
Learn some DJ and production skills with DJ Gym Manchester, based in the culturally infused surrounds of Hatch.
The Pankhurst Centre’s new permanent exhibition offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of the people behind the iconic Pankhurst name.
Nancy Collantine presents a new body of work produced between 2020-21 in the artist’s studio on the fifth floor looking out over Manchester.
Discover the Bluecoat’s 100 year history of supporting artists in Liverpool and see inside the studios of the those currently working there.
Live theatre returns to The Edge this September and the opening season promises to be one to remember when its doors open for the first time in 18 months, and to a completely refurbished building.
This Bruntwood Judges Prize-winning dark comedy offers audiences a surprisingly optimistic portrayal of love even in the darkest times.
Regular weekday interactive parent-child sessions at Legoland Discovery Centre in Manchester designed for parents and their children aged 2-5.
HOME and Waterside Arts present an exhibition steeped in energy, tension, subversion and feminist resistance.
Artist Lauren Gault’s sensory exhibition, Cithra, invites us to consider our relationship with the natural world in an entirely new way.
Holly Staniforth digitally combines disparate visual elements to build a florescent dreamscape – a space where the imagination takes over.
Step into When A Happy Thing Falls – a dense forest of luminous, towering sculptures by Annie Morris that reflect the fragility of life.
Walker Art Gallery presents a major retrospective exhibition exploring the life of Walter Richard Sickert and his contribution to British art.
Site Gallery presents the most extensive installation of Rafaël Rozendaal’s websites series in a new immersive environment
Emily Speed’s new film uses set design, choreography and costume to depict flattened hierarchies and close-knit community structures.
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.
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.