Online things to do in Manchester and the North – Online events

Ben Williams, Managing Editor

Online events from cultural organisations from Manchester and across the North are becoming more frequent as we all adjust to life in lockdown. It isn’t easy to drop everything you are doing or planning in the physical world and suddenly come up with a strategy to compete with the likes of Netflix, Disney+ and those 12-year olds who’ve been raking in sweet, sweet YouTube revenue since as far back as they can remember.

The response from the cultural sector has been fantastic so far and we are delighted to see so many of our partners thinking creatively to deliver what they do best in a new way. Depending on the size of the organisation the response varies, in some cases it feels lovingly homemade and with others as polished as you’d expect from their gargantuan budgets. For some, online delivery is just impossible and we have a guide to supporting those organisations in other ways.

We are so grateful to National Lottery players, The National Lottery, DCMS and Arts Council England for supporting our freelance writers during this crisis. This means that, although venues remain shut and campaigns cancelled, our writers can be reengaged to help arts organisations and artists across the North of England share their online content with our culture-hungry readers.

So, for as long as this thing continues, we’ll share with you our top picks of what’s happening virtually. The best online events from organisations in Manchester and the North.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Black Gold Arts Festival 2020 with Contact

    Black Gold Arts Festival 2020
    Image courtesy of Black Gold Arts.

    Black Gold Arts Festival at Contact Theatre, Manchester and online, 23–25 October 2020, from £5.00 - Book now

    This October Contact present an all-digital version of the Black Gold Arts Festival featuring workshops, discussions, talks and performances.

  • 2. Alliance Française de Manchester

    Alliance Française de Manchester, 125 Portland St,, Manchester, M1 4QD - Visit now

    Le français, c’est chic! The Alliance Française de Manchester has a large range of online & onsite French courses starting 14 September.

  • 3. Sheffield Doc/Fest

    Sheffield Doc/Fest

    Sheffield Doc/Fest, online, Until 30 November 2020, free entry - Visit now

    Having taken place in Sheffield annually in June, this year Sheffield Doc/Fest extends its activities throughout the rest of the year – both in Sheffield and virtually.

  • 4. What it is to be here: Colonisation and Resistance – Online at The Portico Library

    What it is to be here: Colonisation and Resistance – Online at The Portico Library
    Anangu artists with the Uluru Statement from the Heart. From left: Christine Brumby, Charmaine Kulitja, Rene Kulitja, Happy Reid. Photography by Clive Scollaly.

    What it is to be here: Colonisation and Resistance – Online at The Portico Library, online, Until 27 July 2021, free entry - Visit now

    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.

  • 5. The Gardener Digs in Another Time – Online at the Whitworth

    Oberon, 1969-1976, Peter Blake. Copyright © Peter Blake & The Whitworth, The University of Manchester

    The Gardener Digs in Another Time – Online, online, Until 1 May 2021, free entry - Visit now

    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.

  • 6. The Living Planet – Online at FACT, Liverpool

    The Living Planet – Online at FACT, Liverpool
    Video still from documentary film Une vie de Grand Rhinolophe (2014), directed by Tanguy Stoecklé

    The Living Planet – Online at FACT, Liverpool, online, Until 31 March 2021, free entry - Visit now

    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.

  • 7. Homemakers

    online events I am falling in love with you and its making me do stupid things
    Bryony Kimmings in I am falling in love with you and its making me do stupid things

    Homemakers, online, Until 31 December 2020 - Book now

    HOME have invited theatre and live art makers to create new works at home, for an audience who are also at home.

  • 8. Cinema in Manchester and the North

    Cinemas are closed right now. We’ll be back front and centre when they reopen but in the meantime, here are top picks of things to stream to the small screen.

  • 9. Science Learning at Home with Jodrell Bank

    Science Learning at Home with Jodrell Bank
    Jody Hartley

    Science Learning at Home, online, Until 30 September 2020, free entry - Visit now

    Science Learning at Home with Jodrell Bank is a perfect way to keep children (and their adults) busy while learning from home.

  • 10. Strip! How Football Got Shirty – Online Exhibition from the National Football Museum

    Strip! How Football Got Shirty
    National Football Museum - The Germany shirt even England fans admire

    STRIP! Football Exhibition Goes Online, online, Until 25 December 2020, free entry - Visit now

    The National Football Museum presents a major online exhibition of football shirts. Enjoy in-depth analysis, opinion, and discussion by the exhibition curators and shirt industry insiders into what makes certain shirts so special.

  • 11. Syd Shelton: Rock Against Racism at Gallery Oldham and Online

    Syd Shelton: Rock Against Racism at Gallery Oldham
    Specials Fans. Potternewton Park, Leeds, 1981. Courtesy of the artist and Autograph, London

    Rock Against Racism, online, Until 21 November 2020, free entry - Visit now

    Syd Shelton: Rock Against Racism had only been open for days at Gallery Oldham before the venue closed due to the ongoing situation with Coronavirus. Thanks to the hard work of the team at Gallery Oldham and the collaboration of Syd Shelton, the exhibition can now be enjoyed online.

  • 12. Anthony Burgess on Tape

    Anthony Burgess on Tape
    © 2020 International Anthony Burgess Foundation

    Anthony Burgess on Tape, online, Until 31 December 2020, free entry - Visit now

    Anthony Burgess on Tape is an online exhibition from the International Anthony Burgess Foundation comprising of 1,094 cassettes and 87 reel-to-reel tapes from one of Manchester’s greatest and most prolific writers.

  • 13. Manchester Museum

    Manchester Museum Tours at Manchester Museum

    Manchester Museum, The University Of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M13 9PL - Visit now

    Manchester Museum has uploaded their digital content onto a new mobile site so that you can explore their collection from your home.  Head t0 their new site for entertainment and education until they reopen.

  • 14. Contact Theatre

    exterior of Contact Theatre building

    Contact Theatre, Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 6JA - Visit now

    Contact is offering some inspiration over on their website. For the next seven weeks, seven freelance artists will each suggest seven creative ideas to help you Take Notice – a different idea every day.

  • 15. City of Literature: Manchester

    Manchester Central Library
    Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net). [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    Manchester’s libraries are not open, but you can discover all the free digital resources available from them here. There’s also plenty of ideas on their social media channels.

  • 16. Bluedot 2021 at Jodrell Bank

    Bluedot

    Bluedot Festival 2021 at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, 22–25 July 2021, from £59.75 - Book now

    With Bluedot officially postponed until next year (with headliners intact) they have been working on trying to bring the festival experience to your living room. Over the coming weeks, they’ll have a series of takeovers from some of their best-loved artists.

  • 17. Manchester Art Gallery

    Manchester Art Gallery. Photo by Andrew Brooks
    Andrew Brooks

    Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 3JL - Visit now

    There’s a lot of Manchester Art Gallery’s collection online for you to explore, we’re particularly impressed with their audio guides site, which includes four guided mindfulness sessions.

  • 18. The Lowry

    The Lowery Theatre and Gallery in Salford Quays Manchester.
    Image courtesy of Visit Britain

    The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Salford, Manchester, M50 3AZ - Visit now

    The Lowry is closed but is looking for new ways to inspire. Their blog offers some ideas of how to keep yourself busy during these unusual times.

  • 19. The Hepworth Wakefield

    The Hepworth Wakefield

    The Hepworth Wakefield, Gallery Walk, Wakefield, Yorkshire, WF1 5AW - Visit now

    The building is closed but The Hepworth Wakefield Garden will remain open for people to enjoy. The team will continue to provide inspiring creative content online and will be involving artists and our communities in their digital programming.

More in Activity

Visual Arts Until 30 September 2020, FREE

Manchester Art Gallery Highlights Tour

Take a tour around select artworks from Manchester Art Gallery’s collection. Lead by different guides every day, each tour is personal to their taste. Tours start at 2 pm from Thursday to Sunday.

Exhibitions Until 29 November 2020, FREE

The Sun at the Science and Industry Museum

This blockbuster exhibition was due to close at the end of March, but has been extended until 29 November as part of the Science and Industry Museum’s reopening programme.

Trading Station: how hot drinks shape our lives – exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions Until 14 December 2021, FREE

Trading Station: how hot drinks shape our lives at Manchester Art Gallery

Trading Station at Manchester Art Gallery charts the history and changing social role of hot drinks in our lives.

Activity Until 19 December 2020, from £55

Local Leeds Food Tour

Fresh local produce is always on the menu of the Local Leeds food tour. Visit six pubs and restaurants serving up some of Yorkshire’s finest cuisine.

Leeds Street Food Tour
Activity Until 19 December 2020, from £55

Leeds Street Food Tour

Eat your way through some of the best street food Leeds has to offer, with insights into the people and stories behind each bite. Try something new with the Leeds Street Food tour.

2020 Banner Display at People's History Museum, Manchester
Exhibitions Until 3 January 2021, FREE

2020 Banner Display at People’s History Museum

Visit People’s History Museum’s 2020 display of political banners from across the years – including several that will go on public show for the first time.

Utopias exhibition at the Whitworth
Exhibitions Until 31 January 2021, FREE

Utopias at the Whitworth

How have visions of utopia and the visual culture that helped form it impacted upon the Brexit debate? A new exhibition at the Whitworth explores.

Jerwood Makers Open at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions Until 4 October 2020, FREE

Jerwood Makers Open at Manchester Art Gallery

The seventh edition of Jerwood Makers Open, presented at Manchester Art Gallery, demonstrates that craft and artisanship are by no means dead.

Emii Alrai: The High Dam at The Tetley in Leeds
Exhibitions Until 29 November 2020, FREE

Emii Alrai: The High Dam at The Tetley in Leeds

Combining demon lures and invented artefacts, ancient mythology and family lore, The High Dam at The Tetley in Leeds is the latest new work by upcoming artist Emii Alrai.

Culture Guides

Cinema in Manchester and the North

We look at the socially distant screenings and digital releases you can enjoy as cinemas begin to reopen safely.

Images of protest: Black Lives Matter at People's History Museum

Exhibitions

Art and women’s wrestling, Ancient Akkadian gravesites and invented artefacts – check out this month’s pick of exhibitions from across the north.

Makefest At Home

Families

Need some inspiration for online activities and creative family fun? Look no further than our top picks online for families across Manchester and the North.

Poet Dean Atta. Photo by Hussina Raja.

Literature

Festival fever takes hold of Live Literature Land as it does every October, just this year it’s in the ether. Grab a glass and settle down in the Zoom room for some online readings.

Bicep

Music

Discover the best live-streamed concerts, broadcasts, musical activities and exhibitions on offer during lockdown Mk II.

Theatre in Manchester. Image courtesy of RashDash.

Theatre

We can’t wait to be back in the stalls again…until then our theatre guide brings the best of online theatre and interactive performance to enjoy at home.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester.

Higher Ground

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

For the August guide, we’ve dug out the best Food and Drink in Manchester and the North to explore now that lockdown has thankfully eased.

tours and activities

Tours and Activities

Socially distant walks and virtual tours are among the offerings in this month’s guide of Tours and Activities.

Things to do right now

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