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. Nigel Slater’s ‘Toast’ with the Lawrence Batley Theatre

    Nigel Slater's 'Toast' with the Lawrence Batley Theatre
    Image courtesy of Target Live.

    Nigel Slater's 'Toast', online, Until 31 July 2020, from £10.00 - Book now

    A truly delicious digital theatre experience. Part radio play, part animated film – and every foodie’s dream – this hugely successful play has been adapted for you to enjoy at home.

  • 2. Elders Mondays Spring Summer 2020 with the Royal Exchange

    Elders Mondays Spring Summer 2020 with the Royal Exchange
    Image courtesy of the Royal Exchange.

    Elders Mondays Spring Summer 2020 with the Royal Exchange, online, Until 17 August 2020, from £3.00 - Book now

    Our good friends at the Royal Exchange Theatre have been working hard to bring their Elders Monday sessions online. Reach out, stay connected and remain creative.

  • 3. Manchester Craft and Design Centre: Craft at Home

    Manchester Craft and Design Centre: Craft at Home
    Manchester Craft and Design Centre

    Manchester Craft and Design Centre: Craft at Home at Manchester Craft & Design Centre, Manchester and online, Until 31 August 2020, free entry - Visit now

    ‘Craft at Home’ is a new online space where you can continue to support Manchester Craft & Design Centre’s resident makers, pick-up bespoke gifts, and get busy with bee-related craft.

  • 4. 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.

  • 5. Jonathan Schofield: The Zoom Tours Series

    The Zoom Tours Series
    Jonathan Schofield

    Jonathan Schofield's Zoom Tours Series, online, Until 25 July 2020, from £6 - Book now

    Jonathan Schofield embraces the new normal with The Zoom Tours Series, taking his knowledge of Manchester into the virtual world for you to enjoy from your living room.

  • 6. The Degree Show on Mars – Online

    The Degree Show on Mars – Online – Exhibitions in Liverpool, Creative Tourist
    Degree Show On Mars, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) BA Fine Degree Show, 2020

    The Degree Show on Mars, online, Until 31 August 2020, free entry - Visit now

    Dust of your space helmets and prepare for take-off. Graduating art students from Liverpool John Moores University present: ‘The Degree Show on Mars’ – a multiverse exhibition responding to the many challenges we are currently facing back on Earth.

  • 7. Word Central online

    Poet Shirley May.

    Word Central, online, Until 20 August 2020, free entry - Visit now

    In association with Flapjack Press and Manchester Libraries, Word Central Open Mic Poetry and Spoken Word heads online fortnightly, with a sign-up-in-advance open mic and a guest poet at each event.

  • 8. 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 2020, 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.

  • 9. 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.

  • 10. Judy Chicago – Online at BALTIC, Gateshead

    Judy Chicago exhibition at BALTIC, Gateshead
    Judy Chicago Purple Poem for Miami, 2019 Fireworks performance © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Photo © Donald Woodman/ARS, New York

    Judy Chicago, online, Until 31 August 2020, free entry - Visit now

    BALTIC presents an online edition of its major retrospective on Judy Chicago – one of the most important feminist artists of the last half-century.

  • 11. 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.

  • 12. MIF 19: Revisit David Lynch’s HOME Takeover

    MIF19 David Lynch at HOME Manchester International Festival

    Revisit David Lynch's HOME Takeover, online, Until 31 August 2020, free entry - Visit now

    Last summer, David Lynch took over HOME with his art, film, music and more! Every corner of HOME was inhabited by a Lynchian spirit for Manchester International Festival.

  • 13. Bill Brandt / Henry Moore – Online at The Hepworth Wakefield

    Bill Brandt / Henry Moore at The Hepworth Wakefield
    Bill Brandt, Nude, East Sussex Coast. Gelatin silver print, 1960. Bill Brandt Archive, London, © Bill Brandt / Bill Brandt Archive Ltd.

    Bill Brandt / Henry Moore, online, Until 31 August 2020 - Book now

    The Hepworth Wakefield is currently closed due to the ongoing situation with Coronavirus, however, its major exhibition bringing together over 200 works by Bill Brandt and Henry Moore can still be enjoyed online!

  • 14. Grimmfest TV

    Grimmfest TV

    Grimmfest TV, online, Until 31 August 2020, free entry - Visit now

    Grimmfest TV is a new online channel from the people behind Grimmfest, Manchester’s horror and fantasy film festival. Each week at least two new films will be added to the channel, and all films will remain available to view for free, until lockdown is over.

  • 15. 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.

  • 16. Band on the Wall: World of Music Programme

    Band on the Wall

    Band on the Wall: World of Music Programme, online, Until 15 July 2020, free entry - Visit now

    Band on the Wall’s new online programme features instrumental lessons, an interactive choir, and tutorials on how to play tunes from around the world.

  • 17. Wake Up Together and Where Love is Illegal – VR Version, Online at Open Eye Gallery

    Ren Hang: Wake Up Together at Open Eye Gallery
    Untitled, Ren Hang, 2016. Stieglitz19

    Wake Up Together, online, Until 31 August 2020, free entry - Visit now

    Travel back in time and explore a VR-edition of Open Eye Gallery’s hugely popular 2018-19 exhibition, ‘Wake Up Together’, featuring work by Ren Hang and Robin Hammond; two artists who both champion the rights of every person to love who they want and respectfully live as they wish.

  • 18. Cinema Online

    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.

  • 19. Be Inspired with Manchester Art Gallery

    Be Inspired with Manchester Art Gallery is a collection of activities gathered by their team to help inspire your creativity at home.

    Be Inspired - Online, online, Until 6 September 2020, free entry - Visit now

    Be Inspired with Manchester Art Gallery is a collection of activities gathered by their team to help inspire your creativity at home.

  • 20. WEB/SITE – Online at Site Gallery, Sheffield

    Spiral Holds # 2 Phoebe Davies.

    WEB/SITE, online, Until 31 August 2020, free entry - Visit now

    Site Gallery presents WEB/SITE – an online programme of events and activity engaging with contemporary artists and ideas.

  • 21. Makar to Makar with Jackie Kay

    Makar to Makar with Jackie Kay. Photo by Jon Parker Lee, MLF.
    Poet Jackie Kay. Photograph by John Parker Lee.

    Makar to Makar with Jackie Kay, online, Until 27 August 2020, free entry - Visit now

    Weekly online show hosted by the Scottish poet laureate Jackie Kay talking to another guest “makar” or maker every episode about their work and influences, with readings of both new and old poems, and music from one of three resident singers.

  • 22. Abel Rodríguez – Online at BALTIC, Gateshead

    Abel Rodríguez at BALTIC, Gateshead
    Abel Rodriguez – Terraza Alta VI, 2019

    Abel Rodríguez, online, Until 31 August 2020, free entry - Visit now

    Travel to the depths of the South American rainforest with a visit to Abel Rordriguez’s first solo exhibition, presented online at BALTIC Plus.

  • 23. 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.

  • 24. No Such Thing – The Distance Edition

    Kate Daley

    No Such Thing – the distance edition, online, Until 15 July 2020, free entry - Visit now

    Hosted by Quarantine, a Manchester-based award-winning theatre and performance company, No Such Thing – The Distance Edition is an online version of their monthly get-together.

  • 25. Syd Shelton: Rock Against Racism – Online at Gallery Oldham

    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 31 August 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.

  • 26. 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.

  • 27. HOME Online Talent Development Surgeries

    HOME

    Online Talent Development Surgeries, online, Until 31 July 2020, free entry - Visit now

    HOME are also still there for Talent Development Surgeries, now online of course, you can book in for a 30min Zoom chat with one of their team.

  • 28. 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.

  • 29. DigiFest / Manchester Histories Festival 2020 – Online

    DigiFest / Manchester Histories Festival 2020
    Family of Lord Alf Morris, courtesy of Manchester Histories

    DigiFest / Manchester Histories Festival 2020 – Online, 4–5 September 2020, free entry - Find Out More

    Until Manchester Histories Festival returns in the autumn, you can read the Peterloo Anthology, which showcases the talent of young people involved in the Radical Read project. They have also made two short videos highlighting the Peterloo 2019 programme and From the Crowd.

  • 30. Contact Theatre

    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.

  • 31. 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.

  • 32. Bluedot 2020 at Jodrell Bank CANCELLED

    Lovell telescope in cloudy sky

    Bluedot Festival 2020 CANCELLED at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, 23–26 July 2020, 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.

  • 33. 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.

  • 34. 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.

  • 35. 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

RNCM
Music Until 27 August 2020, FREE

RNCM Lunchtime Concerts (online)

RNCM are taking their lunchtime concerts online, with remote recitals by students, staff and alumni live-streamed on Facebook every Monday and Thursday.

The Choir Project
Music Until 25 August 2020, FREE

The Choir Project: Virtual Choir

Improve your singing and wellbeing by joining The Choir Project’s weekly virtual choir led by Manchester singer and musical director, Dan McDwyer.

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.

Maddi Nicholson: a place lived at Hardman Square in Spinningfields
Exhibitions Until 20 July 2020, FREE

Maddi Nicholson: a place lived at Hardman Square in Spinningfields

‘a place lived’ by Maddi Nicholson is a new public artwork that delves into the near-forgotten history of Manchester’s thriving financial district.

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.

sunday night waves
Activity Until 14 July 2020, from £7

Sunday Night Waves 5Rhythms Drop In

Embrace the effervescent energy of Sunday Night Waves, a 5Rhythms dance class where you can move with the flow of your own body and explore.

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.

Culture Guides

Cinema Online

From our picks of the latest streaming titles, to drive-ins and live digital film events from your favourite venues, we round up the best in lockdown cinema.

Family of Lord Alf Morris, image courtesy of Manchester Histories

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 Online

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 Sasha Dugdale. Photo by Zima Zima

Literature

From book launches to readings and open mics to creative writing workshops, Live Literature Land has taken to online activities and events like the proverbial duck to water.

Music

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

Plastica Galactica: Get Involved

Theatre

We can’t wait to be back in the stalls again…until then our theatre guide brings online theatre festival fun, a live drive-in musical and interactive performances 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

Lockdown is in full effect but that doesn’t mean we can’t support our favourite bars, restaurants, brewers and food suppliers. Here’s our guide to the best takeaway and delivery Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

tours and activities

Tours and Activities

More online inspiration in this month’s tours and activities guide with French lessons, Life drawing and virtual Tours.