Thom Yorke at Victoria Warehouse Cultural Calender
Thom Yorke plays two nights at Manchester's Victoria Warehouse - photo by Alex Lake / TWOSHORTDAYS.COM

Cultural Calendar 2021

Creative Tourist

The Cultural Calendar returns for 2021, our editors’ annual list of some of the best-looking arts and cultural events in Manchester and the North in 2021. It’s only the beginning of a new year – and there will be plenty more added to this list as they’re announced. This list is intended to be inclusive with something for everyone; from family picks to literary highlights via acclaimed international musicians, to outstanding exhibitions and festivals.

This is what we have penciled in our diaries so far, come back to the Cultural Calendar for updates throughout the year. You can keep up-to-date with what’s happening across Manchester and the North with our specialist Cinema, Exhibitions, Theatre, Literature, Music and Family guides. Want more? Follow us on all the usual socials and subscribe to our mailing list to get this kind of thing every Friday lunchtime.

Have fantastic cultural adventures in 2021.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Open Up Sheffield 2021

    Open Up Sheffield 2021, 1–31 May 2021, free entry - Find Out More

    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.

  • 2. Thom Yorke at Victoria Warehouse

    Thom Yorke at Victoria Warehouse Cultural Calender
    Alex Lake

    Thom Yorke at Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, 13 June 2021, from £54.70 - Book now

    Following the release of his excellent solo album ANIMA, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke is performing not one but two shows at Victoria Warehouse this June.

  • 3. Liverpool Biennial 2021 – The Stomach and the Port

    Liverpool Biennial 2021 – The Stomach and the Port
    Ebony G. Patterson, ...a pale horse weeps in silence...for those who bear/bare witness, 2018. Courtesy the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago

    Liverpool Biennial 2021, Until 6 June 2021, free entry - Visit now

    The 2021 edition of Liverpool Biennial will explore notions of the body, drawing on non-Western ways of thinking that challenge conceptions of the individual as a defined, self-sufficient entity.

  • 4. Bluedot 2021 at Jodrell Bank


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

    Entering its fifth year in 2020, Bluedot is a festival of discovery located in the shadow of the world-renowned Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank.

  • 5. Contact Theatre

    exterior of Contact Theatre building

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

    Contact has always been the place for emerging theatre, dance, spoken word, hip hop and digital performance mash-ups, and we’re looking forward to experiencing all of this in the new building.

  • 6. NQ Jazz Live

    NQ Jazz Live at The Stoller Hall, Manchester and online, 7 June–4 October 2021 - Book now

    A massive programme of live jazz music, spanning venues across Manchester, has been announced for 2021. Running for five months, the programme will feature dozens of COVID-safe events, concerts and masterclasses by established and emerging artists, from Soweto Kinch in January to Norma Winstone in May.