Cultural Calendar 2024

Creative Tourist

2024’s doors have swung open to reveal a treasure trove of arts and cultural happenings, from sprawling festivals to massive performances and special events. To help you fill those new calendars, we’ve asked our editors to select their highlights.

There’s a bit of everything here, from blockbuster theatre shows to family-friendly picks, world-class exhibitions, performances from internationally-acclaimed musicians, live literature showcases and cinematic treasures to delight the most discerning film buff.

Want more? You can keep up-to-the-minute with what’s happening across Manchester and the North with our specialist Cinema, Exhibitions, Theatre, Literature, Music, Family and Tours & Activities guides. You can also follow us on all the usual socials (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) and subscribe to our mailing list to get this kind of thing in your inbox every Friday lunchtime.

Our top picks

2024 Exhibition Highlights at the Whitworth

Exhibition Highlights 2024 at The Whitworth, Manchester, Until 31 December 2024, free entry - Visit now

Not one but at least four fantastic exhibitions will take place at the Whitworth throughout 2024 with work from Shirley Craven, John Lyons, Ayo Akingbade and Barbara Walker.

Colourful figures painted in oil paint on cavas background
Shirley Craven for Hull Traders, Five (detail), 1966-67. Screen-printed furnishing textile. The Whitworth, the University of Manchester (T.12298.2). Photo: Michael Pollard.

40 Years of the Future at Castlefield Gallery

40 Years of the Future at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, Until 30 March 2025, free entry - Visit now

Celebrate the beloved Castlefield Gallery’s 40th birthday with a thrilling programme of events taking place throughout the year.

A dynamic painting of colourful shapes arranged to form a cross
Hoyland Studio Ltd

Bharti Kher: Alchemies at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Bharti Kher: Alchemies at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Yorkshire, Until 27 April 2025, from £0.00 - Book now

One of the world’s leading contemporary artists, Bharti Kher comes to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park with a body of work that focuses on the female experience and its shifting context in today’s world.

Sculpture of a nude woman with the head of a cow placed on top of the woman's head
Bharti Kher, Animus Mundi (detail), 2018. © Bharti Kher. Courtesy of the artist and Nature Morte. Photo © Jeetin Sharma.

TOTfest Cheshire

TOTfest at Chester Racecourse, Cheshire, 21 July 2024, from £12.00 - Book now

Enjoy a festival of epic proportions at TOTfest Cheshire, packed with fun and entertainment for the whole family.

TOTFest Cheshire
TOTFest Cheshire

New Order and Blossoms at Wythenshawe Park

New Order and Blossoms at Wythenshawe Park, Manchester, 24–25 August 2024, from £50.40 - Book now

An all-day outdoor concert at Wythenshawe Park features a special homecoming show from New Order, plus performances by Manchester legend Johnny Marr and adopted Manc Róisin Murphy.

New Order, courtesy of We Are Indigo.

Pixies at The Piece Hall

Pixies at The Piece Hall, West Yorkshire, 21 August 2024, from £47.50 - Book now

Key figures of the late 80s alt/rock movement, Pixies blazed the trail for everyone from Pearl Jam to Nirvana to Radiohead. This summer, they’re playing a one-off show at Halifax’s glorious Piece Hall in support of Doggerel, their best new album in years.

Pixies by Tom Oxley

Beyond the Music 2024

Beyond the Music 2024 at Band on the Wall, Manchester, 1–31 October 2024, from £16.75 - Book now

Part festival, part conference, Beyond the Music is a leading space for creative thinkers, musicians and independent venues.

Carmel Smickersgill

Manchester Literature Festival 2024

Manchester Literature Festival at Contact Theatre, Manchester, 4–20 October 2024, from £5.00 - Book now

Manchester Literature Festival presents inspiring live literature and spoken word from international writers and home-grown talent.

Max Porter. Photo by Francesca Jones
Max Porter. Photo by Francesca Jones.

Dear Evan Hansen at Leeds Grand Theatre

Dear Evan Hansen at Leeds Grand Theatre, Leeds, 5–9 November 2024, from £31.00 - Book now

A new production of the multi award-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen is set to tour the UK from autumn 2024, with venues including Leeds Grand Theatre, Liverpool Empire and Palace Theatre Manchester.

Dear Evan Hansen at Leeds Grand Theatre
Image courtesy of ATG Tickets.

Idles at The Apollo

Idles at O2 Apollo, Manchester, 6 December 2024, from £42.15 - Book now

Among the most powerful voices in modern rock music, Idles are taking the power of love on the road, bringing their new album TANGK to Manchester in December.

Idles by Daniel Topete, image couresy of SONIC PR
Idles by Daniel Topete, image courtesy of Sonic PR.
Pillock at Contact
Spotlight on

Fringe Theatre in Manchester and the North

Check out our top picks of shows previewing in the North West before heading to Edinburgh Fringe Festival later in the summer.

Take me there

Culture Guides