Theatre in Manchester and the North

Kristy Stott, Theatre Editor

We love the summer, not least for the warm weather, it is also the time of year when performance begins to spill out of theatres and into the outdoors. There are a whole host of shows for those wanting theatre and fresh air at the same time. We’ve been scouring the north for the best open-air performance we can find. Pack up a picnic and head out to Chester’s Grosvenor Park Open-Air Theatre for a trio of starry performances: Twelfth Night, The Borrowers and Henry V are running in rep over the summer. Closer to home, Heartbreak productions play at Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden with a super-glam production of star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Wuthering Heights and Noel Coward’s Private Lives will also play out under the stars in Didsbury this summer. Do check back for more of the best open-air performances this summer.

Trafford’s flagship arts festival, REFRACT launches at Waterside this week – a brilliant and eclectic event offering a superb ten-day programme of performance, comedy, live music and family activities.

Happening elsewhere – you’ll find us at Manchester Opera House for the beautiful and inspiring stage adaptation of Amélie The Musical.

We’re also championing Kandinsky’s There is a Light That Never Goes Out at the Royal Exchange – a timely and relevant performance, happening just in time for the bicentenary of Peterloo. Check out our full guide to the programme of events happening across the city to mark the 200-year anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre.

Cast your eyes over our full theatre guide for all the best performances happening this summer, and in the new season.

Enjoy!

Here are our picks

More in Theatre

First Time at Waterside
Comedy 25 July 2018–25 July 2019, from £10.00

First Time at Waterside

Recipient of the Making Waves bursary, you’ve got another chance to see this sell-out show before it takes the world (and Edinburgh Fringe) by storm.

Exhibitions 7 June–18 August 2019,

Peterloo 2019

Manchester Histories prepares to launch a major programme of over 150 events to commemorate the 200-year anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre. All of the essential Peterloo events in one place.

The Borrowers at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre
Families 13 July–25 August 2019, from £26.50

The Borrowers at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre

In a new adaptation by Bryony Lavery, The Borrowers is brought to the magical Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre this summer.

Catching Comets at Waterside
Theatre 21–22 July 2019, from £10.00

Catching Comets at Waterside

Catching Comets, by award-winning Ransack Theatre, asks how we’re supposed to be big and strong when we are nothing like the heroes we grew up with on our screens.

Beach Body Ready at Waterside
Theatre 22 July 2019, from £10

Beach Body Ready at Waterside

The time has come. It’s the season of cutting carbs and hitting it hard at the gym – The Roaring Girls are getting Beach Body Ready. Are you?

Henry V at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre
Theatre 26 July–25 August 2019, from £26.50

Henry V at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre

Shakespeare’s history play, Henry V explores England’s relationship with its European neighbours. A timely open-air performance in Grosvenor Park.

Wuthering Heights at Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden
Theatre 3–4 August 2019, from £11.50

Wuthering Heights at Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden

Escape to the beautiful setting of the Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden to experience this timeless tale of intrigue and passion.

Private Lives at Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden
Comedy 15–16 August 2019, from £11.50

Private Lives at Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden

Bring your own chair and sit in the open-air: Heartbreak productions bring outdoor theatre shenanigans to Didsbury Village.

24 Hours of Peace at the Royal Exchange
Theatre 10–11 November 2019, FREE

24 Hours of Peace at the Royal Exchange

What do you get if you add 24 hours to 48 performers and two hundred thousand words? Neil Bartlett’s extraordinary new national public artwork.

Culture Guides

BSL Led Gallery Tour: David Lynch My Head is Disconnected

Cinema

It’s all about David Lynch this month, as the cult artist and filmmaker brings his inimitable brand of surreal menace to Manchester as part of MIF19.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the north

Exhibitions

Like the 58th Venice Biennale which opened earlier this May, our latest pick of exhibitions across the north also has a strong ecological bent.

Hebden Bridge Handmade Parade

Families

We can smell the summer and have sniffed out the best family things to do in Manchester and across the North.

Literature

We’re in full festival swing with both Manchester International Festival and Refract festival’s first focus on live literature, the welcome return of some old favourites, and plenty of poetry and prose.

Music

Some of the world’s most exciting producers are heading to Manchester and the north in the coming months. Read about them here.

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

Discover the best food and drink that the North has to offer in our expert guide to food and drink in Manchester and beyond.

tours and activities

Tours and Activities

Challenge yourself to try something different this summer with our guide of Manchester based tours and activities. You’re bound to find something new to do in the city.

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Exhibitions 7 June–18 August 2019,

Peterloo 2019

First Time at Waterside
Comedy 25 July 2018–25 July 2019, from £10.00

First Time at Waterside

Summer Holidays at Quarry Bank
Activity 20 July–12 September 2019,

Summer Holidays at Quarry Bank

Daily Tours: Nature, power, conservation & cotton at Quarry Bank
Families 10 July–30 October 2019, Quarry Bank admission prices apply (free for National Trust members)

Daily Tours: Nature, power, conservation & cotton at Quarry Bank