Theatre in Manchester and the North

Andrew Anderson, Theatre Editor

It’s all go in Manchester over the next couple of months, thanks to two major festivals: PUSH at HOME and Queer Contact at, well, Contact of course.

First up let’s look at PUSH. The programme brings together the best fringe shows of the last year (it’s basically a rebranded Re:play Festival), so you can catch up on the ones you missed and also revisit your faves. We’re really looking forward to The Trial, which was brilliant, as well as Debs Gatenby’s A Place Called Happiness, which we somehow managed to miss.

Debs will also be performing at Queer Contact, where our prime pick is Le Gateau Chocolat: Black, which deals with the difficult subject of depression through performance and song. Other highlights include appearances from Kate O’Donnell and David Hoyle.

There’s also exciting stuff going on over at The Lowry, with a new series titled WTF Wednesdays that aims to be a bit of a boundary pusher. The first piece Castle Rock (a reimagining of Stephen King’s Stand By Me) certainly fits that billing: very weird, but very good. Also on at The Lowry is Dark Hearts of Space, which explores the nature of black holes through music and visuals (think Infinite Monkey Cage at a rave).

Finally, something a bit more sedate. Theatre by the Lake in Keswick has a new artistic director in Conrad Lynch, with William Wordsworth as the first piece under his leadership – the perfect theatrical accompaniment to a Lake District trip.

Here are our top 5 picks

  • 1. PUSH Festival 2017 at HOME

    The Trial by People Zoo Productions

    PUSH Festival 2017 at HOME, Manchester, 14–28 January 2017 , from £1.00 - Book now

    PUSH gives you a chance to revisit your favourite theatre moments from the previous year and catch up on a few you might have missed out on. Comedy, cabaret and a play with a man who was a rubber-faced revelation – what better way to start your theatre year.

  • 2. Castle Rock at The Lowry

    Castle Rock
    © Paul Samuel White

    Castle Rock at The Lowry, Manchester, 25 January 2017, free entry - Visit now

    Castle Rock takes its cues from Stephen King’s film Stand By Me, totally deconstructing it to create a freaky and fragmentary work that mixes together music, movement and theatre. Where else are you going to see a woman in a white suit pretending to be a train?

  • 3. William Wordsworth at Theatre by the Lake

    William Wordsworth

    William Wordsworth at Theatre by the Lake, Carlisle and Keswick, 31 March–22 April 2017 , from £10.00 - Book now

    We’re expecting big things from this new name in North West theatre creation, and we reckon Theatre by the Lake’s first production William Wordsworth will not disappoint. A welcome return home for the excellent English Touring Theatre.

  • 4. Dark Hearts of Space at The Lowry

    © The Lowry

    Dark Hearts of Space at The Lowry, Manchester, 28 January 2017, from £13.50 - Book now

    Take a great DJ set, add a splash of art and multiply that by a double dose of science and you get Dark Hearts of Space, a new audio visual show that unravels the mysteries of black holes. Creative performing arts with a purpose.

  • 5. Le Gateau Chocolat: Black at Contact

    Le Gateau Chocolat: Black

    Queer Contact – Le Gateau Chocolat: Black at Contact Theatre, Manchester, 10–11 February 2017 , from £15.00 - Book now

    Le Gateau Chocolat has an incredible voice, which can bend to the lowest bass and trill at the top of the treble. He is also more than a simply a singer: he’s an all round show-stopping performer. His new piece Black explores the theme of depression through performance and song…and should be stunning.

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Things to do right now

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Sweet Charity
Theatre 03 December 2016–28 January 2017 , from £16.50

Sweet Charity at Royal Exchange Theatre

Educating Rita
Theatre 19 January–11 February 2017 , from £11.00

Educating Rita at Bolton Octagon

Image courtesy of HOME.
Cinema 13–27 January 2017 , from £5.00

New Release: Manchester by the Sea

Picture Stockport
Exhibitions 12 January–12 February 2017 , FREE

Picture Stockport