Theatre in Manchester and the North

Andrew Anderson, Theatre Editor

I don’t think there’s a more enticing time of year to visit the theatre than autumn – when the nights draw in it just somehow feels more dramatic, atmospheric and exciting to be sat in a theatre seat.

What’s more, there’s a show on stage that embodies that uniquely autumnal feel: Akram Khan’s Giselle from English National Ballet. Okay, so its not exactly the jolliest show you’ll see this season – it tells the tale of a girl who dies of a broken heart – but Khan’s choreography will be stunning (his last show DESH was the best dance work I’ve ever seen).

Elsewhere things take a more cheerful turn, as the Women in Comedy Festival returns to the city’s stages. There are dozens of separate events, so no excuse for missing out on top talent like Harriet Dyer, Katie Mulgrew and Jackie Hagan. Funny men also get a look in as The Two Gentlemen of Verona goes live at Liverpool Everyman.

And yes, the kids are back at school, but there are two shows to chase those school blues away: Bedtime Stories (Contact) and 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips (HOME).

Here are our top 5 picks

  • 1. Akram Khan’s Giselle

    Image courtesy of English National Ballet

    Giselle at Palace Theatre, Manchester, 27 September 2016–2 October 2016, from £12.00 - Book now

    Akram Khan has earned a reputation as one of the top choreographers of his generation. And, like a great singer covering a classic song, it should be interesting to see what he does with Giselle, a piece that is a staple of ballet repertoire.

  • 2. Women in Comedy Festival

    Fern Brady - Women in Comedy Festival

    Women in Comedy Festival at Gullivers, Manchester, 20 October 2016–30 October 2016, from £2.00 - Book now

    Edinburgh Festival Fringe was full of funny women this summer, with many of them making the move to Manchester for this fantastic festival. Manchester darlings like Jackie Hagan and Harriet Dyer appear alongside talent from further afield, in what looks like a pretty packed programme. Sketches, stand up and other assorted oddities abound.

  • 3. Upswing: Bedtime Stories

    Image by Mark Robson - Upswing

    Upswing: Bedtime Stories at Contact Theatre, Manchester, 25 October 2016–26 October 2016, from £7.00 - Book now

    Often you associate Contact with edgy, issues-driven work, so it is nice to see something a bit softer on their stage. Bedtime Stories is the perfect immersive piece where you can put your feet up with your family and soak in some rather sweet stories. The sets look especially impressive, and the company has a reputation for producing standout shows that mix together theatre, circus and dance.

  • 4. 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips

    Image courtesy of HOME
    Image courtesy of HOME

    946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips at HOME, Manchester, 25 October 2016–29 October 2016, from £10.00 - Book now

    Michael Morpurgo is now recognised as the national treasure he is, thanks to the hugely successful staging of War Horse that has toured all over the world. Now another of his beloved children’s books gets the theatre treatment, with this adaptation of 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips from Kneehigh.

  • 5. The Two Gentlemen of Verona

    Photograph by Gary Calton - Courtesy of the venue

    The Two Gentlemen of Verona at Liverpool Everyman Theatre, City Centre, 5 October 2016–29 October 2016, from £9.50 - Book now

    Saucy minions, men dressed as boys and a dog called crab – yep, The Two Gentlemen of Verona is one of Bill Shakespeare’s first (and some would argue finest) funnies. This brand-new adaptation comes from Globe Theatre, who are in a rich run of form after several special shows that marked the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death day.

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