Theatre in Manchester and the North

Kristy Stott, Theatre Editor

This month we bring our picks of the best theatre happening in Manchester and across the North. You’ll find a selection of online performances alongside some of the live shows we’re most looking forward to.

Although Greater Manchester theatres remain closed at this time, many venues are continuing to adapt to the ongoing pandemic – pulling out all the stops to deliver a theatrical experience for audiences to enjoy at home. And whilst it may still be some time before venues can safely welcome audiences inside again, we remain optimistic that we’ll be able to take our favourite seat in the stalls again soon.

Until then, we’ve got some cracking online performances which you can enjoy from home, and also some Covid-safe open-air theatre.

PUSH Festival and Turn On Fest are in full swing online, and Queer Contact Festival returns next month too. Lip Service Theatre bring a live stream of their interactive new show, Château Ghoul to audiences while the ever-brilliant Rambert perform a new work – in real-time – for audiences to watch online. Oldham Coliseum are offering an interactive online murder-mystery show while the Lawrence Batley Theatre bring a modern take on an Oscar Wilde classic, featuring an all-star cast.

Meanwhile, public phone boxes are set to ring in Leeds as part of the city’s Compass Festival 2021 – pick one up and be part of a city-wide performance exploring loneliness and mental health.

We’re also gearing up for a season of Covid-safe open-air performance too. C-o-n-t-a-c-t at Salford Quays and The Great Gatsby at Walkden Gardens are among our picks of live outdoor theatre happening this spring in Greater Manchester.

We remain hopeful that theatre will return soon – the pathway to live performance is glimmering on the horizon.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Don’t Touch My Hair with HOME

    Don’t Touch My Hair
    Image courtesy of HOME Manchester.

    Don’t Touch My Hair at HOME Manchester, Manchester, Until 1 August 2021 - Book now

    Fearless social activism meets unapologetic hip hop. A concentrated dose of Hot Brown Honey is just what we all need right now.

  • 2. Hidden Winter

    Hidden Winter
    Image courtesy of SBC Theatre.

    Hidden Winter, online, Until 31 August 2021, free entry - Visit now

    Round the family up and head outside for this wonderful story walk adventure from Stand and Be Counted Theatre. Perfect for livening up a lockdown walk.

  • 3. PUSH Festival 2021 at HOME

    PUSH Festival - HOME
    Image courtesy of HOME Manchester.

    Push Festival 2020 at HOME Manchester, Manchester, Until 31 December 2021 - Book now

    Thrilling and challenging, HOME’s annual festival is a glimmering reminder that new performance continues to be developed, despite ‘you-know-what’.

  • 4. The Picture of Dorian Gray – online

    The Picture of Dorian Gray - online
    Image courtesy of the Lawrence Batley Theatre.

    The Picture of Dorian Gray, online, Until 17 April 2021, from £12.00 - Book now

    RUN EXTENDED: Set in a profile photo-obsessed and filter-fixated world, this contemporary digital reimagining of Oscar Wilde’s classic seems more relevant than ever.

  • 5. Sound Stage

    Sound Stage
    Image courtesy of Naked Productions.

    Sound Stage, online, Until 1 October 2021, TBC - Book now

    An exciting, new audio-digital venture, Sound Stage has been designed by theatre-makers and leading technologists, to give audiences a unique online theatre experience.

  • 6. Whodunnit at the Coliseum?

    Whodunnit at the Coliseum?
    Graphic design by Ria Barnes.

    Whodunnit at the Coliseum?, online, Until 25 April 2021, from £12.00 - Book now

    Can you figure out whodunnit? Take part in this interactive online murder mystery at Oldham Coliseum.

  • 7. MINDSCAPES: //OUTSIDEIN// – Theater DEGASTEN

    Mindscapes //OUTSIDEIN//
    Image courtesy of Theater DEGASTEN/SICK! Festival.

    MINDSCAPES: //OUTSIDEIN// - Theater DEGASTEN, online, 19 April–16 May 2021, free entry - Find Out More

    A brand-new online work created by young people and care institutions across Manchester in collaboration with Amsterdam-based Theater DEGASTIN.

  • 8. Queer Contact Festival 2021

    Queer Contact 2021
    Image courtesy of Drew Forsyth.

    Queer Contact Festival 2021 at Contact Theatre, Manchester and online, 29 April–1 May 2021 - Book now

    Bringing an online celebration of art and creativity in the LGBTQ+ community, we’re thrilled that Queer Contact Festival will return for 2021.

  • 9. Queer Contact 2021: Russell T Davies in conversation with Nathaniel Hall

    Queer Contact 2021: Russell T Davies in conversation with Nathaniel Hall

    Queer Contact 2021: Russell T Davies in conversation with Nathaniel Hall, online, 30 April 2021, from £5.00 - Book now

    In this first event for Queer Contact 2021, screenwriting legend Russell T Davies will join award-winning theatre-maker Nathaniel Hall to discuss depictions of HIV and AIDS on stage and screen.

  • 10. C-o-n-t-a-c-t at Salford Quays

    Theatre in Manchester
    Image courtesy of Pamela Raith

    C-O-N-T-A-C-T, 18 May–29 June 2021, from £22.00 - Book now

    Hailed a “gripping thriller” and “pacy outdoor odyssey” – here’s an inventive outdoor performance we can all look forward to in 2021.

  • 11. The Merry Wives of Windsor at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre

    The Merry Wives of Windsor at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre
    Image courtesy of Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre

    Merry Wives of Windsor at Grosvenor Park, Chester, 4 June–30 August 2021, from £30 - Book now

    Enjoy this riotous Shakespearean comedy in the wonderful open-air surroundings of Grosvenor Park.

  • 12. The Great Gatsby at Walkden Gardens

    The Great Gatsby at Waterside
    Image courtesy of Heartbreak Productions.

    The Great Gatsby at Waterside Arts, Manchester, 20 June 2021, from £13 - Book now

    Open-air theatre aficionados Heartbreak Productions bring a live performance of F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic to Sale this summer.

  • 13. MIF21: The Walk

    Manchester International Festival: The Walk
    Image courtesy of Bevan Ross/ MIF21.

    The Walk - Venue TBC, 4 July 2021, free entry - Find Out More

    An epic and extraordinary travelling artwork will set off from the Turkish – Syrian border for Manchester this April. Adventurous and inventive, this is the first event to be announced for MIF21.

More in Theatre

online events I am falling in love with you and its making me do stupid things
Festivals Until 31 July 2021,

Homemakers

NOW EXTENDED: HOME have invited theatre and live art makers to create new works at home, for an audience who are also at home. 

Everything That Rises Must Dance with HOME
Theatre Until 31 July 2021,

Everything that rises must dance with HOME

Produced by Complicité for Homemakers: Join a virtual gathering of women for an online dance project celebrating female movement throughout history.

Hamilton - Streaming on Disney Plus
Theatre Until 15 October 2021, from £5.99

Hamilton – Streaming on Disney Plus

Politically charged with a hip-hop soundtrack, there is no doubt that this filmed performance is one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of 2020.

Closed Hands with HOME
Theatre Until 31 August 2021,

Closed Hands with HOME

An interactive, experimental and political video game exploring the complex effects of extremism and radicalisation.

The Earth Asleep at HOME, Manchester
Cinema Until 11 September 2021,

The Earth Asleep at HOME, Manchester

The Earth Asleep, a new film and original live score from creative duo Clara Casian and Robin Richards, premieres this spring at HOME.

Mindscapes: Soundpaths
Festivals 19 April–16 May 2021, FREE

MINDSCAPES

Created by SICK! Festival, MINDSCAPES is a collection of five inspirational brand-new artworks and online events happening in Manchester for free this spring.

Peppa Pig's Best Day Ever at The Lowry
Families 28–29 April 2021, from £18.15

POSTPONED: Peppa Pig’s Best Day Ever

It’s Peppa’s Best Day Ever! Join Peppa Pig and all her friends and family on as they embark on fun-filled day long adventure. With all the familiar faces, and plenty of chuckles, chortles and trademark snorts this show will have your little ones captivated.

Activity 29 April 2021 3:00 pm,

Nathaniel Hall – My Life, My Story Workshop

As part of Queer Contact Nathaniel Hall will be leading a workshop about telling your own story in written and performative contexts.

Queer Contact 2021: Marke Croasdale - Spilling The Tea
Theatre 29 April 2021 6:00 pm, from £6.00

Queer Contact 2021: Mark Croasdale – Spilling The Tea

An explosive performance about coming out, finding ways to belong and fitting in. A film premiere and Q&A.

Culture Guides

Cinema in Manchester and the North

We look at online festivals, new streaming releases and some newly announced outdoor cinema screenings.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Exhibitions

With the re-opening of art galleries on the horizon, we pick out some of the must-see exhibitions we’re most looking forward to.

Family Things to do in Manchester

Families

Need some inspiration for online activities and creative family fun? Look no further than our top picks online for families across Manchester and the North.

Writer Dean Atta (credit 2015 Hussina Raja).

Literature

We may be living in the online world for live literature still, but there’s plenty to fill your diary with this April thanks to a whole host of virtual festival events, digital book launches, small screen spoken word showcases and socially distanced reading series… 

Music

We look ahead to the return of physical gigs, selecting a handful of live shows in May and June, as well as some online concerts to tide us over.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester and the north.

Dapur Malaysia

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

It’s the March edition of the Food and Drink Guide to Manchester and the North and things are slowly starting to feel more promising. Spring is here, the weather is mostly warming up and in just a few weeks we’ll be allowed to eat and drink outside at venues with outside space.

Queer Contact 2021

Online events

Discover the best things to do online from the organisations we love in Manchester and the North.

women and girls night

Tours and Activities

The days are getting longer, the sun is shining brighter and the first flowers of spring have truly sprung. We’re welcoming in the new season with a guide of Tours and Activities that will inspire you to make, learn and move.

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Whodunnit at the Coliseum?
Theatre Until 25 April 2021, from £12.00

Whodunnit at the Coliseum?

Closed Hands with HOME
Theatre Until 31 August 2021,

Closed Hands with HOME

The Picture of Dorian Gray - online
Theatre Until 17 April 2021, from £12.00

The Picture of Dorian Gray – online

online events I am falling in love with you and its making me do stupid things
Festivals Until 31 July 2021,

Homemakers

PUSH Festival - HOME
Festivals Until 31 December 2021,

PUSH Festival 2021 at HOME

Hidden Winter
Families Until 31 August 2021, FREE

Hidden Winter

Sound Stage
Theatre Until 1 October 2021, TBC

Sound Stage

Hamilton - Streaming on Disney Plus
Theatre Until 15 October 2021, from £5.99

Hamilton – Streaming on Disney Plus