People have said all kinds of things about Anthony Wilson. It’s well-documented that he played a vital role in creating modern Manchester and its global reputation.

But what did he do? What was he actually good at? Well, he was an enabler. He could spot potential and he enabled people to do what they were good at. Sounds simple but when you think about it, it’s pretty amazing. To be enabled is to be empowered.

There are huge amounts of talent out there and any city worth its salt should attract creativity from all over the region. The city should offer this talent a chance to meet like-minded people, try things out and discover what they are good at.

Manchester is full of these opportunities and they’re not exclusive to people who live here. Our city is a creative hub and everyone is welcome. One-day and part-time workshops and courses are a great excuse to visit Manchester, make a weekend of it or just get to know the city over several weeks.

And if you’re wondering whether you’re good enough, the answer is yes. You don’t have to be the next Picasso. Creativity is for everyone. Whatever form of expression captures your imagination, with or (sadly) without Anthony Wilson, Manchester will always be the best enabler around.


The workshops run by HOME are every bit as multi-disciplined as their programme. HOME is focused on talent development and creative careers and their and workshops connect talented people with professionals working in film, television, theatre, music, production and visual art. Find one that’s right for you.

The Lowry

As well as being one of the most varied and popular arts venues in the region, The Lowry also offers workshops and courses for all ages. They offer introductions to all kinds of things like singing, acting, clowning, flamenco, opera, dance and life-drawing. Take a look at their workshops.

Manchester Art Gallery

The workshops run by Manchester Art Gallery don’t teach you how to paint, they use their collection to show how to take notice, share stories, be mindful, make conversation and explore philosophical questions. Their workshops are open, friendly and most are free so don’t be shy and take a look at what’s coming up.

Manchester Craft and Design Centre

One of the founding pillars of the Northern Quarter, Manchester Craft and Design Centre has been a haven of creativity since the early eighties. They run a constantly changing programme of (hard to categorise!) workshops. Be it embroidery, photography, screen printing or anything else, places can be booked directly from their website.

The Whitworth

The Whitworth isn’t there just to show off its collection in beautiful surroundings. It’s also home to The Independent Art School and they use the Whitworth’s collection as the starting point for a range of workshops and classes. Classes cover a range of disciplines, they’re usually weekly and cost around £49 for four weeks.

Royal Exchange Theatre

If creativity is to thrive, it needs a safe place to learn, develop and take risks. Be it playwriting, acting or directing, Royal Exchange Theatre is committed to providing a nurturing environment for emerging talent. Take a look at their creative opportunities.

As well as workshops run by Manchester’s big attractions and venues, there are all sorts of creative courses on offer. The listings below are not comprehensive – they may even be the tip of the ice berg. We are confident that Manchester really can bring out the creative side in anyone but we can’t recommend or endorse any particular workshop or course provider.


With the University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing and Manchester Metropolitan University’s Writing School, Manchester has some of the best post-graduate creative writing courses in the country. But of course, post-graduate courses may not be for everyone.

Young Identity is an arts organisation that runs weekly workshops for writers, poets, performers and spoken word artists between 13-25. It’s a very supportive creative environment and everyone’s welcome. Visit their website for workshop information.

There are Manchester Writing Days that take place at Manchester Art Gallery every second Saturday of the month. Just take a poem and ten copies for supportive feedback and writing exercises. The days are run by The Poetry Business and places cost around £40.

Write Here… in Manchester run seven-week creative writing courses that take place on Monday nights. The courses include weekly workshops and expert tuition. Courses are selective and numbers are limited so check their site for costs and dates of the next course.


If you fancy having a go at stand-up comedy, there are tons of open-mic nights taking place in Manchester. It takes guts, but you can just get up there and do it. If you want to try things out first, in a supportive environment, it can really help to get some help and advice.

The Frog and Bucket is Manchester’s longest running comedy club. As well as being a great place to see comedy, they also do an eight-week course for £200. It doesn’t just help you to develop funnier jokes, it teaches you about being on stage, how to get gigs and even deal with hecklers. Take the plunge and book a place on the next course.

Comedysportz Manchester run workshops and classes for improv, stand up and sketch writing. They’re usually one-day courses on Saturdays or Sundays so come for the course and stay for the weekend. Browse their upcoming courses.

Comedian, writer and actor Jane Postlethwaite runs three different Women’s Workshops, usually on Saturdays. They cover comedy writing, stand-up and comedy character development. They book up quickly so keep your eyes peeled for her upcoming workshops.


Floating Art Workshop runs some of the most affordable art classes in town. For example, they have Friday and Saturday workshops for Japanese painting, botanical art, printmaking, oil and watercolour for around £15 per class – materials included! Take a look at what’s on next.

Creative Art Courses are based at The Gallery Studio in Hope Mill, just outside the city centre. Evenings, weekends or mid-week, they offer lots of art classes that teach several disciplines and cover every level. So seriously, if you haven’t picked up a brush since childhood, this is a great place to start.

Chorlton Alternative Arts offer regular Wednesday life-drawing classes. Well, they call them classes but they are keen to point out that they do not teach. They help and offer advice but are more interested in helping you to develop your own style. Take a look at their upcoming classes.


Clay Studio in Hulme run six-week, weekend or one-off workshops and also offer private tuition and even family workshops. And if you’re reading for a creative friend who never finds time for their talent, Clay Studio do workshop gift vouchers. Take a look at their workshops.

Seven Limes Pottery is based at the Windrush Millenium Centre, a couple of miles south of the city centre. They run taster and beginner courses as well as full weekend courses for pottery wheel throwing. They also do gift vouchers so check out their courses.