The Greater Manchester Fringe is an opportunity to see creative talent and powerful performance at its freshest – especially as the month-long open access arts festival returns for 1-31 July 2019 bigger than ever, with events across the county. This year includes physical theatre through the streets of Manchester, performances in vaults, a show in the dark, creativity in a crypt and a horror show like no other.

Harold And Arthur

From plays and performance poetry to immersive theatre and comedy, audiences can explore art of all kinds. A Fringe Festival means that people can step away from the mainstream and discover daring, new creativity – often developed on their doorstep: with the Greater Manchester Fringe celebrating a huge variety of local performers and venues each year, as well as an array of travelling talent. 2019 marks its 8th edition.

As part of the Fringe, audiences can expect to see the arts unfolding in a range of locations; from Northern Quarter bars and basements, to train stations and even the streets themselves. 2019 is spanning the boroughs more than ever, with immersive performances including places such as Moston Small Cinema and Altrincham Town Hall. With many of its venues located in Salford - including its annual home of The Kings Arms, as well as Salford Arts Theatre, The Eagle and more – The Greater Manchester Fringe also champions shows with low ticket prices, determined to open up theatre and performance to a range of audiences.

 It also is a platform for experimentation and daring in creative work – in turn drawing themes of the weird and wonderful, dark and delightful, to the surface. Here at HAUNT Manchester we have put together our selection of highlights from an impressive programme of well over 100 shows:

Patient 4620

Patient 4620

An immersive theatre-meets-art-installation (pictured above) you can step into, within a Salford Crypt. Taking place beneath St Philip’s on Chapel Street, Patient 4620 is a unique  show that explores the life and work of Gretel Sauerbrot; a once famous artist who was admitted into the Raventhorne Institution and then mysteriously disappeared. The path to discovery will involve audio guides, audience exploration and uncovering clues, all adding to the creepiness and wonder. Not for the faint hearted.

Friday 5 July and Saturday 6 July, 12pm, £20.

The Crypt, St Philip’s, Chapel Street, Salford, M3 6FR.

Boots 'n' Braces

Boots N Braces

Skinheads – one of the most misunderstood post-war subcultures? Many people may associate Skinhead culture with that of football hooliganism and violence, but Boots ‘n’ Braces is a show by Farewell Theatre Company seeking to show otherwise and may even cause people to question their preconceptions. Follow the journey of three young skinheads as they explore music, fashion and football, as well as tensions and questions of the times. The show will last for an hour, complete with the option of a post-show discussion where audience members can share their thoughts and opinions.

Friday 12 and Saturday 13 July, 7.30pm, £7.

The Empty Space (formerly Footlights), 48 Kansas Avenue, Media City, M50 2GL



Is social media cruel rather than kind? In this free, thought-provoking show, the immersive theatre company Faceless Ventures are unleashing a multi-sensory underground experience in the vaults of The Kings Arms in Salford. Seeking to explore how the media that surrounds us may be making us sick, Cruelty is a unique theatre piece that raises the prospect of our liberation from technology. Put down your phone, turn off social media and step into Cruelty.

Saturday 13 July 7.30pm and 9pm, Kings Arms Studio 1, 11 Bloom Street, Salford M3 6AN, FREE. Kings Arms Studio 1, 11 Bloom Street Salford M3 6AN

Best In Class

Best In Class

Working-class comedy voices take centre-stage in this Sunday 14 July show at The Kings Arms. Best In Class provides a platform for eight underrepresented comedians to unleash their latest material – featuring Ash Preston, Hannah Platt, Jordan Gray, William Stone, Kimi Loughton, Charlie George, Wilson Milton and Fran Garrity, compered by Siân Davies. Celebrating the underground and opening up themes of inequality, ambition and gritty determination, this is a show to be proud of, with all ticket sales helping fund working class comedians to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Sunday 14 July, 9pm, £5.

Kings Arms Theatre, 11 Bloom Street Salford M3 6AN

Woman On Fire

Woman On Fire

The flaming ambition of one of the most dangerous women in history is the subject of this original play. Edith Rigby is the focus – a doctor’s wife with a double identity: she was also one of the most radical suffragists of her time. Follow her path through protest and pushing for reform, ranging from Preston and Manchester to Glasgow and even London. An arsonist, bomber and militant fighter for the right to vote, Edith is an under-covered yet undoubtedly crucial historical figure. This powerful solo show seeks to ask questions such as – was Edith a ruthless terrorist or impassioned freedom fighter? How do we perceive people’s role in history? And ultimately…how far will you go for what you believe in? It seems apt that this show is taking place in Manchester, the birthplace of the modern Suffragette Movement (with the Women's Social and Political Union founded by the Pankhursts at 62 Nelson Street in 1903).

Monday 15 – Thursday 18 July 7pm, £12. Wednesday matinee at 2.30pm.

Waterside Theatre, The Manchester College, Shena Simon Campus, Chorlton Street, Manchester, M1 3HB.

The Melting of a Single Snowflake

The Melting Of A Single Snowflake

Written by local playwright Libby Hall (winner of Best Newcomer 2018 at the GM Fringe Awards aged just 16, for her debut play Things We Tell The Hours After Midnight), this is a coming-of-age play looking at the darker side of humanity and the ugly things motivate and draw people together. Highly-anticipated, The Melting of a Single Snowflake follows a group of young outcasts, united during the Summer holidays after the disappearance of a local school boy. Will their mission to find him prove successful? And what will they find out about themselves?

Tuesday 16 – Thursday 18 July, 7.30pm, £8.

Salford Arts Theatre, Kemsing Walk, Liverpool Street, Salford M5.


A show that will plunge you into darkness – literally. This world-premiere show from Award-winning local company Gare Du Nord Theatre will take place in the dark, dealing with the theme of marine-life destruction and environmental crisis. From jellyfish fighting turtles, to prawns coming up close… what will you discover Underwater? A way of looking at the threatened world – and learning how to act to save it – in a highly resonant way.

Tuesday 2 July at 6.15pm and Wednesday 3 July at 7.30pm £7.

Whiskey Jar, 14 Tariff Street, Manchester M1 2FF.

Untitled The Deep Sleep

Untitled The Deep Sleep

Members of the public are invited to come together and share one of the intimate yet under-explored experiences in life – sleep. Created by multi-disciplinary artist Yulia Hampton, Untitled The Deep Sleep is a performance installation coming to the front garden of The Kings Arms, ready to take you into the corridors beyond consciousness.

Wednesday 17 July and Wednesday 31 July at 6pm, FREE.

Kings Arms Front Garden, 11 Bloom Street Salford M3 6AN.

Harold and Arthur’s Horror Show

Harold And Arthur

Will this be the most shocking play you see this year? Combining true-crime, paranormal horror and conspiracy theories, audiences won’t forget this twisted black comedy in a hurry. Join conspiracy theorists Harold and Arthur on their quest to solve why a series of people are going missing – delving into a spooky and disturbing world of the occult, UFOs and a helping hand from David Paulides. Watch it if you dare.

Thursday 18 July, 9.15pm, £7.50.

Kings Arms Theatre, 11 Bloom Street Salford M3 6AN.

Under Dark Skies I lie and hear the wind that comes from lands forgotten

Under Dark Skies

What does solitude look like? Exploring the strange depths of solitude, Under Dark Skies is a performative experiment which considers the fine lines between the solitary and the lonely;  between obligation and desire. Starting from Emil Cioran’s statement ‘One can experience loneliness in two ways: by feeling lonely in the world or by feeling the loneliness of the world’, the performance follows a character craving to escape the confines of society – but what does he escape into? A story of understanding and coming to terms with both the self and the modern world we live in.

Friday 19 July, 8pm, £5.

International Anthony Burgess Foundation, 3 Cambridge Street, Manchester M1 5BY

Mistress To The Midnight

A horror film recreation that may have you howling with laughter. The Sinema Society present a live stage spoof of an Anvil Studios feature film forgotten for 60 years… until now. Follow the story of young lawyer Edmund Hellion and his temptation to venture into foreign lands, charmed by the mysterious Madame Zozanov, a rich old spinster who has been waiting for him a very long time. And things get stranger and stranger still. Written and performed by award winning comedians Jack Robertson, Jacob Lovick and Chazz Redhead, this is set to be funny and frightening in equal measure. Taking place in the in the atmospheric Kings Arms Theatre, with its towering ceiling and dark beams – the location couldn’t be better.

Friday 19, Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July, 7.30pm, £8.

Kings Arms Theatre, 11 Bloom Street Salford M3 6AN.

Run The Sights of Manchester

Run The Sights

A unique ‘sightrunning’ tour of the city – taking the format of welcoming runners of all abilities on a moving route through Manchester, taking in a number of cultural highlights along the way. With the run spanning 7km in total, it also offers a unique perspective on the cityscape, its secretive spaces, hidden gems, wondrous waterways and pedestrian passages. All are welcome, with no runner left behind.

Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 10am, £15.

Central Library, St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 5PD.

Drowning In Silence – by Roni Ellis

A play looking at loss and grief – and how we deal with the situations in our lives that extend beyond our control. This One Act play by local writer Roni Ells, began life as an idea at the Shelagh Delaney Day 2018 writing evening, and has now developed into a dream-like, emotive piece. Drowning In Silence explores the experiences of a family coming to terms with loss – and what we can learn from it. Exploring death and grief through performance, matters.

Wednesday 24 July – Friday 26 July, 7.30pm, £8.

Salford Arts Theatre, Kemsing Walk, Liverpool Street, Salford M5

Frozen Peas In An Old Tin Can

A comedy with heart, telling the gripping story of three homeless people in Manchester. Sarah, Derek and Barney live on the city streets, passing their time collecting McDonald’s vouchers on the back of bus tickets. Yet one day, it all changes. Set to be a thought-provoking as well as uplifting show, Frozen Peas In An Old Tin Can is an impassioned take on a crucial issue – directed and performed by young local artists.

Saturday 27 July and Sunday 28 July 2pm, £7.

Kings Arms Front Garden, 11 Bloom Street Salford M3 6AN.

The Decriminalisation Monologues

Decriminalisation Monologues

Two short plays charting some of the struggles and challenges faced by gay and lesbian people in Ireland, at a time when to be gay was to be a criminal. Created and performed by Acting Out -winners of the National GALA Award for Irish Arts and Literature 2017 – this is theatre set to be powerful, emotive and inspiring.

Saturday 27 July at 8pm, Sunday 28 July at 4pm, Monday 29 July at 6pm, £7.

Kings Arms Vaults, 11 Bloom Street Salford M3 6AN.

By Emily Oldfield