In IdeasDiscover

November is here and there’s plenty of cultural adventures to be had in  Manchester before Christmas completely takes over.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti The Bower Meadow 1850-72 © Manchester Art Gallery/Bridgeman Images

Exhibitions in Manchester

LAST CHANCE. Showcasing furniture, fashion, lighting, ceramics, glass, metalwork and jewellery, Nordic Craft and Design (Manchester Art Gallery, until 10 November) highlights the superb quality and creativity inherent in design from the region and features pieces from 1930 to the present day.

Re: work (5-19 December) at The Holden Gallery on Oxford Road deals in the notion of transformation – the artists re-working ordinary things in order to make and think about something anew.

A virus walks into a bar… and does what? CAPSID (10 November - 16 January), John Walter’s major solo exhibition at HOME Manchester, sets out to update the discussion around HIV, how viruses work and the cultural transmission of ideas.

Lowry & The Pre-Raphaelites (10 November - 24 February) at The Lowry in Salford provides an unexpected insight into the artistic imagination of one of the UK’s most popular artists.

Martin Parr: Return to Manchester (Manchester Art Gallery, 16 November 2018–22 April) shows how the lives of Mancunians have changed but also reveals how there is continuity in how we live our lives, capturing the familiar in a new and wry way.

Castlefield Gallery’s latest exhibition, The Ground Beneath Your Feet (16 November – 3 February), invites a more nuanced conversation around multiple geopolitical issues that currently dominate our headlines.

Image courtesy of HOME Manchester

Theatre in Manchester

Often Onstage (HOME 2-3 November) is an offbeat facetious romp that explores the ins and outs of the stage through the medium of dance. Figs in Wigs.

This November, Manchester Jewish Museum will play host to the Festival of Leaving (5-18 November), a diverse and thought-provoking programme of live performance, music and installations.

Grayson Perry (Opera House, 7 November) comes to Manchester for 1 night only – it’ll be a bright evening of conversation and laughs, observation and costume changes.

Don Warrington returns to the Royal Exchange to play Willy Loman in Sarah Frankcom’s version of Death of a Salesman (11 October - 17 November), Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

Written by Jean Genet and directed by the internationally renowned Lily Sykes, The Maids (HOME, 16 November–1 December) is a play of masks and mirrors, dreams and fantasies, inspired by the infamous Papin sisters.

Waterside Arts and Creative Industries Trafford have commissioned First Time (Waterside, 29 November - 1 December), a brand new piece of theatre which puts HIV in the spotlight on the 30th World AIDS Day.

Inspired by the mystery plays of the Middle Ages, The Mysteries (Royal Exchange, 25 October–11 November) is a cycle of six new plays, set in six different places in England.

Adapted from the cult film by Mel Brooks, The Royal Exchange are set to delight with their Christmas musical – The Producers (30 November - 26 January).

York Tillyer. All images are © 2015 Real World Records Ltd.

Music in Manchester

Featuring four performances in the atmospheric Mayfield Depot, Special Edition (3-11 November) boasts Bonobo (and friends), Manchester grime artist Bugzy Malone and Northern Irish electronic duo Bicep. Presented by Manchester International Festival and The Warehouse Project, the series is overseen by BBC 6 Music DJ Mary Anne Hobbs, with lighting design by Stuart Bailes.

With characteristic effortless, Kamaal Williams’ (Gorilla, 6 November) trippy musical visions will weave a Manchester audience in and out of broken beat, hip hop, funk and drum and bass. Don’t miss your chance to watch the young virtuoso do his thing.

Performing works by Bach, John Carpenter, and extracts from ‘A Clockwork Orange’, The Will Gregory Moog Ensemble (RNCM, 6 November) will dazzle the audience with the possibilities of the analogue synthesiser.

Synth Remix (Anthony Burgess Foundation, 9 November) celebrates the extraordinary innovation of female electronic musicians over the last 60 years.

This Psappha concert will explore the many different relationships that spring from artistic collaborations. Psappha: Less is More (St Michael’s, 15 November).

To mark 100 years since the Armistice, the BBC Philharmonic reflects on war. Following a work by Rudi Stephan, who died on the Eastern Front, there’s Herbert Howells’s tribute to a fellow composer killed at war, Walton’s haunting Viola Concerto and Shostakovich’s Ninth, written as the Second World War drew to a close. BBC Philharmonic (Bridgewater Hall, 16 November).

Taking a victory lap after the release of their critically acclaimed album A Humdrum Star, Manchester’s own jazz-but-not-jazz trio stop, GoGo Penguin (Albert Hall, 17 November), revel in some well-earned hometown glory.

This first solo outing in five years by Manchester-based experimental pop musician Jane Weaver (The Royal Exchange, 21 October) promises a uniquely atmospheric audiovisual take on the music from her two highly acclaimed recent albums, The Silver Globe and Modern Kosmology, in one of the city’s most unusual venues.

Jazz titan Shabaka Hutchings brings his group Sons of Kemet (Band on the Wall, 28 October) to Manchester this October, in support their Mercury Prize-nominated new album ‘Your Queen is a Reptile’.

Poet Liz Berry.

Literature in Manchester

The brainchild of Manchester’s resident critically-acclaimed author and prize-winning peace activist, Qaisra Shahraz; MACFEST (17-25 November) is a new 10-day celebration of art, literature, music, film, food and heritage relating to the Muslim diaspora, which will open in venues across the city this November.

Poets & Players (The Whitworth, 17 November) are back with the musical compositions series. Forward Prize winner Liz Berry performs her work and leading a creative writing workshop, alongside three fellow poets and Archipelago performing live. Not to be missed.

Award-winning NY-born, Paris-based poet Marilyn Hacker has a career spanning 40 years and an umpteenth book out next year on Carcanet Press. She delivers the 16th prestigious annual Rylands Poetry Reading (John Rylands Library, 22 November) in the Historic Reading Rooms, presenting her own feminist, political and intimate poetry, as well as her translations into English of Syrian poems.

Poetry Emergency (No. 70 Oxford Street, 23-24 November) is a two-day festival exploring emergency and liveness in radical poetic art, bringing together some of the most challenging and surprising poets and performers of the moment, and crossing between poetry readings and performance, workshops and discussions.

Cinema in Manchester

Written and directed by Mike Leigh, Peterloo (HOME, 2-23 November) is an epic portrayal of the events surrounding the infamous 1819 Peterloo Massacre. We speak to the director about how he brought the story to screen and his relationship to Manchester.

Hosted at HOME, Manchester Animation Festival (13-15 November) brings one of the UK’s biggest animation hubs together and invites the international community to join in to delight in all things animated.

A darkness swirls at the centre of a world-renowned dance company in director Luca Guadagnino’s ambitious re-imaging of Dario Argento’s sublime Suspiria (HOME. 16-30 November).

As part of the BFI’s Comedy Genius Season, Pilot Light TV Festival and Live Cinema UK come together to bid a fond farewell to Vine. #RIPVine (Gorilla, 23 November).

HOME’s fourth annual celebration of the alt-wonderful world of artist film is crammed with special guests, premieres and discussions. Artist Film Weekender (HOME, 30 November - 2 December).

Image courtesy of Salford Makers

Tours & Activities in Manchester

Learn the basics of manipulating perspex to make your own amazing art jewellery with the brillant Salford Makers at Islington Mill. Perspex Jewellery / Full Day Workshop (Salford Makers, Islington Mill, 3 November).

Introduction to Watercolour (14 November). Within the open environment of Manchester Craft and Design Centre, you will be shown how to play with brush strokes to create delicate floral studies.

Using silk screens, water-based inks and hand-cut stencils, you will have the opportunity draw and screen print your own designs to create your own bespoke t-shirt. Print Your Own Tshirt / Half Day Workshop (Salford Makers, Islington Mill, 17 November).

Take a closer look at some of the Whitworth Art Gallery’s collection while gaining a better understanding of the context in which the pieces were created. Free Gallery Tours (The Whitworth, 2pm,daily)

Learn about the creation of the Northern Quarter as we know it today, find out the major names behind some of the area’s oldest street art and sculpture, and see how modern arts and community movements in Manchester hope to continue to drive creativity within the neighbourhood. Skyliner Tours (6, 11 & 24 November).

Courtesy of HOME

Family things to do in Manchester

How does sound work? Why do instruments have holes and keys? Take part in a Sound Experiment (The Stoller Hall, 10 November) discovering the science of musical instruments

A headline event for Manchester Science Festival, Electricity: The Spark of Life (Museum of Science and Industry, until - 28 April) tells the story of mankind’s quest to understand, unlock and master the power of electricity.

Babies! Music! Colour! It’s that simple. A boogie-woogie for tiny future art fans in the dazzling, colour-dipped gallery space of artist John Walter’s current exhibition CAPSID Baby Rave! (HOME, 26 November). Start them young – get ‘em hooked! May contain excellent disco classics.

Check out our full monthly roundup on Creative Tourist for even more things to do in November in Manchester and the North.




  1. MakeMosaicTrace
    There is a mosaic workshop on Saturday 1st December at my studio in Cakebread Workshop, Ardwick. Its just 5 minutes' walk from Piccadilly Station:

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