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Image credit: Dean Chalkley

Theatre in Manchester

Opera North presents a vibrant new production of Mozart’s evergreen opera The Magic Flute (The Lowry, 5-9 Mar).

Following two sold-out runs at the National Theatre, acclaimed performances in Leeds, Inua Ellams’ Barber Shop Chronicles (Royal Exchange, 7-23 Mar) comes to Manchester this Spring.

From Shore to Shore (Yang Sing, 9-16 Mar) is a powerful new drama inspired by stories from Chinese communities living in the UK. Three stories, three lives, three journeys to find a place to call home.

Following the sell-out run in May, Fat Blokes (HOME, 19-23 Mar) is ready to stage another fat rebellion at HOME this March. A pragmatic dialogue about fat queer masculinity.

For its 24th edition, ¡Viva! (22 Mar - 13 Apr) returns with a HOME-wide celebration of film, theatre and visual art from across Spain and Latin America.

Intersecting religion, sexuality and gender – winner of the 2018 Papatango New Writing Prize, The Funeral Director (27-30 Mar) comes to HOME’s stage this March.

Psappha. Image credit: Chris Payne photographer

Music in Manchester

Brighton trio Our Girl (7 Mar) will bring their grunge inspired rock to Sacred Trinity Church in Salford this March. Here’s what to expect.

From its dark and murky opening to its exultant finale, Mahler’s Fifth Symphony takes its listener on an hour-long journey whose emotional scope is almost overwhelmingly ambitious. RNCM Symphony Orchestra (RNCM, 7 Mar).

On International Women’s Day 2019, The Stoller Hall will host a celebration of Clara Schumann’s wonderful music and legacy. This Woman’s Work (The Stoller Hall, 8 Mar).

Inspired by the golden era of West-African funk & disco as well as modern post-punk & electro, Ibibio Sound Machine (YES, 15-16 Mar) are bringing the party to Manchester.

In support of his new album Oxnard, Anderson. Paak (Victoria Warehouse, 16 Mar) is heading out on a world tour. He’ll be stopping by Manchester’s this month, find a ticket if you can!

The Both Sides Now International Showcase (Central Library, 21 Mar) is a bold, experimental and genre-spanning evening of new music created as part of a cross-European collaboration.

Bohuslav Martinů and Igor Stravinsky both fled Europe during the Second World War – and the BBC Philharmonic’s concert (Bridgewater Hall, 23 Mar) is centred on two works they composed in the USA: Stravinsky’s expressive ballet and Martinů’s inspiring Fourth Symphony. Dvořák’s Cello Concerto was also part-written in America, but it sings of the composer’s Bohemian homeland.

Following the release of her massively acclaimed album Shelter, Olivia Chaney (The Stoller Hall, 26 Mar) brings us her captivating live show.

Featuring emerging composers as well as internationally renowned ones, Psappha’s Starry Night (St Michael’s, 28 Mar) will be a wonderful concert of contemporary classical music.

12 Years after their last studio album, The Cinematic Orchestra (Manchester Academy, 30 Mar) are back! Catch them on their ‘To Believe’ tour at the end of the month.

Inspired by John Bunyan’s novel, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ opera The Pilgrim’s Progress (RNCM, 31 Mar - 6 Apr) will be one of the highlights of RNCM’s Spring Season.

Untitled (panel work) detail. Image courtesy of the artist

Exhibitions in Manchester

Intrigued by the fact that visitors often ask why Touchstones Rochdale doesn’t show more of the over 1500 works in the Borough’s fine art collection, artist Harry Meadley set the gallery the challenge of attempting to display as much of the collection as possible in a single exhibition. Harry Meadley: But what if we tried? (Touchstones Rochdale, until 1 Jun).

Marking Jennie Franklin’s first solo exhibition, Well Done, Good Draw (Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre, until 28 Apr) brings together a new series of drawings on different mediums.

For a period of one year Linda Brogan and a group of local residents, who went to the Reno nightclub in the 1970s and 80s, will occupy the Whitworth. The Reno (The Whitworth, from 15 Mar), located in Moss Side, was known as a space for young mixed-race Mancunians. This living exhibition will tell the Reno story through its generated materials and Whitworth art.

For EDIT.04, British-Irish choreographer Joe Moran prepares to transform The Lowry’s gallery space into a ‘live exhibition’ combining performance, film and spray paint drawing. EDIT.04 Live Creations: Joe Moran / Dance Art Foundation (The Lowry, 23 Mar-14 Apr).

Working Class Movement Library presents a guest exhibition about Sylvia Pankhurst and her companion, Silvio Corio, illustrating the lifelong activities of this couple in spearheading campaigns centred on social justice, human rights and anti-fascism. Sylvia and Silvio (Working Class Movement Library, 29 Mar - 23 May).

CFCCA presents Chinternet Ugly (Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, until 12 May)  – a group exhibition that offers a rare glimpse behind the biggest digital boundary in the world: the Great Firewall of China.

Simeon Barclay: Life Room (The Holden Gallery, until 29 Mar), featuring new work by an artist from Huddersfield who discovered glamour, theatricality and a sense of aspiration between the pages of ‘Vogue’, and a love for industrial fabricating techniques during 16 years spent on the factory floor.

Sixteen (venues across Manchester, until 15 Apr) is a nationwide photographic project that gives voice to the next generation of young people across Great Britain, who will live in a politically reshaped country divorced from the European Union.

Martin Parr: Return to Manchester (Manchester Art Gallery, until 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.

Writer Ruby Cowling

Literature in Manchester

Max Porter (Martin Harris Centre, 11 Mar). One of the rising stars of British literature, Max Porter’s multi-award-winning debut novel Grief Is The Thing With Feathers has been followed up with the equally dark and funny Lanny, which he will be reading from and discussing with Luke Brown, Lecturer in Creative Writing at the Centre for New Writing and author of My Biggest Lie.

Head to the newly opened Blackwell’s Manchester to hear Nicole Flattery introduce her debut Bloomsbury short story collection Show Them A Good Time and Daisy Johnson read from her 2018 Man Booker Prize shortlisted first novel Everything Under. An Evening with Nicole Flattery and Daisy Johnson (Blackwell’s, 26 Mar).

The White Review Prize-winning writer Ruby Cowling launches her debut short story collection, This Paradise, with Boiler House Press, with readings and a chat to Bristol Prize winner Valerie O’Riordan. Ruby Cowling book launch (Bolton Library, 26 Mar).

Novelist and essayist Jenn Ashworth headlines this year’s contribution from The Real Story to the Not Quite Light Festival 2019, an evening of nonfiction stories exploring the themes of twilight, time and transition. The Real Story: Transition (King’s Arms Salford, 29 Mar).

Image credit: ¡Viva! Spanish & Latin American Festival 2018

Cinema in Manchester

For its fifth outing, Manchester Film Festival (Odeon, until 10 Mar) brings an exclusive programme of new cinema to the Great Northern.

An extra special evening for International Women’s Day: A 15 minute short followed by a feature documentary. Queer Cinema Collective presents: Paris Was a Woman & Born A Rebel (Partisan, 6 Mar).

Carol Morley writes and directs this masterful and eagerly anticipated follow up to her acclaimed Dreams of a Life. A mesmerising psychological drama from one of the most exciting talents in contemporary British filmmaking, The Falling (HOME, 16 Mar) explores a mysterious fainting and twitching outbreak in 1969 at an all-girls school.

Grimmfest presents a Japanese Horror Double Bill (Stockport Plaza, 20 Mar) of Ringu (1998) and Battle Royale (2000).

For its 24th edition, ¡Viva! (22 Mar - 13 Apr) returns with a HOME-wide celebration of film, theatre and visual art from across Spain and Latin America.

A homicide detective’s investigation into the shooting of a leading astrophysicist and black-hole expert destabilises her view of the universe and herself, in Carol Morley’s adaptation of Martin Amis’ Night Train. Out of Blue (HOME, 29 Mar - 4 Apr).

For Decontamination #16 (22 Mar), RNCM has programmed Sarah Hennies’ ‘Contralto’, a work for video, strings and percussion that explores transfeminine identity.

Image credit: Seven Limes Pottery

Tours & Activities in Manchester

Create your own pewter vessel with Ella McIntosh. Expect a jam-packed day full of bashing, soldering, decorating and pewtersmithery. Give pewter vessel making a bash (Manchester Craft and Design Centre, 16 Mar).

An informal class for complete beginners. Get to grips with throwing, hand building and learning the basic techniques of clay work. Pottery Taster (Seven Limes, 24 Mar).

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. The free tours run daily from 2 pm. Whitworth Art Gallery Daily Tour.

Discover a world of escapism behind the Royal Exchange’s stage door as well as learning about the history of this architecturally fascinating theatre. Royal Exchange Backstage Tour (until 18 July).

Learn about the Bridgewater Hall’s fascinating architecture and acoustics in this informal tour of the building. Guided tour at The Bridgewater Hall (until 1 April).

Wander through the city centre immersing yourself in Manchester’s foody histories and culture with some scrumptious stops en route. Eat The City - Scranchester Tours (regular tours, see website for details).

Family things to do in Manchester

The adventure of the deliciously smelling Gingerbread Man (Waterside, Sale, 9 Mar) who finds his feet fast and sets off on the journey of a lifetime.

The UK’s first immersive exhibition of the much-loved tales of Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler. Expect enchanting forests, miniature towns and watery worlds. A World Inside a Book: Gruffalo, Dragons and Other Creatures (Z-arts, 12 Feb–26 Oct).

Meet Stella, a Star Engineer, who reveals the importance of turning out the lights and wishing upon a star. Stella (Waterside, Sale, 17 Mar).

The People’s History Museum (Open daily, 10am - 5pm) is a recent winner of the national “Kids In Museums” award. Visit this national museum of democracy for interactive family galleries and regularly changing creative events.

Head to Manchester Art Gallery (Open daily, 10am - 5pm), grab a free toolbelt activity kit and adventure around this Grade I-listed gallery which makes art headlines around the world for all the right reasons.

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