October marks Black History Month, which celebrates key figures and events in black history. The theme of this year’s Black History Month is “Time for Change: Action Not Words’ and it is more important than ever.

Black History Month is not just a month to celebrate the continued achievements and contributions of Black people in the UK and around the world, it’s also a time for continued action to tackle racism, reclaim Black history, and ensure Black history is represented and celebrated all year round. 

In Greater Manchester, there are lots of events taking place throughout October to celebrate Black History Month, sharing stories and celebrating black people of all ages and walks of life. From family-friendly events to comedy nights, and craft markets to online talks, there is plenty going on across Greater Manchester. 

Here’s a roundup of some of the Black History Month Events going on in our region: 

Black History Month at Home 

As Manchester’s cultural hub, it’s no surprise that HOME has an extensive lineup to celebrate Black artistic brilliance and talent. Throughout October you can explore ground-breaking Black artists working in the North-West and beyond. 

The programme begins on Saturday 1 October with HOME Sound Sessions hosting an intimate night of live music. On Saturday 8 October, HOME Comedy Night presents Laff Til Ya Fart with headliners Tez Ilyas and Dane Baptiste plus other talents from the UK Black Comedy circuit. For craft lovers and fans of a makers market, Melanin Markets Manchester arrives at HOME for the first time on Sunday 9 October. 

 HOME’s cinema will celebrate the best of Black British filmmaking talent on screen and behind the camera, including director and writer Menelik Shabazz. There will also be a new window commission named City of Colour by illustrator Danielle Rhoda and the HOME Galleries will explore the colourful works by Venessa Scott in her first solo exhibition.  

Online, HOME will host Black Creatives: In Conversation series, giving an insight into the careers and backgrounds of Black creatives and industry professionals.  

Plus, during the October half-term between Monday 24 October and Thursday 27 October, families can enjoy our new Storytime Sessions online and at free Storytime workshops in Manchester libraries. 

Learn more about Black History Month Events at HOME.  

Forgotten Voices at Manchester Cathedral 

The perfect play to commemorate Black History Month, Forgotten Voices is the remarkable story of Eva Moorhead Kadalie who before Nelson Mandela cried out for freedom in South Africa. Taking place at Manchester Cathedral on Wednesday 5 October, Forgotten Voices is a one-woman show telling the story of the widow of South Africa’s first national black trade union leader, Clements Kadalie. The play reflects a turbulent time in South African history and tells the story of Eva a strong, resilient woman – way ahead of her time. The play stars Shareesa Valentine and is directed by Margaret Connell and written by Eva’s grandson, David Moorhead. Learn more. 

Grandad Anansi at Z Arts 

Half Moon and Z-arts present Grandad Anansi as an uplifting tale of love, courage and letting go aimed at children aged 4-9. Written by children’s author Elayne Ogbeta, this collaboration is touring the UK and celebrating Black History Month. Abi and her Grandad tell each other Anansi folktales. They play games as they work together in the garden among the beautiful flowers and tasty vegetables. As they plant memories, they share secrets and develop a bond that nothing can break. Grandad is as smart and mischievous as the wily Anansi legend. Can he find a way to tell his granddaughter about his plans to return to Jamaica, his beloved homeland?  

Performances run at Z Arts Stretford at various times from Thursday 29 September to Saturday 1 October. The show will then move to Oldham Library on Wednesday 12 October. Each will last 40 minutes, with no interval and tickets cost £9. Learn more

Empowered to Lead Conference 

The first in-person She Leads for Legacy, Empowered to Lead Conference will be held at Bloc in Manchester to celebrate Black History Month. This conference is for Black female professionals and allies committed to the advancement of Black women into senior leadership and board-level roles. It will explore how individuals and organisations, can advance the Equalities agenda and create more diverse and inclusive workplaces. It will feature masterclass sessions, exploring how Black female professionals can use their voice, optimise self-care and be inspired by the work of both Black women and Allies across the UK. The conference will be held at Bloc on Saturday 8 October. Learn more

Stolen From God Manchester Folk Festival 2022 

October also marks the return of the Manchester Folk Festival which takes place across several locations within walking distance of each other in the city centre. The action begins at HOME and the surrounding areas. The festival celebrates English Folk music and acoustic sounds. One event which ties in beautifully with Black History Month is Stolen From God. In this performance, a powerful set of songs will tell the harrowing story of England’s past reliance and influence of the slave trade. Reg Meuross tells the story of the oppressed through folk songs, believing that they provide a rapid and accessible route into history. His tackling of this sensitive yet vital subject matter is sure to make for an emotional but inspiring evening. You can watch the performance of Stolen From God at Manchester Folk Festival at HOME on Friday 14 October. Learn more. 

The Real Thing and Odyssey In Disco Fever Live 

After hit singles in the 1970s and remixes in the 1980s, The Real Thing have cemented their place as legends in the British Soul music scene. This October, the band are back on tour and playing Stockport’s infamous plaza. Enjoy some real nostalgia and dance the night away on Saturday 15 October. The Real thing will be joined by New York City-based singing group Odyssey for a night of dance and soul hits which will have you commemorating Black History Month in style. Learn more. 

Soweto Gospel Choir 

Soweto Gospel Choir was formed to celebrate the power of African Gospel music and draws on the best talent from the churches in and around Soweto, South Africa. The choir is taking to the stage at The Stoller Hall in Manchester on Saturday 22 October. Soweto Gospel Choir is dedicated to sharing the joy of fairness through music and has won three Grammy Awards including the 2019 Best World Music Album. If you’re looking for a night full of inspiration, music and celebration, then look no further. Learn more

Manchester Literature Festival 

Manchester Literature Festival is also taking place in October, and there are many events celebrating Black authors and poets.  

On Tuesday 11 October Inua Ellams and Yomi Sode will share work from their acclaimed poetry collections at Contact Theatre. With themes around racism, classism, toxic masculinity and trauma, these poets ask what it means to live as a Black man in Britain today. As critically acclaimed and award-winning poets, these electrifying performers are sure to give an incredible performance. 

Saturday 15 October will see a special conversation with British Historian, broadcaster, presenter and author David Olusoga discussing his work documenting and exploring Black British history. Taking to the stage at Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama, he will talk about the writers and creatives that have shaped him as well as Manchester’s radical past, present and future.  

Another event which is incredibly significant in Black History Month is Edward Enninful, the first black editor-in-chief of British Vogue joining a conversation with the game-changing author of Girl, Woman, Other Bernadine Evaristo who was the first Black British author to win the Booker Prize. Taking place at RNCM on Sunday 23 October, Enninful will discuss his experiences in the world of fashion and his commitment to inclusion and representation as well as celebrating his biography A Visible Man. 

View more events at Manchester Literature Festival here

Ladysmith Black Mambazo  

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a South African male choral group and on Tuesday 25 October they’ll be taking over Bridgewater Hall. After rising to worldwide prominence after singing with Paul Simon on his 1986 album Graceland, the group which specialises in the vocal styles of isicathamiya and mbube has become one of South Africa's most prolific recording artists. Their shows give audiences an insight into South Africa and its culture as well as sharing joyful sounds. From soulful ballads to traditional dance songs, this is sure to be an uplifting and inspiring evening celebrating South Africa’s sounds. 

COBO: Comedy Shutdown Black History Month Special 

COBO: Comedy of Black Origin is hosting a Black History Month Special to Manchester, closing Black History Month with a bang. Head to the Frog and Bucket on Sunday 30 October for side-splitting laughter at one of the biggest and best comedy nights Manchester can offer. On the lineup is Kane Brown, Kat B, Annette Fagon and Aurie Styla, tickets are £18 per person. Learn more.  

Greater Manchester is hosting a variety of events that celebrate Black History Month, showcasing its importance by reflecting on the past and celebrating black culture. 

To discover more events happening across Greater Manchester throughout October, visit our What’s On listings page. 




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