What’s on in Manchester – February 2019

Sick of hearing about Brexit? I know I am! If you need an escape from hard borders, Irish backstops and this cold weather, how about a trip to the theatre?

Here are some of the shows you can watch in Manchester theatres throughout February.

Obviously, this is not the only theatre available. Manchester is one of the most exciting places for theatre in the country so there’s always something exciting to watch.



8th – 9th February 2019

Mother’s Ruin – Part of the Queer Contact festival. Photo Credit – Holly Revell.

Contact Theatre present their annual LGBT festival, Queer Contact, as part of their Contact in the City programme. As the theatre is undergoing a refurb, various events are taking place over a compacted weekend at different venues across the city. Combining theatre, poetry, dance and spoken word, there is something here for everyone, including the following shows:-

Ad Infinitum: No Kids – Lowry Theatre (1st Feb) = Award winning Bristol company Ad Infinitum kick off the festival with their thought-provoking play, No Kids. Real-life same-sex couple, George and Nir consider becoming parents. Exploring options like surrogacy, adoption or co-parenting, these life-changing decisions are faced head on.

Mother’s Ruin – Sale Waterside Arts (8th Feb) = An interstellar line up of rising stars converging with favourite constellations from the Mother’s Ruin universe. Expect a galaxy of Queer wit speckled in polished stardust.

Outspoken – Manchester Metropolitan University (9th Feb) = An evening of spellbinding poetry and spoken word performance, marking LGBT History Month.

You can get tickets for all Queer Contact events here.


SWITCH MCR – 53two

6th – 8th February 2019

SWITCH MCR are the resident company of young creatives at 53two, an exciting theatre under the arches of Deansgate. Each night, they will perform two new plays that are written by company members. Giving space for emerging talent to shine, 53two is one of the most promising theatres in Manchester.

The House = You’re invincible in your twenties. Full of life, full of vigour. You never wanted to grow up. So why did you? Meet the people who forgo the idea of getting old, people who said “fuck responsibility”.

8055 = 8055 is an exploration of the self within bureaucracy. It tests out ideas about authority and incompetence. Or more simply… It is a play where a woman gets a job.

Both shows are included in the bargain £8 ticket price. You can purchase tickets here.



8th February – 2nd March 2019

Julie Hesmondhalgh as Mother Courage. Photo credit – Lee Baxter.

Royal Exchange veteran Julie Hesmondhalgh returns to play Mother Courage in this new version of Bertolt Brecht’s iconic play, adapted by Anna Jordan.

War rages over decades, but it’s business as usual for Mother Courage. She roams the grid from one army camp to another with her ragtag offspring in tow. Boots, beer, drugs, guns – anything a soldier desires can be bought off the back of Mother Courage’s cart. She is determined to make a profit out of war. But to what cost?

Everything Julie Hesmondhalgh has done at the Royal Exchange has been absolutely brilliant! I doubt this play will be any different.

Tickets are available from the Royal Exchange’s website.



13th – 23rd February

Manchester, 1983. Dave loves Rod Stewart, Joanne and his Ford Capri. Only Joanne is about to have someone else’s baby. Is Dave ready to become a dad, even though he isn’t the father?

“He’s got two dads, my lad. One’s black. That makes him black. I suppose”.

SparkPlug is the story of a white man who becomes the adoptive father, and best friend, of a mixed-race child. This exploration of family, race, identity and love is a new play written by the  brilliant David Judge. Inspired by autobiographical events from the playwright’s life, SparkPlug is a lyrical monologue about what family means in today’s society.

You can purchase tickets through HOME’s website.



19th February – 30th March 2019

This is a show that needs little introduction. Over 34 years, this musical has sold over 120 million tickets across 45 countries.

Based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel and set in 19th century France, Les Misérables tells a passionate story of broken dreams, unrequited love, sacrifice and redemption. Featuring the timeless songs ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, ‘On my Own’ and ‘Bring Him Home’, it is an opportunity not to be missed!

You can get tickets via ATG Tickets, here.



26th February – 2nd March 2019

If Malorie Blackman’s book is anything to go by, this play is going to be a brilliant!

Adapted for the stage by Sabrina Mahfouz, Noughts and Crosses tells of forbidden love in a segregated society. Sephy is a Cross, Callum is a Nought. Between Noughts and Crosses, there are racial and social divides. Despite inherent segregation, Sephy and Callum are in love. But this romance is fraught with risk, and will lead them into danger.

Noughts and Crosses explores what it is like to grow up, love and rebel in a divided world. One that is all too familiar in these times.

Tickets are available through the Lowry’s website.



27th February – 2nd March 2019

Jude Christian is one of my role models, I deeply admire her work. She continues to push boundaries and win awards with her visionary plays, so this is one that I am very excited about.

Nanjing is a monologue written and performed by Christian as a personal response to the Nanjing Massacre of 1937. Simultaneously intimate and epic, it explores what it means to be mixed-race, questioning identity and belonging.

In a time where there are atrocious massacres taking place around the world, from Syria to Yemen, Christian’s play asks how you can love one another during a time of conflict and hatred. It is a monologue about flawed heroes, and the consequences of war.

Tickets are available from the Royal Exchange’s website, here.

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