What’s On in Manchester – May 2019

The best thing about living in Manchester is the abundance of theatre on offer. From the smallest fringe venues to large theatres, there is always something fantastic to watch.

Here is my pick of what to watch across Manchester in May.


On until 4th May 2019

Richard III HOME Manchester Tom Mothersdale Review
Tom Mothersdale is Richard III. Photo Credit – Marc Brenner.

After decades of the War of the Roses, Britain is in turmoil. As the houses of York and Lancaster are embroiled in bitter bloodshed, it appears there will be no end to the conflict. Richard, the Duke of Gloucester steps forward to change the course of history.

Shakespeare’s classic shows how ambition can become murderous. As Richard sets his sights on the crown, he begins a vicious campaign of deception, manipulation and violence. Shakespeare’s play has become so influential that Richard’s reputation has been entirely moulded by it, changing historical fact to create one of theatre’s most maniacal villains.

Before I watched this, I had never seen a good production of Richard III. This one is fantastic. Tom Mothersdale is magnificent as a charming, yet malevolent murderer. It is by far the best Richard III I have seen.

“A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse”

You can read my review here and buy tickets on HOME’s website.


2nd May – 11th May 2019

Female Hamlet Hope Mill Theatre Shakespeare What's On Manchester 2019
The cast of the all-female Hamlet. Picture taken from Hope Mill Theatre’s website.

Another Shakespeare play, but one with a completely new twist! It’s an all female production of Hamlet. It will breathe new life into a play that has been performed countless times over four centuries.

Girl Gang Manchester return to Hope Mill Theatre after their successful all-female Romeo and Juliet.

Hamlet is my favourite play, I have seen a dozen different versions on stage. As Hamlet contends with revenge, love, loss, and mortality, Shakespeare’s play concerns profound issues that are inherent within us all.

Visit Hope Mill Theatre’s website for more information and to buy tickets.

Here is my review for this all-female Hamlet.


On until 11th May 2019

The King and I Manchester Opera House Poster Whats on Manchester May 2019

Considered the most lavish musical, The King and I comes straight from the golden age of musicals. 68 years on from its Broadway debut, it is embarking on a World Tour after a record breaking run at the London Palladium. With Tony Award winning director, Bart Sher, at the helm, it promises to be a spectacular production.

A 19th Century British widow, Anna (Annalene Beechey) travels to Siam, which is now Thailand, to tutor the children of King Mongkut (Jose Llana). Equally repelled and fascinated with Siam’s culture, Anna’s relationship with the King mirrors these conflicted feelings.

With an iconic score, including the songs ‘Getting to Know You’ and ‘Shall We Dance?’, this musical has become a favourite with audiences across the world.

Tickets can be bought from ATG Tickets.


14th May – 1st June 2019

Handbagged Oldham Coliseum What's on in Manchester May 2019

With so much uncertainty surrounding Brexit, political satire is very much needed as an antidote to the incessant onslaught of Brexit news.

Handbagged imagines what could have happened at the famous meetings between The Queen and Margaret Thatcher, with a supporting cast of Ronald and Nancy Regan. It is a sharp, mischievous comedy that was nominated for an Oliver Award in 2015 for Best Comedy.

Visit Oldham Coliseum’s website for tickets.


On until 25th May 2019

West Side Story Royal Exchange Manchester Andy Coxon Gabriela Garcia Sarah Frankcom What's On Manchester May 2019
Photo Credit – Richard Davenport

Sarah Frankcom‘s West Side Story breathes new life into an old classic. With gang related knife crime increasing, there is no denying the relevance of this story to a contemporary audience.

A retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, this musical tells the story of star-crossed lovers caught in the midst of gang rivalry between The Sharks and The Jets. Featuring the songs ‘I Feel Pretty’ and ‘America’, Bernstein’s score is as iconic as the finger-clicking dance routines.

Marking Frankcom’s final directorial project as the Royal Exchange’s Artistic Director, this is the only version that has changed Jerome Robbins’ famous choreography. Aletta Collins’ revised choreography is inspired, creating something fresh from something so familiar to us all.

Andy Coxon and Gabriela Garcia are a wonderful Tony and Maria. They share incredible chemistry and are both fantastic performers.

Although the production is sold out, you can still get tickets via the Royal Exchange’s West Side Wednesdays scheme. It is also returning in 2020.

You can read my full review of West Side Story here.


27th May – 1st June 2019

All I See Is You Hope Mill Theatre Manchester Ciaran Griffiths Christian Edwards What's On Manchester May 2019
Ciarán Griffiths and Christian Edwards play the forbidden lovers. Picture taken from Hope Mill Theatre’s website.

Bobby works on the record counter in Woolies. Ralph dreams of being a teacher. One kiss, and they are hooked. At a time when being gay was illegal, All I See Is You depicts queer life in Bolton and Manchester in the 1960s.

All I See Is You stars Christian Edwards and Ciarán Griffiths, known for his role in ITV’s The Bay.

Visit Hope Mill Theatre’s website for tickets.


28th May – 1st June 2019

Little Miss Sunshine Lowry What's On Manchester May 2019

Little Miss Sunshine tells the story of Olive, who dreams of being crowned the winner of the ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ beauty pageant. Her family drive 800 miles in a VW Campervan to the pageant in a race to get Olive there on time.

The ultimate dysfunctional family road trip, the show will be packed with brilliant characters. Wickedly funny and hugely heart-warming, Little Miss Sunshine is one of my favourite films. If the play is anything like the film, it will be a cracker!

Tickets can be purchased through the Lowry Theatre’s website.

Obviously, these are only a handful of productions on in Manchester in May. I encourage everybody to get out and experience the fantastic theatre that this city has to offer. I feel proud to live in such an exciting hub of creativity.

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