Jospehine Lane presents you with a guide to the best in Manchester theatre
The Contact Theatre, Oxford Road
The Contact Theatre is specifically aimed at young people and is a registered charity. It often showcases new talent in a variety of contemporary forms: spoken word, comedy, dance, art and of course, theatre. It also welcomes touring productions, but in essence is Manchester-orientated. Many of the productions have workshops running alongside them, which are free with a performance ticket. The Contact is a welcoming space and encourages students and young people to get involved. Most of the shows are pretty cheap, too!
The Zion Arts Centre
Also aimed at young people (and kids too) and a charity, the Zion Arts Centre focuses on participatory activity such as workshops and classes. It has twelve public rooms available for hire for rehearsals, workshops, music production or whatever else you may need. The performances shown are generally aimed at children, but Zion is exactly the place to go to get involved in some local theatre!
The Palace Theatre, Oxford Road
The Palace Theatre and is a more traditional, Victorian buildings. It plays host to large-scale touring musicals and big comedy names. The theatre is operated by Ambassador Theatre Group, who own most of the West End theatres. Tickets can be pricey but if you want a grand evening out, these are the ones to go for!
The Manchester Opera House, Quay Street
Sister theatre to the Palace, the Manchester Opera House also hosts touring musicals and comedy, as well as ballets, pantomimes and plays.
The Lowry, Salford Quays
The Lowry Arts Centre houses two proscenium arch theatres and one studio space. The Lowry presents almost every performance type going: ballet, comedy, burlesque, dance, family and theatre. Manchester-based The Library Theatre Company also perform three shows there every year. The centre has a welcoming, family-orientated environment and has some art galleries too. Some big names in the performance world come to the Lowry and its epic location of Media City gives it another reason you must visit it!
The Royal Exchange Theatre, St Anns Square
The Royal Exchange Theatre is an enormous, seven-sided module with seating on every side, creating a true example of theatre in the round. Placed in the centre of the magnificent spectacle that is the Great Hall of the Manchester Royal Exchange, this venue is not one you should miss seeing! The plays staged here tend to be classics, from Chekhov to Wilde, and often star some big names! The theatre is also home to The Studio, a smaller space showcasing new writing and talent and encouraging participation
The Bolton Octagon
Most of the theatre put on at the Octagon is created and produced on-site in Bolton, showcasing much local talent. Part of its unique selling point is its versatile main auditorium, which can be rearranged into end-on, thrust and in-the-round spaces. Great if you want to see local talent at a professional level!
University Drama Societies
All four universities have very strong societies of varying performance type: from musical theatre and drama to the Gilbert and Sullivan society! All the societies are strong and produce multiple performances every year. Probably the cheapest theatre in Manchester you’ll find too! Watch this space to find out what’s on this term!