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27th January 2017

What is coming to Manchester’s theatres in semester two

The best bits of theatre coming to Manchester this semester

There is a wealth of theatre coming to Manchester during semester two! Whether you are planning on going for a date, taking the parents out when they come to visit, or just fancy something slightly different. There is something on for everyone.

Educating Rita

Although the Octagon Theatre is a bit of a journey, Willy Russell’s classic is definitely worth your time. ‘Educating Rita’ follows mature student Rita as she is inspired to get her degree whilst battling life outside the campus, alongside her lecturer Frank.

When: January 19-February 11, Octagon Theatre.

Bat Out Of Hell

Written by Jim Steinman ‘Bat Out of Hell’ is a a story about rebellious youth and love set amongst the backdrop of a post-cataclysmic city adrift from the mainland. The musical is based on Meat Loaf’s best selling album of the same name and will be debuting in Manchester.

When: February 17-April 8, Manchester Opera House.

Funny Girl

Sheridan Smith leads the cast in this version of the Barbra Streisand classic, 50 years after it first shot Streisand to global fame. The audience will follow the comedic story of Fanny Brice and her dream of making it out of Brooklyn and onto Boradway. Hits include the classic ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’ whilst further dates have been added as the show is set to return to Manchester in August, ending their tour where it began – here in Manchester.

When: February 18-25, Palace Theatre.

Not Today, Satan! : Bianca Del Rio

The self confessed ‘clown in a gown’ and star of RuPaul’s Drag Race is the alter ego of seasoned comic Roy Haylock, who is returning to Manchester with her tiny waist and foul mouth. ‘Not Today, Satan!’ is another joke style set as she discusses with her audience the past twelve months.

When: February 14, at Manchester O2 Apollo.

Cradle to Stage: Danny Baker

Broadcast legend Danny Baker is turning his hand to stand-up comedy with an adaptation of his most recent and much loved hit TV series ‘Cradle to the Grave’. The story takes us through Danny’s childhood and starred Peter Kay as his infamous docker dad, the TV series was also filmed in various locations around Manchester.
Aptly renamed ‘Cradle to the Stage’ the show promises a barrel load of laughs as well as the big style questions he famously poses on Radio 5.

When: February 18, at The Lowry.

The Suppliant Women

The Aeschylus classic is reinvented by David Greig with direction by Ramin Gray. In it, 50 women leave everything behind to board a boat in North Africa and flee across the Mediterranean. They are escaping forced marriage in their homeland, hoping for protection and assistance, seeking asylum in Greece.

When: March 10-April 1, Royal Exchange Theatre.

Humanity: Ricky Gervais

The man behind ‘The Office’, ‘Extras’, ‘An Idiot Abroad’, ‘Derek’, and many more, Ricky Gervais has already proved that he’s  a funny man, but thirteen years and a trilogy of shows later he is back with show four: ‘Humanity’ – which is about to enjoy a national tour in 2017.

When: March 13-14, Manchester O2 Apollo.

Susan Hill’s The Woman In Black

Adapted by Stephen Mallatratt and directed by Robin Herford the West End favourite comes to the Lowry Theatre. The retelling of Hill’s tale follows a lawyer who becomes increasingly obsessed with a curse that he believes has been cast over him and his family when he visits a desolate village haunted by the spectre of a Woman in Black.

When: March 20-25, Lowry Theatre.

Jane Eyre

A massive hit at the National Theatre, the Bristol Old Vic collaboration comes to the Lowry Theatre which shows Charlotte Bronte’s heroine facing poverty, injustice, and betrayal in this timeless drama. Coincidentally, the classic book itself will celebrate the 170th year since it was first published.

When: April 8-15, Lowry Theatre.

Twelfth Night

Jo Davies takes hold of this Shakespeare comic classic in her Royal Exchange debut, addressing notions of gender, politics, and sense of belonging. Washed up on the shores of Illyria after a shipwreck, Viola hides her true identity by disguising herself as a man – but that’s only the beginning of her problems.

When: April 13-May 20, Royal Exchange Theatre.


TV and West End star Wendi Peters appears as The Queen of Hearts in this adaptation of the Alice In Wonderland story, while West End and Broadway superstar Kerry Ellis takes on the magical role of Alice. Labelled by the New York Times as “inspirational”, ‘Wonderland’ is a musical adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

When: April 24-30, Palace Theatre.

The Studio: How My Light Is Spent

Premiering in the Exchange’s studio, the production is directed by Liz Stevenson and has already won the Judges Award in the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwrighting. Alan Harris’ play is set in a small town in Walers and explores the somewhat curious relationship between the two protagonists: Jimmy and Kitty.

When: April 24-May 13, Royal Exchange Theatre.

Million Dollar Quartet

Already a dominant force in Broadway and the West End, ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ heads out on tour with Jason Donovan as the lead in a story that brings back the days of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.

When: May 15-20, Palace Theatre.

Thoroughly Modern Millie

Winner of six Tony Awards, including best musical, ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ is a comedy set in New York in 1922 and based on the award-winning film. Strictly Come Dancing’s Joanne Clifton stars as the loveable Millie.

When: May 22-27, Palace Theatre.

Operation Black Antler

As Cornerhouse and The Library Theatre became HOME, the pair scored quite a reputation for off-site experimental theatre, scoring awards for ‘Angel Meadow’ and ‘On Corporation Street’.
A joint project between four-times BAFTA nominated artists’ group Blast Theory and theatre company Hydrocracker, the production asks questions about the morality of state-sanctioned spying.

When: June 7-17, HOME.


Manchester International Festival’s new collaboration between Underworld’s Karl Hyde, Stockport playwright Simon Stephens, and Frantic Assembly’s Scott Graham, examines conversations between Northern fathers and sons. The show will use the main theatre and other unconventional spaces in the venue, too.

When: July 1-15, Royal Exchange Theatre.

Sister Act

Directed and choreographed by Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood ‘Sister Act’ is making it’s return to the Palace after a triumphant run earlier this year. ‘Sister Act’ is the magical tale of nun on the run Deloris Van Cartier who is hidden in a convent after the singer is witness to a murder, starring X Factor winner Alexandra Burke.

When: July 24-29, Palace Theatre.

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