Manchester is lucky enough to have a wealth of venues showcasing theatre in its many glorious forms. From big and brash musicals to independent fringe theatre, Manchester’s theatre venues can cater to the tastes of many kinds of theatre lovers. Sometimes, with all the flashy names flying around it’s easy to miss the independent and original productions being put on by smaller theatre companies. Use our Manchester Theatre Guide to know where to look no matter what your theatre needs are!
97 Oxford Street, 0161 245 6600
If you’re looking to watch the best musicals around, The Palace Theatre can ease your all-singing, all-dancing cravings. High calibre productions of ‘Wicked’, ‘The Sound of Music’, ‘The Lion King’ and also classic Ballets such as ‘Swan Lake’ are showcased here. The productions are the same quality as London’s West End, often with the same stage set-up and cast! Get your dose of culture or gratify those guilty musical pleasures at the Palace Theatre.
Pier 8, The Quays, Salford, 0843 208 6000
In the heart of Salford’s MediaCityUk you will find a large, modern theatre with so much going on! A stone’s throw from the professional hub of the BBC, The Lowry has many stages meaning there is always a choice for things to watch or do. With family fun, cabaret, burlesque, circus and much more, there is always something exciting and a bit different available for your entertainment… so keep your eye out!
St Ann's Square, 0161 833 9833
Manchester’s only theatre-in-the-round venue, the Royal Exchange is one of Manchester’s most well-known and distinctive theatre houses. Drawing patrons from all over the UK, The Royal Exchange programmes Theatre with a capital ‘T’. The staging is always creative, often technically impressive and surprising. Expect the work of classic playwrights such as Ibsen and Chekhov, as well as devised storytelling productions and contemporary Shakespeare adaptations.
Various venues until Central Library re-opens
Once located under the huge spherical and impressively ornate Central Library in Manchester City Centre, The Library Theatre does both amateur productions and inventive professional adaptations. As the Library has been under renovation over the last few years, the Library Theatre Company have taken to doing productions in other theatre venues, such as in The Lowry, as well as site-specific originals in venues such as a lost property room!
Quay St, 0844 871 3018
If Pantomimes are your thing, and you’re looking for a family outing where you can share a chorus of “HE’S BEHIND YOU”, The Opera House’s programming regularly consists of productions like ‘Dick Whittington’ and ‘Singing in the Rain’. The shows on at The Opera House are often rotating tours of huge productions from the West End with celebrity appearances! Oh yes they are!
Oxford Rd, 0161 274 0600
Owned by Manchester University’s Drama department, The Contact Theatre just off Oxford Road already attracts a young and innovative crowd. Many may be put off by this, but don’t be; there are fantastic productions for adults and young’uns alike. Fringe theatre, spoken word, open-stage nights, dance shows and visiting artists and companies have all adorned the stages here. If you’re looking for something new and original, Contact Theatre is likely to have something up your street.
Mabel Tylecote Building, Oxford Rd, 0161 247 1306
MMU Drama Department’s theatre located on Oxford Road is the home of student drama for one of the best Drama Schools in the UK. MMU have an impressive alumni such as Julie Walters, Marsha Thomason and Amanda Burton, if you see a play here, the chances are you’ll be spotting some of the next big theatre names!
10A Oxford Rd, 0161 237 1413
With the Royal Northern Ballet School in residence here, The Dancehouse know their stuff. As well as their regular dance recitals, they also programme comedy shows, drama and music. Here is the place to see your jazz hands and pas de bourrees.