It might not be as well known as Broadway or the West End, but Manchester has long had a theatrical background and been a home for aspiring thespians, with lots of famous, historic theatres still in operation all around the area. Theatre in the region has been bolstered both by the modern Lowry centre and the live stage performances taking place across the way at MediaCityUK for the BBC, ITV and other production companies. Don’t be surprised then if you see street and fringe theatre popping up around the city.
Blockbuster Performances & West End Shows
If you want to catch a touring West End show, a well-known play or a famous musical, you’ll probably find yourself at one of our ‘big three’ theatres. The Palace Theatre is a stunning, iconic building that sits on Oxford Street, and was originally known as The Grand Old Lady of the area. Its sister theatre is the Opera House, a Grade II listed building and host to musicals, ballet and concerts. The third main theatre in the area is the newest; the Lowry over in Salford Quays is home to a number of family shows, touring performances and musical theatre throughout the year. For all three theatres, students can usually take advantage of deals and offers, and each venue often has last minute tickets or returns for really cheap prices!
Classic Plays and Hidden Gems
In the centre of Manchester, The Royal Exchange Theatre is home to performances of all kind, including classic Shakespeare, contemporary plays, new writings and experimental shows. They have their own theatre company and host visitors too. 100 special student tickets are available every Friday for just £6. The Contact Theatre on Oxford Road is the perfect place for young people to get into theatre and performance. For those who love their classics, you’ll find plenty of local pantomimes to enjoy in the winter season, at places like Middleton Arena, Oldham Coliseum and Stockport Plaza.
Comedy and Fringe
The Dancehouse is an often overlooked, hidden gem, just around the corner from the university district. Here you’ll find a wide range of dance, comedy and fringe theatre. You might also find some poetry, rap and spoken word performances both here and in other venues around the city too! Fringe theatre is increasing in popularity, and Manchester has always loved to laugh. HOME is a brand new space in the city, with performance spaces that concentrate on new work and daring, experimental pieces. Open mic nights are common at The Comedy Store and the Frog and Bucket, both of which host touring comedians on a regular basis.