Below you'll find fifteen more great things to do in Manchester this month; including a film festival, an 'alternative' food fair and Northern Quarter's first panto.
After even more inspiration? Check out our Top 15 Ways to Avoid the Christmas Markets, from a hygge frost fair at the Whitworth to Old Trafford's drive-in cinema and Key 103 Christmas Live
ETSY MADE LOCAL | People’s History Museum | 1-4 December
The popular online marketplace is no longer just online, with a national initiative that brings local makers and artisans to a town near you over Crimbo. Manchester’s fair will take place in PHM’s Edwardian Engine Hall, with over 60 traders purveying everything from homeware to jewellery and unique art. A special Winter Warmer evening, from 5-8pm on Thursday 1, will launch the event with mince pies and choir - what else?
People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, M3 3ER (11-4pm; free entry).
FADE TO BLACK FILM FESTIVAL | Z Arts | Until 9 December
Fade to Black continues with Generation Revolution and Concerning Violence this month, showcasing some of the best films concerning people of African descent and examining how race relations have changed from the 1950s to the present day. Generation Revolution follows The London ‘Black Revs’, who are changing the capital’s political landscape and beyond, while Concerning Violence presents a fresh visual narrative on Africa; based on newly-discovered archive material covering the struggle for liberation from colonial rule in the sixties and seventies.
Z Arts, 335 Stretford Road, Hulme, M15 5ZA (7pm; various times; tickets from £8).
STRANGE AND FAMILIAR | Manchester Art Gallery | 25 November 2016 - 29 May 2017
After a successful stint in London earlier this year, the Barbican’s perceptive exhibition may have been slightly diminished for its temporary Manchester home but all 22 artists are represented nevertheless. Curated by renowned photographer Martin Parr, 200 photos by leading international photographers - from Henri Cartier-Bresson to Bruce Gilden and Evelyn Hoffer - reflect how Britain has been perceived by those outside its borders from the 1930s to the present day: particularly relevant as Brexit calls into question what ‘British’ really means.
Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, M2 3JL (10am-5pm, until 9pm on Thurs; free).
CHILLI CHILLI BANG BANG: HOT SAUCE COMPETITION | The Wonder Inn | Friday 2 December
Spice shysters look away, this will be intense. Teams receive ten sauces, along with a bowl of tortilla chips and salsas (and a palate cleansing sorbet - you’ll be needing it). Participants then have to rate each sauce by heat, no easy feat when trying them consecutively. Winners and runners up will receive hot sauce and salsa collections from hosts Los Antojitos, from £30 to £10. There will also be hot vegan food available from 5-10pm.
The Wonder Inn, 29 Shudehill, M4 2AF (from 5pm; tickets £5.90 at eventbrite.com).
A QUEER REVUE | Band on the Wall | Friday 2 December
Band on the Wall’s Queer Revue may be quarterly but it’s anything but regular. Bringing together some of Manchester and London’s quirkiest acts for a performance-slash-party unlike no other, December’s episode includes: nail artist Charlie Craggs, DJs Anthony Crank and the Bollox Club’s Rod Connolly, tarot reader Barnacle Beryl and performers spanning Zsa Zsa Noir to Eva Serration. No need to worry about a boring night out with this one...
Band on the Wall, 25 Swan Street, M4 5JZ (11pm-3am; tickets from £6 at bandonthewall.org).
GENISIS CAROL CONCERT | Manchester Cathedral | Saturday 3 December
As Scrooge unceremoniously found out, now's the time for some charitable cheer. Say 'bah humbug' to cancer with the return of Prevent Breast Cancer's popular carol concert this December, with a variety of performances - topped off with the Rock Choir - and free-flowing spiced mulled wine. The event is just one of a series of seasonal concerts and events at the cathedral: full programme here.
Manchester Cathedral, Victoria Street, M3 1FX (7pm; tickets £5 online or £7 on the door).
FOR THE LOVE OF SCI FI | Bowlers Exhibition Centre | 3-4 December
Whether a science fiction fanatic or not, there’s bound to be something that suits at ‘the greatest sci-fi event on earth’. Ok, their words, but the programme is admittedly impressive. Star guests range from Rocky Horror’s Patricia Quinn to Red Dwarf’s Norman Lovett while, elsewhere, you can speak to E.T., receive magic lessons from Dobby and listen to some of the most iconic sci-fi scores in history courtesy of Piccadilly Symphony Orchestra (PSO) - amongst many other things. Feeling peckish? Try to ‘cafe at the end of the universe’. Full event list here.
Bowlers Exhibition Centre, Longbridge Road, M17 1SN (various times; tickets from £5 at fortheloveofsci-fi.com).
GRUB CHRISTMAS FOOD FAIR | Alphabet Brewing Co | 3-23 December
Weekly food fair GRUB will be throwing some festive ingredients into the mix throughout December: local artist Hammo will be creating a spray-painted Christmas tree and there’ll even be some to buy, with Bud Garden Centre in attendance on 3 December. Grog will include German delicacy ‘feuerzangenbowle’, a flaming super-charged version of gluhwein, and a stollen-flavoured flat white breakfast stout. Needless to say, grub will be plentiful too.
Alphabet Brewing Company, 99 North Western Street, M12 6JL (Saturdays midday-10pm; free entry).
WRAP UP AT NOMA | Sadler’s Year | 3-23 December
Joining the established likes of Winter Wonderland and Bolton Winter Festival this year is relative wintry newcomer, Wrap Up at NOMA. The premise? Join a workshop with local design collective Makers Dozen, ranging from candles to wooden boats and journals, then get your handmade gift wrapped up onsite with local stationers GF Smith. Or design your own paper, using traditional printing practises. The event kicks off with a launch on Thursday 1; complete with street food, product previews, brass band and free Blawd gingerbread men for the first 300 visitors.
Sadler’s Yard, Redfern Street, M60 OAB (11am-7pm; free entry).
STREET ART: A MODERN HISTORY |NORTHERN QUARTER | Sunday 4 December
Hosted by award-winning blogger Skyliner, this tour reveals the modern history of Ancoats and NQ through their public art and graffiti; with a percentage of proceeds going to local street art curators Outhouse. Discover a story of social housing, gentrification, greenery, public space and privatisation - and find out the names between some of the oldest street art and sculpture. Great if you missed out on the Cities of Hope tours earlier this year.
Shudehill Metrolink Station, M4 2AF (11am; tickets £7 at lineupnow.com).
LITTLE NORTHERN CONTEMPORARY CRAFT FAIR | Altrincham Town Hall | Sunday 4 December
The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair’s little sister will be bringing over 40 exhibitors to the Cheshire suburbs for a Sunday shopping special: from Heartfelt Dogs’ needle-felted canines to Giedra Sadauskate’s printed scarves and Lauren Taylor’s hand-weaved rope jewellery. After something more edible? The next Sunday sees Nicely Kitchen’s Vegan and Artisan Market at Altrincham Football Club.
Altrincham Town Hall, Market Street, WA14 1PG (10.30am-4.30pm; £3 on the door).
LIGHTWAVES DIGITAL LIGHT SHOW | Salford Quays | 9-18 December
From #LightUpFallowfield to Lightwaves, there's plenty going on to brighten the winter nights this month. Lightwaves beams back into Salford, with nine installations spanning daleks to Spongebob, a premiere film screening on a shipping container and even a chance to create light graffiti with visual artist Sarah Wakefield. We’re also told to expect ‘astronomically large spacemen’, a garden footpath signposted by illuminated footprints and an LED forest - all completely gratis. More info here.
Salford Quays, various locations (midday-10.30pm; free).
COCO MBASSI AND AMANI | Band on the Wall | Saturday 10 December
One of Cameroon’s most prominent musicians, multi award-winning Coco Mbassi describes her music as ‘a tree with deep African roots and branches that extend some towards classical music, some towards soul, gospel and jazz, and others towards Latin music and even pop music’. After touring the world with her band, Mbassi hits Manchester with support from Amani Live collective for their 2016 finale. An uplifting evening guaranteed.
Band on the Wall, 25 Swan Street, M4 5JZ (7-10.30pm; tickets from £10 at bandonthewall.org).
WHISPERS OF A CHRISTMAS TALE | Heaton Hall | 10-18 December
Back by popular demand, Tangled Dance Company bring their immersive promenade performance to Heaton Hall. Follow Martha through the neoclassical rooms of this eighteenth century, Grade I listed gem as the whispering walls tell her story. An rags-to-riches tale told through contemporary dancer and live classical music, Whispers promises an atmospheric heart-warmer for all the family.
Heaton Hall, Middleton Road, Higher Blackley, M25 2SW (3-3.45pm; tickets from £5.50 at skiddle.com).
WILL WHITTINGTON AND HIS CAT | 3MT | 17-21 December
Apparently the Northern Quarter’s ‘first pantomime’, this comedic slant on the fifteenth century tale comes courtesy of the Manchester Shakespeare Company. Packed with larger-than-life characters and modern references - with heroes washed up in the mysterious land of Primark - the story follows Will as he leaves home to seek his fortunes in London, encountering many an adventure along the way.
Three Minute Theatre, Afflecks Arcade, 35-39 Oldham Street, M1 1J (2pm and 6.30pm; tickets from £5 at threeminutetheatre.co.uk).