PUSH FESTIVAL | HOME | 14-28 January
HOME’S annual celebration of regional film, theatre and visual art is back; with a typically miscellaneous selection of performance, workshops and discussions spanning Franz Kafka to Vogue, the refugee crisis to bureaucracy. Highlights include The Mill Theatre Company’s I’m Standing Next To You, Fly in Your Soup’s evocative puppet performance of Betty and Islington Mill's Temporary Custodians.
HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, M15 4FN (various; check the website).
EDUCATING RITA | Bolton Octagon | 19 January -11 February
Frank has almost given up completely. Having abandoned his ambition to be a poet, and tiring of teaching undergraduate English students, he reflects morosely on his lot. That is until Rita walks in: a 26-year-old, married hairdresser who has decided to take control of her life and earn herself an education. With Bolton Octagon and Derby Theatre’s adaption of Willy Russell’s comedic tale of self discovery, an uplifting winter warmer is guaranteed.
Bolton Octagon, Howell Croft South, Bolton, BL1 1SB (2pm & 7.30pm; tickets from £11 at octagonbolton.co.uk).
SWEET CHARITY | Royal Exchange | Until 28 January
With a staple of familiar hits - from Big Spender to Rhythm of Life - Sweet Charity is one of the most definitive musicals of all time. Following hapless protagonist Charity Hope Valentine in her tumultuous search for belonging, the Broadway classic tackles popular themes of love and success with ‘brilliant performances, stunning choreography - and brass. Lots of brass.’ Will Valentine find her happily ever after?
Royal Exchange, St Ann's Square, M2 7DH (2.30pm & 7.30pm; tickets from £16.50 at royalexchange.co.uk).
TAKE BACK: AMERICA | The Comedy Store | Monday 23 January
Formed by photographer Grant Archer and actors Rebekah Harrison and Julie Hesmondhalgh (Corrie’s Hayley, below), Take Back Take ‘uses script in hand performances as a springboard for debate.’ With small audiences and big questions, the grassroots theatre initiative explores some of the greatest social issues of our time - and the American election is no exception. This may be the only time you’ll get to discuss Mr Trump’s inauguration with a much-needed splash of comedy.
The Comedy Store, Arches 3 and 4 Deansgate Locks, Whitworth Street West, M1 5LH (8pm; tickets from £5 at thecomedystore.co.uk).
JOSH HOWIE | The Lowry | Sunday 29 January
Fresh from creating and starring in his own BBC Radio 4 sitcom, Josh Howie is embarking on his first UK tour with his painfully honest brand of stand up comedy. Renowned for his writing talent, the storyteller has performed with Eddie Izzard, sold out stand up shows across the globe and appeared on channels from Dave to Sky Movies. Howie will be at The Lowry with new tour Messed Up: expect more family antics and his signature dose of fearless wit.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, M50 3AZ (8pm; tickets from £10 at tickets.thelowry.com).
NARVIK | HOME | 31 January - 4 February
Present day. Liverpool. All alone, an old man falls in a basement and loses consciousness. World War Two. Norway. A courageous young sailor falls in love. Beautifully adapted by Box of Tricks as part of their tenth anniversary season, Lizzie Nunnery’s Narvik is the story of one couple pulled together then torn apart by war, as the events of one summer cause ripples across an ocean of time.
HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, M15 4FN (7.45pm; tickets £12 at homemcr.org).
GASLIGHT | Oldham Coliseum | 3-8 February
As the gas lights flicker in the drawing room and the floorboards creak overhead, newlywed Bella Manningham becomes convinced that she’s losing her mind just as her mother - consigned to the asylum - did before her. Is the terror all in her mind or are there dark secrets dwelling in her home? The surprise arrival of retired detective Rough leads to a discovery that shakes her respectable marriage to the core, as Oldham Coliseum reawaken Patrick Hamilton’s Victorian mystery thriller. Directed by Robin Herford, who directed The Woman In Black, this isn't one for the faint-hearted...
Oldham Coliseum, Fairbottom Street, Oldham, OL1 3SW (2.30pm & 7.30pm; tickets from £14.50 at patronbase.com).
FUNNY GIRL | Palace Theatre | 18-25 February
Funny Girl brought global fame to Barbra Streisand 50 years ago, with iconic hits like People and Don’t Rain On My Parade. Now, following a record-breaking, critically-acclaimed West End run, Oliver award-winning protagonist Sheridan Smith heads up north with ‘the utterly irresistible’ tale of Fanny Brice - whose vocal talents and comedic ability see her rise from Brooklyn music hall singer to Broadway star.
Palace Theatre, 97 Oxford Street, M1 6FT (2.3pm & 7.30pm; tickets from £18 at atgtickets.com).
STU GOLDSMITH | XS Malarkey | 21 February
Not only is he a comedian himself, Stu Goldsmith presents the popular ‘Comedian’s Comedian’ podcast, which has seen him quiz everyone from Sarah Millican to Matt Lucas and Jimmy Carr - meaning, no doubt, he’s picked up a few tips on what constitutes a good chuckle from some of the UK’s leading laugh purveyors. Goldsmith himself has won awards internationally and The Times dubbed him an ‘expert stand-up.’
XS Malarkey, Pub/Zoo, 126 Grosvenor Street, M1 7HL (7pm; tickets £3.30 at wegottickets.com).
BEAUTIFUL MONSTER | Salford Arts Theatre | 28 February - 4 March
Another horror being revived this winter is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, with Karlton Parris’ Beautiful Monster. Much like Frankenstein’s monster itself, the tale is a hybrid - fusing Shelley’s original tale with the misfortunes of her later life and modern-day fiction. Ghosts, secrets and insanity: expect skeletons of every persuasion to come out the closet in this darkly brooding penny dreadful.
Salford Arts Theatre, Kemsing Walk, Salford M5 4BS (7.30pm; tickets from £12 at ticketsource.co.uk).
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG | Castle Fine Art | From 2 December
SEGA is commemorating Sonic’s silver anniversary with an exhibition of 25 specially-commissioned works, in partnership with Washington Green Fine Art. Featuring works by some of the UK’s leading contemporary artists - including Robert Oxley, one of Confidential’s 10 Manchester Artists You Need to Know About - the showcase sees the iconic hedgehog take a break from racing through video games as he’s reimagined in mediums spanning neon to aluminium and acrylic on canvas.
Castle Fine Art, various venues
DEANNA PETHERBRIDGE | The Whitworth | 2 December - 4 June
With her detailed pen and ink depictions of colonialism and industrialisation, Petheridge challenges preconceptions of fine art; often primarily concerned with painting rather than drawing. Inspired by the diverse landscapes and cultures found from the West to the Far East, the collection spans Islamic design to rustic Umbrian dwellings and Manchester’s industrial cast-iron structures over 40 distinctive pieces.
The Whitworth, Oxford Road, M15 6ER (10am-5pm, until 9pm Thurs; free).
WYNFORD DEWHURST: MANCHESTER’S MONET | Manchester Art Gallery | 9 December - 23 April
With the first retrospective of the English impressionist painter and art theorist since his death in 1941, MAG shines a light on the ‘Monet of Manchester’, who grew up here studying law before moving to Paris at 27 to train as an artist. Claude Monet became his principal mentor, reflected in shimmering sunlit paintings such as The Picnic. Also a theorist, Dewford provoked controversy when he claimed that ‘the French artists simply developed a style which was British in its conception.’
Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, M2 3JL (10am-5pm, Thurs until 9pm; free).
BE ILLUMINATED | Lowry Hotel | Until 17 January
Think lighting is limited to mundane IKEA lampshades and minimalist fitted spotlights? Wrong. Roger ‘Papi’ Taylor turns the practical into vibrant works of art, with his hand-sculpted light fittings. Mermaids sit alongside neon hearts and daggers, and swallows swoop down walls; accompanied by spray-painted butterflies and even interactive wings. Curated by established art dealers Comme Ca Art, this is one exhibition that promises to be illuminating in more ways than one.
Lowry Hotel, 50 Dearmans Place, Salford, M3 5LH (daily; free entry).
STORIES OF SACRIFICE | BHMC | Until 31 January
One of very few exhibitions devoted to the Muslim contribution to WW1, this exhibition presents a perspective on the events of 1914-1918 not often found in UK history textbooks. With 400,000 Muslim Indian soldiers and tens of thousands of Arabs amongst those contributing to the war efforts, it’s believed at least 89,000 Muslims died fighting on the British side. A virtual tour of the exhibition can also be found online.
British Muslim Heritage Centre, College Road, Whalley Range, M16 8BP (various times; free entry).
GLUT | Holden Gallery | 16 January - 3 March
With over 1.5 billion images uploaded every day, media consumption has never exerted such a huge influence on our lives. And, far from just selfies, over 6 million CCTV cameras throughout the UK mean we often appear on surveillance photography without even knowing it. In the midst of this unprecedented growth, Glut sees various artists make sense of a world teeming with images via topics from (in)visibility to data appropriation.
Holden Gallery, MMU, Grosvenor Building, Cavendish Street, M15 6BR (Mon-Fri 10am-4.30pm, Thurs until 7pm; free).
STRAWBERRY 50 | Stockport Museum | 27 January 2017 - 28 January 2018
It’s not only Sonic the Hedgehog celebrating a major anniversary this year, as Strawberry Studios turns 50 with a year-long exhibition of memorabilia and mementoes that celebrates its colourful legacy. For over 25 years, Strawberry was one of the UK’s most important recording studios; frequented by the likes of The Stone Roses, Joy Division and Sir Paul McCartney. The exhibition kicks off with an opening event on 27 January, followed by optional elevenses at a local coffee house.
Stockport Museum, 30-31 Market Place, SK1 1ES (11am-5pm; free).
JOHN HYATT: ROCK ART | HOME | 4 February - 29 March
‘John of all Trades’ - artist, musician, punk professor and one third of infamous eighties post-punk band The Three Johns - Hyatt hits HOME with a typically eclectic exhibition spanning post-death to painting, magic to metamorphosis: exploring our increasingly unstable and challenging relationships to the world around us. Browse through John’s unique comic book collection, enjoy a limited edition of Hyatt-as-a-blend-of-tea and prepare to be surprised and intrigued at every turn…
HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, First Street, M15 4FN (various times; free).
NEVER GOING UNDERGROUND | People’s History Museum | 25 February - 3 September
2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexual acts in England and Wales, a milestone which signified a gradual shift in attitudes towards LGBT+ rights in 1967. PHM’s visionary exhibition comes after almost two years of intensive research into the tumultuous tale of ‘pride and prejudice’, and will be accompanied by a full season of events. With the Alan Turing Law - which was to pardon 75,000 people criminally convicted of homosexuality - talked out of court in October, it’s never been more relevant.
People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, M3 3ER (10am-5pm; free entry).
STRANGE AND FAMILIAR | Manchester Art Gallery | Until 29 May
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).