From Spanish folklore to cheese festivals and a South Asian takeover - our ten top things to go see this month

Looking for more great things to do this month? Then check out our Essential Guide to 2018 in Manchester - featuring Life in Colour, Ted X, Chinese New Year and more...

THE DANGER TREE | Central Library | 15 January - 31 March

Using augmented reality (AR) to tell the story of those who fought and fell in WW1 - particularly poignant as 2018 marks 100 years since the conflict’s end - The Danger Tree is a tribute to the Newfoundland Regiment, who had a deadly altercation with the Germans at a tree in ‘no man’s land.’ Created by two of the world’s first AR fine artists, it’s a unique exploration of wartime narratives; featuring recordings by the likes of Sean Bean and Vicky McClure. iPods and headphones will be provided. Central Library, St Peter's Square, M2 5PD (Mon-Thurs 10am-6pm, Fri-Sat 9am-4pm; free)

NEW NORTH & SOUTH | Band on the Wall | 20 January - 24 April 

Showcasing leading musicians from South Asia, and British artists of South Asian descent, Band on the Wall’s three-year programme follows on from the citywide exhibition series that began last year. From concerts to workshops across several venues, highlights include Raghu Dixit (Often hailed as India’s biggest cultural and musical export) and Electronic Empire’s special commission. There are several free family-friendly events too. Various; check the website

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New North & South is a three year programme by Band on the Wall

TIERRA SANTA | Cervantes Institute | 31 January - 28 March 

Tierra Santa (Holy Land) sees photographer Guille Ibáñez - Madrileño-turned-Manuncian - explore the ‘theatre of religion’ in his native Spain. From villagers wearing cowbell suits to frighten the devil, to the more sombre Catholic traditions of black robes and crosses, expect a unique insight into this diverse and fascinating country - and the lengths to which its people will go in the name of faith. 326-330 Deansgate, Campfield Avenue Arcade, M3 4FN (various times; free) 

THE ALMIGHTY SOMETIMES | Royal Exchange | 9-24 February  

Anna (Norah Lopez Holden) is coming of age. Possibilities are unfurling in front of her and she’s ready to take control, starting with going cold turkey on her meds. Her mother Renee (Julie Hesmondhalgh), however, has other ideas. Full of heart and humour, Kendall Feaver’s extraordinary debut won a Bruntwood Prize for its profound portrait of a young woman trying to take back control and a mother compelled to protect her. Best bring the tissues. Royal Exchange, Ann's Square, Manchester M2 7DH (2.30pm & 7.30pm; tickets from £17 at

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Tierra Santa Guille Ibanez

SYRIA: A CONFLICT EXPLORED | IWM North | 16 February - 28 May 

It’s been headlining newspapers and dominating broadcasts since 2011 - but how much do we really know about the Syrian conflict? This exhibition delves beyond the sensationalist media, presenting an objective view on the devastating war; which has already killed nearly 500,000 people, forced over 11m (half the pre-war population from their homes) and left much of the country in ruins. Also featured is A Lens on Syria by award-winning photographer Sergey Ponomarev, exploring the war’s human consequences and its link to the European refugee crisis of 2015. IWM North, Trafford Wharf Road, Stretford, M17 1TZ (10am-5pm daily; free) 

ANNIE SWYNNERTON: PAINTING LIGHT AND HOPE | Manchester Art Gallery | 23 February - 6 January 

MAG presents the first retrospective for nearly a century of local Victorian painter Annie Swynnerton, who was elected the first female Associate Member of the Royal Academy in 1922. Amongst the 36 paintings are portraits of Susan Dacre, with whom she co-founded the Manchester Society of Women Painters, and the Reverend William Gaskell - husband of novelist Elizabeth - alongside landscapes, allegories and works shaped by her travels in Italy. 

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, M2 3JL (10am-5pm daily, until 9pm Thurs; free) 

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Painting Light and Hope includes pieces from galleries across England

CHEESE FEST | Bowlers | Saturday 24 February

There’s no such thing as being too cheesy at this event, which makes its debut with everything from melted raclette to gooey mozzarella and halloumi fries. As if a phalanx of top UK cheesemongers wasn’t enough, you’ll ‘learn’ how to pair this dairy delight with beer and wine too. Bowlers Exhibition Centre, Longbridge Road, Trafford Park, Stretford, M17 1SN (10am-6pm; tickets from £5 at 

GALANTIS | Victoria Warehouse | Saturday 17 February 

Swedish Electronic dance music DJs Galantis will be hitting Victoria Warehouse as part of their worldwide Aviary tour this month. While they’ve written hits for everyone from Madonna to Katy Perry, the multitalented production duo have become just as renowned for their own dance floor tracks, spanning Peanut Butter Jelly to Runaway (U & I). Victoria Warehouse, Trafford Wharf Road, Stretford, M17 1AB (doors open 7pm; tickets £25.20 at 

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STU GOLDSMITH | The Bread Shed | Friday 23 February

As the host of the popular Comedian’s Comedian podcast (seven million downloads and counting) Stu Goldsmith has interviewed everyone from Jimmy Carr to Russell Brand and Stewart Lee. But Goldsmith’s own brand of humour has earned a fair amount of critical acclaim too, most recently with a stellar Edinburgh Fringe run and Like I Mean It, his second international tour. Don’t miss a chance to fend of the winter blues when he visits The Bread Shed. The Bread Shed, 126 Grosvenor Street, Sidney Street Entrance, M1 7HL (8pm; tickets £11 at 

DANE BAPTISTE | The Lowry | Saturday 24 February

Another comedy Fringe triumph, Dane Baptiste brings G.O.D. (Gold. Oil. Drugs) to the Lowry, fresh from hosting live at the Apollo. Exploring our worldwide pursuit of wealth, power and pleasure, Baptiste’s third smash tour has been called ‘original, provocative and exceptionally-crafted.’ The Lowry, Pier 8, The Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ (8pm; tickets from 10pm at 

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Dane Baptiste brings G.O.D. (Gold. Oil. Drugs) to the Lowry

For more unmissable goings on, take a look at our Essential Guide to 2018 in Manchester