From Auction Against Hunger to Matilda the Musical, our top picks for this September

Looking for more great things to do in September? Then check out our Essential Guide to 2018 - this month ft. Head for the Hills, the Salford 10K and more...

THE LONE BELLOW AND LANKUM | Royal Exchange | 2 & 23 September

Band on the Wall are teaming up with the Royal Exchange Theatre to present a season of intimate and inspiring live concerts, held in Manchester’s iconic theatre. The series kicks off on Sunday 2 September with The Lone Bellow and their transcendent harmonies and follows on with Lankum on Sunday 23 September. Formerly known as Lynched, Lankum are one of the most talked about bands to come out of Dublin in decades. Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, M2 7DH (7pm; tickets from £16.50 at Band on the Wall) 

FESTIVAL OF MANCHESTER | Platt Fields Park | Saturday 1 September

Missed Manchester Day this year? Well you’re in luck, because the council has announced a new celebration of the city’s communities to round off the summer - promising ‘a non-stop programme of activities and performances to keep everyone entertained’ until sunset, free family fun guaranteed. More info herePlatt Fields Park, Wilmslow Road, Fallowfield, M14 6LA (12-10pm; free)

Manchester Day
The Festival of Manchester aims to celebrate the city’s many communities

WE WERE STRANGERS | Waterstones Deansgate | Thursday 6 September

A Manchester band, a Manchester publisher, Manchester editor and several Manchester writers…it’s hard to get more local a book than We Were Strangers, a new short story anthology inspired by Joy Division’s debut album Unknown Pleasures - celebrating both our musical and literary heritage. Its launch evening will feature four readings and refreshments (i.e. booze). Waterstones, 91 Deansgate, M3 2BW (6-8pm; tickets £3 from

AUCTION AGAINST HUNGER | Upper Campfield Market Hall | Thursday 6 September

Following six years of sell-out parties in London, Action Against Hunger’s flagship event is finally hitting the North…if you love good food and good music, you'll want to be part of it. Expect the best of both; with seven top chefs, seven leading restaurants and a blistering soundtrack from some of the city's finest musicians and DJs. And it’s all for a good cause. Get there fast enough and you'll get a goody bag bonus with your ticketUpper Campfield Market, Barton Street, Manchester M3 4NN (tickets here)

(Other great charity events this month include the Oxjam Manchester quiz at Brewdog and SOMA Festival at Albert Hall.)   

20180711 Auction Against Hunger Land Of Bamboo 800
Auction Against Hunger has been a huge hit in London

HERITAGE OPEN DAYS | Citywide | 6-9 and 13-16 September

England’s largest annual festival of history and culture, Heritage Open Days sees buildings across the country throw open their doors - including to many areas normally off limits - from historic houses to factories and forts. For the first time ever, it’ll be taking over two weekends; with 5000 events spanning this year’s theme of extraordinary women to many happenings in Manchester alone. And it’s all completely free - time to get exploring. Various; check the website

WOMEN WHO SHAPED MANCHESTER | John Rylands | 6 September 2018 - 10 March 2019

Too little ink has been spilled telling the stories of exceptional women from Manchester’s past - from the mill workers to the protesters who galvanised the streets. John Rylands’ latest exhibition sheds light on some of the incredible women behind a tide of progress that shaped a city in its wake. John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, M3 3EH (Tues-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun-Mon 12-5pm; free)

2018 08 28 Enriqueta Rylands University Of Manchester
Enriqueta Rylands built John Rylands Library to honour her late husband University of Manchester

PASSPORT TO TAIWAN FESTIVAL | Albert Square | 8-9 September

The first and largest Taiwanese festival in the UK, Passport to Taiwan promises authentic cuisine from Dazzling Café and others, bubble tea and Taiwanese beers, traditional glove puppetry and opera, dance, music, photography and crafts. Albert Square, Manchester, M2 4JW (12-6pm; free)

NORTHERN LIGHTS WRITERS CONFERENCE | Waterside Arts Centre | Saturday 8 September

Chocolat author Joanne Harris headlines the fifth Northern Lights Writers’ Conference, setting the bar high for a day of talks, workshops, panel discussions, networking opportunities and book signings with award-winning writers and publishing professionals. A must for emerging and established writers alike. Waterside Arts Centre, 1 Waterside, Sale M33 7ZF (10.30am - 5pm; tickets £35 at

2018 08 28 Joanne Harris Kyte Photography
Joanne Harris will headline the Northern Lights Writers’ Conference Kyte Photography

POPPIES: WAVE | Imperial War Museum North | 8 September – 25 November

Poppies: Wave is a sweeping arch of bright red poppy heads suspended on towering stalks, a visually stunning piece of work that connects visitors with the First World War. In addition to Poppies: Wave, IWM North is presenting Making A New World , a season of exhibitions and immersive experiences whish show how the society we live in today has been shaped by WW1. IWM North, Trafford Wharf Road, Stretford, M17 1TZ (various times; free) 

DOCTOR WHO CONVENTION | The Printworks | 9 September

VWORP is an independent celebration of Doctor Who; with special guests Doctors Colin Baker, Peter Davison and Paul McGann as well as actors who have played companions, nemeses and those who’ve worked behind the scenes of the BBC stalwart. A must for all Whovians. The Printworks, 27 Withy Grove, M4 2BS (tickets from £22 at

AMARANTHINE | Various Locations | 13 and 15 September

Company Chameleon will be popping up at Foundation Coffee Shop to premiere Amaranthine, their new contemporary dance piece on Thursday 13 September at 6.15pm. They’ll also be performing the male-female duet outside HOME on Saturday 15 September at 1pm and surprising shoppers in St Ann’s Square at 3pm. Various locations (free, various times)

THE VACCINES | Secret Location | 20 September

Jack Daniel’s presents The Vaccines for one epic night of music to be held at a secret Manchester location. As well as top sounds, there’ll be a complimentary Tennessee BBQ and all profits go to the Music Venue Trust, which protects and improves grassroots music venues. The final 50 tickets will be released on 7 September. Secret location (7pm; tickets from £20 at

1200Px The Vaccines 2017
The Vaccines will play a secret gig in Manchester

MATILDA THE MUSICAL | Palace Theatre | 18 September - 24 November 

Winner of over 85 international awards, Matilda The Musical barrels into Manchester as part of its UK tour. With book by Dennis Kelly and original songs by Tim Minchin, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s enchanting adaption of Roald Dahl’s classic will warm the cockles with its tale of an extraordinary little girl who dares to change her destiny. Palace Theatre, 97 Oxford Street, M1 6FT (2.30pm & 7.30pm; tickets from £17.50 at

OVO | Manchester Arena | 26 – 30 September

Cirque du Soleil’s latest spectacle features artists from seventeen countries, including the UK’s Alanna Baker who was crowned gymnastics European Champion in 2011. Expect insects and eggs, colour and critters and breathtaking acrobatics that have to be seen to be believed. Manchester ArenaHunts Bank, M3 1AR (various times; tickets from £54.20 at eventim

2018 08 13 Cirque Du Soleil Ovo 1
OVO takes inspiration from nature

MANCHESTER FOOD AND DRINK FESTIVAL | Citywide | 27 September - 8 October

First conceived in 1998 to ‘show the rest of the nation there was more to Manchester dining than the stereotypes that existed at the time’, MFDF has morphed into a culinary showcase of much worldlier proportions over the last two decades - much like the city’s hospitality scene itself. MFDF celebrates its 21st birthday with everything from Battle Royale supper clubs to an exclusive evening with Rabbit head chef John Granaghan. One foodie event not enough? This month also sees Pub in the Park make its debut in Knutsford. 

Various; check the website

2018 08 28 Jay Rayner Quartet
The Jay Rayner Quartet will be playing at MFDF

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