From the North’s biggest gaming event to a margarita rumble, it’s a busy month

Looking for more great things to do this May? Then check out our essential festival calendar - this month ft. Sounds from the Other City, Pilot Light TV Festival and more... 


This quirky event sees the residents of Green Walk, Whalley Range, let local artists and designers use their own houses as temporary exhibition spaces. From paintings to ceramics, glass to photography and jewellery, there’s a diverse range of artisanal goods - and usually some fine local nosh too.

Green Walk, Whalley Range; access from Wood Rd, off Upper Chorlton Rd or College Rd (12-6pm; free) 

PLAY EXPO | Manchester Central | 4-5 May

Filling Manchester Central with over 1000 games, the North’s flagship event is back for its biggest episode yet: Fortnite, arcade cabs, pinball tables, retro faves, next-gen zones, VR, Minecraft, special guests…expect all this and more. There’ll also be live shows, industry panels and YouTuber meet and greets. Find out more here

Manchester Central, Windmill St, M2 3GX (various sessions; tickets from £14 at

2019 4 29 Game Expo
PLAY Expo boasts over 1000 games

MONSTER JAM | Manchester Arena | 4-5 May

The ultimate adrenaline rush for motorsports lovers, Monster Jam sees world-class drivers put ‘some of the most recognisable trucks in the world’ to their limits in freestyle, 2-wheel skills and racing competitions. Jaw-dropping, gravity-defying stunts guaranteed.  

Manchester Arena, Victoria Station Approach, Hunts Bank, M3 1AR (Sat 1pm, Sun 2pm; tickets from £17.60 at

MARGARITA RUMBLE | Victoria Warehouse | Sunday 5 May

Fiesta like there's no mañana when the Margarita Rumble kicks off at Victoria Warehouse. With mixologists from fifteen bars and restaurants competing for the title of ‘best margarita,’ it’s up to you to be the judge. Hard job eh? There’ll also be live music a la Mexicana and food available to soak up the tipples.

Victoria Warehouse, Trafford Wharf Rd, Stretford, M17 1AB (various sessions;

2019 04 08 Margarita Rumble
Best margarita? You decide

EMMAUS POP-UP SHOP | The Weavers Factory | Monday 6 May

One of the UK’s leading homeless charities, Emmaus has many projects countrywide. In Mossley, that includes a social enterprise selling donated and upcycled goods with the help of 26 formerly homeless people. Emmaus hosts a pop-up shop every bank holiday at The Weavers Factory - a chance to grab some bargains, support a great cause and check out Saddleworth’s gorgeous new gallery. 

The Weavers Factory, 13 New St, Uppermill, Oldham OL3 6AU (10am-4pm; free entry)

NOW SHOWING CLUB | Old Bank Residency | From Monday 6 May

Manchester’s ‘first dedicated documentary cinema’ - a partnership between Old Bank Residency and documentary film company Dogwoof - will be showcasing 50 curated titles, spanning 24 Oscar nominations. May kicks off with Last Breath, Minding the Gap, Maiden and On her Shoulders; all screened in a Grade II listed former bank. Talking of docs, this month also sees the launch of the Crime & Justice Film Festival.

Old Bank Residency, Hanover Street, M4 4AH (Mon & Tues 7pm; tickets £5 at

2019 02 22 Old Bank Residency One Dish Room
Now Showing Club takes place in a former Grade II listed bank

WHISTLE PUNKS’ THIRD BIRTHDAY | Great Northern | Tuesday 14 May

Not tried axe throwing yet? Well now’s your chance, as Whistle Punks is turning three on 14 May…and is celebrating with £3 tickets all day (full price £22-25). Learn how to sling like a pro from an experienced instructor and enjoy 70 minutes of axe-throwing action. There’ll be birthday cake too, naturally. 

Whistle Punks, Great Northern, 235 Deansgate, M3 4EN (various sessions; tickets £3 at 

TWO MINDS: ART EXHIBITION AND PRINT SALE | Whitworth Locke | Wednesday 15 May

Two minds are better than one. So to raise money for Mind charity this Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19 May), creative agency Yolk has teamed up with five Manchester based illustrators, artists and designers to design a series of limited edition prints. Can’t make the free exhibition launch on Wednesday? The prints will be available to buy until Friday 17th.    

Whitworth Locke, 74 Princess St, M1 6JD (5pm; free) 

2019 04 26 Whistle Punks
Whistle Punks celebrates its third birthday this month

RAY BRADSHAW| Waterside Arts Centre | Sunday 19 May

One in six people suffer from hearing loss. Two of those people are Ray Bradshaw’s parents. Full of hilarious tales about growing up with deaf parents, Deaf Comedy Fam presents a very first for comedy, as award-winning comedian Ray performs each show simultaneously in English and British Sign Language.

Waterside Arts Centre, 1 Waterside, Sale, M33 7ZF (7.30pm; tickets from £10.80 at 


Known for its buzzing atmosphere, incredible supporters and uplifting anthems, the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run is one of the UK’s favourite mass running events. Whether you choose the 10K distance or the half marathon challenge, you’ll pass some of the city’s most famous landmarks and all participants receive a medal. Find out more here.

Old Trafford, Sir Matt Busby Way, Stretford, M16 0RA (various options; entry from £38 at

Great Manchester Run
The Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run is one of the UK’s favourite mass running events

RUSKIN'S MANCHESTER | MMU | 20 May - 23 August

Part of the bicentenary celebrations of John Ruskin’s birth, this exhibition explores the relationship between the Victorian critic and artist and the city of Manchester. It considers the importance of art education, introduces Ruskin and his role in popular culture, and traces the influence of Ruskinian Gothic on Manchester’s architecture and culture. Manchester also hosts the John Ruskin Prize exhibition 2019.

Special Collections, Third Floor, All Saints Library, MMU, All Saints, , M15 6BH (Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, Sat 12-4pm; free)

TOM GRENNAN | Ibis | Saturday 24 May

Winner of BBC Music Introducing Artist of the Year 2018, Tom Grennan is gaining a reputation for both his soulful voice and electrifying live performances; working with the likes of Chase & Status and releasing a debut album to great acclaim. Now he’s set to perform his most intimate gig to date - in the lobby of ibis - as part of the chain’s quirky live music programme. In an unmissable opportunity for indie lovers, he’ll even be joined by two surprise acts on the night. 

ibis, 96 Portland Street, M1 4GX (tickets will go live on eventbrite on Friday 10 May)


Join everyone’s favourite duo as Wallace prepares to perform his musical masterpiece My Concerto in Ee Lad with help from his faithful canine companion Gromit…what could possibly go wrong? This interactive experience features specially created animations, live orchestral accompaniment and escapades from the Picture House Orchestra and presenter Matthew Sharp.

The Lowry, Pier 8, The Quays, Salford M50 3AZ (1pm & 4pm; tickets from £13.50 at

ALL I SEE IS YOU | Hope Mill Theatre | 27 May - 1 June

Bobby works on Woolies’ record counter. Ralph dreams of being a teacher. One kiss and they’re hooked. But it’s 1967 and their love is illegal… A National Octagon prizewinner, inspired by real accounts of queer life in Manchester and Bolton, All I See is You is a powerful story of two ordinary lads poised between lust, self-doubt and arrest.

Hope Mill Theatre, 113 Pollard St, M4 7JA (2pm & 7.30pm; tickets from £10 at

JOKE FOR SCOPE | Stoller Hall | Thursday 30 May

Back for its third year, this popular event breaks down industry barriers with an award-winning line-up of disabled and non-disabled comedians; this year including Tez Ilyas, Romina Puma and Lost Voice Guy (aka Lee Ridley), winner of Britain's Got Talent 2018.

The Stoller Hall, Hunts Bank, M3 1DA (6.30-10pm; tickets from £10.30 at

Tez Ilyas
Tez Ilyas has gained widespread acclaim for his political satire

For more unmissable goings on, take a look at our essential festival calendar.