From new beer fests to prison plays, ¡Viva! to the Not Quite Light Weekender - there's plenty going on this March

Looking for more great things to do this March? Then check out our essential festival calendar - this month ft. Manchester Film Festival, Irish Festival and more…

STATE OF THE ARTS | Selfridges | Until 30 March

Take a trip round Selfridges in March and you’ll see more than designer gear. The department store has partnered with Manchester School of Art ‘to showcase thought-provoking art, sculptures and installations by some of its most talented graduates’ so expect unusual exhibits as you browse.

Selfridges Exchange Square and Selfridges Trafford (store opening times; free)

FRIENDS & FAMILY BEER | Upper Campfield Market Hall | 1-2 March

Paying tribute to six 'trailblazing' UK breweries that laid the foundations for the modern indie beer scene, this new non-for-profit festival takes over Upper Campfield Market Hall for a hoppy weekend indeed. Find out more here

Upper Campfield Market Hall, Barton Street, M3 4NN (various times; sessions £60 at

Cloudwater Beer Aw18 One Off Pilsner V1
Friends & Family & Beer is organised by Cloudwater Brew Co

HARRY MEADLEY: ‘BUT WHAT IF WE TRIED?’ | Touchstones | 2 March - 1 June

Formerly Rochdale Art Gallery, Touchstones boasts a collection of over 1500 works - yet only a limited number can practically be displayed at any time. ‘But what if we tried (displaying more)?’ said artist Harry Meadley. The result is this impressive exhibition and a rare chance to see pieces that often go unseen.

Touchstones, The Esplanade, Rochdale OL16 1AQ (10am-5pm Tues-Sat; free)

BREW POWER FUNDRAISER | Town Hall Tavern | Sunday 3 March

A homeless organisation inspired by the power of a cuppa and a chat, Brew Power celebrates its first birthday this March with a live music fundraiser. There’ll be Pieminister pies, brews of the boozier kind, jam sessions and a live set from jazz maestro Tom Seals. Entry is free but donations welcome.

Town Hall Tavern, 20 Tib Lane, M2 4JA (2-6pm; free)

ANGIE THOMAS: THE HATE U GIVE | Central Library | Wednesday 6 March

With over 2 million copies sold worldwide and a major movie adaptation, Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give - inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement - was a debut sensation. Thomas is back in the UK to talk about her second novel On The Come Up; another intergenerational tale of class, race and following your dreams. 

Central Library, St Peter's Square, M2 5PD (7pm; tickets from £5 at

Central Library 2
Author Angie Thomas will talk at Central Library

CULTURE CURE: LATE | Science & Industry Museum | Wednesday 6 March

Let ‘culture be your cure’ at SIM’s next adults-only Late, which explores the connections between arts and health via a packed programme of laughter workshops, wearable sculptures and even gynaecological comedy…Not one for the squeamish.

Science & Industry Museum, Liverpool Road, M3 4FP (7-10pm; free registration required at

2019 02 25 Amy Vreeke Copyright Andy Hollingworth
Amy Vreeke destigmatises endometriosis with her show 'My Vagina Tried to Kill Me'

Also check out our 15 ways to celebrate International Women's Day (8 March)

THE STRETCH | 53 Two | 6-15 March

The Stretch started as a fifteen-minute piece at the regular JB Shorts night, which showcases short plays from some of TV’s top writers. Such was its success, it’s been extended to an hour. Telling the story of Lee, who finds himself inside after one terrible mistake, it’s an unflinching look at prisons, their effects and the often tumultuous return to society.

53Two, Lawrence House, 8 Albion Street, M1 5LN (7.30pm; tickets £10 at

NOURISH | Trove | Thursday 7 March

Want to see what all this vegan malarkey’s about before you commit - and learn some handy life hints while you’re it? Enter Nourish; a plant-based supper club hosted by experts across health and fitness, from doctor and Tribe MCR founder Jessicarr Moorhouse to yoga guru Amy Patsalides.

Trove, 5 Murray Street, M4 6HS (7.30-9.30pm; tickets £26.79 at

Trove Levenshulme
Trove, Levenshulme

CHECK UP: OUR NHS @ 70 | HOME | 8-9 March

Mark Thomas is 54, the NHS is 70. UK national average life expectancy is 84. If Mark makes it to 84 the NHS will be 100 - what will they both look like? Based on interviews with leading experts across the board, Thomas explores. For more NHS anniversary tales, also check out Drip Drip at Waterside Arts Centre.

HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, M15 4FN (8pm; tickets from £12 at 

DESPERATE JOURNALIST | The Deaf Institute | Friday 15 March 

London band Desperate Journalist (‘dark, melancholic post-punk with a vocalist who sits somewhere between Bjork and Morrissey’) will be joined by Manchester’s own The Empty Page (‘fuzz pedals, bruised melodies’) in this evening of under-the-radar talent. 

The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, M1 7HE (7pm; tickets £12.10 at

2019 02 25 Empty Page Band
The Empty Page Band


¡Viva! festival celebrates its 25th birthday with some of the most exciting film and theatre from across the Spanish-speaking world. Expect everything from doppelgangers to death metal, free parties to Q&As and Buenos Aires rhythms with Manchester Camerata.  

HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, M15 4FN (various; check the website)

ONE DISH ROOM: SPOONS | Old Bank Residency | 27 & 30 March

Hosted by NOMA’s Old Bank Residency - a twelve-month programme of creative events inside a former bank - this quirky workshop is one of a series in which guests can help built things for its new café, One Dish Room. Missed out on Pilcrow Pub? Then this is one for you. 

Old Bank Residency, Hanover Street, NOMA, M4 4AH (various times; free registration on eventbrite)

2019 02 22 Old Bank Residency One Dish Room
Help to create the One Dish Room cafe

SEAN MCLOUGHLIN | The Patron | Thursday 28 March

Fresh from opening for Ricky Gervais and Bill Burr on tour, Sean McLoughlin (‘the best comedian you haven’t heard of yet’ - Time Out) takes his smash hit show Hail Mary on the road. A frank, funny look at humanity - and where it’s going… 

The Patron, 42-44 Oldham Street, M4 1LE (8pm; tickets from £9.90 at

BONGO’S BINGO XL | Manchester Central | 28-29 March

The bastardised bingo is back for a triple-date weekender, departing its Albert Hall home for Manchester Central in this ‘XL’ special. Expect all the usual rave-bingo madness, joined by Blue’s Simon Webbe and Lee Ryan.

Manchester Central, Windmill Street, M2 3GX (6pm; tickets £22 at

Bongos Bingo Confetti
Bongo's - bingo but not as you know it...

NOT QUITE LIGHT | Citywide | 28-31 March

Debuting in 2016, Not Quite Light has since become a calendar staple; combining art, architecture, music and debate from dusk til dawn. From gothic storytelling to artist talks and children’s card city making, there’s something for all ages.  

Various; check the website

2018 05 10 Simon Buckley 7
NQL Simon Buckley

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