From Twitter operas to Corrie quizzes and even a Pride afternoon tea…who says you have to wait ‘til bank holiday?
With August bank holiday fast approaching, so too is the cavalcade of high heels, even higher hairdos and general madness that is Manchester Pride: including the Big Weekend (headlined by Rita Ora), the Parade (whose theme this year is ‘Circus of Acceptance’), Superbia Weekend and the Candlelit Vigil finale.
But, as LGBTQ issues continue to gain ground (recent changes including a new charter and the appointment of former Lord Mayor Carl Austin-Behan as a LGBT advisor to Andy Burnham), there are plenty more ways to celebrate before the bank holiday bonanza…
#ECHOCHAMBER | 53Two | 14-15 August
Featuring an online relationship between two women, and the mounting backlash, this Anglo-Icelandic opera invites audiences to tweet their 'deepest, darkest secrets' onto a live twitter feed - exploring the impact of social media on our mental health. Do we ever truly live offline? Supported by Arts Council and Superbia.
CLOSETS THE MUSICAL | Hope Mill Theatre | 14-23 August
An original musical starring Lloyd Daniels (X-Factor, Joseph) and Sam Retford (Ackley Bridge), Closets also explores how far we’ve come with LGBT rights since 1988. Teenager Henry, struggling with his sexuality and daily battles with his mother, finds an unexpected escape in a time-travelling time closet - meeting Ben in 2018. But how long can they run from their lives before their time zones catch up with them?
LEVENSHULME PRIDE | Levenshulme | 17-19 August
After a successful debut last year, Levenshulme Pride is back with ‘three days of fabulousness at seventeen venues.’ Events cater to all the family, spanning a disco pride version of Levy Night Market to film screenings at the Old Library and teen yoga with The Owl and The Coconut.
CRYSTAL MAZE | Lower Byrom Street | 22-29 August
For one week only, the crystals will be pink and the maze master’s costume rainbow-coloured, as the Crystal Maze live experience shows its pride for Pride - with plenty more décor additions besides. It’s one of several Pride collaborations throughout Manchester, including the official Glitterbox after party at Albert Hall.
QUEER BOOK CLUB | Partisan | Wednesday 22 August
The Queer Book Club is ‘a space for LGBT+ people and everybody else to discuss LGBT fiction’. This month’s book is Zipper Mouth, Laurie Weeks’ debut novella; a bedazzling chronicle of a lesbian woman’s struggle through drug-addled unrequited love in nineties New York, which has been compared to beat generation masterpiece Naked Lunch.
PENGUIN PRIDE | Z Arts | Thursday 23 August
Publisher Penguin showcases some of the UK’s most exciting queer talent in this special event. Hosted by poet and playwright Toby Campion, the award-winning line-up includes transgender theatre maker and activist Kate O’Donnell, author and Attitude journalist Paul Flynn, Polari First Book Prize winner Kirsty Logan, Yorkshire poet Andrew McMillan and feminist performance poet Ella Otomewo. £1 from each ticket sold will go to The Albert Kennedy Trust, a national LGBTQ youth homelessness charity.
CORRIE QUIZ | Crazy Pedro’s NQ | Thursday 23 August
The Rovers Return meets Crazy Pedro’s this month, as Corrie cast members visit the NQ pizzeria to raise money for Pride. Fans will take on the Corrie Class of ’18 in a quiz to find out who knows more about Manchester history, the LGBTQ community…and, of course, the drama that goes down in Weatherfield. Tickets are just £10, including a slice of pizza and a welcome drink, with all proceeds donated to Manchester Pride.
PRIDE AFTERNOON TEA | The Lowry Hotel | Throughout August
The Lowry Hotel is kicking off its monthly themed afternoon teas with a colourful Pride version - rainbow layered cake and glittery macaroons included. What’s more, £1 from each sale goes to the Pride charity. As well as sweet treats, the £29.50 special comes with gourmet sandwiches, traditional scones with clotted cream and top-notch tea (boozy upgrade available).
It’s not the only dining spot celebrating Pride: Shoryu Ramen is offering 10% off to those who show something rainbow-coloured during the Pride festival, while Grafene is offering 20% off to wristband holders and Hatch is putting on special themed brunches.
YOU BROUGHT YOUR OWN LIGHT | Central Library | Until 29 September
This powerful exhibition by acclaimed Manchester-based photographer Allie Crewe shows there is nothing linear about femininity, or what it means to be a woman, in the 21st century. A celebration of her groundbreaking and evocative work with transgender subjects, it’s sponsored by national transgender charity Sparkle.
REPRESENT! VOICES 100 YEARS ON | People’s History Museum | Until 3 February 2019
A century since the Representation of the People Act, this exhibition reflects on how far we’ve come in 100 years. While suffrage is the main focus, Represent! also covers LGBTQ issues and highlights charities like The Proud Trust. Inspired by feminist zines, it scooped both ‘National Collaboration of the Year’ in the first National Democracy Week Awards and the Museum & Education Partnership Award for its work with Manchester Secondary PRU.