Valentine’s speed-dating, drag domination, and locally distilled Absinthe
The month of all things dry, vegan, and existential is almost over and done with, and Feb is finally here with a whole bunch of fun things to do and see across Greater Manchester. With a half-term hols thrown in the mix (kids events round-up for that coming soon), a transition into the Year of the Tiger, and a special zombified scare-fest, we're welcoming the second month of 2022 with open arms and curious minds.
There are loads of things to do in Feb from nationwide comedy tours and short films in the suburbs to forest schools and drag domination parties that'll see you through til Spring. In case you're wondering where the arts have popped off to, our cultural calendar for 2022 has got you covered for all things art, music, and theatre throughout Feb, so we've just picked out some shining stars that are set to sell out fast this month.
Read on for a list of the best things to do and see across Greater Manchester throughout the month of Feb.
INDIEFLICKS SHORT FILM FESTIVAL | CHAPELTOWN PICTURE HOUSE | 2 FEBRUARY
One for the film buffs, Greater Manchester’s answer to Cannes in Red Bank is a tough one to turn down. Hosted on a monthly basis, the night entails a mix of short films, food and drinks from GRUB, and live Q&A sessions with the programmed filmmakers and special guests. The night will also end with a screening of the “Director’s Choice” selected by the judging panel at Chapeltown Picture House. Booking is essential and tickets are just under a tenner.
TASTE THE DISTILLERY EXPERIENCE | THREE LITTLE WORDS | 2 FEBRUARY
A load of local booze and some gag-worthy chasers all in aid of a Manc-based charity, sign us up. Hosted by one of our fave cocktail spots Three Little Words, this distillery experience is a collab between Spirits of Manchester and the Manchester PA Network. The evening involves a guided tasting of locally distilled spirits including gin, vodka, vermouth, rum and, dare we even say it, absinthe. If you’re still standing and can see straight after all the shots, there is also time to try a very special cocktail and a selection of canapes from the TLW kitchen. All proceeds go to the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Withington.
SIP AND PAINT EVENT | GRUB | 4 FEBRUARY
GRUB has always got something creative going on, and a one-off live event with a synaesthetic painter is about as original as it gets. With the unique ability to hear colours and paint songs, Manc-based artist Libby Ayres is guiding her guests through her special set of skills as they learn to create their own musical masterpieces. Tickets are priced at £30 and include a welcome tipple, all of your paints and materials, and a guided workshop that starts at 7pm. Food will also come courtesy of GRUB residents What’s Your Beef, Fritto and Korean Grub Club as you create your own visual representation of an LCD Sound System symphony.
MANCHESTER CRAFT AND FLEA MARKET | MANCHESTER CATHEDRAL | 5 FEBRUARY
Running from 10 til 4 on Saturday 5 Feb, Manchester’s craft and flea market is back with tons of local makers, indie designers, and creative collectors. Like a classic flea market, but with high-quality stalls and handpicked vendors, the Cathedral will be crammed with illustrations, handmade candles, plants, ceramics, bespoke jewellery, and vintage bric-a-brac with an “authentic crafty twist”. Not just your typical tat-fest, this all-day event costs £2.50 for adults, and kids under 12 can go in for free. If you’re a local maker or crafty trader, there is also time to sign up for a stall before the first weekend in Feb.
KLUB KIDS MANCHESTER PRESENTS DRAG DOMINATION | CRUZ 101 | 5 FEBRUARY
Condragulations, you’ve made it through another month of 3pm twilights and secret Parliament parties, and as a reward, Klub Kids Manchester is bringing back Drag Domination. Hosted by the queen of the battered sausage Baga Chipz, some of your favourite queens from season 3 are ready for a night of comedy, meet and greets and top-class showbiz performances. VIP doors open at 6:30pm and general admission starts at half seven, so ditch the home-cooked dinner for one and drag yourself to Cruz 101 for one night, and one night only.
MANCHESTER CHEESE CRAWL | MANCHESTER CITY CENTRE | EVERY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY
Meeting in St Ann’s Square and ending on Tib Street, this un-brie-lievable tour is “calling all curd nerds and turophiles” to the streets of Manchester for a two-hour stint of extra mature facts and even feta tasting opportunities. An interactive experience that allows you to meet the mongers, try some taleggio, and make some pretty stinky stop-offs, the tour begins at Haunt on Peter Street and hits up a load of other gouda spots before venturing into the NQ.
With a cheese whizz quiz at the end of the tour and the odd tipple along the way, it’s a grate day out for couples, friends, and family alike. In queso emergency, you should also prep your best cheesy one-liners and pasteurised puns to impress your walking pals.
QUEER JOY AND RADICAL ACTS – AN LGBTQ+ ARTS AND CULTURE CONFERENCE | CONTACT THEATRE | 10 FEBRUARY
Feb is also LGBT History Month, and to unify and celebrate the work of LGBTQ+ creatives, community groups, venues, and educators from across the UK, the Contact Theatre is hosting a day of “discussion, provocation and inspiration” on Thursday 10 February as part of their Queer Contact festival.
Exploring the complex issues affecting LGBTQ+ communities, the conference features panel discussions, keynote speakers, networking opportunities, funding advice sessions, and artist pitch opportunities. With representatives from the Greater Manchester LGBTQ+ Arts and Culture Network and other notable figures including Adam Carver and Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, the whole day is set to be as inclusive as it is impressive. Tickets are £1-£10 from the Contact box office and other events in the Queer Contact calendar can be found on the what's on page. Some highlights from this month's itinerary include the House of Suarez Vogue Ball, the inclusive glitter fest Palaver Party, and a Pan-Asian cabaret performance from The Bitten Peach.
NISH KUMAR: YOUR POWER, YOUR CONTROL | LYRIC THEATRE @ THE LOWRY | 11 FEBRUARY
Your Power, Your Control has been carefully and hilariously crafted by comedian Nish Kumar as he reflects on a period of “upheaval and uncertainty with covid and the political situation”. After being booed off stage for a Brexit gag and appearing on Taskmaster, QI, Conan, and Comedian Of The World, we think Kumar is ready for Manchester’s most informed comedy fans at The Lowry on Friday 11 Feb.
MANCHESTER VALENTINES SINGLE’S PARTY | MAN WITH THE FISH | FEBRUARY 11
Sack off Tinder doom-swiping and blubbering at Notting Hill and head to Man With The Fish for a V-day dating special with some well-curated cocktails. Self-proclaimed to be “the BIGGEST and BEST Valentine’s Party in Manchester”, the night begins with a lock and key icebreaker (yikes), before moving onto optional speed dating sessions and some MWTF BBQ nosh. If anyone floats your boat, you can also re-unite via the SpeedDater app from 11am the following morning, unless you’re already making them breakfast.
Blood Brothers| Palace Theatre | 15 February – 26
Although there's loads of exciting indie theatre going on this year that can be found in our chronological culture list, we couldn't let the “standing ovation musical” pass us by without a second recommendation. This moving tale of twins separated at birth needs to be added to your things to-do list ASAP as the West End hit and its emotionally charged soundtrack grace the Palace stage for 11 whole days. As it "brings the audience cheering to its feet and roaring its approval" Blues Brothers is back with plenty of applause opportunities and the odd blubber thrown in for good measure. Tickets selling out fast.
Jonathan Van Ness - Imaginary Living Room Olympian| Manchester Opera House | 20 February
Emmy-nominated TV personality, hair guru, and self-care advocate Jonathan Van Ness is on tour with a show full of gymnastics, laughs, and hilarious tales of "life as a nonbinary bitch”. If weeping at Queer Eye has become a regular pastime, and you feel like seeing one of your heroes in the flesh, Van Ness will "tumble into your hearts" with his witty one-man show and comical anecdotes. Don't forget to warm up and stretch before you backflip though.
GARY DELANEY: GARY IN PUNDERLAND | THE LOWRY | 26 FEBRUARY
After previously appearing on Live At The Apollo and Mock the Week, comedian Gary Delaney is celebrating the launch of his first book Pundamentalist with a UK Tour full of witty one-liners that “only a master could craft”. Coming to The Lowry on Saturday 26 Feb, Gary In Punderland is asking us to venture down the rabbit hole and giggle through the looking glass with a whole load of perfect puns and some lol-worthy anecdotes. Deemed “one of Britain’s grandmasters of the one-liner”, Gary’s gags are defo worth clearing a date in your diary for in Feb.
CAMELOT RISES | CAMELOT THEME PARK | VARIOUS DATES
There are zombies in Chorley, christ. Starting on Saturday 5 February, the old Camelot Theme Park is set to be transformed into “a world of pain and pleasure” for all those who "dare enter”. For anyone mad enough to venture into an abandoned fairground full of flesh-eaters, the journey begins with sirens, smoke and mangled bodies and ends with a journey through The Valley of the Dead, nice. Event season highlights also include drive-in showings of A Quiet Place and 28 Days Later with a fully licensed bar and food vendors on-site for non-fleshy foodstuffs.
BONGO’S BINGO | ALBERT HALL | VARIOUS DATES
Back with its dance-offs, cardboard cut-outs, and crowd renditions of noughties classics, Bongo’s Bingo has an epic residency in store at its usual haunt on Peter Street this Feb. Running on various dates throughout the month, the chaotic event combines the pensioner’s party game with cash prizes, twerking, and too much karaoke. Tickets for all Manchester dates are now available online, so cop some for your group chat are get ready to fight, for your right, to parrrrty.
Read next: Arts, theatre, gigs: Manchester's cultural calendar for 2022
Read again: Tiger gin, mini-bars, Pollard Yard - MCR food & drink news
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