Glam aliens, hotel concerts, new indie markets…and that’s just for starters

Looking for more great things to do this March? Our essential festival calendar features Manchester Film Festival, Irish Festival and more. Link below this article…

NSM CENTENARY | RNCM | From 24th February

Established in 1920, the Northern School of Music (NSM) was founded and run by women and specialised in training music teachers until it became part of RNCM in 1973. The Oxford Road institution will be celebrating NSM’s centenary with a fascinating array of archive events, from historic instruments to artwork and opera costumes.

RNCM, 124 Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9RD (various times; free) 

INSANE ANIMALS | HOME | 28th February - 14th March

Cult cabaret duo and leading lights of the UK’s alternative performance scene, Bourgeois & Maurice bring the world premiere of Insane Animals to HOME this month - an outrageous time-travelling musical comedy in which two hyper-glam aliens arrive from a faraway galaxy to rescue us from impending political, environmental and social doom. A timely treat indeed.  

HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Pl, Manchester M15 4FN (various times; tickets from £10 at

2020 02 27 Insane Animals
Insane Animals sees two glam aliens rescue humanity

TEMPORARY CUSTODIANS | Whitworth Locke | Until Sunday 10th May

Hosted at stylish aparthotel Whitworth Locke, Temporary Custodians charts the story of Studio Knot’s new bespoke rug; handmade by its Indian partner mill and including silk taken from old donated saris. Inspired by artwork from Islington Mill, the exquisite hand-knotted rug is currently being auctioned in aid of child labour charity Goodweave.

Whitworth Locke, 74 Princess St, Manchester M1 6JD (8am-8pm; free entry) 

THE SUN | Science & Industry Museum | Until 29th March

Originally due to end in January, this major exhibition has been extended until 29th March - so now’s your last chance to catch it. From ancient myths to health and wellbeing, The Sun explores our ever-changing relationship with our closest star via intriguing objects and even an ‘indoor beach.’ 

Museum of Science & Industry,  Liverpool Rd, Manchester M3 4FP (10am-5pm; free) 

2020 02 27 The Sun Exhibition
Destructive and life-giving at once, The Sun is explored in all its complex glory

PLAYAZ | Albert Hall | Friday 6th March 

Bringing the best drum and bass to Manchester, with selectors from Shy FX and DJ Hazard, Playaz is one of a trio of electronic events by Dutch producer JBM this month; also including the Ibiza super-brand Cafe Mambo and fellow Balearic bonanza Do Not Sleep.  

Albert Hall, 27 Peter St, Manchester M2 5QR (9pm; tickets £21.70 at 

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY | Citywide | Sunday 8th March

Now marked globally, IWD is both a celebration of women’s achievements and a call to end gender inequality. As ever, Manchester will be joining in with a host of happenings on and around the day; from music to marches and empowering new festivals.

Various; see our roundup for events across the city 

2019 02 20 Walk For Women
Manchester will mark IWD with events citywide

JOY CROOKES | ibis | Wednesday 11th March

It’s not often you see a gig at a hotel but that’s exactly what ibis is hosting as part of its new music programme. This intimate free gig will see BRIT award-nominee Joy Crookes joined by emerging artists Tobi Sunmola and Velvet Shakes for an evening of exciting fresh talent.

ibis, 96 Portland Street, Manchester M1 4GX (7-10pm; free registration at

CRYSTAL MAZE | Lower Byrom Street | From 2020

Manchester’s real-life version of nineties cult TV show The Crystal Maze has had a facelift: its biggest investment since it opened in 2017. With 20 brand new games - including Crossbow Castle, Lab Accident and the delightful Eggy Swamp - and the 11 most popular existing ones given an upgrade, it’s worth visiting even if you’ve been before. Start the fans please…

Crystal Maze, Lower Byrom St, Manchester M3 4FP (various times; tickets from £29.99 at

2020 02 27 Crystal Maze New Games
The Crystal Maze has 20 new games

BEAT BEETHOVEN | MediaCity | Friday 13th March

Part of Sport Relief, this quirky event challenges you to run 5K before Beethoven’s famous Fifth Symphony - played by the BBC Philharmonic orchestra - ends. It’s only 30-35 minutes so not too strenuous, and you’ll be to supporting people living incredibly tough lives in the UK and around the world.

MediaCity, Salford M50 2EQ (4.45pm; tickets £15 at 

ZORRO | Hope Mill Theatre | 14th March - 18th April

Pounding flamenco, astounding sword fights, music, magic and an iconic hero who appears when all hope seems lost…Hope Mill’s recreation of Zorro promises a breath-taking journey into 19th century Spain, complete with lashings of comedy and Gypsy King hits like Bamboleo

Hope Mill Theatre, 113 Pollard St, Manchester M4 7JA (various times; tickets from £16 at

WHY I'M NEVER GOING INTO POLITICS | The Lowry | | Wednesday 25th March

Star of Channel 4’s hit show Riot Girls and the popular podcast Football, Feminism and Everything In Between (which she hosts with her father Alistair), Grace Campbell has challenged the patriarchy ever since growing up around Westminster. Don’t miss her latest show and Fringe sell-out, spanning Putin’s kids to causing Brexit.  

The Lowry, Pier 8, The Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ (8pm; tickets £14 at

2020 02 27 Grace Campbell
Grace Campbell - 'rude, laugh-out-loud funny and wildly outspoken'

YOU MAY RECOGNISE ME FROM TINDER | Frog & Bucket | Wednesday 25th March

Eleanor Conway’s new show follows her debut tour Walk of Shame; which detailed her battle with addiction and sold out in over ten countries on a multi-award winning 100-date tour. With typical candidness, You May Recognise Me From Tinder takes a frank look at shagging, sex work and crossing lines. TMI guaranteed…

Frog & Bucket, 102 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LJ (8pm; tickets £12 at

THE GREEN LIVING MARKET | Hatch | 27th - 29th March

Featuring over 30 independent sustainable brands, Hatch’s market is a must for ethical shoppers. There’ll also be live entertainment, street food pop-ups and workshops spanning terrarium making to organic wine tasting. Getting hitched? This month also sees the Ethical Wedding Show hit Victoria Baths.

Hatch, 103 Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 7ED (various times; free registration at

2020 02 27 Hatch Zero Waste Event
The Green Living Market follows Hatch's successful zero waste event

BLADE RUNNER LIVE | Bridgewater Hall | Friday 27th March

With its fantastical dystopian sets and electrifying score, it’s unsurprising that Scott Ridley’s Blade Runner became a cult classic. For the first time, watch the 1982 hit on a large HD screen as The Avex Ensemble perform Vangelis’ iconic soundtrack live. 

The Bridgewater Hall, Lower Mosley St, Manchester M2 3WS (7.30pm; tickets from £30.50 at

COTTON ON MCR: ART ALL-DAYER | Project B | Saturday 28th March

Combining the best of Manchester’s art scene into one jam-packed day, Cotton On’s latest shindig features workshops, charity tombola and an affordable art fair with over 40 stalls - not to mention bar and food market to sustain all that browsing.

Project B, 8 Albion St, Manchester M1 5NZ (11am-6pm; free entry, workshops ticketed) 

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