Drag bingo, an extreme circus and Peter Rabbit
The Euros aren’t going to last forever, you know. You’ve only got until the 11th of July for it to come home and then what’re you going to do? Well, hopefully the answer to that question lies somewhere below with our rundown of things to do this month ranging from arts and culture to a spot of souped-up cricket.
Elsewhere there’s a circus, carnivals, open-air theatre and even a chance to hang out with Peter Rabbit in the Secret Garden. With the rules set to finally lift this month (touch wood) expect to feel something closer to what might've been described in the old times as 'normal.
In fact, there's so much going on this month that for the first time since the pandemic, we've had to do a whole separate article dedicated to festivals.
Without further ado here’s our list of things to do across the Manchester region for the month of July. Book early and make the most of the reawakening city.
MARIA NEPOMUCENO: REFLORESTA! | THE PORTICO LIBRARY | 1 JULY - 11 OCTOBER
The Portico Library is a lovely trip out in itself but now you can get your fix of both ornate libraries and immersive sculptural and textile works in one place thanks to Maria Nepomuceno: Refloresta! The brightly coloured works will be exhibited under the library’s 215-year-old original regency period glass dome providing a vivid contrast to the ornate and calm interiors. The world-renowned Brazilian artist’s work will correspond with an associated calendar of events welcoming back visitors to the library space. Entry is free.
CIRCUS EXTREME | TRAFFORD CENTRE | 2 JULY - 18 JULY
The circus is coming to town but don’t worry, there’s no animal peril, just humans doing extremely "don’t try this at home" stuff in the UK’s largest socially distanced circus big top. Boasting a climate-controlled arena and comfortable theatre seating, watch as high-wire walkers, motorbike riders and trapeze artists all risk potential death or at least horrifying injuries in the name of world-class stunts. Trigger warning: there will be clowns, notably legend on the circuit Harry the Prince of Clowns as well as all of your other circus faves including extreme juggling, trapeze and dancers. Tickets start at £11 for adults and £9 for concessions with VIP options available.
HEARTBREAK PRODUCTIONS | FLETCHER MOSS BOTANICAL GARDENS | 3 & 4 JULY
Thirty years of touring open-air theatre across the UK is no mean feat. Heartbreak Productions celebrates its anniversary this year with a tour spanning over a hundred outdoor venues across the UK and Ireland. Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens in Didsbury is one of the said venues and hosts two shows this month. Wonder with Grimm (3 July) is a family-orientated evening of fairy tales retold for the modern age whilst A Midsummer Night’s Dream (4 July)sees the Shakespeare refit gets an environmental protest refit. Tickets are selling fast so book in quick.
UNIVERSITY OF SALFORD: LIVE AT LAST | HOMEGROUND | 12 JULY - 16 JULY
The University of Salford is taking over the Bruntwood Stage at HOMEground for five evenings of up-and-coming talent this month, showcasing musicians, comedians, singers, spoken-word artists and a choice selection of award-winning graduates from The School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology. Live At Last, produced by the New Adelphi Theatre in collaboration with HOME, will be a welcome opportunity to see some of the city’s brightest new talent. Entry is free but booking for food is encouraged if you fancy a table.
HALE BARNS CARNIVAL | ST AMBROSE PLAYING FIELDS | 16 & 18 JULY
More sun-bleached fields full of family fun and feel-good music, this time at Hale Barns Carnival. Operating at a 50% capacity this year to ensure a COVID-19 safe time for all attendees, this year’s weekender includes Kidchella, a foodie village, bars, supercars, a funfair and animal displays. And saving the best for last, there will be music but not just any music though, the one and only Boney M. Oddysey, Russel Watson and Katrina and the Waves will also be headlining - no offence to them but nothing screams summer like trying to not spill whatever's in your plastic pint glass to the sound of Daddy Cool. Tickets start at £28 for adults, £15 for under 16s.
KAROL KOCHANOWSKI: PATIENCE.HEADSPACE.RESILIENCE | HOME | 16 JULY - 5 SEPTEMBER
A new exhibition comes to HOME this month showcasing one the winners of last year’s inaugural Manchester Open Exhibition Awards. Showing on HOME’s Granada Foundation Gallery walls, patience.HEADSPACE.resilience will see a selection of works by Manchester-based Polish artist and painter Karol Kochanowski. His pieces depict seemingly normal spaces populated with strange forms, inspired by 20th century Avante-garde artists and everyday environments resulting in a striking body of work. Entry is free.
PATTERNS | STRETFORD PUBLIC HALL | 17 - 18 JULY
There’s a welcome opportunity to experience some art out of this city centre this month at Stretford Public Hall. Artist residency and community art project ELEVATE, which aims to celebrate the artistic talents of underrepresented people in the community, is running a two day exhibition showcasing works from locals and high profile artists alike. Pieces from Vanessa Scott, Princess Arinola Adegbite and Xhi Ndubisi will be on show as well as workshops throughout the weekend. Entry is free.
REOPENING MONTH | MANCHESTER JEWISH MUSEUM | 2 JULY
July is opening month at Manchester Jewish Museum, kicking off with a collaboration between Manchester International Festival and Turner Prize-winning artist Laure Provoust. The Long Waited, Weighted, Gathering (2 July - 3 October) will take over the museum’s Ladies’ Gallery space with an immersive installation transporting visitors through the history of the Grade II listed building. A brand new gallery also awaits as does a new café serving vegetarian takes on classic Jewish dishes. Admission is £6 for adults, £5 concessions and £4.
THE HUNDRED | EMIRATES OLD TRAFFORD | 25 & 28 JULY
Cricket is getting a shiny new refit this summer in the form of new tournament, The Hundred. Detouring from the traditional county teams format, the new format will see eight city-based teams (men’s and women’s) batting it out in T20 style matches. The tournament comes with an official song by Jax Jones, live music, street food, pyrotechnics and plenty of other bells and whistles to try and coax in not your average fun. The Manchester Originals’ (men’s and women’s) first home game at Emirates, Old Trafford (25 July) is a doubleheader against Birmingham Phoenix whilst the Northern Superchargers visit later in the month (28 July). Tickets are available now.
RIOT ACT | OLDHAM COLISEUM | 21 JULY
Created and performed by Alexis Gregory, Riot Act is a stage performance made word for word with interviews from three key figures of the LGBT+ rights movement including Michael Anthony Nozzi; a survivor of the Stonewall Riots, Lavina Co-op; an alternative 70s drag artist and Paul Burston; 90s London AIDS activist. Already critically acclaimed, the show forms part of the Oldham Pride celebrations. Tickets start at £7.
DRAG BINGO ON THE BEACH | GREAT NORTHERN BEACH CLUB | 22 JULY
Drag fans start your engines. Drag Bingo On The Beach is coming to the Great Northern Warehouse for an evening of big hair, big drinks, big prizes and endless slaying. Hosted by drag sensation Miss Blair expect shade, slaying and extravagance with the drinks, beach furniture and vibe of a Balearic beach getaway. Tickets are available now.
THE PETER RABBIT SECRET GARDEN | TRAFFORD CENTRE | 22 JULY - 30 AUGUST
Looking for something to do with the kids this month that also might bring a bit of therapeutic relief from the peril and misery outside? The Peter Rabbit Garden should sort you out. Join harmless, fluffy wouldn’t hurt a fly Peter Rabbit and his wholesome pals for a feelgood family entertainment experience. Expect flowerpot painting, seed planting and even a meet and greet with the bunny himself with a woodland themed professional photography opportunity to go with it. Tickets are £10 for children and £12 for adults.
GREAT NORTHERN SUMMER OF SHAKESPEARE | GREAT NORTHERN WAREHOUSE | 29 JULY - 15 AUGUST
From new drama to old, it would appear that the Great Northern Warehouse has something for everyone this summer. Teaming up with Manchester’s The GOAT MCR theatre company, Great Northern will be putting its city centre amphitheatre to authentic use with a programme of live performances including Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet. Make sure you bring a blanket or a cushion. Waterproofs also advised. Tickets for Much Ado are pay-what-you-can and available now.
Last month’s cultural offering continues
A reminder that much of June’s cultural programme continues throughout the summer. The English Hall of Fame at the National Football Museum continues until November, ideal for those who now have a reinvigorated love for the beautiful game. Halle’s Summer Season continues until 22 July and Use Hearing Protection: The Early Years of Factory Records at the Science and Industry Museum continues until January next year. If you’re already pre-empting a post-Euros comedown, First Street’s Summer of Sport should see you through with big-screen coverage of The Tour De Force and the Tokyo Olympics.
Follow Davey on Twitter: @dbretteats
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