Film, family raves, festivals and plenty of Christmas market action
It’s big coat weather again. The nights are closing in and temperatures are dropping which means we’re all in need of things to do inside again. Well, it’s a good job we’ve pulled together a massive list of mostly indoor stuff then, isn’t it?
There’s so much to do in November. You can’t move for live bands and musicians making up for lost time, absolutely everyone is on tour. There are great family events, there are festivals of art and animation, the Christmas markets are back, both large and small, and there’s even a family rave happening.
Elsewhere there’s wrestling, a chance to watch immersive theatre with a free pint included and a trailblazing exhibition that’s been three years in the making. Wrap up warm, wear a mask where you can and make the most of wintry nights.
Here's our round-up of things to do in November:
BIG IN JAPAN | GREAT NORTHERN WAREHOUSE | UNTIL 31 DECEMBER
If you love massive chaotic fun with added drag queens, live party game, DJs, assault courses and prizes then you’re probably going to want to get a ticket to Big In Japan. The live gameshow which promises a “mashup of Total Wipeout and Drag Race but inside a rave”, is set to be one of the biggest nights out this winter with a ten week run at Great Northern Warehouse. Still not entirely sure what it is? There’s only one way to find out. Tickets start at £19.50.
HEART & PARCEL COOKALONGS | ONLINE | UNTIL 5 JANUARY
Food and language education project Heart & Parcel has announced details of its Autumn cookalong programme with classes taking place online until the start of January. The cookery classes, which cost £10 and must be booked, are curated by the social project’s English language learners, involve a 1.5 hour online cooking lesson with full ingredients and equipment list. A free cookalong (Alaa's moussaka with vermicelli rice & yoghurt salad) is available on 17 November, 7pm but you’ll have to be quick.
CANCER REVOLUTION: SCIENCE, INNOVATION AND HOPE | SCIENCE & INDUSTRY MUSEUM | UNTIL MARCH 2022
Over three years in the making, the Science & Industry Museum’s new cancer exhibition in association with Cancer Research UK is a world first. Exploring the revolutions in science that are transforming approaches to cancer car, Cancer Revolution digs into the past, present and future of how we deal with cancer, including prevention and treatment. Entry is free but booking is required.
THE FOOTBALL WRITING FESTIVAL | NATIONAL FOOTBALL MUSEUM | 1 - 5 NOVEMBER
If you love football so much that you like to read about it and reading so much you like to football about it, then The Football Writing Festival is very much worth your full time. Bringing five nights of interviews, insight and debate on all things football, journalists from the likes of The Guardian, New York Times, BT Sport and BBC Sport will be leading events. Three of the events will be in-person and ticketed, whilst the other two will be available online for free.
SKATE MANCHESTER | CATHEDRAL GARDENS | 1 NOVEMBER - 3 JANUARY
Well, you better get your skates on then. A vast expanse of ice is coming to Manchester (unrelated to the climate crisis) and you, if you choose to buy a ticket, will be able to skate on it. The covered rink, which means skating rain or shine, will open from 11am until 8.45pm (last skate 8pm) with allocated 45 minute slots. Skate aids will be available for youngsters and booking in advance is strongly advised. Tickets start at £13 for adults and teens with skate hire included.
DOC’ N ROLL PRESENTS| CHAPELTOWN PICTURE HOUSE | 3, 4 & 7 NOVEMBER
Support your local independent cinema, that’s what we say. Especially when it’s going out of its way to bring you three excellent music documentaries in the space of a week. Opening proceedings is A Symphony of Noise (3 November), a documentary following influential musician and producer Matthew Herbert’s adventures in a world where music can be made from anything. St Vincent’s The Nowhere Inn (4 November) and one man’s quest to get to the bottom of a Talk Talk album In A Silent Way (7 November).
KYŌGEN | THE WHITE HOTEL | 4 NOVEMBER
No doubt we’ll end up seeing a lot of fruitful creative endeavours as a result of lockdown and KYŌGEN appears to be one of them. Comprising PINS bassist Kyoko Swan and producer and Happy Mondays techie Daniel Broomhall, the duo deal in avant garde lo-fi beats, that are perfect for the rough and ready surrounds of The White Hotel. Go immerse yourself in sound. Tickets start at £8.
UK JEWISH FILM FESIVAL | HOME | 4 NOVEMBER - 18 NOVEMBER
The 25th UK Jewish Film Festival returns to HOME this month with a mixture of online and in-person film screenings exploring Jewish and Israeli life, history and culture. The programme, which comprises four diverse films, includes Shalom Taiwan which tells the story of a Rabbi who ventures to Taiwan in the hope of getting investment for his Argentinian community.
WINTER ISLAND | ESCAPE TO FREIGHT ISLAND | 12 NOVEMBER - 31 DECEMBER
Winter is coming and with it, wonderlands. Escape To Freight Island’s version will be the largest heated outdoor market in the UK packing in a Christmas tree forest, workshops, music events, comedy and film nights, record fairs, live karaoke and more. An alternative to the city centre festivities. Booking is required.
SUSTAINABLE MARKET | HATCH | 6 NOVEMBER
Hatch on Oxford Road is hosting a one off market of sustainable bits and bobs in November, with ethical and diverse food vendors alongside artisans and craftspeople - all guilt-free. Sourdough, hot sauce, cakes and bakes are just some of what to expect alongside vintage fashion, ethical skincare and hand-fired pottery. Entry is free and the market will take place 11am until 5pm.
THE PLAYHOUSE PROJECT FAMILY RAVE | ESCAPE TO FREIGHT ISLAND | 7 NOVEMBER
I think we can all agree that kids need raves. Blue skittles and a dance, nothing wrong with that. But there’s not many of them about so when the opportunity arises to go to one, you need to take it. Let the all-female DJ collective Disco Moms fire up you and your kids with a guaranteed feelgood set of disco, techno, italo and boogie at Escape to Freight Island’s family rave. Also expect crafts, face painting, bubble machines and plenty for kids of all ages. A much easier comedown. 10am - noon, tickets are £7.50.
WWE LIVE | AO ARENA | 10 NOVEMBER
Do you know your people’s elbow from your 619? It doesn’t matter either way because The Rock isn’t going to be there and everyone is invited. WWE Live is coming to Manchester and it’s going to be peak wrestling. Watch on as shiny men and women with athletic bodies fight it out for *checks notes* belts and glory. Suspend your belief, expect surprises and lap up that sweet sweet ring-based melodrama. Jokes aside it means a lot for wrestling fans and no doubt the atmosphere will be excellent. Tickets from £29.85.
POPPIES | IWM NORTH | 10 NOVEMBER
The IWM North in Salford is about to get the Tower of London treatment as Paul Cummins’ poppies sculpture piece, which toured the country between 2014 and 2018, returns to Manchester, redesigned, as a permanent exhibition. The new installation, entitled Poppies, will see the flowers cascade from the museum’s air shard tower, pooling on the floor of the museum. The installation is free to view.
MANCHESTER CHRISTMAS MARKETS | VARIOUS | 12 NOVEMBER - 22 DECEMBER
Love them or loathe them, the city centre Christmas markets are back. Spreading out across sites in the city centre with a central market hub at Piccadilly Gardens, the nation’s favourite Christmas markets will bring back beloved vendors old and new for chilly evenings of beer, sausage, mulled wine and more. This year’s event includes upgraded covered seating at Piccadilly with accessible toilet facilities, a French-themed King Street and of course the skate Manchester ice rink. Entry is free, fill your boots.
MATES | NEW MAKER YARDS | 13 - 21 NOVEMBER
Quite an intriguing one, this. As part of new housing developments around Middlewood Locks, Get Living, the neighbourhood operator have teamed up with Hope Mill Theatre for an immersive theatre experience across three apartments in the new development. The play, Mates, will celebrate the city’s culture and lifestyle complete and even includes a house party (don’t you dare spill anything) and a photobooth. The free tickets include a free pint or burger at SEVEN BRO7HERS Middlewood Locks too.
WINTER GARDENS MARKETS | PLATT FIELDS MARKET GARDEN | 13 NOVEMBER - 19 DECEMBER
After the success of their foodie one-dayer this month, which enticed the likes of Erst, The Creameries and Where The Light Gets In to set up stall, Platt Fields Market Garden is set for another ambitious event this month with their winter gardens markets. Packing in six weeks of festivities, the markets will host food traders, local makers, musicians and artists as well as plenty of kids activities. A cosy seated and heated marquee will keep the cold at bay too. Entry is free.
JIM MOIR: RETURN OF THE GAS MISER | CONTEMPORARY SIX | 13- 27 NOVEMBER
What’s on the end of the stick, Vic? Well, the stick on this occasion is actually a paintbrush. Loosen your jewellery, comb your hair and welcome Britain’s top light entertainer to Manchester. Best known as cult surrealist comedian Vic Reeves, you might not know that Jim Moir is also a visual artist who has been making paintings, prints and drawings since the 80s. The Leeds born creative brings his barmy pot of ideas in the form of art to Contemporary Six for a special exhibition this November. Expect mischievous, satirical and at times touching works in a number of disciplines from pencil-drawn caricatures of sad superheroes on the loo to delicate watercolours of garden birds. There are plenty of suitably weird self-portraits too. Entry is free.
MANCHESTER ANIMATION FESTIVAL | VARIOUS | 14 - 30 NOVEMBER
This one’s about as niche as a Norwegian stop-motion short about artichokes. Actually, I’d watch that, so maybe there is something at Manchester Animation Fest for everyone? This week-long event dedicated to all things animation brings together professionals from all over the 3D world to give talks, masterclasses and panels to budding animators some inspo. There’s also plenty for mere mortals who simply want to watch some films - just don’t call them cartoons. Tickets for the whole event are £45 or you can buy individual ones for specific films and talks. See the whole list of screenings and events for Manchester Animation Fest. You can also watch online.
LIGHTOPIA | HEATON PARK | 18 NOVEMBER - 3 JANUARY
October’s over and, in this office at least, we’ve become worryingly attached to our SAD lamps, growling at anyone who tries to take them away. It’s amazing how a bit of luminescence can top up the old dopamine in these miserable dark months. So we’re all for the return of Lightopia. Always a fave with families, the annual glow-fest will illuminate Heaton Park once again over the festive period. Grab your wellies and give yourself roughly an hour to wander around this park choc-full of illuminated sculptures. This year’s theme is A Christmas Fantasy and you can expect new fantastical displays as well as old favourites including bees, baubles and an abundance of love hearts.
MANCHESTER ART FAIR | MANCHESTER CENTRAL | 19 - 21 NOVEMBER
Fancy yourself a bit of a Charles Saatchi (without the questionable behaviour)? Manchester Art Fair (sponsored by White Circle) makes a welcome return to Manchester Central this year. Originally known as Buy Art Fair, MAF has now been going strong for well over a decade, assembling a progressive collection of modern and contemporary paintings, sculpture, photography and limited edition prints for sale. Exhibitors include at least 70 individual artists as well as galleries from all over the UK including local favourites like Saul Hay Gallery, Contemporary Six and The Whitworth. In the past sales and auctions have included works by Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Grayson Perry. Tickets for Manchester Art Fair are just £5 - or £15 for the launch event and are on sale now.
THE MEMBRANES / GIRLS IN SYNTHESIS / THE EMPTY PAGE | DEAF INSTITUTE | 20 NOVEMBER
You might recognise The Membranes' frontman and best selling author of books on music John Robb from his TV appearances as a commentator on pop culture, his in-conversation events with local legends like Shaun Ryder, or his other band of stylish psychobillies Goldblade. The Membranes precede all that though, their swirling, proggy post-punk has been dishing out tinnitus since 1977. Joining The Membranes for this intimate show are caustic, dystopian Londoners Girls In Synthesis and fuzzy, wonk-punk locals The Empty Page who by sheer fluke just happen to feature Confidentials' editor Kelly on vocals/bass. Kelly definitely doesn't have a gun to my head right now, I can assure you of that. Tickets are £15.
COTTON ON ART ALL-DAYER: WINTER EDITION| HALLÉ ST PETERS | 20 NOVEMBER
If you haven’t cottoned on to this recurrent art all-dayer in Ancoats, then make sure to save the date for this year’s winter edition. With work from over 60 local artists, interactive workshops, and a brand new "Manc of the Year" solo exhibition, Hallé St Peters is playing host to the best bits of Manchester’s diverse art scene from 11am – 6pm on Saturday 20 November. Tickets are £1 for over 18’s (bargain) or free to anyone who buys a workshop ticket.
ORBIT FESTIVAL 2021 | HOME | 23 NOVEMBER - 4 DECEMBER
Combining live and digital works through a combination of in-person and online performances, this year’s Orbit Festival features productions of Figs in Wigs’ Astrology Bingo, Xavier De Sousa’s Ragnant (in which visitors are invited to join an ongoing dinner party to think more broadly about collectivity, community and privilege), Two Destination Language’s Near Gone, and Sleepwalk Collective & Christopher Brett Bailey’s Psychodrama, so all the classics.
As part of HOME’s Autumn/Winter theatre season, the festival runs from 23 November – 4 December with events happening both online and in-person at HOME’s permanent venue on Tony Wilson Place. Tickets are £12.50 for all shows except Ragnant which are £6. Concessions available.
DIBBY THEATRE: FIRST TIME | CONTACT THEATRE | 30 NOVEMBER - 4 DECEMBER
Described as "hilarious and heartbreaking" (a winning combo), First Time is a one-man autobiographical play about the ups and downs of being both gay and HIV positive "in a straight and HIV- world". Starring It’s a Sin actor Nathaniel Hall, the show will end the first leg of its new tour at the Contact Theatre on Oxford Road, marking the 33rd anniversary of World AIDS Day with a special gala performance on Wednesday 1 December. Celebrated for being a "funny and fearless celebration of life and humanity", it really is a sin to miss out on seeing this play for the first time.
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