From Sunset Boulevard to Pippin and Women in Comedy, here's our pick of Manchester's theatre & comedy scene over the next two months

PIPPIN | Hope Mill Theatre | 29 August - 23 September

It shares the same director at Hope Mill Theatre’s smash hit Hair, it’s a recreation of the Tony award-winning musical and it boasts a score by Wicked’s Stephen Schwartz. Needless to say, Pippin hasn’t disappointed and is already garnering rave reviews across the board. Telling the story of a young prince on his search for meaning and significance, this Broadway hit promises a magical eve indeed. Hope Mill Theatre, 113 Pollard Street, M4 7JA (various times; tickets £20 at

FREAK | 53Two | 31 August - 9 September 

Georgie is 30 with dirty secrets. She drinks in her bedroom and hides from the sun. Leah is fifteen with teenage dreams. She practices her sex face and Veets. A lot. But not everything is Instagram and roses. Freak - raw, honest, deadpan - explores the existence of women, the struggles they face as society attempts to shape them into 'perfection' and the obsession with trying to fit in the mould in a social media-driven world. Powerful stuff. 53Two, Lawrence House, 8 Albion Street, M1 5LN (7.30pm; tickets £8 at

OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR | Oldham Coliseum | 8-30 September

Pack up your troubles with Joan Littlewood’s critically acclaimed satirical wartime musical, which hits Oldham on the 100th anniversary of the Passchendaele campaign. Performed as an end-of-pier show by a troupe of Pierrot entertainers, Oh What a Lovely War relives the horror and dark humour of WW1 through song, dance and stunning visuals - featuring classics like It’s A Long Way To TipperaryPack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag and Keep The Home Fires BurningOldham Coliseum, Fairbottom Street, Oldham OL1 3SW (7.30pm; tickets from £15 at

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UP THE BUNTING | Bar Pop | 13-14 September

It's the annual village fete and Colin is looking forward to his traditional bric-a-brac browse. But this time, things are different. Where has hook-a duck gone? Why are there strange sounds coming out of a tent that wasn’t there last year? Beyond the trestle tables and beneath the bunting, things are changing...Colin is about to have an encounter with the force of nature that is Lisa. Comedic and compelling, Up the Bunting features Stephen Donald and Corrie’s Hayley Cartwright. Bar Pop, 10 Canal Street, M1 3EZ (8pm; tickets £7 from

GERVASE PHINN | Waterside Arts Centre | Friday 22 September

Seasoned performer Gervase Phinn is back with more poignant, hilarious tales of life as a school inspector in the Yorkshire Dales - subject of the best-selling series Penguin series which earned him the affectionate title of ‘the James Herriot of Schools.’ With his keen ear for the absurd and sharp eye for the ludicrous, the ‘born raconteur’ will have audiences on the age of their seats with his warm wit and confidential storytelling. Waterside Arts Centre, 1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, M33 7ZF (7.30pm; tickets £18.50 at

ORBIT 2017 | HOME | 28 September - 17 October

HOME’s annual Orbit Festival showcases innovative new work from across the globe, exploring what it means to be human in these unstable times. Highlights include Bourgeois & Maurice’s razor sharp political satire, Seiriol Davies’ musical about a cross-dressing Marquess, Selina Thompson’s poetical solo on colonialism and Lemn Sissay’s Something Dark in collaboration with Journeys Festival InternationalHOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, M15 4FN (various; check the website

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Bourgeois & Maurice will perform as part of Orbit 2017

CLIMATE OF FEAR | Contact Theatre | 3-6 October

As part of the Doing Nothing Is Not An Option programme - which supports performances that address the climate emergency, in partnership with Julie’s Bicycle - Contact presents a new version of this critically-acclaimed show, exploring climate justice and social inequality. Are the fates of the world and its peoples connected? What happens to our physical and emotional state when the environment is threatened? As three apparently unrelated people tell their stories, we’re forced to examine the impact we have on the world around us. Contact Theatre, Oxford Road, M15 6JA (7.30pm; tickets from £5 at

WOMEN IN COMEDY | Citywide | 19-29 October

In a largely male-dominated industry, Women in Comedy is all about the funny females. Europe’s only comedy festival dedicated to gender equality, it’s been described by patron Maxine Peake as ‘a festival filled with laughter, combined with feminist principles, taking place in the North ... what’s not to support!’ Launching at Frog & Bucket with ‘housewife extraordinaire’ Barbara Nice, this year’s event takes in everything from llama theft to mermaids. Various; check the website

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Women in Comedy performers include Jo Enright

BIG IMAGINATIONS FESTIVAL | Citywide | 19 October - 5 November

Think theatre is reserved for adults? Big Imaginations is a regional group of venues and promoters dedicated to bringing brilliant children’s performance to the North West. From grand auditoriums to rural village halls and everything in between, their mission is to spark the imagination of children aged 0-13 with the wonder of theatre. Manchester events span grouchy Queens to fake beards, puppetry to dance - all with a liberal dose of humour. Various; check the website

SUNSET BOULEVARD | Palace Theatre | 23 October - 4 November

When Joe Gillis stumbles into Norma Desmond’s reclusive world, he quickly becomes spellbound by the faded silent-screen goddess and agrees to help create her ‘masterpiece:’ a film script she believes will put her back in the limelight. But, when his love for another woman leads him to try and break free, little does he realise the consequences. Featuring Ria Jones and Strictly’s Danny Mac - plus a full orchestra performing the classic score - don’t miss Curve’s production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony Award-winner, adapted from Billy Wilder’s legendary film. Palace Theatre, 97 Oxford Street, M1 6FT (2.30pm & 7.30pm; tickets from £18 at