A round-up of things to do in June including football, festivals and factory records
Nature is healing, slowly but surely. The 17 May restrictions have been lifted and our June compendium of things to do in Manchester boasts more indoor activities than outdoor activities - with not a virtual event in sight.
There’s sport (football, the exhibition), sport (football, the big-screen, covered in lager edition) and more sport (the ones that aren’t football on a different big screen) as well as music festivals, indoor exhibitions, plenty of comedy and even a chance to float around in a shark tank. Don’t ever say we don’t give you variety.
So without further ado here’s our comprehensive but not exhaustive list of things to do across the Manchester region for the month of June. Book in early and make the most of the great indoors.
MORE IN COMMON: IN MEMORY OF JO COX | THE PEOPLE’S HISTORY MUSEUM | 19 MAY 2021 - 24 APRIL 2022
Originally set to open last year to commemorate the fourth anniversary of her death, More In Common is an exhibition celebrating the life and legacy of the murdered Labour MP Jo Cox, who was killed in June 2016 by a right-wing terrorist on the eve of the Brexit referendum. The exhibition sees contributions from her children as well as the Jo Cox memorial wall which will be on public display for the first time since her murder. The exhibition is part of a series of exhibits looking into experiences of migration and the hostile environment in the UK. Admission to the museum is free with a suggested donation of £5. While you're visiting the PHM, why not pop into Open Kitchen's new food waste cafe?
SNORKEL WITH SHARKS | SEA LIFE MANCHESTER | FROM 22 MAY
If you love sharks but hate social distancing, boy oh boy does SEA LIFE Manchester have the activity for you. Its new shark snorkelling experience gives visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with over a thousand sea creatures from the safety of a perspex cage. Snorkellers can expect to see a variety of shark types as well as stingrays, giant green sea turtles and 30 species of fish. Suitable for swimmers aged 10+, tickets cost £40 per person for a 20-minute session and can be booked for two to four people from the same household bubble.
ENGLISH FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME | NATIONAL FOOTBALL MUSEUM | 27 MAY - 27 NOVEMBER
To mark the reopening of the National Football Museum after 200 days behind closed doors, a new major exhibition has launched to celebrate fifty of the beautiful game’s most influential and inspirational icons. The English Football Hall of Fame will see a choice selection of entrants from the 1880s onwards including Tom Finney, Hope Powell and Sir Alex Ferguson and will also feature special footy-related objects on display for the first time ever. This month also sees further exhibition launches including the Lily Parr Gallery (a celebration of England’s first female international) and Homes of Football (an outside exhibition of photography from Stuart Roy Clarke taken in the homes of football fans during the pandemic). Tickets are free for Manchester residents.
OPENING MONTH AT HOMEGROUND | HOMEGROUND | FROM 28 MAY
There’s a lot of events here to squeeze into one paragraph but here goes. Cultural hub HOME has launched an outdoor space complete with a massive festival-style stage at Tony Wilson Place. With it comes a programme of music, theatre, comedy and hands-on activities for adults and children. There's loads to choose from but a choice selection of not-sold-out ones include: Have A Go At Circus (Sat 29 May), Frog & Barrel comedy club presents: Sunday Barrel of Laughs (13, 27 June) and Queeriosity - a one-off theatre extravaganza (20 June). There are also some kids music and theatre events that will be of interest to parents who’re on the hunt for summer holiday smol crowd-pleasers. Tickets are selling out so snaffle yours pronto.
DARK DAYS LUMINOUS NIGHTS | THE WHITE HOTEL | 3–10 JUNE
Over at the cooler-than-thou White Hotel, the multi-faceted art experience Dark Days Luminous Nights finally steps out of the shadow of lockdown having been postponed from its original January date.
Manchester Collective will "re-imagine the live experience for a volatile new age". This part-exhibition, part-installation combining music, film, dance and photography takes inspiration from a journey along a ruined waterway and features the work of artists Simon Buckley and Blackhaine, alongside a dramatic score by Edmund Finnis, Béla Bartók, and Wojciech Kilar.
HALLÉ’S SUMMER SEASON | BRIDGEWATER HALL | 3 JUNE - 22 JULY
Get your classical music diaries at the ready, Halle’s Summer Season begins this month and there’s a bounty of live masterpieces to be enjoyed back within the majestic confines of Bridgewater Hall. Kicking off proceedings will be Elgar’s Enigma Variations with Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, The Best of the West End, and Porgy and Bess all part of a top-notch bill. Tickets are £29.50, £25.50 and £18.50 and £5 for anyone in full-time education. Three of the concerts will also be available for streaming if you can't make it in person.
MANCHESTER CAMERATA | GORTON MONASTERY | 10 & 12 JUNE
The first two shows of the year for Manchester Camerata have been announced and the acclaimed orchestra will be performing them at their new home at Gorton Monastery. Come for the music, stay for the views as the talented lot make the most of the space’s impressive acoustics. Resonance (10 June) will see five classical pieces of varying length performed, opening with Gesualdo’s O Crux Benedicta whilst an evening of Arthur Russell, Philip Glass and Julius Eastman (12 June) will see the orchestra perform classics from the aforementioned modern classical greats to a backdrop of live New York visuals. Tickets are £15 and £20 (£3 tickets available for Gorton residents).
JUSTIN MOORHOUSE AND FRIENDS WARM UP THE OCTAGON | THE OCTAGON THEATRE | 11 JUNE
Bolton’s Octagon Theatre has had a snazzy, multi-million-pound refit so it’s only polite to drop in this month and soak up the atmos at one of the shows. Our pick is Justin Moorhouse and co, who’re bringing the laughs for an evening of up-and-coming comedy gold. Sets from Tez Ilyaz, Jamie Hutchison and Rachel Fairburn will coincide with Manchester local Moorhouse on hosting duties (tickets are £20). For something equally funny with a musical element, Showstopper! The Improvised Musical also looks like a good shout. They don’t hand out those Olivier awards for nothing, you know. Tickets are £17.
MANCHESTER JAZZ FESTIVAL | ESCAPE TO FREIGHT ISLAND | 11-13 JUNE
We’ve all been yearning for the return of live music and the sight of Manchester Jazz Festival on the horizon is music to our ears. Acts including Mr Wilson’s Second Liners, Rebecca Nash, Camilla George and The Binker Golding band will play multiple sets across Freight Island’s three areas - The Ticket Hall, The Round and The Pavilion. The events are free to book but require a table booking, akin to a restaurant, with cancellation fees for tables cancelled with less than 24 hours notice. Pro tip: whilst you’re there swap the money you’ve saved on tickets for food and booze.
VEGAN & ETHICAL MARKET | VICTORIA BATHS | 12, 13, 19, 20 JUNE
Feeling bad about the trail of death and destruction you’re leaving behind with your selfish buying habits? Buy something that’s not bad for the planet and cleanse the guilt from your soul whilst looking at the gloriously updated Victoria Baths. The wares on show will include vegan food and drink, sustainable household products, recycled jewellery and plenty of other upcycled goodies from the likes of Rootstock and 8th Day Cooperative. No doubt you’ll be hungry after all that good vibes shopping so pick up a snack from one of the vegan street food vendors outside and enjoy it in the alfresco courtyard.
4THEFANS EURO21 FAN PARK | EVENT CITY | 13 JUNE - 11 JULY
For a fan-park-on-steroids experience this summer look no further than the 4THEFANS Euro21 fan parks. With three massive screens, football legend hosts (very kind on Danny Mills), DJs and so much beer that you could potentially throw loads of it into the air when (if) England score, it’s the drive-in cinema of football match experiences. With group match dates and the final selling like hotcakes and the entire business model precariously hinging on the progress of Gareth and the lads, we’d suggest booking quick. Tickets range from £30 for a terrace seat per person (with food and drink included) to £60 for a table and general admission for six.
USE HEARING PROTECTION: THE EARLY YEARS OF FACTORY RECORDS | SCIENCE & INDUSTRY MUSEUM | 19 JUNE - 22 JANUARY
Dust off your Unknown Pleasures t-shirt and get yourself down to the Science & Industry Museum this month for a special exhibition telling the story of Factory Records from 1978 to 1982. Wean your kids off Bieber and Little Mix (onto some "proper music" they're sure to love) with the first 50 artefacts from the official Factory catalogue as well as previously unseen material from the archives. An immersive tribute to the Factory Night at the Russell Club also lets visitors bring their own headphones and use synthesizers and decks to create unique versions of iconic tracks. Tickets are £8 for adults, £6 for concessions and under 12s go free with an adult.
FAULTY TOWERS DINING EXPERIENCE | BOWDEN ROOMS | 20 JUNE
Give your dad the ultimate Father’s Day experience this month with a Faulty Towers Dining Experience at the Bowdon Rooms. With two sittings available (12:00 and 17:00), tuck into a three-course, ‘70s-style meal in the Fawlty Towers inspired restaurant as Basil and co recreate the sitcom antics that the super-woke BBC tried to ban (winky face emoji). In what various regional newspapers worldwide have referred to as "a side-splittingly funny laugh-athon" let’s hope old Manuel doesn’t bodge up any dietary requirements. (Disclaimer: dietary requirements are taken very seriously and should be made directly to the venue a week in advance.)
FESTIVAL OF LIBRARIES | VARIOUS | 9-13 JUNE
*Reverts to quiet inside voice* This month sees the Festival of Libraries taking place across the city’s majestic heritage (John Rylands, The Portico, Chetham’s) institutions as well as smaller but nonetheless crucial local libraries (Trafford, Bolton, Middleton). The events which aim to highlight the library network’s vital work in culture, information, wellbeing and creativity include artist residencies, historic photo trails and writing workshops as well as Q&As. Guy Garvey, Jhumpa Lahiri, Gary Younge, and Alicia Sometimes are just a few of the impressive names involved and after a year of being shuttered, it’ll be nice to inhale that bookshelf smell again. All events are free with a selection available online.
FIRST STREET SUMMER OF SPORT | TONY WILSON PLACE | 28 JUNE - 13 AUGUST
Sports fans of Manchester unite. There’s going to be a big screen in Tony Wilson Place over at First Street this summer broadcasting all of your favourite not-football live sporting events including Wimbledon (28 June - 11 July), the Tour De France (26 June - 18 July), F1 British Grand Prix (18 July), the Tokyo Olympic games (23 July - 8 August) and more. Hand sanitising stations and social distancing procedures will be in place to keep everyone safe and there’ll be plenty of pop-up food and drink spots to keep you fed and watered.
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