Here’s our highlights of where to be and what to see in Manchester in the coming month.
Jamie Shovlin: Hiker Meat
Saturday 18 January – Monday 21 April
An exploitation film that never actually existed, Hiker Meat has been imagined by Jamie Shovlin as an archetype of this often maligned style. Set in a US summer camp in the 1970s it embraces familiar slasher tropes, from a hitchhiking heroine and a charismatic commune leader to a disappearing group of teens. The exhibition captures the genesis of the Hiker Meat project, bringing together props, costumes, photography and memorabilia.
Joana Vasconcelos: Time Machine
Saturday 15 February – Sunday 1 June
Fresh from her success representing Portugal at the 55th Venice Biennale, Joana Vasconcelos brings her seductive, subversive large-scale sculptures to Manchester for her most ambitious UK exhibition to date.
Manchester Irish Festival
Friday 7 – Monday 17 March
Packed with over 200 events focusing on Irish culture, comedy, heritage, literature, music, sport and theatre, Manchester Irish Festival is now firmly established as Europe’s biggest Irish festival outside of the Emerald Isle. This 10 day festival culminates with 100,000 visitors converging on the city centre for the St Patrick’s Day Parade.
Future City Festival
Friday 21 March – Saturday 26 April
Four large-scale cutting edge contemporary artworks in public spaces at The Quays will form a season of visual and aural wonder over four weekends in Spring.
Thursday 27 March – Tuesday 1 April
This collaborative arts festival brings together a variety of artists to present their visions and concepts of ‘the future’ to audiences.
Food & Drink
Wigan Food and Drink Festival
Thursday 27 February – Sunday 9 March
Beer and baking take centre stage at this year’s festival which kicks off with the 27th Wigan CAMRA Beer Festival. Ale enthusiasts can also hop on board the Brewery Bus to visit the borough’s three microbreweries and enjoy a few pints along the way.
Dunham Massey: Sanctuary from the Trenches
Saturday 1 March – Tuesday 11 November
Marking the centenary of the First World War, Dunham Massey has been transformed back into Stamford Military Hospital – the convalescent hospital in which 282 soldiers were treated between April 1917 and January 1919 – revealing the personal and highly emotive stories of some patients, their injuries and how their conditions were treated 100 year ago.
BBC Radio 6 Music Festival at Victoria Warehouse
Friday 28 February – Saturday 1 March
Featuring more than 30 artists and DJs across three stages, the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival brings together an inspiring line up of artists with an alternative spirit.
The Hallé: Russian Spectacular at Bridgewater Hall
Saturday 22 March
This powerful evening includes work from Russian masters of orchestration including Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov. Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto is one of his most iconic pieces of work – instantly recognisable from the first few bars – and full of pure emotion.
Thursday 20 February – Saturday 22 March
Acclaimed TV and stage actress Suranne Jones stars in a stage version of Virginia Woolf’s time travelling, gender swapping comedy Orlando at Royal Exchange Theatre.
Friday 21 February – Saturday 8 March
The Seagull, one of Anton Chekhov’s masterpieces, in a vibrant and critically acclaimed new version by Anya Reiss, is the final production under The Library Theatre Company banner before it becomes HOME, the new organisation created by its merger with Cornerhouse.
Walk of the month
Cotton – Palaces & Merchants
Wednesday 5 March
Discover cotton’s rich legacy in Manchester, from the fabulously ornate Watts’ Warehouse (now the Britannia Hotel) to the 18th century weavers cottages, remarkable survivals on Portland Street; from the Town Hall, topped by a golden cotton boll, to the Royal Exchange where cotton merchants traded in the world’s biggest room.
New kids on the block
Red’s True BBQ
Opens Thursday 13 February
From its site on Albert Square, this new BBQ joint will bring Red’s truly authentic ‘low and slow’ barbecue cooking to Manchester for the first time. Inspired by the origins of deep south USA, cuts of pork, beef, chicken and sausage are marinated in traditional rubs and slow cooked for up to 24hrs in custom built Oklahoman smokers.
Manchester Central Library
Opens Saturday 22 March
Not strictly a new addition more a rebirth, the glorious Manchester Central Library opens its doors once again following an extensive refurbishment and extension. Key features to look out for include the Henry Watson Music Library, the BFI Mediatheque and those looking to trace their family roots back to Manchester should visit Archives+.