Whether it’s a classic Disney tale or a paean to Joy Division, this summer’s theatre schedule across the North West offers a diverse array of performances packed with creative talent. 

Here are eight unmissable shows across the region, from HOME to the brand new Shakespeare North Playhouse:


Passion | Hope Mill Theatre | Thu 5 May - Sun 5 Jun

Olivier Award-winner Ruthie Henshall leads a reimagining of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s multi-award-winning Passion, a revival that promises to reenergise the tale of love, sex and obsession.

The legendary tale follows young soldier Giorgio, who is obsessively pursued by the relation of his superior officer, Fosca—a woman prone to severe melancholy and mania.

113 Pollard St, Manchester M4 7JA
The Lands Heart is Greater Than its Map | HOME | Wed 8 Jun – Sun 12 Jun

Immersive theatre meets walking tour, audiences are invited to reimagine Mancunian streets as the guide’s favourite and most poignant memories of Jerusalem.

Through these tales, participants are carried through the narrative of Palestinian Jerusalemites who experience displacement, discrimination and exile—all you need are walking shoes and an open imagination.

2 Tony Wilson Pl, Manchester M15 4FN
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast | Palace Theatre | Thu 31 Mar – Sat 4 Jun

Reuniting the creative team behind its Broadway debut in 1996, the latest iteration of Disney’s children’s classic combines all the core ingredients of its original magic—including the timeless music and lyrics of Alan Menken, Tim Rice and Howard Ashman—with modern theatrical innovation and a new parade of costumes. 

97 Oxford St, Manchester M1 6FT
Rambert Dance Company | Lowry Theatre | Wed 25 May – Fri 27 May

Britain’s oldest dance company, Rambert takes the Lowry stage with a breathtaking show featuring three original short pieces which deploy the primal wonder of movement to examine sweeping existential questions about life and the human condition. Following rave reviews for their 2021 show Draw From Within, Rambert’s Salford run promises an awe-inspiring display which contemplates everything from contemporary beauty standards to the concept of home.

The Quays, Salford M50 3AZ
Chicago | Opera House Manchester | Mon 23 May – Sat 28 May

Deservedly labelled ‘the sexiest musical ever’ by Metro, global theatre sensation Chicago returns to Manchester in a sensory assault of opulent depravity and bedazzled corruption. Starring Coronation Street actress Faye Brooks as Roxie Hart and West End veteran Djalenga Scott as her cellmate Velma, Chicago’s delightfully immoral journey through adultery, murder and tabloid sensationalism makes for an unforgettable night out every single time. 

3 Quay St, Manchester M3 3HP
As You Write It | Shakespeare North Playhouse | Fri 9 Sep – Sat 10 Sep

‘Bold, generous and confident’, As You Write It showcases three plays based on short stories from talented young writers, in collaboration with The One Show. The show takes place at Knowsley’s Shakespeare North Playhouse, a brand new £30m theatre complex opening this July, with its main amphitheatre modelled on Inigo Jones’ original 17th century cockpit-in-court design. 

Prospero Place, Prescot L34 3AB
New Dawn Fades: A Show About Joy Division and Manchester | The Epstein Theatre | Wed 14 Sep

Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the brand new production of New Dawn Fades vividly captures the unique place and time in which Joy Division caught fire. Written by Brian Gorman, the show follows the four boys who rode the cresting wave of punk revolution to become one of the most influential bands in history, while charting Manchester’s vibrant history against the backdrop of Ian Curtis’ haunting lyrics. Featuring a soundtrack of Curtis’ favourite songs, New Dawn Fades enlists several Mancunian icons to establish the setting for Joy Division’s rise: Tony Wilson inevitably acts as spirit guide, whisking the audience through the Manchester’s vibrant history with cameos ranging from Friedrich Engels to Pete Shelley and many others, as they each help form a local yet boundless story of passion and grief.

Hanover house, 85 Hanover St, Liverpool L1 3DZ
Wed 27 Apr - Sat 10 Sep
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Mon 23 May 2022