As Manchester’s illustrious city centre venues prepare to host another blockbuster programme of worldwide smash-hit tours including Aladdin, Wicked and a spectacular Les Mis arena show, a number of beloved local independent theatres around the region are set to stage some of the most inventive, captivating productions in the country, with a staggering array of prodigious acting talent across drama companies from Altrincham to Bury.

Here are some of the best local independent theatre shows around Greater Manchester in the coming months.

In the Time of Dragons | The Edge | Chorlton | Mon 19 Feb - Sat 9 Mar | 7.30pm | £16/£14

A brand new musical from the incredible team behind the acclaimed comedy thriller Spinach, In the Time of Dragons blends heartwarming comedy and irresistible original musical numbers, following the parallel timelines of Deansgate cabaret singer Sheelagh and music teacher Jack, who occupied the same Salford flat in 1965 and 2024.

When a huge storm batters the building, both timelines become miraculously intertwined, leading two unlikely roommates down a confusing path in search of answers.

Manchester Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9JG
Boxed In | Z-arts | Hulme | Sun 10 Mar | 11am, 2pm | £9.50

Staged in collaboration with leading small-scale young people’s venue Half Moon and pioneering Disabled-led theatre company Daryl & Co., Boxed In offers a profoundly stirring exploration of the oppressive, convoluted and largely unspoken rules that govern our society and alienate those who don’t immediately fit within its strictures.

Performed as a largely non-verbal piece to ensure accessibility for a wide range of people, including d/Deaf, hard of hearing, BSL users and non-English speakers, Boxed In confronts the invisible barriers faced by many in day-to-day life and amplifies the injustice of exclusion in a world of nonsensical conventions.

335 Stretford Rd, Hulme, Manchester M15 5ZA
HerStories | Waterside Arts | Sale | Fri 15 Mar | 7.30pm | £10-£12

On Fri 15 Mar, renowned singer-songwriter Louise Jordan hosts an uplifting evening of music and inspirational stories in celebration of International Women’s Day at Waterside Arts.

Following a series of well-received productions dedicated to the women of the First World War, the working-class core of the Suffragette movement and the lesser-known legacy of Florence Nightingale, Jordan expands on her creative ethos of challenging received gender narratives with a one-off show exploring the overlooked heroines of history, alongside fascinating anecdotes from her own life as a touring solo performer.

1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, Trafford, M33 7ZF
(dis)connect | Bury Met | Wed 27 Mar | 7pm | £5/£3

Presented by Bury Youth Theatre Seniors, (dis)connect examines both the liberating power and relentless disillusionment of life as a digital native, in a world where we grow, work and even fall in love through the internet in our pocket.

Armed with the entire history of knowledge and access to almost everybody else on the planet, (dis)connect asks how we should choose what to connect with – and which ties to sever – in an increasingly polarised society.

Market St, Bury BL9 0BW
Treasure Island | Altrincham Garrick | Wed 3 Apr - Sun 14 Apr | 1pm, 5.30pm, 7.30pm | £12-£17

This Easter half-term, the Altrincham Garrick sets sail with a wild, wonderful and action-packed production of Robert Louis Stevenson’s timeless swashbuckling adventure, Treasure Island.

A rollicking family-friendly tale of money, mutiny and murder on the high seas, Bryony Lavery’s dazzling adaptation invites audiences aboard for an unforgettable voyage with Jim, Long John Silver and their ragtag crew of sailors, pirates and plunderers.

Barrington Rd, Altrincham WA14 1HZ
Oliver! | Hope Mill Theatre | New Islington | Thu 4 - Sun 14 Apr | 2pm, 3pm, 7.30pm | From £20

Returning for a third year, the Hope Mill Amateur Dramatics Company presents a vibrant, joyous take on Lionel Bart’s Oliver! with performances suitable for ages 8+ running throughout the Easter holidays.

Following smash-hit, sold-out productions of Legally Blonde and Grease, New Islington’s pre-eminent theatre company delightfully reimagines the timeless musical tale of young, orphaned Oliver Twist as he ventures through the murky streets of London’s underworld alongside the Artful Dodger and his roving gang of pickpockets, led by the Machiavellian criminal Fagin and the brutal Bill Sikes.

Book your tickets below.

113 Pollard St, Manchester M4 7JA
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Tue 20 Feb 2024