Next month looks to be an exciting time in the theatre world, with lots of venues launching their Spring seasons. It’s a leap year, so there’s even one extra day of board-treading goodness to enjoy. Below is a dozen of the best plays, both classic and original, taking place at venues grand and intimate. Don’t wait too long to book, as many are likely to sell out very soon.

The Great Train Robbery | The Lowry | Sat 1 | 8pm | From £10

In 1963, a group of men stole millions from a mail train and were soon caught. But what about the women who got away? Four forgotten females leave behind their kitchen-sink lives and embark on a madcap adventure that’s told using physical theatre, live music, and clowning.

Pier 8, The Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ, Tel: 0343 208 6000
The Strange Tale of Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel | HOME | Tue 4 – Sat 8 | 7.30pm, 2.30pm | From £10

In 1910, two struggling music hall performers shared a cabin on a voyage to New York, and went on to spend two years touring the USA together. Playing fast and loose with the facts, this funny and moving show celebrates two men who changed comedy forever.

2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, M15 4FN, Tel: 0161 200 1500
Charity Short Play Evening | The King's Arms | Thu 6 | 7.30pm | £9

An all-female roster of directors will guide you through six short works about mental health. Taking place on ‘Time To Talk Day’, all the money raised will go to Time To Change. These diverse stories touch on themes such as battling depression and finding your self-worth.

11 Bloom Street, Salford, M3 6AN, Tel: 0161 832 3605
Wuthering Heights | The Royal Exchange | Fri 7 – Sat 7 Mar | 7.30pm, 2.30pm | From £19

Emily Brontë’s classic novel gets a stage adaptation from scriptwriter Andrew Sheridan and director Bryony Shanahan. One of literature’s most famous couples, Cathy and Heathcliff, are played by Rakhee Sharma and Alex Austin. The play focuses on the physical, tender and poetic aspects of the book.

St Ann's Square, Manchester, M2 7DH, Tel: 0161 833 9833
Welcome To Shangri-La | Hope Mill Theatre | Tue 11 – Thu 20 | 7.30pm, 2.30pm | From £10

Cheryl lives in a run-down seaside B&B that doubles as a swinger’s club. Her neighbours are a gambler, a fortune teller and an elderly deviant – so she longs for peace and quiet. A stranger arrives with the promise of a normal life, but it comes at a cost.

Hope Mill, 113 Pollard Street, Manchester, M4 7JA, Tel: 0161 275 9141
Extraordinary Wall (of Silence) | HOME | Wed 12 – Sat 22 | 7.45pm | From £10.50

Three hearing impaired people struggle against the ignorance around them as they come of age. They find themselves transported back to The Milan Conference of 1880, where sign language was banned for use in schools. The play combines physical storytelling, spoken English and British Sign Language.

2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, M15 4FN, Tel: 0161 200 1500
Ghost Stories | The Lowry | Tue 18 – Sat 22 | Various times | From £18.50

After a sell-out West End run and a film adaptation, Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson’s cult phenomenon embarks on its first UK tour. Enter a nightmarish world where all your deepest fears are imagined live on stage. A fully sensory experience, it’s a twisted love letter to horror.

Pier 8, The Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ, Tel: 0343 208 6000
Back To The Future: The Musical | Opera House | Thu 20 - 17 May | From £19.55

Olly Dobson steps into the iconic Nikes of Marty McFly, joining Roger Bart’s eccentric take on Doc Brown, as the duo jump into their souped-up DeLorean and dabble with the space time continuum in this hotly tipped stage adaptation of Robert Zemeckis’ scifi fantasy classic. Read our preview here.

3 Quay Street, Manchester, M3 3HP, Tel: 0844 871 3018
Jane Eyre | Waterside Arts | Mon 24 – Wed 26 | 7.30pm | £15 – £17

Blackeyed Theatre presents a brand-new take on a Gothic masterpiece. Another Brontë adaptation, this one comes from big sister Charlotte. Jane Eyre tells the story of an orphan girl’s journey from her childhood of cruelty to her unlikely courtship with the mysterious Mr Rochester.

1 Waterside, Sale, Trafford, M33 7ZF, Tel: 0161 912 5616
Quality Street | The Lowry | Tue 25 – Sat 29 | 7.30pm, 2.30pm | From £9

J.M. Barrie’s play, written years before Peter Pan, was so well known in its day that it gave its name to the famous chocolate brand. Phoebe Throssel runs a school for unruly children and she waits for her old flame to return from a decade fighting Napoleon’s forces.

Pier 8, The Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ, Tel: 0343 208 6000
Cabaret | Palace Theatre | Tue 25 – Sat 29 | 7.30pm, 2.30pm | From £13

This new production of the famous musical stars Kara Lily Hayworth as the iconic Sally Bowles, and Anita Harris as Fraulein Schneider. Along with the famous title track, it features hits such as Money Makes the World Go Round and Maybe This Time.

97 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 6FT, Tel: 020 7206 1179
Miniature Opera Double Bill | IABF | Wed 26 | 7.30pm | £5

As One by Laura Kaminsky is a coming-of-age story in which two performers – a baritone and a mezzo-soprano – share the part of the transgender protagonist. Peter Maxwell Davies’ Miss Donnithorne’s Maggot is a one-person opera based on the woman who was the inspiration for Dickens’ Miss Havisham.

3 Cambridge Street, Manchester, M1 5BY, Tel: 0161 235 0776
What, Me Worry? | The King's Arms | Fri 28 – Sat 29 | 7.30pm | £7

This showcase features four short plays about paranoia. You’ll meet an agoraphobic woman who unwittingly lets a wanted criminal into her house and see how solitary confinement affects mental health. There’s also a heated debate between a government censor and the director of a graphic film.

11 Bloom Street, Salford, M3 6AN, Tel: 0161 832 3605
Sat 1 Feb - Sat 29 Feb
A. James Simpkin
Published on:
Thu 23 Jan 2020