Featuring mesmerising children’s classics, worldwide smash-hit tours and the longest-running play of all time, Manchester’s spring theatre schedule promises to delight audiences of all ages and dramatic appetites with a dazzling array of live performances across its award-winning venues.

Here are some of the best shows coming to the city this season.

Sweat | Royal Exchange Theatre | Fri 26 Apr - Sat 25 May | From £10
Described as a ‘sweeping state-of-the-nation play that embraces huge political and economic ideas in a magnificent gritty social drama, Lynn Nottage’s 2017 Pulitzer-Prize-winning drama comes to Manchester’s Royal Exchange.

The story follows best friends Tracey and Cynthia, who after 20 years spent working together on the factory floor, are tested when greedy, anti-union factory owners seek out ways to cut costs.

St Ann's Square, Manchester M2 7DH,
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.

113 Pollard St, Manchester M4 7JA
42 Balloons | The Lowry | Thu 18 Apr-Sun 19 May | 3pm, 8pm | From £23

Touching down at The Lowry this spring with a blockbuster run from Thu 18 Apr – Sun 19 May, the world-premiere production 42 Balloons brings a joyous, uplifting and delightfully bizarre tale of one man’s sky-high dream from the team behind the smash-hit musical SIX, backed by an irresistible 80s pop score written by Jack Godfrey.

Helmed by a stellar cast of acclaimed actors including Evelyn Hoskins (Waitress, Gypsy, Spring Awakening) and Charlie McCullagh (Bonnie & Clyde, Jesus Christ Superstar), the brand new show transports audiences to the summer of 1982 with a stranger-than-fiction caper which follows unassuming truck driver Larry Walters, who defied the odds, FAA airspace regulations and gravity itself to soar sixteen thousand feet above the palm-fringed streets of Los Angeles in a lawn chair, borne by 42 helium-filled weather balloons.

Pier 8, Salford Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ
Wizard of Oz | Palace Theatre | Wed 24 Apr-Sun 5 May | 1.30pm, 5pm, 2.30pm, 7.30pm | From £23

Led by an all-star cast of Jason Manford, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK winner and Dancing On Ice star The Vivienne and JLS icon Aston Merrygold, The Wizard of Oz brings an enchanting, family-friendly spectacular to Manchester with breathtaking set design, incredible costumes and timeless songs from the Oscar-winning MGM film including Over The Rainbow, Follow The Yellow Brick Road and We’re Off To See The Wizard, with additional songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

97 Oxford St, Manchester, M1 6FT
The Mousetrap | The Lowry | Mon 8 Apr - Sat 13 Apr | 2pm, 7.30pm | From £28.50

Taking over the Lowry for five days this April, Agatha Christie’s definitive murder mystery celebrates 70 years in theatres – now the world’s longest-running play – with a gripping production starring Todd Carty (EastEnders, The Bill) and Gwyneth Strong (Only Fools and Horses, EastEnders).

As news of a grisly murder spreads and causes panic in the post-war capital, a group of seven strangers are forced together to stave off a snowstorm in a secluded country house. When a police sergeant unexpectedly arrives on the doorstep, the group discovers that the killer sits among them, igniting a thrilling whodunnit packed with shocking revelations and a jaw-dropping twist.

Pier 8, Salford Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ
Aladdin | Palace Theatre | Wed 22 May - Sun 7 Jul | 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 6pm, 7.30pm | From £20

Set to the iconic original score by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, the enchanting Broadway and West End production of Aladdin arrives at the Palace Theatre on Wed 24 Apr as part of a UK and Ireland tour. Ideal for families with children aged 6 and above, the classic Disney tale follows the intrepid young street urchin who discovers a wisecracking genie inside a magic lamp and, armed with three wishes and endless possibilities, embarks on a magical journey to win the heart of Princess Jasmine and thwart the sinister sorcerer Jafar.

97 Oxford St, Manchester, M1 6FT
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Mon 8 Apr 2024