From soaring smash hits on international tours to enchanting adaptations of modern animated classics, Manchester’s 2024 theatre programme delivers another diverse slate of acclaimed productions to suit thespian connoisseurs and first-time audiences alike.

Hamilton | Palace Theatre | Until Sat 24 Feb | 2.30pm, 9.30pm | From £13

Taking over Manchester for 15 straight weeks as part of its first ever UK tour, Lin Manuel-Miranda’s multi-award-winning cultural phenomenon continues its Palace Theatre run until Sat 24 Feb. Charting the life of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, the production recounts ‘the story of America then, as told by America now’ with inimitable genre-bending verve and endlessly inventive lyricism.

While Hamilton is widely anticipated to be Manchester’s theatre event of the year, the incredible length of its City Centre run means plenty of good tickets are still available to book.

97 Oxford St, Manchester M1 6FT, Tel: 0844 871 7627
Madagascar: The Musical | Manchester Opera House | Thu 8 Feb - Sun 11 Feb | 11am, 2pm, 3pm, 7pm | From £13

Starring CBBC and Strictly Come Dancing star Karim Zeroual, Madagascar brings a wildly entertaining adaptation of the modern classic animation to the Opera House, promising a uniquely immersive take on the Dreamworks masterpiece as our favourite Central Park Zoo residents Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman abandon their placid life of contented captivity and inadvertently end up on King Julien’s island paradise island, kickstarting a madcap theatre adventure full of music, magic and espionage penguins.

3 Quay St, Manchester M3 3HP
Unfortunate: The Untold Story of Ursula the Sea Witch | The Lowry | Thu 22 Feb - Sat 2 Mar | 3pm, 5pm, 8pm | From £17

Arriving in Salford on the back of sell-out runs at Edinburgh Fringe and around the country, Fat Rascal Theatre’s Unfortunate follows maligned villain Ursula as she raunchily recounts her version of events from The Little Mermaid. Celebrating a plus-size icon and ‘legendary queer queen’, Unfortunate is a hilarious Disney-after-dark night out with ‘a hot pop soundtrack and trademark filthy humour’.

Promising a tell-all tale of ‘sex, sorcery and suckers’, Unfortunate provides the misunderstood sea witch with a long-overdue platform to dispel Ariel’s histrionic embellishments, explain what really happened under the sea and join Cruella and Maleficent in the growing group of Disney villains with their own revelatory narratives.

Pier 8, Salford Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ, Tel: 0161 876 2000
Disney's Aladdin | Palace Theatre | Wed 22 May - Sun 7 Jul | 1pm, 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 22 May for a six-week run.

Ideal for families with children aged 6 and above, the timeless Disney tale follows the plucky 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, as the talented cast perform film favourites like Prince Ali, Friend Like Me and A Whole New World.

97 Oxford St, Manchester, M1 6FT, Tel: 0844 871 7627
Diva of the Decades | Contact | Sat 27 Jul | 7.30pm | £15-£17

Led by the magnetically charismatic Shelley-Davina and her peerless vocal range, Diva of the Decades brings a night of mesmerising musical time travel to Manchester with a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ riot of iconic hits from history’s harmonic heroines.

Backed by a team of delightfully flamboyant dancers, Shelley-Davina and her singing partners cover everything from Aretha to Tina in an unmissable celebration of ‘music, empowerment, and the indomitable spirit of legendary artists’.

Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6JA, Tel: 0161 274 0600
Six | The Lowry | Tue 13 Aug - Sun 1 Sep | 2pm, 4pm, 8pm | From £25.50

Returning to The Lowry following glittering sell-out successes in recent years, the searing, smash-hit Tudor satire Six brings ‘pure entertainment’ (The New York Times) to Salford with an irresistible pop-infused reimagination of Henry VIII’s wives.

Divorced, Beheaded, Live – one by one, the problematic King’s spouses take to the mic to remix five centuries of heartbreak into a single evening of defiantly rebellious girl power, as these unsung icons of history deliver a breathtakingly imaginative original score with infectious melodies and ingenious lyricism.

Pier 8, Salford Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ, Tel: 0161 876 2000
Lord of the Dance - A Lifetime of Standing Ovations | Palace Theatre | Tue 13-Sun 18 Aug | 2.30pm, 7.45pm | From £13

Returning to Manchester following a marquee 25th anniversary tour in 2022, Michael Flatley’s intergenerational smash-hit phenomenon brings yet more creative genius and choreographical magic to the Palace Theatre stage with a revamped production this August.

Known around the world as perhaps the most successful dance-led theatre show in history, Lord of the Dance promises to captivate audiences of all theatrical tastes across a brief but unforgettable run in the city.

97 Oxford St, Manchester M1 6FT
Wicked | Palace Theatre | Tue 3 Dec - Sun 12 Jan 2025 | 2.30pm, 7.30pm | From £20

Winner of over a hundred major international awards and seen by over eleven million people in the West End, the global smash hit reimagination of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz conjures a gleeful, bewitching backstory of two unlikely friends and the twists of fate which led to them becoming Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.

With original songs by multi-Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy Award-winner Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin, The Prince of Egypt, The Hunchback of Notre Dame) including The Wizard and I, Popular and Defying Gravity, the production is the 12th longest-running show in West End history, recently celebrating sixteen years at the Apollo Victoria Theatre.

97 Oxford St, Manchester M1 6FT
LES MISÉRABLES: The Arena Spectacular | AO Arena | Thu 26-Sun 29 Dec | 1pm, 2pm, 7.30pm | From £59

Featuring a 65-strong orchestra and breathtaking set design on an unprecedented scale, LES MISÉRABLES: The Arena Spectacular takes over the AO Arena with a jaw-dropping reinvention of the timeless musical tale.

Running for just four days between Christmas and New Year, this once-in-a-lifetime theatre experience captures the story of Jean Valjean like never before, as Revolutionary France is rendered in unrivalled scope and detail while an acclaimed cast performs classic songs including I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own, Bring Him Home, Do You Hear the People Sing? and more.

Victoria Station Approach, Hunts Bank, Manchester M3 1AR
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Fri 9 Feb 2024