Featuring ghostly West End sensations, global smash-hit musicals, dread-inducing Lovecraft adaptations and more, the North West’s upcoming theatre programme offers a peerlessly eclectic array of creative talent and world-famous productions to delight audiences from the first fallen leaves of autumn to the opening notes of Slade.

Ember & The Vixens: Creepy Cabaret | The King's Arms | Salford | Sat 21 Oct | 7.30pm | £15

Promising a lavish night of unapologetic female empowerment with a frightful twist, Selina Helliwell’s sumptuously sexy new show transforms the bohemian Salford pub into a darkly glamorous haunt for a entrancing evening of spoken word, mystifying music, riotous cabaret routines and a host of spooky surprises, as well as a fancy dress competition for the audience.

The King's Arms, 11 Bloom St, Salford M3 6AN
Romeo & Juliet | Royal Exchange Manchester | Fri 20 Oct - Sat 18 Nov | 7.30pm | From £10

Billed as both ‘a celebration of love, youth and aspiration’ and a passionate love letter to Manchester, director Nicholai La Barrie’s doleful yet heartening contemporary vision of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet reimagines the inimitable tragedy with fiery optimism and irrepressible hope, tracing the achingly cruel consequences of innocent, enchanted impulse when lovers are willing to risk it all.

Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester M2 7DH, Tel: 0161 833 9833
Brown Boys Swim | Contact | Wed 25 Oct - Sat 28 Oct | 7.30pm | £20

Lauded as ‘delicate, fresh and fully alive’ (The Stage), Karim Khan’s Brown Boys Swim examines the largely uncharted social pressures faced by young Muslim men in a fierce, funny new play about ‘fitting in and striking out’.

After navigating a typically turbulent pubescence, best friends Mohsen and Kash are preparing for the most significant night of their lives, and their potential coronation as members of the in-crowd – Jess Denver’s pool party. The only problem for the boys, dreaming distantly of social triumph and effortless popularity, is that neither can swim.

Fuelled by halal Haribo and chicken wings, they launch themselves into the figurative and literal deep end, contending with cold showers and cramped cubicles as they attempt to master their biggest challenge yet.

Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6JA, Tel: 0161 274 0600
A Room of One's Own | Bolton Octagon | Fri 27 Oct | 7.30pm | From £18

Promising ‘a wry, amusing and incisive trip through the history of literature, feminism and gender’, the award-winning Dyad Productions present their ‘richly reimagined’ (Edinburgh Guide) modern take on Virginia Woolf’s seminal extended essay, based upon a pair of lectures she gave concerning the impact of poverty and sexual inequality on intellectual freedom and creativity, with cameo appearances from Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, Aphra Behn and even Shakespeare’s sister.

The Octagon, Howell Croft South, Bolton, BL1 1SB, Tel: 01204 520 661
2.22 A Ghost Story | The Lowry | Tue 31 Oct - Sat 4 Nov | 2pm, 7.30pm | From £15.50

Running from Halloween night until Sat 4 Nov, the captivating supernatural thriller follows Jenny, a new homeowner who – to the dismissive chagrin of her husband – believes the house is haunted. Over the course of an argument regarding belief and scepticism between themselves and their dinner guests, an unsettling atmosphere fills the room, and they eventually agree to stay up until 2:22am in order to discover the conclusive truth.

Hailed as ‘a modern classic’ by The Sunday Times and ‘sheer nerve-shredding escapism’ by The Mail on Sunday, the WhatsOnStage Award-winning 2.22 A Ghost Story arrives in Salford fresh from record-breaking seasons at four West End theatres and a slate of star performances from Lily Allen, James Buckley, Tom Felton and more.

Pier 8, The Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ, Tel: 0161 876 2000
The Colour Out of Space | The Edge | Thu 9 - Sat 11 Nov | 2pm, 7.30pm | £15/£13

Presented in collaboration with The Edge, MAYT Theatre’s gripping adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s uniquely unsettling farmhouse horror comes to Chorlton on Thu 9 Nov.

Marbled through with psychedelic surrealism, The Colour Out of Space follows the horrific series of events which befalls the Gardener family when a meteorite ploughs into their farm in 1882. Pulsating ominously with an inarticulable hue that doesn’t exist on any known spectrum, the object begins to exact its brutal, sinister cosmic force on both the Gardeners and the environment itself, indiscriminately reshaping its surroundings of grass, soil and flesh into a terrible new reality.

Manchester Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9JG, Tel: 0161 282 9776
Hamilton | Palace Theatre | Sat 11 Nov - Sat 24 Feb | 2.30pm, 9.30pm | From £13

Running in Manchester for 15 straight weeks as part of its first ever UK tour, Lin Manuel-Miranda’s multi-award-winning cultural phenomenon arrives at the Palace Theatre on Sat 11 Nov. Charting the life of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, the production recounts ‘the story of America then, as told by America now’ with seminal genre-bending verve and iconically 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
La Bamba! | Grand Theatre Blackpool | Tue 21 - Sat 25 Nov | 2pm, 7.30pm | From £17.50

If you missed its showstopping run at the Lowry in August, you can catch the upcoming leg of La Bamba! at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre this November. Starring Strictly‘s Pasha Kovalev and The Wanted’s Siva Kaneswaran, La Bamba! combines breathtaking choreography with a soundtrack featuring timeless songs across Latin, R&B, rock and pop music to deliver a soaring new theatrical carnival which combines ‘the ultimate feel-good story’ with a flawless selection of infectious tunes.

La Bamba! follows Sofia, a 17-year-old Angelino with irrepressible dreams of music stardom. Inspired by idols from both her Latin roots and her California childhood, Sofia unites a fractured community as she discovers that while talent makes you a star, it’s fat that can make you a legend.

33 Church Street, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY1 1HT, Tel: 01253 290190
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Tue 3 Oct 2023