Monday 20 January 2020

What's On This Spring For Families in Manchester and the North West

Here's my Spring round up of what is happening in and around Manchester and the North West UK for families of all ages, including students and young people. Theatre, exhibitions, days out, shopping and more...

Whats on in Manchester and the NW UK this Spring collage of events below

If you have anything suitable you wish me to add, please send short copy over with a photo to The next round up will cover Easter onwards...

The Art of the Brick
Unit 5 Great Northern Warehouse, Deansgate, Manchester

Friday 22nd November - 20th April 2020 (we had press tickets and reviewed - my The Art Of The Brick Review is here and it's photo heavy).
Featuring almost 100 pieces of art made from  more than a million iconic LEGO bricks, masterfully positioned with artistic skill by award-winning artist Nathan Sawaya.
The Art of the Brick features 3D sculptures and oversized portraits from Sawaya’s collection. Popular pieces include My Boy, Dinosaur and captivating recreations of iconic art, including the Mona Lisa.

Prices start from £9.50 for children / £14.50 for adults / concessions £12.00 / family of four £42.00.
Sunday – Wednesday: 10am – 6pm (last entry 5pm)
Thursday: 10am – 8pm (last entry 7pm)
Friday – Saturday: 10am – 7pm (last entry 6pm)

For more information and to book tickets for The Art of the Brick Manchester visit

Manchester Open Exhibition 2020 (Part of Push Festival 2020) 
HOME, Manchester

Sat 18 Jan 2020 – Sun 29 Mar 2020
At HOME, we believe that everyone’s an artist. Manchester Open Exhibition is a major open-entry art show celebrating the creative talent of over 500 Greater Manchester residents, as selected by a panel consisting of art experts and community representatives.
The Manchester Open will bring together artwork including paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, digital and mixed media, video and audio, spoken word, performance and more -  including YARN, a crowd-sourced poem in which I have a line!

Mon – Sat: 12:00 – 20:00 Sun: 12:00 – 18:00. Admission is FREE. Find out more on the HOME, Manchester website. 

Spring Family Theatre
Waterside, Sale

2nd The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Theatre) 11am and 2pm
9th Stella & the Starshiners (Theatre) 11.30am and 2.30pm
In a secret place at the top of everything stands the tallest mountain in the world. Stella is determined to show the other villagers that she can shine a star as well as anyone. All she has to do is climb that ladder… With puppetry, live music and dazzling storytelling, this is a tale about bravery and overcoming the things that stop us from really looking up. Age 5 – 11 years | 60 mins | £9.50 / £7.50 / Family Club £4.50
14th Aladdin (Movie) 4.30pm
PG | 2h 8m | £5 / Family Club £2.50
15th Art Club (Arts & Crafts) 10am
At this month’s drop-in art club families can make a Chinese scroll to celebrate the year of the rat. Age 4+ | £2.50 / £1 Family Club members
15th ComedySportz 4 Tots (Comedy) 3pm
Little kids are guaranteed plenty of silly songs, stories and adventures with the ComedySportz players Age 6 & under | 45 mins | £5 / £3
15th ComedySportz (Comedy) 6.30pm
Two teams of comedians will go for gold with quick-witted gags, games, sketches and songs in this all improvised show. Totally unscripted, totally unpredictable comedy. Who wins? You decide!
Age 7+ | 2 hours inc interval | £8 / £6
16th The Vulture's Song (Theatre) 2.30pm
Theatre Company Blah Blah Blah will be performing Mike Kenny's compelling and entertaining story of loss, survival and reconciliation, with a comical committee of inquisitive vultures narrating the story.
Age 9+ | 60 mins plus post-show talk | £9 / £7 / Family Club £4.50
18 - 20th Igloo (Theatre) Times vary
Anticipation is building for Ira and Sadie. How can they build an igloo if there isn’t any snow? They need it to snow. They want it to snow. But sometimes you don’t get what you want, even when you’re made to wait...
Age 0 - 3 years | 30 mins plus 5 mins stay & play | £9.50 / £7.50 / Family Club £4.50
29th BOX (Theatre) 11.30am and 2.30pm

15th Rise and Fall (Theatre) 11.30am and 2.30pm

4th Better Together (Theatre) 2.30pm
8th Toy Story 4 (Movie) 1pm
8th The Kid Who Would Be King (Movie) 5pm
15 - 17th The Elves & the Shoemaker (Theatre) 11am and 2pm
25th ComedySportz 4 Tots (Comedy) 3pm
25th ComedySportz (Comedy) 6.30pm

Find out more and book tickets on the Waterside Website

Z Arts The Tiger That Came To Tea and Mog the cat banner advert

The Tiger Who Came to Tea and the Adventures of Mog the Forgetful Cat
Z-Arts, Manchester

February 2020 - December 2020
An immersive, interactive exhibition inspired by the treasured children’s books from beloved author Judith Kerr (published by HarperCollins Children’s Books), featuring work from fourteen of Judith’s books, with myriad worlds to explore.
Children and their grown-ups can join The Tiger for tea and hear the tale of his surprise visit to Sophie and her mummy. Open the door and take a trip into the real-life world of Mog the Forgetful Cat.  Crawl through a giant cat flap and find Mog’s family house. Look for the hidden eggs for her breakfast. Explore her garden – but watch out for the mousedogbird! Pick up your groceries at Mog’s local shops, settle down with a story at the bookshop, and help Mog and her friends get better at the V.E.T.
The Tiger Who Came to Tea and The Adventures of Mog the Forgetful Cat is created by Discover Children’s Story Centre and supported by HarperCollins and Kerr-Kneale Productions Ltd.

Suitable for 0-8 year olds and their grown-ups, tickets £8 each. Booking is essential. Birthday parties are available to book every Saturday while the exhibition is on and schools performances are also available. For more information or to book tickets, see the Z-Arts website

Wizard Of Oz St Helens Theatre flyer poster

The Wizard of Oz and Spring Family Events
St Helens Theatre Royal

Sun 9 Feb - Exciting Science.
This brand new, exciting and educational show will amaze and astound audiences of all ages, from 4 years upwards, with fun and fact filled experiments.  Watch in amazement as the onstage team recreates a volcanic eruption; turns a vacuum cleaner into a missile launcher or take aim at you with our smoke blaster!  It’s a show full of whizz, bang, pop… and splurt!
Time: 2:30pm / Age 4+ / Tickets from £11

Sat 15 Feb – Sun 23 Feb - The Wizard Of Oz 
Regal Entertainment’s enchanting half-term family panto lets audiences click their heels and follow Dorothy and Toto on their journey along the Yellow Brick Road.  The Wicked Witch of the West is out to capture Dorothy (and her little dog too!). Can the wonderful Wizard of Oz make her dreams come true?
Time: Various times / Tickets: From £13

Wed 26 Feb - Whitney: Queen of the Night
The ultimate Whitney Houston tribute show arrives direct from the West End. Celebrating the music and life of Whitney Houston with a magical rollercoaster ride through three decades of hits
Time: 7:30pm / Tickets: £27.00

Fri 28 Feb - The Best Of That’ll Be The Day 
The UK’s No.1 rock n roll variety performance with a special edition of the most popularly requested songs, impressions and comic sketches. Featuring smash hits from the 50s, 60s, 70s & 80s. This throwback evening of brilliant entertainment is guaranteed to have you on your feet.
Time: 7:30pm / Tickets: £27.50

Sat 29 Feb Strong Enough: The Ultimate Tribute Concert to Cher.
The show features a live band and dancers recreating all smash hits, the hair and amazing costumes to celebrate her outstanding career.
Time: 7:30pm / Tickets: From £24

All ticket prices are inclusive of a £1 per seat transaction fee. On-line bookings are subject to an additional 50p per seat on-line processing fee.

Book in person at the Theatre Royal Box Office (Mon- Sat 10am-5pm), call 01744 756 000 or log on to

Find out more and buy tickets - or 0161 912 5616

Z Arts half term Feb 2020 The Little Prince promotional drawing

The Little Prince / Z-Access Family Fun Day
Z-Arts, Hulme, Manchester 

The Little Prince
Thursday 20 – Saturday 22 February
Award-winning playwright Inua Ellams' first piece for children with Fuel Theatre, which takes the timeless story that has been enchanting children for decades and gives it a modern spin, adapting it for the stage whilst maintaining the soul of the original beautiful book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Broken down in the Sahara Desert, desperate to repair her fighter jet, a pilot meets an extraordinary Little Prince. As he recounts his adventures, the pilot re-discovers the power of imagination, the importance of doing what we can to protect our natural world, and the true meaning of friendship.
Children and adults will be transported to the world of the Little Prince with a rich Afrofuturistic aesthetic, puppetry and music of North African heritage.
Age 5+, tickets £6-8, available now at

Z-Access Family Fun Day
Sunday 8 March
A family fun day of interactivity, including dance, music, and arts activities, with a strong focus on access and inclusion. This day is designed especially for families where one or more members may have additional accessibility requirements.
Z-access is suitable for all ages and is free to attend, but booking is still required. The day will start at 10am and run until 2pm.
Tickets are free, but patrons are encouraged to book so that Z-arts are able to anticipate numbers and provide staffing and access provision accordingly - available now at:

February half-term family activities
Science and Industry Museum, Manchester

Families can find out how the teams behind Rolls Royce and the first passenger railways changed the way we travel in an interactive, high-speed science show, and take a trip to the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway station, find the sun shining in an exhibition all about Earth’s nearest star, experience the sights and sounds of historic textile machines and discover how computing took off with the Manchester Baby.

Science Showdown: Terrific Teams
Daily / Recommended for ages 5+
Join our Explainers for a battle of experiments as we pit three historical teams who changed the way we travel against each other. Who will win? You decide!

Made Up Machines
Booked workshop, daily / Ages 7+
Ordinary objects become extraordinary machines when you use your imagination. Work with your group to create a machine that transports goods all the way from the docks of Liverpool to the Manchester markets. Will you push it, pull it, drop it or lift it?

Make It Move
Drop in, daily / Ages 3+
Do you like to move it? Use your imagination to make something that moves. Roll our challenge cube for inspiration and test your creation in our Experiment Zone!

Construction Packs
Drop in, daily / Ages 4 and under
Borrow a Construction Pack from the front desk and let your toddler take the lead. Use your packs to help little ones transform into mini builders and mechanics as they make their way through the museum.

Mini Movers
Drop in, daily / Ages 2 – 4 years
Especially for our young visitors, this Makaton-friendly adventure around the museum will have you whirring like a cog and turning like a crank to find out how our bodies work like machines.

Weavers Wanted
Daily / Recommended for ages 5+
We're looking for weavers, scavengers and piecers of all ages to become our new apprentices. Come and learn all the tricks of the trade as we turn cotton into the thread that made everything from napkins to knickers!

Manchester Mills
Daily / Recommended for ages 7+
This thunderous demonstration of historic mill machinery will show you the whole journey of how cotton is processed from its raw state to the finished product—a piece of calico cloth.

The Sun
Open daily until 29 March
Kids go free to see our major exhibition. From ancient myths, to health and wellbeing, solar power and more, take a look at our closest star and the different ways it affects our lives. Feel the heat at the indoor beach, stand in the middle of a solar storm and watch the sun rise over Antarctica as we bring the science behind the Sun to life. Don't forget to pick up a free family trail to help you explore the exhibition together.
Tickets: Adults £8, concessions £6. Kids go free with a paying adult.

Find out more about everything on offer on the Science and Industry Museum website

Manchester Jewish Museum presents: FESTIVAL OF BELONGING

Manchester Jewish Museum presents its first ever Festival of Belonging – featuring one off events and nights of comedy, theatre, storytelling, films and visual arts to examine how we assimilate in new places, explore what makes us feel that we belong and question what happens when we don’t.
Taking place at different venues across the city including Manchester Central Library where the Jewish Museum is currently in residency during its ‘wandering’ phase.

Running throughout the Festival is a FREE visual art installation at Central Library - Dark Room by artist Helena Tomlin - exploring the anonymous photographs in the Manchester Jewish Museum’s collection.

Saturday 7th March 2pm FREE
Museum Pop-up Space, Manchester Central Library
Storytelling with Robin Simpson
Experience the amazing stories in our Story Selector Machine, brought to life. Meet Fanny and the two Freddies who made a long train journey to Manchester, have a boogie to the tunes played at a 1911 dance at Cheetham Assembly Rooms, and find out what happened to boxer Sam Aarons.

Ticketed events include:
Good Appetite with theatre chef Leo Burtin
Comedians Shazia Mirza, Rachel Creeger and Juliet Meyers together for an all female multi faith night of comedy in Immigrant Diaries
Jerusalem born singer/songwriter Avital Raz
Panel discussion with artists Dani Abulhawa and Sarah Spies
Songs of Arrival – a one-off performance of songs based on the stories of Jewish refugees arriving in Cheetham Hill, with performance by renowned baritone Peter Brathwaite, and a premiere of specially commissioned music by Israeli composer Na’ama Zisser.

Booking and festival information can also be found via the Manchester Jewish Museum website

Green Living Market
Hatch, Oxford Road, Manchester

Friday 27th March  - Sunday 29th March
Free to enter and will feature over 30 independent, sustainable brands as well as live entertainment, eco-friendly workshops and street food pop ups. The Hatch music stage will be hosting lives acts all weekend with DJ Rick Donoghue returning for an electric mix of funk and soul accompanied by saxophonist Dan Berry, drag queens The Real Banksie and Violet Vogue, live performances from a steel drum band, Art Brazil and much more.
The main event is free, open and inclusive – from dogs to kids and #FORTHEECOCURIOUS

The event will be open from 5-9pm on Friday, 11am-7pm on Saturday and 12-6pm on Sunday.

Workshops running throughout are ticket only and incur a fee:
Beeswax Wrap Making
Rag Rug Making by Stitched Up
Kids Scrunchie & Bow Tie Making by Stitched Up
Terrarium Making
Art Brazil 'Recycled Sounds’ Popup
Organic Wine Tasting
Seitan Making Workshop

Visitors are encouraged to register their attendance in advance, and ticketed events MUST be booked in advance: (where you can also gain access to exclusive offers and competitions).

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