As we approach the end of 2017 (what a year it’s been!), here’s our pick of what to do to finish off the year on a cultural high, or to kickstart your new year in January with some great art and culture.

Guys and Dolls at the Royal Exchange
The timeless musical is relocated to Harlem during its renaissance and celebrates the vivacity of that era in Black America. It bursts into seductive life with unforgettable songs including Luck be a Lady and Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat. On until 3 Feb at the Royal Exchange

How will SUPERGESTURES empower you to take action in your city?

SUPERGESTURES is a new participatory art project from FutureEverything. Co-created by FAULT LINES artist Ling Tan and the people of Manchester, participants will use wearable technology to create a language of body gestures. People aged 15 – 25 are invited to attend workshops during January and February where they will get hands on with wearable devices, talk about their relationship with the city and help collectively create SUPERGESTURES.

Find out more at

Hamlet at The Lowry
26 Jan  – 3 Feb 2018
Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder…

The Royal Shakespeare Company takes Shakespeare’s searing tragedy of murder and revenge to The Lowry in January. Following a critically acclaimed run in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2016, rising star Paapa Essiedu plays the title role in a riveting and contemporary take on Hamlet.

Monochrome: Painting in Black and White at the National Gallery
Look at the world in a different light with Monochrome: Painting in Black and White at the National Gallery. The exhibition contains works spanning 700 years, with paintings by Old Masters including Rembrandt and Albrecht Dürer, as well as contemporary pieces by Bridget RileyGerhard Richter and Chuck Close. Through more than 50 painted objects and an immersive light installation by Olafur Eliasson, discover how artists have continued to experiment with grisaille from the Middle Ages to today. Until 18 Feb 2018.

Contact in 2018
Contact are closing their doors at the end of the month for a major redevelopment. Throughout 2018 they will be putting on a year of performance at partner venues and interesting spaces (including a sari shop!) around the city. Find out more at

Raymond Briggs’ The Bear at Sale’s Waterside Arts Centre
until Sat 6 Jan
Another of Raymond Briggs much-loved picture books comes to life on stage this Christmas at Waterside. For children aged 3-11, The Bear is a heart-warming and joyous show, full of brilliant puppetry, music, storytelling and lots of laughs. This year there’s special 6pm slumber shows! Come in your jimjams with your favourite teddy for cookies and milk.


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