Categories > Guides and Tips

Top 15 Theatres You Should Visit in Manchester

Top 15 Theatres You Should Visit in Manchester 

There’s something electric about Manchester. A city that hums with creativity and thrives on individuality, its cultural scene is a heady mix of the classic and the contemporary.

No place better represents this rich cultural tapestry than the city’s theatres. From iconic institutions to experimental stages tucked away under railway arches, Manchester’s theatre scene is a treat for the senses.

So, grab your diary, clear your evenings, and prepare to be captivated. Here are twelve must-visit theatres in Manchester for a dose of high culture.

The Royal Exchange Theatre

Address: Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester

Contact details: +44 161 833 9833

Operating hours: Mon-Sat from 11am (until 5pm on no show days)


Let me tell you about a place that’s as close to a theatrical TARDIS as it gets. Yep, the Royal Exchange Theatre. 

Imagine this: an old Victorian cotton exchange, buzzing with traders one day, and then ‘poof!’, a futuristic, spaceship-like auditorium pops up in its belly. Talk about a transformation!

Walking into the Royal Exchange, you don’t just get hit with a wave of history, but also an irresistible sense of intrigue. The auditorium, a seven-sided, glass-walled capsule, thrusts the audience into a 360-degree experience. 

No matter where you’re seated, you’re in for an up-close-and-personal theatrical ride. There’s no ‘breaking the fourth wall’ here because, quite frankly, there isn’t one!

And the performances? Oh, they’re just as surprising and exciting as the theatre’s setup. One night you could be drawn into a Shakespearean tragedy, the next you’re grappling with a gritty, modern drama that makes you question everything. 

Pro tip: 

If you’re a fan of arts and crafts, be sure to check out their craft shop. The handmade gifts are to die for!

The Palace Theatre

Address: 97 Oxford St, Manchester M1 6FT

Contact details: 724-836-8000

Operating hours: Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM


I like to think of the Palace Theatre as that glitzy grandma who’s lived through a time we can only imagine, but man, she knows how to throw a party! This majestic dame has been a Manchester staple since 1891 and boy, does she still rock the showbiz world. 

The red-brick exterior might give a demure first impression, but step inside and you’re instantly swept off your feet by the flamboyance. The grand staircase, opulent decor, and jaw-dropping ceiling dome are no less than an architectural performance. 

And let me tell you, the actual performances are no less spectacular. From modern musicals to timeless classics, she’s seen it all. When you sit in one of those plush red seats, you’re not just watching a show; you’re part of a living, breathing theatre history.

Pro tip:

Look for the beautiful ceiling dome in the auditorium—it’s a truly captivating sight.

Bridgewater Hall

Address: Lower Mosley St, Manchester M2 3WS

Contact details: 0161 907 9010

Operating hours: Mon-Fri 10:00AM-5:00PM


Picture a magnificent building with imposing architecture and a serene canal flowing alongside—that’s the Bridgewater Hall for you. But it’s more than just a pretty facade; this iconic concert hall houses some of the best acoustics in the world. 

When the Halle Orchestra weaves its melodic spells here, or when the BBC Philharmonic conjures up a symphony, it’s pure magic. And it’s not just about classical tunes; contemporary jazz, world music, rock and pop—they all find a home here. 

The Bridgewater Hall is the sort of place that reverberates in your heart long after the music has ended.

Pro tip:

Plan ahead and enjoy their pre-concert events—a treat for true music aficionados.

Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM)

Address: 124 Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9RD

Contact details: +44 161 907 5200


Bustling with youthful energy and mature talent, the RNCM is the beating heart of Manchester’s music scene. Renowned for its world-class music education, the college is also a leading performance venue. 

As soon as you step in, you can almost hear the echoes of past virtuosos who have graced its corridors. The concert schedules are a delightful medley of genres—from classical to jazz, opera to popular music. 

Here, music lives, breathes, and evolves with each passing day.

Pro tip:

Do check out their Spotlight Series, featuring intimate performances from the brightest talents in the music world.

Droylsden Little Theatre

Address: Castle Close, Droylsden, Manchester M43 7AS

Contact details: 0161 370 7713

Operating hours: 7:30 PM–10:00 PM (Only when the spotlight’s on, mind you!)


Now let me tell you about a hidden gem of Manchester’s theatre scene – the Droylsden Little Theatre. Born way back in 1931 (it’s almost as old as your great-granny!), this charming spot is where you’ll find community spirit taking centre stage.

Nestled in Droylsden, this cosy theatre is like a warm hug from a good friend. The minute you step inside, you’re not just an audience member, you’re part of the family.

The range of plays here will have you jumping from Shakespearean sonnets to modern dramas faster than you can say “Macbeth”. Each performance is like a rollercoaster of emotions – be ready for laughter, tears, and everything in between.

Pro tip:

Get yourself to their regular ‘New Directors’ nights. This is when the stage lights up with fresh talents trying their hand at directing. 

The Stoller Hall

Address: Hunts Bank, Manchester M3 1DA

Contact details: 0333 130 0967

Operating hours: 9:00 AM–10:00 PM


Nestled within Chetham’s School of Music, The Stoller Hall might be easy to miss but it’s definitely hard to forget. Boasting world-class acoustics, it delivers an intimate and immersive experience whether you’re attending a classical concert or a contemporary performance. 

The hall’s aesthetic is a beautiful blend of the historic school setting with a touch of modern design. It’s a place where music is celebrated in all its forms, making each performance a cherished memory.

Pro tip:

Their lunchtime concerts offer an ideal mid-day cultural retreat. Enjoy a wonderful performance followed by a stroll around the historic school grounds.


Contact details: +44 161 200 1500

Operating hours:

  • Mon-Thu: 10:00AM-11:00PM
  • Fri-Sat: 10:00-12:00MN
  • Sun: 11:00-22:30


As the name suggests, HOME is where the heart of Manchester’s contemporary art scene lies. It’s more than just a theatre, it’s a cultural powerhouse that pushes boundaries and sparks dialogue. 

Here, you’ll find thought-provoking plays, international films that you wouldn’t catch in mainstream cinemas, and art exhibitions that question the status quo. 

Whether you’re an arts enthusiast or just a curious visitor, HOME is a place that invites exploration and promises inspiration.

Pro tip:

Swing by their bookshop if you can. It’s a treasure trove of literature dedicated to the arts.

Contact Theatre

Address: Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6JA, UK

Contact details: (0161) 274 0600

Operating hours: Tue-Sat 12:00PM to 10:00PM


Contact Theatre is Manchester’s beating heart of innovation. Renowned for its youth-led approach and commitment to diversity, this theatre isn’t just a stage for performances—it’s a platform for change. 

Here, fresh voices bring new perspectives, creating a captivating mixture of performances that challenge, inspire, and redefine contemporary narratives. Every visit to Contact is a chance to witness the trailblazers of tomorrow in action. 

If you’re someone who values unique, risk-taking performances, you’ll feel right at home in this incubator of creativity.

Pro tip:

Bookmark their spoken word events. You’ll find poetry and storytelling here that will leave you spellbound.

The Lowry

Address: Pier, 8 The Quays, Salford, Manchester

Contact details: 0161 876 2183

Operating hours: Midweek evenings & weekends.


Ever been to a place that’s as visually spectacular as the performances it hosts? Well, The Lowry is just that. Perched at Salford Quays, this waterside wonder is a performance in itself. 

Whether it’s the fluid architecture or the sun glinting off the glass and metallic surfaces, you’re already in for a treat even before the curtain rises. And when it does, prepare to be blown away by the rich array of shows from all genres. 

Not to mention, the venue is also home to the world’s largest public collection of paintings by L.S. Lowry. Visit for the theatre, stay for the art!

Pro tip:

Don’t rush off after the show. The art gallery upstairs, hosting the world’s largest public collection of Lowry’s work, is a must-see!

Manchester Opera House

Address: 3 Quay St, Manchester

Contact details: 0844 871 7627

Operating hours: only open on performance days two hours before the performance begins and closes at 7:45PM


If you’re all about the charm of yesteryears, the Manchester Opera House will be right up your alley. Picture this: Golden embellishments, grand chandeliers, plush red seats, and a history dating back to 1912. 

This theatre spells tradition with a capital T. Its programming mirrors its grandeur, featuring everything from powerful operas and graceful ballets to high-spirited pantomimes and lively musicals. 

It’s a place where old-world charm meets contemporary performances, creating an unforgettable experience.

Pro tip:

For a special night out, try to nab a box seat. It’s a treat you won’t regret!

Hope Mill Theatre

Address: 113 Pollard St, Manchester M4 7JA

Contact details:

Operating hours:

  • Thursday 6–11 PM 
  • Friday 6–11 PM 
  • Saturday 12–11 PM 
  • Sunday 3–10 PM 
  • Monday Closed 
  • Tuesday 6–11 PM 
  • Wednesday 1–11 PM


Tucked away in a Grade II listed former cotton mill, the Hope Mill Theatre is one of Manchester’s best-kept secrets. 

A breeding ground for new talent and exciting productions, this intimate theatre has quickly earned a reputation for turning out some of the most riveting shows in town. 

If you love catching early productions before they hit the big time or enjoy intimate settings where every seat is the best in the house, the Hope Mill Theatre is a must-visit.

Pro tip:

Their in-house bar and café is a cosy spot to enjoy a drink or a bite before or after the show.

The Dancehouse Theatre

Address: 10A Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 5QA

Contact details:

Operating hours: 

  • Thursday 4–8 PM 
  • Friday 4–6 PM 
  • Saturday 1–6 PM 
  • Sunday Closed 
  • Monday 12–2:30 PM, 4–6 PM 
  • Tuesday 12–2:30 PM, 4–6 PM 
  • Wednesday Closed


Buckle up, mate, because we’re about to take a little detour down an avenue of the Manchester theatre scene that’s a bit less conventional but totally worth the ride. Enter, The Dancehouse Theatre. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking, ‘A dance theatre?’ Trust me, this place is much more than pirouettes and tutus. Housed in a charming Art Deco building that feels like a time capsule from the 1930s, the theatre adds a distinctive twist to the city’s cultural scene. 

With a packed schedule featuring everything from film screenings to comedy shows, musical performances to, of course, dance showcases, The Dancehouse is always buzzing with some kind of creative energy. 

If you’re looking to step off the beaten path and into the rhythm of something a bit different, you’ve got to swing by this theatre. It’s the kind of place that keeps the arts scene in Manchester refreshingly eclectic.

Pro tip:

The theatre’s Art Nouveau façade is quite a sight—perfect for a pre-show selfie!


Address: 8 Albion St, Manchester M1 5LN

Contact details: +44 7432 198724

Operating hours: 

  • Sun-Wed 11:00AM-11:20PM
  • Thur 11:00AM-12:20AM
  • Fri-Sat 11:00AM-1:20AM


A stone’s throw from Deansgate, 53two is an exciting, independent theatre that champions new talent and original work. 

Aiming to make theatre accessible for everyone, they stage an array of productions from established classics to groundbreaking new works. 

53two’s unique vibe comes from its unconventional location, housed in disused railway arches, making every performance an unforgettable experience.

Pro tip:

Their events often extend beyond theatre to music, art, and film. Check out their calendar to plan your visit!

The Met

Address: Market St, Bury, Manchester BL9 0BW

Contact details: 0161 761 2216

Operating hours:

  • Tue – Fri 12:00 – 19:00
  • Sat – Sun 11:00 – 17:00


You may need to catch a Metrolink tram for this one, but I promise you it’s worth it. Just a short ride away in Bury, The Met is a beloved cultural hub that’s been serving up a slice of artsy goodness to locals and visitors for decades.

Housed in a Grade II listed building, The Met seamlessly blends historic charm with a contemporary vibe. With an eclectic mix of plays, music gigs, comedy shows, and workshops, there’s always something exciting happening. 

This is the best place that pulses with creative energy. A standout feature of The Met is its dedication to showcasing local talent. It gives budding artists a platform to shine, ensuring that the future of Manchester’s arts scene stays bright. 

So, next time you’re in Bury, hop over to The Met. It’s an arts venue that offers something a little different from your typical city centre theatre.

Pro tip:

Keep an eye out for “Pay What You Decide” events at The Met, and enjoy an affordable and rewarding cultural experience while embracing the spirit of artistic exploration.

Stockport Plaza

Address: Mersey Square, Stockport, Manchester SK1 1SP

Contact details: +44 161 477 7779

Operating hours: Wed-Sat 11:00AM-3:00PM


Don’t mind catching a quick train out of the city centre? Fantastic! I’ve got a real treat for you – the Stockport Plaza. This Super Cinema and Variety Theatre is a true embodiment of 1930s Art Deco glamour. 

From the moment you walk into its lavish foyer, it feels like you’ve stepped into a classic Hollywood film. The shows here are just as eclectic and captivating as the building itself. 

One night you might find yourself tapping your feet to a tribute band, the next, entranced by a captivating drama. And did I mention the cinema screenings? This is one of the few places where you can catch your favourite golden oldies on the big screen.

A visit to the Stockport Plaza isn’t just about watching a show, it’s about being whisked away on a nostalgic journey. So, if you’re a fan of old-world charm and love the idea of experiencing the magic of yesteryears, this is the theatre for you.

Pro tip:

Take some time to relax, soak in the atmosphere, and add an extra touch of vintage glamour to your visit to the Stockport Plaza by visiting this enchanting café.

Related topics