From the countdown to Christmas to Europe’s biggest lantern festival, it’s time to get festive

Looking for more great things to do this November? Then check out our essential festival calendar - this month ft. Louder Than Words, Design Manchester and more…

CELEBRATING SYRIA | Citywide | 2nd - 9th November

With Manchester home to a large Syrian population who’ve fled here during the conflict, this new festival celebrates the country’s vibrant culture - bringing together artists, writers, filmmakers and performers from around the world. Expect everything from mosaic workshops to concerts and Aleppo cuisine.  

Various, some events free and some ticketed

UNSTOPPABLE WRITERS | Manchester Art Gallery | First Sundays until June 

Want to write but not sure how to start? Or simply just need some inspiration to keep on going? Join award-winning author Nicola Mostyn and creativity coach Teresa Wilson for a fun and supportive monthly writer’s hangout, complete with handy practical tips and motivating exercises.

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley St, Manchester M2 3JL (11am-4pm; tickets £45 at

2019 11 04 Nicola Mostyn Gods Of Love
Nicola Mostyn is author of The Gods of Love and The Love Delusion

BEAT THE FROG WORLD SERIES FINAL | Frog & Bucket | Monday 4th November

Feeling the winter blues? This could be just the tonic... Featuring winners from its Beat The Frog competition over the past year, the comedy club’s annual finale truly is a battle of the best. Guffawing guaranteed. 

Frog & Bucket, 102 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LJ (8pm; tickets from £6 at 

THE SNOWMAN | Manchester Opera House | 7th - 10th November

Raymond Briggs’ classic has whisked generations of children off to an enchanting wintery wonderland. Based on the much-loved film and book, this dazzling stage adaptation features dancing, live music and plenty of magic - not to mention the unforgettable Walking in the Air. Best bring the tissues... 

Manchester Opera House, 3 Quay St, Manchester M3 3HP (various times; tickets from £13 at

CHRISTMAS MARKETS | Citywide | 8th November - 22nd December

Love em or hate em, they’re back - kicking off a Christmas season that spans the Lights Switch On to the Ice Village at Cathedral Gardens and Lightopia Lantern Festival at Heaton Park. Fancy something a bit more independent for your Christmas shopping? We recommend Victoria Bath’s Festive Winter Fair (Saturday 9th November). 

Various times and locations, free entry 

THESE DAYS: THE  PEACE SONG CYCLE | Manchester Cathedral | Sunday 10th November

Since its world premiere in 2018, Feelgood Theatre’s inspiring Remembrance Day performance - with libretto by local poet icon Tony Walsh and music by nine critically acclaimed composers - has been hailed as an example of what music and theatre can do to celebrate and learn from the best of our past. What better way to commemorate?

Manchester Cathedral, Victoria St, Manchester M3 1SX (7.30pm; tickets from £10 at

170706 Feelgood Theatre 3
Feelgood’s These Days premiered at Heaton Hall

UNFOLLOW: MEGAN PHELPS-ROPER | Waterstones| Wednesday 13th November

Megan Phelps-Roper was raised in the Westboro Baptist Church; the aggressively homophobic and anti-Semitic religious sect featured in BBC’s riveting documentary The Most Hated Family in America. Having made the life-changing decision to leave the church - and by extension her family - in 2012, she has been campaigning for peace ever since, and will be discussing her fascinating memoir in this special event. 

Waterstones, 91 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2BW (7pm; tickets from £8 at

SNARKY PUPPY | O2 Apollo | Friday 15th November

Grammy-winning and ‘genre-defying,’ Snarky Puppy will return to the UK this month in celebration of their new album Immigrance. Featuring musicians from across the globe, they're not the only collective shaking up the status quo…

O2 Apollo, Stockport Rd, Manchester M12 6AP (7pm; tickets £29.75 at

RAFIKI JAZZ | RNCM | Friday 15th November

Described as ‘Britain’s most diverse band’ by combining many cultures and traditions in what they call ‘fourth world’ music, this nine-piece uses everything from Caribbean steel drums to Indian tabla, West African kora to Arabic oud and Brazilian berimbau - not to mention a whole set of world languages from Urdu to English, Gaelic to Hebrew. What did we say about status quo? 

RNCM, 124 Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9RD (7.30pm; tickets £12 at

2019 11 04 Rafiki Jazz
Rafiki Jazz aren’t your ordinary band

SELECTED MUSIC WORKS 1999-2019 | Colony | 15th November 2019 - 14th January 2020

Showcasing over 20 photographs across two decades of music photography, Richard Kelly’s seminal exhibition spans Arctic Monkeys to Amy Winehouse, Pete Doherty to John Cooper Clarke and more. Kelly’s current project with MCs and rappers from Moss Side will also be on show, along with his famous Free Ian Brown photograph taken in Longsight, back in 1998. Following the exhibition, the photos will be auctioned to raise funds for the British Culture Archive.

Colony, Jactin house, 24 Hood St, Manchester M4 6WX (10am-4pm daily; free entry) 

LIGHTOPIA | Heaton Park | 21st November - 31st December

Transforming Heaton Park into an otherworldly illumination spectacular, Europe’s largest lantern and light festival will transport visitors through six immersive trails designed by renowned contemporary light artist Ava Moradi. Find out more here.

Heaton Park, Middleton Rd, Manchester M25 2SW (various times and prices, check the website

Lightopia 11
Lightopia is Europe’s biggest lantern and light festival

THE SHADOW| HOME | 22nd - 23rd November

Tomorrow isn’t coming. Social conventions, rationality and rules are stripped away as the apocalypse approaches in this brave new work by acclaimed choreographer Anthony Missen and dance outfit Company Chameleon.

HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Pl, Manchester M15 4FN (8pm; tickets £14 at

GARY DELANEY: GAGSTER’S PARADISE | The Dancehouse | Friday 22nd November

Due to ‘exceptional demand and an array of sold out dates all over the UK,’ Britain's leading one-liner comic extends his brand new tour with another onslaught of lean, expertly crafted gaggery. According to The Scotsman, expect ‘more quality jokes in one hour than most comics have in their entire careers.’

The Dancehouse, 10A Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 5QA (8pm; tickets £17 at

2019 11 04 Gary Delaney Photo Andy Hollingworth
Delaney is also known for appearances on Mock the Week and Live At The Apollo

STRIP! HOW FOOTBALL GOT SHIRTY | National Football Museum | 22nd November 2019 - 7th June 2020

With well over 200 shirts on display, STRIP! is the largest curated exhibition of football shirts ever assembled in the UK - unpicking the global fascination with footie shirts and how they have influenced culture, design, fashion and technology. Highlights include the iconic England home Umbro shirt worn by the Three Lions at Italia '90, Brazil’s classic 1970 World Cup shirt as worn by Pele and West Germany’s 1988-1990 designed by legendary Adidas designer Ina Franzmann.

National Football Museum, Urbis Building Cathedral Gardens, Todd St, Manchester M4 3BG (10am-5pm; free with admission)

MARVEL UNIVERSE LIVE | Manchester Arena | 28th November - 1st December

Comic fans rejoice: this thrilling new stunt show features Guardians of the Galaxy and more than 20 iconic Marvel superheroes and villains - not to mention cutting-edge special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial and motorcycle stunts. The ultimate family day or night out.

Manchester Arena, Victoria Station Approach, Hunts Bank, Manchester M3 1AR (various times; tickets from £24.20 at

2019 06 10 Marvel Universe Live
Marvel Universe features over 20 iconic superheroes and villains

For more unmissable goings on, take a look at our essential festival calendar