Trick or Treat? Our theatrical picks for the family this October…

Your car is starting to get iced up in the morning, you’ve turned your central heating on and your local shop has made room on the shelves for fiery orange pumpkins, massive tubs of jelly sweets and…mince pies???

It can only mean one thing…

We’ve rounded up the best theatrical events happening for families across Manchester this October…

The Lowry

As always The Lowry, Salford have a fantastic offering this October, especially during the half term week which runs from Sunday 25th October – Saturday 31st October.

Hurricane Boy is first up with 2 showings,  on Sunday 18th October. Running at just under an hour and recommended for ages 5 and upwards Hurricane Boy features physical storytelling alongside live music and it has received some great reviews so far from little ones and their families.

There’s all round entertainment from your TV favourites Milkshake Live! on Monday 26th October at 2pm. If your children are a little older, Morgan & West at 7pm may be more up their street – with a combination of illusion and all-round silliness, they guarantee a magic show that is suitable for all of the family, ages 5 and up.

Elsa and Anna glide in on Wednesday 28th October for ANOTHER Singalong Frozen. Do we ever tire of singing along to Frozen?? On the same day we have a Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler classic flying in – The Scarecrows Wedding. Now, we’ve been to see a number of these Donaldson classics transferred from page to stage and they are always a hit with young audiences. The Scarecrows Wedding runs from 28th October until 1st November and is recommended for those aged 3 and up.

The Scarecrows Wedding –The Lowry

Now, who loves dinosaurs?

Dinosaur Zoo is fabulous, it really is. I took my Thing 2 when he was 3 and he was gripped throughout. Fresh from attacking the West End, Dinosaur Zoo stomps into The Lowry from the 30th October until the 1st November. Read our last review here…


You need to be quick for this one…on 10th October Flyaway Katie, suitable for ages 2-7, is at Z-Arts in Hulme. Based on the popular children’s book by Polly Dunbar and presented by Long Nose Puppets and Manchester Literature Festival –  it’s been described as ‘magical and beautiful’ (The Guardian). Also, Bear and Butterfly zooms in on Wednesday 28th October, suitable for ages 4-7, it explores themes around love, loss and friendship when a bear and a caterpillar become friends. Flyaway Katie and Bear & Butterfly are showing as part of the UK wide GetCreative Family Arts Festival. Hit the link to find out more about events happening around Greater Manchester and beyond…

Film Club happens at Z-Arts on Saturday 24th October with showings of The Princess & The Frog at 1:30pm and The Wiz at 3:30pm.

We’re Stuck is being presented as part of Manchester Science Festival 2015 on the Wednesday 28th and Friday 30th October. It’s your chance to get involved in shaping and developing this interactive new show which focuses on how great and how utterly rubbish our brains are at maths. It’s free and suitable for children aged 7-11 and their grown-ups.

The Possible Impossible House by Forced Entertainment at Z-Arts
The Possible Impossible House by Forced Entertainment
at Z-Arts

Now Forced Entertainment are one of my favourite theatre companies, at the forefront of contemporary theatre and I am thrilled that they are presenting a children’s show on Halloween. The ACTUAL All Hallows Eve – 31st October – at Z-Arts. It’s called The Possible Impossible House and it’s their first children’s show – suitable for ages 6 and up. You also get a free ticket to Z-Arts Halloween Party if you book for the show.

The Royal Exchange 

On Monday 12th October  at 1pm the Royal Exchange are host to Michael Rosen: Children’s Poetry Event. It’s part of the Manchester Literature Festival event and tickets are only £4. Michael Rosen is one of the well known figures in the children’s book world, publications include: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and This is Our House. Sadly, my children are in school on this day – however, the event may be of interest to my home ed friends.

The Chair The Royal Exchange
The Chair
The Royal Exchange

The Chair creeps into the Royal Exchange from the 14th October to the 18th October -recommended for ‘brave souls’ over the age of 7. With live music, songs and a cut-throat razor…book at your own peril.

The Edge Theatre & Arts Centre, Chorlton

A good selection of children’s theatre as always at The Edge. Rosie’s Magic Horse gallops in on the 17th October and is recommended for ages 3-8 years of age. Strictly Balti is suitable for older children over the age of 11, exploring ideas of identity on 23rd October. Next up we have the The Toothy Adventures of Davy Denture (for ages 3-7) on the 27th October and The Adventures of Pom ( for ages 0-4) on the 28th October.

Waterside Arts Centre, Sale

And in case you can’t make those dates above…Waterside Arts gives us another chance to catch Rosie’s Magic Horse on the 11th October and Strictly Balti on the 21st October. 

We're Going on a Bear Hunt --Waterside Arts Centre--
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
–Waterside Arts Centre–

In addition to this, Little Angel Theatre presents family favourite, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt from the 17th October until the 20th October. With a super running time of 45 minutes, it’s just perfect for those little fidgets aged 2 and over.

The ‘Half Term Show’ at Waterside Arts is The Elves & The Shoemaker running from 29th October until the 1st November, recommended for those aged over 3. And for those little pickles aged 0-18 months there is 16 Singers on the 30th October – its a combination of music and signing woven into a sparkling little show for babies.

The Met in Bury

Gulliver -- The Big Telly Theatre Company --The Met, Bury--
Gulliver — The Big Telly Theatre Company
–The Met, Bury–

For ages 12 and up Gulliver sails into The Met in Bury on Tuesday 27th October. Followed by We Are Bronte on the 28th October, which is again suitable for ages 12+.

The Toothy Adventures of Davy Denture --The Met, Bury--
The Toothy Adventures of Davy Denture
–The Met, Bury–

For younger children aged 3-7, The Toothy Adventures Of Davy Denture visits Bury on Friday 30th October.


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Half Term Delights or Half Term Frights?

It seems as if we have only just got back to normal after the Christmas holidays and already the February half term break is upon us.

The half term week runs through from Monday 16th February until Friday 20th February and don’t forget that it is Pancake Day on the Tuesday. I’m a traditional sugar and lemon girl, what pancake toppings do you like?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love spending time with the little treasures but I just find it easier and more enjoyable if I have already planned out what we are doing and where we are going.

Here are our picks of some of the best and varied, priced and free entertainment and activities for families in Manchester over the February half term holidays…

The Lowry

The Lowry offer Little Actors and Little Artists over the half term holidays. The activities run every day during half term from 11:00am until 12:30pm.

Little Actors have Frozen themed activities to bring Elsa, Anna and co to life in this fun and interactive drama workshop. Little Artists will be doing junk modelling around the theme of Michael Morpurgo’s I Believe in Unicorns. We have been to the Little Artists session before and both children really enjoyed – we made a Dorothy and a Toto. The sessions are recommended suitable for ages 5-11 and cost £3.50 per child (or £1.75 for Salford residents).

The Lowry also have I Believe in Unicorns and Singalong Frozen on in the theatres during February. Check out the website for more information.

Sale Waterside

Now, I should warn that there is a little bit of a Frozen theme to this post. Well, the children (and some of the parents…ahem) love it, so why not!

Following the same theme then, the Waterside are holding a Frozen Day on Thursday 19th February – there will be craft activities (running as part of the family club) and a singalong Frozen. The day starts at 10am and costs £5.00 to join in with the singalong version of the film. Pre-booking is advised and there will be prizes for the best Frozen themed costume. Check out Sale Waterside Family Club for more information.

Also running in the theatre is Goldilocks and The Three Bears, running at just 60 mins long and suitable for age 2 and over. Interested? For prices and times – click here.

Museum of Science and Industry

Steam, Sweat and Sewers runs daily from 14th February until 22nd February. Experience the sights, sounds and smells of Victorian Manchester. There are lots of gross but informative FREE workshops and  creative sessions. Open 10am until 5pm each day.

The activities are FREE (yipee) but make sure that you have a little bit of change on you (or well-briefed and behaved children) for the Victorian fairground rides.

Imperial War Museum

War at Sea – Jump aboard for the whole family to get creative and make something inspired by the IWM’s collections. See how far you can gaze with your very own telescope, as you design a message in a bottle. Discover which animals sailed the seas and learn some sailor slang in interactive storytelling sessions.

All of the activities at IWM are FREE but you are encouraged to make a donation.

Bury – Half Term at The Met

There are some great family shows on at The Met during half term.

Nicobobinus – suitable for children aged 6+. When Nicobobinus is magically turned to gold, he and his friend Rosie embark on a musical adventure to the Land of Dragons…

Duck in the Truck – suitable for 3-7’s. Join duck and his friends in this happy new adventure with puppetry, sing-a-long-songs and plenty of opportunities to join in along the way.

Puss in Boots – suitable for ages 4+. Patrick Lynch from Cbeebies brings this classic fairytale to life.

Salford Museum and Art Gallery

Don’t forget Chinese New Year next week…There are a few free events around the city to celebrate the year of The Ram.



On February 18th Salford Museum and Art Gallery would like to celebrate with you by making a colourful, fire breathing, dancing dragon puppet. The event is FREE and runs on 18th February from 10:30am until 2:30pm.


Popular family friendly arts venue, Z-Arts are showing Emergency Story Penguin during half term. Suitable for ages 5+ and a running time of 1 hour.

I didn’t get to see the last show by the same company, 59 minutes to Save Christmas, but reliable sources reported that it was a real cracker and not to be missed.

See the trailer For Emergency Story Penguin here:

Shows are on 18th – 22nd February at 11am, 2pm and 4pm. On Wednesday 18th February there will be a FREE Penguin Fun Day. All activities through the day will be free, however tickets for the show will still need to be paid for and booked in advance.

Enjoy your half term, stay arty, stay sane and don’t forget pancake day…