Greater Manchester Fringe Festival: must-see shows

Back for its eighth Fringe Festival, Greater Manchester has opened its doors to the arts community across multiple venues in the city. A space for all with performances from first-time production companies to the more seasoned Fringe-goer, we take a look at some of the must-see shows this month.

Plus, our lucky readers could be in with the chance of winning TWO tickets to a triple bill of About Time by the critically acclaimed, Edinburgh regular Sian Davies; Blue Lines, the debut production by Stephanie Moor (under the mentorship of Kinky Boots’s Tim Firth); and Stained by award winning, punk poet Simon Widdop. The shows begin on Monday 15 July at The Kings Arms theatre venue in Salford. All you have to do is drop an email to, say that you’ve read THIS article and say which of the shows you’d like to see.

Lambs to the sLAUGHTER

A group of new, upcoming comics take on the challenge of putting their own show on at the Greater Manchester Fringe. Most of the acts are residents of Greater Manchester (with all being from the North West) with their own story about why they wanted to get into comedy. Many of the acts chose to try comedy to battle issues with confidence and anxiety and all 13 acts are recent graduates of the ComedySportz UK’s stand up course.

Tickets £2 | 27 July | 4pm – 6pm at Tribeca

Holy Sh*t

Brick Fox Theatre’s original dark comedy Holy Sh*t debuts at Fringe after its sold out run at 2018’s Edinburgh Fringe. Brick Fox are a theatre company made up of students and alumni from Royal Holloway, University of London. The show digs up questions surrounding fate, mortality and what happened to Ryan Reynolds in that film where he was buried alive. Fathers George Hobbs and Charlie Moss are two priests that aren’t exactly cut from the same cloth but their desperation leads them down a dark path that is less than holy.

Tickets £8/£6 | 28 – 30 July | 4pm (28th), 7:30 (29th & 30th) at The Kings Arms

Emergency Door Release

Debuting at this year’s Greater Manchester Fringe festival is a brand-new show about one woman’s journey through an existential crisis and the terror of waking up to her own looming mortality. This is the first show from The Bluestocking Theatre Company, set up by Manchester-born (and Salford University alumna) actress and writer Victoria Tunnah, to give people identifying as women more opportunities to tell their stories. The show will be a humorous 50-minute look at all the ways women harm and degrade themselves in the name of ‘beauty’, how we cage ourselves based on how we ought to behave and what’s expected of us and how exactly you can make attempts at becoming a Feminist whilst still having fillers and botox.

Tickets £7 | 20 & 21 July | 8pm at The Kings Arms

Orlando De-Bloomed

Hector Dunderbridge hates Orlando Bloom. Orlando Bloom hasn’t ever heard of Hector Dunderbridge. Neither of these facts have stopped Hector from writing an entire show about Orlando Bloom. Over the course of an hour, Hector will present the finest trilogy of plays ever written (about Orlando Bloom), deal with the concept of hatred (of Orlando Bloom), and look back over the shows that made him a star (the ones that didn’t feature Orlando Bloom). This is a highly interactive piece of character comedy, where audience members are chosen at random to take centre stage, becoming the leading roles in Hector’s plays. A solo performance by Leo Mates who has been featured on Michael McIntyre’s Big Show, and can be found improvising with Monkey Toast UK, as well as with Steen Raskopoulos in his show Steen Improvises With Friends.

Tickets £9.50/£7 | 18 – 20 July | 6pm at The Kings Arms

Talk to Yourself

A cross art form exploration of womanhood, female identity and human rights, involving live painting, music and spoken word. In a dystopian reality where choices are limited and the system is unquestionable, three women challenge the status quo through the use of a canvas, a cello and a story. Based on true accounts about pregnancy and personal choices, Talk to Yourself is a piece of verbatim theatre which questions and confronts our ideas of women’s agency, especially over their bodies. The show will be performed by YEAP Association which was created in November 2014 in Paris under the chairmanship of Adriana Buonfantino as a non-profit organisation, which was the result of a strong desire to promote international artistic co-operation between young European artists, exploring the notion of protest art.

Tickets £8/£6 | 24 July | 9:15pm at The Kings Arms


Lauren and Reece, both 16, are determined to make the best of it to give their three-month-old baby Hal the best possible chance at life. It’s a risky plan, trying to balance the stress of school, work and looking after a baby in a teenage relationship and it doesn’t take long for cracks to emerge in their
idealistic plans. Home is an original piece of writing by young playwright Gabriel Stewart that hopes to challenge the stigma surrounding teenage parents. JustOut Theatre, a new Theatre Company formed by graduates of the University of York who aim to produce and promote new writing and work in the North of England. First performed at the University of York’s Drama Barn in October 2018, Home is now being performed as part of JustOut Theatre’s debut Fringe season alongside sister show White Nurse.

Tickets £7.50 | 24 & 25 July | 7pm at Lock 91


Getting to Know: Kimberley Robinson Founder of Keep Real

Keep Real is a Yorkshire-based social enterprise devoted to promoting better mental health amongst young people. Founded in 2017, the brand has collaborated with a number of local organisations, run its first mental health workshop in Sheffield and now they are just weeks way from celebrating the first birthday on the 27th of July at Headrow House in Leeds, which is sure to be a fantastic night all in aid of a great cause. We asked founder of Keep Real, Kimberley Robinson, if she could write us a little something about herself and her enterprise to find out why raising awareness around mental health is so important to her and many others.

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Keep kind and Fettle on: a blog series by Fi Mason – Northern Fettle – Part 1: lending a hand to the local independents

This week marks the beginning of a new blog series by Fi Mason, one half of Northern Fettle – a small business support service that offers a holistic and modern approach to helping independent businesses. Fi will be exploring some of the inspirational minds behind the best independent businesses, sharing her own experiences, while also urging us to remember that running your own business requires not only grit, but support from those around you. In her first post, Fi asks the question, is being an independent business just a little too independent?

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Why Salome should be on your ‘must see’ list for April

Opera North returns to Leeds Town Hall with the thrilling Salome. Described as opera at its most extreme, the bloody tale is wrapped up into 100 intense and exhilarating minutes. Opera North’s Press Officer Elizabeth Simmonds explains why Salome is the ‘must see’ production this month.

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Sex and the Suffragette

This year marks a hundred years since the first steps were taken towards women’s access to democracy. In 1918, after more than twenty years of organised action, women over the age of thirty who owned property, female graduates voting in their university constituency, and female members of government, were trusted with the vote. It took a further ten years of continued organised pressure before all women were considered capable of engaging in the democratic process. Many different tactics were used to win the vote including: protest marches, hunger strikes, and the damage of property. Lesser known, however, is the suffragette’s engagement with the science of sexology.

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Cut from a Different Cloth: Why Halifax is ‘On Trend’

With the Beast From the East hopefully behind us (fingers and toes crossed), Faye Chambers gives us a reason to embrace Spring and venture out to the West Yorkshire town of Halifax. Currently in the midst of a cultural revolution, the Calderdale hot spot is reinforcing that it’s not so grim up North!

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Stand up to slavery at Leeds fundraiser

It’s difficult to hear the term “slavery” and apply it to modern society. Yet, the charity A21 states that there are millions of slaves in the world today; more than ever before in human history. The word is thrown around with little meaning and what minor televised context we are familiar with is only one part of the $150 billion criminal industry.

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She’s in business: seven months in

Seven months ago, Lydia took her love for helping people to the next level and started her own career planning business. She shares her journey so far and advice for anyone considering the same path.

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