The Best Shows in Manchester Theatres in 2023

As the cultural hub of the North West, Manchester’s theatre scene is something to behold. Theatre enthusiasts up and down the country flock to our vast array of venues, and it’s no wonder why. With the Palace Theatre, the Lowry and the AO Arena at our doorstep, seeing some of the world’s most accomplished live performers has never been easier. 

But what’s on at Manchester theatres in 2023? If you’re planning your next night out in advance, we have just what you need. Today, we’re sharing our top seven theatre performance picks with spoiler-free snippets of what you can expect. 

From captivating musicals to thought-provoking dramas, all tastes are catered for: you just choose the date, time and location. 

1. Heathers: the Musical

Travel back to the era of big hair, new wave style and coming-of-age movies with “Heathers: The Musical”. 

This stage adaptation of the 1980s cult classic chronicles high-school student Veronica Sawyer’s explosive interaction with a clique of popular girls known as ‘The Heathers.’

Purchase tickets to this electrifying production, and you can expect catchy tunes, dark humour, and a thrilling plot that will leave you on the edge of your seat. Let the cast’s powerful performances shock and excite you in equal measure. 

Location: The Palace Theatre, Manchester

Buy tickets here!

2. La Bamba

For a night of toe-tapping music and Latin-infused rhythms, head to Salford and experience “La Bamba.” 

This vibrant musical tells the story of a determined 17-year-old girl called Sofia. Influenced by her family’s rich connection to music and her desire for self-expression, Sofia unexpectedly unites two communities with her passion. 

Join this star-studded cast as they take you on a transformative journey filled with passion, energy and an undeniable sense of joy.

Location: The Lowry, Salford

Buy tickets here!

3. Shrek the Musical

Shrek the Musical is a family-friendly adventure even parents are sure to love. 

Based on the 2001 Dreamworks sensation ‘Shrek’, this stage adaptation combines the best elements of all five films into one spectacular showcase. Perfect for younger or adolescent audiences, it brings the whimsical world of Shrek, Donkey, and Fiona to life with its infectious score. 

Join Shrek on a quest to rescue Princess Fiona from the dragon’s clutches, full of belly-busting moments that will leave children and adults laughing out loud.

Location: The Manchester Opera House, Manchester

Buy tickets here!

4. The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Neil Gaiman, author of world-renowned children’s fiction like Coraline and The Graveyard Book, has done it again. 

His newest creation, The Ocean at the End of the Lane explores the boundaries between fantasy and reality for a stage production you’ll never forget. 

Immerse yourself in a world of magic, wonder, and childhood memories as you follow the journey of a young boy who encounters ancient forces lurking in the depths of a nearby pond.

Location: The Lowry, Manchester

Buy tickets here!

5. Everyone’s Talking About Jamie

Join Jamie New on a heartfelt journey of self-discovery and acceptance in “Everyone’s Talking About Jamie.” 

Inspired by a true story, this musical celebrates individuality and having the courage to be yourself. Follow Jamie’s dreams of becoming a drag queen as he faces adversity, finds support from unlikely allies, and embraces his true identity.

Stay open to the uplifting message of Everyone’s Talking About Jamie, and we promise you’ll leave the theatre feeling inspired.

Location: The Lowry, Manchester

Buy tickets here!

6. Hamilton

You’d be hard-pressed to find a tour more exclusive than Hamilton’s first selection of UK dates. Witness the worldwide phenomenon in person at The Palace Theatre, one of Manchester’s main theatrical venues. 

This award-winning musical has taken the world by storm, blending history, hip-hop, and a diverse cast to tell the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers. 

Experience the cultural sensation in Manchester and be inspired by one man’s lifelong love for words. 

Location: The Palace Theatre

Buy tickets here!

7. Elf 

End your 2023 theatre experience with the classic seasonal tale of Elf. Follow Buddy, a human raised among Santa’s elves, as he begins a journey to New York City to find out who he truly is. Packed with festive cheer, catchy songs, and delightful humour, this production is an all-ages treat that will uplift your spirit and open your mind. 

Remember the importance of love, friendship, and spreading holiday spirit this December with Elf at the AO Arena.

Location: AO Arena, Manchester

Buy tickets here!