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Anticipated plays to get you excited for the theatre in 2024

Get ready for an exhilarating 2024 in Manchester's theatre scene, featuring heartwarming stories like "Come From Away," gritty dramas like "Sweat," and star-studded productions including Jason Manford in "The Wizard of Oz."

Having looked back at our highlights of 2023, you might be thinking how on earth can this be topped on Manchester stages?

But a new year brings even more great theatre productions which are set to entertain and thrill audiences. Here’s a quick look ahead to some of the highlights.

Come From Away at The Lowry

I know next December feels like a long time to wait, but this remarkable true story about 7,000 stranded passengers from all over the world, grounded due to 9/11 is one of the most upbeat and feelgood stories you are going to see in a long time. A true ensemble piece, there is nothing flashy here, no gimmicks, just a team of terrific actors telling a heartwarming story through the power of song. Welcome to the Rock!

Come From Away is at the Lowry from 3rd December – 5th January and can be booked here.

Sweat at the Royal Exchange Theatre

I was lucky enough to see Lynn Nottage’s 2017 play in America and it was so earthy, gritty and gives voices to people often sidelined. It is a play about friendship, racial tensions and how big business can divide a community and force ordinary people to take sides. This is not to be missed.

Sweat is at the Royal Exchange Theatre from 26th April – 25th May and can be booked here.

The Wizard of Oz at the Palace Theatre

I love Jason Manford, as he manages to continue performing stand-up comedy and has also been a huge success in musicals such as The Producers and Curtains, as well as becoming a well-loved regular on the Manchester theatre scene.

He plays the Cowardly Lion in a new production of The Wizard of Oz which comes to the Palace, direct from the West End. “Put em up!”

The Wizard of Oz is at The Palace Theatre from 24th April – 5th May and can be booked here.

Jim Cartwright’s The Gap at the Hope Mill Theatre

The Hope Mill is branching out and will be producing productions which will be staged in bigger venues, such as The Lowry.

But there is a new play headed to this beloved Ancoats theatre in February and it has a great cast and features new writing from the pen of a wonderful wordsmith.

Jim Cartwright’s The Gap focuses on two characters who have not seen each other in 50 years.

They are played by Matthew Kelly and Denise Welch. Expect fireworks, as this comes from the writer of Little Voice and Road.

The Gap is at the Hope Mill Theatre from 9th February – 9th March and can be booked here.

John’s Demons at 53two

Graham Dillistone’s play John’s Demons sounds like a spooky evening to get you through the end of January.

We delve into the depths of darkness and follow John and his wife Mary, and we witness them trapped in a life of religious servitude.

Seeing the whites of the actors’ eyes means this one will be eerie in extreme close-ups in this intimate space.

John’s Demons is at 53 two from 25th – 27th January and can be booked here.

Little Shop of Horrors at the Octagon Theatre

This is one evergreen musical which never fails to entertain audiences, as we follow Seymour – who is down on his luck until he stumbles across a mysterious new plant which is not vegan.

Worth the admission price alone for the brilliant song Dentist!

If you have never seen it before, get down to Skid Row via Bolton next year.

Little Shop of Horrors is at the Octagon Theatre from 24th April – 18th May and can be booked here.

Ian Mckellen Player Kings at the Opera House

If you have never seen Ian McKellen on stage, you are in for a real treat.

Here, he plays Falstaff in a new version of Henry IV.

And Manchester gets it first, as it travels to London following a run at the Opera House.

Player Kings is at the Opera House until 14th – 23rd of March and can be booked here.

Emma Rice’s Blue Beard at HOME

If you have seen Emma’s take on Wuthering Heights, Mallory Towers and Bagdad Café, you will realise that she is completely inventive and often turns a tale on its head with contemporary references, mic drops quirky scenes and a wacky sense of humour.

Blue Beard promises to be another hit remake with a difference.

Emma Rice’s Blue Beard is at HOME from 13th – 24th February and can be booked here.

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