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31 thrilling things to do in Manchester this week

Peter Pan Goes Wrong
Peter Pan Goes Wrong

For those who have still got things to buy, (and who hasn't?), here are a few tips for some nice places to get some great gifts, all within easy walking distance of each other.

Northern Quarter Christmas Shopping

Fancy chocolate never came more fancy and, whilst you'll pay for it (both in pounds and lbs) some of the treats in store here are mouth-wateringly spectacular. The packaging alone makes some of the bars worth while, and you can get gift boxes made up with selections of the little dark or milk lumps of wonder.

Manchester Craft and Design Centre
In theory you could get the lot under this one roof, with hand made jewellery, toys for kids, homeware, ornaments and gorgeous scarves, plus artwork and loads more besides. It's like the Trafford Centre for people who like their gifts to be unique. 

Richard Goodall Gallery
Talking of artwork, here's place to buy the person you love a wonderful gift. Artist prints for films, bands, album covers, manga cartoons, pretty much everything, but nothing like the old Athena shops...


Aeolian Light, The Quays, Thu Dec 18 - Wed Jan 7, free
Beautiful installation of lights on the public plaza between The Lowry and Lowry Outlet Mall. Hard to describe, easy to be mesmerised by when you see it.

Stanley Spencer: Heaven in a Hell of War, Manchester Art Gallery, until Sun 1 March, free
Lovely collection of paintings done by the artist as recollection of his war years spent in a nursing hospital.

Swags and Tails, Manchester Craft and Design Centre, until Sat Jan 31, free.
Creepy and beautiful creations mixing craft skills with the bones of dead creatures. Fascinating stuff. Oh, you could do some shopping whilst you're there!


Barbara Nice's Christmas Cracker, Dancehouse, Fri Dec 19 - Sat Dec 20, £12
Stockport housewife Barbara Nice brings joy wherever she goes and her Christmas show is indeed a real cracker. There's a reason why she looks so much like the character of Holy Mary from 'Phoenix Nights', you know...

Music & Nightlife

Gold Teeth, Deaf Institute, Tue Dec 16, £5
The friendly once a week club night in one of Manchester's best spaces has a genuine sense that anything and everything might be played!

Double Drop, Sound Control, Tue Dec 16, £5
Mainly students over three floors, dancing, having fun, all 'devil-may-care'. They should be revising but no! They're in the Basement of Filth! Really, thats what it's called. 

Deacon Blue
, O2 Apollo, Wed Dec 17, £29.50-£36
The Scottish guarantee are back on tour following their recent LP release, 'A New House.'

Propaganda, Fifth, Wed Dec 17, £4
Good, solid indie night with free drinks partly fuelling the atmosphere.

Uproar, The Venue, Wed Dec 17, £3
Or you could head over to Uproar instead where the music isn't that different, and the drinks are cheap as chips.

Psychmare Before Christmas, Soup Kitchen, Thu Dec 18, £9
It's time for the annual festive freak out of a live band and club night, this year headlined by London no-wavers The KVB, plus St Agnes and Enemies Eyes.

Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, O2 Apollo, Fri Dec 19, £29.50-£36
This one should be a right corker - you not only get the affable Mr Holland but Marc Almond and Rumer thrown in too for good measure.

Well Future, Common, Fri Dec 19, Free
With John Powell-Jones guesting at the decks, with a unique mix of offbeat rhythms, psych, fuzz and much more.

Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club, Band on the Wall, Sat Dec 20, £15
The radio 6Music show host returns to the fantastic Northern Quarter venue with his legendary party night. It crams them in so be sure to get there early.

Alesso and Friends, Warehouse Project, Sat Dec 20, £28.50
Swedish EDM star Alesso touches down with friends at the Warehouse Project.

The Hallé Youth Orchestra, Bridgewater Hall, Sat Dec 20, £10
Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto (best known as the music featured in 'Brief Encounter'), is joined by pieces from Grieg, Elgar and Neilsen's Second Symphony.

The Hallé Carol Concert, Bridgewater Hall, Sat Dec 20 - Sun Dec 21, £17-£40
If you like the sound of a choir, you'll love this. There are three of them!


Little Shop of Horrors, Royal Exchange, until Sat Jan 31, £15-£37
Do not miss this. It's an absolute treat, full of joy, wit and sparkle. The performances are spot on, the songs are brilliant and the puppetry bringing Audrey II to life is wonderful. Don't know what it's about? Hit the title above.

Alice In Wonderland, Octagon Theatre Bolton, until Sat Jan 10, £13-£19.50
The Octagon's in-the-round theatre space is transformed to create a spectacular Wonderland full of magic and delights for kids aged five upwards.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong, The Lowry, Tue Dec 16 - Sat Jan 10, £18-£28
An amateur company put on a panto of Peter Pan and it all goes horribly wrong. Hilarity ensues. Should be a pirate's rum barrel of fun.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt, The Lowry, Wed Dec 17 - Sun Jan 11, £15.50
This is one for the tots, ages 3+ to be exact, a stage version of the delightful book for children.

Aladdin, Dancehouse, Thu Dec 18 - Thu Jan 8, £15 (conc £8)
Proper panto at Dancehouse with their version on the Arabian set classic.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Lowry, Thu Dec 18 - Sat Jan 10, £30-£44
The National Theatre's massive hit version of the superb novel comes to Salford on the first leg of its tour. Winner of seven Olivier awards.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Opera House, until Wed Dec 31, £11.90-£52.90
The biggest panto in town starring Warwick Davis and Priscilla Presley.

Shrek, Palace Theatre, until Sun Jan 11, £19.50-£60
Hugely enjoyable musical version of the much loved film with a great cast and special effects bringing the whole thing to life.


The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies 
Bringing to a close the Middle Earth films. Have you read our splendid interview with director Peter Jackson yet? It's here.

Former supermodel Agyness Deyn gives an electrifying performance as an epileptic woman in search of her brother on the streets of London.

The Green Prince
Documentary from the makers of 'Man on Wire' and 'Searching for Sugarman' offering a revealing insight into the Israel - Palestinian conflict.

And finally...

The Coronation Street Christmas Party, Wed 17 Dec, via Atherton Street, £35
Fancy a do in the Rovers? Tickets are on sale now for party like no other, with food and a glass of mulled wine included. Now that's a Corrie Christmas Cracker!