Manchester BIG Events - Summer 2013

Brains: The Mind as Matter, courtesy of the Wellcome Library, London

Brains: The Mind as Matter, courtesy of the Wellcome Library, London - Credit: not Archant

Our pick of the biggest events taking place in Manchester in 2013 COMPILED BY HOWARD BRADBURY

July 26 to August 4

Manchester Jazz Festival reflects the broad church that is jazz with a huge variety of performances: the BBC Big Band with Claire Martin (pictured left) at the Bridgewater Hall on July 27, a busy programme afternoon and evening at the Festival Pavilion in Albert Square, events at established jazz venues Band on the Wall and Matt and Phred’s and sophisticated jazz with afternoon tea at the Midland Hotel.

July 26 to January 4

Brains; The Mind as Matter is the title of a major exhibition from the Wellcome Collection, opening at the Museum of Science and Industry. It seeks to explore what humans have done to brains in the name of medicine, scientific inquiry, cultural meaning and technological change.

It features real brains, artworks, manuscripts, artefacts, moving and still images, all in an attempt to open our minds to the mysteries of that organ which makes us human.

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Until November 9

Just opened at Manchester Craft and Design Centre, Oak Street in the Northern Quarter is the exhibition Forming Words which showcases works of craft inspired by text. Seventeen international artists have contributed to the show, working in a variety of disciplines including jewellery, ceramics and enamel.

August 1 to 4

The Marble Arch pub celebrates its 125th anniversary with a beer festival featuring 50 beers and the launch of some limited edition birthday brews. There will also be live music, guided walks around the area of Rochdale Road in which the pub stands and quizzes.

To the uninitiated, behind its modest exterior, this pub is a thing of beauty, designed by architect Alfred Darbyshire, better known for theatres, and now selling the beers produced in its own Marble brewery.

August 1 to 5

The old rivalry for perhaps the least impressive sporting trophy – an urn little more than four inches high – sparks up again with the Ashes series beginning in July. The Third Test brings that epic Anglo-Australian cricketing tussle to Old Trafford.

August 2 to 4

Eat you way around the world without ever leaving the city centre at the Manchester Picnic. Now in its fourth year, the three-day event in Piccadilly Gardens brings the best in street food together, be it sushi, pizza, piri piri chicken, Tibetan snacks or good old-fashioned fish and chips. Last year’s event attracted 25,000 visitors, and aside from the food, there will be lots of free activities for the family.

August 3 to 11

Manchester city centre is not noted for its greenery, but in August it becomes a garden city with the Dig The City festival. Look out for blooms in King Street, St Ann’s Square, New Cathedral Street, Exchange Square and elsewhere, including shop window displays.

August 4

In that eternal battle between two wheels and four, the cyclists have it all their own way, at least for a few hours, when Skyride is staged in Manchester. Traffic-free roads are the order of the day and participants can ride as much or as little of the route through the city centre as they like.

August 11

There is a fun run with a difference at Heaton Park, Manchester. The UK Backward Run is, as the name suggests, a chance to compete against others trying not to fall over while going the opposite direction to what nature intended. You may end up UK champion at it, though don’t hold your breath for backwards running becoming an Olympic event any time soon. Current record for the one-mile course is 6mins 58secs – better than some of us can manage going forwards.

August 16 to 18

The title of the show is Peter Pan, The Never Ending Story, and the tale of the boy who refused to grow up is indeed a durable one. This version is a musical theatre spectacular set on the big stage of the Manchester Arena. X Factor’s Stacey Solomon is Tinker Bell, the narrator and also the singer of that anthemic song You Raise Me Up. Yes, that never-ending story’s been given a pop makeover with classic hits from the songbooks of Robbie Williams, Rod Stewart and many others.

August 22

Yorkshire-born David Peace writer gave the world the Red Riding Quartet and The Damned Utd, which depicted Brian Clough’s short and turbulent spell in charge of Leeds United. His latest work, published in August, is Red or Dead, which tells of the rise of Liverpool FC under Bill Shankly.

Peace is interviewed by Dave Haslam onstage at the National Football Museum by way of an early taster for the Manchester Literature Festival, which runs from October 7 to 20.

August 23 to 26

Manchester Pride’s Big Weekend features the likes of Kate Nash, The Feeling, Patrick Wolf and Manchester’s own Misha B and Rowetta in the main arena, a village market, lifestyle expo, the usual colourful parade through the city centre on the Saturday and the solemn culmination on the Monday with a candlelit vigil to remember those lost to the HIV virus.

September 16

It might be all about abandonment and isolation, but Pink Floyd’s rock opera The Wall, now 33 years old, has a real knack of getting people together. Its creator Roger Waters gives the year’s only indoor performance of this epic show at the Manchester Arena, complete with new video graphics, visual imagery and, yes, a wall.

September 25 to October 26

All My Sons was the play which established Arthur Miller as a leading voice in theatre, and, as it returns to the Royal Exchange Theatre, the themes of honesty and social responsibility are as relevant today as ever. It is 1947, and Joe Keller is a pillar of his community. But there are ghosts in the world of Joe and his wife Kate, not least the son missing in action during World War II. Michael Buffong directs a cast including Don Warrington, of Rising Damp fame. Royal Exchange diehards are already musing as to whether it can match the 1980s production starring John Thaw.