What's On

Massive gigs and theatre shows to look forward to in Manchester in 2022

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 7th January 2022

The last couple of years have been rough for the theatre and live music industries, but there are some massive shows to look forward to in Manchester this year.

Our city’s cultural scene continues to push forwards with huge festivals, world-renowned theatre and some of the planet’s biggest musicians paying visits in 2022.

Parklife will be back, as will open-air gig series Sounds of the City, and the AO Arena has a packed programme of concerts ahead.

Our theatres will also welcome global musical talent, including the UK premiere of a stage version of one of the most-loved films of all time.

Here are some key dates for your diaries.


Parklife, Heaton Park

Parklife. Credit: Andrew Whitton

Parklife is easily one of the biggest dates in Manchester’s music calendar, attracting 80,000 music-lovers to Heaton Park every day.

The line-up for its 2022 edition hasn’t been announced yet, but still 42,000 eager people have already bought tickets.


Registration is open now for this year’s festival between June 11 and 12.

Sounds of the City, Castlefield Bowl

Credit: Sam Neill

There was a tonne of disruption for Sounds of the City in the last couple of years, but the popular open-air gig series is back with a bang in 2022.

This summer’s line up at Castlefield Bowl will be made up of performances from Lewis Capaldi (June 28), Foals (June 29), Crowded House (June 30), James (July 2), Pixies (July 5) and Sam Fender (July 6).


The whole thing will wrap up with the always sold-out gig with Hacienda Classical on July 8.

You can get tickets here.

Opera House theatre

Credit: Opera House Manchester

There’s a seriously big show on the way to the Opera House this year, which will host the UK premiere of the Mrs Doubtfire musical between September 2 and October 1.

The theatre will also welcome some old favourites, like Singin’ in the Rain (May 9 to 14), Jersey Boys (October 18 to 29) and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (March 8 to 12).

Famous faces will be on the stage too when Alexandra Burke and Jason Donovan star alongside each other in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (March 21 to April 2).


Browse listings and buy tickets here.

The Palace Theatre

The Lion King. Credit: Johan Persson

Disney will be hogging the stage at the Palace Theatre in 2022, in news that will delight thousands, with both huge runs of both The Lion King (October 27 to December 24) and Beauty and the Beast (March 31 to June 4).

School of Rock will keep playing at the Palace until January 15, before making way for a huge bill of musical biopics including 9 to 5 The Musical, and We Will Rock You.

The fun will continue with shows like Sister Act, Dreamgirls and Blood Brothers.

AO Arena

Credit: AO Arena

Strap in – it’s a BIG year at the AO Arena this year.


Manchester’s biggest indoor gig venue will host the likes of Billie Eilish (June 7 and 8), Little Mix (May 6 and 7), and Stormzy (March 19) in the coming year.

Some of the biggest names on the planet will grace the stage here in 2022 – we’re talking Celine Dion (June 5 and 6), Queen and Adam Lambert (May 30 and 31), and Bryan Adams (May 17).

It’s not just music either – Cirque du Soleil will return with Corteo, the Strictly Come Dancing Live tour will dance into town, and Alan Partridge Live will take over for two nights.

See the full listings here.

Emirates Old Trafford cricket ground

Credit: Emirates Old Trafford

You know it must be a big gig when it won’t fit in the AO Arena – and that’s where the Emirates Old Trafford cricket ground comes in.


Open-air shows taking place here this summer will include The Killers on June 11, Red Hot Chilli Peppers on June 22, and Foo Fighters on June 25.

You can grab tickets for them here.

Etihad Stadium

Ed Sheeran. Credit: Publicity Picture

We may as well rebrand Manchester City’s home ground to the Edihad Stadium this year.

Ed Sheeran will be playing a whopping four nights here between June 9 and 12, in front of crowds of 60,000 a night.

The only other summer gig confirmed at the Etihad this summer so far is Liam Gallagher, who’s set to perform on June 1.


Royal Exchange Theatre

Credit: Royal Exchange Theatre

The Royal Exchange Theatre is one of Manchester’s most famous cultural institutions, and its 2022 programme is shaping up nicely.

Productions coming to the in-the-round theatre this year include Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie and Betty! A Sort of Musical, written by and starring Maxine Peake and Seiriol Davies.

The full programme and ticket information is available here.

Featured image: Tom Martin / Johan Persson