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As a single person, going to the theatre, concert hall or cinema on your own is not a very attractive prospect, particularly if you are a single woman. Consequently Culture Vultures' singles visits to plays, concerts and occasionally films in Manchester are designed to be a social experience. We have chosen the venues because they appeal to Culture Vultures members - whether single men or single women - are easy to get to and have somewhere nearby to eat. The reasonably priced meal before the show (or after the show if we are going to a matinee) is part of the event and gives members the chance to meet and chat. If there's time, we often end up in the pub afterwards.
The venues which we currently use for plays, concerts and films in Manchester are:
The Royal Exchange Theatre
St Ann's Square, Manchester M2 7DH
The theatre itself looks like the lunar lander from the Apollo space programme, nestling inside the Victorian grandeur of the old Exchange building near the Arndale Centre. The unusual, compact design provides theatre in the round, with all of the audience close to the action. The Royal Exchange presents a mixture of classics and modern plays, and attracts nationally known actors.
Before seeing a play at the Royal Exchange, we will eat at Tampopo, an oriental noodle bar in Exchange Square (next to the big tv screen facing Selfridges) where they offer an Eastern Express menu of Japanese, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Thai food from £6.95. Alternatively we go to the Café Istanbul in Bridge Street, off Deansgate near Kendals, which offers a delicious Turkish pre-theatre menu for £12.
Parking can be difficult in central Manchester, but public transport is good. Nearest station to the Royal Exchange Theatre is Manchester Victoria. Many trams stop at Market Street on the far side of the Arndale Centre.
The Library Theatre
St Peter's Square, Manchester M2 5PD
A smallish theatre in the downstairs of the central library offering a mixture of contemporary drama and modern classics, inevitably good quality productions.
We will tend to eat at Cocotoo in Whitworth Street West at the weekends and Gio's, 7 Lower Mosley St; both are very pleasant Italian restaurants, although Gio's is busy at weekends. Nearest stations to the Library Theatre are Manchester Oxford Road and Salford Central. Eccles and Altrincham trams stop at St Peter's Square, right opposite the theatre. There are large car parks behind the Midland Hotel in the G-Mex (now Manchester Central) / Great Northern complex.
The Bridgewater Hall
Lower Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3WS
World-class classical music venue opened in 1996 and home to the Hallé Orchestra. Superb acoustics, excellent seating. Restaurants and transport the same as for the Library Theatre. You get a discount on the car parks if you have your car park ticket validated at a special desk in the Bridgewater Hall (but it's still around £7 for the evening).
The Lowry Theatre
Salford Quays M50 3AZ
Large modern theatre, part of the Lowry complex (and nowhere near the Lowry Hotel) offering a varied and fast-changing programme by visiting companies and acts - plays, opera, ballet, comedy ...
We tend to eat at the Pizza Express in the adjacent shopping centre, the Lowry Outlet Mall. This also means you get your car park ticket for the attached multi-storey validated. Otherwise parking costs £4. Easy access from the M602; follow the brown signs from Junction 3. Public transport is not good - the Eccles tram stops at Harbour City, about a 10 minute walk.
70 Oxford Street, Manchester M1 5NH
Manchester's arthouse cinema, offering three screens and a varied programme of international films, often festival award winners from the USA, Europe and anywhere else with a film industry. Tickets are reasonably priced and there are two bars in the main building.
We used to have a monthly visit to the Cornerhouse, taking advantage of their Monday Reel Deal, which gave you the film, a pizza and a drink for around £10. The problem is that they no longer take table bookings for the café and the programme for each month is not published until the second half of the previous month. When we do go to the Cornerhouse, we now eat at the Cocotoo (see above).
The Cornerhouse is right outside Manchester Oxford Road station.
See the What's On page for all the singles visits to concerts, plays and films that we have planned.
Remember that Link Culture Vultures is run for members of Northern Link, the social network for single people in the North West. You can attend two of our events without becoming a Northern Link member, but after that you will need to join.
Please note we cannot be liable if any of the venues make changes, making this information out of date.