Play Hard

What’s on in the North East in August 2022

From ‘noughty’ music festivals and dastardly drag shows to artist workshops, foodie battles and even a summer panto – we’ve got your next culture fix sorted.

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 04.08.2022



Between Woods & Streams

6pm, Friday 12th August – Saturday 13th August

West Benridge Farm, Morpeth

The Futureheads headline this new incarnation of Coquetfest, alongside a whole host of northern musicians, such as Cortney Dixon, The Lake Poets and Frankie Jobling.




Newcastle Jazz Festival

Thursday 18th August – Sunday 21st August

Venues across Newcastle upon Tyne

Swing into summer with Newcastle’s Jazz Festival bringing together some of the best in the business – including virtuosic young saxophonist headliners Emma Rawicz, contemporary pianist Ivo Neame and his quartet, and Parliamentary Award-nominated vocalist Jo Harrop.

Hardwick Festival

Saturday 20th August – Sunday 21st August

Hardwick Hall Hotel, Sedgefield

Big hitters at Hardwick this year include Stereophonics, Jake Bugg, The Specials, Becky Hill, The Proclaimers and Ella Eyre, but keep your ears out for local lasses Elizabeth Liddle, Hayley McKay and Faye Fantarrow, too.



Noughty ‘90s Festival

Saturday 27th August – Sunday 28th August

Leazes Park, Newcastle upon Tyne

Anyone born in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s is going to LOVE this. Think Cascada, Boyzlife, Fatman Scoop, S Club, Micky Modelle, Vengaboys, Five, Liberty X, Blazin Squad, N-Trance, Ultrabeat, Kelly Llorena, Fragma and Artful Dodger.



This Show Is Rubbish

Until Saturday 13th August

Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne

With original new music, innovative eco-puppetry and original storytelling, This Show Is Rubbish gives children and their grown-ups a new way of protecting the world around them – not through obligation, but through imagination.

Dreamboats & Petticoats

Tuesday 16th August – Saturday 20th August

Darlington Hippodrome

Inspired by the latest release in the series of smash-hit, multimillion selling Dreamboats & Petticoats albums, this feel-good show is filled with wit, charm and songs from the golden era of rock ‘n roll.



We Will Rock You

Monday 22nd August – Saturday 27th August

Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne

The worldwide smash hit musical by Queen and Ben Elton returns to the UK., guaranteed to blow your mind – with 24 of Queen’s biggest hits delivered in a show that boasts the scale and spectacle that marked the bands’ legendary live performances.



Collage Poetry Artist Workshop

10am, Saturday 20th August

Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne

In this two-hour workshop, you will make collage poems inspired by the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to the region – exploring modern communication and how we feel about it. These will be printed, bound into a community zine, included in the upcoming exhibition and added to the Local Studies Collection at Newcastle City Library.

Stories of Service: Tyneside’s Home Front during the Second World War

Until Sunday 25th September

Discovery Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne

In this new exhibition, Discovery Museum shares recently uncovered stories of Tyneside women, and the stories people who came to Tyneside from the African and Caribbean diaspora during the Second World War.




10am, Saturday 28th August – Saturday 20th October

Hartlepool Art Gallery

Celebrating reopening following the restrictions of the COVID pandemic, on display will be famous pieces by LS Lowry, Margaret Green and John Bratby, works by 19th century British artists, pieces by local artists celebrating industrial Hartlepool and modernist and abstract works by women artists.



Drag Castle

Thursday 11th August

The Stand, Newcastle upon Tyne

Specialising in witty performances and thought-provoking lipsyncs, expect a two hour whirlwind show of anything from cosplay to satire from this drag troupe – there’s something for everyone!



Jack Dee

Friday 26th August

The Maltings, Berwick

‘In these difficult and uncertain times people need hope – a ray of sunshine to brighten their day. And that’s very much where I come in.’ Say no more, Jack.



Gosforth Beer Festival

Friday 5th August – Sunday 7th August

Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne

Enjoy a free, family-friendly weekend of craft beer, live music and street food at Gosforth Beer Festival, with 20 taps of the best beers from the finest local and national breweries, and food from Scream for Pizza, Meat:Stack, Acropolis, Parm-o-rama and many more.

Summer Panto: Beauty & The Beast

Until Sunday 7th August

Playhouse Whitley Bay, Newcastle upon Tyne

Join Belle for an unmissable adventure in this beast of a summertime panto. Featuring hilarious comedy, toe-tapping tunes, dazzling costumes, sumptuous scenery and fun for all ages, this enchanting tale as old as time has more surprises than ever before…



Battle Royale: Best of the Best

3pm, Friday 26th August – Saturday 27th August

Wylam Brewery, Newcastle upon Tyne

From Battle of the Burger to Slice Wars, Argie Bhaji to Thai Kwondo, Wylam Brewery knows how to pit the best local foodie producers against each other in a cracking event which always has beer flowing and tunes spinning. But now it’s time to crown the champion of all champions…

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