Play Hard

What’s on in the North East in September 2022

With Newcastle’s first independent whisky festival, Bishop Auckland’s last open-air spectacular of the season, and the arrival of the most magnificent Anglo-Saxon manuscript, your calendar’s about to fill up fast.

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 03.09.2022



Elizabeth Liddle

7pm, 11th September

The Cluny, Newcastle upon Tyne

Singer-songwriter Elizabeth Liddle has been making waves in the North East music scene with her unmistakable vocals and a setlist that will keep you hooked from start to finish.


George Ezra

6.30pm, 20th September

Utilita Arena, Newcastle upon Tyne

2022 is the year of the comeback for George Ezra – the Green, Green Grass of pastures new, as it were. New singles, a new album and now a new tour (sounds like Paradise to us). We call Shotgun.

The Gathering Sounds

2pm, 24th September

Venues across Stockton

 Frank Turner, Dead Pony, Dayna Leadbitter, The Native and Faye Fantarrow are just some of the acts confirmed for this popular music festival in Stockton, with venues ranging from ARC and The Georgian Theatre to indie grassroots venue KU.



Beyond The Moor Festival

1pm, 24th September

Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne

Beyond the Moor is Newcastle’s latest music festival – showcasing the best in local and national artists playing contemporary, alternative and traditional folk and roots music.

All The Beds I Have Slept In

8th – 9th September

Northern Stage, Newcastle upon Tyne

A charpai on a roof in Afghanistan. A dirty bunk in a hostel in Milan. Under a bridge in Liverpool Street. This energetic company of performers with lived experience of forced migration explore the seam of kindness and care that lies within their experience of leaving their homelands to seek asylum.

Derren Brown: Showman

13th – 17th September

Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne

The multi award-winning master of mind control and psychological illusion, Derren Brown, returns to the UK to launch his first new theatre show in six years: Showman.


Blood Brothers

20th – 24th September

Sunderland Empire

Few musicals have been received with such acclaim as the multi-award-winning Blood Brothers – and Bill Kenwright’s production has surpassed 10,000 performances in London’s West End alone, one of only three musicals ever to achieve that milestone.



Earth Requiem II / A Tale of a Few Cities

7th September – 15th October

Arts Centre Washington

Through painting, sculpture, photography, film, music, poetry, dance, performance, talks and discussions, Sunderland’s artistic community will open a dialogue with the wider public on the most important issue facing life on earth today.


Autumn Social

11am – 1pm, 10th September

The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle upon Tyne

The Biscuit Factory’s next seasonal social celebrates their autumn exhibitions. Meet headline artist Graham Rider, Contemporary Young Artist Award 2020 winner Millie Suu Kyi, and bestselling author LJ Ross, who will open The Northern Photography Prize 2022 shortlist exhibition. Plus, browse new jewellery collections and enjoy seasonal refreshments.

Lindisfarne Gospels

17th September – 3rd December

Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne

The most spectacular manuscript to survive from Anglo-Saxon England will be on display at the Laing Art Gallery this month, on loan from the British Library – featuring in a contemporary exhibition about its meaning today and its relationship with themes of personal, regional and national identity.



Sofie Hagen

7.45pm, 16th September

ARC, Stockton

A show bursting with big jokes and fat punchlines. Sofie Hagen returns to her craft of devastatingly brilliant joke writing and storytelling to create this collection of ‘fat jokes’ and unforgettable moments.


Jen Brister

8pm, 17th September

Durham Gala Theatre

Has the pandemic changed Jen Brister for the better or is she the same old pessimistic naysayer she’s always been? I think we all know the answer to that. Let’s just hope she can make it funny.

Joe Lycett

7pm, 21st September

Utilita Arena, Newcastle upon Tyne

Join Joe Lycett (the artist formerly known as Hugo Boss) for MORE jokes, MORE comedy anecdotes and MORE inappropriate and arguably disturbing paintings, all in the hope of answering the age-old question: How do you Lycett?



Whisky Indy Fest

12pm, 10th September

Tyne Bank Brewery, Newcastle upon Tyne

Newcastle’s first independent whisky festival promises to cater to all tastes (and convert anyone who ‘doesn’t like whisky’, too). Sample some of the finest blends the whisky world has to offer and meet the best independent bottlers and retailers across two sessions: noon–4pm and 5pm–9pm.



Dame Jacqueline Wilson Book Talk

11am, 17th September

ARC, Stockton

Meet one of Britain’s best-loved children’s authors. Dame Jacqueline will be chatting about all her characters, signing books and introducing her latest story, Project Fairy, which is free with ticket purchases.

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