Play Hard

Beats, burgers and bank holidays: What’s on in the North East this April

From a battle of the region’s best burger to an enchanting art trail in Newcastle Cathedral and an evening with Priscilla Presley, here are the hottest events happening this month.

Written by Rachael Nichol
Published 01.04.2023


An Evening with Priscilla Presley

When: Thursday 6th April (8pm)

Where: Tyne Theatre & Opera House, Newcastle

Price: £53.25

Actress, businesswoman and the former wife of Elvis, Priscilla Presley will be spending an evening in Newcastle this month. In an intimate conversation with radio and TV presenter Edith Bowman, Priscilla will share personal stories from her illustrious career, life and marriage to the King of Rock n Roll and we’ll be treated to never-before-seen home footage of Priscilla and Elvis Presley.


Easter Family Arts Festival

When: Tuesday 4th, Thursday 6th, Tuesday 11th & Thursday 13th April (10:15am – 3:15pm)

Where: The Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead

Price: £3

Looking for something to do with the kids over the Easter school holidays? Head to The Shipley Art Gallery for some fun spring-themed crafts.  Depending on the day, the little ones can make a springtime bonnet and bunny ears, craft some paper daffodils and flower wands, get creative during a spring sketchbook session, or decorate their own plant pot and bracelet.


Art Trail: Light at the End of the Tunnel

When:  Tuesday 11th – Thursday 13th April (6:30pm – 9:30pm)

Where: Newcastle Cathedral, Newcastle

Price: £6

See Newcastle Cathedral in a brand-new light… literally. This audio-visual art trail highlights the cathedral’s most beautiful and meaningful spaces, displaying work by six artists. Enjoy immersive projections, interactive installations and choral soundscapes, all of which celebrate the arrival of spring. You’ll also have the chance to get involved in creative activities during the art trail and refuel with hot and cold refreshments from Cafe 16, the Cathedral refectory.


Science Speakeasy: Microdosing

When: Thursday 27th April (7:30pm-9:45pm)

Where: Life Science Centre, Newcastle

Price: £5

Explore the world of microdosing – the increasingly common practice of taking tiny quantities of drugs to boost productivity and creativity. Is it ever ok to take illegal drugs, even in tiny doses? What are the long-term effects? Should we view microdosing as a quick route to becoming our best selves? Grab a drink, settle down beneath a 7-metre recreation of planet Earth, and watch the team of panellists as they debate the important questions.



Battle Of The Burger: ‘Bunsakimbo’

When: Friday 7th  – Saturday 8th  April (12pm – 11:45pm)

Where: Wylam Brewery, Newcastle

Price: Free

Get ready for another infamous food battle at Wylam Brewery. This time, local vendors will be showcasing the best burgers of the region and beyond – from the meatiest stacks to mouth-watering vegan plates. Buy some tokens, sample something different from each stall, enjoy the live DJ and vote for your favourite food vendor.


Darlington Food & Drink Festival

When: Friday 28th April – Monday 1st May (5pm – 5pm)

Where: Market Square, Darlington

Price: Free

Sample new foods, tantalise your tastebuds and socialise with friends at a festival full of the finest local food and drink stalls to browse. As well as delicious street food, there’ll be live demos and performances by local bands and a variety of workshops, face painting and entertainers for kids, too. A perfect family fun day out in Darlington.


Slice Wars 2023: ‘The Rebel Base’

When: Friday 28th – Saturday 29th April (5pm – 11:45pm)

Where: Wylam Brewery, Newcastle

Price: Free

This month we’re treated to not just one epic food battle but there are two happening at Wylam Brewery. Where pizza and Star Wars are united, spend your tokens on pizza from a range of different North East vendors and choose which one is your ultimate favourite. With Star Wars-themed names, great beer and drinks options, tunes from a live DJ and delicious pizza all day long, this is any foodie’s paradise.



A woman dressed in a flowy white dress dances in front of a huge moon. Her eyes are closed. This is the poster image for Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty.

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty

When: Tuesday 18th – Saturday 29th April

Where: Theatre Royal, Newcastle

Price: from £20.00

Award-winning Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty has enchanted international audiences throughout the UK and across the globe. Enter a wondrous world of magical fairies and vampires, where the timeless tale of good vs evil is turned upside-down, creating a supernatural love story that even the passage of time itself cannot hinder. Will Princess Aurora ever find her true love again?


Olly Murs: Marry Me UK Tour

When: Saturday 22nd April (6pm)

Where: Utilita Arena, Newcastle

Price: £50.95

The troublemaker is back after releasing his new studio album Marry Me. Expect joyful, energetic and funky hits with plenty of opportunities to get up and dance to the much-loved pop star. With Scouting for Girls as the support act, this is sure to be an unforgettable night of feel-good vibes from the very start.


Northern Kin Festival 2023

When: Friday 28th – Sunday 30th April

Where: Ushaw: Historic House, Chapels and Gardens, County Durham

Price: £125

Northern Kin is the ideal music festival for lovers of folk, blues and rock music. Located in a beautiful rural setting, the festival takes place over three days and features more than 40 artists and bands including headliners like the Levellers, Bill Bailey and Hawkwind. The festival prides itself on offering a secure, family-friendly campsite, great value for money and an all-around good atmosphere.

Other stories by Rachael Nichol
Simonside by Dan Monk Photography

9 romantic stargazing stays and experiences in Dark Skies, Northumberland

Rachael Nichol
Liddel Water Lodges

Unwind in style with these luxury log cabins with hot tubs near Lake District

Rachael Nichol
Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art

Be the first to see acclaimed artist Jacqueline Poncelet’s museum debut at MIMA

Rachael Nichol
Commissioners Quay Blyth

The final remaining new 3-bed homes at Blyth Waterfront with sea views – save up to £29,000

Rachael Nichol
The hidden gem spot for brunch in Newcastle that’s blooming brilliant

The hidden gem spot for brunch in Newcastle that’s blooming brilliant

Rachael Nichol
Seaham Hall

Unwind in style with sea views, hot tubs and coastal lodges at Seaham Hall

Rachael Nichol