Play Hard

What’s on in the North East this June

Soulful summer BBQs, movie scores by moonlight and divas galore, plus huge stand ups and West End shows – June’s going to be a good one.

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 03.06.2023


Characters of the Northern Stage production of Wuthering Heights stand in front of an old, crumpled backdrop. They are in a mixture of states. One has a huge black eye, one has dirt and feathers on their face, one wears sunglasses and eats an apple, one holds up a beer can and looks at the camera drunkenly. Catherine sits at the centre, looking fed up and holding a cabbage.

Wuthering Heights

6th – 10th June

Northern Stage, Newcastle upon Tyne

Emily Brontë’s classic tale is reimagined in surprising and relevant ways in Northern Stage’s latest production – bringing humour, passion and pathos to the infamous love story.

Tickets: from £10.00

A woman in a cocktail dress presents a man sitting in an orange armchair with a cheese cocktail stick. This is a scene from Abigail's Party, playing at Darlington Hippodrome.

Abigail’s Party

13th – 17th June

Darlington Hippodrome

Abigail’s Party provides a hilarious glimpse into a suburban living room in 1977 – the year of skin-tight polyester, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and Saturday Night Fever. Beverly and her husband, Laurence, play host to their neighbours Angela, Tony and Sue. As the alcohol flows and the nibbles are passed around, the guests clash over everything from politics to snack preferences.

Tickets: from £32.00

Three school girls have their backs facing the camera. They each hold a croquet mallet in a menacing stance. Each one is dressed in a tartan skirt, long socks and shirt of a different colour - one is red, one is green, the other is yellow. Above them are the words Heather the Musical. The text is red and horror film esque.

Heathers The Musical

20th – 24th June

Sunderland Empire

Based on the infamous 1989 film, this rock musical follows Veronica Sawyer as she navigates Westerberg High. When she joins the beautiful yet cruel Heathers, her dreams of popularity feel like they’re in reach. But the mysterious teen rebel JD teaches her that it might kill to be a nobody, but it’s murder being a somebody…

Tickets: from £48.00



Jazz singer Alice Grace sits on a stool singing into a microphone. Next to her is her jazz partner Pawel Jedrzejewski, who plays his guitar. They are performing at The Black Swan bar at Newcastle Arts Centre.

Jazz Night: Alice Grace and Pawel Jedrzejewski Duo

13th June

Newcastle Arts Centre

Soak up an exciting evening of jazz at Newcastle Arts Centre this month, as vocal and guitar duo Alice Grace and Pawel Jedrzejewski draw inspiration from jazz greats Norma Winstone and Kenny Wheeler, as well as showcasing some new original material.

Tickets: from £10.00

A man in a white tailcoat conducts the string section of an orchestra. Behind the musicians, a huge moon illuminates the stage. This is an image advertising the Best Of Hans Zimmer & John Williams By Moonlight orchestral tribute.

Best of Hans Zimmer and John Williams by Moonlight

16th June

Middlesbrough Town Hall

Be immersed in the incredible music of Hans Zimmer and John Williams in this special moonlit performance by the London Film Music Orchestra. This incredible concert brings you cinema’s most iconic music, with plenty of songs you’ll recognise – including themes from E.T., Jurassic Park, Jaws, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean. 

Tickets: from £32.50

Holly Rees stands on a dark, smoky stage playing her electric guitar. She grins as she looks down. Holly is playing at the Alphabetti Theatre in June 2023.

Holly Rees

17th June

Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne

Geordie, queer indie-rock artist Holly Rees has been described as Laura-Marling-meets-Courtney-Barnett and was given huge backing by BBC 6 Music’s Tom Robinson when he said her track, ‘Toast’ was “so brave and [was] created by someone who was really, truly, being themselves. Don’t believe anyone who tells you there is no future in music. There is.”

Tickets: from £3.00



Jack Whitehall stands against a sparkly dark blue background and leans towards the camera, holding out his microphone. He raises his eyebrows and smiles expectantly. Below him are the words Jack Whitehall, Settle Down.

Jack Whitehall

23rd June

Utilita Arena, Newcastle upon Tyne

We’re a little bit in love with Jack Whitehall and this promises to be his most personal live show yet. Expect hilarious anecdotes about having a long-term partner, a ridiculous dog and what it’s like to approach middle-age.

Tickets: from £29.95



Comedian Brendan Murphy is dressed as Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer with his iconic white spiky hair. He looks at the camera with one eyebrow raised. Above him in white supernatural letters are the words Buffy Revamped.

Buffy Revamped

7th June

Middlesbrough Theatre

This fast-paced production presents to you the entire 144 episodes of the hit TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, told through the eyes of Spike himself. In 70 minutes, Spike (performed by comedian Brendan Murphy) will cover all seven seasons in a funny, satirical parody that is bursting with ’90s pop-culture references.

Tickets: from £23.20



An unseen person using a thin tool to carve a line into a clay tile. You can learn how to make plant inspired pottery at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.

Plant Inspired Pottery

10th June

Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens 

During this two-session course, pottery artist Lindsey Grieves will show you how to work with clay in a laidback environment to create nature-themed ceramic pieces for your home. You’ll visit the Winter Gardens to take plant clippings and impress these into clay, using techniques like slab building, moulding and stamping techniques to create decorative tiles and bowls.

Tickets: from £30.00

A watercolour illustration by Quentin Blake depicts a mum painting on a canvas overlooking a natural landscape. A man and little girl stand beside her, admiring the view. It is one of the illustrations you might find at WWT Washington.

Drawn to Water: Quentin Blake

Until 3rd September

Washington Wetland Centre

See nature through the eyes of the UK’s best-loved illustrator, Quentin Blake, in this exhibition. Throughout summer at Washington Wetland Centre, families can collect illustrated guides full of Quentin Blake’s drawings with each new seasonal trail. Take part in interactive crafts and enter a special illustration competition.

Tickets: from £10.45

A woman in a white dress and red coat holds a basket. She looks over a small girl in a blue dress, who is crouching over some bushes. Fields and skies stretch to the horizon. This is a painting called Blackberrying by Harold C Harvey in 1917.

Essence of Nature

Until 14th October

Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne

This significant exhibition features loans from galleries such as the V&A and the William Morris Gallery, as well as pictures from the Laing’s collection, and traces radically different approaches to depicting the natural world – starting with the Pre-Raphaelites’ ideal of “truth to nature”, represented by William Holman Hunt, John Ruskin and Anna Blunden.

Tickets: from £8.00



A female ballet dancer holds her hands above her head as she prances across the stage. She wears a pink and red dress with a red clock flying out behind her. She is part of the Ballet Cymru performance of Roald Dahl's Little Red Riding Hood.

Roald Dahl’s Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs

14th June

Durham Gala Theatre

Ballet Cymru brings an outstanding performance for all the family, based on Roald Dahl’s treasured stories.

With glorious costumes, spectacular dancing and innovative video projections, this witty ballet puts a mesmerising twist on the author’s popular tales.

Tickets: from £18.00



A man wearing a chef's hat, apron and sunglasses throws his head back in laughter as he DJs at a his DJ deck. His body emerges from an aerial view of Wylam Brewery and Exhibition Park. This is the poster for the Motoon Soul BBQ summer party at Wylam Brewery.

Motoon: The Summer Soul BBQ

10th – 11th June

Wylam Brewery, Newcastle upon Tyne

Soak up some soulful summer vibes from 6pm at Wylam Brewery, where you can indulge with a couple of cold ones out on their terrace as you watch the sun set. There’ll be plenty of delicious scran to feed your stomaches as well as your souls, too, before the Motoon DJs do their thing in the Main Hall until late. 

Tickets: from £7.00

A man stands in front of a crowd, his back facing the camera. The stage is illuminated with pink light and he holds up a giant pink fluffy unicorn into the air. It is one of the prizes to be won at Bongo's Bingo.

Bongo’s Bingo: Night of the Divas

16th June

Boiler Shop, Newcastle upon Tyne

We love Bongo’s Bingo at the best of times, but now they’ve announce a brand new theme for June – Night of the Divas, no less – we’re as excited to book up as we ever have been. Prepare to celebrate Whitney, Madonna, Cher, Rihanna, Celine, Dolly and Queen Bee, with all Bongo’s usual raves, dance-offs and crazy prizes.

Tickets: from £18.00

An overhead view of the Made Up North Summer Market inside the Boiler Shop warehouse. People wander around the various stalls, taking in the crafts and creations.

Made.UpNorth Summer Market

2nd July

Boiler Shop, Newcastle upon Tyne  

Made.UpNorth’s Summer Market brings together 65 of the region’s best makers under one roof – giving you the chance to pick up plenty of one-of-a-kind pieces from northern potters, textiles artists, jewellers, soap makers and creators. You can also grab a bite to eat from local food vendors or enjoy a drink at the bar.  

Tickets: from £2.00

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