Play Hard

What’s on in the North East this July

From the return of Newcastle’s Pride Festival to live music along the seafront, ground-breaking theatre productions, new stand-up talent, and a city-wide celebration of culture… here’s how to spend the next month

Written by Becky Hardy
Published Today


Gabrielle Mouth of the Tyne Festival Tynemouth Newcastle upon Tyne

Mouth of the Tyne Festival

6th – 9th July

Tynemouth Priory, Newcastle upon Tyne

You don’t have to walk 500 miles to catch The Proclaimers this summer, alongside the Ivor Novello winning Siouxsie, Housemartins frontman Paul Heaton and everyone’s favourite soul-pop queen, Gabrielle – just head to Tynemouth Priory at sunset.

Tickets: From £27.50


The Vamps South Tyneside Festival South Shields Bents Park Sunday Concerts

This is South Tyneside Festival

9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th July

Bents Park, South Shields

The Vamps, Jason Donovan, Bjorn Again and Boyzlife (the crooner combo of Keith Duffy and Brian McFadden), will be headlining the four Sunday Concerts that South Shields are now famous for this summer.

Tickets: Free


Reverend and the Makers Acoustic The Cluny Newcastle upon Tyne

Reverend and the Makers: Acoustic

13th July

The Cluny, Newcastle upon Tyne

Famous for their trademark combo of classic indie-rock, dance and electro, catch the ‘Heavyweight Champion of the World’ hitmakers as you’ve never seen them before at The Cluny this month: live and unplugged.

Tickets: From £11.00


Kubix Festival Herrington Country Park Houghton le Spring

Kubix Festival

15th and 22nd July

Herrington Country Park, Houghton le Spring

At Kubix Festival’s Pop & Dance Day on 15th July, expect to find pop heavyweights Sugababes, Blue, A1, Five and 911, while the Alternative & Rock Day on 22nd July will host Squeeze, The Enemy and Marc Almond.

Tickets: From £37.29


Jools Holland wears a smart blue-grey suit with matching waistcoat. He stands next to his black Yamaha piano, leaning one hand on top of it. He smiles at the camera.

Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra

21st July

Darlington Hippodrome

The world-famous entertainer (and NYE stalwart) will be bringing his much loved boogie-woogie piano style live to the Darlington Hippodrome stage, backed by his dynamic Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, for a performance full of back to back feel-good hits.

Tickets: From £44.00



Confetti Will Jackson Durham Gala Theatre


7th July

Durham Gala Theatre

This one-man rom-com was a smash hit at Edinburgh Fringe – celebrating the ‘gay best friend’ trope front and centre as Will Jackson stars as Felix: uptight, unlucky in love and mate of honour at his best friend’s wedding…

Tickets: From £12.00


Kinky Boots Theatre Royal Newcastle upon Tyne

Kinky Boots

25th – 29th July

Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne

This fierce, fearless and fabulous award-winning musical following the workers in a struggling shoe factory who start producing ‘kinky boots’ for drag queens – all set to a score created by pop royalty Cyndi Lauper – is full of heart and sole.

Tickets: From £15.00



Sketch Slap Alphabetti Theatre Newcastle upon Tyne

Sketch Slap

11th July

Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne

Head down to Alphabetti Theatre if you fancy a night full of slapstick sketches and hilarious skits, featuring some of the most exciting up-and-coming comedic talent in the North East.

Tickets: Pay what you feel



Paul Smith Joker Comedian O2 City Hall Newcastle

Paul Smith

22nd July

Sunderland Empire

Liverpool’s former New Comedian of the Year brings his biggest and, arguably, funniest live show yet to Sunderland later this month, in which the Scouse funny man mixes his trademark audience interaction with more of his hilarious true stories.

Tickets: From £29.65



Anne Redpath and her Circle Maltings Berwick Edinburgh School

Anne Redpath and her Circle

Until 5th November

The Maltings, Berwick upon Tweed

One of Scotland’s finest mid-20th century artists, Anne Redpath was also a penniless, single mother of three. Still, she never wavered from pursuing a career as an artist and she eventually became a standard bearer for the group now known as the ‘Edinburgh School’. Discover the largely forgotten group in this new exhibition.

Tickets: Free



People Powered Stories from the River Tees MIMA Middlesbrough

People Powered: Stories from the River Tees

22nd July – 7th January, 2024

MIMA, Middlesbrough

In partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, this exhibition features an action-packed programme of events focusing on histories and folk tales that explore the untold stories from the River Tees – as well as poetry, portraits and photographs from by HLN friend, Joanne Coates.

Tickets: Free



Durham BRASS Festival 2023

Durham BRASS Festival 2023

9th – 16th July

Venues across Durham

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Academy Award-winning short film, Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers. It’s an occasion The Fairey Band are determined to celebrate during Durham Brass Festival, while you’ll find plenty other performances, family workshops and pop-ups across the city.

Tickets: From £15.00


Colourful depiction of Newcastle's Tyne Bridge and surrounding buildings in a psychedelic style. Two signs on the poster say, Newcastle Fringe Festival.

Newcastle Fringe Festival

18th – 29th July

Venues across Newcastle city centre

The North East’s answer to the famous Edinburgh Fringe, this July expect to see a kaleidoscope of talented theatre, comedy, poetry and musical performances in venues across Newcastle’s city centre.

Tickets: From £3.00



Northern Pride Festival 2023 Newcastle upon Tyne Town Moor Amelia Lily

Northern Pride 2023

22nd – 23rd July

Town Moor, Newcastle upon Tyne

The North East’s premier celebration of the LGBTQIA+ returns for 2023 with plenty of rainbow-themed festival workshops, funfair rides, bars and street food, family events and huge entertainment acts in the pipeline.

Tickets: From £6.00



For more events listings across the North East, check out our What’s On calendar


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