Play Hard

What’s on in the North East this October

From creepy critters after dark at Halloween to steins for good times at Oktoberfest, more music festivals, magic theatre shows and the return of Sarah Millican – October’s going to be dead good.

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 30.09.2023


Beyond the Moor Festival

14th October

Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne

Newcastle’s day-long folk music festival returns for its second year at Gosforth Civic Theatre, showcasing the best in local and national artists playing contemporary, alternative and traditional roots music.

Tickets: from £30.44

Twisterella Festival 2023 Middlesbrough Me Lost Me Music


14th October

Venues across Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough’s award-winning music festival is back for another instalment this month, with artists like Avalanche Party, Prima Queen and Venus Grrrls

taking over some of the town’s coolest bars and venues.

Tickets: from £22.50  

Marti Pellow: Pellow Talk, The Lost Chapter 2023 Maltings Berwick upon Tweed

Marti Pellow: Pellow Talk, The Lost Chapter

17th October

Maltings, Berwick-upon-Tweed

If you’re a Wet, Wet, Wet fan, don’t miss this chance to get up close and personal to lead singer Marti Pellow, as he takes his intimate new show Pellow Talk on the road – exploring the songs and stories that make the man.

Tickets: from £33.00


National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine

31st October

Middlesbrough Town Hall

The NSOU – one of Ukraine’s oldest cultural institutions and among the finest symphony orchestras in Eastern Europe – has chosen the UK for its biggest single-country tour, as part of its efforts to fight the war on the cultural front.

Tickets: from £25.00



Sh!t-faced Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing

7th October

Tyne Theatre & Opera House, Newcastle upon Tyne

Sh!t-faced Shakespeare is the classic combination of a hacked-to-bits Shakespeare script, half a dozen professional actors and a bucket load of booze. Sounds classical to us…

Tickets: from £25.00


42nd Street

10th – 14th October

Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne

Samantha Womack, Faye Tozer and Les Dennis star in this iconic song-and-dance spectacular, featuring a hit parade of toe-tapping songs, including ‘We’re In The Money’, ‘Lullaby of Broadway’ and ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’.

Tickets: from £20.00  



17th – 21st October

Darlington Hippodrome

This new thriller, inspired by the classic gothic novel, explores the ultimate cost of chasing “perfection”. Whilst Europe tears itself apart, two women hide from their past at what feels like the end of the world. And one has a terrifying story to tell.

Tickets: from £16.50 


Beyond Caring

18th October

The Customs House, South Shields

Beyond Caring is a powerful new play that takes a frank look at life behind the doors of a care home: a place where the corridors roar with laughter and ache with sadness and where outrageous antics mingle with tough conversations.

Tickets: from £10.00 



Soft Structures MIMA Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art Ian Giles Fiona Larkin

Soft Structures

Until 31st March, 2024

MIMA, Middlesbrough

Soft Structures reflects on the invisible threads and undocumented connections that underpin communities. Ian Giles work draws together LGBTQ+ individuals who have influenced the town of Middlesbrough, whilst Fiona Larkin responds to the artwork held in the Women Artists of the North East Library.

Tickets: Free

Voices: contemporary art and craft from the Middle East and North Africa Oriental Museum Durham

Voices: contemporary art and craft from the Middle East and North Africa

Until 12th May, 2024

Oriental Museum, Durham

Over the last decade, the Oriental Museum has been developing this eclectic collection of contemporary art from Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Yemen, Jordan and Palestine – this new exhibition is the first time we can see it.

Tickets: Free

Family Arts Festival 2023 The Shipley Art Gallery Gateshead

Family Arts Festival 2023

31st October – 2nd November

The Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead

Autumn days are the perfect time to get cosy and enjoy some crafting together at The Shipley Art Gallery, who are running seasonal crafting sessions for little ones. On 31st October, get spooky with some Halloween crafts, whilst on 2nd November you can weave some autumn garlands.

Tickets: from £3.00  



Esther Manito Hell Hath No Fury The Stand Newcastle upon Tyne

Esther Manito

7th October

The Stand, Newcastle upon Tyne  

Esther Manito is furious. Furious at the state of the world. At being considered dead at 40. At online comments. And, in her new stand-up show, she’s furiously funny. Anger isn’t a good quality in a woman, or so Esther has been told, but she can’t keep a lid on it any longer…

Tickets: from £13.00

Jimeoin Craic The Fire Station Sunderland


20th October

The Fire Station, Sunderland

The award-winning Irish comic touches down in Sunderland for the latest of his popular live shows – likely with his cheeky, no-gimmicks and superbly observed sense of humour in tow.

Tickets: from £21.45

Sarah Millican Late Bloomer Stockton Globe

Sarah Millican

28th – 29th October

Stockton Globe

When Sarah Millican was a bairn, she wouldn’t say boo to a goose. Quiet at school, not many friends, no boobs til she was 16. Now? Now she’s loud, with good friends, a cracking rack and goose booing all over the shop. In Late Bloomer, Sarah explores how one became the other. Plus, lots of stuff about dinners and lady gardens.

Tickets: from £36.75  



Psycho Path presents… Fear Ground Family Fright Fest Lintz Hall Farm Burnopfield Halloween

Psycho Path presents… Fear Ground

Until 31st October

Lintz Hall Farm, Burnopfield

Without doubt the best “Scream Park” in the UK, the Psycho Path team have put together a gargantuan 12 nightmarish attractions to see in Halloween 2023 in dead good style. While superhero spectacles, a Halloween panto of Frozen and fairground rides cater to families under 12, adults can expect a much creepier time of it in the Fear Ground after dark…

Tickets: from £9.00


Oktoberfest Newcastle 2023

13th – 28th October

Times Square, Newcastle upon Tyne

Don your finest lederhosen and dust off your steins, because the North’s biggest Bavarian-themed party tent returns to Newcastle – featuring some of the best “oompah” bands in Europe and plenty of authentic German beers and street food.

Tickets: from £10.00



21st October

Boiler Shop, Newcastle upon Tyne

A whole night dedicated to worshipping at the altar of Taylor Swift is our idea of a good time – think non-stop Swifty tunes, deep cuts, extended mixes, fan favourites and all the hits. Do you have a Blank Space in your diary? This night is Taylor-made for you…

Tickets: from £11.00

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