Play Hard

What’s on in the North East this January

No January blues here – just foodie faves, a brand new fitness event, world-class art, music, theatre and Strictly.

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 06.01.2024

MUSIC

Hayley McKay The Cluny Newcastle upon Tyne

HAYLEY MCKAY

When: 20th January

Where: The Cluny, Newcastle upon Tyne

Price: from £15.00

Homegrown country artist Hayley McKay has drawn comparisons with Joni Mitchell, Eva Cassidy and LeAnn Rimes thanks to her distinctive vocal range. Read our interview with Hayley here.

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Fleetwood Mac by Candlelight Sunderland Empire

FLEETWOOD MAC BY CANDLELIGHT

When: 24th January

Where: Sunderland Empire

Price: from £31.75

Dreams, The Chain, Landslide, Rhiannon, Everywhere, Little Lies, Go Your Own Way… we’ll never not be listening to the everlasting genius of Fleetwood Mac. Made even more magical when performed by candlelight.

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Mary Ocher The Studio Hartlepool

MARY OCHER

When: 28th January 

Where: The Studio, Hartlepool

Price: from £8.25  

Experimental political pop artist Mary Ocher returns to Europe with her new record in tow. And with a back catalogue ranging from traditional folk to raw, ‘60s garage and everything in between, expect the unexpected.

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THEATRE

A Poirot Double Bill Peoples Theatre Newcastle upon Tyne

A POIROT DOUBLE BILL

When: 16th – 20th January 

Where: Peoples Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne 

Price: from £16.00

A resurgence of Agatha Christie’s mysteries has seen Hercule Poirot become a household name for a new generation. In this double header of The Wasp’s Nest and Yellow Iris, the Belgian detective’s trials are as intriguing as you’d expect.

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Life of Pi Theatre Royal Newcastle upon Tyne

LIFE OF PI

When: 23rd – 27th January 

Where: Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne 

Price: from £20.00

Based on the global phenomenon and Man Booker Prize winning novel by Yann Martel, this original, five-star adaptation of Life of Pi is proving just as ground-breaking on stage – with five Olivier Awards to its name already.

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I Joan Sir Thomas Allen Assembly Rooms Theatre Durham

I, JOAN

When: 25th – 27th January 

Where: Sir Thomas Allen Assembly Rooms Theatre, Durham

Price: from £10.00

I, Joan first premiered at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2022 to critical acclaim. Following the story of Joan of Arc, the play tells a tale of hope and queer joy – refusing to shy away from complex conversations around historical truth and the transgender experience.

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ARTS & EXHIBITIONS

Jade Sweeting 900 Miles From Home Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art Sunderland

JADE SWEETING: 900 MILES (FROM HOME)

When: Until 25th February 

Where: Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland 

Price: Free   

The first solo exhibition from Newcastle-based photographer Jade Sweeting constitutes an intimate series of prints of strong, confident women who ride motorcycles – and is dedicated to every woman who gets their hands dirty and wants to be free.

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Ink & Drink with illustrator Martin Brown Seven Stories Newcastle upon Tyne

INK & DRINK WITH ILLUSTRATOR MARTIN BROWN

When: 26th January

Where: Seven Stories, Newcastle upon Tyne

Price: from £12.00  

Cartoonist Martin Brown welcomes the latest exhibition of Horrible Histories and Dazzling Drawings to Seven Stories with this unique illustration masterclass. Enjoy some fizz and draw along with Martin, before a meet-and-greet book signing.

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John Bulmer Northern Light Hartlepool Art Gallery

JOHN BULMER: NORTHERN LIGHT

When: 27th January – 4th May

Where: Hartlepool Art Gallery    

Price: Free  

See Hartlepool during the 1960s as captured by legendary photographer John Bulmer, before he shot to fame with his iconic images of the North for the Sunday Times magazine.

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COMEDY

Allyson June Smith Alphabetti Theatre Newcastle upon Tyne

ALLYSON JUNE SMITH

When: 12th January 

Where: Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne 

Price: from £10.00

It’s been 10 years since Allyson swapped Canada for Manchester and she finally feels like a proper Brit – so is embarking on her first UK tour to celebrate. A self-confessed “over-sharer”, expect an observational cocktail of wit, bite and shame.

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Ed Byrne Maltings Theatre Berwick upon Tweed

ED BYRNE

When: 19th January 

Where: Maltings, Berwick   

Price: from £28.50

“Humour is defined as Tragedy plus Time” – Mark Twain. Ed Byrne returned to the Maltings to test this formula by mining the most tragic event in his life for laughs.

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DANCE

Strictly Come Dancing The Live Tour Utilita Arena Newcastle upon Tyne

STRICTLY COME DANCING: THE LIVE TOUR

When: 24th – 25th January

Where: Utilita Arena, Newcastle upon Tyne   

Price: from £42.50  

Get ready for an electrifying spectacle of glitz, glamour and entertainment as your favourite stars from the 2023 season of Strictly take to the stage. TV judges Craig, Shirley and Anton will be in attendance, as will charismatic host Janette Manrara. Expectations? Fab-u-lous.

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Swan Lake Darlington Hippodrome Varna International Ballet & Orchestra

SWAN LAKE

When: 27th January 

Where: Darlington Hippodrome  

Price: from £17.00

The greatest romantic ballet of all time – along with Tchaikovsky’s haunting score – is brilliantly brought to life by the Varna International Ballet & Orchestra, who are also performing The Nutcracker in Darlington this month.

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EVENTS

Newcastle Restaurant Week 2024

NORTH EAST RESTAURANT WEEKS

When: 15th January – 2nd February  

Where: Venues across Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham     

Price: Free 

The North East’s major cities are bringing a spark to our Januarys, thanks to the first instalment of their biannual Restaurant Weeks – where you can try out some of the region’s biggest and best restaurants at cut-price deals. Newcastle’s event will take place from 15th – 21st January, Durham’s from 26th January – 2ndFebruary, and Sunderland’s dates are still to be announced.

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Newcastle 10k Quayside Newcastle Run 10k Running

NEWCASTLE 10K

When: 20th January 

Where: Newcastle Quayside   

Price: from £26.00

If your goal is to push yourself in 2024, then why not start with this brand new 10k race? This road-closed course takes in the famous landmarks of the Quayside – seeing you run either past five of the famous seven bridges – on a nice, flat course that has PB potential written all over it. A perfect challenge for beginners.

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PLATFORM Crowne Plaza Newcastle upon Tyne

PLATFORM

When: 26th January 

Where: Crowne Plaza, Newcastle upon Tyne    

Price: Free 

PLATFORM is a new, monthly event for 2024 from the organisers of the Newcastle Startup Week festivals. Expect inspiration, information about opportunities to start or grow your business, and a network of potential collaborators to connect with.

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