Select 2021

Things to do on and off line this year

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Liverpool

Sisterly folk-rock trio The Staves perform their beautiful harmonies with a rousing full band sound on a UK tour in support of new album Good Woman. 

29 Sept, Grand Central Hall (thestaves.com) 

Bradford

The acclaimed stage adaptation of David Walliams’ popular children’s book Gangsta Granny is performed by Birmingham Stage Company (previous cast pictured). It tells the story of Ben and his boring cabbage-munching gran who harbours a big secret. 

30 Sept-2 Oct, Alhambra Theatre (bradford-theatres.co.uk)

Sale

She Appeared to Vanish is an exhibition showcasing work by international photographers, each challenging the conventional representation of the female form in visual culture.

17 Sept-6 Nov, Waterside Arts Centre (watersidearts.org) 

Liverpool

Our Lady of Blundellsands is a twisted comic stage drama by the award-winning creator of Gimme Gimme Gimme, Jonathan Harvey. It follow Sylvie, who lives in a fantasy land, frozen in time in her Blundellsands house, and her older, wiser but enabling sister Garnet. The delicate balance is tipped when Garnet reveals a secret at a birthday. 

17 Sept-9 Oct, Everyman (everymanplayhouse.com)  

Manchester

Set in a Manchester car park overlooking the city, Peaceophobia examines Islamophobia from the perspective of a group of Pakistani boy racers. Co-directed by members of Speakers Corner, a political, creative collective run by women and girls in Bradford, it’s a cinematic, site-specific play with an original electronic sound score.  

29 Sept-2 Oct, First Street Car Park (contactmcr.com)

York

Matthew Bourne’s The Midnight Bell explores the underbelly of 1930s London life where ordinary people emerge from cheap boarding houses nightly to pour out their passions, hopes and dreams in the pubs and bars of fog-bound Soho and Fitzrovia.

30 Sept-2 Oct, Theatre Royal (yorktheatreroyal.co.uk) 

Sheffield

Irish indie-rock four piece Inhaler perform tracks from their anthem-laden debut album It Won’t Always Be Like This. 

28 Sept, Octagon Centre (inhaler.band)

Wakefield

Circlesphere is an exhibition from elusive neon artist Fred Tschida across two sites. Seven gas-filled glass illuminated sculptures revolve on free-standing wooden frames and, between 2.1m and 2.8m tall, skim the Art House gallery ceilings. They are accompanied by a huge rotating neon-clad circle housed at 7A, Neon Workshops’ project space, filling the entire 3,000 sq ft warehouse. 

29 Sept-28 Nov, Art House and Neon (the-arthouse.org)

Liverpool

Celebrating 10 years of Latin American arts organisation Luma, La Feria is a four day festival featuring a wide programme of events including street performances, a family day, music from award-winning singer Angelica Lopez and her eight-piece band, and beautiful Mexican dances from the Colibri Company.

23-26 Sept, various venues (lumacreations.org)

Darwen

Led by Kirk Brandon, Spear Of Destiny bring their WorldService@35 tour on the road. The band re-recorded their acclaimed 1985 album in 2020 and the tour set will feature the album plus B-sides in full and the show will be finished with a career-spanning extended encore.

22 Sept, Library Theatre (kirkbrandon.com)

Lancaster

Lancaster Arts’ autumn season kicks off with a new piece from Manchester Collective. In Voice of the Whale musical director Rakhi Singh (pictured) brings together a strange and unsettling set of otherworldly music to create a narrative that transports listeners to the lonely depths of the Pacific Ocean. 

(lancasterarts.org) 

Leeds

Progressive bluegrass Finnish five piece Steve ’n’ Seagulls perform energetic live shows with their odd Nordic sense of humour. Their versions of classic rock songs blend seamlessly with original tracks as they employ an array of acoustic instruments including accordion, banjo, cajon, and double bass.

22 Sept, Brudenell Social Club (stevenseagulls.com)

Manchester

Sounds of the City returns with a series of headline concerts featuring Dermot Kennedy, Kaiser Chiefs and Razorlight, Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott, The Streets, Haçienda Classiçal and Snow Patrol (pictured).

21-26 Sept, Castlefield Bowl (gigsandtours.com)

Sheffield

Written by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm and directed by Róisín McBrinn, Typical Girls is part-gig, part-play, in which a group of women in a specialised prison unit discover punk rock and form their own group as an outlet for their frustration.

24 Sept-16 Oct, Crucible Theatre (sheffieldtheatres.co.uk)

Leeds

Leeds Museums & Galleries’ 200th birthday is marked with an exhibition of objects examining how the city has evolved over the centuries while exploring the role modern museums play in preserving and interpreting history. Highlights include an incredibly detailed model of the Quarry Hill flats development, once the largest social housing complex in the UK.

Ongoing, Leeds City Museum (museumsandgalleries.leeds.gov.uk)

Blackpool

We’re Sew Done is a collection of colourful textile art that directly responds to the threat of violence women face in public places every day. Initially galvanised by the murder of Sarah Everard, craft group Knittaz with Attitude drew further inspiration from incidents of street harassment in Blackpool collected via an online map. 

Until 28 Oct, Blackpool Central Library (sew-done.co.uk)

Oldham

Once star-crossed lovers, then everyone’s favourite couple, now Mansoor is moving back to India and Bindi has recruited half the neighbourhood in her plan to win him back. Love ‘N’ Stuff is a hilarious, heart-warming play written by Tanika Gupta (Eastenders) and directed by Gitika Buttoo. Though there’s a cast of seventeen characters, all are played by Komal Amin and Maanuv Thiara. 

16 Sep-2 Oct, Oldham Coliseum Theatre (coliseum.org.uk)

Sheffield

The Graves Gallery opens after a six-month refurbishment with 83 pieces from sculptor Mark Firth in the new exhibition Precision as a State of Mind. Firth works in aluminium as an exploration of the relation between art and engineering and a nod to Sheffield’s industrial history. 

3 Sept-15 Jan, Graves Gallery (museums-sheffield.org.uk)

Wakefield

New exhibition Wonderchaos, from Kate Daudy and Kostya Novoselov, explores the relation of world events with individuals’ daily existence, focusing on how the pandemic disrupted lives and questioning whether this can spark positive changes. Some of the pieces hang inside the Bothy gallery while others are in the grounds, making use of the country park. 

8 Sept-6 Oct, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (ysp.org.uk) 

Leeds

A new app helps adults and children alike appreciate the city’s parks and green spaces – and introduces them to dinosaurs. Dinosaur safaris will be available at Cross Flatts, Middleton, Gotts Park and a further four parks as well as the Leeds waterfront. The Love Exploring App also details treasure hunts, nature trails and histories of the parks.

Citywide (visitleeds.co.uk/love-exploring)

Wakefield

The first solo exhibition of work by Kedisha Coakley reconsiders objects and cultural symbols in relation to history, race and culture. Born in London in 1982, Coakley completed her BA in fine art at Sheffield Hallam University in 2020. Her work explores timely issues concerning Black women’s identity. 

Until 31 Oct, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (ysp.org.uk) 

Manchester

Counter-flow: The Movement Of Cultures From One Place To Another is an exhibition focusing on the spread of cultural identities. The various forms of art by Eva Mileusnic include 100 pairs of ceramic feet, and the family-friendly workshop on Wednesdays allows visitors the opportunity to decorate their own pair of plaster feet. 

Until 10 Oct, People’s History Museum (pmh.org.uk)

Sheffield

The exhibits in Earthbound reflect the natural world and Sheffield’s own local history. Pieces in the collection are curated by the Roberts Institute of Arts and it features work from seven artists. 

5 Aug-31 Oct, Millennium Gallery (museums-sheffield.org.uk)

Leeds

Dead Inspiring is a new insect exhibition taking visitors through a collection of hi-tech photographs showing bugs in a different light. These displays are part of Leeds Museum’s aim
to empower young women to pursue careers in science. The works can also be visited online.

Ongoing, Leeds City Museum (museumandgalleries.Leeds.gov.uk)

Salford

With You Belong Here local artists including Cheddar Gorgeous rediscover Salford’s green spaces. The exhibition, in partnership with the Salford University Art Collection, will include five new commissions from local artists and the pre-booking event will also include talks and online content. 

15 July-28 November, Salford Museum and Art Gallery (www.you-belong-here.salford.ac.uk)

Leeds / online

Online exhibition In These Four Walls features over 600 works of contemporary art, animation, illustration, graphic design, film, fashion, textiles, creative advertising, music and photography, from across 14 undergraduate courses at Leeds Art University.

Until 30 Sept, (leeds-art.ac.uk/2021-show)

York

On loan from the National Portrait Gallery, Richard III’s famous portrait goes on display as part of a new exhibition alongside groups of objects associated with the 15th century king. The portrait is on loan as part of the National Portrait Gallery’s Coming Home project, in which paintings of figureheads are returned to places across the UK with which they are most closely associated.

Ongoing, Yorkshire Museum (yorkshiremuseum.org.uk)

Sheffield

Sheffield-born John Hoyland (1934-2011) is considered one of Britain’s leading abstract painters. Ten years after his death the Millennium Gallery launches the exhibition The Last Paintings, which features nine large-scale canvases painted during the final eight years of his life, some of which have never been publicly displayed before.

Until 10 October, Millennium Gallery

(museums-sheffield.org.uk/museums/millennium-gallery) 

Sheffield

The Sheffield Project is a series of photographs taken in the 1980s, which witnessed the Miners’ Strike, the steel industry’s workforce decimated, mass unemployment and dereliction. Since then, Sheffield has reimagined its future. Photographers reflect on a monumental period of change for the city and its people. Pictured: Untitled by Tim Smith

Until 28 November, Weston Park Museum (museums-sheffield.org.uk)

Preston

A unique display of art through the medium of signs will be on display in Preston. Bob and Roberta Smith is actually one New York-trained artist, activist, art education advocate, writer and musician who assumed the pseudonym while he was living and working with his sister, Roberta. Creating artworks by using text, slogans and sign painting, the display will feature his most well-known works in addition to never-before-seen pieces.

Until 2 October, The Harris (theharris.org.uk)  

North Yorkshire

Marking the centenary of the death of Walter Morrison, a new festival will celebrate the life of the Yorkshire philanthropist who was dedicated to improving the lives and living conditions of people less fortunate than himself. The festival will include several exhibitions detailing aspects of Morrison’s life and the impression it has left on the community a century after his death.

Until 30 September, The Folly (thefolly.org.uk) 

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