Select 2021

Things to do on and off line this year

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Liverpool

From Here To There is a celebration of music from both sides of the Irish Sea. Part of the Liverpool Irish Festival (21-31 October) it features Seafoam Green, Sara Ryan (pictured), Míde Houlihan and Karen Turley.

29 Oct, District (liverpoolirishfestival.com) 

Sheffield

A play in two parts, The Lemon Table celebrates a love of music, live performance, and life itself. In the first half an obsessive concert goer goes to unorthodox lengths to enjoy his evening. In the other, the concert’s composer reflects on the music he has created – his successes, his failures, and the life he has lived. Written by novelist Julian Barnes, he brings his unsentimental, wryly comic perspective to the complicated business of ageing.

26-30 Oct, The Crucible (sheffieldtheatres.co.uk) 

Oldham

Starring stars of stage and soaps Wendi Peters ad Bill Ward, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow begins with the arrival of a new teacher, Ichabod Crane, in the sleepy town. Soon he finds himself embroiled in the secrets and unsettling traditions of the locals but all is not as it seems. When disturbing events overwhelm the small town, he finds himself swept up in a dangerous mystery which leaves him doubting his own sanity. 

28-30 Oct, Oldham Coliseum (coliseum.org.uk) 

Manchester

Cancer Revolution: Science, innovation and hope, is the first major exhibition exploring the revolution in science that is transforming cancer care. Rarely seen objects from the likes of The Christie, cutting edge treatment and research, reflection, new artist commissions and installations, film, photography, interactive exhibits and testimony will present the stories of people affected by cancer, together with those who study and treat it.

Until March, Science and Industry Museum (scienceandindustrymuseum.org.uk)

Skipton

A unique sound map celebrates life in Skipton as recorded by the town’s residents. Soundtrack to Skipton can be explored via an online map and so far includes everything from a medieval reenactment at Skipton Castle to the gentle sound of water lapping in Skipton Basin, the clattering of a 19th century printing press, and the noise of shoppers in the B&M car park. The soundtrack will be used in a new film commissioned by Hinterlands International Rural Film Festival.

Ongoing (hinterlandsfestival.org.uk/soundtracktoskipton)   

York

A new theatrical version of The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff is performed by Teesside folk trio The Young’uns. It’s the true story of one man’s journey from poverty and unemployment in Stockton on Tees through the Hunger Marches of the 1930s, the mass trespass movement and the Battle of Cable Street, to fighting fascism in the Spanish Civil War.

28-30 Oct, York Theatre Royal (yorktheatreroyal.co.uk)

Southport

The Autumn Open exhibition is a display of work from the local creative community – amateur and professional. Among them is Sharon Barnes, whose work, Nickel Yellow Morning (pictured), is a reflection of the mood and colours seen along the coastal landscape of Birkdale as the seasons move from winter into spring. 

12-30 Oct, ArtHouse (sca-network.co.uk) 

Liverpool

Future Ages Will Wonder presents an “alternative museum” of artworks that use science and technology to question our
past and offer new ways of understanding who we are and where we belong. Nine
UK and international artists display work made with traditional mediums such as textiles, sculpture and photography, as well as virtual reality, computer algorithms and synthetic DNA.

28 Oct-22 Feb, Fact (fact.co.uk) 

Leeds

A guided walk that starts at the landmark Parkinson Building on Woodhouse Lane and continues through to the Leeds University campus, Leeds Black History Walk exposes unseen narratives and recent history to provoke questions and unity.

23 Oct (gcfoundation.co.uk)

Manchester

Featuring original artworks, events, exhibitions and performances, The Future Is Ours Festival celebrates the creative expression of young people in Greater Manchester. Young people’s artwork will take over a gallery space as well as public spaces in Ancoats and billboards around the city. 

22-29 Oct, the Horsfall (42ndstreet.org.uk) 

Sheffield

Sheffield is running out of time! Can you repair the clock and save the city? The Missing Minute: Time Leak is a free-to-play family adventure taking place across the city. In locations such as the Treehouse Boardgame Café and the Millennium Gallery families will take part in games and activities organised by the National Videogame Museum. 

23-24 Oct, various venues (nvm.org)

Liverpool

Routes & Roots features two weeks of free family-friendly cultural, arts and wellbeing activities and events to celebrate Black History Month. The programme will culminate with drumming and movement troupe Katumba’s annual Halloween Carnival.

16-31 Oct, various venues (katumba.co.uk/routes-and-roots)

Liverpool

Country-pop duo Ward Thomas busk to raise money for five environmental charities. Touring the country, the pair will continue to busk each week, under the banner #buskingforourplanet, until the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow on
1 November.

19 Oct, outside Lime St Station, 2pm (wardthomasmusic.co.uk) 

Lancaster

The Art of Music is an exhibition inspired by music and musicians, displayed to coincide with Lancaster Music Festival. Almost 50 local, national and international artists will be displaying work ranging from paintings, drawings and sculpture to photography, video, mixed media and printmaking.

13-25 Oct, King Street Studios (kingstreetstudios.art) 

Kendal

Kathryn Tickell and the Darkening take the dark, powerful, shamanic sounds of ancient Northumbria and broadcast them to the modern world. Their inspiration comes from the wild, dramatic, weather-bitten countryside along Hadrian’s Wall but embraces a global perspective. 

21 Oct, Brewery Arts Centre (breweryarts.co.uk)

Manchester

Use Hearing Protection: The Early Years of Factory Records is an exhibition telling the story of the Manchester label during its formative years of 1978-1982. It features
50 artefacts, including instruments and graphic designs.

Until January, Science and Industry Museum (scienceandindustrymuseum.org.uk)

Lancaster

One of the largest textile projects ever created by a single artist is on display. Jacqui Parkinson’s Threads Through Creation took almost three years to complete and re-imagines the creation story in 12 panels, some around eight feet high and as wide as 11 feet. 

Until 3 Nov, Lancaster Priory (lancasterpriory.org)

York

Allotments in Autumn is an exhibition of paintings by Sheffield-based artist Stephen Todd. His work also includes drawing and occasionally photography and, along with allotments, encompasses landscape, seascape, estuaries and the human form. 

Until 6 Dec, Kentmere House Gallery (kentmerehouse.co.uk)

Leeds

In 1977 regular cabs won’t travel to the Pittsburgh Hill District so local residents turn to the unlicensed taxi company of Jim Becker and his fellow “jitney” drivers. A production of modern American classic Jitney by August Wilson explores the fragile bond between eight men as they live, love and work in a racially segregated, post-Vietnam America.

16 Oct-6 Nov, Courtyard Theatre (leedsplayhouse.org.uk)

Blackburn

As part of the British Textile Biennial, artist Azraa Motala exhibits a new series of portraits exploring identity, belonging, culture and heritage. Unapologetic challenges the ongoing narrative of “otherness” and provides a platform for an overlooked community of young British South Asian women from Lancashire to express how they want to be represented. Pictured: Motala’s I Beg You To Define Me.

1-31 Oct, Blackburn Art Gallery (britishtextilebiennial.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) 

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)

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)

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)

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) 

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)

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

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)

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