Select 2022

Things to do on and off line this year

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Salford

In The Ocean at the End of the Lane, a man visiting his childhood home stands beside a pond where he used to play. Transported to his 12th birthday, he’s plunged into a magical world where he must reckon with ancient forces.

12 Dec-8 Jan, The Lowry (thelowry.com)

Leeds

In Lighting the Dark: A Christmas Concert, Martin Green will lead fellow musicians on a journey through the darker aspects of Christmas, combining accordion, electronics, fiddle and brass to draw carols and the older music and stories of Christmas into a new light.

17 Dec, Howard Assembly Room (operanorth.co.uk)

Lancaster

The Glitterbomb Dancers is a new LGBTQIA+ cabaret dance troupe based in Leeds. This year, it is performing Cracked Nuts: Camper than Christmas, a cabaret adaptation of The Nutcracker, blending drag and comedy. Tickets also allow free entry to Generation Bar/Nightclub.

16 Dec, The Dukes (dukeslancaster.org)

Liverpool

Liverpool’s Makers’ Market brings together over 20 independent designers, creatives and artisans, giving shoppers the chance to buy beautiful Christmas gifts while supporting independent artists and businesses. The event will be accompanied by live music from Mike Blue and refreshments.

14 Dec, Leaf (thisisleaf.co.uk)

Bradford

Guests are invited to discover the secrets of light and colour through a series of winter holiday interactive activities, special shows and immersive experiences. The museum is also hosting a exhibition on consoles and games through the ages.

17 Dec-8 Jan, Science and Media Museum (scienceandmediamuseum.org.uk)

Sheffield

Jack Frost turns the seasons, but this year, when winter comes around, the snow begins to melt and Jack’s magic fades. Jack Frost and the Search for Winter is a new play by Joseph Coelho, combining important environmental themes with seasonal fun and original live music.

Dec 13-31, Playhouse (sheffieldtheatres.co.uk)

Scarborough

Visitors can step back in time with a Victorian magic lantern show, featuring stories, songs and adverts from 1880 to 1910, hosted by Dr Nick Hiley, an expert in the technology invented in the 17th century.

15 Dec, Scarborough Art Gallery (scarboroughmuseumsandgalleries.org.uk)

Manchester

Formed in 1983 by Kirk Brandon and Stan Stammers, formerly of punk band Theatre of Hate, Spear of Destiny reformed in the late 1990s and this year released their 15th studio album, Ghost Population. Catch them closing their 2022 winter tour.

17 Dec, Manchester Academy (manchesteracademy.net)

Leeds

From the Rabbit Hole at Glastonbury to secret pop-up sets at Latitude and the Mighty Hoopla, Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon has become the stuff of festival legend. The nine-piece “post-punk-disco-R’n’R’n’B band” fronted by the Welsh singer are now visiting the North on their final tour, also playing Manchester.

8 Dec, Brudenell Social Club (brudenellsocialclub.co.uk)

Ellesmere Port

When three travellers follow a star, they fall out, get lost, overcome obstacles and finally find what they are looking for. Made with children from local primary schools in collaboration with Teatro Pomodoro, Star of Wonder combines clowning, physical theatre and shadow puppetry.

5-21 Dec, Theatre Porto (theatreporto.org)

Blackpool

House of Wingz’ Madame Scrooge offers a fresh twist on Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, combining dance, spoken word and rap over an electro-swing soundtrack, to tell the story of greed, injustice, hauntings and redemption in an exciting new format.

8-10 Dec, The Old Electric (theoldelectric.co.uk)

Sheffield

Poppy wants to escape. Joy and Jimmy want to live out their lives together. Rose and Harry want a new life. Standing at the Sky’s Edge is a celebration of strength and solidarity across six decades set to music by Richard Hawley.

10 Dec-21 Jan, Crucible (sheffieldtheatres.co.uk)

Pickering/Grosmont

Father Christmas and his elves are returning to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. The hour-long experience from either Pickering or Grosmont Station sees the characters pass through the heritage carriages, giving children a chance to meet the legendary man himself.

Dates between 3-24 Dec, Pickering/Grosmont Station (nymr.co.uk)

Liverpool

Winner of a Tony Award, Whatsonstage Award and BBC Radio 2 Audience Award, Six tells the personal stories of Henry VIII’s six wives, remixing 500 years of historical heartbreak into an 80-minute celebration of 21st century girl power.

6 Dec-8 Jan , Liverpool Playhouse
(everymanplayhouse.com)

York

This year’s York Early Music Christmas Festival features both early and folk music from artists from the city and beyond, ranging from a celebration of Molière’s 400th anniversary to modern day balladeers Green Matthews’ performance of 600 years of Christmas music.

8-17 Dec, National Centre for Early Music (ncem.co.uk)

Manchester

David Parry conducts an all-English production of opera Die Fledermaus, a story of intrigue, mistaken identity and playful vengeance written in 1874 but relocated to New Year’s Eve 1999 at a party hosted by Prince Orlofsky.

Dates between 10-17 Dec, Royal Northern College of Music (rncm.ac.uk)

Liverpool

Ma Boyle’s Alehouse and Eatery and Parrjazz have unveiled this year’s final run of free Jazz Saturdays, featuring favourites Baiana and The Manouchetones, a debut from Sandcastles and a special guest appearance from Rob Stringer (pictured) on Christmas Eve.

Saturdays from 26 Nov, Ma Boyle’s (maboyles.co.uk)

Sheffield

Sheffield Cathedral, home of Big Issue North’s Sheffield office, is opening its doors for its annual Christmas Tree Festival, in which local organisations display their festive efforts. Visitors can vote on their favourite tree, with the winning organisation receiving a cash prize.

29 Nov-2 Jan, Sheffield Cathedral (sheffieldcathedral.org)

Leeds

Directed by James Brining and adapted from Roald Dahl’s novel by David Greig, with music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – The Musical reinvents the West End and Broadway production for new audiences.

18 Nov-28 Jan, Leeds Playhouse (leedsplayhouse.org.uk)

Wakefield

A Green and Pleasant Land (Ha-Ha) is an immersive solo exhibition of new painting and textile works by Lakwena Maciver, taking inspiration from Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s 18th century ha-has – concealed walled ditches to stop livestock straying into the gardens without visible fences.

12 Nov – 19 March, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (ysp.org.uk)

Manchester

In the UK theatrical premiere of the Broadway musical version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Ella lives with her self-absorbed stepmother Madame and stepsisters Charlotte and Gabrielle. When Prince Topher’s scheming advisor Sebastian suggests throwing a ball, their disparate worlds collide.

1 Nov-11 Dec, Hope Mill Theatre (hopemilltheatre.co.uk)

Leeds

Middle of the Road is a collaborative exhibition between painter Jenny Beard and sculptor Connor Shields, whose work explores gender, queerness, class and Northern identity. On 7 November, they will join Leeds Arts University’s Dr Sarah Taylor to discuss their work.

31Oct-15 Dec, Vernon Street Gallery (leeds-art.ac.uk)

Bradford

Van Gogh Alive, “the world’s most visited immersive, multi-sensory experience,” exhibits the life and work of the seminal Dutch artist through an interactive exhibition. Having attracted over
8.5 million visitors in numerous cities across the world, it is now coming to Yorkshire.

13 Oct-8 Jan, Regency Hall (vangoghaliveuk.com)

Wakefield

Six of Daniel Arsham’s bronze sculptures, which he describes as “future relics”, will be shown throughout the month in the 18th century Formal Garden, including three-metre-tall Bronze Eroded Venus of Arles, Arsham’s rendition of the ancient marble statue of Aphrodite from the first century BC.

From 1 Oct, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (ysp.org.uk)

Leeds

The Craft Centre and Design Gallery is marking its ruby anniversary with its finale shows – five exhibitions of contemporary craft by UK artists, including Misun Won (pictured). Mediums include jewellery, ceramics, prints, glass, wood, textiles and mixed media.

8 Oct-28 Jan 2023, Craft Centre and Design Gallery (craftcentreleeds.co.uk)

Windermere

Yellow Submarine – Bill Morrison’s Odyssey Through Pepperland features drawings and sketches from the American comic artist and takes its audience on a fantastical journey with
The Beatles, passing through the Sea of Monsters and Sea of Green to Pepperland before rescuing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band from the Blue Meanies.

23 Sept-2 Jan, Windermere Jetty Museum (lakelandarts.org.uk)

Liverpool

A redesigned gallery space by local artist Chila Kumari Singh Burman is now open to the public. With a mixture of culture-clashing visuals, neons and sculptures, the gallery is an installation in its own right and a space for the presentation of artworks by FACT’s artists-in-residence. 

Ongoing, FACT (fact.co.uk) 

Sheffield

Home is Not a Place is an exhibition by Sheffield-born photographer, writer and broadcaster Johny Pitts, who’s documented his journey around the UK by focusing on the Black British experience. Pitts was joined in his red Mini Cooper by poet Roger Robinson and the pair have collaborated on an accompanying book. 

Until 24 Dec, Graves Gallery (sheffieldmuseums.org.uk)

Sheffield

Thomas Bateman (1821-1861) was a Victorian antiquarian who founded a museum at his Derbyshire home exhibiting artefacts and specimens from across the globe. Brought to Light: The Remarkable Bateman Collection is a display of some of his local archaeology collection, as well as minerals, ceramics, metalwork and fossils. (Pictured: Necklace of jet and bone beads, from Wind Low, Derbyshire, 2500-900BC.)

Until 2023, Weston Park Museum (sheffieldmuseums.org.uk)

Manchester

Bright colours, intricate patterns, statement tattoos and fantastical accessories make up sculpture the Manchester Argonaut, which marks the start of a new programme about the history of disabled people’s rights and activism. It is the work of internationally acclaimed
artist Jason Wilsher-Mills.

Until 2023, People’s History Museum (phm.org.uk) 

Wakefield

When Dreams Confront Reality is a new exhibition drawn from the Sherwin Collection, arguably the most important privately-owned collection of British Surrealism. It features paintings, collage, works on paper, ceramics and sculpture by artists including Agar, Banting, Ernst, Moore, and Roland Penrose (pictured: Roland Penrose, Unsleeping Beauty, 1946, oil on canvas, copyright Lee Miller Archives). 

Ongoing, The Hepworth Wakefield (hepworthwakefield.org) 

York

A Tale of Two Rivers is a major exhibition exploring the history of York’s River Ouse and the lesser-known River Foss and the important role they have both played through the ages. An intriguing, interactive trail weaves its way through the medieval splendour of the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, bringing to life the stories of the building’s unique collections.

Until May 2023, Merchant Adventurers’ Hall (merchantshallyork.org)

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