Live Screenplays: For The End of Time, Live Theatre, Newcastle, June 19 and 20, 0191 232 1232 or www.live.org.uk
The series of live readings of Lee Hall’s screenplays continues with For The End of Time, a true story about “art, spirituality, war and resistance” featuring the French composer Messiaen who, in 1941, created one of the masterpieces of 20th Century music in a German prison camp. The reading is accompanied by a performance of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time played by musicians from Royal Northern Sinfonia. Suitability 14+
Robbie Williams, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, June 22 and 23, 0844 493 6666 or www.metroradioarena.co.uk
The joker of Take That, who went on to become the biggest selling solo artist among them, returns to Tyneside without his off/on bandmates for two dates devoted to bigging up his latest album, Swings Both Ways. A bit of a sequel to 2001’s Swing When You’re Winning, the album went straight in at number one and confirmed Robbie’s continuing place in the affections of the nation.
Expect wide smiles, silly dancing and an Angels sing-a-long.
Kathryn Williams, Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead, June 24, www.kathrynwilliams.co.uk
The Mercury Music Prize-nominated singer/songwriter is playing a raft of dates in support of her latest acclaimed album, Crown Electric, including one on her adopted Tyneside home turf. Anyone who was lucky enough to catch her set at The Journal Culture Awards in April was left wanting more – and now you can have it. Her new single, Monday Morning, is out at the beginning of June.
Alnmouth Arts Festival, Alnmouth, Northumberland, June 21 and 22, www.alnmouthartsfestival.com
The 10th anniversary of the popular coastal village festival will offer a fitting celebration to a decade of increasing success. First held in 2005, the event now attracts around 3,000 visitors eager to see the work of 80 individuals and groups who are exhibiting in churches, cafes, pubs, halls and private homes, and include artists, photographers and crafts-people such as spinners, lace-makers and felt-workers. There will also be demonstrations and workshops too.
The London African Gospel Choir, Gateshead Old Town Hall, June 7, 0191 443 4661 or www.sagegateshead.com
Created to establish a platform of excellence for African gospel singers and musicians, and also popularise the African interpretations of gospel music, the London African Gospel Choir are sending four of their vocalists, along with the choir band, to showcase the LAGC’s repertoire of criss-cross rhythms, panoply of songs and explosions of dance.
Dolly Parton: Blue Smoke World Tour, Metro Radio Arena, June 14, 0844 493 6666 or www.metroradioarena.co.uk
Iconic singer, songwriter, musician, actress and all-round good egg Dolly Parton returns to the Arena in support of her latest album, Blue Smoke. “Every time I come to Europe I’m just as excited as I was my very first time, which was many, many years ago,” she says. “I love that part of the world and I especially love the fans. We always have such a good time and I’ve put together a lot of things for this show that I think the fans will love.” Well, you can’t ask for more than that, can you? Well, maybe a guaranteed Jolene encore . . .
Show Me The Money: The Image of Finance 1700 to the Present, Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland, June 13 to August 30, www.ngca.co.uk
This is the first in-depth exploration of the visual culture of the financial world, from historical illustrations, prints, cartoons and games to contemporary painting, photography, video and installation. They’ve properly gone all-out to raise questions about what “the market” looks like, what money really stands for and how the abstractions of high finance can be made visible.
Northumberland Miners’ Picnic, Woodhorn Museum, Ashington, June 14, www.experiencewoodhorn.com
Celebrating its 150th anniversary, this year’s picnic will be going off in style with Glenn Tilbrook from Squeeze lining up as the headline act alongside an 80-strong Big Sing community choir, which comes courtesy of the bait project. There will also be laughs from comedians in residence Seymour Mace, John Whale and Andy Fury, along with theatrics from November Club – and that’s to say nothing of the brass bands, dancing and family fun stuff, too.
Opus No. 7, June 19-21, Northern Stage, Newcastle, 0191 230 5151 or www.northernstage.co.uk
For the first time since re-opening in 2006, Northern Stage will open up its Stage 1 and Stage 2, creating space for Opus No. 7 to place its audience tantalisingly close to the action of this genre-defying double bill from one of Russia’s most influential theatre directors. The oppression of Soviet Jews and the censorship of Shostakovich under Stalin, and the legacies of these events, are depicted using larger-than-life puppets, duelling pianos, living walls and blizzards of newsprint. Epic images are conjured up from the simplest of materials – by turns tender and delicate, comedic and sinister.
The Return of the Grumpy Old Women: Fifty Shades of Beige, Gala Theatre, Durham, June 6, 0191 330 4041 or www.galatheatre.co.uk
The Grumpies are back and promising to knock some sense into the nation.
Perrier Award-winning comedian and writer Jenny Eclair will be joined by Susie Blake (Mrs Brown’s Boys, Coronation Street) and actress and singer Kate Robbins (Where The Heart Is, Casualty) in this new show which includes musings on the joy of large pants, a nagging master class, voluntary euthanasia versus retirement and a mercifully brief zumba demonstration.