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Your guide to everything in North East

Ten things not to miss in the North East in May

Here's a double-handed round up of things which are well worth some attention at theatres and venues during May

Ian West/PA Wire Howard Donald, Gary Barlow, and Mark Owen from Take That
Howard Donald, Gary Barlow, and Mark Owen from Take That

Take That, May 18 and 19, Metro Radio Arena

www.metroradioarena.co.uk or 0844 493 6666

Embarking on their first tour as a three piece following Jason Orange’s departure, the nation’s favourite boy band are back on Tyneside this month for the first two of three shows, the third following at the end of June.

As with all their albums since their big comeback in 2006, latest release III shot to the top of the charts at the end of last year and spawned the insanely catchy hit single These Days.

Expect to hear tracks from the chart topping LP as well as classic hits at the gigs, when they will be supported by X Factor success story Ella Henderson.

UB40, May 3, Newcastle City Hall

www.ticketline.co.uk or 0191 277 8030

The Birmingham band are back on the road after some time away.

Regarded as one of the UK’s legendary acts, the band have hits in many decades including Kingston Town, Red Red Wine and the massive 90s number one Can’t Help Falling in Love.

The tour set list is to include their finest musical moments along with some newer material.

The Producers, May 11-16, Sunderland Empire

www.atgtickets.com or 0844 871 3022

The smash hit Broadway musical comedy stars comedian and Ordinary Lies actor Jason Manford in the role of Leo Bloom and former Never Mind The Buzzcocks captain Phill Jupitus as Franz Liebkind.

Based on Mel Brooks’ much loved Academy Award winning movie, The Producers is a hilarious musical comedy that has taken Broadway and the West End by storm, winning a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards and a trio of Olivier Awards.

Mark Knopfler
Mark Knopfler

Mark Knopfler, May 20, Metro Radio Arena

www.metroradioarena.co.uk or 0844 493 6666

A multiple Grammy award winner and bona fide local North East hero, Knopfler continues to combine wry lyrics with a guitar prowess that has served him well on the likes of Money For Nothing, Sultans Of Swing, Romeo and Juliet and Walk of Life.

He has collaborated with many other artists such as Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Randy Newman, Van Morrison and Emmylou Harris and sent goosebumps rippling up and down Newcastle’s Quayside with his rendition of the iconic Local Hero during the Great North Run Million Party, days before the big race last year.

Nethermined Festival, May 2, Tynemouth Park Hotel


Gamers get ready – you have been invited to take part in the North East’s first ever family Minecraft event.

The computer game, which sees players break and place blocks to create structures and embark on digital adventures with friends, has taken the world by storm and is now heading for the region with the Nethermined Festival.

As well as plenty of gaming, there will be Q&A sessions, chances to meet YouTubers and live gaming, as well as the premiere of the new Nethermined server.

Famous YouTubers in attendance will include LDshadowlady and Thesmallishbeans who each have hundreds of thousands of followers online.

S Club 7, May 9, Metro Radio Arena

www.metroradioarena.co.uk or 0844 493 6666

After making a much-publicised comeback on BBC’s Children in Need at the end of November, Jo, Rachel, Bradley, Jon, Hannah, Tina and Paul are back on the road and making their first appearance at the Arena in more than 12 years.

Following in the footsteps of the likes of Steps and the many kitsch bands on The Big Reunion, the pop collective will turn back the clock to perform massive hits like Bring It All Back, Don’t Sop Movin’, S Club Party and Never Had A Dream Come True.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, May 19 – 23, Theatre Royal Newcastle

www.theatreroyal.co.uk or 08448 11 21 21

Based on the best-selling novel by John Boyne, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a heart-wrenching tale of an unlikely friendship between two innocent boys.

Set during the Second World War, the story is seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the young son of the commandant at a concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with Shmuel, a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence, has startling and devastating consequences.

Cyrano de Bergerac, until May 16, Northern Stage

www.northernstage.co.uk or 0191 230 5151

A poet and a soldier, a brawler and an incurable romantic, Cyrano de Bergerac is a hero – first among men but totally lost among women.

He is blessed with being brilliant at everything and cursed by having the biggest nose in all of France.

Cyrano is hopelessly in love with Roxane, his equal in wit but every bit as beautiful as he is ugly.

Afraid of confessing his love, he becomes a protector and confidante. Christian, a handsome cadet but not the sharpest sword in the armoury, catches Roxane’s eye and, with his mighty heart breaking, Cyrano sets about using his unequalled skill as a poet to write ravishing love letters between the two.

Kevin Bridges
Kevin Bridges

Kevin Bridges - Work in Progress, May 9, Gala Theatre Durham

www.galadurham.co.uk or 03000 266 600

The incredibly popular Scottish stand up is back on the road, trying out some new material before he sets out on a massive tour proper with his new show, A Whole Different Story.

The nature of the work-in-progress label means you shouldn’t expect everything to be as polished as it will be when he performs it on a bigger stage later in the year. You can expect to laugh a lot while feeling lucky you’ve seen someone of his comedy calibre as he works out the next chapter of his success story.

Fiddles on Fire, May 1-3, Sage Gateshead

0191 443 4661 or www.sagegateshead.com

The sixth Fiddles on Fire festival promises to take over Sage Gateshead with a huge range of fiddle styles and traditions.

Offering a smoking concert programme, which sits alongside the festival’s stimulating workshop series, Fiddles on Fire will also be the launch event for a new book of English fiddle tunes brought together by Eliza Carthy and published by Faber & Faber.

Many of the tunes will be at the heart of The Big Fiddle and other shared moments within the festival.


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