Stockton International Riverside Festival Various venues in Stockton town centre, July 30 to August 2, http://sirf.co.uk/
Stunning fire gardens, circus troupes, live art and comedy will all be on show as SIRF (as it is affectionately known) peppers its home town with more than 100 shows. Celebrating the redevelopment of the town centre with four days of street theatre, dance and music productions from around the world, the focus for 2015 is Instant Light, the interpretation of a story SIRF commissioned from Sara Maitland telling the magical tale of how Stockton became a festival town.
Fans of North East music makers Sharks Took The Rest will have been gutted to hear the band, led by longtime Newcastle friend Beccy Owen, had come to the end of the line. Frowns were immediately turned upside down, though, by the announcement of her next project with STTR collaborator Adam Kemp. It’s a new four-piece called Joy Atlas whose first single, Dismount, is already creating a future-pop buzz. They’re playing their first live gig at World Headquarters.
Newcastle Pride, July 17-19, Newcastle Town Moor, www.northern-pride.com
Dig out the double denim and the warbly vocals, kids, Newcastle Pride is coming and it’s got B*Witched and Belinda Carlisle leading the pop-soaked charge. They’ll be joined by the likes of X Factor hopeful Lucy Spraggan, Joseph Wheland and Heather Peace. Taking place on the Town Moor over three days, the festival is once again expected to attract upwards of 65,000 people with a programme of music, cabaret, food stalls and a carnival-style parade. There’s also a smattering of satellite events planned.
Annie, July 11-18, Newcastle Theatre Royal, 08448 11 21 21 or www.theatreroyal.co.uk
The tearful but tuneful story of orphan Annie – one of the world’s favourite family musicals – comes to Tyneside for a double handful of performances in July. The cast is headed up by Strictly Come Dancing villain Craig Revel Horwood, who is dragging himself into the role of the tyrannical Miss Hannigan. Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, brave young Annie is determined to find her real parents – and her way out of her rotten surroundings. Famous billionaire Oliver ‘Daddy’ Warbucks is on hand to help. Tickets are likely to fly out of the box office. Don’t leave it until tomorrow to book.
John Cooper Clarke, Gala Theatre, Durham, July 15, 7.30pm, 03000 266 600 or www.galadurham.co.uk
The poet laureate of punk and self-styled bard of Salford, John is a comic wordsmith and one of Britain’s most important poets and performers. His satirical and fiercely funny verse, expressed in his rapid-fire performance style, led him to become a punk figurehead. After touring with ground-breaking bands including The Sex Pistols and The Clash, he carved out a name for himself and produced his seminal works, Evidently Chickentown and Beasley Street. Expect a mix of hilarious anecdotes of northern life interspersed with some of his best poems. There may be some swearing.
Mixtape: Ed Fringe preview, Live Theatre, July 24, 0191 232 1232 or www.live.org.uk
Join the Mixtapers for their bite-sized theatre inspired by music. Part comedy show and part music quiz. Guess the songs inspiring these short sketches to be in with the chance of winning the coveted Golden Mixtape.
Mixtape preview a selection of their favourite sketches before they head to The Underbelly for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Expect a variety of musical themes from Rock ’n’ Roll, The ’80s, Brit Pop and Boy Bands v Girl Bands. You can also anticipate sketches written by top notch guest writers including Lee Mattinson (Donna Disco), Nina Berry (Rendezvous) and Alison Carr (The Soaking of Vera Shrimp).
Love Me Tender, July 13-18, Sunderland Empire Theatre, 0844 871 3022 or www.atgtickets.com/venues/sunderland-empire/
The producers of Hairspray, Midnight Tango, West Side Story and The Rocky Horror Show are bringing a “a hilarious feel-good musical” to Wearside, built on the greatest hits of ‘the King’. Starring award-winning singer and platinum-selling artist Mica Paris (but not on Fridays), the action is set in a small town in 1950s America – a town which is set to be All Shook Up by the arrival of a Hound Dog on a motorbike, who may well be wearing Blue Suede Shoes. This is an Elvis Presley musical, in case you hadn’t caught on.
The Geordie Ratpack featuring Glen Roughhead, Jason Cook, Neil Grainger, Steffen Peddie and The Paul James Band, July 5, Hall Two, Sage Gateshead, 0191 443 4661 or www.sagegateshead.com
When four friends who have already had sold out concerts and award winning comedy shows decide to have a party on stage you’d imagine that you’re going to be bathed in synergy. And swing music, obviously. Promising a heady blend of classic swing songs, quality stand up and a sprinkling of Geordie magic, this is likely to be memorable for all the right reasons.
Rosanne Cash and John Leventhal plus Anderson East, July 18, Hall One, Sage Gateshead, 0191 443 4661 or www.sagegateshead.com
From the first family of American music, the three-day SummerTyne Americana Festival welcomes back Rosanne Cash and John Leventhal to perform material from the glorious – and multi-Grammy-winning – album The River and The Thread. The album, which features appearances by the likes of Rodney Crowell, Kris Kristofferson, Allison Moorer, John Prine, Derek Trucks, John Paul White and Tony Joe White, is Cash’s first album of original material in seven years, written like a travelogue during a trip through the deep south.
Antony Gormley: Space Stations, until August 8, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle, 0191 208 6059 or www.twmuseums.org.uk/hatton-gallery
Widely known for his sculptures, installations and public artworks, Gormley’s work is usually large scale – as anyone driving past Gateshead on the A1 will testify. But this exhibition focuses on a small group of drawings from 2002–2014 which reveal how drawing and sculpture have been in continuous dialogue throughout his career.