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North East events in March 2015: Ten things you won't want to miss

Here's our regular double handful of recommendations across the region's theatres, venues and attractions

Paloma Faith
Paloma Faith

Paloma Faith, March 14, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, 0844 493 6666 or www.metroradioarena.co.uk

After dazzling Newcastle City Hall in the autumn, British music’s reigning queen of eccentricity is back in the North East on her first ever arena tour.

With three hit albums to her name and top 10 hits like Picking Up The Pieces, Can’t Rely You and Only Love Can Hurt Like This under her belt, Paloma is sure to put on a stunning show and might be riding on the crest of a BRITs wave as she’s tipped to take home the Best Female gong from the annual award show on February 25.

Joan Armatrading, March 13, Sage Gateshead, 0191 443 4661 or www.sagegateshead.com

Three times Grammy nominated, Brit award nominee and Ivor Novello winner producer, musician Joan Armatrading MBE is recognised as one of the world’s leading singer, songwriter and guitarists. Yet over her 42 years of touring Joan Armatrading has never done a solo world tour until now. Her Tyneside date will see her perform songs spanning her entire career with old favourites Love and Affection, Willow, Drop The Pilot and Me, Myself I as well as more recent compositions to fall in love with.

Spandau Ballet, who are touring in 2015
Spandau Ballet, who are touring in 2015

Spandau Ballet, March 15, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, 0844 493 6666 or www.metroradioarena.co.uk

Hot on the heels of reaching the upper echelons of the film chart with biopic Soulboys of the Western World, the New Romantic favourites are back on the road for the first time in years.

Arriving on Tyneside on Mother’s Day, the band are set to perform all their big songs including Gold, Through The Barricades and True.

Richard Herring, Lord of The Dance Settee, March 17, The Stand, 0191 300 9700 or www.thestand.co.uk

After covering weighty issues like death, love, religion and spam javelins, the Edinburgh Fringe veteran is in a frivolous mood with this show about daftness, bouncing joyously on the sofa and talking about how his whole career is a failed attempt to top a piece of visual slapstick comedy he came up with at 16. Can he revisit the joke thirty years on or will it smash his old bones?

Made in Britain: The Best of British Musicals, March 29, Sage Gateshead, 0191 443 4661 or www.sagegateshead.com

The West End will come to Gateshead at the end of this month with a hot ticket for any self respecting fan of all things musical theatre. A celebration of British musicals from the era of Gilbert & Sullivan, right through to Lloyd-Webber blockbusters, this will feature songs from Blood Brothers, Chess, Miss Saigon, Cats, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies and others performed by Graham Bickley, Ricardo Afonso, Abbie Osmon, Sophie-Louise Dann and the Royal Northern Sinfonia.

Colin Davison Susan Stenger, Sound Strata of Coastal Northumberland
Susan Stenger, Sound Strata of Coastal Northumberland

Susan Stenger: Sound Strata of Coastal Northumberland, March 21-April 26, The Gymnasium Gallery, Berwick-upon-Tweed; June 21-July 26, Woodhorn Museum, Ashington; and August 1-September 6, The Lookout Tower, Holy Island, www.soundstrata.co.uk

A new touring exhibition of Susan Stenger’s AV Festival commission Sound Strata of Coastal Northumberland gets underway in March. The acclaimed sound installation, which premiered at Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle in March 2014, is based on a cross-section diagram of coastal geological formations from the River Tyne to the Scottish border, drawn by the pioneering mining engineer Nicholas Wood in 1838.

Gianni Schicchi/La Vida Breve, March 3, Newcastle Theatre Royal, 08448 11 21 21

As part of their regular Tyneside residency, Opera North present a double bill of Falla’s short exuberant opera La Vida Breve and its perfect antidote in the form of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi.

First shown in 2004, Christopher Alden’s ferocious take La Vida Breve was an instant hit, telling the tragic story of a woman too much in love with a worthless, man. In contrast, Gianni Schicchi is a light hearted satyr play played out around the death-bed of a rich man.

Musical hit Wicked is headed for Sunderland Empire in 2015
Musical hit Wicked is headed for Sunderland Empire in 2015

Wicked, March 31-April 25, Sunderland Empire Theatre, 0844 871 3022 or www.atgtickets.com/venues/sunderland-empire

Winner of 100 international awards, Wicked has been casting its magical spell over audiences across the world for a decade and continues to break records at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre. In a witty re-imagining of the stories and characters created by L. Frank Baum in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Wicked tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two sorcery students and features songs like the epic Popular.

Jason Rhoades, Four Roads, March 6 to May 31, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, 0191 478 1810 or www.balticmill.com

This will be the first major UK gallery exhibition of the work of this exceptional artist who died in 2006 at the age of 41. Rhoades lived and worked in Los Angeles. The exhibition will occupy Baltic’s two largest floors, with four installations to be navigated by four interpretive paths or roads. Jason Rhoades is best known for his spectacular overloaded installations created with found objects, neon, Lego, power tools, snaking wires, figurines, and a vast range of other materials.

BPM Frank Cohen, right, and exhibition curator David Thorp with untitled by Jason
Frank Cohen, right, and exhibition curator David Thorp with untitled by Jason Rhoades

What The Body Does Not Remember, March 17-18, Northern Stage, 0191 230 5151 or www.northernstage.co.uk

The amazing debut of Wim Vandekeybus and Ultima Vez in 1987 stunned the world of dance with this ‘brutal confrontation of dance and music: the dangerous, combative landscape of What the Body Does Not Remember.’ Twenty eight years later and with a new cast, the show still stands as one of the most exciting pieces of dance ever made and is once again on an unmissable world tour.

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