What’s on in Yorkshire during March

The world premiere of Northern Ballet's racy new take on Casanova at the Grand Theatre, Leeds

The world premiere of Northern Ballet's racy new take on Casanova at the Grand Theatre, Leeds - Credit: Archant

The best of events and entertainment chosen for you by Tony Greenway.


March 3rd-5th

Harrogate Film Festival

This new festival promises a short, sharp weekend of celluloid treats (drama, comedy, documentary romance and horror/thriller) and workshops plus a screening of Night at the Museum in the Royal Pump Room museum.

Various venues 01423 502116 harrogatefilm.co.uk

March 4th-19th

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Huddersfield Literature Festival

Another treat for bookworms: apart from the usual round of starry names (Joanne Harris, Jenni Murray, Ian Rankin, Alan Johnson) the stand-out show that I’d want a ticket for is the celebration of Pride and Prejudice. This features Adrian Lukis, who played the (spoiler alert!) dastardly Mr Wickham in the Colin Firth wet shirt BBC version, followed by a display of dances from Jane Austen’s era by the group Regency Rejigged. By the way, the audience is welcome to come in period dress (although it might be advisable to get the right period: i.e. Georgian/Regency England. So don’t come dressed as a Roman centurion).

Various venues 01484 430 528 (town hall events on 01484 225 755) http://litfest.org.uk

March 9th

Berwins Salon North: Caring

Berwins Salon North offers is a revolutionary movement in the world of art, science and psychology as it is a night full of stimulating ideas for the heart and mind. There will be three expert speakers of the night includingDr Adam Rutherford, Sarah Corbett and Prof Stephen Joseph, who will all give inspired talks on the theme of ‘Caring’. Between talks there will be intervals where guests can enjoy a well crafted G&T! Stretch your mind this Spring.

The Crown Hotel, Harrogate, HG1 2RZ. www.harrogateinternationalfestivals.com

March 16th-30th

York Literature Festival

You can run and you can hide, but there’s no escaping Mark Gatiss, because he’s everywhere: TV, radio, film, theatre, novels... he dominates every branch of entertainment at the moment. His CV must be 10 pages long. Gatiss writes scripts for Doctor Who. He co-created and writes episodes of Sherlock, the monster television hit starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. He has his own series of best-selling novels about an adventurer called Lucifer Box. He’s also an actor, appearing on TV in Sherlock (as Mycroft Holmes), Game of Thrones and Wolf Hall; on film in Absolutely Fabulous the Movie and on stage in (among other things) the Donmar Warehouse’s 2013 production of Coriolanus, starring Tom Hiddleston. He writes for and appears on radio and, of course, he was part of comedy troupe The League of Gentleman who first met at the now defunct Bretton Hall College in Wakefield. Phew.

In fact, Gatiss is so omnipresent that if you found him sitting in your cupboard under the stairs bashing out yet another script on a laptop, you’d just sigh gently, close the door and let him get on with it. And now he’s in York, at this year’s literature festival, in conversation with author and comedy expert Robert Ross. This appears to be the hot ticket in town – maybe Dr Who and Sherlock have something to do with that – even though, directly after Gatiss, and at the same venue, the venerable Michael Palin will be on stage, also talking to Ross.

Other names at this year’s YLF include Jonathan Dimbleby, Sue Perkins, Ann Widdecombe, Dan Cruickshank and Gervase Phinn (although you sort of knew that last one was inevitable) but for the full impressive programme, log onto the website.

Various venues yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk


March 11th-18th


A world premiere of Northern Ballet’s racy new take on Casanova, with choreography by Kenneth Tindall and Kerry Muzzey’s music played live by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia. It also appears at the Sheffield Lyceum March 28th-April 1st.

Grand Theatre & Opera House, Leeds 0844 848 2700 leedsgrandtheatre.com

March 24th–25th

Matthew Bourne’s Early Adventures

A programme of pieces that launched the career of the bad boy of British ballet, Matthew Bourne, featuring The Infernal Gallop (a French dance with English subtitles) and Watch with Mother (seen but not heard?).

Theatre Royal, York 01904 623568 yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

March 28th–April 1st

The Red Shoes

You could be forgiven for thinking that March is Matthew Bourne month. Apart from The Red Shoes – based on the movie by Powell and Pressburger and with music by Hitchcock favourite Bernard Hermann – Bourne has also got a rather fine show on in York...

Alhambra, Bradford 01274 432000 bradford-theatres.co.uk


February 28th–March 4th

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Mark Haddon’s superb 2003 mystery novel – about a 15-year-old with ‘behavioural difficulties’ investigating the killing of a neighbourhood dog – was turned into an incredible Olivier and Tony Award-winning National Theatre production which, this month, pitches up in Leeds. In May, it comes to the Sheffield Lyceum.

Grand Theatre & Opera House, Leeds 0844 848 2700 leedsgrandtheatre.com

February 24th-March 25th

The Hypocrite

This comedy world premiere has quite a pedigree. It’s a co-production from the RSC, Hull Truck and Hull City of Culture, and it’s from the pen of Richard Bean, the Hull playwright who gave the world the all-conquering One Man, Two Governors. Plus it stars York’s Mark Addy and Caroline Quentin.

Hull Truck 01482 323638 hulltruck.co.uk

March 3rd-25th

Romeo & Juliet

This modern day production of Shakespeare’s doomed romance, directed by Amy Leach, takes the action out of Verona and plonks it down in the middle of a Northern estate.

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds 0113 213 7700 wyp.org.uk

From March 9th

Eddie and the Goldtops

The brilliant Badapple take their latest show on tour to village halls across Yorkshire and beyond and this time it’s a revival of a comedy (which first toured in 2012) about an Italian milkman in the 1960s who accidentally becomes a pop star, as you do. As always with Badapple, they’re everywhere, so we don’t have the space to mention the venues here. Best check out their website instead.

Various venues 01423 339 168 badappletheatre.com

March 11th

Jane Eyre: An Autobiography

This one woman show strips down the Brontë classic to its essentials, but re-instates the novel’s full title, and went down a storm at Edinburgh, with the remarkable Rebecca Vaughan from Dyad Productions playing all the parts. Also at Wakefield Theatre Royal on March 22nd and York Theatre Royal on March 27th.

Helmsley Arts Centre 01439 771700 helmsleyarts.co.uk

March 15th–25th

Dr Frankenstein

This new version of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s famous novel, adapted by Selma Dimitrijevic – artistic director of Newcastle’s Greyscale Theatre Company – is described in the blurb as ‘psychologically disturbing’. Is that a good thing, though? Do you fancy a psychologically disturbing night at the theatre?

Crucible Theatre, Sheffield 0114 249 6000 sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

March 21st–25th

Anita and Me

Meera Syal’s fizzy autobiographical debut novel, about a young girl growing up in a Punjabi family in a 1970s Black Country village, has already been adapted into a so-so film. Now the stage version (which premiered in the UK a couple of years ago and was better reviewed by critics) comes to Yorkshire.

Alhambra, Bradford 01274 432000 bradford-theatres.co.uk

March 21st-25th


The debut play from actress Maxine Peake is the real-life story of Beryl Burton from Leeds, who dominated cycling throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, becoming five-time world champion. The play – originally written for radio – opened at the West Yorkshire Playhouse back in 2014, during the white hot heat of the Tour de Yorkshire frenzy.

Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough 01723 370541 sjt.uk.com


March 3rd-25th

The Female Gaze

An exhibition that ‘celebrates the work of women as artists and innovators’ in Hull. Meanwhile, over at the Humber Street Gallery (until March 22nd), Sarah Lucas is displaying three sculptures depicting a female figure in cast plaster, called Power in Woman.

Kingston Art Group Gallery, 26-27 Humber Street, Hull kingstonartgroup.co.uk

Until March 18th


The last chance to see this mammoth artwork installation from artist Nayan Kulkarni, who transformed Hull’s Queen Victoria Square with a 75-metre long rotor blade from a wind turbine. It sounds like a modern art-hater’s nightmare but it’s incongruously beautiful and a shame that Blade can’t stick around for longer.

Queen Victoria Square, Hull hull2017.co.uk


March 3rd

Dan Reed Network

The Dan Reed Network is funk rock – not punk rock, mind – all the way from America. Also this month at Warehouse23 is T-Rex the Music of Mark and Mickey on March 4th plus Oasis tribute band Definitely Mightbe (see what they did there?) and Adored, a tribute to the Stone Roses (both on March 11th).

Warehouse23, Wakefield 01924 200162 warehouse23.co.uk

March 3rd

Fairport Convention

Fairport Convention, the granddaddies of folk-rock, formed in 1967, which makes them – crikey! – half a century old this year. To celebrate, they’ve released a new album (the confusingly titled 50:50@50), and they’re out and about on tour. Also playing this month at Victoria Hall in Settle (2nd) and Leeds City Varieties (4th).

Whitby Pavilion 01947 458899 whitbypavilion.co.uk

March 10th & 11th

Olly Murs

You could try to hate Olly Murs – and I really, really have, believe me – but he’s so perky, nice and musically inoffensive that it’s hard to get a really deep loathing going on, don’t you find? Look, I’ll just all have to try harder. It says here that Olly’s last album – the optimistically titled Never Been Better – sold a million records and he’s played in front of 65,000 people in Hyde Park. Good heavens.

Sheffield Arena 0114 256 5656 sheffieldarena.co.uk

March 20th

Elvis Costello

Elvis is in the building. Yep, the bespectacled bona fide superstar returns to Sheffield with his Detour solo show. You may want to book quickly.

Sheffield City Hall 0114 278 9789 sheffieldcityhall.co.uk

March 25th

Thank You for the Music

You get two for the price of one here: an ABBA tribute band (called Thank You for the Music) and a Bee Gees tribute band.

Theatre Royal Wakefield 01924 211311 theatreroyalwakefield.co.uk

March 25th & 26th

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

At the height of his gender-bending Ziggy phase, David Bowie would appear on stage with dyed red hair, full makeup and no eyebrows, while wearing (among other things) a thigh-length off-the-shoulder kimono and white lace-up boots. But it was the 1970s, and he was an androgynously pretty south Londoner. He could get away with it. His band, though – Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Woody Woodmansy, aka The Spiders from Mars – were all from East Yorkshire and looked like dockers. They appeared, shall we say, less convincing in a glam rock get-up.

Bowie once told Michael Parkinson that, at their first ever gig, he asked the Spiders: ‘Do you want to see what we’re wearing on stage tonight?’ Chances are he would have then held up a gold lamé leotard and a set of make-up brushes. Ronson, Bolder and Woodmansy were duly horrified. ‘Not bloody likely!’ they chorused. ‘We’re not putting that on.’ But as we all know, they did put it on. And later, discovering that the girls in the audience rather fancied them in gold lamé and with a face full of slap, the Spiders changed their tune and could be heard yelling across their dressing room: ‘Right. Where’s the blusher? Trevor! Have you finished with that mascara?’

Bowie, Bolder and Ronson have all gone, of course; but Woodmansy and Tony Visconti, Bowie’s legendary producer, are still with us and appear – as the band Holy Holy – for two nights at Hull City Hall. Holy Holy exist to play Bowie’s early songs (we’re talking 1969-1973); and, as Visconti takes pains to point out: ‘We’re not a tribute band. We are the real deal!’ They’ll be showcasing the entire Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars album without the glam rock gear but with the help of Sheffield’s Glenn Gregory from Heaven 17 on vocals. It’s one of the most sought-after moments from the City of Culture year: tickets for both nights sold out after an hour of going on sale.

Hull City Hall 01482 300 306 hcandl.co.uk/hullcityhall

March 28th

Rick Astley

There is plainly more to Rick Astley than meets the eye. Apart from THAT song from the 1980s (you know, the one that ‘Rickrolls’ you on YouTube), he plays drums and sings in a rock trio called The Luddites (‘our midlife crisis band’), belting out tracks like Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, AC/DC’s Highway to Hell and Radiohead’s Creep. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Astley was, after all, the shiny face of 1980s pop, polished, packaged and punted by Stock, Aitken and Waterman until he stepped out of the spotlight in the1990s. Here, though, he’s back in solo mode, especially because his last album, 50, went straight to number one in 2016. Questions still have to be asked, though: will he do Never Gonna Give You Up, as well as his more grown-up music? And, if he doesn’t, will he leave the stage alive? Also playing the Harrogate International Centre on March 25th.

Sheffield City Hall 0114 278 9789 sheffieldcityhall.co.uk


March 10th

Danny Baker: Cradle to the Stage

Shy, retiring and quiet - just three of the things that Danny Baker isn’t. But love him or hate him, you can’t deny that Baker has packed an awful lot into his four decades in the media spotlight, including a job at the NME music paper, scriptwriter for the likes of Chris Evans and Jonathan Ross, broadcaster for Five Live, Talk Radio and Virgin, and host of terrible TV shows, such as Pets Win Prizes (which made Animals Do the Funniest Things look like Planet Earth II).

He also famously flogged washing detergent in a series of TV commercials which invited the public to take part in a ‘doorstep challenge’. It was obviously a lucrative gig: Baker now refers to his south London pile as ‘The house that Daz built’. There’s even been a recent TV series based on his memoirs, called Cradle to the Grave and starring Peter Kay.

What Baker has never done, however, is go on stage as a stand-up - until this year, that is, when he agreed to take part in a punishing 35-date tour. Well, OK... to clarify, Baker isn’t telling jokes, per se. Although he will be talking about himself. A lot. And, knowing him, it will be funny.

‘No two nights of this extravaganza will be the same,’ he admits. ‘This is less of a boast than admission that a) I am hopeless at learning scripts and b) I still have no idea what I am going to include.’

In the course of the evening, however, he does expect to field questions like, ‘Did your friend really eat saveloys from a pith helmet’ or ‘What was meeting John Lennon/Michael Jackson/David Bowie/Kenneth Williams like?’ or, I suspect, most popular of all ‘How comes you’ve made so many rotten TV programs, Dan?’ Also at the Civic Barnsley on March 17th.

Harrogate Theatre 01423502116 harrogatetheatre.co.uk

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