What’s On in Yorkshire during March

Harrogate Film Festival

Harrogate Film Festival - Credit: Archant

Events and entertainment around the county chosen for you by Tony Greenway.


March 27th–April 7th

The York Realist

Peter Gill’s acclaimed 2002 play about class and culture centres on a young Yorkshire farmhand involved in the York Mystery Plays and his love affair with the production’s London-based assistant director. Directed by Sheffield Theatres’ artistic director Robert Hastie, its starry cast includes Jonathan Bailey (Broadchurch), Ben Batt (Shameless) and Lesley Nicol (Downton Abbey).

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


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February 23rd–March 10th

This House

The house of the title is, of course, the House of Commons. The story takes place in 1974 in the aftermath of a hung parliament, as political infighting between MPs – some of whom are in the same party – reaches a crescendo. If you can imagine what that would be like. James Graham’s satire comes to Leeds after sell-out runs at the National and in the West End.

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds wyp.org.uk



March 20th-31st

The Band

This Take That musical from writer Tim Firth doesn’t, thankfully, tell the story of how Gary, Howard, Robbie, Mark and... um... the other one formed a band and became famous. Instead it focuses on a group of women who reunite after 25 years and resolve to meet the boy band whose music provided the soundtrack to their youth. As such, it features a LOT of Take That music. So if you don’t relish the prospect of having A Million Love Songs and Relight My Fire screamed at you, then you know what to do.

Leeds Grand Theatre 0844 848 2720 leedsgrandtheatre.com



March 2nd-4th

Harrogate Film Festival

Another cornucopia of celluloid delights, including a Bond evening, a Kids’ Experience at the Royal Pump Room Museum (showing, aptly enough, both Night at the Museum and Night of the Museum 2), a screening of Reservoir Dogs, and a short film competition. There is a lot more besides, so log onto the website for more details.

Various venues 01423 502116 harrogatefilm.co.uk


March 4th

I.D. — followed by a Q&A with actor Reece Dinsdale

This violent, disturbing, hard-hitting drama from 1995 is about a police officer sent undercover to infiltrate a gang of football hooligans. The screening is followed by an interview session with the film’s star, Yorkshire lad Reece Dinsdale, who just happens to be the Square Chapel’s latest patron. That’s handy.

Square Chapel, Halifax 01422 349422 squarechapel.co.uk


March 13th


There are various versions of Macbeth coming to a stage and screen near you – and not so near you – this month. At the theatre, that includes productions by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon (with Christopher Eccleston and Niamh Cusack) and The National Theatre (with Rory Kinnear). Meanwhile, the Verdi opera is returning to the Royal Opera House in London and when Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre opens in York in June, it’ll do so with a ‘bloody, fast-paced, action-packed and psychologically tense’ (is there any other kind?) production of... yep... Macbeth.

The Scottish play is so 2018, it seems. It’s everywhere. That includes the cinema. A visually sumptuous, highly theatrical and ground-breaking new film version will screen in cinemas across the country this month, for one night only. Directed by York-based artist and film-maker Kit Monkman at GSP Studios in Bubwith, near Selby, it’s one of the first UK films to be shot entirely on green screen and took two years to finish. The finely detailed castles, battlefields and bed chambers are all a computer construct. ‘The things the actors need to interact with – tables, chairs, props – are real,’ says Monkman. ‘But that’s all. There was no set. It was all filmed in a green box.’

I’ve seen it and it deserves a wider audience. Every frame of Monkman’s film looks like a painting and while it’s very cinematic, it’s also strangely theatrical. ‘In the last 30 or 40 years, cinema has decided that its job is to present a reality that can’t be questioned,’ says Monkman. ‘Whether the story is set on a planet on the other side of the solar system or in a tenement in London, there’s a sense that the filmmaker is trying to convince you of the veracity of what it is you are looking at. But I wanted to play more with theatrical storytelling elements and say unapologetically to the audience: ‘This is all make believe. I have to create the film in collaboration with you. If you’re not prepared to make an imaginative effort, then it’s not going to work.’

If you do make that imaginative leap, though, the rewards are immense. It would be tragedy to miss it. In cinemas across Yorkshire (and the UK)




March 27th-29th

Dancing on Ice

And you thought you’d seen the last of this slippery version of Strictly but no, it returned to our TVs in January after a four year break, which means a live tour was inevitable. At the time of writing the celebrities hadn’t been announced but Torvill and Dean are confirmed as head judges.

Sheffield Arena 0114 256 5656 flydsaarena.co.uk



March 6th

Russell Brand

Mr Leather Trousers is back, but this time he’s married, he’s a dad and a lot more sorted in the personal life department, it seems. Be warned: he’s still on the frank side, so don’t take granny. Also at Hull City Hall on March 7th and York Barbican Centre in April.

Sheffield City Hall 0114 278 9789 sheffieldcityhall.co.uk


March 9th

Rob Brydon

There must be a TV programme that the comic Welsh wonder isn’t involved in but, if so, we’re unaware of it. His ubiquity just goes to show how popular he is, mind. During this stand-up show, Brydon will spend a lot of time affably interacting with – which is code for ‘picking on’ – members of the audience. So maybe don’t book seats in the first few rows.

Harrogate Convention Centre 01423 502116 harrogatetheatre.co.uk


March 10th

Tim Vine: Sunset Milk Idiot

No, I’m not sure why this show is called Sunset Milk Idiot, either. But I do know you can expect the usual array of surreal Vine-fuelled puns throughout, like (but not specifically) this one: ‘I went to an ice-cream shop, and said: ‘I want to buy an ice-cream.’ He said: ‘Hundreds and thousands?’ I said: ‘We’ll just start with one.’ Also at the Bradford Alhambra on the 13th; and at Hull, York and Halifax in May.

Theatre Royal, Wakefield theatreroyalwakefield.co.uk


March 19th

David Baddiel

A return to stand-up and a return to form for David Baddiel, who doesn’t hold back with a show about his late “sex-mad” mother and “dementia-ridden” father. Baddiel also plays Harrogate Theatre on March 12th and Sheffield City Hall on March 18th. In June he appears at Leeds City Varieties.

Grand Opera House

York atgtickets.com


March 27th & 28th

Joe Lycett

Talk about a packed diary. Essentially, this year, the brilliantly waspish Joe Lycett – sometimes to be found in Dictionary Corner in 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (the rude late night version of the genteel afternoon letters and numbers programme) – doesn’t actually stop touring. With this show – subtitled I’m About to Lose Control and I Think Joe Lycett – he’ll be appearing somewhere in the UK practically every month of 2018.

Lycett’s comic speciality is to prick bureaucratic pomposity by sending sarky, confrontational, response-provoking emails to local councils and CEOs of large companies; so expect ‘jokes, paintings and some of the pathetic internet trolling he’s been up to recently’. If you miss this Sheffield gig, you can catch him at Harrogate Theatre on March 29th. In May, Joe visits York; in September he’s in Hull then in October he’s in Leeds and back to Sheffield again. Phew.

Sheffield City Hall 0114 278 9789 sheffieldcityhall.co.uk



March 14th

Anton & Erin

Even the harshest critic of Strictly Come Dancing has to love professional hoofer Anton du Beke, a man who doesn’t appear to take the whole enterprise entirely seriously, particularly when the scores come in. In this dance spectacular, du Beke and partner Erin Boag celebrate the golden age of Hollywood; also at York Barbican on March 17th.

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



Until April 16th

Dark Skies

An exhibition that originally opened as part of last month’s Dark Skies Festival, with local artists showcasing work inspired by the dramatic skies of the North York Moors.

Inspired By... gallery

North York Moors National Park Centre, Danby northyorkmoors.org.uk


March 24th-September 2nd

Art, Games and Play: Don Pavey and Other Collections

An exhibition which proves that art can be child’s play, literally. It explores the link between art and games, and includes items from the late artist Don Pavey’s extensive collection of toys and games.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield 01924 832631 ysp.org.uk


March 30th-June 17th

In My Shoes: Art and the Self since the 1990s

Self-portraits are nothing new; it’s an art form famously practiced by Durer, Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Frida Kahlo that can be traced all the way back to Ancient Egypt. Of course, we’re all self-portrait artists these days to some degree, as long as we have a smart phone and a selfie stick (or simply long arms). Big British names like Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas and Gavin Turk, however, have been creating self-portraits for a living, and for a long time. This fascinating exhibition looks at how UK artists have been representing themselves in their work since the 1990s.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield 01924 832631 ysp.org.uk



March 7th–14th

Northern Ballet’s Jane Eyre

Cathy Marston’s choreography and Philip Feeney’s music – played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia – brings Charlotte Bronte’s tale to spectacular life.

Leeds Grand Theatre 0844 848 2720 leedsgrandtheatre.com


March 26th - 28th

Siberian Ballet

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia present three eye-catching productions: Romeo & Juliet (26th) and Cinderella (27th), both by Prokofiev; and Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake (28th).

Victoria Theatre, Halifax, 01422 351158, victoriatheatre.co.uk



March 24th

Richard Galliano & Sylvain Luc: A Tribute to Edith Piaf

How about this for a gorgeously atmospheric evening? Accordionist Richard Galliano and jazz guitarist Sylvain Luc turn the Howard Assembly Room into a smoky dive when they play chansons (get me!) made famous by the legendary Edith Piaf.

Howard Assembly Room, Leeds 0844 848 2720 operanorth.co.uk


March 29th

Across the Atlantic: Bernstein, Gershwin, John Adams and Rachmaninov

The Orchestra of Opera North under the baton of Dalia Stasevska and featuring piano soloist Sofya Gulyak perform extracts from West Side Story, Rhapsody in Blue, The Chairman Dances and Symphonic Dances, Op 45.

Huddersfield Town Hall 01484 225755 kirklees.gov.uk



March 6th


The masters of the anthemic singalong play Leeds. All together now: ‘Throw those curtains wide/One day like this a year would see me riiiiiight...’

First Direct Arena, Leeds 0844 248 1585 firstdirectarena.com


March 8th

Beth Neilsen Chapman

You’ve got to keep handing it to Pocklington Arts Centre, mainly because they keep landing incredible talent to play at their small but perfectly formed venue. This month it’s the turn of (and, indeed, return for) Grammy Award nominee Beth Neilsen Chapman who has written songs for Faith Hill, Tanya Tucker, Trisha Yearwood, Waylon Jennings, Bette Midler, etc, etc. Get a ticket if you still can.

Pocklington Arts Centre 01759 301547 pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk


March 14th


Prog rockin’ gentlemen of a certain age, your wish has come true. Yes are on a 50th (50th!) anniversary tour, and this is their only Yorkshire date; although, sadly, they’ll be appearing without the iconic lead vocals of Jon Anderson or the sublime noodling of keyboardist Rick Wakeman. And, of course, founder member Chris Squire passed away a few years ago.

Still, Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes and Billy Sherwood are in the band and will be performing all their... well, I was going to say ‘hits’, but Yes never really had any, unless you count the immaculate Wonderous Stories (which is, admit it, superb) and Owner of a Lonely Heart (which got to number 28 in the UK, chart-fact fans). So let’s say they’ll be playing ‘best loved songs from their many albums’ instead.

Talking of which, were the titles of their prog rock albums on the pompous and pretentious side? Well, let’s see, one is called Tales from Topographic Oceans and another goes by the name of Keys to Ascension; so, in a word, Yes.

Musician Jon Davison who sounds not unlike Jon Anderson and joined the group after playing in a Yes tribute band, provides the vocals.

Sheffield City Hall 0114 278 9789 sheffieldcityhall.co.uk


March 20th

Sam Smith

Amazingly, Sam Smith was able to conquer the world (and record a Bond theme, no less) on the strength of just one album, his debut, 2014’s In the Lonely Hour. Last year he released the follow-up, The Thrill of It All, which went to number one in about a trillion countries. OK, so that’s not actually possible but Smithmania shows no sign of abating.

Sheffield Arena 0114 256 5656 flydsaarena.co.uk