What’s On in Yorkshire - September 2013

Northern Ballet's A Midsummer Night's Dream

Northern Ballet's A Midsummer Night's Dream - Credit: Archant

A guide to entertainment in Yorkshire we think you will enjoy, compiled by Tony Greenway


September 4th

Elton John

Well, phew, that was close. Sir Elton of John had to postpone his entire summer tour due to a dodgy appendix but says he’ll be back in business from early September — pain and appendix-free — to play his remaining dates. This is the first of them, the inaugural opening of the shiny new Leeds Arena (despite the fact that Bruce Springsteen played here in July, this gig is the official launch). Just think: it would have been a PR catastrophe had Elton been forced to torpedo this date, too, because Leeds is finally unveiling its long-awaited rock god-sized arena (do you know a city in the North that doesn’t have one?) and it’s going to be a big, big deal.

First Direct Arena Leeds 0844 248 1585 firstdirectarena.com

September 13th

Most Read

Kaiser Chiefs

Kaiser Chiefs are, of course, Leeds lads so it’s fitting that Ricky Wilson and the gang should play the new Leeds Arena in its first month. They probably didn’t have far to come, either. Expect old hits to be dusted off: I Predict a Riot, Ruby, Modern Way, Oh My God and You Can Have it All.

First Direct Arena Leeds 0844 248 1585 firstdirectarena.com

September 19th

Kate Rusby

Barnsley folk supremo Kate Rusby could, as we have said before, sing out bits of the phone book and we’d listen, enthralled. Here she is in Bradford on her autumn tour, with York and Scarborough in November and Sheffield, Leeds and Huddersfield in December. Check katerusby.com for more tour details.

St George’s Hall Bradford 01274 432000 bradford-theatres.co.uk

September 14th

Justin Currie

Who is Justin Currie? Well, you might know him better as the voice of Del Amitri — and he’s now released his third solo album. Here, Currie performs new songs and material from the Del Amitri back catalogue, so expect the likes of Nothing Ever Happens, Always the Last to Know and Roll to Me.

Royal Hall Harrogate 01423 502116 harrogatetheatre.co.uk

September 13th-15th

Richmond Jazz Festival

Contemporary jazz gets an airing again with choice gigs from John Law’s Congregation (13th), young musicians taking part in the Richmond Jam (14th), and Chris Garrick and John Etheridge (15th).

Georgian Theatre Royal Richmond 01748 825252 richmond-jazz-festival.co.uk georgiantheatreroyal.co.uk


September 27th

Micky Flanagan

How funny is Mickey Flanagan? Is he as funny as Sean Lock? Or Michael McIntyre? Or Lee Mack? It’s pointless to try and gauge humour like that, of course. And it’s pointless to say that we don’t really ‘get’ Flanagan’s humour ourselves because he’s playing arenas that are full of people who do - on consecutive nights, too.

First Direct Arena Leeds 0844 248 1585 firstdirectarena.com And September 28th & November 6th Motorpoint Arena Sheffield 0114 256 5656 motorpointarena sheffield.co.uk

September 13th & 14th

Jason Manford

Life has not been, how can I put this delicately, straightforward for Jason Manford over the last few years. So how do you go out on stage, night after night, to make people laugh when your personal life isn’t running as smoothly as it could? Perhaps it’s comedy as therapy. One thing is certain, Manford is a hard-working comic — just look at his long list of tour dates. He’s coming to a theatre near you soon (he’s back in Harrogate in December due to popular demand, for instance) so check out his website jasonmanford.com for full tour details.

St George’s Hall Bradford 01274 432000 bradford-theatres.co.uk And September 16th & 17th Harrogate Royal Hall 01423 502116 harrogatetheatre.co.uk


September 13th-15th

Harrogate Autumn Flower Show

Are we in autumn already? Where did the summer go? Green-fingered types can get their rockeries off at this annual flower extravaganza with its show gardens, floral art, garden shopping, Dig It garden theatre, Kitchen Garden Live, food marquee and more.

Great Yorkshire Showground 01423 546157 flowershow.org.uk

September 1st

A Night to Remember

Merrill Osmond, who celebrates more than 54 years in the music business, is joined by family and friends including Jermaine Jackson, Shane Richie, Gareth Gates, Northern Ballet and Andy Abraham to host a gala variety evening raising money for the Hearing Fund UK. All performers are providing their services free of charge.

Leeds Grand Theatre 0844 848 2700 leedsgrandtheatre.com

September 25th - 29th

The Harrogate Antique Fair

The Fair will be brimming with antique arms and armour, rare and collectable jewels, fine silver, furniture for every home, glass, porcelain, bronzes and works of art and paintings of all periods, from 17th Century portraits to Stirrup Cups, 1800, Roger de Ville animal paintings by David Shepherd.

Harrogate International Centre



6th-8th September

Freedom Festival

A city-wide celebration of freedom that celebrates UK City of Culture 2017 candidate Hull’s historic role in the cause of freedom.

Hull (various)


September 11th-14th

St Leger Festival

England’s oldest horse race is back, and so are the ladies and gents in the stands who are done up to the nines (especially on Ladies’ Day Thursday). This is Doncaster Racecourse’s social event of the year — and the racing’s not bad, either. The flagship event is on Saturday.

Doncaster Racecourse 01302 511 915 doncaster-racecourse.co.uk

September 14th & 15th

Staithes Festival of Art and Heritage

It helps, of course, that the coastal gem that is Staithes is as pretty as a picture — like something out of an Enid Blyton Five Go to Smugglers Top story. You want to go there, art festival or no art festival.

Last year, though, some clever local types got together to create the first-ever Staithes Festival of Art and Heritage and it was a big hit, bringing in 3,000 visitors. This year, the festival has the work of almost 100 artists on display (that’s almost double last year’s number) in 70-plus venues (ie, cottages) scattered around the village, including Niamh Hanlon, who lives in Staithes.

Events are eclectic, for instance Ian Burke, the drawing master from Eton who has a house nearby, will be running workshops and holding a special exhibition in Staithes’ newest art venue, the Sunday School Gallery in the old Wesleyan Chapel; professional artists Chris and Paul Czainski will be converting their house into a Cabinet of Curiosities; Rosamund Jordan, an expert on the historic Staithes Group, will be giving a talk in the Memorial Hall; there will be an evening film show of historic Staithes photographs projected onto the side of a building; villagers are opening their houses as pop-up tea rooms and music, concerts and buskers are around every corner. This is a chance too, to remember Brian Butcher, the festival’s musical director, who died last January. He made an enormous contribution to the culture of Staithes and the district for 40 years and this, the second festival, is dedicated to him.

Various venues staithesfestival.com

September 14th-22nd

Saltaire Festival

At the time of writing, details of the full line-up were thin on the ground, but poet, author and comedian John Hegley (who went to Bradford University) will be reading from his new book Peace, Love and Potatoes and Cabaret Saltaire are returning for another festival special, hosted by Squinty McGinty (agent to the stars). This is always a great festival with impressive line-ups — and in a rather lovely setting, too.

Various venues saltairefestival.co.uk

September 21st

Batley Festival

Just like the Staithes Festival, Batley Festival has been organised by enthusiastic volunteers — and 2012 was its first (very successful) outing. The event celebrates the cultural life of the town and the vibrancy, diversity and talent of its people and community. Amanda Oliver, chair of the organising committee, told me afterwards that she had been delighted with the reception it had received.

Now it’s time for the second Batley Festival with events taking place in the town hall, library, Memorial Gardens, baths and market place with entertainers, stalls, activities and a variety show in the evening. It promises to be another fun day out, so calling all locals and non-locals, give your support and make it a regular date in Batley’s diary.

Batley Town Centre batleyfestival.co.uk

September 5th-21st

Ripon International Festival

This is the 16th RIF and its highlights include the orchestra of Opera North with Janusz Piotrowicz (conductor) and Robert Ashworth (horn) at Ripon Cathedral playing Dvorak’s Carnival Overture and Slavonic Dances, Mozart’s Horn Concerto no 3, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no 4. Also, Royal Northern Sinfonia will be at the Royal Hall playing Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and Brahms’ Symphony no 1 — and there’s a performance by Sir John Tomlinson, the great operatic bass.

Late dates include September 28th and October 11th. Various venues 01765 603994 riponinternationalfestival.com

September 20th-29th

York Food Festival


September 20th-22nd

Sheffield Food Festival

The big foodie event has to be the York Food Festival happening at venues across the city; but the Sheffield Food Festival looks very tasty, too, with a city centre allotment at its heart and a festival theme of community and children in order to promote growing and cooking at home and encourage friends and neighbours to get together more often to enjoy good food.

Various venues 01904 466687 yorkfoodfestival.com And Various venues sheffieldfoodfestival.org


September 6th-21st

The Grand Gesture

In Northern Broadsides’ hands, a play called The Suicide by Soviet dramatist Nikolai Erdman — freely adapted by Deborah McAndrew and directed by Conrad Nelson — becomes a satire about austerity Britain. The main character, Simeon Duff, is unemployed, broke and desperate. After a failed last-ditch attempt to solve his problems (by learning to play the tuba) he finally realises there’s only one way out: a suicide. The Grand Gesture comes to the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield in October then the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, and Viaduct Theatre, Dean Clough, Halifax, in November.

Harrogate Theatre 01423 502116 harrogatetheatre.co.uk

September 10th-21st

A Passionate Woman

Leeds-born Kay Mellor once told us that A Passionate Woman is the Yorkshire-set story of her mum and, as such, much too precious to give to a Hollywood studio to tinker with. But at one point they were interested and there was big money on the table. Mellor said: ‘I could just picture the studio executives saying: “Thanks, Kay, we love your script! We’re just going to change the location to Detroit and cast Cher in the lead role...”’ So she passed. This is the first ever major revival of Mellor’s play and it features Lynda Bellingham and Christopher Timothy.

Lyceum, Sheffield Theatres 0114 249 6000 sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

September 3rd –7th

Royal Flush

Performed by Matthew Booth, the theme of this comic double bill is, well, toilets, not to put too fine a point on it. In 1882, after years of inspiration, innovation, and occasional idiocy, Yorkshireman Thomas Crapper is commissioned to provide toilets for Her Majesty Queen Victoria. Fast forward to the 21st century and in an old people’s home in Crapper’s home town of Thorne, Joe, a ‘maintenance engineer’ (toilet cleaner), has the job of a lifetime on his hands - he’s got to get all the toilets, even the awkward one in Room 8, sparkling clean in preparation for a Diamond Jubilee royal visit…

Harrogate Studio Theatre 01423 502116 harrogatetheatre.co.uk


September 23rd-28th


Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin stories were turned into a hit Broadway musical by Fred Ebb-John Kander — and, in this well-reviewed version, that nice Will Young stars as the sinister Emcee. Numbers include Money Makes the World Go Round, Tomorrow Belongs to Me, Two Ladies, Maybe This Time and the title track.

Bradford Alhambra 01274 432000 bradford-theatres.co.uk

September 26th – October 26th

Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Who ate all the pies? More to the point, what was IN the pies? And why are all the customers of Sweeney Todd, a psychotic London barber, disappearing? And do you want thick crust or flaky pastry? This is a contemporary version of Stephen Sondheim’s musical from James Brining which, somehow, makes it all the more disturbing.

West Yorkshire Playhouse 0113 213 7700 wyp.org.uk


September 6th –14th

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Northern Ballet’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is set on (really) the sleeper train from London to Edinburgh, with emotions on board running high among a touring dance company. An Olivier Award-nominated ballet with music by Mendelssohn and Brahms played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia. This revival is choreographed by artistic director David Nixon OBE.

‘My version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is about young dancers and the passions and tribulations that a young touring company get themselves entangled in,’ says Nixon. ‘It was really important to me to bring the romantic elements out of this much loved story. I always enjoy seeing the reaction of the audience to this ballet. It’s great to hear them laughing. The ballet is very playful and uplifting and I think many people are pleasantly surprised to see so much humour captured in dance.’

West Yorkshire Playhouse 0113 213 7700 wyp.org.uk