What's on in Yorkshire this February

The Bone Sparrow 

The Bone Sparrow - Credit: York Theatre Royal

Plan your cultural life - as far as these things go at the moment - with everything from butterflies to big bands on the radar.... 

February 26 - March 19


Macbeth - Credit: Leeds Playhouse

What's the moral of Shakespeare’s bloodiest play? We reckon it's this: if three witches stop you on a blasted heath and tell you that you're destined to become king, just ignore them and go about your business. If Macbeth had done the same he could have avoided all that treachery, gory murder, guilt and paranoia.
Leeds Playhouse
0113 213 7700

February 19 - 27
Jorvik Viking Festival

Living history, Norse-style at Jorvik Festival 

Living history, Norse-style at Jorvik Festival - Credit: Charlotte Graham

Living history, Norse-style, with talks, tours, evening entertainment and combat performances. You'll need tickets for two events: the Viking banquet at Merchant Adventurers' Hall (which is themed around Ragnar Lothbrok’s life) and the Battle Spectacular in the Land of Darkness. Although if you don't have them already, you'll be disappointed: both sold out early doors.
York, 01904 615 505 jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk

February 25
Madama Butterfly

Madam-Butterfly-Cio-Cio-San and Sorrow sung by Maria HeeJung Kim

Madam-Butterfly-Cio-Cio-San and Sorrow sung by Maria HeeJung Kim - Credit: Opera North

A Japanese girl weds an American naval lieutenant, not realising that he's a bit of a rotter who views the whole thing as a marriage of convenience. Korean Soprano Elena Dee (who, fun fact, was originally a classical pianist) returns to sing the title role of Cio-Cio-San in this Ellen Kent production of Puccini's opera.
Grand Opera House York 0844 871 7615 atgtickets.com/york

February 25- March 5
The Bone Sparrow
A timely world premiere from York's Pilot Theatre that deals 'directly with questions about migration, human rights and our broader humanity.' The story — from Zana Fraillon's novel about a Rohingya refugee who has spent his entire life in a detention centre — has been adapted by award-winning Australian playwright, S Shakthidharan.
Theatre Royal York 01904 623568 yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

February 19 - June 5
David Nash: Full Circle
It's safe to say that David Nash likes trees. Actually, no: make that David Nash loves trees. In fact, he's dedicated his art to studying trees and wood; so you sort know what to expect from this new exhibition at YSP's Weston Gallery. Or, at least, you think you do — but, actually, there are surprises in store, because the drawings on display range from “observational and documentary” to “intensely coloured” and “abstract”.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield 01924 832631 ysp.org.uk

February 12, 16 & 18

Carmen-Chrystal E. Williams as Carmen in Edward Dick's 2021 production for Opera North. Photo credit Tristram Kenton

Carmen-Chrystal E. Williams as Carmen in Edward Dick's 2021 production for Opera North - Credit: Tristram Kenton

The exquisite American mezzo-soprano Chrystal E Williams returns in the title role of this madly flamboyant Opera North production, which opened last October. How mad and how flamboyant? Well, put it like this: at one point Williams — wearing a red corset — descends to the stage on a swing and is surrounded by ostrich feather fans. She's joined for this run by Rafael Rojas as Don José, Alison Langer as Micaëla, and Gyula Nagy as Escamillo.
Leeds Grand Theatre 0113 223 3600 operanorth.co.uk

February 26
The line-up behind them has changed occasionally, but Texas founding members Sharleen Spiteri and Johnny McElhone are still front and centre after — gulp! — more than 35 years. They'll be playing their debut album Southside in its entirety to celebrate the record's 30th Anniversary, plus oodles of hits, which will presumably include Say What You Want, Halo, Summer Son and Black Eyed Boy. Also at Victoria Theatre Halifax (19), Harrogate Convention Centre (25) and Sheffield City Hall (28).
Bonus Arena Hull 0844 844 0444 bonusarenahull.com

February 12-18
Yorkshire Games Festival
Bradford hosts a week-long celebration of all things 'gamey'. The programme includes talks, networking and special industry guests, including Alex and John from the Nintendo Life YouTube channel, plus Bobby Thandi from XR Games, who'll be revealing how to raise capital for your games studio, should you be keen to start one. David Sheppard of Ubisoft Leamington — the team behind Just Dance (even we've played that one) — will talk about designing better gameplay experiences.
National Science & Media Museum

February 17
The BBC Big Band: The Sound of Cinema
The BBC Big Band and singer Emer McParland present a night of eclectic movie magic, with songs and themes from Breakfast at Tiffany's, Meet Me in St Louis, Catch Me If You Can and the odd Bond theme, too. Sir Michael of Parkinson certainly likes the BBCBB, noting that 'they brilliantly continue the tradition of Big Band music... As such they are important, as well as marvellous!'  Do you need a better recommendation?
Hull New Theatre 01482 300 306 hulltheatres.co.uk

February 1 - 5
The Addams Family

Addams Family

Addams Family - Credit: Bradford Theatres

New York critics absolutely hated this spooky, kooky, ooky musical when it first opened on Broadway in 2010, and said as much in a range of scathing reviews. So, naturally, the show went on to become a rip-roaring, multi-million dollar success that played to packed houses night after night, and was later showered with award nominations. One of the draws for audiences in this UK tour is ex-Strictly professional Joanne Clifton playing scary-but-glamorous matriarch, Morticia Addams.
The Alhambra Bradford 01274 432000 bradford-theatres.co.uk

February 8-19
Mamma Mia
Well, the Benny and Bjorn musical is always playing somewhere on earth — and, this month, that somewhere happens to be Hull. Obviously you've watched the Mamma Mia film version and its sequel countless times; but if you've never seen the stage musical in all of its mad glory, then you haven't really experienced the Abba-fabulousness of it all.
Hull New Theatre 01482 300 306 hulltheatres.co.uk

Until March 20
Georgia O'Keeffe
The Point is the second venue to host this exhibition featuring the groundbreaking work of artist Georgia O'Keeffe (who died in 1986 and has been called “the mother of American Modernism”), before it sets out on a UK tour. The show includes 21 'photogravures' (we looked it up: it means photographic images etched onto copper) of drawings produced by O'Keeffe between 1915-1963.
The Point Doncaster thepoint.org.uk/visit/

February 8 - 12
The Dresser
An intriguing production of the funny Ronald Harwood play, mainly because of the casting: it stars Matthew Kelly as an aging actor (reportedly based on the late actor-manager, Donald Wolfitt) with Julian Clary, no less, as his devoted dresser. If you've seen the 1983 film with Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay, you'll know what to expect.
The Alhambra Bradford 01274 432000 bradford-theatres.co.uk

February 5, 8, 15, 17
Opera North's first ever production of Handel's Alcina, with Dublin-born soprano Máire Flavin in the title role and Patrick Terry as Ruggiero. Conducted by Laurence Cummings and directed by Tim Albery (whose other Opera North productions include Madama Butterfly, Giulio Cesare, Otello and Silent Night), it's notable for being the company's first environmentally sustainable mainstage opera.
Leeds Grand Theatre 0113 223 3600 operanorth.co.uk

February 17th - March 12th
71 Coltman Street

Mark Babych, Artistic Director of Hull Truck Theatre

71-Coltman-Street-Mark Babych, Artistic Director of Hull Truck Theatre - Credit: Andrew Billington

It's going to a big year for Hull Truck, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a major artistic force in the city. This comedy, written by Hull-born playwright Richard Bean (of One Man, Two Guvnors fame), is directed by Mark Babych and tells the dramatised story of Hull Truck's origins.
Hull Truck 01482 323638 hulltruck.co.uk

January 31 - February 5
Fat Friends the Musical
What do you do after you've created a hit TV series about a Leeds slimming club? Well, you turn it into a hit musical, of course. Kay Mellor's effervescent musical features songs by Nick Lloyd Webber (yes, relation) and a cast that includes Lee Mead, Sherrie Hewson, Jessica Ellis and Les Dennis.
Lyceum Sheffield, 0114 249 6000 sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

Most Read

February 23 & 24

Stan - a heartwarming play which challenges preconceptions of deafness

Stan - a heartwarming play which challenges preconceptions of deafness (now more in focus than ever after Rose Ayling-Ellis's Strictly win) - Credit: castindoncaster

A heartwarming play which challenges preconceptions of deafness (now more in focus than ever after Rose Ayling-Ellis's Strictly win). A dinosaur-loving eight-year-old boy meets a deaf girl with a vivid imagination, who whisks him away to meet Stan, the gigantic T-Rex at Manchester Museum. Performed in English and British Sign Language with creative captions embedded within the set.
CAST, Doncaster, 01302 303959 castindoncaster.com 

February 15 - 19
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Mark Haddon's extraordinary novel was already a phenomenon when it was turned into this ultra-successful Olivier and Tony Award-winning play by writer Simon Stephens and the National Theatre. Now it's back for a 10th anniversary tour. A 15-year-old on the autism spectrum investigates the killing of his neighbour's dog.
Lyceum Sheffield, 0114 249 6000 sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

February 18
How To Live a Jellicle Life
Did you see the 2019 movie version of Cats? If so, you might still be undergoing therapy. Starring James Corden and (no!) Judi Dench, it was a spectacular critical and commercial dud that was roundly mocked. Now Awkward Productions affectionately sticks the boot in, too, with this one-man parody.
Lawrence Batley Theatre,  Huddersfield, 01484 430528 thelbt.org