12-16 April

Get Carter is a play inspired by the classic Newcastle-noir-thriller. Based on the book by Ted Hughes, the play is set in the uncompromising world of 1960s Newcastle. Rife with themes of sex, violence and gambling, this contemporary adaptation tells the thriller story made famous in Mike Hodge’s seminal film starring Michael Caine. A harrowing and wonderfully gripping performance – must see!

ROBERTO FONSECA_Sage_Gateshead15-17 April

The most exciting music festival of the year returns to the Quayside. Gateshead International Jazz Festival is set to impress audiences with its electrifying and truly entertaining line-up. With a whole host of musical performances from the likes of Roberto Fonseca, Gregory Porter, Courtney Pine, Zoe Porter and Terrance Blanchard, as well as workshops, talks, family fun and ‘Jazz for Toddlers’, the festival has something for everyone.

15-16 April

Experience one of the fastest and most thoughtful physical entertaining adventures this April at Dance City. ‘The Happiness’ by Karla Shacklock company is a fun and provocative dance show designed to make you laugh, weep and squirm with recognition.

16 April

Set up in the heart of Jesmond Dene, a local art, design and craft market takes place on the third Saturday of every month. To coincide with the brand new food market on Armstrong Bridge, the region’s best artists, crafters and designers gather together to showcase and sell their unique works. Whether you’re shopping for that somone special or fancy treating yourself to something that little bit different, head down the Jesmond Dene Arts Market for some exclusive shopping opportunities.

Until 17 April

Discovery Museum presents the striking portraits of Paul Piercy. Using black impasto oil paint, the portraits document some of the bravest human rights activists from around the world. This inspiring collection of works portrays some subjects that have either died or are imprisoned for their fight to protect universal freedom.

LOBSTER BALL_Heather_Small_Hardwick_Hall22 April

The North East’s most anticipated charity ball returns this spring with a 90s diva heading up the entertainment. Highlights of the Lobster Ball at Hardwick Hall Hotel this year include a performance by the voice of M People, Heather Small.

The ‘Search For the Hero’ singer will take to the stage at one of the North East’s most glitzy events on the social calendar. The black tie event is in aid of autism charity Daisy Chain and will serve up a four-course gourmet lobster surf and turf dinner and a Taittinger Champagne bar.

It promises to be an evening, packed with entertainment and delicious food – all for a great cause.

22 April

What beer should you be drinking with your meals? Find out this April at the Beer and Food Matching event hosted by Blackfriars. With some of the best ales brewed on its doorstep, a well-chosen craft beer could complement and bring out the flavours in your meal. Take part in this exciting workshop to find out how to match your favourite ale with a delicious dinner.

Until 24 April

The Laing Art Gallery will be showcasing ten of the finest drawings by Leonardo da Vinci. The exhibition, supported by the Port of Tyne, will convey the artist’s interests, from painting and sculpture-making to zoology, mapmaking and engineering. Part of the Royal Collection, da Vinci’s works explore his use of tools, from pen and ink and red and black chalks, to watercolours and metalpoint.

24 April

Keep fit for a good cause this spring and sign up for Hadrian’s Wall Hike. Take part on your own or as a team in the fight against heart disease. The hike follows a nine mile route along the most challenging yet incredibly picturesque section of the historic Hadrian’s Wall. Keep fit, contribute to a good cause and absorb a little bit of culture in this Sunday morning hike.

25 April

Middlesbrough Town Hall has your fix of inspiring music covered this April. Experience the amazing Bruckner Linz Orchestra, conducted by Dennis Russell Davies. The concert will feature the works of Bruckner (Symphony no.6) and Beethoven (King Stephen Overture and Piano Concerto). The audience can also look forward to a guest performance from pianist Melvyn Tan.

26-27 April

One of the world’s most celebrated dance companies, the Nederlands Dans Theater, have wowed audiences across the globe with their breathtaking dance routines and passionate creativity. Now, they will be gracing the stage of the Newcastle Theatre Royal to amaze audiences of the North East. With 18 international dancers, choreographer Paul Lightfoot creates a truly thrilling, vibrant and fascinating show.

Throughout spring

Arbeia Fort is the perfect day-out for all things cultural and entertaining this spring. It includes a brand new gallery looking at objects found at the Fort, a relaxing garden room and refreshment area, a barrack block showing visitors how Roman soldiers lived, and a time quest, giving you the chance to discover something new to add to the museum collection. In addition, the commanding officer’s house has been partially rebuilt with authentic furniture and fresco paintings.

Gertrude BellUntil May

The explorer Gertrude Bell was a remarkable woman – a frontline feminist pioneer. Often called the “female Lawrence of Arabia,’ she travelled to the Middle East for archaeology and exploration but became a significant figure in the politics of the time.

Her family ties were in the industry of Middlesbrough – her father was the industrialist Hugh Bell and the family made its money from the manufacture of steel. At 17, Gertrude enrolled at Lady Margaret Hall, graduating with a first-class degree in Modern History in two years, the first woman to do so. Her story is told in The Extraordinary Gertrude Bell at The Great North Museum, Hancock, Newcastle.