The world’s favourite nanny arrives in Newcastle for a dazzling all-singing, all-dancing production. This stage production of Mary Poppins stars Zizi Strallen as Mary Poppins, Matt Lee as Bert and Neil Roberts as George Banks, to name a few. The stage adaptation of the Disney favourite has a sensational soundtrack with songs including Jolly Holiday, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and Feed the Birds, as well as new songs and lyrics by the Olivier award-winning British team of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.

16-24 September

Big days in Hexham

handel-in-carThe annual Hexham Abbey Festival always offers an exciting mix of ancient and modern when it comes to arts events. The setting is the spectacular medieval building itself and there will be concerts to please pretty well every taste.

A carnival atmosphere is always created by Red Priest a popular band of virtuoso musicians who’ll be dressing up big-style for their Gypsy Baroque Fantasy programme in a candlelit abbey. Music by baroque masters such as Vivaldi, Telemann and Corelli, presented with wit and joy will appeal – however much they know about classical music. (24 September).

The choir Renaissance will sing sacred music from sixteenth-century England and madrigals from Italy. The group, whose founder, Ben Rowarth, comes from Hexham, met while they were studying at Durham University in 2011 and are now making waves in the international choral music world (23 September).

Also with local connections is the band Horovod whose members hail from the North East but specialise in playing folk and dance music from the Balkans, Greece and Turkey. A lively evening with dance and stomping klezmer sounds (22 September).

Calmer sounds with a Chopin recital by renowned pianist Janina Fialkowska (21 September) and the free lunch-time recitals by Magda Loth-Hill accompanied by Nathaniel Mander, Leah Nicholson and Callum Alger. (19, 21, 23 September).

Then there’s Automatronic – a quartet whose aim is to create ‘a unique soundscape’ using Hexham Abbey’s wonderful Phelps pipe organ and their own state-of-the-art electronic equipment. The combination is definitely unusual and should prove fascinating for anyone who likes to be surprised by what they hear (21 September).

The festival’s opening event is called Livepaint and comes from a team of mural painters and graffiti artists who go by the name Urban Canvas. They’ll use spray paint and cutting-edge graffiti techniques on huge canvases to develop images in front of the audience. The whole event will be inspired by the beautiful interior of the Abbey to create a visual and musical twilight spectacle (16 September).

One of the highlights of the festival for many of its 64 years has been the choral concert presented by the Hexham Abbey Festival Chorus. These amateur singers work over the summer to prepare a concert with international-level professional soloists. This year they’re singing the Petite Messe Solennelle by Rossini. This promises to be an important event in the musical calendar of the North East. (17 September).

Programme can be downloaded |


great_north_snowdogsThe Tyne and Wear’s biggest ever public art event arrives in September. St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice has teamed up with Wild in Art to stage the Great North Snowdogs, an interactive trail that will feature over 50 large scale snowdog sculptures, inspired by the much-loved film, The Snowman. The 1.5m high Snowdog sculptures will be individually decorated by professional artists and celebrities and a trail map, app and website will lead visitors from popular tourist destinations to lesser known areas of the region, along the route covered by the Metro system and other public transport.


Celebrate the art of film in the historic border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed this September. The Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, now in its twelfth year, showcases image installations and live performances, set in the backdrop of this stunning architectural town.


Justin Hayward, of the legendary British act The Moody Blues, comes to the Sage Gateshead this September. Justin was the driving force behind The Moody Blues for almost fifty years, and will perform hits including Your Wildest Dreams, Tuesday Afternoon and songs from his recent solo album Spirits in the Western Sky.


Shappi Khorsandi is touring with a brand new live comedy show, and North East audiences can look forward to an appearance at the Georgian Theatre Royal. With her razor-sharp wit and her endless charm, she won the nation over with her appearances on Live At The Apollo, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Have I Got News for You and QI. And now, with brand-new and effortlessly funny gags, she’s ready to take the stage in a solo tour.


Oh what a night for the people of the North East… Big Girls Don’t Cry comes to the Tees Valley Arena this September for what promises to be a spectacular all-singing, all-dancing evening. During the 60s and 70s, number one hits including Sherry, December 1963, Walk Like a Man and Big Girls Don’t Cry saw the Four Seasons and lead singer Frankie Valli skyrocket to the top of the charts. This smash-hit musical revives the harmonies of New Jersey’s finest, following Frankie’s journey to stardom. Fast-forward almost 60 years, the music of the Four Seasons is taking the UK by storm in the Big Girls Don’t Cry tour. Middlesbrough.


Northern Stage and Pilot Theatre present The Season Ticket – an up-to-date version of the story that inspired the British film Purely Belter. A comical and emotional journey of love and friendship, hardship and the priceless currency of hope. Gerry and Sewell are two Geordies who live for Newcastle United. Their dream is to watch the Magpies play for a whole season – thus requiring a season ticket. It’s a fun story of friendship, family, finance and football.


brian_cox_newcastle_city_hallProfessor Brian Cox, the world’s foremost communicator of all things scientific, arrives at Newcastle City Hall this September. This live show will delve into ‘high science’ and will test the limits of our knowledge, making highly complex ideas accessible to all. The man is good at making highly complex matters highly entertaining and easy to contemplate.


ghost_sunderland_empireDave Stewart’s ‘Ghost, The Musical’ hits Sunderland Empire. The timeless story of love, despair and hope – Ghost, The Musical, Unchained and Reimagined is a new production by Bill Kenwright, following the tragic story of Sam and girlfriend Molly.


The timeless tale of the journey to becoming a human boy. This autumn, Jasmin Vardimon Company brings their brand new adaptation of Pinocchio to Dance City before embarking on a national tour. Combining physical theatre, dance, innovative technologies and quirky characterisation, this beloved childhood story explores the idea of what it means to be human.


Packed with hands-on workshops and exciting live performances, the Live Theatre is holding its first Fun Palaces event. There will be puppetry classes and illustration demonstrations to get your teeth into, among many other fun workshops and performances. In the garden, you’ll find storytelling sessions, acoustic buskers and many more exciting performers.