10 Unmissable Events in Newcastle This May
Spring has well and truly sprung in Newcastle, and May is already shaping up to be a busy month! Here, we pick out some of the best events taking place across the city throughout May, including vibrant theatre, rip-tickling comedy, eclectic live music, fun family activities and even a pizza war… Get stuck in!
Let’s hope the only rain that’ll be falling in May will be during Theatre Royal’s lavish production of the musical classic! Adapted from the hit movie, with high-energy choreography and a sumptuous set, Hollywood in the roaring 20’s is the setting for the romantic tale of silent movie star Don Lockwood, whose life changes forever after a chance meeting with a talented chorus girl. Featuring MGM’s glorious score including Good Morning, Make ‘em Laugh and, of course, Singin’ In The Rain.
Fun fact: over 14,000 litres of water are used on set every night! (Watch out in the front row!)
Tuesday 3rd-Saturday 7th May, 7.30pm, matinees Wed & Thurs 2pm, Sat 2.30pm. Tickets from £20.
The place to be for literature buffs and poetry addicts, head to Northern Stage for Newcastle Poetry Festival’s weekend of exclusive readings from world-class wordsmiths, performances from spoken word artists, instructive workshops, open mic events and much more. This year’s theme is EMERGENCY, with headline events including the Poetry Summit, at which the poetry community unite to reflect, celebrate resilience and look to the future; poet laureate Simon Armitage performs some of his work themed around the environment; an event showcasing the collaborative work of the Human Cell Atlas project and Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts will see a film screening by poets Imtiaz Dharker and Linda France, as well as readings from the Young Poets Network poetry challenge; Newcastle’s leading spoken word night, Born Lippy, presents a take-over event featuring Door-to-Door poet Rowan McCabe, Georgia Bartlett-McNeil and Jonny Fluffypunk; Anne Ryland, David Spittle and Linda France’s writing tackles themes of journeys and wilderness; and prize-winning poets Hannah Lowe and Joelle Taylor present their extraordinary work.
Thursday 5th-Saturday 7th May. Festival passes priced at £50/£30 in person or £20 digital
Audiences aged 7+ are invited to join Tin Man on a journey to find his heart and happiness, in this magical retelling of the classic Wizard of Oz tale. Presented by Joss Arnott Dance, the beautiful production reimagines how the Tin Man may have coped against the Wicked Witch in the deep dark wood. Watch as he makes new friends along the way, and enjoy stunning costumes and bold choreography which will enthral and delight families with its touching story.
Saturday 7th May, 2pm & 6pm. Tickets £13.50/£8/£11
Blessed with an astonishing voice, and likened to some of soul music’s greatest icons, Mercury Music Prize and BRIT award-winning artist Michael Kiwanuka’s sound is a majestic blend of folk-tinged storytelling with a rock sensibility, honed through an instinctive musicality which has resulted in sold out tours and three highly acclaimed albums.
Wednesday 18th May, 6.30pm
(Image: Michael Kiwanuka by Olivia Rose)
Kae Tempest is something of a polymath; the spoken word performer, poet, recording artist, novelist and playwright has a skilful way with words which bewitches and enthrals audiences wherever they perform. They have an impressive number of poetry collections and plays under their belt, but it’s perhaps for their musical output they have become best known; recent album The Line Is A Curve takes elements of neo-soul, hip-hop and addictive melodies as a backing to Kae’s commentary on the challenges of life in contemporary Britain.
Saturday 21st May, 7pm. Tickets from £24.80
Adapted from Lukas Moodysson’s cult movie set in Stockholm (which in turn was based on his wife’s graphic novel Never Goodnight), We Are The Best! is a tale of youthful rebellion and the power of friendship adapted for the stage by local playwright Rebecca Glendenning. Three teenage girls set out to change the world through punk music – the fact they don’t know how to play doesn’t phase them, as they embark on an anarchic journey to kick against those that try to define them. Marking the directorial debut of Live’s artistic director Jack McNamara, and music composed by North East artist Mariam Rezaei, it promises to be a riot from start to finish.
Thursday 26th May-Saturday 18th June, 7.30pm/2pm matinees. Tickets from £10
The highly anticipated rescheduled show from synth pop duo Pet Shop Boys will be a special one indeed. A homecoming of sorts for Neil Tennant, who grew up in North Shields, the electronic duo have been a staple of the dance pop scene in the UK since their inception. The multi-award winning duo’s hits span four decades, from chart toppers It’s A Sin, West End Girls, Heart and their version of Always On My Mind, to Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money), What Have I Done To Deserve This (featuring legendary singer Dusty Springfield) and their iconic cover of Go West. Their latest album shows no sign of the duo slowing down, and spawned the hits Dreamland and Monkey Business.
Friday 27th May, 6pm. Tickets from £45
We don’t know about you, but the thought of spending a sunny weekend in a beautiful park with great beer and more pizza than we know how to choose from sounds just about perfect. Wylam Brewery and 44Events’ Slice Wars is a family-friendly ‘geek out’ over the triple threat of pizza, beer and Star Wars, with something for everyone to enjoy. Ten of the region’s best pizza pushers offer up their delicious pies, with the most popular being awarded the Slice Wars crown. Vendors include Scream For Pizza, Square, Fire & Dough, Gingerinos, Noshbox Pizza, Wild Fire Pizza, The Pizza Van, Dou_h & Co, Medhead, Simply Wood Fired, One, Log Fire Pizza Co and Mivessi. It’s not just about the pizza though, there’s an abundance of sides and sweet things, with vegans and vegetarians well catered for, not to mention music, beer, cocktails and good times ‘til late. Keep your eye out for Star Wars characters grabbing a slice of the action throughout the weekend.
Fun fact: nearly 20,000 portions of pizza will be dished out across the weekend!
Friday 27th-Saturday 28th May, from 5pm on Friday/12pm on Saturday. Free
Since winning Britain’s Got Talent back in 2018, local comedian Lee Ridley, aka Lost Voice Guy, has become a household name. A regular on the local comedy circuit for several years, Ridley’s comedy pokes fun at his life living as a disabled person, but does so without pathos, imbuing his routines with relatable and human stories of coping with life as a disabled person. Using an iPad to speak – Ridley’s neurological cerebral palsy means he’s unable to talk – his new show, Cerebral Lol-sy is a guaranteed laugh-a-minute thanks to his superb timing and deadpan style.
Saturday 28th May, 8pm. Tickets £16/£14
The Centre for Children’s Books celebrates the hungriest tiger we know, as Judith Kerr’s delightful tale of the Tiger Who Came To Tea roars into the Ouseburn Valley for an interactive story time. All the family are welcome to make their very own tiger, visit Sophie and her Mummy in time for tea and find out how hungry the tiger really is!
Saturday 28th May-Sunday 5th June. Free