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  1. Home
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  3. > May 2024: 10 Unmissable Events...
Things To Do

May 2024: 10 Unmissable Events in Newcastle

Our guide to some of the very best things to do in Newcastle this May

10 mins Last updated:
Newcastle Food & Drink Festival

May is always the real beginning of spring, with two Bank Holidays to give us more time to enjoy what the city has to offer. Which, in the case of this May, is a helluva lot!

We’ve rounded up some excellent highlights from Newcastle's cultural calendar for you to pick and choose from this month. We recommend going to all of them, to be honest.

Queen Of The Night Queen Of The Night

Queen of the Night: A Tribute to Whitney Houston @ Utilita Arena 

The last Queen Of The Night tour sold 100,000 tickets in theatres across the UK (including a sell-out Royal Albert Hall) and now it’s back with an even bigger production for an arena tour! Which means you get the same timeless classics – I Wanna Dance With Somebody, I’m Every Woman, How Will I Know and, yes, THAT song – with great vocalists, a fine live band and even more spectacle. Not to miss if you’re a fan of Whitney or just great R&B.

3rd May, from £30.91

Newcastle Food & Drink Festival Newcastle Food & Drink Festival

Newcastle Food & Drink Festival @ Exhibition Park 

Newcastle Food & Drink Festival is a new addition to the foodie calendar and one that looks set to be a LOT of tasty fun. Held over three days in lovely, leafy Exhibition Park, the festival will focus on local chefs and produce, with a range of street food stalls, bars, a market place and live demonstrations by some great chefs. There’s also a full live music programme, entertainment for the kids and more, and it’s all raising money for MIND Tyneside & Northumberland, so you’re helping a great cause AND making your tummy happy!

4th-6th May, from £9.95 (adults) / from £5.95 (kids) / under 5s free

The Lit & Phil Open Day The Lit & Phil Open Day

Lit & Phil Open Day @ The Lit & Phil

The Lit & Phil is one of the most significant and fascinating buildings in a city that’s full of significant and fascinating buildings! Their annual Open Days were always a great way to learn about what happens there, and to enjoy some events within its book-lined walls, but they stopped for the pandemic. We’re happy to announce that they’re back for the Bank Holiday weekend with a range of events that might tempt you through the doors, although a few are already full (we recommend keeping an eye on the website for new availability or events). There’s a Whistle-Stop tour of the building and its collections, A Ghostly Lit & Phil tour exploring the building’s notorious history of hauntings and things that go bump in the night, and a free afternoon concert with Alison Gill, who will be performing some spring-themed music from Rachmaninov, Grieg and Wild.

4th May, check website for prices and availability

Miss Rory Miss Rory

TWENTY: Celebrating 20 Years of Miss Rory @ Tyne Theatre & Opera House

The magnificent Miss Rory has reigned over the cabaret bar scene in Newcastle for two decades now, a veritable Tyneside institution. And she’s celebrating this landmark date with a special celebratory show at Tyne Theatre & Opera House, naturally titled TWENTY. Never happier than when celebrating herself, she wants everyone to join in and has devised a brand new show – full of satire and sarcasm and pure showbiz – to tempt you all along. A supreme entertainer, an evening with Miss Rory is guaranteed to be a glorious spectacle.

18th May, from £19

The Late Shows The Late Shows

The Late Shows @ Various Venues

Anyone with even a vague interest in the artistic and cultural life of the city looks forward to the Late Shows, a two-evening celebration of Newcastle’s incredible creativity and community. The focus is on venues in Ouseburn on Friday and Gateshead and Newcastle city centre on the Saturday, with everywhere from galleries to printworks, arts centres and historic venues throwing open their doors to invite you in to some special events. You can make something crafty, enjoy circus and dance performances, play laser tag in a museum and so much more. Clear your schedule, get your walking boots on a prepare for a really thrilling two days.

17th-18th May, free

Slice Wars Slice Wars

Slice Wars: A New Hope @ Wylam Brewery 

Surely everybody has a favourite Food Battle? Is it the OG Battle Of The Burgers? Or maybe the Mexican Standoff? We think Slice Wars might score pretty highly, and we’re delighted it’s back for the May Day bank holiday weekend. Admission to Slice Wars: A New Hope at Wylam Brewery is free (though you'll need to buy some tokens to chow down on the food) and there’s going to be an array of dough-slingers serving up their best pies for you to judge. There’ll also be fine drinks, DJs and the rest.

3rd-4th May, free admission

Turner: Art, Industry & Nostalgia Turner: Art, Industry & Nostalgia

Turner: Art, Industry & Nostalgia @ Laing Art Gallery 

The Laing Art Gallery is being loaned one of JMW Turner’s greatest works – The Fighting Temeraire – and is using it as the centrepiece of their remarkable Art, Industry & Nostalgia exhibition, which will run until early September. There’ll be another 20 paintings by Turner on display alongside an exploration of his life and work, ,as well as other works by the likes of Tacita Dean, Chris Killip, Lowry and Whistler, all with a focus on the rise of steam power and industry in Britain.

10th May-7th September, ticket prices vary / under 21s get free entry

Liam Fender Liam Fender

Liam Fender with The Voices of Virtue Gospel Choir @ Boiler Shop 

Initially known as Sam Fender’s brother, Liam Fender is now making a big name for himself as a singer-songwriter in his own right, and for this special event – a FUSE project – Liam and his seven-piece band are collaborating with the wonderful Voices Of Virtue Gospel Choir, who are a well-loved North East gospel outfit. With Liam’s songs and the choir’s rich harmonies working in unison, this should be a very special evening.

17th May, £19.25

Science Speakeasy: Fake or Fact? Science Speakeasy: Fake or Fact?

Science Speakeasy: Fake or Fact? @ Life Science Centre 

AI is clearly becoming one of the most pressing issues facing the modern world – is it a cause for concern, a force for good or a bit of both? This latest edition of the Life Science Centre’s Science Speakeasies takes a deep dive into AI, deepfakes and its impact on our lives. A panel of experts examines the consequences and repercussions of AI and what it means for notions of truth and reality. This is an 18+ event.

16th May, £10

An Officer & A Gentlemen An Officer & A Gentlemen

An Officer & A Gentleman @ Theatre Royal

An Officer & A Gentleman is among the most beloved eighties rom-coms, a moving and lavish movie with Richard Gere, Debra Winger and THAT soundtrack. And now it’s a smash hit musical that works in a stunning selection of eighties bangers from the likes of Cyndi Lauper and Blondie to tell the story (it also includes (Love Lift Us) Up Where We Belong because of course it does). So if a troubled bad boy and his new love coming together in the most romantic manner possible is your idea of a great night, you really don’t want to miss this.

13th-18th May, from £15

Even by the standards of this endlessly exciting city, this May is looking like a brilliant, busy one. From pizza to printmaking, musicals to technology, Whitney to Cyndi, there’s a host of exciting events in Newcastle to add to your calendars!

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