From major art exhibitions to film festivals, theatre premieres and rare concert performances, Sarah Freeman takes a look at Yorkshire’s cultural highlights over the next six months.
Revival of John Godber’s award-winning parody of Saturday Night Fever! Lucky Eric, Judd, Les and Ralph are the original men in black as they tell the tale of one fateful night in a Yorkshire disco in the 80s. Wakefield Theatre Royal, January 23 to February 1.
The Labours of Herakles
Exhibition exploring one of the classical world’s most famous heroes through the lithographs and etchings of New Zealand artist Marian Maguire. Also on display will be some of Leeds’s collection of Maori objects, as well as ancient Greek and Roman representations of Herakles. Leeds City Museum, January 23 to March 15.
To Kill a Mockingbird
New production of the classic tale of racial injustice in America’s Deep South from London’s award-winning Regent’s Park Theatre. Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is as relevant today as it ever was as lawyer Atticus Finch and his daughter, Scout, seek truth and hope in a community in turmoil. Lyceum, Sheffield, January 26 to 31; West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, March 24 to April 4.
Sarah Kane Season
Sarah Kane was just 28 years old when she committed suicide in 1999. While her life was short, her impact on the world of theatre continues. As part of the season, there will be full stage productions of Blasted, Crave and 4.48 Psychosis as well as readings of a number of her other works. Sheffield Theatres, February 4 to March 20.
The UK’s first major study of work by the Greek-American artist and feminist icon Lynda Benglis. Born in 1941 in Louisiana, she was heralded as the “heir to Pollock” by Life magazine in 1970 and the showcase will featuring around 50 works spanning the entirety of her career to date. The Hepworth Wakefield, February 6 to July 5.
The Absence of War
New production of David Hare’s stinging political drama. George Jones is the charismatic leader of the Labour Party, but plagued by a hostile media and beset by divisions in his party, he has just three weeks to convince the Great British Public to vote him into Number 10. Sheffield Crucible, February 6 to 21.
Following numerous highly acclaimed productions that include Sweeney Todd and Sunset Boulevard, The Watermill Theatre returns with a new production of the classic musical Calamity Jane. Starring Jodie Prenger in the title role belting out a score that includes The Black Hills of Dakota, The Deadwood Stage (Whip-Crack-Away) and Secret Love. Grand Opera House, York, February 10 to 14.
This year’s mixed programme features a double bill by Christopher Bruce CBE. One of the most influential figures in the world of dance, the event includes a brand new work, Shadows, created especially for the Leeds-based company and a restaging of his earlier study of life in the 1940s, Shift. West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, February 11 to 14.
Jeeves and Wooster
Robert Webb (Peep Show, That Mitchell and Webb Look) plays the aristocratic fool Bertie Wooster in this new production of PGWodehouse’s double act. Also starring Jason Thorpe as Jeeves and Christopher Ryan (The Young Ones) as Seppings. Lyceum, Sheffield, February 16 to 21; Harrogate Theatre, February 23 to 28.
Ilkley Film Festival
After its launch in 2014, the festival returns for its second year. As well as the opening of a brand new 100-seat cinema, highlights include a preview screening of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, starring film festival patron Dame Judi Dench. Various venues, February 18 to 22.
First major revival of Matthew Bourne’s dance production of Edward Scissorhands. First premiered in 2005, it has already won a legion of fans and this new take on the story promises to add even more depth to the dark fairytale. Alhambra, Bradford, February 24 to 28.
Sir Jonathan Miller directs the cast of Northern Broadsides in Shakespeare’s tragedy. This is Miller’s second collaboration with the company and with a keen eye for the subtleties of human behaviour and a sharp focus on the emotional power of the story, be prepared for a “Lear” stripped back to its heart and soul. The Viaduct, Halifax, February 27 to March 7; Hull Truck, March 10 to 13.
Mark Rosenblatt brings Chekhov’s masterpiece of love, bitter jealousy and a totally dysfunctional family stuck deep in rural Russia to the Quarry stage for the first time. A vibrant new version by playwright Samuel Adamson breathes new life into the tale of Uncle Vanya. West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, February 28 to March 21.
Romeo and Juliet
Northern Ballet brings Jean-Christophe Maillot’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers to Leeds. Set to Prokofiev’s unforgettable score, played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia, it’s a performance which captures the essence of what it means to be young and in love. Grand Theatre, Leeds, March 4 to 12.
Henry Moore: Back to a Land
This major exhibition, in collaboration with The Henry Moore Foundation, takes a fresh look at Moore’s work by considering his profound relationship with the land, which was fundamental to his practice and fuelled his imagination. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, near Wakefield, March 7 to September 6.
Playing for Time
Marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Sheffield Theatres stage Arthur Miller’s play based on the memoir of cabaret singer Fania Fénelon. Arrested by the Nazis and transported to a death camp, there she finds one small glimmer of hope: an orchestra of women prisoners kept alive to make music for their captors. Sheffield Crucible, March 12 to April 4.
With an original score by celebrated composer Claude-Michel Schönberg, known for his West End and Broadway hits Les Misérables and Miss Saigon, Northern Ballet brings Emily Brontë’s romantic and emotionally-charged masterpiece to life on stage. Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield, March 18 to 21.
York Literature Festival
Politics, history, football and feminism will be discussed at this year’s York Literature Festival by headlining speakers including Dr David Starkey, Jenni Murray, Polly Toynbee and Helen Lederer. Various venues, March 19 to 29.
Drawn by the Light: Royal Photographic Society Collection.
From serene landscapes to haunting portraits, this exhibition brings together more than 200 highlights from the collection of the world’s oldest surviving photographic society. National Media Museum, Bradford, March 20 to June 21.
Rare live arena appearance from the former Smiths frontman. Often described as the most distinctive pop lyricist of his era, he will be performing tracks from his extensive back catalogue and his latest album World Peace Is None Of Your Business. First Direct Arena, Leeds, March 20.
Age of Glamour
The exhibition of women’s fashions from the Fifties will showcase a major loan from the V&A, alongside pieces from renowned designers, Balenciaga, Norman Hartnell and British designer labels such as Frank Usher, Susan Small and Horrockses. Lotherton Hall, near Leeds, March 20 to December 31.
While he was pushed into the shadows for a while, the success of BBC2’s Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle proved there was a television audience for intelligent stand-up. With the next series in the offing, he’s back on the road with a new live show. Leeds Town Hall, March 20; Hull City Hall, May 12; Royal Hall, Harrogate, May 13; Scarborough Spa, May 15.
Catfish and the Bottlemen
One of 2014’s most successful breakthrough acts, the Llandudno four-piece begin the new year touring their debut album, The Balcony. The culmination of six years of hard work, the indie band look set for big things this year. O2 Academy Leeds, March 23.
Twelve Angry Men
Following its record-breaking run at London’s Garrick Theatre, Twelve Angry Men goes out on tour this year. Tom Conti stars as juror number 8 (the role made famous by Henry Fonda) as the 12 decide the fate of a young delinquent accused of killing his father. Grand Theatre Leeds, April 6 to 11; Grand Theatre York, April 13 to 18.
A Greater Freedom
Complementing this year’s major Tate Britain focus on Barbara Hepworth, this exhibition will showcase work from the last 10 years of her life, from 1965 to 1975 when she made as many works as between 1925 and 1960. The Hepworth Wakefield, April 25 to April 2016.
The company’s mixed programme includes a staging of The Architect which was first performed last year. Taking its inspiration from the story of Adam and Eve, the piece is Kenneth Tindall’s third commission for Northern Ballet and cemented his reputation as one of the dance world’s most exciting choreographers. Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre, Leeds, May 6 to 9.
Performed in the round, Olivier-nominated director Ellen McDougall makes her Playhouse and Royal Exchange Theatre debut with this stripped-back and contemporary version of Tolstoy’s masterpiece of two turbulent love stories set against the epic backdrop of Imperial Russia. West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, May 9 to June 13.
Pride and Prejudice
New production of the Jane Austen classic. Elizabeth Bennet is quick-witted, intelligent and idealistic and in a society bound by class and wealth, she longs to break free from expectation and marry for love, not for financial convenience. Sheffield Crucible, May 14 to June 6.
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice
James Brining directs Jim Cartwright’s Olivier Award-winning comedy about Little Voice, who spends days alone in the bedroom of a northern terrace finding escape in the records of Judy Garland, Billie Holiday and Marilyn Monroe that were left behind after the death of her father. West Yorkshire Playhouse, June 4 to July 5.
The multiple Grammy Award-winning singer and legendary performer Bette Midler returns to the UK stage for the first time in 35 years. The Divine Miss M – the title of her 1972 debut album – has racked up sales of 30m since her last visit, so expect a spectacular show. First Direct Arena, Leeds, to July 15.
First major exhibition of work by the seminal British artist Anthony Caro since his death in 2013. Recognised internationally as one of the country’s most significant artists, the show will see the premiere of several of Caro’s Last Sculptures. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, near Wakefield, July 17 to November 1.
Grammy award-winning rock and pop singer/songwriter and rock and roll hall of fame member, Neil Diamond will be bringing his highly anticipated 2015 tour to Yorkshire in the summer. The show will feature songs from his newest studio album Melody Road, as well as many classic favourites. First Direct Arena, Leeds, July 21.