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What’s on in Yorkshire during December

PUBLISHED: 18:56 26 November 2017 | UPDATED: 18:56 26 November 2017

Hull Portrait of a City Exhibition Photo Martin Parr

Hull Portrait of a City Exhibition Photo Martin Parr

©Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

Entertainment and events around the county chosen for you by Tony Greenway


Until December 31st

Hull, Portrait of a City

It’s been quite a year for Hull. Which, yes, is something of an understatement, isn’t it?

In the run-up to 2017 there was a bit (well, a lot) of sniping from the sidelines: ‘Hull? City of culture? Does it have any?’ That kind of thing. But then the city of culture programme was announced (it’s been a spectacular, innovative and entertaining 12 months), the visitor numbers came in (they were on the high side) and the sniping stopped.

So where are we now? Has Hull managed to redefine itself? Maybe it’s too early to say definitively but the city has undeniably generated a sizeable national profile – and busted lots of myths about itself – over the last 12 months. There’s also a lot of redevelopment going on in the centre which owes much to its city of culture status. The trick now will be to keep that excitement going and develop a lasting legacy that builds on Hull’s dynamic 2017 success.

So here’s one last city of culture show for you: a striking photography exhibition – which closes, of course, at the end of December – at the Humber Street Gallery in the Fruit Market. International photography co-operative Magnum Photos commissioned leading Brit photographers Martin Parr and Olivia Arthur to explore the culture and creativity of Hull. ‘How might we define Hull?’ asks the show’s blurb. ‘How has culture changed our landscape and regenerated our city? What impact has it had on everything from economy to civic pride?’ It’s a good question — and an apt one to ask as we end the year.

Humber Street Gallery 01482 323484




December 7th-31st

A (Scarborough) Christmas carol

I bet Charles Dickens didn’t envisage his classic Christmas tale turning out like this, because in this production Scrooge is ‘guided on a journey of learning by three spirits, a time worm and a woman with a nut for a head’. A child-friendly (ages six and up), fun, interactive, musical re-telling from the team that brought you Pinocchio. You have been warned.

Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

01723 370541 sjt.uk.com


December 8th–January 20th

The Wizard of Oz

We’re not in Kansas anymore, that’s for sure. When Robert Hastie took over as artistic director of Sheffield Theatres, I expected him to keep us on our toes and that’s exactly what he’s been doing. Since landing in Sheffield he’s directed a Shakespeare (Julius Caesar) and a dark comedy (Of Kith and Kin). Now he clicks his heels together and serves up a frothily extravagant musical based on the L Frank Baum classic.

The Crucible, Sheffield

0114 249 6000




December 13th-February 3rd 2018

Jack and the Beanstalk

The UK’s longest-serving dame Berwick Kaler is reunited with regular sidekick Martin Barrass and other panto favourites in Jack and the Beanstalk at York Theatre Royal this Christmas. The traditional family panto sees the return of Martin, who has played the dame’s on-stage ‘son’ for more than 30 years but was missing from last year’s Cinderella line-up after being seriously injured in a road traffic accident.

York Theatre Royal 01904 623568



December 7th-31st

Peter Pan

Darren Day, Brendan Sheerin, Charlie Hardwick, Jonny Labey, Sid Sloane and Ricky K lead the cast in Peter Pan, the high-flying pantomime adventure, with spectacular high-flying effects, an underwater 3D sequence plus all of the ingredients of a traditional family pantomime.

Hull New Theatre & Hull City Hall

01482 300306



December 8th-January 7th 2018

Mother Goose

This year’s fun-filled, family pantomime stars something of a Sheffield legend, Damian Williams who celebrates his 10th year at the Lyceum. The show also stars Jake Canuso (Mateo from ITV’s Benidorm) and children’s favourite Andy Day (CBeebies’ Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures).

Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield

0114 249 6000



November 29th-January 21st 2018

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

A major new adaptation of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe with one of British theatre’s leading directors, Olivier award-nominee Sally Cookson. The production, based on the novel by CS Lewis, is the spellbinding tale of four wartime evacuees who discover the enchanted kingdom of Narnia, which can only be reached through a mystical wardrobe.

The Quarry Theatre,

West Yorkshire Playhouse Leeds

0113 213 7700 wyp.org.uk


November 25th-December 30th

Crumble’s Search for Christmas

This brand new production stars Crumble, a feathery, furry creature who, instead of hibernating at Christmas time, braves the great freeze to embark on a wintry adventure, making unforgettable new friends along the way. This magical story is perfect for two-six-year-olds, and their grown-ups.

Courtyard Theatre,

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

0113 213 7700 wyp.org.uk


December 15th – January 7th, 2018

Beauty and the Beast

This classic magical story features a Handsome Prince, a Beautiful Girl, a Fearful Beast and a very Wicked Witch, heroic deeds, abundant adventure, true love, crazy comedy, glittering costumes, mayhem and make-believe, plus dazzling special effects.

Grand Opera House York

0844 871 3024



December 16th-January 28th 2018


Starring Bradford panto favourite Billy Pearce, singer and Loose Women panellist Coleen Nolan and stage star Shane Nolan. Join Cinders as she transforms from rags to riches, outwits her very Ugly Sisters, and, with the help of her best friend Buttons and one very magical Fairy Godmother, wins the heart of the dashing Prince Charming.

Alhambra, Bradford 01274 432000




December 2nd

A Christmas Festival

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. But does it feel like it yet? Well, it should do after you’ve been to the 13th annual Christmas concert bash from the Halifax Concert Band.

Square Chapel, Halifax

01422 349422



December 9th & 10th

York Ice Trail

Quick, before they melt. Dotted around York city centre are more than 40 quirky ice sculptures – so see if you can find them all, and then get some mulled wine and Christmassy food from the stalls at the St Nicholas Fair market.

City centre, York visityork.org


December 13th

An Evening with John Godber

This Yorkshire-born former schoolteacher is – it’s official – one of the most performed playwrights in the English language: Bouncers, Teechers, April in Paris, Lucky Sods, Up ‘n’ Under, Perfect Pitch, On the Piste...I could go on (and on) because, frankly, Godber has. In all, he’s written more than 50 plays. Not that John swallows this ‘most popular playwright’ stuff that’s trotted out from time to time. (You know: like I just have.) ‘I never believe what I read,’ he told me once – although I’m sure that maxim doesn’t apply to Yorkshire Life. ‘Also, there’s a bloke in Scarborough who’s written more than me. There used to be a bloke in Stratford who went to London who wrote more than me. My plays are popular, but I never think about how many trophies I’ve got in the trophy cupboard. I’m more likely to think about what I’m going to do tomorrow. It’s a bit like sport. I’m only as good as what I do today.’

After 26 years at the Hull Truck Theatre, Godber shipped out and over to Wakefield where he formed a partnership with the Theatre Royal Wakefield and set up The John Godber Company. Now he’s back in East Yorkshire at the brilliant Pocklington Arts Centre, to talk about his life and career.

The Pocklington Arts Centre 01759 301547



December 14th & 15th

Christmas Carol Concert

No festive season is complete without a Christmas carol sing-song at York Minster – an event so popular they have to do it twice, just to meet ticket demand. York Minster Choir performs a mix of Christmas music classics, with the Yorkshire Volunteers Band leading the congregation.

York Minster 01904 623568 yorkminster.org


December 30th

The Snowman with Live Orchestra

If you go to this event expecting the recent Michael Fassbender serial killer chiller thriller of the same name, you’re going to be massively disappointed. Instead, you’ll get the classic Christmas film – about a flying snowman who befriends a little boy – with a live orchestra playing Howard Blake’s dreamy soundtrack, which includes the soprano song, Walking in the Air. Other Snowman screenings this month can be seen at Huddersfield Town Hall (December 12th) and Leeds Town Hall (December 17th), with the Orchestra of Opera North providing the music. I’m getting all Christmassy just thinking about it.

Hull City Hall 01482 300306




December 5th-17th

The Little Mermaid

The Hans Christian Andersen tale choreographed by the legendary David Nixon and performed by Northern Ballet. The score is by Sally Beamish, played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia.

Leeds Grand Theatre 0844 848 2720




December 1st

Ricky Gervais: Humanity

Ricky Gervais is never knowingly undersold. The blurb for his latest show describes him as ‘one of the most influential British comedians since Charlie Chaplin’ which is a) aiming high and b) going back a bit. But, to be fair, Gervais’ 2007 comedy tour Fame was the fastest-selling in UK history. This is his first stand-up show for seven years.

First Direct Arena 0844 248 1585




December 29th

Orchestra of Opera North: Viennese Whirl

You can’t beat a winter wonderland waltz or a post-turkey polka, can you? The Orchestra of Opera North takes a traditional trip through Austria-Hungary with Justin Brown wielding the baton; also appearing at Huddersfield Town Hall on December 30th and Leeds Town Hall on December 31st.

Hull City Hall 0844 848 2720 operanorth.co.uk



December 9th


The Seventies glam-rockers from Wolverhampton ride again – minus Noddy Holder on vocals – to rip through their back catalogue. You might have trouble remembering some of their non-seasonal songs if truth be told, but they include Coz I Love You, Cum on Feel the Noize, Skweeze Me Pleeze Me, and Mama Weer All Crazee Now (Slade never were much cop at spelling). Will they play their biggest hit, Merry Christmas Everybody? Well, it’s Slade and it’s December, what do you think? They also appear at the Sheffield Foundry on December 8th and Hull Welly on December 23rd.

Warehouse 23, Wakefield 01924 200162



December 3rd

Roland Gift

The Hull-raised former Fine Young Cannibal is also (lest we forget) an occasional actor: he’s had roles in Scandal, Sammie and Rosie Get Laid, Tin Men and... er... Heartbeat. Recently he’s been busy working on a play with music called Return to Vegas but here he takes to the stage to dust off some old Cannibal hits, including Good Thing and She Drives Me Crazy; also at the Hull Welly on December 2nd.

Warehouse 23, Wakefield 01924 200162



December 3rd

Liam Gallagher

Since Oasis split in 2009 (the cause was rumoured to be flying fruit in the dressing room), Liam’s big brother, Noel, has been hogging the musical limelight with his High Flying Birds solo project. Liam, meanwhile, spent a lot of time not getting very far with a forgettable sub-Oasis line-up called Beady Eye. Sensibly, he called time on Beady Eye back in 2014 and has now stepped out as a solo artist. The trouble is, while Liam provided the distinctive nasal sound of Oasis, Noel was the one who was blessed with the hit-writing talent. Wasn’t he? Well, yes, but sweary Liam has crafted some choice songs on his first album, As You Were, which went straight to number one in the charts in October outselling the rest of the Top 10 combined. That’s more like it, our kid.

First Direct Arena 0844 248 1585



December 6th

Queen + Adam Lambert

Who would have thought it? Queen are still going strong with Pop Idol runner-up Adam Lambert doing his best to fill the gaping chasm left by Freddie. No doubt about it, they will, they will rock you; also at Sheffield Arena on December 8th.

First Direct Arena 0844 248 1585



December 4th

Steeleye Span in Concert

The folk rockers are nearly 49 years old and still going strong, with some new additions to the line-up and original singer Maddy Prior back on vocals. Expect All Around My Hat (of course) and, this being Christmas, Gaudete.

The Alhambra, Bradford 01274 432000



December 21st

Shed Seven

The York superstars round off their 2017 tour with dates in Sheffield (9th), Leeds (18th & 19th) and Hull, where they’ll be playing tracks from their new album, Instant Pleasures – their first for 16 years.

Hull City Hall 01482 300306 hulltheatres.co.uk

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