Welcome to Leeds December 2022
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a panto would it? With regular shows until 8 Jan, Dick Whittington is on at City Varieties. This classic tale has been given the Rock ‘n’ Roll treatment for 2022. You’ll be wowed by this breath-taking production which mixes traditional elements of audience participation and corny gags with a jukebox full of classic rock anthems and chart-toppers, all performed live on stage by an ultra-talented cast of actor-musicians. This rock ’n’ roll panto contains loud music, smoke effects, flashing lights and possibly a few squirts too, plus loud bangs from the explosive action on-stage. If you’re after something a little more traditional, why not bring the family to see Cinderella at Carriageworks Theatre where everyone is invited to the ball!
‘Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew, cover it with chocolate and a miracle or two?’ Roald Dahl’s devilishly delicious tale of young golden ticket winner Charlie Bucket and wild confectionary wizard Willy Wonka will take you to a world of pure imagination at Leeds Playhouse until 28 Jan. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory – The Musical features memorable songs from the iconic 1970s film as well as a host of sensational new tastebud-tickling toe-tappers. Take a journey choc-full of fantastical treats to dazzle your senses for a festive family adventure more satisfying than a Whipple-Scrumptious Fudge Mallow Delight. Don’t miss out, grab your GOLDEN Ticket now!
On 20 Dec Northern Ballet is performing The Nutcracker at The Grand. Share in Clara’s adventures as she is swept away by her Nutcracker Prince into an enchanting winter wonderland. Don’t miss dazzling dancing snowflakes, the famous Sugar Plum Fairy and the notorious Mouse King in the ultimate festive entertainment. Performed to Tchaikovsky’s enduring score, played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia, The Nutcracker awakens childlike imagination in us all. Book now.
Did you hear that Father Christmas has had an accident? His first-aid kit has fallen off his sleigh and everything inside is missing! Thankfully, families who visit the Thackray Museum 3 – 23 Dec can help to keep him safe and well on his journey around the world. Collect ingredients for Father Christmas whilst you make your way around the museum, stopping along the way for some winter crafting and photographs on their very own Thackray sleigh. Then meet the man himself under the twinkly lights of the Apothecary Shop for some festive stories and a special gift to take home. Each 90 min session includes an activity trail around the museum, festive crafts, an audience with Father Christmas plus a gift for each child. Spaces are limited. Book here. On 10 Dec, Leeds Central Library is holding a Saturday Family Film Club: Movies from the Bookshelves. Stories spring from the page onto the screen at their regular film club where they have selected best-loved books that have been adapted as movies for a family audience.
Leeds First Direct Arena
How about a big arena show for your Christmas fun? The First Direct Arena has got a brilliant line up for December, starting with Trixie and Katya Live on 3 Dec. Drag’s dynamic drag duo are on the road together in Europe for the first time ever! Watch them deliver unparalleled feats of theatrical eroticism and hilarious ingenuity right before your very eyes. It’s sure to be UNHhhhlike anything you’ve ever witnessed. On 6 Dec, The Cure will be joined by special guests The Twilight Sad as part of their European tour. Blue and Bewitched (7 Dec), Rod Stewart (13 Dec) have got your pop and soft rock bases covered. Alternatively, if you prefer more of a big band sound, Jules Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra are playing on 13 Dec .
Alternative Music Venues
Speaking of alternative music, non-stop party band Bad Manners are playing at The Brudenell on 3 Dec. Lace up your boots, pull up your braces and get ready to party with Buster and the boys. You won’t forget it! Formed in 1976 in Stoke Newington, London, Bad Manners went on to become Ska legends and a much loved 1980s pop band. Limited tickets available. On 17 Dec, Leeds Punk Rock Xmas will be there for its ninth year featuring GBH, Dirt Box Disco, Geoffrey Oi!Cott, Knock Off, Litterbug, The Samples, Kicked In The Teeth, The Kingcrows. Tickets here. Leeds favourite Mik Artistic’s Ego Trip who are proving to be one of the most interesting, unpredictable, and exciting acts on the circuit will be just the tonic on 23 Dec. BBC 6 Music Presenter Shaun Keaveny described them as “As mad as a wasp trapped under a pint glass.” Get your tickets while you can. On 18 Dec, Awake Arise will be at The Howard Assembly Room bringing “some of the most exquisite, thrilling vocal harmony work in the English folk scene” (The Guardian). Featuring traditional songs, folk carols, spoken word and newly written music, five of the folk scene’s most inventive artists celebrate our varied winter traditions and reflect on the hope and joy music can bring to us in the darkest season. Limited tickets available.
On 10 Dec, Josh Warrington will return to the first direct arena to defend his IBF World Featherweight title against Luis Alberto Lopez in what promises to be another memorable event at the Leeds boxer’s hometown venue. Leeds Ice Hockey team Leeds Knights are top of the league at the moment and have four home games before the end of the year. Head along to Planet Ice at Elland Rd to see them play Peterborough Phantoms on 10 Dec who are only three points behind.
The Winter Village at Chow Down is kicking off their month of festivities with a belter weekend. On Fri 2 Dec, Bingo Lingo returns to bring you more fun than you can shake your bingo balls at. An interactive experience for warehouse ravers, festival goers & that involves crowd participation and strong, character-led bingo hosts. Tickets here. On 3 Dec you can bring your pooches with you for the Dog Social and that evening, Mister Good Times himself, Norman Jay MBE will be spinning the decks. Get your tickets for a legendary night of tunes and good vibes. If a Sunday Funday is more your thing, why not go along to a Santa’s Breakfast where you can meet the man in person as you enjoy some incredible Christmas food. Get cosy in the Christmas tipis and unwrap your special gift from Santa. On 11 Dec, New Freedom Gospel will be there with their soulful and versatile repertoire.
We love having a mooch at the Christmas Market at The Corn Exchange. Good atmosphere, tasty food traders, delicious festive tipples and great live music – what more could you want? Every Saturday in December, they are hosting a series of exclusive Gin Masterclasses in the experience room. 3 Dec is John Roberts Botanic Request – an exceptional gin for exceptional people and on 10 and 17 Dec is Wolfe Bros Gin. Each masterclass is hosted by an expert from the company and includes all drinks samples. Spaces are limited so book your tickets in advance. For those who still have any energy left after 25 Dec or just need a bit of a Boxing Day blowout, Knee Deep is returning to Mint Warehouse for its annual get together with Hot Since 82, Wheats, Sorley and Bass Jamz! As per every year, this event will sell out! Get your tickets while you can.
The Grand has got some big comedy chops this month with two shows from Kevin Bridges on 12 & 15 Dec and Dara O’Briain on 16 Dec. Bridges’ new show The Overdue Catch-Up welcomes audiences into the mind of one of the sharpest comedy talents the UK has to offer. With a career spanning 18 years. Kevin Bridges already has the life experience of a man twice his age, helping him to hit the nail on the head with his shrewd outlook on the modern world. Don’t miss the chance to catch one of the most astute observational comedians around today at the top of his game. Dara Ó Briain is also back with a brand new show! Dara has promised to hardly mention the last year and a half (because, Jesus, who wants to hear about that) but will instead fire out the usual mix of stories, one-liners, and audience messing we know and love him for. Tickets for both comedians are limited. Book here. On 18 Dec, you’d better get ready folks because Desi Central Comedy Club will be returning to The Wardrobe with another hilarious line up. Round up your friends and family for an uplifting night of laughter with this infamous tour! Acts include Tommy Sandhu (BBC, Brownload), Kane Brown (BBC, 1Xtra, Amazon Prime), Firuz Ozari (Leicester Mercury Comedian Of The Year 2022) and Eshaan Akbar (BBC, Mock The Week). This is guaranteed to be a night full of hilarity with some kick ass comics. So leave your worries at the door & enter the world of Desi Central for a night you won’t forget. Book up now because we want you to always be kushi & never gham!