If you’re looking for some ideas on what to do, we’ve rounded up 10 of the top shows and events.
1. Miss Crispy, Customs House, South Shields, February 7
Miss Crispy is at Customs House, South Shields, on Friday, February 7 at 7.30pm. Miss Crispy 1988 is based on a series of interviews with women who worked in the KP Foods
Factory in Billingham, although the characters and storyline is fictional. There was, however, a Miss KP Foods in 1988, whose picture inspired the play. The cast features a wealth of north east talent, including Melanie Dagg, Natasha Haws, Olivia Walker, Rachel Teate, Lucie Walker and Elijah Young. Natasha is well known to audiences at The Customs House, having previously appeared in The Dolly Mixtures and in panto. She said: “Miss Crispy 1988 is the story of five women (and one man) working in the KP
factory in Billingham fighting for the Miss Crispy 1988 crown. Along the way we find out their stories and that there’s a lot more to winning the title then a tiara and having your face on the back of a bus."
2. Gin to my Tonic festival, Hartlepool, February 8
The Gin To My Tonic Festival is heading to Hartlepool Borough Hall on February 8, with two session times: 1pm to 5pm and 7pm to 11pm, and will feature more than 100 gins from across the UK and beyond. A spokeswoman from the festival said: “Each gin stocked behind our bars has been selected based on outstanding craftmanship, delightful flavor and the most enjoyable drinking experiences. What’s more, we believe gin should be served correctly which is why we offer 35ml serves (as opposed to the average 25ml) as standard.” The festival will take place on Saturday, February 8 and will feature a range of flavours such as passionfruit, peach, pineapple, violet and watermelon, as well as a host of mixer options and limited edition gin flavours such as apple and elderflower gin and yuzu and schezuan pepper gin. Tickets are £14.50 per person and include a gin explorer guide, a gin glass and a tote bag and pen.
3. Guy the Musical, February 6 and 8, Washington and Hartlepool
The award-winning modern-day gay love story, Guy The Musical, is touring the North East. The musical shares the story of a fat, gay, nerdy man looking for love. Combining electronic, pop and musical theatre, Guy is Queer As Folk meets Bridget Jones with a catfishing musical twist. The award-winning musical gives you 12 heart-pounding electronic pop anthems and witty, heartfelt story about modern dating through a diverse cross-section of gay men. It will be at Arts Centre Washington on February 6 and Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre on February 8.
4. Received Wisdom, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, until May 10
A new exhibition opened at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens this week. Running until May 10, Received Wisdom features pieces by Lubaina Himid - a pioneer of the Black Arts movement in the 1980s who was awarded the famous Turner Prize in 2017 – alongside work by artists including Amikam Toren, Phyllida Barlow, John Sheehy, Elisabeth Vellacott and more. The major contemporary British art exhibition is the first in a three-year partnership with the acclaimed Arts Council Collection after Sunderland was chosen as one of just three places nationwide to be part of the Collection’s National Partnership Programme. Received Wisdom aims to celebrate older artists: Those who have enjoyed long careers and those who discovered their creativity later in life.