What better way to start the New Year than by booking lots of fun things to do. Although I’ll struggle to get out as much as I used to now Baby Preston is here, I still hope to be able to go to a few cool Leeds events.

I received the January – August 2018 guide of what’s on at Leeds Town Hall a couple of days ago and have mentally highlighted a number of performances I’d like to go to.

I’ve been to concerts, comedy shows, film screenings and talks at the Town Hall before; the Victorian Grade I listed building is a lovely venue for them all. There are rows of seats at floor level in front of the raised stage and impressive pipe organ, and then gallery seats and a few box seats above. Just a short walk from the train station and with lots of good restaurants and bars very close by, it’s in a handy location.

In addition to the annual international piano competition, film festival and beer festival, the Town Hall hosts loads of different events throughout the year. From classical orchestral performances and short films to stand-up comedians and world music, there is an impressive variety of shows on over the next few months.

Here are the events I’d like to go to if I had unlimited time and money. There are plenty of other performances to suit different tastes:

  • Jason Manford – 24 January: I’ve seen a few comedians at the Town Hall, the most recent being Sarah Millican, who was brilliant. I’ve not really watched much of Jason Manford recently but used to enjoy his sets on Live at the Apollo and would hope that he’s still very funny.
  • From Hollywood with Love – 4 February: The Orchestra of Opera North will be performing film scores including music from Gone with the Wind, The Godfather and Star Wars. I went to The Orchestra of Opera North’s concert last year where they performed well-known songs from musicals and it was excellent. The vocal soloists were really good and the orchestra played all the classics.
  • The Magic of Motown – 16 February and 14 March: The description for this reads “prepare yourself for back-to-back classic hits, glittering costume changes, dazzling dance moves and outstanding musicianship in this explosive concert experience”. Sounds good to me!
  • Sister Act: Live Choir – 3 March: I absolutely looooved this film as a kid and would sing along loudly. In this live performance, the film will be shown on stage and a 35 piece gospel choir and band will be singing the songs as they appear in the movie. I went to see Opera North perform the score from Back to the Future last year alongside the film and it was a really fun experience.
  • Russian State Philharmonic Orchestra – 10 March: I love big, sweeping, dramatic, romantic orchestral pieces so expect the Russian State Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance of Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev movements to be pretty emotive.
  • No Such Thing as a Fish – 11 March: I regularly listen to this weekly podcast and enjoy it, so would be interested to see a live recording. I’ve been to a couple of live recordings of the Guilty Feminist podcast before and enjoyed being in the audience for them.
  • Black Dyke Brass Festival 2018 – 3 June: You can’t beat a good brass band and these guys are known to be the cream of the crop.
  • Clare Teal and her Big Mini Big Band – 30 June: According to the blurb, the performance will include “intimate ballads, roaring blues, sophisticated swing and fiery Latin tunes.” I played in a Big Band at school and university and love that style of music. It sounds like a good concert to top off my wish list of events at the Town Hall this season.

You can view the full brochure online. There are plenty of other interesting sounding performances in the guide – I’m sure you’ll find something you like!