With 2016 fast approaching, it’s time to get excited about all the new year has in store for us. We’ll spend the build up to New Year’s Eve picking out some of the cultural highlights for you, so you can start scribbling dates and gigs into that new diary you got for Christmas.
As we’re always in need of a good laugh, we’re starting with comedy, and there really is a plethora of shows to look forward to across the North East.
The Stand in Newcastle, as ever, lives up to its bill as one of the finest comedy establishments in the country, with a mix of fantastic weekend line-ups; Red Raw for only £2 every Wednesday, featuring some top up and coming acts; a range of monthly nights like Seymour Mace’s Idiots Rule on the third Sunday of every month, the eclectic and fun Good Grief on the second Monday of the month, and John Scott’s more political Free Thinking Radicals on the last Monday of every month. They’ve also got some amazing touring shows, and highlights from this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, including Carl Hutchinson’s Learning The Ropes on Monday 1st February, Ed Aczel with his show The Random Flapping Of A Butterfly’s Wings on Sunday 7th February and the always incredible Bridget Christie with A Book For Her on Tuesday 15th March.
Elsewhere, there’s regular new act/new material nights, such as Long Live Comedy at The Dog and Parrot, Newcastle, every Tuesday; or monthly inimate affair of Chew! at Ernest in The Ouseburn on the first Monday of the month. Also in the Ouseburn is the offbeat fun of Freshly Ground Comedy at The Tower on the last Sunday of the month. Freshly Ground also host Bec Hill’s tour show, with Sarah Bennetto along for good measure, at Alphabetti Theatre on Friday 26th Febraury. Alphabetti is the place to be too, for brilliantly anarchic panel show Quest To Stardom, with the next one taking place on Sunday 31st January.
Heaton plays host to The Chuckling Monk, at The Chillingham Arms, the first Thursday of every month, and Thursday 7th January features Ben Crompton and Vladimir McTavish in a stellar bill. There’s also Mr Shindig’s Laughter Store at True Coffee House on the third Friday of every month.
Hilarity Bites have some amazing gigs in Darlington and beyond, so check their listings for regular gigs, but some fantastic shows at Darlington’s Seen are stand outs, with 2014’s Comedians’ Comedian Of The Year, Gavin Webster bringing his World Tour on Wednesday 20th January.
Barnard Castle again regularly welcomes Funny Way To Be Comedy Club, and they bring Omid Djalili on Tuesday 1st March. Ten Feet Tall also continue to bring top laughs to Stockton, with their next line-up of Catch 22 Comedy featuring Jason Cook, Alex Boardman and John Lynn at ARC in Stockton on Friday 29th January. Sketch group Heavy Petting also bring their FIASCO show to The Westgarth on the first Saturday of every month.
As if that wasn’t all enough, Tyne Theatre hosts Ed Byrne on Wednesday 24th February, and Dylan Moran on Friday 11th March. So there’s a fair chance you’ll be all laughed out by summer, but then Newcastle’s wonderful festival of comedy Jesterval, rolls into town in June, ready to get that funny bone tickled all over again.