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As the pen behind classics like Warhorse, Private Peaceful and Kensuke’s Kingdom, Michael Morpurgo is a giant amongst children’s writers. Now’s your chance to dive headlong into his vivid imagination with Leeds City Museum’s immersive exhibition. With rare photographs, original manuscripts and interactive sets that include Mudpuddle Farm and The Wreck Of The Zanzibar, it’s a must for budding authors.
You don’t truly know a city until you’ve experienced its spooky side. When night falls on Manchester, join this guided ghost walk and travel from an old graveyard near St. Ann’s Square to the vaults below the city, hearing spine-chilling tales of the Tudor magician, the dead opera singers and the Manchester shouter. After all that, you might be needing a different sort of spirit – so it’s a good thing your £15 ticket includes a beer, glass of wine (or soft drink).
Like Stomp on steroids, these acclaimed performers of traditional Japanese Taiko drumming have played to over 6 million fans in 53 countries across the globe. Take your seats at Middlesbrough Theatre for a high-octane multi-sensory show that The Daily Telegraph called “simply breathtaking” – and prepare to be shaken and stirred.
Welcome to paradise, comic nuts. Held at the city’s sprawling Exhibition Centre, Liverpool’s salute to all thing sci-fi and spandex-wrapped just keeps getting bigger and better. You’ll gape at iconic movie props like the DeLorean time machine from Back To The Future, the Star Wars X-Wing and Johnny 5 from Short Circuit. You’ll bow down to the comic scene’s greatest artists and writers. You’ll fill your autograph book with A-list guests including Dean ‘Superman’ Cain, Teri ‘Lois Lane’ Hatcher – and the entire cast of Power Rangers.
Imagine a cross between a poetry recital and a rap battle. You’ve just imagined the near-mythical Great Northern Slam, praised by The Courier for its “spit-on-the-stage” attitude. This month at the Northern Stage venue, 16 of the region’s best poets are given just three minutes to shoot from the lip, with contenders eliminated after each round – and a fiercely contested winner-takes-all finale.
The Edinburgh Festival isn’t the only place to split your sides in Scotland. Take a comfortable train ride to Glasgow and you’ll find some of modern comedy’s biggest names killing it at venues all across town. From the acid put-downs of Rich Hall to the smooth observational wit of Reginald D Hunter, whatever makes you hoot, honk or cackle, you’ll find it right here.
Calling all bookworms! Now in its 11th triumphant year, the written word bursts off the page at the York Literature Festival, with venues across this historic city playing host to lectures, workshops and guest appearances from big-hitting authors like Kate Mosse and Joanna Trollope. Whether you’re a reader, writer or shameless star-spotter, you won’t want to miss it.
It’s probably wise not to wear your Sunday best to Durham’s Oriental Museum on March 23rd. Along with a range of workshops and activities, this celebration of the Hindu spring festival of Holi offers each visitor a free environmentally friendly and skin-kind sachet of brightly coloured Holi powder – to throw at your friends in the mother of all paint-fights. Warning: you may come out looking like a rainbow.
Whether you’re a red-faced newbie or a hardened road-warrior, all runners are welcome at Sheffield’s Ecclesall Woodland Discovery Centre in March. There’ll be led runs, strength sessions, mental resilience workshops and tips from the giants of the sport to get you fighting fit and ready to compete in 2019. Better dig out those trainers.