From unmissable operas to gigs and comedy, make November one to remember with these amazing events.
It’s going to be a jam-packed month in Leeds. There are loads of events taking place across the city, from huge film festivals to the return the German Market, the big Christmas lights switch-on and loads of must-see concerts. But that only scratches the surface of what’s going on in Leeds in November, so clear your diary, call your mates and make big plans for what will be a busy old month.
Picks of the Month
Pop superstars, iconic musicals and an internationally-renowned film festival – these are the events you won’t want to miss this November.
Leeds International Film Festival
Leeds International Film Festival is one of the biggest events of the year. The 33rd edition promises over 300 screenings across 16 days. It will host genre-specific marathons and film competitions alongside screenings of the year’s must see films. This year’s opening film is Rocks and the closing film is Jojo Rabbit, but the stand out will be Armando Iannucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield. You can also check out special exhibitions, workshops and Q&As.
Leeds International Film Festival takes over venues across the city from Wednesday 6th to Thursday 21st November 2019.
Leeds Lights Switch On 2019
The festive season officially kicks off with the Leeds Christmas Lights Switch On in Victoria Gardens. Get down early to secure a good spot as past and current players from Leeds United help to illuminate the city. The event is hosted by Radio Aire Breakfast presenters Caroline and Ant, and will also feature live music from Rak-SU, G4 and Katherine Picar.
Leeds Christmas Lights Switch On 2019 comes to Victoria Gardens on Thursday 7th November 2019.
Leeds German Market
The German Market is back this November. You can visit over 40 stalls, selling everything from Frankfurter sausages to pretzels, wooden toys and jewellery. There’s loads for the kids to enjoy too with the return of the carousel and loads of special activities in the Alp Chalet, the laid back restaurant where you can sit down for a bite to eat and enjoy tunes from the oompah band. Fancy a drink? Make a beeline for the Kuh Stall or the Ski Hutte for a glass of mulled wine or a hot chocolate.
The Christkindelmarkt is open in Millennium Square from Friday 8th November until Saturday 21st December 2019.
We Will Rock You
We Will Rock You, the smash hit musical from Queen and Ben Elton, comes to Leeds Grand Theatre this month. You can rock out to 24 of Queen’s biggest tunes as you follow a group of Bohemians living in a dystopian world. They’re trying to restore the free exchange of thought, fashion and live music in a society where everyone acts and dresses the same. Soundtracked by songs like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘It’s a Kind of Magic’ and ‘I Want to Break Free’, it’s a raucous night of musical theatre.
We Will Rock You comes to Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 11th to Saturday 23rd November 2019.
Little Mix is one of the biggest pop groups in the world and they’re bringing their ‘LM5 Tour’ to Leeds for two huge shows at First Direct Arena this November. Alongside hits from their latest album, ‘LM5’, you can hear all your favourite Little Mix anthems, like ‘Shout Out to My Ex’, ‘Black Magic’ and ‘Touch’. Support comes from Mae Muller and New Rules.
Little Mix play First Direct Arena on Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th November 2019.
Food and Drink
Check out November’s top foodie events, with winter-themed bars, beer festivals and a night dedicated to all kinds of cheese.
Homage2Fromage The Best of New Cheese
If you love cheese, get ready for the next event from Homage2Fromage. They’re taking over Seven Arts in Chapel Allerton to showcase the latest and greatest cheese being produced around the world. New to them, new to the market or just newly popular, this is your chance to try eight cheeses you’ve never tried before. You can pair it with bread, chutney, fruit and crackers as their expert team talks you through each cheese.
Homage2Fromage The Best of New Cheese comes to Seven Arts on Monday 11th November 2019.
Thor’s Tipi Bar
Thor’s Tipi Bar returns to Victoria Gardens this month. You can cosy up in this Viking-inspired hideaway, where log fires burn under twinkling fairy lights, for a festive drink or two. They’re serving local ales, but if you want to warm your cockles, try the mulled wine and hot cider with something from the outdoor BBQ. Bringing the kids? They have a hot chocolate station where they can top their drink with tasty treats. It’s the perfect Christmas night out.
Thor’s Tipi Bar takes over Victoria Gardens from Saturday 16th November to Monday 31st December 2019.
North Brewing Co. 4th Birthday Party
North Brewing Co. will celebrate their 4th birthday with an all-out party at their Sheepscar brewery this November and you’re all invited. Their much-missed club night Hopulance is making a one-off comeback as DJs Ed Vector and Leon Johnson man the decks. You can try their special birthday brew, the Boysenberry triple fruited gose and tuck into food from ParmStar.
North Brewing Co. 4th Birthday Party comes to the Tap Room on Saturday 16th November 2019.
Otley Beer Festival
The 19th Otley Beer Festival takes place this month. It’s one of the most popular beer festivals in Yorkshire and you don’t even have to plan ahead – you can just pay on the door. Once you’re in, you can work your way through over 60 real ales, as well as a selection of cider, keg beers and perries. There’s street food and live music across the weekend. All proceeds will go to local charities and the upkeep of the local parish church.
Otley Beer Festival takes over Otley Rugby Club on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd November 2019.
Festival of Brewers 2019
The Festival of Brewers returns to New Craven Hall this month. It’s a brewer’s market-style celebration of small, independent breweries from across Yorkshire, so it’s the perfect opportunity for you to try something new. Frisky Bear, Half Moon and Horsforth will all be in attendance and you can pair your beers with treats from Gerhard’s Pretzels and The Pizza Trail.
Festival of Brewers 2019 comes to New Craven Hall on Saturday 23rd November 2019.
Head to the city’s best music venues to see indie favourites, hip-hop newcomers and dance icons.
Metronomy are one of the most consistently great bands in the UK. From ‘Pip Paine’ and ‘Nights Out’ to ‘The English Riviera’, ‘Four Letters’ and ‘Summer 08’, their back catalogue is a feast of indie-meets-electronica goodness. You’ll get to hear cuts from all five previous albums at O2 Academy Leeds later this month, as well as tunes from new album ‘Metronomy Forever’.
Metronomy play O2 Academy Leeds on Monday 11th November 2019.
Sampa the Great
Zambia-born, Botswana-raised and Australia-based, rapper Sampa the Great released one of the most arresting debut albums of 2019 in September. ‘The Return’ is an incredible first effort, a collection of lo-fi beats and poetic lyrics delivered with a passion and energy not seen in many modern hip-hop artists. Check her out when she makes her Leeds debut at Belgrave this month.
Sampa the Great comes to Belgrave Music Hall on Friday 15th November 2019.
The Chemical Brothers
The Chemical Brothers are one of the most successful electronic groups of the past 30 years. Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons have shifted over 12 million albums and six million singles worldwide, including six number 1 LPs in the UK alone. The first electronic band to win a Grammy, you can see them in full flow this month, playing tunes like ‘Block Rockin’ Beats’, ‘Hey Boy Hey Girl’ and ‘Galvanize’.
The Chemical Brothers play First Direct Arena on Thursday 21st November 2019.
Richard Dawson is one of the leading lights of the modern folk revolution. The Newcastle-based singer-songwriter blurs the lines between folk, psychedelia and the avant-garde with his arresting compositions. He’ll show you why during an intimate show at Belgrave Music Hall this month, as he plays cuts from albums like ‘The Magic Bridge’ and this year’s lauded release, ‘2020’.
Richard Dawson plays Belgrave Music Hall on Friday 22nd November 2019.
Liverpool’s musical reputation is in good hands thanks to Louis Berry. The singer-songwriter has spent the past four years honing his fiery rock and roll tunes and touring the country, but he’s really only just getting going. Head to the Brudenell Social Club to see him run through raucous tunes like ‘.45’, ‘Rebel’ and ’25 Reasons’ alongside new songs from his forthcoming debut album.
Louis Berry plays Brudenell Social Club on Saturday 23rd November 2019.
Need a laugh? There’s a stellar line-up of stand-up comedians coming to Leeds this month.
The Receipts Uncut
The Receipts is one of the UK’s funniest podcasts and you can check it out live this month when it takes over the Carriageworks Theatre. It offers a refreshing and entertaining perspective on being a millennial woman in a modern world. Their live show will see Audrey, Milena and Tolly explore their own truths, tackling everything from love to race, equality and culture, as well as asking for a little bit of help from the audience for games and conversations.
The Receipts Uncut comes to Carriageworks on Saturday 2nd November 2019.
By day, Matt Chorley is a political journalist for The Times, wandering the halls of Parliament and trying to figure out what the heck is actually going on. By night, he reveals all, exposing that nobody has a clue and nothing makes any sense at all. You can join him at City Varieties for an insider’s guide into the world of resignations, reshuffles and recriminations that we don’t normally see.
Matt Chorley plays City Varieties on Tuesday 5th November 2019.
Ed Byrne is one of the most recognisable comedians in the UK, a star of shows like Live at the Apollo, Mock the Week and The Pilgrimage, but this month he’s taking a long, hard look at himself. He’s coming to City Varieties on his new stand-up tour ‘If I’m Honest…’, to work out if he has any traits that are worth passing on to his children or whether he should just keep them to himself.
Ed Byrne comes to City Varieties on Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th November 2019.
Fast-rising comedian Darren Harriott brings his new show ‘Good Heart Yute’ to The Wardrobe this November. At 30, he’s never been in love and now he’s trying to find out why. Can it always be someone else’s fault? He knows the answers isn’t yes. This show is a funny, touching journey into his life as he tries to work out who he actually is.
Darren Harriott plays The Wardrobe on Thursday 21st November 2019.
The Shoe Cake Comedy Club
If you like improv comedy, get down to The Shoe Cake Comedy Club this month, run by The Discount Comedy Checkout. It will take over the Carriageworks and bring together seasoned performers with new talents. They’ll take suggestions from the audience, just like Whose Line Is It Anyway?, and create weird and wonderful comedy sketches before your very eyes.
The Shoe Cake Comedy Club comes to Carriageworks on Friday 29th November 2019.
From huge musicals to incredible ballets, there’s plenty on at the city’s theatres this month.
Northern Ballet’s acclaimed production of Dracula returns to Leeds Playhouse this month for another unforgettable run. Bram Stoker’s legendary vampire tale will be told through dance by David Nixon OBE and he’s brought all the lust and blood-thirsty horror of the book to the stage. Expect gripping theatre, raunchy choreography and an incredible soundtrack by Rachmaninov, Pärt and Daugherty.
Dracula takes over Leeds Playhouse from Tuesday 29th October to Saturday 2nd November 2019.
The King and I
You can check out one of the most popular musicals of all time this November as The King and I comes to Leeds Grand Theatre. You’ll follow The King’s unlikely love affair with British schoolteacher Anna. Starring Broadway favourites Jose Llana and Annalene Beechey, this classic show will blow you away well-known hits like ‘Whistle a Happy Tune’, ‘Getting to Know You’ and ‘Shall We Dance’.
The King and I comes to Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday 29th October to Saturday 9th November 2019.
Ballet Black Triple Bill
Ballet Black return to The Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre with another Triple Bill of modern, culturally diverse dance performances for their 18th anniversary tour. The evening starts with Martin Lawrence’s intimate duet ‘Pendulum’ and Sophie Laplane’s upbeat ‘CLICK!’, followed by Mthuthuzeli November’s ‘Ingoma’, which uses African dance, ballet and song to tell of the struggle of South African black miners during a strike.
Ballet Black Triple Bill comes to The Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th November 2019.
Reasons to Stay Alive
Based on Matt Haig’s best-selling book, Reasons to Stay Alive is a refreshing examination of the intricacies of mental health. Humour and home-truths will collide at Leeds Playhouse as you follow 24-year-old Matt. He has been straining and struggling under the weight of crippling depression, but this production will take you on a journey to see how he became himself again as he learnt how to live and love better.
Reasons to Stay Alive comes to Leeds Playhouse from Tuesday 12th to Saturday 16th November 2019.
Band of Gold
After the huge success of Fat Friends the Musical, Kay Mellor is back with a brand new show that will make its world premiere at Leeds Grand Theatre this month. Band of Gold is an adaptation of the multi-award winning TV series of the same name and revolves around the lives of four friends. It tells the heart-breaking story of how a young mother is drawn into prostitution. And when a killer is believed to be on the loose, her new-found world becomes more dangerous than ever.
Band of Gold comes to Leeds Grand Theatre from Thursday 28th November to Saturday 14th December 2019.
Another month, another batch of intriguing exhibitions for you to see in the city’s galleries.
If you love classics like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, Make:Believe is a must. The Royal Armouries has pulled together a collection of arms and armour used in your favourite movies and TV shows. There’s an Imperial Stormtrooper blaster, the Pulse rifle from Aliens and the Kings of Camelot helmet from the Holy Grail. As you explore the exhibition, you can find out how the museum’s historic collections have inspired the props in your favourite shows.
Make:Believe comes to the Royal Armouries from Saturday 26th October to Sunday 3rd November 2019.
Edward Allington: Things Unsaid
The next major exhibition at the Henry Moore Institute comes from Edward Allington. Named after a drawing he did that is now part of the Leeds Collection, Things Unsaid is the first showcase of his work since he passed in 2017. It features fourteen sculptures alongside photography, archive material and preparatory objects. You can discover how Allington became part of a generation of artists whose work marked a sea change in British sculpture in the 1980s.
Edward Allington: Things Unsaid comes to the Henry Moore Institute from Friday 25th October to Sunday 19th January 2020.
Phil Greenwood Print Exhibition
Phil Greenwood is a landscape artist who uses masterful etching techniques to create pieces that showcase the beauty of the natural world all around us. This is his first ever solo exhibition in Leeds, so don’t miss your chance to see his incredible works, all of which are made with two plates and no more than three colours to enhance the tone of the final piece.
Phil Greenwood Print Exhibition comes to The Craft Centre and Design Gallery from Saturday 2nd November 2019 to Saturday 22nd February 2020.
Dominic Hopkinson: Scientific Sublime
You can delve into the world of post-modernist relativism at BLANK this November as Dominic Hopkinson presents Scientific Sublime. This week-long exhibiton showcases two bodies of work developed during his role as the Artist in Residence at the School of Mathematics at the University of Leeds. He combines iterative and algorithmic approaches with traditional sculptural processes throughout all of his pieces.
Dominic Hopkinson: Scientific Sublime comes to BLANK from Thursday 7th November 2019 to Friday 14th November 2020.
The Printmakers Circle is a group of professional artists based in North Yorkshire who embrace original printmaking in a variety of different ways. This exhibition will shine a light on a range of printmaking techniques and display the group’s latest portfolio exchange which showcases collaborative works between the artists.
Artifact comes to Sunny Bank Mills from Saturday 16th November 2019 to Sunday 12th January 2020.
Clubnights & DJs
From environmentally friendly raves to the return of a legendary Leeds club night, it’s time to party.
Greta Thunberg’s Rave For the Future
Want to dance your way to saving the planet? Get down to Greta Thunberg’s Rave For the Future this month and all proceeds will be donated to the Extinction Rebellion. It will take place at a secret location in Leeds city centre and the venue will be covered in cardboard cutouts of Greta. DJs will play a mix of bass and house tunes complete with Thunberg edits and dubplates.
Greta Thunberg’s Rave For the Future comes to a secret Leeds location on Thursday 7th November 2019.
System returns to Mint Warehouse in November for a special one-off party with a stacked line-up of electronic music to take you to 6am. Seth Troxler is coming from Detroit to headline the main room alongside Apollonia’s Shonky, Laura Jones and Annie Errez. Meanwhile, E-Numbers are running The Loft with Voigtmann and FiftyFifty will curate the Boiler Room.
System comes to Mint Warehouse on Saturday 9th November 2019.
A Night of Pulp
If you love the tunes of Jarvis Cocker and co, get down to The Wardrobe this month. A Night of Pulp promises exactly that – a celebration of everything you love about Sheffield’s legendary group. From ‘Common People’ to ‘Disco 2000’, you’ll hear all their greatest hits alongside golden oldies from the whole Britpop and 90s indie era.
A Night of Pulp comes to The Wardrobe on Saturday 23rd November 2019.
Boombox Circus Winter Wonderland
Boombox Circus is taking over Beaver Works for its annual festive fiesta this month. Winter Wonderland promises circus magic, incredible production and stunning audio-visual shows all night long. Throughout the night, you can look forward to a mix of acid house, bass, disco, UK garage and drum & bass as the DJs keep you moving and grooving until 5.30am.
Boombox Circus Winter Wonderland comes to Beaver Works on Friday 29th November 2019.
Wah x Metropolis
Leeds promoters Wah and Metropolis are joining forces for another incredible party at The Warehouse this month. Expect the perfect blend of jungle and drum & bass as Shy FX and Stamina MX headline with a much-anticipated extended set. They’ll be joined by reggae favourites Mungo’s Hi Fi and Wah residents North Base.
Wah x Metropolis comes to The Warehouse on Saturday 30th November 2019.
Families have plenty to look forward to this November, with theatre, wrestling and festive days out.
Little Red Riding Hood
Want to introduce the kids to the ballet? Head to The Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre to watch Little Red Riding Hood. This is a special production designed for youngsters. It lasts 40 minutes and will tell you the classic tale of Little Red as she meets a very hungry wolf in the forest. She’ll make friends and discover the importance of kindness through a blend of dance, music and theatre.
Little Red Riding Hood comes to The Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre from Monday 28th October to Saturday 2nd November 2019.
Halloween Outdoor Cinema
It’s Halloween, so Sneaky Experience are taking over Kirkstall Abbey once again for a spooky weekend of cinema. You can watch Hocus Pocus and Ghostbusters on the big screen, but it’s much more than just the films. Don your finest fancy dress, take part in special singalongs and meet actors portraying characters from the films you’re watching. You can even tuck into street food while you’re there and the bar’s open for grown-ups.
Halloween Outdoor Cinema takes over Kirkstall Abbey on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd November 2019.
Jackie and the Beanstalk
Curly Tales are coming to Leeds Playhouse with their new take on Jack and the Beanstalk. They’ll use puppetry and loads of catchy songs to recreate this age-old tale that follows a young girl called Jackie. She and her granddad loved spending time together, swapping incredible fairytales that would help their garden grow, but when he passes away, how will she keep it blooming? The beanstalk that suddenly appears will surely help!
Jackie and the Beanstalk comes to Leeds Playhouse on Friday 8th and Sunday 9th November 2019.
WWE is coming back to First Direct Arena this November. All your favourite wrestling superstars will enter the ring for a night of high-octane, family-friendly action. Seth Rollins takes on Bray Wyatt for the WWE Universal Championship, Becky Lynch fights Sasha Banks for the RAW Women’s Championship and Kevin Owens battles The Viper, Randy Orton.
WWE Live comes to First Direct Arena on Saturday 9th November 2019.
The Christmas Experience
The Christmas Experience is back at Lotherton Hall this month. There’s more festive excitement than ever before as you discover the Elf Village, meet Santa in the North Pole and walk their Twelve Days of Christmas Trail through the Captains Wood. The fairies have got a secret hideaway here too, but can you find it? Afterwards, head on over to take a snap in the Edwardian selfie studio or join their craft workshops.
The Christmas Experience takes over Lotherton Hall from Friday 22nd November 2019 to Sunday 5th January 2020.
There are loads of festivals to make the most of in November, whether you want heavy metal, science or theatre.
Love heavy metal? Damnation Festival is the event for you this month. It takes over Leeds University Union for one day only with some of the most riff-heavy bands you’ll ever come across. This year’s line-up is headlined by Swedish progressive metal band Opeth, and they’ll be joined by the likes of Mayhem, Alcest, Primordial, Venom Prison, Imperial Triumphant and Big Business.
Damnation Festival takes over Leeds University Union on Saturday 2nd November 2019.
Otley Science Festival
Ideas go bang at the Otley Science Festival, a week-long celebration of all things science with events for the whole family. There’s loads to do – you can watch high-tech underwater experiments with Greg Foot, hear from speakers in the Festival Science Cafe or delve into the world of nutrition with James Wong. There are film screenings, food events and workshops across the festival too.
Otley Science Festival comes to Otley from Monday 11th to Saturday 16th November 2019.
Furnace Festival is a celebration of new work, artists and partnerships that have been developed at and with Leeds Playhouse over the past 12 months. Across four days, you can check out everything from fledgling plays like Jim Cartwright’s ‘Northern Soul’ to new comedies like Tess Seddon’s ‘Amateur Politician’. There will be workshops, conversations and social events too.
Furnace Festival comes to Leeds Playhouse from Wednesday 13th to Saturday 16th November 2019.
Live at Leeds Ones to Watch
If you want to check out the next generation of musical talent before they hit the big time, get down to the third annual Live at Leeds Ones to Watch showcase at The Wardrobe. You can check out the Western-tinged rock and roll of Liverpudlians Red Rum Club, the jazz-influenced pop tunes of Leeds’ own Leo Cosmos and the catchy alt-rock anthems of Sydney-based duo Clews.
Live at Leeds Ones to Watch comes to The Wardrobe on Saturday 23rd November 2019.
Louder Than God Festival
Louder Than God Festival is bringing the heavy, heavy riffs to Temple of Boom at the end of November. It’s the first ever event put on by legendary record label Holy Roar in the north and the line-up is stacked. Headliners OHHMS and Palm Reader will be joined by Ithaca, We Never Learned to Live, Pijn, Helpless and Haast’s Eagled.
Louder Than God Festival takes over Temple of Boom on Saturday 30th November 2019.
Best of the Rest
From films brought to life in concert to craft fairs full of locally-made goodies, this is the best of the rest this November.
Twice Nightly takes you back to the good ol’ days when theatres and cinemas were found on nearly every street in Leeds. The first part of the show celebrates the city’s theatrical history through words, music and nostalgia. That’s followed by ‘Three Ships Came Sailing By…’, a moving new drama by Liz Coggins that tells the story of the Scarborough Bombardment during World War One.
Twice Nightly comes to City Varieties on Saturday 9th November 2019.
James Cameron’s epic blockbuster is one of the most successful films of all time and you can see it like never before in Titanic Live. A 100-piece orchestra led by the renowned Benjamin Pope will play the breathtaking score live as you relive the romance, passion and heartbreak of one of the most incredible true stories brought to life on a massive HD screen at First Direct Arena.
Titanic Live comes to First Direct Arena on Sunday 10th November 2019.
Leeds Craft & Flea
The Leeds Craft & Flea is taking over Left Bank Leeds for the first time this November. The city’s finest makers and producers will set up stall inside and outside the venue so you can pick up all kinds of treats. From vintage furniture and clothes to gifts, homewares and collectables, you can buy the lot. There will be street food vendors and a bar open throughout the day too.
Leeds Craft & Flea takes over Left Bank Leeds on Sunday 10th November 2019.
Leeds Wheel of Light
The Leeds Wheel of Light is back in Victoria Gardens for the fourth year running. This is your chance to see the city lit up in festive splendour as you jump on board the 110-foot ferris wheel and make your way up to the rooftops to a soundtrack of Christmas classics and guilty pleasures. It’s lit up by 25,000 LED lights that create colourful light patterns in the sky, so bring your camera.
Leeds Wheel of Light takes over Victoria Gardens from Friday 15th November 2019 to Wednesday 1st January 2019.
Orchestra of Opera North: Bluebeard’s Castle
The Orchestra of Opera North is taking over Leeds Town Hall for one night only at the end of November with a rare concert performance of Bartók’s legendary gothic opera. Bluebeard’s Castle is an intense psychological thriller set in a foreboding castle where dreadful secrets lie behind every door. It will thunder towards a special, chilling finale soundtracked by the dazzling ‘Sinfonietta’.
Orchestra of Opera North: Bluebeard’s Castle comes to Leeds Town Hall on Saturday 30th November 2019.