From unmissable operas to gigs and comedy, make June 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 foodie festivals to hilarious comedy, magical musicals and loads of can’t-miss concerts. But that only scratches the surface of what’s going on in Leeds in June, so clear your diary, call your mates and make big plans for what will be a busy old month.
Disney 100. How do you celebrate 100 years of a true icon of entertainment? With a huge concert, of course. Disney 100 will take you through its seminal music and timeless storytelling – you’ll get to relive the show-stealing moments from The Lion King, Frozen, Beauty & the Beast, Encanto, Mary Poppins, Aladdin and more at first direct arena on Thursday 1st June 2023.
The Pearl Fishers. There’s a Leeds exclusive from Opera North this month. Director Matthew Eberhardt has created a uniquely atmospheric version of Bizet’s ‘The Pearl Fishers’ that you can only experience at Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday 16th May to Friday 2nd June 2023. Get ready for emotion-filled melodies amidst a story of love, desire and betrayal.
Leeds Indie Market Summer Party. Holding a knees-up in a brewery? Leeds Indie Market know how to throw a party, so get along to their summer shindig at Kirkstall Brewery on Saturday 3rd June 2023. They’ll host over 30 Yorkshire-based indie businesses for you to pick up some treats. There’ll also be live music, street food, art workshops and craft beer.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It’s a classic story that has stood the test of time, now you can introduce your little ones to the world of Eric Carle’s bright, colourful Very Hungry Caterpillar. It comes to Carriageworks Theatre from Tuesday 30th May to Saturday 3rd June 2023, with a blend of puppetry and charming music providing the perfect introduction to theatre.
Requiem. Opera North’s new season continues from Friday 26th May to Sunday 4th June 2023 with their powerful re-imagination of Mozart’s iconic Requiem by Neo Muyanga. Created in conjunction with Phoenix Dance Theatre, Jazzart Dance Theatre and Cape Town Opera, the worlds of dance and opera collide to powerful effect at Leeds Grand Theatre.
Scarecrow Festival. Family fun gets no better than Kirkstall Abbey’s first ever Scarecrow Festival from Saturday 27th May to Sunday 4th June 2023. The Leeds attraction will be covered in scarecrows designed by staff and community partners. There’ll be loads of scarecrow-based activities to keep them entertained, as well as the chance to wander around the old monastery.
The Beekeeper of Aleppo. Nesrin Alrefaai and Matthew Spangler have adapted Christy Leftieri’s best-selling, award-winning novel for the stage and The Beekeeper of Aleppo has its world premiere at Leeds Playhouse from Wednesday 31st May to Saturday 3rd June 2023. This beautiful play is a story of connection between friends, families and strangers – don’t miss it.
Tales From the Old West. Looking for fun family days out in Leeds? Look no further than the Royal Armouries from Saturday 27th May to Sunday 4th June 2023. Tales From the Old West will see them immersed in a cowboy’s world. There’ll be Old West-style horse shows with professional stunt performers and heart-pounding gun demos, alongside fun games.
Tashi Lhunpo Monks. If you fancy a bit of culture this month, make a beeline for Harewood’s special week of events with the eight Tibetan monks from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery from Tuesday 30th May to Sunday 4th June 2023. They’re constructing a traditional Tibetan sand masala, followed by an incredible destruction ceremony, alongside a host of workshops and performances.
Zog. If the kids can’t get enough of their Zog books, there’s only one thing you really have to do in June – head to Carriageworks Theatre for an afternoon with Zog himself. From Monday 5th to Saturday 10th June 2023, you can check out Freckle Productions’ adaptations of these much-loved stories, complete with lively songs from Joe Stilgoe.
Elton John. The Bitch is Back in Leeds this month – Elton John brings his mammoth ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour to Leeds at first direct arena on Tuesday 6th June 2023. Get ready for a hit-filled show as he gears up for a career-defining Glastonbury headline set. ‘Tiny Dancer’, ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me’, ‘Daniel’, ‘Bennie and the Jets’ – the hits are endless.
A Passionate Woman. The late Kay Mellor’s A Passionate Woman premiered at Leeds Playhouse back in 1993 and this revival, the first since her death, will run from Saturday 20th May to Saturday 10th June 2023. It follows wife and mum Betty who’s had enough of a listless 30-year marriage and goes on a journey that charts the ups and downs of love, memory and family.
Dirty Dancing. You can check out one of the biggest musicals of all time as Dirty Dancing swaps the West End and Broadway for Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday 6th to Saturday 10th June 2023. Music, emotion and oh-so-sexy dancing are in plentiful supply as you join Baby and Johnny, independent spirits from different worlds, on an epic summer adventure.
Gin & Rum Festival. Love gin? Mad for rum? Well, the Royal Armouries is the place to be on Saturday 10th June 2023. The Gin & Rum Festival gives you exactly what you want – over 120 different types of both, complete with samples and tasters, as well as a tequila and cocktail bar. Find your favourite, sip away and enjoy live music and DJs.
Ilkley Food Festival. Love food? Ilkley should be a destination of choice this month, with the return of the market town’s popular food festival. It takes place on the Riverside, bringing together a host of tasty street food vendors, free cookery demos and an artisan produce and crafts market. Head on down on Saturday 10th or Sunday 11th June 2023.
Leeds Tattoo Expo. The internationally-renowned Leeds Tattoo Expo makes its much anticipated return to First Direct Arena on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th June 2023. There will be over 200 artists from around the world under one roof, showcasing their skills, alongside a curated market of boutique traders and live entertainment all weekend.
The Big Leeds Flea Market. New Leeds events space Testbed is hosting the first ever Big Leeds Flea Market on Sunday 11th June 2023. This is a mid-century furniture market, with a bunch of cool bric-a-brac stalls and vintage clothing traders thrown in for good measure. After you’ve shopped, don’t drop – head to the street food vans and bars.
The Bodyguard. If you’re a fan of musical theatre, there’s no doubting you will always love The Bodyguard – which is good news, because the award-winning show is coming back to Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 12th to Saturday 17th June 2023. Can former Secret Service agent Frank Farmer protect superstar performer Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker?
Bat For Lashes. Continuing their year-long 10th anniversary celebrations, Belgrave Music Hall are welcoming a bonafide star to Leeds on Tuesday 13th June 2023. Bat For Lashes has had a series of acclaimed albums and played some of the biggest venues in the country, but this time, it’ll be an intimate affair and one you’re likely not to forget in a hurry.
Happy Birthday Sunita. The much-loved family comedy Happy Birthday Sunita has been completely refreshed for its run at Leeds Playhouse. It’s got a new cast and a fresh script so put on your birthday best and get ready for a wild ride that will have you laughing, crying and talking all the way home, between Tuesday 13th and Saturday 17th June 2023.
Empire State Bastard. Love Biffy Clyro? Then, these could pique your interest. Lead singer Simon Neil has another side project in the works. Empire State Bastard is a collaboration with former Oceansize frontman Mike Vennart and takes the heaviness up a notch. They describe it as ‘grindcore extreme metal’ – find out for yourself at the Brudenell on Thursday 15th June 2023.
Let’s Rock Leeds. Are you ready to rock with some of the biggest music stars of the 1980s? Head to Temple Newsam on Saturday 17th June 2023. It’s eclectic line-up fun of chart-topping acts. There’s OMD, Soft Cell, The Real Thing and Midge Ure alongside the likes of The Farm, Tony Hadley and Hue & Cry. Throw in bars and street food, it’s the perfect day out.
Jack Whitehall. He’s been a constant presence on our screens over the past decade, but Jack Whitehall’s experienced some changes over the past few years. The Bad Education star’s new show, ‘Settle Down’, is all about what it’s like to have a long-term partner and a dog while hurtling towards ‘middle age’. Catch him at first direct arena on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th June 2023.
Pete Tong Presents Ibiza Classics. You can hear the songs of the White Isle like never before at Temple Newsam on Sunday 18th June 2023. The legendary Pete Tong returns to Leeds with Jules Buckley and the Essential Orchestra to give string-based backing to a host of dancefloor bangers, like Seal’s ‘Killer’, Candi Staton’s ‘You Got the Love’ and ‘Becky Hill’s ‘Sing It Back’.
The Commitments. Five years on since Roddy Doyle’s The Commitments last hit UK stages, it’s coming back to Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 19th to Saturday 24th June 2023. Based on the BAFTA Award-winning film, a young working class musician hits the big time with his band with a stellar soundtrack, from ’Night Train’ to ‘Try A Little Tenderness’.
Lord of the Lost. Love Eurovision? You can see one of this year’s entrants live in Leeds on Wednesday 21st June 2023. Lord of the Lost are coming to the Brudenell Social Club where they’ll play their entry for Germany, ‘Blood & Glitter’, their cover of Käärijä’s ‘Cha Cha Cha’ and other hits from their 15-year career.
Pet Shop Boys. Are you ready to experience Pet Shop Boys at their very best? They’re coming to Leeds’ first direct arena on Saturday 24th June 2023 for their ‘Dreamworld’ tour, which doubles as their first ever greatest hits celebration. ‘West End Girls’, ‘It’s a Sin’ and ‘Always On My Mind’ are just a little sample of the career-spanning bangers you’ll get to hear.
Frankie Boyle. If you like your comedy close to the bone? Jokes with razor-sharp punchlines? Then a night with Frankie Boyle is in order. He’s coming to Leeds Grand Theatre on Sunday 25th June 2023, fresh from a starring stint in Taskmaster. By now, you should probably know what to expect – nothing and nobody escapes his scathing crosshairs.
Iron Maiden. Heavy metal fans are in for a treat this month as one of the biggest rock bands of all time headline first direct arena on Wednesday 28th June 2023. Iron Maiden are back, celebrating the release of 2021’s ‘Senjutsu’ album on their ‘Future Past’ tour. But don’t worry, they’ll play all their famous songs, from ‘The Number of the Beast’ to ‘Run to the Hills’.
The Rocky Horror Show. There’s no need to say, “Damn It Janet!” because you can still bag tickets to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Leeds Playhouse from Wednesday 28th June to Sunday 1st July 2023. The legendary rock & roll musical is on its 50th anniversary tour full of fun, frolics, frocks and frivolity – get ready to do your finest ‘Timewarp’.Cover image Credit: Ben Gibson.