30 Absolutely Unmissable Events in Leeds This Month

· Joseph Sheerin · Culture

Every month, we round up the best events taking place in the city, so you won’t miss a thing.

The Nutcracker

From unmissable opera to gigs and comedy, make January 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 family-friendly shows to massive concerts, much-loved operas and even the return of a certain Peter Kay. But that only scratches the surface of what’s going on in Leeds in January, so clear your diary, call your mates and make big plans for what will be a busy old month.

Dick Whittington

Credit: Ant Robling

Cinderella. Love a panto? Head to the Carriageworks for their annual festive show from Friday 25th November 2022 to Sunday 8th January 2023. They’re putting a pantomime twist on Cinderella, who will need the help of her loyal friend Buttons to escape her wicked stepsisters and attend the Royal Ball – will she get there? Find out with special effects and loads of panto mayhem.

The Nutcracker. A truly festive show given a Northern Ballet twist, you can enjoy a memorable family trip to Leeds Grand Theatre this month with The Nutcracker. From Tuesday 20th December 2022 to Saturday 7th January 2023, enjoy David Nixon OBE’s incredible choreography set to Tchaikovsky’s spine-tingling score as you step into Clara’s sweeping winter world.

Dick Whittington: The Rock & Roll Panto. One of the highlights of the city’s cultural calendar, this year’s Rock & Roll Panto at City Varieties Music Hall is Peter Rowe’s take on Dick Whittington, from Friday 25th November 2022 until Sunday 8th January 2023. It’s full of all the panto tropes you love – audience participation and corny gags aplenty, all set to a jukebox full of rock anthems.

Charlie And The Chcolate Factory

Credit: Johan Persson

Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. Christmas brings a family-friendly show to Leeds Playhouse and this year, they’ve got a Roald Dahl classic from Friday 18th November 2022 to Saturday 28th January 2023. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory sees you follow golden ticket winner Charlie Bucket into a world of pure imagination as he explores Willy Wonka’s confectionary factory.

The RISE Rumble. Love a bit of wrestling? One of the biggest events in Leeds happens on the first weekend of January at the Brudenell Social Club. The Rise Rumble promises to be England’s maddest wrestling show and they’re likely not wrong – get ready for an over-the-top-rope extravaganza as Britain’s biggest stars battle it out for the prestigious RISE Championship.

The Awakening. LEEDS 2023 kicks off with a mega cultural celebration of Leeds at Headingley Stadium on Saturday 7th January 2023. There’s a rich programme of events to look forward to, but it starts with an evening of performances. Hosted by Gabby Logan and Sanchez Payne, you can see Simon Armitage, Corinne Bailey Rae, the Orchestra of Opera North and more.

Big Joanie

Credit: Ellie Smith

The Magic of Motown. If you love soul music, there’s one place to be in Leeds – Leeds Grand Theatre for The Magic of Motown on Sunday 8th January 2023. This acclaimed show is making its return to the city with a full live band and incredible cast of performers. They’ll be playing all your favourite Detroit-born hits from the likes of Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder and more.

Paul Smith. Over the past few years, Paul Smith’s sets at the Hot Water Comedy Club have gone viral, turning him into one of the most popular comics in the UK. Now you can see him live at Leeds Grand Theatre on Wednesday 11th January 2023 with his trademark mix of sharp wit and hilarious stories – be warned, you might not want to be in the front row!

Big Joanie. You can kick off your new year with a big ol’ dose of punk music at Belgrave Music Hall as London-based trio, Big Joanie, head north for a show that will shake the winter blues away on Friday 13th January 2023. They’re a self-proclaimed Black feminist punk band, and will be showing off new album, ‘Back Home’, alongside tunes from first album, ‘Sistahs’.

Lewis Capaldi

Lewis Capaldi. The Scottish singer-songwriter is back with his second album and he’s bringing it to first direct arena on Saturday 14th January 2023. ‘Broken By Desire to Be Heavenly Sent’ picks up where acclaimed debut album, ‘Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent’ left off – soul-tinged pop music to pull at your heartstrings. Capaldi’s about to hit the top of his game.

The Subways. One of the few bands from the mid-2000s indie rock revival to have truly endured, The Subways are starting the new year on tour, coming to the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds on Thursday 19th January 2023. They’re previewing new album, ‘Uncertain Joys’, set for release in 2023, fresh on the back of a celebratory series of dates for debut LP, ‘Young for Eternity’ in 2022.

EMF. They’re so unbelievable, but you’ll want to see them for yourself to be sure – legendary 80s dance rock band EMF are back on tour for a series of special club dates, coming to the Brudenell Social Club on Thursday 19th January 2023. They’ll, of course, play their biggest hit, alongside other fan favourites, like ‘I Believe’, ‘Children’ and ‘Lies’.

Children of Zeus

Credit: Dan Medhurst

Peter Kay. It’s been 12 years since Peter Kay’s last stand-up tour around the UK, so it’s no surprise tickets have been flying out for his long-awaited return. Kay will be proving why he’s one of the UK’s most popular comedians with a set of old favourites and some brand new material. He comes to first direct arena for the first of four 2023 shows in Leeds on Friday 20th January 2023.

Children of Zeus. Originally scheduled for November, Manchester’s finest Children of Zeus finally cross the Pennines to play a much-anticipated show at Belgrave Music Hall on Friday 20th January 2023. The new-age hip-hop duo are blazing a trail with their own unique sound that has won them an army of fans – latest album, ‘Balance’, has only taken that further.

Ex-Easter Island Head. Think of Merseyside music and it’s easy to know what comes to mind. With Ex-Easter Island Head, forget everything you think you know. They’re a unique proposition, one that has stood the test of time, creating an incredible blend of intricately composed music for electric guitar, percussion and more. Check them out at the Brudenell on Friday 20th January 2023.

TRAAMS. There’s no stopping TRAAMS. The Chichester-born band offer a classic blend of post-punk and indie rock music, something that’s earned them a dedicated army of followers. They come to the Brudenell Social Club on Friday 20th January 2023 to play tunes from new album, ‘Personal Best’. Support comes from Public Body and Pleasure Centre.

Puss in Boots. Fancy a family trip to the theatre this month? Get down to the Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds from Friday 20th to Saturday 28th January 2023 for the LIDOS production of Puss in Boots. This is a modern spin on the classic pantomime that sees Jack inherit a cat while his brother inherits all their father’s riches. But there’s more to this cat than initially catches the eye!

Brennan Reece. Fancy a few laughs to get your new year off to a flyer? Head to The Wardrobe to see fast-rising Manchester stand-up Brennan Reece take to the stage. He’s set for big things, with appearances made already on Live at the Apollo, Celebrity Coach Trip and the Have a Word podcast, alongside a support slot with Joe Lycett. He comes to Leeds on Saturday 21st January 2023.


Credit: Richard H Smith

Chris McCausland. If you fancy a few laughs this month, make a beeline for City Varieties. Scouser Chris McCausland is coming to town with his Speaky Blinder show on Saturday 21st January 2023 and the sightless comic will be talking to you about his blindness, his husbandry and his fatherhood, plus everything and anything else in between.

Tosca. Opera North starts 2023 with the return of one of its most popular productions. Puccini’s landmark Tosca gets a contemporary crime thriller twist directed by Edward Dick at Leeds Grand Theatre from Saturday 21st January to Thursday 2nd March 2023. Expect secrets, love and lies as our heroine tries to escape the corrupt baron, all set to Puccini’s breathtaking score.

The 1975. They’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s no doubt The 1975 are one of the UK’s biggest bands right now. Expect controversial, sometimes unedifying stage antics as Matty Healy and co run you through cuts from their latest album, ‘Being Funny in a Foreign Language’, alongside old favourites, like ‘Chocolate’, at first direct arena on Monday 23rd January 2023.

Strictly Come Dancing Tour

Paul Chowdhry. The title of Paul Chowdhry’s new show might well be ‘Family-Friendly Comedian’, but this is definitely not for children. He’s coming to City Varieties on Monday 23rd January 2023 on his first post-lockdown tour and he’s got plenty of COVID frustration to work through. He’ll be tackling the handling of the pandemic, England football fans and Tom Cruise in a helicopter.

Kula Shaker. One of the biggest bands of the post-Oasis and Blur era of indie rock in the mid-90s, Kula Shaker are still going strong after reforming in 2004. They offer what’s still a unique mix – indie, psychedelic rock music, fused with Indian music, culture and mysticism, something that came to the fore on their biggest single, ‘Tattva’. They play the Brudenell on Tuesday 24th January 2023.

Strictly Come Dancing. Get your sequins on and your score paddles at the ready, because Strictly Come Dancing is bringing its live tour to Leeds for two shows at first direct arena on Thursday 26th and Friday 27th January 2023. Judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Anton Du Beke will judge performances from stars like Will Mellor and Ellie Simmonds.

Mint Warehouse

Hospitality Leeds. Want to kick off 2023 with a night of drum and bass? Iconic label and promoters Hospitality make their return to Leeds at O2 Academy on Friday 27th January 2023. They’ve got a stacked line-up in store for you – the likes of P Money, Whiney Dilemma, MC Lowqui and Inja S.P.Y. get the party started, before Kings of the Rollers close out the night.

Hand Fest 2023. Keighley-based ska legends Random Hand have been one of the biggest bands in the British scene for over 20 years now. They’re marking two decades of ska punk anthems with two nights at the Brudenell Social Club this January. Random Hand are playing both nights, on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th January 2023 with support from Sonic Boom Six and more.

Mint Warehouse 11th Birthday. It’s been 11 party-fuelled years since Mint Warehouse opened in Holbeck, so they’re throwing a massive party to celebrate. You can party from 10am to 6am on Saturday 28th January 2023 as the likes of Annie Errez, Bobby O’Donnell and Just Jam spin tunes alongside Vitess, John Dimas and Archie Hamilton.

David O’Doherty. Irish musical comedian David O’Doherty comes to Leeds for not one but two shows at City Varieties this month. On Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th January 2023, you can see his effortless blend of zany stories, inventive lyrics and unique musicianship, all emanating from his glued together plastic keyboard which dates back to 1986.

Straight Girl. If you want to check out the next star to come out of Leeds’ music scene, there’s no better place to be than the Brudenell Social Club on Sunday 29th January 2023. Not only is Straight Girl playing a full performance, showing off their incredible electronic tunes, it will be preceded by a screening of a short-length documentary film that shows off their life and music.

Lowkey. You might not know the name but you may have heard or even been affected by his work. Lowkey is one of the most important British rappers and activists of recent years. He maintains a huge following and his albums, ‘Dear Listener’ and ‘Soundtrack to the Struggle’, are cultural touchpoints. Catch him at Belgrave on Tuesday 31st January 2023.