Leeds-List - Leeds' ultimate magazine and guide

What’s On This Weekend in Leeds

· Joseph Sheerin · Culture

Here is everything that's going on in Leeds this weekend.

Cirque du Soleil's Varekai

If the weekend has caught you by surprise and you still don’t have plans, fear not, because we’ve rounded up what’s going on this weekend in Leeds.

There’s always something to do in Leeds, so if you find yourself at a loose end this weekend, or any other for that matter, just whack Leeds-List in your search bar and find our guide to what’s on. From the latest shows to club nights and one-off events, we’ve got it covered.

Friday 24th February 2017

Opera North The Snow Maiden

Credit: Richard Hubert Smith

Throw yourself into your weekend in Leeds like Cirque du Soleil’s acrobats who’ll fly across First Direct Arena at the UK premiere of Varekai, a good old-fashioned circus set deep in a volcanic forest. Alternatively, The Northern School of Contemporary Dance are also performing their brand new Verve show at The Riley Theatre, and you can be among the first to watch it.

Across town, drama ensures at Leeds Grand Theatre where you’ll have your last chance to see Opera North’s The Snow Maiden, who will die if true love melts her icy heart. Over at West Yorkshire Playhouse, can flower girl Eliza Doolittle transform into a duchess? Watch this modern take on George Bernard Shaw’s classic Pygmalion to find out.

Music fans will be up to their ears in live music in Leeds this weekend. Brudenell Social Club offers a double whammy of shows – Thabo and his acoustic soul band are back on the ‘Bare Knuckle Soul’ tour after a year-long hiatus, plus local favourites Where Fires Are will showcase their emotionally charged debut album, ‘One Four Six One’. And they’re not the only locals in action, because indie rockers The Indigo Project will wow The Wardrobe with their last album, ‘Suburban’.


Credit: Manuel Harlan

Meanwhile, legendary post-punks, The Fall are continuing their 40 year career, playing Belgrave Music Hall this Friday night. Or, just around the corner you’ve got the choice of master pianist, Lubomyr Melnyk, who will wow audiences at Howard Assembly Room or Wednesday 13, who will bring horror punk anthems to The Key Club.

Want to party until the early hours? From Ruben to Jed 104 and The Shapeshifters, some of the biggest house and disco acts will descend on Church for The Forgotten Church. Perhaps you’ll find yourself at Canal Mills’ Hippy Trippy Shakedown party instead, with the likes of Mad Villains, Granite State, Mista Bounce and Moucha.

Those who of you looking for a laugh can see Henning Wehn at City Varieties – the German comic is braving the topic of immigration in his new show, Westphalia is Not an Option. Expect more jokes and laughter from Micheal Fabbri, Jason Cook & Dan Nightingale at HiFi Club’s Comedy Sessions, offering a light-hearted start to your weekend in Leeds.

Saturday 25th February 2017

Unique Gift Fair

There’s plenty worth handing your money over for at no less than three shopping spectaculars this weekend. Make a day of it at Freedom Mills’ Leeds Underground Charity Fair, with street food and live music on offer as you shop for everything from jewellery to art, prints and totes.
 Browse 25 stalls of homemade goodies at Corn Exchange’s Unique Craft and Gift Fair or restock your wardrobe at Blue Rinse Vintage Kilo Sale – £15 per kilo of era-spanning gems, from cut-off shorts to 50s frocks and old-school sweaters.

Those with competitive kids in tow can make the most of Family Friendly Table Top Games at Hyde Park Picture House, before a screening of Blinky Bill. Or use your big imaginations to squeeze a story into a matchbox at The Tetley’s free Family Art Workshop, alongside Lucyoga’s No Stress Yoga session for beginners wanting to stretch yourselves at the same venue. You can even give Knitting With Colour a go at Baa Ram Ewe, weaving yarns with Melanie Boocock to create a purse you’ll treasure.

Opera North Cinderella

Credit: Alastair Muir

Want to catch a show? Well, this weekend, Leeds Grand Theatre are hosting two favourite fairy tales that have been given the Opera North twist, freshening the stories without losing their original charm. After Hansel and Gretel create an imaginary world on hand-held cameras in the afternoon, you can see Cinderella scrubbing the floors of a dance school before her life is changed forever in the evening.

In stark contrast, Don’t Fear the Reaper at Carriageworks Theatre sees comedian Mitch Benn confront our mortality with hilarious consequences – because all of his childhood heroes are dropping like flies.

The suburbs have plenty on offer this weekend too. Claim your free cocktail and dance class at the Headingley Head of Steam’s charity Mardi Gras Spectacular, before checking out the live blues, jazz and funk tunes, all in aid of Sound Sense Respite & Entertainment. Or grab a slice of wood-fired pizza at Indie Banquet III at Hyde Park Book Club, where you’ll hear tunes from the likes of Mouses, Table Scraps, Lumer, Leeches and Deadwall.


There’s not all the live music on offer on Saturday night. The Wardrobe is home to hotly-tipped garage rockers Vant showcasing their new album, ‘Dumb Blood’. Wormrot are at Temple of Boom on the last UK stop of their grindcore tour and Hellions bring their hardcore punk tunes to The Key Club. Ravers can party the night away when FunkyLove 2017 Opening Party Presents Abigail Bailey alongside DJs Mark Tillotson, Tony Walker and Hatty Lovehearts at Duke Studios.

Across town at O2 Academy Leeds, Emma Wright and her five piece backing band bring The Amy Winehouse Experience to town, doing the soulful, ‘Back to Black’ hitmaker proud. And over at Leeds Town Hall, the Vienna Tonkünstler Symphony Orchestra will bring Mozart, Beethoven and Sibelius’ classics to life, after a talk by Brian Newbold.

Sunday 26th February 2017

The Dears

Credit: Richmond Lam

There’s more than a Sunday roast to sink your teeth into to finish off your weekend in Leeds. Tuck into the World Feast on Briggate, with everything from Jamaican jerk chicken to bratwurst, it’s perfect for big appetites. More of a sweet tooth? Scope out the Fashion Show and Afternoon Tea Extravaganza at The Queens Hotel – three stylish new collections are winging their way down the runway for two worthy charities.

Meanwhile, the theatres span both ends of the happiness spectrum. If you’re partial to sequin-clad drag queens and comedy, the Music Hall Tavern with Mrs T and the girls will certainly capture your attention at Leeds City Varieties. But Holbeck Underground Ballroom strikes a downright darker tone with Safe House, a political thriller following mysterious break-ins and a sinister plot on a missing girl’s computer.

As you can imagine, there’s also plenty of live music worth seeking out in Leeds this weekend. Two Canadian bands have made the long-haul trip, for your entertainment – Montreal indie legends The Dears make their long-awaited return with their latest release, ‘Times Infinity Volume One’ at Brudenell Social Club, as pop-punk icons Sum 41 stop by O2 Academy Leeds on their ‘Don’t Call it A Sum-Back’ tour.

Want to hear some home-grown talent? Support Leeds’ post-punks Fehm this weekend, when they give their debut album ‘Circadian Life’ an airing at Temple of Boom. Or make the trip to Seven Arts to honour the King of Pop, because the 19-strong Leeds Eastgate Big Band are Playing the Music of Michael Jackson with the Camilla George Quartet.