January arts review

Dear England will be screened at Leyburn Arts Centre.

Well, it always goes a bit quiet in January, but by no means silent. There are some gems if you’re prepared to travel: I’ve peeked into early February too so you can book early. Top of my bill is the New Year’s Day Concert on January 2 at 3pm in Middlesbrough Town Hall. A magnificent auditorium, a riot of Johann Strauss, and the Royal Northern Sinfonia guarantees top class music making. If you prefer folk, then the legendary Sharon Shannon Trio is at Masham Town Hall that same evening. She’s Ireland’s biggest selling artist ever, can play more or less everything, and sings like an angel.

Sticking with music, harpist Milo Harper plays a lovely programme at Darlington Music Society on January 8, and in Ripon the students of the RNCM play a programme of Beethoven: they are a fabulous bunch and deserve an audience. On January 26 the Hallé Orchestra plays Stravinsky’s sensational Firebird at the Sage. For folk lovers, February 6 at the Glasshouse is very special indeed: Transatlantic Sessions 2024 is here, with more huge names than I can possibly give you. Carlene Carter, Aly Bain, John McCusker, Linsey Lou, Kim Karnie and Joshua Burnside for starters. Phenomenal.

Don’t miss the National Theatre live relay of Dear England at Leyburn Arts Centre on January 25. I’ve seen the play in London, and whether you like or loathe football, it’s a revelation. And visit leyburnartscentre.com to see their sequence of very good films in early January. Jazz and cocktails anyone? Richmond Station on January 27 is for you. Looking ahead, there’s a top-class new Richmond orchestra debut, a visit from Barrie Rutter, and lots of other goodies!