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Celebrate Christmas at Sage Gateshead

Posted on 25 October 2022

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  • Seasonal favourites, festive nights out and family fun for audiences, artists and the North.
  • Royal Northern Sinfonia Christmas by Candlelight tour of the North East returns.
  • Christmas Cabaret in Sage Two offers a series of varied cabaret style concerts for £ 20 that are bound to please everyone.

From evenings packed with Broadway classics to The Messiah and favourites like Kate Rusby, and a special film screening of The Snowman with Royal Northern Sinfonia, Sage Gateshead has a huge range of warming winter treats and nights out to make Christmas extra special this year.

To kick off the celebrations award-winning folk trio Granny’s Attic bring verve, energy and their own inimitable style to Sage Two (Thursday 1 December).

Polish duo Hania Rani and Dobrawa Czocher, the youngest female composer duo signed to Deutsche Grammophon, present their new album, Inner Symphonies on Friday 2 December. Manchester’s symphony orchestra The Hallé also open the Christmas season with the glowing melodies of Tchaikovsky’s greatest ballet score, The Sleeping Beauty, on Friday 2 December.

Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith takes over Sage One for a one-off afternoon of solo songs and surprises with some special guests and hand-picked support acts on Saturday 3 December. On the same day, multi-award-winning folk musician Eliza Carthy MBE celebrated her 30th career anniversary earlier this year with the release of ‘Queen Of The Whirl’ which she brings to Sage Gateshead with her band The Restitution. For an extra special day, those that book tickets for both shows will receive a £ 10 discount.

Hailed as ‘The Start of Christmas’ for many, Kate Rusby brings her humour and storytelling to Sage One on Thursday 15 December.

Also joining the Christmas line-up are Black Dyke Band performing well-known classics and festive favourites (Sunday 4 December), and Sage Gateshead regular and popular performers Martin Stephenson & The Daintees (Friday 9 December).

Sage Gateshead’s Artist in Residence Martha Hill will showcase some of the work she produced during her residency. Audiences can experience a collection of musical theatre songs inspired by Dracula, on Wednesday 7 December.

Have a great night out at the Soul’d Out Christmas Party on Saturday 10 December, the North East’s definitive live neo-soul, hip-hop and urban music night. Enjoy some of the greatest dance anthems and love songs ever written with the Luther Vandross tribute show, Luther on Friday 16 December. Experience the best of New Romantic 80s with the Calling Planet Earth 80s show on Thursday 8 December featuring songs from Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Ultravox, Tears For Fears, ABC, Japan, Human League and more.

New for 2022, Sage Gateshead presents Christmas Cabaret in Sage Two, a series of varied cabaret style concerts for £ 20 that are bound to please everyone. The line-up includes The Alehouse Sessions (Wednesday 14 December) which offers an insight into the music of the English 17th Century tavern. The annual celebration of music and cabaret returns with Sage Gateshead is Curious (Thursday 15 December). Hackney Colliery Band (Friday 16 December) will delight with their boundary-pushing music. Jazzy Christmas with Paul Edis and Friends (Saturday 17 December, 3pm + 8pm) will entertain with new renditions of festive favourites. The saxophone takes centre stage in an explosive concert featuring the Jess Gillam Ensemble (Wednesday 21 December). Discover the history of Christmas in Opera North with Martin Green (Thursday 22 December). Jez Lowe (Friday 23 December, 3pm + 8pm) returns with his annual Christmas tour for a truly celebratory day of music.

Choirmaster and broadcaster Gareth Malone, together with his band and a group of stellar singers, brings his ‘Sing-along-a-Gareth’ concert to Sage One featuring tunes he’s performed over the last 15 years on television (Tuesday 20 December).

Christmas isn’t complete for some without the magical sound of The Sixteen. On Friday 9 December, they bring a festive programme of a-capella choral music from the 12th century to the present day.

Enjoy a special screening of seasonal comedy classic Home Alone on Saturday 11 December with John William’s charming musical score performed live by Royal Northern Sinfonia, orchestra of Sage Gateshead, and the Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia. 

The glamour of the West End comes to the North East this Christmas, with an evening of the biggest musical theatre hits in RNS: Christmas on Broadway on Wednesday 14 December. Michael England conducts Royal Northern Sinfonia and a cast of West End and Broadway stars. There’ll be songs from The Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia!, The Lion King, Wicked and Frozen, plus a selection of seasonal musical numbers to put you in the Christmas spirit.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without Handel’s Messiah, now established as part of Sage Gateshead’s Christmas traditions. Directed from the violin by Bjarte Eike, expect a performance that brings out all the energy, freshness and sheer inspiration of this timeless classic on Saturday 17 December.

Royal Northern Sinfonia is delighted to be touring some of the North East’s most atmospheric churches again in a series of Christmas concerts. The orchestra will play a festive programme in candlelit churches in Sunderland, Cullercoats, Carlisle, Newcastle, Hexham, Kendal, Darlington and Musselburgh (Thursday 1 to Friday 9 December)

Christmas would not be complete until you’ve been to Sage Gateshead and let yourself be whisked off into the cold, starry night by The Snowman. This enchanting screening of the family favourite film, accompanied live by Royal Northern Sinfonia and runs from Wednesday 22 to Friday 24 December.

Children aged 7 and under can also join the Big Festive Family Gig on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December where a live band will play a range of seasonal favourites to sing along, dance and enjoy together. These gigs are always a hit with tickets £16 for a family of four and children’s lunch boxes available for just £3.95 to ticket holders.

Finishing off the seasonal celebrations is Royal Northern Sinfonia’s New Year’s Day Concert. Conducted by Viennese conductor Christoph Koncz, principal second violinist of the Vienna Philharmonic, bring in 2023 with waltzes and polkas by the Strauss family in the Viennese tradition.

During the festive season, audiences can enjoy themed meals and platters on selected nights. Highlights include three-course dining for The Messiah, The Snowman themed festive platters, and antipasto charcuterie board for an extra special New Year’s Day treat.

Sage Gateshead is also here for those that like to get involved and hands on; there are various opportunities to make music at Sage Gateshead this Christmas, with the Sage Gateshead Christmas Choir December sees ‘sharing concerts’ from tutors and students alike, and special one-off classes ranging from SING: Gospel Christmas (Saturday 10 December) to Play Guitar or SING: Rolling Stones (Thursday 15 December).

The children and young people who take part in Sage Gateshead’s Young Musicians Programme will also be at the heart of Christmas, with free performances making the YMP Live: Winter Wonders concerts a highlight celebrating the end of a brilliant year of music-making for all ages.

Sage Gateshead wants to ensure everyone can join in with a Sage Gateshead Christmas and due to popular demand last Christmas, Sage Gateshead will offer 1,000 £5 and £2.50 tickets across the Christmas season, to North East audiences coming to the venue for the first time. The charity hopes this offer will be particularly helpful to those who might otherwise be unable to afford tickets. The first tickets made available are for Royal Northern Sinfonia concerts in December, which can be purchased by phoning the Box Office on 0191 443 4661.

Abigail Pogson, Managing Director of Sage Gateshead, said:

“Christmas at Sage Gateshead is back at full throttle for 2022. Meanwhile, Royal Northern Sinfonia are out across the region with a Christmas by Candlelight programme. New this year is our Christmas Cabaret, a cross-genre programme of events all priced at £20, offering something for everyone.Whether you want traditional Christmas music, a fun night out with friends or something for the whole family, we’re looking forward to welcoming you in December.”


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About Sage Gateshead

  • Sage Gateshead is an international music centre for the North East and wider North. Through music, creative learning and artist development, the organisation demonstrates what music can achieve for communities.
  • Since opening in 2004, Sage Gateshead has worked side by side with partners and the wider community to help address the complex blend of social and economic challenges the region faces.
  • Sage Gateshead continues to be a major employer bringing investment and tourism into the region. We’ve generated a c. £500 million contribution to the local economy, a sum six times greater than its combined capital cost.
  • Sage Gateshead has brought social, cultural and educational value to over 10 million people and millions more via digital and broadcast activity. The scale of its artistic, learning and artist development activity places Sage Gateshead amongst the UK’s largest cultural organisations, while reaching a substantially more socially and economically diverse audience.
  • Pre-pandemic Sage Gateshead attracted 2 million visitors; 5,000 people took part in weekly music classes; 17,854 school children experienced live orchestral music and we worked with a further 2,418 vulnerable young people; more than 2,000 adults a week took part in music making designed to tackle social isolation.
  • The North East region is one of the worst affected by Covid-19. The region will be one where the recovery is slow and hard. Arts and culture have a pivotal role to play in regional and nation-wide recovery.
  • Covid-19 presents a major financial challenge to Sage Gateshead, the iconic Foster + Partners designed NE landmark. 80% of its income has been affected, and in 2020/21 £10 million in revenue was lost. The organisation has taken swift action to overcome this crisis. 90% of the workforce was placed on furlough, significant cost savings have been sought and found, and it launched a fundraising campaign to raise £3 million to help secure the organisation during the next three years. Further challenges lie ahead; in 2021/22, Sage Gateshead estimates box office and trading income to be less than half of what would be expected in a normal year.
  • Sage Gateshead temporarily closed to the public on 17 March 2020, five days ahead of the announcement of the national lockdown. Sage Gateshead recommenced performances in October 2020 with a season of socially distanced concerts featuring Royal Northern Sinfonia and artists across genres, made available by live stream; audiences were able to be present in the hall for two weekends of those performances.
  • In 2020 Sage Gateshead received a grant of £2.8 million from the Culture Recovery Fund Round One to help it through the pandemic and associated financial crisis. In 2021 the charity received a loan of £3m from the Culture Recovery Fund Round Two to support recovery. It has thanked the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and Arts Council England for this vital support.