qll_mif7xjc-kelly-sikkemaSnow Ball, Gateshead

Head to St Mary’s Heritage Centre on 10th December for the return of this popular dance night, based on a dress code of Snow and Sparkles. Two international DJs and a great live band will be in attendance, giving you the perfect opportunity to strap on your festive dancing shoes.

The evening will get underway with DJ Andy Lewis getting the Swing Dance Social going, after which, it will be time for a short taster Swing session for the early arrivals, with the talented Lindy Jazz introducing novices to the easy style and fun of Swing, while nicely warming up the more seasoned dancers.

Then, from about 8:30pm, will be the Snow Ball itself, enabling you to bust out your favourite moves to music spanning the 1920s to 1950s, courtesy of the incomparable Strictly Speakeasy Band. Taking place in a gorgeous location overlooking the River Tyne, the event represents the perfect relaxed Christmas party for all couples, friends and colleagues with a love for live music and dancing.

There will even be best-dressed competitions, while the evening will be closed out by the ever-dependable DJ Gillian Scott. How could you possibly hope to round off your year any more stylishly than this?

The standard ticket price is £18, although advanced £16 tickets are available to those booking by Saturday 3rd December. Visit www.lindy-jazz.co.uk, call 07719 174 544 or email events@lindy-jazz.co.uk for more information.

The Tales of Beatrix Potter, Gateshead

The wonderful world of Beatrix Potter continues to enchant and delight audiences young and old, and when they pop into St Mary’s Heritage Centre between 20th and 24th December, they can remind themselves of all of its charms of such characters as Peter Rabbit and friends, Jeremy Fisher and Mrs Tiggywinkle.

This special showing, which takes place at various times over the five days, is directed by Dianne Jackson and carefully captures the originality and joy of Beatrix Potter’s own drawings, perfectly supported by the music of Colin Towns and introduced with cameo performances by Niamh Cusack.

The showing takes place in a specially created starlit setting, with 900 years of Gateshead history transformed into a film theatre. We really can’t think of many more befitting ways to celebrate 150 years of Beatrix Potter’s life, whether you and your family are familiar with her works or are only just becoming acquainted with her remarkable universe.

Tickets are priced from £5. If you are interested in a private early screening for a group, special occasion or birthday party, simply call 0191 433 4699 or email heritage@gateshead.gov.uk for costs and details.

The Biscuit Factory Festive Weekends, Newcastle

There’s a rich contemporary art scene to enjoy here in the North East. However, while many of us are familiar with such institutions as the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima), it’s easy to forget that our region is also home to the UK’s largest commercial art, craft and design gallery, The Biscuit Factory.

This year, the venue hosts an eclectic programme of Festive Weekends to truly bring the Yuletide spirit to Newcastle’s cultural quarter. On 3rd December, for instance, there is the opportunity to create a decorative garland for your fireplace, courtesy of Boutique Floral. This, and other workshops hosted by Boutique Floral across the month – covering such subjects as how to design a festive table arrangement or create your own Christmas door wreath – are priced at £30 per person and must be booked in advance by calling the gallery on 0191 261 1103.

With various other workshops and demos taking place throughout the month, including Simon Griffiths’ demo of wildlife sculpture on 4th December and Carruthers & Kent’s ‘ask the expert’ event on pairing wines with your seasonal dishes on 11th December, the gallery will remain a hive of activity right up to Christmas Eve.

Visit www.thebiscuitfactory.com to learn more about the full programme of events

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