Shelley, Cockles and Lady Koo; 10 TO SEE AND DO
Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, Theatre Royal, Newcastle, May 3-5, www.theatreroyal.co.uk Swagger, sensuality, socialism and even sunshine... this popular dance company from Havana have got it all. This tour of 21 dancers features a new commission Sombrisa by celebrated choreographer Itzik Galili which celebrates the 175th birthday of the Theatre Royal. The other two are tried and tested favourites, a sassy take on Carmen and the fabulous Mambo 3XX1.
GONG, venues in Gateshead and Durham, May 12-19, www.gongfestival.co.uk For anyone who has struggled with a recorder, the nice thing about a gamelan is that you can learn to play a tune in less than an hour. The gamelan is a ceremonial Indonesia orchestra with lots of gongs and players working collectively. This year's GONG festival includes beginners workshops and an vibrant open air festival of Indonesian music and dance.
Mary Shelley, Northern Stage. Newcastle, May 22-26, www.northernstage.co.uk Mary Shelley's astonishing life should make for an enthralling play by theatre company Shared Experience. Mary's mother died when she was a baby, and she was educated by her father the radical philosopher William Godwin. Helen Edmundson's play concentrates on the family drama played out in the Godwin household when Mary fell in love with Percy Shelley, who she eloped with aged 16.
Guns N'Roses, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, May 23, www.metroradioarena.co.uk Don't hold your breath for a reunion of the classic Guns N' Roses line-up and the only original member scheduled for this gig is Axl Rose. Despite pulling out of the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony in April, the May tour is on track and apparently the band are working on new material following the colossus, Chinese Democracy.
Hexham Gathering, May 24-27, www.queenshall.co.uk The gathering celebrates young singers, dancers and instrumentalists from all around Northumberland. This year's concerts include Katie Doherty in Stocksfield, Kat Davidson & Dan Walsh at Tarset and Folkestra inHexham. Oh, and don't forget the ceildh.
Massed Brass Bands, The Sage Gateshead, May 20, www.thesagegateshead.org Brass is best at this huge gig for 90 musicians. The programme includes classics and virtuoso show pieces including The Battle of Waterloo and 633 Squadron.Top conductor Erik Kolk is in the driving seat and there are also tributes to the great composer Roy Newsome. …