LET US ENTERTAIN YOU…with the best shows this spring

The season’s off to a great start at Hull’s newest and largest venue the Bonus Arena with sold-out shows from Noel Gallagher’s High-Flying Birds, Olly Murs and Strictly Come Dancing: The Professionals Tour. If you’re quick, you could snap up tickets to see dancehall legend Sean Paul on 28 May, The Beach Boys with original members Mike Love and Bruce Johnston on 22 June, Canadian singer-songwriter k.d. lang on 13 July, and Professor Brian Cox, who’ll be revealing the secrets of the universe on 12 September.

Meanwhile, one of the oldest performance spaces in the city, Hull New Theatre is a Grade II listed building that’s been a performance venue since 1830 and is this year marking its 80th anniversary as Hull New Theatre. Watch out for highlights such as the all-male ballet ensemble in Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, 23-27 April; a hilarious show for families with school-age children based on the popular books by Liz Pichon, Tom Gates Live On Stage, 1-5 May; and a singalong with Motown The Musical, which debuts its first UK tour outside the West End from 25 June to 26 July.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS? Charles Dickens performed readings on the site of Hull New Theatre in 1859 and 1860. Other greats who’ve performed at this venue can be found on the walls of the Old English Gentleman pub next door. Pop in and raise a glass to Stan, Ollie and co.

Hull City Hall in Queen Victoria Square goes into spring with a rip-roaring live adaptation of a much-loved book for younger children, Zog. The dragon created by children’s story dream team Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler will be in Hull on 23-24 April. A huge highlight for opera fans comes to Hull City Hall for one night only on 7 June when Verdi’s iconic opera Aida will be performed with a full-scale orchestra (in Italian, with English subtitles). And comedian Jimmy Carr brings his latest show aimed firmly at over-16s, Terribly Funny, on 21 September.

At acclaimed independent venue, Hull Truck Theatre in Ferensway, highlights include: a welcome return of the joyous tribute to Hull guitar hero Mick Ronson, Turn And Face The Strange, from 25 April to 4 May; an adaptation of Melvyn Bragg’s novel The Hired Man from 23 May to 15 June; and Room On The Broom Live On Stage, from 17-20 April, for visitors with children aged three and over. Hull Truck also hosts the annual Hull Jazz Festival on 19-20 July, and there’s top-notch comedy from Shappi Khorsandi: Skittish Warrior… Confessions of a Club Comic, on 21 June. Hull Truck’s growing summer season culminates in cutting-edge Edinburgh Fringe previews of works by Hull Independent Producer Initiative-supported artists and theatre companies – Middle Child, Lucy Beaumont, Jack Gleadow, The Kagools, Richard Stott and First Time.

DID YOU KNOW: Hull Truck Theatre got its name because the touring theatre company began life performing shows from the back of a truck! Its now responsible for some of the UK’s best-loved plays.

For an outdoor gig in an intimate venue, visit Zebedee’s Yard, tucked away between the streets of Whitefriargate, Princes Dock Street and Posterngate. On 24 August, Phil Oakey, Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley aka The Human League, will be dropping in to deliver a perfect slice of Eighties pop.

And finally, speaking of slices… pizza, poetry, music and comedy are all on the menu at Kardomah94, an independent smaller-sized cultural venue in Alfred Gelder Street. Try one of John Grant’s favourites, singer-songwriter Tom Kay and guests on 4 May, or classic Louisiana blues from Lil’ Jimmy Reed on 6 June.

Inspired? Book a short break now with some amazing rates on hotels, chic self catering apartments and boutique stays!