Critical List: The Best Events Happening Across The Midlands This May

Critical List: The Best Events Happening Across The Midlands This April

Summer is just around the corner we can practically taste the 99 (with a flake, of course) and smell the cut grass.

May gifts us with two Bank Holidays and a wealth of events and we’ve rounded up some of the best events across Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham and Derby this May.

The Band
1st – 12th May at birmingham hippodrome

Written by award winning writer Tim Firth, THE BAND is a beautiful story for anyone who grew up with a boyband and how those songs became the soundtrack to their lives.

For five 16 year old girls in 1992, the band is everything. Twenty five years on, we are reunited with this group of friends as they try once more to fulfil their dream of meeting their heroes.

Featuring the music of Take That, Britain’s most successful boyband of all time, whose songs include Never Forget, Back For Good, A Million Love Songs, Greatest Day, The Flood, Relight My Fire, Shine & Rule the World and starring the winners from the BBC’s Let it Shine, Five to Five.

Tickets and more information:

Birmingham Music Awards
2nd May at Glee Club, Birmingham

A new search for excellence in music will culminate in the inaugural Birmingham Music Awards on Wednesday 2nd May. The only city-based awards to exclusively celebrate music achievement will reward the best of Birmingham’s musicians and contributors to the music business.

Tickets and more information:

joel dommett
3rd May at de montfort hall, leicester

One of the UK’s most energetic and exciting comedians returns to the road with his sols show, Joel Dommett: Live.

Catch the star of 2016’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here and Sky1’s Bring The Noise as he delivers his high octane comedy to venues up and down the country.

Tickets and more information:

INTERVIEW: 5 Minutes with Brad Simpson and Connor Ball from The Vamps

The Vamps
4th May at gENTING aRENA

Coming off the back of their biggest single ever ‘All Night’ with 300 million global streams and a number one UK album, The Vamps will continue to be centre stage in 2018 and will take Birmingham by storm.



frank turner & the sleeping souls
4th May at 02 academy leicester

Coinciding with the release of his seventh studio album Be More Kind, Frank Turner is headed back on the road for a country spanning tour. Catch a singer-songwriter at the top of his game this May.


Derby Film Festival
4-13th May @ Derby QUAD

Derby Film Festival is back for its fifth edition taking place from 4th – 13th May 2018. Expect the usual array of previews, classic films from the archive and a weekend dedicated to genres beyond the mainstream.

tickets and more information:

handmade festival
5th May at 02 academy leicester

Handmade Festival is a totally independent music and arts festival that takes place every year on May bank holiday.

Tickets and more information:

© Photography by Daisy Denham for Here & Now (

forbidden forest
6th May at donington park

A series of unique forest parties at Donington Park Forest in Derbyshire. Forbidden Forest was born as a passionate response to the stagnation of the dance music festival and clubbing circuit in the UK.

Tickets and more information:

craig charles funk and soul club all day
6th May at rock city, nottingham

Building on sell-out performances at clubs up and down the country and headline festival appearances,The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Club guarantees only the funkiest tunes will make it into the best party in town!


Everywhere 2018 with Patrick Topping
6th May @ Stealth Nottingham

One of the most in-demand names in dance music, Patrick Topping leads the line-up of Nottingham’s Biggest Indoor Dance Event


We are Scientists
6th May at O2 Institute Birmingham

Currently gearing up to release new album Megaplex this spring, We Are Scientists are very much back and ready to dazzle the world with ten brand new splashes of colourful and utterly addictive pop.

so much things to say – the life & times of bob marley
5th may at 2funky music cafe

Two of the world’s most acclaimed reggae writers in conversation for two hours of unique insights into the life and times of Bob Marley and the Wailers.
This show includes rare and unreleased film and audio recordings of Marley plus anecdotes and insights drawn from the speakers own experiences and knowledge of Jamaica, it’s music and culture.—The-Life–Times-of-Bob-Marley/13190103/

5th & 6th May at nottingham aRENA

Hot on the heels of this year’s sell out event, EM-Con 2018 will see the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham filled with the very best in film, television and pop culture fandom as attendees, celebrity guests, traders and cosplayers flock to an annual celebration that has become a firm fixture in the Nottingham calendar.

wilkinson dj set ft mc ad-apt
6th may at club republic

One of the biggest names in Drum & Bass makes a appearance to Leicester for a night of Bank Holiday fun!  tickets:–Bank-Holiday-Sunday–Club-Rep/13194110/

7th-12th May at Nottingham Theatre Royal

Flashdance – The Musical tells the inspiring and unforgettable story of 18 year old Alex, a welder by day and ‘flashdancer’ by night, who dreams of going to the prestigious Shipley Dance Academy and becoming a professional dancer. When a romance complicates her ambitions, she harnesses it to drive her dream.


Back to Ours
6th May at Tunnel Club, Birmingham

Crazy Elrow style club night ‘Back To Ours’ throws its free house warming party at Birmingham’s ‘Tunnel Club’ on May 6th from 7pm – 4am featuring Bedrock’s Nick Muir, Stelios Vassiloudis and Luke Brancaccio alongside back to ours residents Ryan McCormack, Kiz Pattison. Madness and shenanigans guaranteed.


Ben Hanlin
8th May at Glee Birmingham

TV Magician Ben Hanlin returns to the Edinburgh Fringe this year with his brand-new show, and this is your chance to see it first! Ben has searched the globe and the history books to find the fifty best magic tricks ever performed. He’s added his own cheeky spin, and presents them in this fast-paced magic show!


The Last Ship
8th – 12th May at Nottingham Playhouse

After a receiving widespread critical acclaim and five-star reviews at its official opening in Newcastle’s Northern Stage, The Last Ship sets sail on a UK and Ireland Tour and will be stopping off at Nottingham Playhouse.

I’m About To Lose Control And I Think Joe Lycett
10 & 11th May @ New Alexandra Theatre Birmingham

Pop in and see Joe Lycett on his brand new stand-up tour, where he’ll be sharing jokes, paintings and some of the forbi internet trolling he’s been up to recently.



B-SIDE Hip-Hop Festival
9th – 13th May at Birmingham Hippodrome

Showcasing the city’s finest Hip-Hop talents and world-class names, don’t miss THE Hip-Hop event of the year!


INTERVIEW: Michael McIntyre

michael mcintyre
10th-13th may at aRENA birmingham

One of Britain’s biggest comedians is back in Brum for a three night stop in the city.
Michael McIntyre is bringing his Big World Tour to the Arena Birmingham stage in May 2018, for a night full of giggles!


12th May at o2 Academy Birmingham

Meet the men who were the inspiration behind hit Netflix TV series NARCOS, as DEA agents Javier Pena and Steve Murphy visit venues across the UK to tell their story. As two key players in bringing down the Cali Cartel, the agents have helped transform their tale into a hugely successful show. Come join them as they divulge information not seen in the series and have your chance to ask them questions on all things NARCOS.

8th may at rock city nottingham
12th May at O2 Institute Birmingham

Jungle make a welcome return to the stage in May, with the mesmeric seven-piece live band performing a string of headline dates across the UK. Taking time out from the studio, where they’ve been working on the follow-up to their acclaimed debut album, this’ll be a chance for fans to experience their thrilling live show once again.

house of verse
12th May at 2funky music cafe

Vibrant, Leicester-based performance troupe staging regular, festivalesque showtowns.

Classical and electronic orchestration will collide at the Belgrade Theatre this Spring

the magic flute
12th May at belgrade theatre

Following their hugely popular and critically-acclaimed English language re-imaginings of operas including La Bohème and Carmen, Olivier Award-winning OperaUpClose take on Mozart’s classic, The Magic Flute.This production will re-invent The Magic Flute in fabulous new robes for the era of Trump and recessions, casting rays of light and love into the darkness through Glyn Maxwell’s mischievous poetry, Alex Beetschen’s lively orchestration and Valentina Ceschi’s theatrical creativity.

rich hall’s hoedown
13th May at derby theatre

The Hoedown begins as a withering dissection of Trump’s America, but ends up being a celebration of Americana. There’s stand-up, improvised ballads, cracking good musicianship, and ultimately a hilarious, foot-stomping, shit-kicking good time to be had by all. Even if you don’t own a hoe.



Pilot Theatre and York Theatre Royal are proud to bring the dark underworld of Graham Greene’s classic novel Brighton Rock to the stage in this new adaptation by acclaimed writer Bryony Lavery – an unmissable version of this gripping noir thriller.


Legally Blonde
15-29th May @ Theatre Royal Nottingham

Omigod, omigod you guys! Legally Blonde The Musical is coming to the Theatre Royal Nottingham in May 2018. We feel so much better than before!
Rita Ora
16th May at O2 Academy Birmingham

Rita Ora is back and alongside the release of her latest singles ‘Your Song’ and ‘Anywhere’, she’s also returning to the stage for an epic UK headline tour in May 2018. Get your tickets now and be one of the first to see her new material live.


The Fleabag bites back. A rip-roaring account of some sort of a female living her sort of life. Following the BAFTA award-winning BBC series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre bring you the acclaimed stage production of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s cult hit.


Nina Nesbitt
14th may at rescue rooms, nottingham
16th May at o2 Institute Birmingham

After some time away, Nina Nesbitt is back with a more mature and smooth pop sound, and a headline tour to go with it. Catch her perform latest offerings ‘The Moments I’m Missing’ and ‘Somebody Special’, whilst getting a taste of what’s still to come from the songstress.

jeff dunham
19th May at gENTING aRENA

Record-breaking, global comedy superstar, Jeff Dunham, is bringing his cast of characters to the Genting Arena in May 2018, for one of only two UK dates!

Come and join America’s favourite ventriloquist and his famous cohort of characters for the ‘Passively Aggressive’ tour.  You don’t want to miss it!


21st – 27th may at 2 funky music cafe

Now in its 5th year, Festival2Funky will be a fantastic celebration of Black music and arts taking place from 21 – 27 May 2018 at 2Funky Music Café in Leicester’s West End. The festival will encompass reggae, soul, drum ‘n’ bass, ukg, afro beats, funk, house, R&B, hip hop, grime, spoken word and jazz. Exhilarating live performances and open mic sets, across these genres, will feature alongside masterclasses, graffiti workshops, DJ sets, comedy, after-parties and lots more!

dan and phil: interactive introverts
2nd may at nottingham royal concert hall
22nd may at symphony hall

Dan and Phil present their new stage show, Interactive Introverts. Two internet dwelling, insecure nerds standing under the spotlight to give the people what they want: an epic interactive experience of rants, roasts, battles, stories… and surprises that will make you laugh, cry, cringe and puts the audience in control unlike anything before!

Dan & Phil World Tour 2018 – Interactive Introverts

24th May at O2 Academy Birmingham

Midland’s indie quartet Peace are back with a brand new album and a full UK tour to flaunt it with. Kindness Is The New Rock And Roll swells with romantic riffs and heart-shaped lyrics that’ll have you dancing until the end. Experience it for yourself when they tour the UK in May.


Loss & Laughter: new musical The Leftovers heads to the Belgrade Theatre

The Leftovers
24-28th May @ Belgrade Theatre

The Leftovers is a comic and stirring contemporary musical from Sheep Soup Productions, creators of hit musical Mrs Green and graduates of Nottingham’s BAFTA award-winning Television Workshop.

Following the sudden death of Jodie, occasional gig reviewer and the definition of misadventure, some of her friends join forces in a Nottingham recording studio. Local singer-songwriter Hayley has penned a memorial song for Jodie, but the makeshift band can’t seem to agree on what their late friend would have wanted from a musical tribute. Are they here to pay their respects or to alleviate their guilt? Or is this just an intense form of music therapy?


lisa lashes presents originl
25th may at boxed bar and music venue, leicester

Lisa is back for more shenanigans this May bank holiday, with a whole new line up of local and UK talent.

Iain Stirling
25th may at nottingham playhouse

BAFTA-winning comedian Iain Stirling is back after a summer narrating smash hit Love Island (ITV2) and now you can see his actual face on his brand new tour!



tom zanetti & k.o kane
27th may at club republic

at the forefront of the uk’s ever growing bass scene is the world renowned mc tom zanetti. an extremely talented, charismatic artist and personality that has the unique ability to produce some of europe’s biggest underground deep house & bass anthems and perform them live on stage to thousands, giving fans an unforgettable experience.

it is far more than just a live set, it’s a show to give fans a high energy experience that is second to none.–KO-KANE/13194037/

dot to dot festival
27TH MAY AT  rock city, nottingham

Taking place in Manchester, Bristol & Nottingham on May bank holiday weekend (25 – 27 May) for its 13th year, the festival is renowned for uncovering the most exciting emerging artists from across the UK and around the world.



Your favourite drag stars return with a fierce new show for 2018 in The Official RuPaul’s Drag Race World Tour! Hosted by celebrity judge Michelle Visage with sickening performances by DetoxKennedy DavenportKim ChiLatrice RoyaleSharon NeedlesValentina and Violet Chachki! Presented by Voss Events in collaboration with World of Wonder and VH1.

28th May at gENTING aRENA

The festival is set to return for its biggest year to date with not one, but two major headline artists! Pop Punk titans Good Charlotte will be joining the previously announced emo-rock legends Jimmy Eat World. Their co-headline performance is set to be a defining moment for the festival as it marks the Slam Dunk Festival debut of both showstopping artists.

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