Published April 10, 2017 1.45pm
Acts from across the world will descend on Durham for the return of the BRASS Festival, just one of many highlights in the new season at the Gala Theatre.
The festival, returning to the city for the 11th year, includes performances from the world's best brass band The Cory Band as well as the BBC Big Band celebrating the 100th anniversary of Dizzy Gillespie - one of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time.
The Durham City venue also hosts Brass on Broadway, with the Scottish Swing Orchestra joining West End stars to perform swing versions of popular songs from shows including Hairspray and West Side Story.
The festival runs from Friday, 7 July to Sunday, 16 July with further performances also taking place across other venues in the city.
There's more live music in May, with Wicked star Rachel Tucker set to wow audiences as part of her first solo UK tour on Monday, 29 May, followed by Debbie Bond, Dr Feelgood and Ryan McGarvey and Kyla Box headlining this year's Durham Blues Festival on Saturday, 17 June.
Musical theatre lovers also have the chance to participate in a masterclass with West End and Broadway star Kerry Ellis - who has performed in Les Miserables, Cats and We Will Rock You - on Saturday, 1 July, with an opportunity for questions and answers following the session.
One of the world's most loved operas also comes to Gala, with the English Touring Opera performing Puccini's Tosca on Tuesday, 16 May as well as Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience, which pokes fun at the eccentric affectation of celebrities including Oscar Wilde, the previous evening.
Fans of the Gala Lunchtime Concert Series can look forward to performances by jazz artists Mark Williams and Joel Byrne-McCullough on Friday, 26 May and Jo Harrop on Friday, 28 July, both priced at £5.
The new season also brings theatre to suit all tastes, with the chance to see Mr Corvan's Music Hall from Thursday, 25 May to Saturday, 27 May.
The new musical play, which tells the story of 19th century comedian, virtuoso violinist and singer Ned Corvan, was written by Tyneside-based playwright Ed Waugh, author of Hadaway Harry and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To Durham.
Later in the summer, the young stars of Gala Theatre Stage School will take to the stage with their version of Rent - School Edition from Saturday, 29 July to Saturday, 5 August, telling the thrilling story of impoverished young artists struggling to survive in New York's East Village.
Birmingham Royal Ballet also make a triumphant return with a triple bill of Solitaire, 5 Tangos and Pineapple Poll from Tuesday, 9 May to Wednesday, 10 May.
The new season brings more screenings from the National Theatre, with Jude Law starring in a new stage adaptation of 1943 film Obsession on Thursday, 11 May, while Oscar-nominee Imelda Staunton takes to the stage in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? from Thursday, May 18 to Tuesday, 30 May.
There's also plenty to keep audiences entertained with top comedians lined up across the season.
Satirical impressionist and BAFTA-winner Rory Bremner visits Durham on Wednesday, 12 July and brings along some special surprise guests, while The Comedy Store's monthly shows provide a stellar line-up of top comedic talent.
Other highlights include people's poet Dr John Cooper Clarke returning to Gala on Saturday, 6 May, entertaining audiences with his northern anecdotes and keen social observations, followed by Bang! Said The Gun - voted the best poetry night in the UK - on Friday, 12 May.
In July, audiences will be enthralled by a talk from 'greatest living explorer' Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who offers a personal journey through his life.
Mind over Matter covers his life from childhood up to his current Global Reach Challenge, which has so far included risking life and limb undertaking record breaking projects while suffering frostbite.
Robin Byers, our service manager for The Gala Theatre, said: "It's festival season once again and we will be hosting a whole series of exciting events as part of the BRASS Festival.
"This summer's broad-ranging programme also features everything from the elegance of Birmingham Royal Ballet to the observational and lyrical humour of Dr John Cooper Clarke."
To view the full summer programme and book tickets, visit The Gala box office, call 03000 266 600 or go online at Gala Theatre's website