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Live performance events in Derbyshire and the Peak District

By Kingfisher Visitor Guides

Whether you’re a festival or theatregoer, opera or history buff, art critic or lover, Derbyshire and the Peak District has it all. Home to impressive art, museums, theatres, festivals, galleries and historic properties, you’ll never be short of an opportunity to immerse yourself in arts and culture when you visit the region.


Opera and festivals

Buxton is home to the outstandingly beautiful Frank Matcham-designed Buxton Opera House. It hosts the annual Buxton International Festival, which is recognised nationally and internationally as one of the UK’s leading arts festivals, alongside a fabulous year-round programme of events.

La finta giardiniera opera at Butxon International Festival, Derbyshire

Watch operas such as La finta giardiniera at Buxton International Festival

Described as ‘a happy marriage of opera, music and books,’ Buxton International Festival features the most promising up-and-coming, and also internationally established, artists and literary figures in a packed two-week programme.

It hosts the annual Buxton International Festival, which is recognised nationally and internationally as one of the UK’s leading arts festivals

Outdoor performances

Many of the region’s historic houses and properties also double up as outdoor venues regularly playing host to musical performances, cinema events, festivals and plays.

Chatsworth House, Kedleston Hall and Belper River Gardens are but a few historic and picturesque venues that play host to live outdoor performances of operas, Shakespeare’s plays and brilliant music acts.

Chatsworth House is also host to the three-day Chatsworth Festival – Art Out Loud, a literary festival with a difference held in September throughout the House and Gardens. Inspired by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire’s passion for art, the event is a festival of talks by artists, curators and writers.

Festival highlights

Many other festivals abound in the Peak District. The annual Dronfield Arts Festival is a four-day celebration of the arts. An eclectic mix of some of the best regional and national arts organised by the Dronfield Heritage Trust returns each May Day Bank Holiday weekend.

For cycling and vintage enthusiasts, the Eroica Britannia Festival is an absolute must. The three-day family adventure of all things handsome – music, glorious vintage, shopping, food, drink, camping and cycling – is held in the heart of the Peak District.

An eclectic mix of some of the best regional and national arts organised by the Dronfield Heritage Trust returns each May Day Bank Holiday weekend

Derby is often described as the City of Festivals and Derby LIVE provides some truly incredible venues for live music, shows and just about any other type of entertainment, including Derby Feste and Folk festivals. For music and festival lovers, Derbyshire is the place to be. It is home to award-winning small festivals where the acts are unknown and exciting, and the food and drink is local and artisan. The award-winning Y Not Festival in Pikehall is a family-friendly festival which attracts big names, like the Libertines, Madness and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, every year.

Theatre magic

Chesterfield is home to the Pomegranate Theatre. A Victorian building with a 546-seat auditorium, it was first opened as the Stephenson Memorial Hall as a tribute to George Stephenson, an English civil and mechanical engineer who built the first public inter-city railway line in the world. George Stephenson died in Chesterfield in 1848, where he is buried, and the Hall was opened in 1879 in his memory. As well as a stage, inside, the Pomegranate Theatre you’ll find a cinema screen for a full range of shows, music acts, films and displays.

A show being performed at the Pomegranate Theatre and Cinema in Chesterfield, Derbyshire

Catch a show at the Pomegranate Theatre and Cinema in Chesterfield

Derby City Centre is a must for theatre-goers. It is home to Derby Theatre, or Derby Playhouse as it was previously known. Opened in 1975, it is renowned for brilliant and diverse performances and shows – from Shawshank Redemption to Alice in Wonderland. It’s also the place for aspiring actors, writers and producers in the local area, with regular workshops, classes and even open mic nights.


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Image credits: ©David J King/Buxton Opera House; Destination Chesterfield/Matt Jones Photography; Robert Workman Photographer/Buxton International Festival; www.shoot-lifestyle.co.uk/Chatsworth House Trust; Video: Hello Y Not/YouTube

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