Bottom’s up for love & looning in More Things To Do in York & beyond. Here’s Hutch’s List No. 15, from The Press

The eyes have it: Love-struck Natalie Windsor’s Titania and Tweedy the clown’s Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, on tour at York Theatre Royal. Picture: Andrew Huggins/Thousand Word Media

GOTHIC Austen, a clowning Bottom, a dose of the blues, a Technicolor dreamcoat, open studios and a reactivated newsroom satire feature in Charles Hutchinson’s recommendations for a busy diary.

York play of the week: Cheltenham Everyman Theatre in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, York Theatre Royal, April 9 to 13, 7pm plus 2pm Thursday and 2.30pm Saturday matinees

EVERYMAN Theatre Company’s staging of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream puts a new twist on the familiar tale by casting comedy clown Tweedy as Bottom and making him “comedy advisor” on Paul Milton’s production to boot.

The night’s magic, mischief, and mayhem unfold in an enchanted Athenean forest, intertwining the romantic misadventures of four young lovers, the playful meddling of mischievous fairies and the comedic antics of amateur actors, culminating in a tale of love, mistaken identity and reconciliation engineered by Jeremy Stockwell’s meddlesome Puck. Box office: 01904 623568 or

Tom Killner: Soul-drenched Southern rock and Americana at York Blues Festival

Festival of the week: York Blues Festival, The Crescent, York, today, 1pm to 11pm; doors, 12.30pm

NAME of the week? Step forward The 20ft Squid Blues Band, participants in this weekend’s York Blues Festival, curated by Paul Winn and Ben Darwin, hosts of Jorvik Radio’s Blues From The Ouse show and the Ryedale Blues Club.

Performing too will be Dirty Ruby, Bison Hip, The James Oliver Band, Hot Foot Hall, York band DC Blues, The Milk Men and Tom Killner. Tickets update: Sold out; for returns only,

Ceramicist Patricia Qua, who will make her York Open Studios debut in Hemplands Drive, York

Preview of the week: York Open Studios, Hospitium, York Museum Gardens, York, today and tomorrow, 10am to 4pm

YORK Open Studios 2024 hosts a taster exhibition this weekend at the Hospitium, ahead of the full event on April 13, 14, 20 and 21. More than 150 artists who live or work within a ten-mile radius of the city will be welcoming visitors to 100 workspaces to show and sell their art, ranging from ceramics, collage, digital, illustration, jewellery and mixed media to painting, print, photography, sculpture, textiles and wood. Among them will be 29 new participants. Full details can be found at

Back in the news: The original cast reassembles for Drop The Dead Donkey: The Reawakening! at Leeds Grand Theatre

Breaking News of the week: Drop The Dead Donkey: The Reawakening!, Leeds Grand Theatre, April 9 to 13, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday matinees

THIRTY years since the launch of the trailblazing television series Drop The Dead Donkey, the Globelink News team is back, live on stage for the first time. Original cast members Stephen Tompkinson, Neil Pearson, Susannah Doyle, Robert Duncan, Ingrid Lacey, Jeff Rawle and Victoria Wicks reunite for a new script by sitcom writing duo Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin.

“It’s going to be hugely enjoyable to watch those seven funny, flawed characters from Globelink News being plunged into the cutthroat world of modern 24-hour news-gathering and trying to navigate their way through the daily chaos of social media, fake news, and interim Prime Ministers,” say the writers. Box office: 0113 243 0808 or

Go, go, Joseph: Lead actor Reuben Khan in York Stage’s poster for Joseph And The Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Grand Opera House, York

Musical of the week: York Stage in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Grand Opera House, York, April 12 to 20, 7.30pm except April 14, 15 and 19; 2.30pm, April 13 and 20; 4pm, April 14; 5pm and 8pm, April 19

BE ready to paint the city in every colour of the rainbow as Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical dazzles the Grand Opera House in York Stage’s vibrant production, directed by Nik Briggs, with musical direction by Adam Tomlinson and choreography by Lesley Hill.

Reuben Khan leads the cast as Joseph, joined by Hannah Shaw as the Narrator, Carly Morton as Pharaoh, Martin Rowley as Jacob, Finn East as Simeon and Matthew Clarke as Potiphar, among others. Tickets are selling fast at

Shareefa Energy!: Guest performance poet at April 12’s Say Owt Slam at The Crescent

Spoken word clash of the week: Say Owt Slam, featuring Shareefa Energy!, The Crescent, York, April 12, 7.45pm

SAY Owt, “York’s loveable gobby gang of performance poets”, take over The Crescent twice a year for raucous, high-energy nights of verse that combine a slam war of words with a guest performer.

“In a slam, poets have three minutes to wow the audience to become the champion,” says host Henry Raby. “It’s fast, frantic and fun: perfect for people who love poetry, and those who think they hate poetry too.”

Special guest Shareefa Energy! is a poet, writer, activist, educator, creative campaigner, workshop facilitator and arts and wellbeing practitioner of Indian and Muslim heritage from working-class Highfields in Leicester. Box office: or on the door.

Robert Gammon: Performing with Maria Marshall and Alison Gammon at St Chad’s Church

Dementia Friendly Tea Concert: Maria Marshall, Robert Gammon and Alison Gammon, St Chad’s Church, Campleshon Road, York, April 182.30pm

CELLIST Maria Marshall opens this Dementia Friendly Tea Concert with Faure’s Elegy, accompanied by pianist Robert Gammon, who then plays two short solo Grieg piano pieces. Alison Gammon joins them for Beethoven’s trio Opus 11 for clarinet, piano and cello.

The relaxed 45-minute concert, ideal for people who may not feel comfortable at a formal classical concert, will be followed by tea and homemade cakes in the church hall. Seating is unreserved; no charge applies to attend but donations are welcome for hire costs and Alzheimer’s charities. 

Lucy Worsley: Revelations about Jane Austen at York Barbican

Show announcement of the week: An Audience with Lucy Worsley on Jane Austen, York Barbican, October 14, 7.30pm

FOLLOWING up her Agatha Christie tour, historian and presenter Lucy Worsley’s latest illustrated talk steps into the world of Jane Austen, one of English literature’s most cherished figures as the author of Pride And Prejudice, Sense And Sensibility and Persuasion. 

Through the houses, places and possessions that mattered to Austen, Worsley looks at what home meant to her and to the women like her who populate her novels. Austen lived a “life without incident”, but with new research and insights Worsley reveals a passionate woman who fought for her freedom. Box office:

In Focus: Exhibition launch, Makiko, Picture Imperfect, York Theatre Royal, April 8 to 28

Exhibition poster for Makiko’s Picture Imperfect at York Theatre Royal

YORK photographer Makiko has shifted her focus to the mental health of vulnerable children in her Picture Imperfect exhibition at York Theatre Royal.

After her trip to photograph scenes from Gunkanjima (Battleship Island), as well as a spiritual journey to the uninhabited island of Nozaki, Japanese-born Makiko has responded to the impact of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The result is this month’s Theatre Royal foyer exhibition featuring remote portrait photography, colour photos taken by children and a short film on the theme of the lives of vulnerable children and teenagers in the artist’s community in York, exploring their struggles with mental health and their developing identities.

Makiko’s project has received funding from Arts Council England and was conceived to work alongside The Island, a charity that offers mentorship and safeguarding for young people in the community regardless of their socio-economic circumstances or life experiences.

“The more I began to know the charity, the more I learned of a darker reality and of things such as child trafficking and sexual exploitation,” says Makiko. “All the children involved in this project have experienced early life trauma or pre-existing mental challenges or both.

“The conceptualisation of the project coincided with the lockdowns imposed by the UK government to combat Covid-19. Northern England was particularly hard hit: this in turn has had a profound impact on these children’s lives.”

The Covid strictures placed significant restrictions on how Makiko needed to approach her work, imposing the necessity of a creative solution to comply with social distancing and meeting the necessary regulations.

The artist provided the children with disposable cameras to shoot their everyday life. Much of her own photo-shooting was carried out remotely during the lockdown, to document what they were doing and thinking at home.

“Once the restrictions were lifted in early spring 2022, I visited the children during the art activity sessions and let them express themselves both in front of my viewfinder, as well as in writing,” says Makiko. “Subsequently, the work was exhibited at York Open Studios in April that year.”

The story is intertwined with the experience of Makiko and her younger son following their relocation back to the United Kingdom. “He suffered from assault and racial discrimination at school, resulting in school refusal and being housebound for several years,” she recalls. “This provided a precursor to the isolating experiences that children would go on to face during the pandemic.”

Makiko encountered direct racial abuse too, including a physical assault. “Both of us had struggled to fit into the environment,” she says. “The UK has continued to manifest deep division in the aftermath of Brexit, including rises in racism, anti-social behaviour and hate crimes in general.”

Most importantly, Makiko realised that the entire process worked as a catalyst, helping her to recover from a psychological wound she had endured over the past few years. “I began to better understand what my younger son and other children have experienced,” she says. “This included an insight into the thoughts and behaviours of Generations Z during a unique period of UK history.”

This project was carried out when Makiko was a mentee of Magnum Photos during 2021-2022. The exhibition is produced in collaboration with The Island and in association with York Theatre Royal. Its accompanying photobook version will be published in 2024. For more information on Makiko, go to:

Makiko’s Picture Imperfect runs at York Theatre Royal, St Leonard’s Place, York, from April 8 to 27; on view from 10am, Monday to Saturday

Makiko: the back story

AWARD-WINNING photographer who has lived, studied and worked in Japan, France, North America, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Studied photography at International Center of Photography in New York.

Since 2006 her work has been exhibited in Japan, North America, and Europe. Best known for her black and white photography.

At present at Royal College of Art in London.

Features among 89 award-winning professional photographers from around the world in What Does Photography Mean To You?, selected by Scott Grant (Bluecoat Press).

Particular interest in high-functioning autism. In 2014 she launched her first documentary/photography book, Beautifully Different. Re-published in Japanese in March