More Things To Do in and around York, on a bench and at home, courtesy of The Press, York. List No. 11

One man and his bench: Director Matt Aston in place for the Park Bench Theatre summer season at Rowntree Park, York. Picture: Livy Potter

OUTDOOR theatre is taking to a park bench and a mill garden. Museums and galleries, and even car boots sales, are re-opening.

Spanish holidays may be off the Brexiteer Prime Minister’s list of To Do’s in August, but York is stretching its limbs, dusting off the cobwebs, and saying welcome back.

Maybe Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester’s Mayor, should test-drive his eyesight by paying a visit to “a part of the north that looks most like the south,” he says. Really, Andy?

As we all turn into masketeers, CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these recommendations for days out and days in.

Cassie Vallance: Performing Teddy Bears’ Picnic in Rowntree Park’s Friends Garden

Outdoor theatre number one: Engine House Theatre’s Park Bench Theatre, Friends Garden, Rowntree Park, York, August 12 to September 5

HERE come Samuel Beckett’s rarely performed monologue, First Love, artistic director Matt Aston’s brand new play, Every Time A Bell Rings, and something for all the family inspired by a classic song, Teddy Bears’ Picnic, all staged on and around a park bench in a Covid-secure outdoor theatre season in York.

Each production will be presented in carefully laid out and spacious gardens, allowing audiences to keep socially distanced from each other. Chris Hannon will perform the Beckett piece; Lisa Howard, the play premiere; Aston’s co-creator, Cassie Vallance, the new children’s show.

Headphones or earphones will be required to hear the dialogue, sound effects and music in performances. All audience members will be given a receiver on entry; takeaway headphones cost £1 when booking a ticket online. Bring blankets or chairs.

Alexander Flanagan-Wright, left, and Phil Grainger swap sunnier climes on the other side of the world for Stillington Mill for their At The Mill shows

Outdoor theatre number two: The Flanagan Collective and Gobbledigook Theatre, “Six Days of Work”, Stillington Mill, near York, August 2 to 7, 7pm

“WE’RE doing some Orpheus, some Eurydice, and one night of New Stuff We Haven’t Done Before,” say Alexander Flanagan-Wright and Phil Grainger, introducing their raft of At The Mill two-handers.

Performances will take place in Alex’s back garden at Stillington Mill to a maximum, socially distanced, audience of 30 per show.

The new work, on August 5, will be a reading of Alex’s This Story Is For You and a fresh set of songs by Clive (Phil’s name for his solo music, Clive being his middle name and his father’s name). Orpheus and Eurydice will be all Greek to you, but in a good way.

Train coming: National Railway Museum to re-open next week

York galleries, museums and attractions leaving Lockdown hibernation

THE York Dungeon has re-opened already; York Art Gallery and Castle Museum will do so from Saturday.

Back on track next will be the National Railway Museum, in Leeman Road, going full steam ahead from August 4.

“To manage visitor numbers, we are introducing free, timed and guided routes around the museum to ensure you have a relaxed visit and can maintain social distancing,” says the NRM. To book, go to: railwaymuseum.org.uk/visit.

Senior operations assistant Charlotte Mundey prepares for the re-opening of the Rotunda Museum. Picture:
Tony Bartholomew

Museum re-opening of the week ahead outside York: Rotunda Museum, Scarborough, from August 8

SCARBOROUGH’S Rotunda Museum will re-open with a new booking system that gives small groups exclusive access.

Visiting slots will be every half hour across the day, allowing groups – or social bubbles – of up to six people at a time to explore the museum without having to follow prescriptive routes.

In the Ancient Seas Gallery, visitors will come face to face with prehistoric creatures that once roamed this coastline. In the Rotunda Gallery are displays of fossils, taxidermy, fine art and ceramics. 

Crash, from a new wave of seascape works by Carolyn Coles, at Village Gallery, York

New exhibition of the week: Carolyn Coles, “Oh I Do Like To Be Besides The…”, Village Gallery, York, from August 4 to September 19

YORK seascape artist Carolyn Coles, once of The Press graphics department, should have been exhibiting at York Open Studios in April and the Staithes Festival of Art and Heritage in September. Enter Covid, exit Carolyn’s two big showcases of 2020.

Enter Simon Main at Village Gallery, Colliergate, York, who says: “We saw Carolyn’s work at her first York Open Studios show back in 2019 and were so taken with her seascapes – many inspired by and maybe giving a different perspective of the Yorkshire coastline – that we started talking about a show.

“So, we’re delighted we have finally made it and are really looking forward to hanging Carolyn’s beautiful work. And who doesn’t love Filey?”

Joker: Closing film at Daisy Duke’s Drive-in Cinema at Knavesmire, York, this weekend

Open-air film experience of the week: Daisy Duke’s Drive-In Cinema, Knavesmire, York, Friday to Sunday

LATER than first trailed, Daisy Duke’s Drive-In Cinema will park up on Knavesmire for screenings of Grease, Rocketman, Toy Story, Mamma Mia!, 28 Days Later, Pulp Fiction, Shrek 2 and A Star Is Born.

Sunday’s closing film will be Joker. Tickets are selling fast so, no joke, prompt booking is recommended at dukescinema.epizy.com.

Interaction between staff and customers will be kept to a minimum, with cars parked two metres apart and those attending expected to remain within their vehicles for the duration of the screenings on LED screens with the sound transmitted to car radios.

Colin Moncrieff in Badapple Theatre’s 2014 production of The Daily Bread, a performance he now reprises for a podcast

Home entertainment of the week: Badapple Theatre’s The Daily Bread podcast

THE Daily Bread rises again as the latest free Podbean podcast from Green Hammerton company Badapple Theatre.

Glaswegian actor, clown and raconteur Colin Moncrieff reprises his 2014 stage performance in artistic director Kate Bramley’s comedy about a master baker who is the talk of the tiny village of Bottledale, thanks to his sumptuous sponges and beautiful buns, this time giving a relaxed reading from home, accompanied by Jez Lowe’s songs.

Go to badappletheatreonyourdesktop.podbean.com to discover whether the baker’s cheery façade hides a dark secret.

Fishwife, Emma Stothard’s new scuplture, takes up residence by the harbour swing bridge in Whitby

And what about…

The rockumentary Rockfield: The Studio On The Farm on BBC iPlayer. New albums by Rufus Wainwright, Courtney Marie Andrews, Seasick Steve and The Psychedelic Furs, their first in 29 years. Emma Stothard’s new Whitby sculpture, Fishwife, Selling Cod, Mackerel and Crab, by the harbour swing bridge. A walk at Wheldrake Ings, followed by Sicilian flatbreads and piadini at the re-opened Caffé Valeria in Wheldrake. York Racecourse Saturday car boot sale, re-launching from August 8.

New date for Newman at Selby Town Hall as The Philosophy Show moves to May ’21

Newman, new date

SCHOLARLY comedian, author and social activist Rob Newman is remaining philosophical about having to move his Selby Town Hall gig for a second time.

After all, The Philosophy Show has sold out, whatever the Covid-shunted date, whether switching from May 16 2020 to September 11 or, now, to May 28 2021.

Should your putative 2021 diary already have an 8pm engagement pencilled in for that night, Selby Town Hall manager Chris Jones says: “We will be in touch with all ticket holders shortly. Tickets will be automatically transferred to the new date, with refunds available if you cannot make it.”

The tour publicity still invites you to “catch Rob Newman as he tries out new material for the next series of his BBC Radio 4 stand-up philosophy show Total Eclipse Of Descartes”.

Hackney-born, Cambridge-finessed Newman, 56, was part of The Mary Whitehouse Experience with David Baddiel, Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis before forming the Baddiel and Newman double act and subsequently going solo. Last year he won the Best Scripted Comedy and Best Comedy With A Live Audience gongs in the BBC Audio Drama Awards.

Chris McCausland switches Selby Town Hall gig to next April in Covid-enforced move

CHRIS McCausland is moving his Speaky Blinder show at Selby Town Hall from November 14 to April 24 2021.

“He’s blind. He’s a dad. He’s a husband. He’s third in command,” says his tour publicity. “He’ll ‘speaky’ about all of that, plus loads more nonsense in between.

“Chris McCausland is heading back out on tour, but don’t worry, he’s got somebody else doing the driving.”

McCausland has made his mark on such shows as Would I Lie To You?, Have I Got News For You, Live At The Apollo and 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown.

Tickets remain valid for the revised 8pm show. “We will be contacting ticket holders in the coming week,” says Selby Town Council arts officer and Selby Town Council manager Chris Jones. “If you are unable to make the new date, a full refund will be offered.”

Tickets cost £14 at selbytownhall.co.uk or £16 on the door.

More Things To Do in York/Outer Mongolia and at home, masked or unmasked, courtesy of The Press, York. List No. 10

Masking for it: Dress code for the Covid age

CULTURE Secretary Oliver Dowden is on the case, he says, making plans for the gradual re-opening of theatres, comedy joints and music venues, when Covid-safe to do so, but the traffic lights are still stuck at red.

Outdoor performances were given the thumbs-up to resume from last Saturday, not so helpfully at two days’ notice, and cinemas are pencilling in a re-start from July 31, although nothing is confirmed yet. Meanwhile, assorted summer festivals are going virtual, as did this week’s Great Yorkshire Show.

This masked-up column will steer clear of the pubs, bars, restaurants and shops making their welcome comebacks, focusing instead on what’s going on…or not going on, as CHARLES HUTCHINSON reports

Violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen: RyeStream concert on July 25

RyeStream, Ryedale Festival online, July 19 to 26

THE 2020 Ryedale Festival has transmuted into RyeStream, an online festival of eight concerts, streamed straight to your home daily over the course of a week.

Musicians are making the journey to North Yorkshire to perform in three empty but beautiful locations: All Saints’ Church, Helmsley, St Michael’s Church, Coxwold, and the triple whammy of the Long Gallery, Chapel and Great Hall at Castle Howard.

Taking part will be Isata Kanneh-Mason, piano, July 19, 3pm; Rachel Podger, violin, July 20, 11am; Matthew Hunt, clarinet, and Tim Horton, piano, July 21, 1pm; Anna Hopwood, organ, July 22, 11am; Abel Selaocoe, cello, July 23, 6pm; Rowan Pierce, soprano, and Christopher Glynn, piano, July 24, 9pm; Tamsin Waley-Cohen, violin, and Christopher Glynn, piano, July 25, 3pm, and Carducci Quartet and Streetwise Opera, July 26, 6pm.

Go to ryedalefestival.com/ryestream/ for instructions on how to view. This debut online season is free, although donations are welcome.

Staithes Blue, acrylic on canvas, by Giuliana Lazzerini at Blue Tree Gallery

New exhibition of the week: Giuliana Lazzerini: Solo, Blue Tree Gallery, York

BLUE Tree Gallery artist in residence Giuliana Lazzerini has opened an exhibition of new acrylic work online and at the York art-space for viewing by appointment only.

The Bootham gallery is “not fully open as yet”, but Covid-safety measures are in place, enabling viewing appointments to be made for Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays until August 5. To book one, send an email to bluetreegallery@hotmail.co.uk.

Giuliana’s Solo exhibition can be viewed online at bluetreegallery.co.uk/giuliana-lazzerini-solo-show-exhibi, with free postage and packaging for purchased paintings.

Owner Terry Brett outside Pyramid Gallery, in Stonegate, York

Gallery re-opening part two: Pyramid Gallery, York

TERRY Brett’s Pyramid Gallery, in Stonegate, York, has re-opened, operating a two-fold system for visitors.

You can book a 30-minute slot to browse the gallery at your leisure at pyramidgallery.com/ or, alternatively, if there is a sign up saying Please Knock To Enter, knock on the door and either Terry or Fi or Sarah will invite you in, one group at a time, and lock the door behind you.

“If the lights are not on, the shop is closed that day,” says Terry. “We will not be open on Sundays.”

Bootiful: Harrogate artist Anita Bowerman with her Tree of Life installation at Castle Howard for York Cancer Research’s Give It Some Welly fundraising campaign

Art installation of the week: Anita Bowerman’s Give Cancer The Boot, Castle Howard grounds

HARROGATE artist Anita Bowerman has designed a Tree of Life installation, Give Cancer The Boot, for Yorkshire Cancer Research’s Give It Some Welly fundraising campaign.

Hanging from a fir tree by the Atlas Fountain on the South Front, glistening in the sun like a summer variation on Christmas decorations, are 191 hand-polished stainless-steel wellies embossed with the YCR’s rose.

Why 191? They represent the 191,000 Yorkshire people who have “given the cancer the boot” over the past 25 years or live with it. To see the wellies, you will need to book a visit to Castle Howard at castlehoward.co.uk.

Oh, you are Orpheus: Storyteller Alexander Flanagan-Wright and minstrel Phil Grainger await your invitation

Outdoor theatre show of the summer: Orpheus, The Flanagan Collective/Gobbledigook Theatre

LIVE theatre is back, all over North Yorkshire, at your invitation. Step forward York theatre-makers Alexander Flanagan-Wright and Phil Grainger, who are mounting a five-pronged art attack under the banner I’ll Try And See You Sometimes.

Among their analogue enterprises is Orpheus – A Hyper Local Tour. “We’re taking Orpheus on an outdoor tour around North Yorkshire’s local lanes, villages, and towns, performing with social distancing in place and abiding by Government guidelines on how many people can meet at any one time,” says Alex.

“The shows can take place on people’s streets, at their front windows and in parks and gardens,” says Phil. “Instead of announcing a show that the public can book tickets for, we’re asking for people to pop on to flanagancollective.com and book a suitable slot and the whole show will be brought to them.”

Scarborough storyteller and artist Jan Bee Brown

Home entertainment of the week for children: A Bee and Lari the Seagull in Scarborough

SCARBOROUGH Museums Trust will present an online summer programme of seaside and animal-themed stories, crafts and activities, based around objects in the Scarborough Borough Collection, with the help of Lari the Seagull from July 22 to August 20.

On Wednesdays, from July 22 to August 19, families can enjoy Seaside Adventures, whether “meeting” rockpool creatures or magical selkies, all inspired by paintings at Scarborough Art Gallery and designed by storyteller and artist Jan Bee Brown.

On Thursdays, from July 23 to August 20, Animal Antics will take participants on a journey across the world, inspired by animals in the SMT natural history collections. 

The highlight each week will be a new audio story written by Brown, released each Wednesday.

Lockdown disco queen Sophie Ellis-Bextor: Kitchen Disco Tour next May

Seek out the good news

YORK Racecourse’s Music Showcase Weekend with Pussycat Dolls and Rick Astley is a non-runner on July 24 and 25. Les Miserables will not mount the barricades from July 22 at Leeds Grand Theatre. However, Greg and Ails McGee’s According To McGee gallery, in Tower Street, York, will be opening its doors once more from Saturday. Sophie Ellis Bextor has announced a Kitchen Disco Tour date at Leeds Town Hall on May 19 2021; Irish chanteuse Mary Coughlan has re-arranged her Pocklington Arts Centre gig for a second time, now booked in for April 23 2021.

And what about…

THE Luminaires on BBC One on Sunday nights; can anyone shine a light on what’s going on with all that to and froing in time? New albums by Sparks, Margo Price and The Streets. The Reading Room café at Rowntree Park, York, re-opening.

Third time luck of the Irish: Mary Coughlan has re-arranged her Pocklington Arts Centre show…again

Grand Opera House confirms no shows until after September 20 at the earliest

Kevin Clifton in his dream role as Scott Hastings in Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom: Now running at the Grand Opera House, York, in November 2021, rather than November 23 to 28 this autumn, directed by Craig Revel Horwood

ALL performances at the Grand Opera House, York, are suspended until September 20 at the earliest “in order to help contain the spread of Covid-19”.

A statement from the Cumberland Street theatre’s owners, the Ambassador Theatre Group, said today: “We apologise for the inconvenience caused but hope you understand, given the exceptional circumstances.”

“We were encouraged to see the Government’s intervention to protect UK culture this week,” it went on. “We continue to work closely with health authorities and look forward to the wonderful re-opening of the Grand Opera House as soon as it is safe and appropriate to do so.

“To this end, we are sorry to confirm that all performances at Ambassador Theatre Group venues have been suspended until Saturday, September 20.

“If you have a booking that has been affected by this suspension, you do not need to do anything. Over the coming weeks, we will contact you directly and will be able to handle your requests and enquiries.”

Shows aplenty have been rearranged, such as Strictly Ballroom, starring Strictly Come Dancing old boy Kevin Clifton (November 15 to 20 2021) and comedy gigs by Ross Noble (Humournoid, January 21 2021) and Jimmy Case (Terribly Funny, April 28 2021).

“We are working with producers to re-schedule as many postponed shows as possible, so please do bear with us,” ATG’s statement said. “If your performance is re-scheduled, your tickets will be automatically moved to the new dates and you will be informed accordingly.

Jimmy Carr: Grand Opera House show moving to next spring

“We have also recently announced new performances, such as The Rolling Stones Story on January 22 2021 and The Simon & Garfunkel Story on April 29. Please book with confidence, knowing that if there are any further suspensions, your new tickets will remain fully valid for further exchanges or refunds.”

ATG added: “Customers booked for performances between August 3 and September 6 will be contacted in the week commencing July 13. Customers booked for remaining performances will be contacted in the week commencing July 20.”

Full credit vouchers valid until December 31 2021, including all fees, or refunds, are available for all cancelled shows. For further details, go to  ATGtickets.com/corona.

Nationwide, over the past few months, ATGtickets Customer Service Teams up and down the country have handled the re-scheduling of more than 15,000 performances of plays, musicals, comedy and live music.

“From November 2020 and throughout 2021, we have a wonderful array of productions on sale, everything from pantomime to The Book Of Mormon, Disney’s The Lion King to Jimmy Carr and Derren Brown to We Will Rock You,” said ATG.

“On behalf of all our staff, backstage crews, front-of-house teams, actors, dancers, musicians and the entire British theatre industry, we want to thank you for your support and understanding as we work together to ensure the future success of our industry.

“All of us at ATG are enormously proud to be a small part of British theatre, renowned as the greatest in the world. The arts has inspired, educated, entertained and enriched the lives of audiences for hundreds of years but has never been challenged like this. With your on-going commitment, we believe we can come back faster and stronger than ever before.”

Liberation Day arrives on Saturday, but Lockdown is still a block to theatres and gigs. Nevertheless, here are More Things To Do on days in and days out, courtesy of The Press, York. LIST No. 9

Opening the gateway to venturing outdoors once more….

JULY 4 is “Liberation Day”, apparently, but not for theatres and concert halls. They can re-open, not for live performances, however, leaving them in a state of inertia that only exacerbates their growing crisis.

As for cinemas, tipped to return to life next weekend, the consensus is that July 31 is now looking the more likely re-start date for the summer blockbusters.

This column will steer clear of the pubs and bars and restaurants making their comebacks – you can read of that welcome uptick elsewhere – but focus on the widening opportunities for entertainment, enlightenment and exercise beyond the front door, while still highlighting the joys on the home front too.

CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these suggestions.

Back on track: Jorvik Viking Centre is “Good To Go” from next Saturday

Jorvik Viking Centre, re-opening on July 11

THE ever-resilient Jorvik Viking Centre is back on track from next Saturday with the Good To Go certification from Visit England, so all the boxes marked Government and industry Covid-19 guidelines have been ticked.

One important change is a switch to pre-booked visits only, with designated time slots every 20 minutes, to help control visitor flow and numbers, as well as extended hours over the summer months.

Within the building, in Coppergate, free-flow areas, such as the galleries will be more structured with presentations delivered by Viking interpreters, rather than video content or handling sessions.

Lutenist Elizabeth Kenny: Joining countertenor Iestyn Davies at a socially distanced National Centre for Early Music for York Early Music Festival online concert

York Early Music Festival, online from July 9 to 11

NEXT week’s “virtual” three-day event will be streamed online from the National Centre for Early Music, replacing the July 3 to 11 festival that would have celebrated Method & Madness. Concerts will be recorded at the NCEM’s home, St Margaret’s Church, in Walmgate, with social-distancing measures in place and no live audience.

York counter-tenor Iestyn Davies and lutenist Elizabeth Kenny present The Art Of Melancholy on July 9 at 7.30pm, when John Dowland’s Elizabethan music will be complemented by Davies’s renditions and readings of poetry by Robert Burton, Michael Drayton, Rose Tremain, Leo Tolstoy and Dowland himself.

On July 10, online concerts feature lute and theorbo player Matthew Wadsworth at 1pm, harpsichordist Steve Devine at 3.30pm and lyra viol player Richard Boothby at 7.30pm. July 11’s programme includes Consone Quartet at 1pm and Stile Antico at 7.30pm.

Tickets are on sale at tickets.ncem.co.uk and boxoffice@ncem.co.uk, with a festival package at £30, individual concert tickets at £10 each and illustrated talks at £3.50 each.

Richard Bainbridge RIP: York Musical Theatre Company will mark the first anniversary of his passing on Sunday

Remembering Richard, York Musical Theatre Company, Sunday, 7.30pm, online

YORK Musical Theatre Company will mark the first anniversary of leading light Richard Bainbridge’s exit stage left on Sunday with a special online memorial concert.

Streamed on YMTC’s YouTube channel, the 7.30pm programme will celebrate Richard’s theatrical life with songs from all the shows he loved and the many he graced with the company.

Taking part will be Eleanor Leaper; Matthew Ainsworth; John Haigh; Florence Taylor; Moira Murphy; Amy Lacy; Rachel Higgs; Peter Wookie; Matthew Clare; Chris Gibson; Helen Singhateh, Jessa & Mick Liversidge. Returning to the ranks will be professional York actor Samuel Edward-Cook, alias Sam Coulson in his YMTC days.

Joker: One of the films at the Daisy Duke’s Drive-In Cinema in York

Daisy Duke’s Drive-In Cinema, Knavesmire, York, tomorrow to Sunday

STATIC cinemas remain in the dark, but drive-in cinemas with social distancing rules in place have been given the Government green light.

North Easterners Daisy Duke’s Drive-In Cinema are revving up for four screenings a day. Take your pick from the very familiar Mamma Mia!, The Jungle Book, The Lion King, Frozen 2, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Greatest Showman, A Star Is Born, 28 Days Later, Pulp Fiction and Joker. Tickets can be booked at dukescinema.epizy.com.

Interaction between staff and customers will be kept to a minimum, with cars parked two metres apart and those attending expected to remain within their vehicles for the duration of the screenings on LED screens with the sound transmitted to car radios.

Ready for a reading challenge? Here comes The Silly Squad

The Silly Squad, Explore York Libraries’ Summer Reading Challenge 2020, July 10 to September 18

GIVEN that Explore York’s libraries “aren’t open fully yet”, The Silly Squad Challenge is going virtual this summer, enabling children to take part online. There will be activities to do too, all on the same theme of fun, laughter and silliness.

The Silly Squad is a team of animal friends that loves to go on adventures and get stuck into all manner of funny books. This year, the Challenge features extra special characters designed by the author and illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson.

The Silly Squad website provides an immersive and safe environment for children to achieve their reading goals. Head to Explore’s website and join through the Summer Reading Challenge button.

Paul Weller: York Barbican in 2021; new album tomorrow

Keep seeking out the good news

NO Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad at York Theatre Royal from July 14, and Everybody’s no longer Talking About Jamie at Leeds Grand Theatre that week too. Even the Downing Street daily briefings are off after all the unintended humour of 24 episodes of Hancock’s Half Hour.

However, all’s Weller that’s Paul Weller as the Modfather’s autumn 2020 gig at York Barbican is moved to June 29 2021. In the meantime, his new album, On Sunset, is out tomorrow.

Drag diva Velma Celli, the creation of York actor Ian Stroughair, has announced another online outing, The Velma Celli Show, Kitchen, on July 11 at 8pm.

Kitchen sing drama: York drag diva Velma Celli announces latest online show on the home front

And what about…?

BBC One revisiting Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads monologues, each one even starker in their isolation in these dislocated times of solitary confinement, shielding, loneliness and finding other people irritating. The Leeds playwright, now 86, has added two ones to his 1988 collection. “Quite bleak,” he says.

New albums by Neil Young (“new” but unearthed 1970s’ recordings); Jessie Ware, Nadine Shah and Haim.

Scarborough Art Gallery unlocking its doors from this weekend. A walk on York’s city walls with its new temporary one-way system in place for social distancing from Saturday….and then drop down for a drink at Grays Court Hotel’s new walled garden bar, in the shadow of York Minster.

Or a walk along Pocklington Canal, but watch out for the two swans, guarding their nine cygnets by the water’s edge.

Theatres, cinemas and concert venues are still closed, but Lockdown is easing. Here are More Things To Do on days in and days out, courtesy of The Press, York. LIST No.8

Can’t wait to get out, like these sled dog racers in Dalby Forest from Tony Batholomew’s online exhibition Forest 100: A Year In The Life? If so, read on…

METRE by metre, Downing Street daily briefing by catch-you-by-surprise Downing Street daily briefing, we are moving closer to the beginning of the end of the 10 Things To See Next Week In York shutdown.

However, there is still no theatre, concert venue or cinema re-opening for the foreseeable future, although cinemas are making plans to do so in July. Watch this ever-shifting space.

In the meantime, amid the loosened-lockdown dawn of summer, when football and horse racing are back, albeit with no crowds, and beaches are back, but too crowded, the search continues for entertainment, enlightenment and exercise at home and farther afield.  

From behind his door, increasingly ajar, CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these suggestions.

Drive-In Cinema parks up in York next month, but unlike in this poster, viewers will have to stay in, not on, their cars throughout each screening

Daisy Duke’s Drive-In Cinema, Knavesmire, York, July 3 to 5

STATIC cinemas, no, but Boris Johnson’s Government has given the green light to drive-in cinemas with social distancing rules in place.

North Easterners Daisy Duke’s Drive-In Cinema have been quick off the mark to announce a Drive-In Saturday (one for David Bowie fans), and a Friday and Sunday too, from July 3 to 5.

Interaction between staff and customers will be kept to a minimum, with cars parked two metres apart and those attending expected to remain within their vehicles for the duration of the screenings on LED screens with the sound transmitted to car radios.

Four screenings a day are in store, with the film line-up taking in The Jungle Book, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Frozen 2, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Greatest Showman, A Star Is Born, 28 Days Later, Pulp Fiction and Joker. Tickets can be booked at dukescinema.epizy.com.

Oh, and if theatres are still closed come December, would there be any takers for a drive-in pantomime?

Rosy Rowley: Reprising her role in the 2012 York Mystery Plays as Mrs Noah in the York Radio Mystery Plays

York Radio Mystery Plays, on BBC Radio York, Sunday mornings throughout June

YORK Theatre Royal and BBC Radio York are collaborating to bring the York Mystery Plays to life on the airwaves on the Sunday Breakfast Show with Jonathan Cowap.

Working remotely from home, a cast of 19 community and professional actors has recorded four 15-minute instalments under the direction of Theatre Royal associate director Juliet Forster.

After Adam And Eve and The Flood Part 1, the series continues with The Flood Part 2 this weekend and Moses And Pharaoh on June 28. Hear the earlier ones at bbc.co.uk/sounds.

York In Flood, 2019, taken by Museum Gardens, from Katherine-of-Yorkshire’s exhibition at Village Gallery, York 

Galleries re-opening…

NO, not the big ones yet, such as York Art Gallery, but among those to announce the re-opening of doors in York this week are Simon Main’s Village Gallery, in Colliergate, and Ann Petherick’s Kentmere House Gallery, in Scarcroft Hill.

Village Gallery is presenting a photographic show by Instagrammer Katherine-of-Yorkshire until August 2. “Katherine regularly posts photographs on Instagram, mainly of York, and usually in black and white, using the camera on her phone to take the photos,” Simon says.

“She manages to convey a deep feeling of peace, even when documenting the major floods in York that happen all too regularly, as well as showing a different perspective of well-known places.”

Open by appointment only until further notice, Kentmere House is displaying A Life In Colour, Work from the Studio of Jack Hellewell, 1920-2000, including unframed pieces never seen before, to mark Hellewell’s centenary. 

North York Moors, by Jack Hellewell, at the re-opened Kentmere House Gallery, York

Mother Shipton’s Pixie Village Trail, Knaresborough

HAVE you ever dreamt of stepping into an utterly enchanted realm, deep in the captivating woodland, filled with fairy rings and secret doorways, where pixies are waiting to play?

If so, at Mother Shipton’s you can tread carefully through the land of the woodland people and keep your eyes peeled as you follow the trail to see their tiny houses.

Visitors will be provided with a trail sheet to explore the natural woodland at their own pace. Please note, open to pre-booked car admissions only, this Pixie Village event will not include any confined spaces and the actors will not be interacting with visitors, in order to reduce large gatherings of crowds and physical contact.

Shed Seven: Rearranging two big outdoors concerts in Yorkshire for their 2021 diary

Seek out the good news

NO York Festival with Madness, Westlife and Lionel Richie at York Sports Club from tomorrow until Sunday. No revival of Alan Ayckbourn’s Just Between Ourselves opening at the SJT tonight for a summer run. No Ronan Keating: Twenty Twenty gig at York Barbican tomorrow.

However, one festival is going ahead, albeit in revised online form, namely the York Early Music Festival, from July 9 to 11, with York countertenor Iestyn Davies’s concert with lutenist Elizabeth Kenny as the stand-out.

Keating’s Twenty Twenty show will now be in Twenty Twenty One, on January 13 to be precise. Meanwhile, York’s Britpop alumni Shed Seven have re-arranged two 2020 outdoor concerts for next year, now playing Doncaster Racecourse post-racing on May 15 2021, rather than August 15 this summer, and headlining an all-Yorkshire bill at the Piece Hall, Halifax, on June 26 2021, instead of the same date this year.

The artwork for Bob Dylan’s new album, Rough And Rowdy, out tomorrow

And what about…

79-YEAR-OLD Bob Dylan’s first album of original songs in eight years, Rough And Rowdy Ways, out tomorrow, on Columbia.  Phoebe Bridgers’ Punisher and Maccabees frontman Orlando Weeks’s solo debut A Quickening as further album recommendations. Spike Lee’s new Vietnam War film, Da 5 Bloods, streaming on Netflix. The Salisbury Poisonings, on BBC iPlayer, York actor Mark Addy among the cast. Talking Heads, Alan Bennett’s isolation monologues re-visited in Covid-19 times with two new additions, on BBC One from Tuesday.

Gardens at National Trust properties re-opening, such as Beningbrough Hall; bookings only. Val and Emma Carr’s Stanley & Ramona dinky coffee house, in Bishopthorpe Road, serving up coffee and cake again, hurrah.

Walks through the rhododendrons at Forestry England’s Wheldrake Wood and watching out for the tiny toads and frogs at the RSPB’s Fairburn Ings. Tony Bartholomew’s Forest 100: A Year In The Life online exhibition of Dalby Forest from spring 2019 to spring 2020 at forestryengland.uk

York countertenor Iestyn Davies: Performing at the revised 2020 York Early Music Festival on July 9. Picture: Benjamin Ealovega

Copyright of The Press, York

Nothing much happening in these loosening Lockdown days? Everything still being called off? Here are More Things To Do on the home front, courtesy of The Press, York. LIST No. 7

On your mask, get set…go…where?

EXIT stage left 10 Things To See Next Week In York for the still unforeseeable future in these woolly-thinking lockdown times when everyone’s gone to the beach…or Burnsall.

Make do with entertainment at home and now farther afield, in whatever configuration, as you stay alert to working out how to interpret the Government’s green-for-go rules, in the stultifying shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic that has higher figures in York than elsewhere in North Yorkshire, lest we forget.

From behind his door a little more ajar, but still nervous about comings and goings, CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these suggestions.

Your Place Comedy….from their places: Simon Evans and Jo Caulfield go online for a laugh

Jo Caulfield and Simon Evans, Your Place Comedy, streaming into your living room from theirs, Sunday, 8pm

AFTER Mark Watson and Lucy Beaumont in April, followed by Simon Brodkin and Harrogate’s Maisie Adams in May, Yorkshire’s virtual comedy project Your Place Comedy returns this weekend with a double bill of BBC Radio 4 stalwarts, Jo Caulfield and Simon Evans.

Led by Selby Town Hall manager Chris Jones, ten small, independent Yorkshire and Humber venues unite to present a fundraising evening of humour on the home front, broadcast live from Caulfield and Evans’s living room to yours for free at yourplacecomedy.co.uk. Donations are welcome afterwards.

Here comes the wickedly fabulous Velma Celli, York’s kitchen cabaret diva

Something Fabulous This Way Comes, Velma Celli’s Equinox, June 13, 8pm

DRAG diva deluxe, Velma Celli, the cabaret creation of York actor Ian Stroughair, invites you to “join me in my kitchen as I celebrate all my favourite witchy and misunderstood characters from movies and musicals”.

“Equinox is a love letter to all the witches and magical creatures who have graced our stages and screens, from Wicked to The Wizard Of Oz and every belty enchantress from the coven in between,” says Velma, who will sing the siren songs of the hags and creatures that go bump in the night as she weaves her cabaret magic at the witching hour, when daylight and darkness are almost equal.

Since going into lockdown in Bishopthorpe after an Australian tour, Ian has presented two Velma shows online from Case de Velma Celli: a fundraiser for St Leonard’s Hospice on May 2 and Large & Lit In Lockdown on May 16. Tickets for Equinox cost £7 at: ticketweb.uk/event/velma-celli-equinox-live-stream-tickets/10604915.

Alan Ayckbourn and Heather Stoney: Performing together for the first time in 56 years in his audio play Anno Domino. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

If you haven’t heard Alan Ayckbourn’s Anno Domino yet, why not…?

GOODBYE Alan Ayckbourn’s 83rd play, Truth Will Out, postponed at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Hello instead to his 84th play for lockdown times.

Ayckbourn has not only written and directed it, as per usual, but he performs in the audio recording too, marking his return to acting, 56 years after his last appearance on a professional stage in Rotherham.

In one of his lighter pieces, charting the break-up of a long-established marriage and its domino effect on family and friends, Ayckbourn, 81, and his wife, actress Heather Stoney, play four characters each, aged 18 to mid-70s. “We were just mucking about in our sitting room,” says Ayckbourn of a world premiere available for free exclusively on the SJT’s website, sjt.uk.com, until noon on June 25. 

York Festival of Ideas had a bright idea: let’s go online for a Virtual Horizons fortnight

York Festival of Ideas, staying alert and staying home until June 14

FESTIVAL after festival has bitten the dust in Covid-19 2020, but if one event could be guaranteed to come up with a different idea, it would be…the York Festival of Ideas.

Consequently, ideas are still blooming in June, as the University of York invites you to go on a “journey of discovery that will educate, entertain and inspire you from the comfort of your own home”, under the banner of Virtual Horizons.

The festival team has worked hard with their partners to bring together a diverse programme of talks, music, activities and community trails. Topics range from author Tansy E Hoskins revealing what exactly your shoes are doing to the world (Foot Work, June 6, 1pm), to scientist Phil Ball discussing genetic editing, cloning and the growth of organs outside the body (How To Grow A Human, June 8, 6pm).

Or, if you need your topicality topping up, how about trenchant broadcaster and political commentator Iain Dale mulling over “the phenomenon” of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a talk “big on comedy and fun” (The Book Of Boris, tomorrow, June 5, 6pm)? Comedy? Fun? Just what we need to tackle the Corona crisis.

L’Apothéose in the grounds of the National Centre for Early Music, St Margaret’s Church, York, in 2019. Picture: Jim Poyner

Fieri Consort and L’Apothéose, National Centre for Early Music streamed concert, June 13

THE NCEM, in Walmgate, York, continues to share concerts from its archive on Facebook and online. On June 13 comes the chance to enjoy music by past winners of the York Early Music International Young Artists Competition, a double bill featuring Fieri Consort from 2017 and last year’s winners L’Apothéose.

To view Fieri Consort and L’Apothéose in concert for free at 1pm, follow https://www.facebook.com/yorkearlymusic/ or log on to the NCEM website, ncem.co.uk.

Cotton Bud Carousel Horse, by Vivien Steiner: Inspiration for the Scarborough Great Get Together postcard competition. Copyright: Scarborough Museums Trust/Vivien Steiner

Scarborough’s Great Get Together, June 19 to 21

ORGANISED by We Are Scarborough and Say Hello Coast, this event is inspired by the Jo Cox Foundation’s national Great Get Together: a celebration of the late Labour MP’s life and her vision of bringing people together.

This year, it will take place online and will include three competitions: creating a postcard comp on the theme of Scarborough Fair; song lyrics and a multi-genre comp for writers, poets, model-makers and performers. 

For more information on the Scarborough Great Get Together, full details on entering the competitions and more about Scarborough Fair and its history, go to: facebook.com/TheGreatGetTogetherScarborough or wearescarborough.co.uk/.

Voice of an Angel: Christie Barnes recording her role in the York Radio Mystery Plays remotely from home

York Radio Mystery Plays, on BBC Radio York, Sunday mornings throughout June

YORK Theatre Royal and BBC Radio York are collaborating to bring the York Mystery Plays to life on the airwaves in four 15-minute instalments on the Sunday Breakfast Show with Jonathan Cowap from this weekend.

Working remotely from home, a cast of 19 community and professional actors has recorded Adam And Eve, The Flood Part 1, The Flood Part 2 and Moses And Pharaoh, under the direction of Theatre Royal associate director Juliet Forster.

Jane McDonald: New date for her Let The Light In concert at York Barbican next summer

Seek out the good news

YORK River Art Market in July and August, ruled out by social-distancing rules. York Early Music Festival’s summer of Method & Madness in July, called off. Jane McDonald’s Let The Light In concert at York Barbican tonight, lights out. The list of cancellations may show no sign of abating, but you can always look ahead by searching for event updates on websites.

York River Art Market? Charlotte Dawson and co promise a return to Dame Judi Dench Walk in 2021. York Early Music Festival? Watch this space for the possibility of an online version of this summer’s festival emerging. Wakefield wonder Jane McDonald? Lights up on July 4 2021.

The Howl & The Hum: York band release their debut album

And what about…

The debut album for our disconnected times, Human Contact, by York band The Howl & The Hum. Jorvik Viking Centre’s Discover From Home, digital resources for stay-at-home exploration, such as videos, downloads and audio recordings about Viking life and culture. Garden centres, the real green-for-go sign of lockdown easement. Castle Howard reopening its gardens and grounds; bookings only. Walks on Hob Moor, to the Railway Pond. Crepes at Shambles Market. Pextons reawakening for DIY needs and more on Bishopthorpe Road.

The show MUST go on at Leeds City Varieties, urges chief exec amid uncertainty ahead of music hall’s 155th birthday

Leeds City Varieties Music Hall: Britain’s longest-running music hall

“HOWEVER daunting, I am certain we have a future. We must.”

This is the rallying call of Chris Blythe, chief executive officer of Leeds City Varieties as the Guinness World Record holder for Britain’s longest-running music hall turns 155 years old on Sunday (June 7).

On a day that should be marked with great celebration, instead the doors to the oldest theatre in Leeds remain closed under the Coronavirus lockdown.

This is the first time in its long and colourful history that the 19th century venue in Swan Street has ceased operation, other than in 2009 to 2011 when it underwent a £9 million restoration. 

Now, alas, the future of Leeds City Varieties Music Hall is uncertain, but Mr Blythe trumpets the comedy, music and theatre venue’s importance. “The Varieties is a Leeds, if not a national, institution. A hidden gem with a warm Yorkshire welcome.

“Contributing to the vital cultural life of the city, City Varieties is a significant employer in the area, supporting many neighbouring bars and restaurants with a regular influx of theatregoers.

“While we’re all working towards and looking forward to the day that we can reopen our doors and welcome our audiences back, we must face facts: venues like ours will be the last to open.”

Knotty Ash comedian Ken Dodd (1927-2018) performed the last show before the 2009 refurbishment of Leeds City Varieties and the first after its reopening in 2011

Income generation will be limited for potentially months after other parts of the economy start to grow, suggests Mr Blythe. “The whole industry will need to take stock as investors and producers of our wonderful shows have also taken a massive hit,” he says.

“And when we do reopen – notice the emission of the word ‘if’ – the future is going to be much changed. Reserves will be exhausted, and patrons will have difficult choices to make with a financial recession and their own well-being and safety to consider.

“We will have to continue to operate with appropriate safety measure in place – careful consideration will need to be given to both staff and patron welfare, our cleaning regime, appropriate distancing measures and potentially a period of cashless transactions. The list goes on. But, however daunting, I am certain we have a future. We must.”

Noted for its intimate atmosphere and “brutally honest” audience, the City Varieties began life in 1865 as the “New Music Hall and Fashionable Lounge”: a room above a pub established by business entrepreneur Charles Thornton for the working people of Leeds to be entertained.

Its affluent sister venue, Leeds Grand Theatre, in Briggate, was meant only for the higher classes. Indeed a popular saying at the time was: “Wear your flat cap to the Varieties and your top hat to the Grand”.

In its early years, the City Varieties welcomed many weird and wonderful acts, such as the world-renowned escapologist Harry Houdini, singer, comedian and actress Marie Lloyd and Victorian music-hall socialite Lillie Langtry, the Jersey Lily, for whom it is rumoured Prince Edward would sneak into a private box to watch and court.

The City Varieties is probably best known for hosting the BBC’s The Good Old Days from 1953 to 1983, re-creating old-time music hall entertainment with audiences encouraged to dress in Victorian garb.

Produced by Barney Colehan and chaired by the alliterative Leonard Sachs, it starred Les Dawson, Barbara Windsor, Bruce Forsyth, Danny La Rue, Ken Dodd, Barry Cryer and many more besides. 

A lad in a dress in Aladdin: a Leeds City Varieties Music Hall rock’n’roll pantomime

Albeit untelevised, The Good Old Days still runs today and the original series has enjoyed a re-run on BBC4.

In 2009, the City Varieties benefited from a £9million regeneration project, funded largely by Leeds City Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The work included demolition and reconstruction of the backstage areas, ceiling and plasterwork repairs, inspired by a 1900 design discovered during the restoration; new carpeting and seating throughout the auditorium, and the fitting of an external glass lift to improve access to the building.

Ken Dodd, the last act to perform before the 2009 closure, was the first act to grace the reopened music hall in 2011.

The City Varieties now presents live music, variety, comedy and National Theatre Live and delayed screenings, as well as the annual rock’n’roll pantomime that showcases actor/musicians in a break from traditional panto.

Since the 2011 re-launch, the venue has played host to Russell Crowe, Kerry Ellis, Boy George, Michael McIntyre, Sara Pascoe, John Bishop, Romesh Ranganathan, Phil Wang, Jack Whitehall et al.

Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Phillip officially opened the refurbished music hall in 2012 as part of their Diamond Jubilee tour.

Throughout the Coronavirus-enforced closure, the City Varieties is asking patrons, if financially viable, for donations to help support the company throughout this financially difficult period. For more details, go to cityvarieties.co.uk.

Jo Caulfield and Simon Evans double up for Your Place Comedy bill online on Sunday

Simon Evans and Jo Caulfield: Broadcasting live online from their living rooms to yours on Sunday night

JO Caulfield and Simon Evans will perform live from their living rooms on Sunday in the third edition of Yorkshire’s virtual comedy project Your Place Comedy.

Once more, Selby Town Hall is collaborating with nine other small, independent arts centres and theatres from across Yorkshire and the Humber to provide an evening of entertainment from two touring acts, broadcast live to viewers’ homes for free on YouTube and the Twitch video live streaming service.

After the 8pm online double bill hosted remotely by regular compere Tim FitzHigham, viewers will have an option to donate if they have enjoyed the broadcast. All money raised will be distributed equally among the ten supporting venues, as they each seek to navigate their way through these challenging times when closed down under the Covid-19 strictures.

It’s that Jo Caulfield again…this time entertaining on the home front

After Mark Watson and Lucy Beaumont on April 19, followed by Simon Brodkin  and Maisie Adams on May 10, this weekend is the turn of a brace of BBC Radio 4 comedy stalwarts, Caulfield and Evans.

Both have appeared on BBC2’s Mock The Week and Live At The Apollo; between them, they have guested on BBC1’s Have I Got News For You and Question Time, BBC2’s Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Channel 4’s Stand Up For The Week.

They are regulars on BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show, The News Quiz, The Unbelievable Truth and Just A Minute, while Caulfield has starred in three series of her own show, It’s That Jo Caulfield Again, and Evans has written and presented five series of Simon Evans Goes To Market.

Simon Evans, above: BBC Radio 4 comedy stalwart

Host FitzHigham is the writer and star of BBC Radio 4’s The Gamble and presenter of CBBC’s Super Human Challenge.

“Your Place Comedy is a venue-driven initiative that tries to re-establish the traditional relationship between venue, performer and audience that has been temporarily lost during the Covid-19 crisis,” says organiser Chris Jones, Selby Town Council’s arts officer and manager of Selby Town Hall.

“The venues participating in the project have all pledged funds to both support the performers involved and to provide their audiences with entertainment from the kind of artists who, in normal times, would have been appearing in their local arts centre or theatre.”

Umbrella fella: Your Place Comedy host Tim FitzHigham

Chris continues: “While sadly our doors remain closed for the immediate future, this hasn’t stopped venues from across the region working hard to find new ways of delivering high-quality entertainment in innovative formats to the audiences they miss so much.

“All the theatres and arts centres involved in Your Place Comedy are deeply rooted in their communities and want to maintain those vital links that allow them to bring some of the most sought-after national and international touring acts to the towns and cities of Yorkshire and beyond. We are all determined to help keep the live performance industry afloat at a time when it has never been needed more.”

Joining together in this rolling initiative to put the fun into fundraising are Selby Town Hall; The Ropewalk, Barton upon Humber; Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds; East Riding Theatre, Beverley; Junction, Goole; Helmsley Arts Centre; Shire Hall, Howden; Otley Courthouse; Pocklington Arts Centre and  Rotherham Theatres.

Simon Brodkin and Maisie Adams: The line-up for the second Your Place Comedy night on May 10

Looking forward to this weekend’s double bill, Chris says: “There’s a distinct Radio 4 vibe this time round with two stalwarts of the network, and two of the slickest, most accomplished and effortlessly funny acts around, Jo Caulfield and Simon Evans, taking to the virtual stage. Both Jo and Simon have sold out Selby Town Hall before.

“In a fit of nostalgia the other day, I was thinking back to the first time I ever saw a live stand-up show…and I’m certain it was Simon Evans, performing as part of the Carlsberg Ice Comedy Network at the University of York in late 2000. I can still remember the gags – and   that doesn’t happen very often! He was brilliant.”

What’s next for Your Place Comedy? “We’ll stop and take stock after this show, see what lessons small venues in the region can take from the exercise and whether there is a financially viable future in live streaming that supports artists, venues and audiences as this [venue closure] predicament inevitably runs into the autumn and beyond,” says Chris, who initially had speculated on the possibility of a run of five such shows.

Hull comedian and actor Lucy Beaumont: Her Your Place Comedy double bill with Mark Watson in April drew 3,500 viewers and raised £3,500 in donations

For full details on Your Place Comedy, and to find out how to watch the June 7 show, visit yourplacecomedy.co.uk.