Game Of Thrones star David Bradley and comedian Rosie Jones become patrons for Theatre @41’s exciting plans post-Covid

York actor David Bradley: New patron at Theatre @41, Monkgate, York

GAME Of Thrones, Afterlife and Harry Potter actor David Bradley is among a host of new patrons pledging their support to Theatre @41 Monkgate, York.

York-born Bradley, 78, who also starred in Broadchurch and played Jesus Christ in the 1976 York Mystery Plays, is joined by Bridlington-born Rosie Jones, a comedian, actress and scriptwriter, from 8 Out Of 10 Cats and Mock The Week, who has cerebral palsy, and New York playwright/composer Stephen Dolginoff, whose shows Thrill Me: The Leopold And Loeb Story and Monster Makers played in York in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

Comedian Rosie Jones: Supporting Theatre @41’s plans for the future

Further names to wade in with their backing are actors Karen Henthorn, from the National Theatre’s War Horse, In The Flesh and The Trouble With Maggie Cole, and John McArdle, from Brookside, Emmerdale and Frantic Assembly’s Things I Know To Be True at York Theatre Royal in November 2017.

The board also welcomes Felicity Cooper, daughter of the theatre’s founder, the late John Cooper, and former chairman Jim Welsman, who worked tirelessly within the York arts scene, first as chairman of York Musical Theatre Company, then as founder and director of the York New Musical Festival, before retiring from the Monkgate theatre’s board last year.

New patron Karen Henthorn. Picture: Neilson Reeves

“Our new patrons have agreed to ensure this intimate venue not only survives but thrives through the challenges of Covid-19 and beyond,” says Joe Wawrzyniak, who succeeded Jim in the chairman’s post last autumn.

“The charity’s board of trustees approached them as part of an exciting development plan for Theatre @41, enlisting a host of patrons to get people talking about this hidden gem as we make ambitious plans for post-lockdown.”

Actor John McArdle: Pledging support to Theatre @41

Theatre @41 opened in 1998, under the inspirational leadership of John Cooper, who transformed the Victiorian building from scratch into a black-box theatre. Now, the venue, with rehearsal rooms and a dance studio to boot, plays host to York Stage Musicals, Pick Me Up Theatre, Once Seen Theatre Company, York Shakespeare Project and Rigmarole Theatre, among others.

Alexander Flanagan Wright’s cult-hit immersive jazz-age production of The Great Gatsby had a swell time there too, staged by The Guild Of Misrule in winter 2016 and 2018.

From New York to York: Playwright and composer Steven Dolginoff backs the way ahead for Theatre @41 from across the Pond

“Theatre @41 gives York an intimate performance space alongside bigger venues such as the York Theatre Royal and Grand Opera House, in much the same way London’s Menier Chocolate Factory and Southwark Playhouse are as vital to the capital’s arts scene as the big West End theatres,” says Joe.

“Looking ahead, we have a great vision for Theatre@41 and we want to shout it from the rafters. What better way to get started than to involve a high-profile group of patrons who are all passionate about the arts? Everyone is keen to get involved: we’re very lucky to have this wonderful new group on board.”

Jim Welsman: former chairman, now patron

Joe adds: “We’re home to Nik Briggs’s York Stage School, which encourages young people to get involved in performance; Robert Readman’s Pick Me Up Theatre, who regularly present new writing and premieres, and Once Seen Theatre Company, who specialise in working with adults with learning and physical disabilities. We can now boast patrons who represent some of the areas of the arts that we work in.

“It’s our mission to keep the vibrant, inclusive spirit of Theatre@41 going, and for this fabulous, versatile venue to continue to grow.  Our new patrons will be there to help us all the way.”

Nothing happening in these slightly loosened Lockdown limbo days. Everything called off. Here are More Things To Do on the home front, courtesy of The Press, York. LIST No. 6

Nothing happening full stop. Now, with time on your frequently washed hands, home is where the art is and plenty else besides

EXIT 10 Things To See Next Week in York and beyond for the unforeseeable future in Stay Alert, but still sort-of-inert, Baby-Step Britannia. Make do with home entertainment, wherever you may be, in whatever configuration that you interpret the Government’s green-for-go rules now permits in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic. From behind his door ajar, CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these suggestions.

Alan Ayckbourn and Heather Stoney in their Scarborough garden. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

Arts event of the week ahead and beyond: Alan Ayckbourn’s Anno Domino, online from May 25 to June 25

WHEN the Coronavirus pandemic meant Truth Will Out would not be out this summer at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre, Alan Ayckbourn responded by writing a new play in lockdown, Anno Domino.

And not only write and direct it, but perform in the audio recording too, marking his return to acting, 58 years after his last appearance on a professional stage.

What’s more, former radio producer Ayckbourn, 81, has teamed up with his wife, actress Heather Stoney, his co-star in that 1964 production, to record the new show.

His 84th play takes the form of an audio account of the break-up of a long-established marriage and the domino effect that has on family and friends, Ayckbourn and Stoney playing four characters each, aged 18 to 75. “We were just mucking about in our sitting room,” says Ayckbourn, who also supplied the sound effects.

The world premiere of Anno Domino will be available for free exclusively on the SJT’s website, sjt.uk.com, from noon on Monday, May 25 to noon on June 25. 

York Musical Theatre Company in Off-Stage But Online 2, Sunday, 7.30pm

AFTER the success of the inaugural Off-Stage But Online! concert on April 26, York Musical Theatre Company return with a second digital performance on Sunday, live on the company’s YouTube channel from 7.30pm.

This weekend’s programme is compiled by musical director Paul Laidlaw again and features 25 numbers performed at home by Matthew Ainsworth, Jessa & Mick Liversidge, John Haigh, Eleanor Leaper, Chris Hagyard and Florence Taylor, among others.

Expect video recordings of numbers from Rent, Les Miserables, Heathers, A Chorus Line, Follies, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, Company and Showboat.

Fieri Consort: Online concert from the National Centre for Early Music archives

National Centre for Early Music streamed concerts, May 30 and June 13

THE NCEM, in Walmgate, York, continues to share concerts from its archive on Facebook and online. The next will be on Saturday, May 30, featuring one of the last concerts by the European Union Baroque Orchestra, captured in March 2017.

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 these concerts for free at 1pm, follow https://www.facebook.com/yorkearlymusic/ or log on to the NCEM website, ncem.co.uk.

Barbara Marten in the role of Heworth housewife and suffragette Annie Seymour Pearson in York Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre’s community production Everything Is Possible: The York Suffragettes

Still streaming: Everything Is Possible: The York Suffragettes, York Theatre Royal Collective Arts programme

YORK Theatre Royal is streaming the 2017 community play Everything Is Possible: The York Suffragettes for free on its YouTube channel until May 31.

Co-produced with Pilot Theatre, this outdoor and indoor production was performed by a community cast of 150 and a choir of 80, taking the form of a protest play that recalled how women in York ran safe houses, organised meetings, smashed windows and fire-bombed pillar boxes as part of the early 20th century Suffragette movement.

“Now the stage is dark and the streets are empty, but looking back to the way in which that show brought people together, inspiring them in so many ways, is a wonderful reminder of the power of theatre and community,” says playwright Bridget Foreman.

York artist Sue Clayton’s stairs, newly painted in rainbow-coloured trim

Activity of the week: Decorating your house in the bright spring light

BE inspired by York portrait artist Sue Clayton, whose painting of Sainsbury’s trolley attendant Andrew Fair, from her York Heroes series in 2018, appeared on the first episode of Grayson Perry’s Channel 4 show Grayson’s Art Club.

“The urge to paint left me temporarily, which frightened me, but home decorating began instead and my creativity was encouraged this way, from ripping up the stairs carpet and painting the stairs in rainbow colours to remember this period, through to painting a cupboard with a Chinese heron/crane,” she says.

Maybe a Chinese heron would be too ambitious as a starting point, but painting the stairs in rainbow colours…?

 Jeff Beck: New date for York Barbican show in 2021

Still keep trying to find good news

LEEDS Festival in late-August, cancelled. York Early Music Festival’s summer of Method & Madness in July, off. Jeff Beck at York Barbican this week, not now. The list of cancellations shows no sign of coming to an end, but always look on the bright side of strife by seeking out updates on websites.

Leeds Festival at Bramham Park will return in 2021; so too will York Early Music Festival. As for Jeff Beck: there is a hi-ho silver lining there too. The legendary Wallington guitarist and two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, now 75, has re-arranged his gig for April 22 2021.

Jonathan Williams’s stained-glass artwork for our Corona crisis times 

Clap for Carers

STAND by your doors, bang a gong, at 8pm every Thursday, no excuses. Theatre-goers, concert-goers, save your hand-clapping for our NHS doctors, hospital staff, carers, volunteers and key workers.

If one work of art encapsulates a city in gratitude, and in prayer, step forward Jonathan Williams’s stained glass window of York Minster and York Hospital in rainbow union.

Lips/ink: A pensive Simon Armitage, Yorkshireman of words, both spoken and written

And what about…

NEW albums by Badly Drawn Boy, The 1975 and The Dears. Poet Laureate Simon Armitage’s new series of interviews on BBC Sounds and his appearance and musical choices on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. Channel 4’s Gogglebox for weekly political insight. Going to a garden centre, where plant salvation awaits.

 

Courtney Marie adds to Pocklington Arts Centre’s raft of rearranged shows

Courtney Marie Andrews: June date at Pocklington Arts Centre put back by a year

AMERICAN country singer Courtney Marie Andrews is moving her June 17 2020 concert at Pocklington Arts Centre to…June 17 2021.

“All customers are being contacted this week to offer them a transfer or refund,” says venue manager James Duffy, whose 30th birthday falls today, by the way.

Courtney’s now postponed date next month with a full band was to have been a showcase for her new album, Old Flowers, originally set for release on June 5 on Loose/Fat Possum Records.

Phoenix-born Courtney, 29, is now rescheduling the album launch too, again in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. “Hello dear ones,” she says on the Loose website. “Unfortunately, I must push back the release to July 24th. In order to protect the safety of its workers, the vinyl manufacturing plant producing my record is temporarily closed for the time being, meaning it won’t be possible to meet the original release date.

“During these strange times, I think it’s important we work together, rather than trudge ahead alone and abandon those who have helped artists along the way. I can’t explain to you how much this record means to me personally, and I am so incredibly excited for it to reach your ears soon. It’s just showing up fashionably late, 2020 style.”

John Smith: November 3 date at Pocklington Arts Centre

Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC) continues to update its list of rescheduled shows for 2020/21, with the prospect of more being added in the coming weeks and months.

Inquisitive folk truth seeker John Smith has switched from May 21 to November 3; American singer-songwriter Jesse Malin, from June 27 to February 2 2021; retro country soul band The Delines, from July 28 to February 23 2021, and BBC Radio 2 and Channel 5 presenter Jeremy Vine will now ask “What the hell is going on?” on February 26 2021, rather than May 1 2020.

Billy Bremner & Me, comedian Phil Differ’s comedy-drama recounting his dream of eclipsing the fiery Leeds United and Scotland captain’s footballing deeds, has moved from June 5 to March 11 2021; Herman’s Hermits will re-emerge on April 22 next spring, and Mock The Week comedian Andy Parsons’ sold-out April 28 gig is re-booked for April 24 2021.

Led as ever by vocalist Maddy Prior, folk favourites Steeleye Span’s 50th anniversary celebrations of debut album Hark The Village Wait will have to wait until its 51st anniversary, their show now moved from May 3 2020 to May 7 2021.

BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners Catrin Finch, from Wales, and Seckou Keita, from Senegal, will be joined by Canadian multi-instrumental trio Vishten on June 10 next summer, rather than June 13 2020 as first planned.

The Felice Brothers, from the Catskill Mountains, New York State, will be playing almost a year to the day later than their original booking. Ian and James Felice, joined by drummer Will Lawrence and bass Jesske Hume, are in the PAC diary for June 22 2021, replacing June 23 this summer.

Pocklington Arts Centre director Janet Farmer

The spotlight would have been on their 2019 album Undress, as well as their back catalogue from 2006 onwards, but now there should be new material too. .

All existing tickets holders for the rescheduled shows are being contacted by the PAC box office for ticket transfers or refunds.

PAC director Janet Farmer says the public response to the East Yorkshire venue’s prolonged closure, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, has been “wonderful both in terms of financial support and well wishing”.

“To date, we have raised £8,660 from crowdfunding and customer ticket refund donations, a total well beyond our original target,” she reveals.

“We have been working with artists and agents to reschedule the whole of the venue’s spring and summer 20th anniversary season and most, if not all, shows are being transferred to late 2020 and into 2021.”

Shed Seven guitarist Paul Banks and singer Rick Witter: Acoustic headline set at Platform Festival 2020 at The Old Station cancelled. Hopefully they will be Chasing Rainbows next summer instead

July’s Platform Festival, organised by Pocklington Arts Centre, with a line-up including Robert Plant’s Saving Grace, Shed Seven’s Rick Witter & Paul Banks, Richard Thompson and Omid Djalili at The Old Station, has been called off too, Again negotiations are on-going to feature as many of the 2020 artists as possible in the 2021 festival’s run from July 21 to 27. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.

“It was heart-breaking to have to postpone the majority of the venue’s 20th anniversary celebrations but the safety of our audience members, performers, staff, volunteers and wider community has to come first. We intend to turn these events into 21st anniversary celebrations next year,” says Janet.

“During this period, we believe it is critically important that PAC continues to support its staff, artists and creative partners. We are working closely with our peers, across the region and indeed the country, on collaborative projects during the closure and we hope to announce a series of online events very soon.

“While we will be increasing the venue’s online artistic output, we are very aware there is no substitute to watching a live performance and sharing this experience with fellow audience members. We, like all of our customers, look forward to the time when this can resume.”

Pocklington Arts Centre remains in regular contact with Arts Council England, the Music Venues Trust and the Cinema Exhibitors Association. “All have been very supportive with advice and support,” says Janet. “PAC is determined to weather this storm and emerge from this challenge stronger and more vibrant than ever.”

“We are all braving this crazy storm, in different ships, but together,” says Courtney Marie Andrews

The last word, for now, goes to Courtney Marie Andrews: “We are all braving this crazy storm, in different ships, but together,” she says. “I am continuously inspired by everyone coming together, in so many ways, during this unprecedented time.”

Nothing happening in these Lockdown limbo days. Everything off. Here are 10 Things To Do on the home front, courtesy of The Press, York. LIST No. 5

Nothing happening full stop. Now, with time on your frequently washed hands, home is where the art is and plenty else besides

Exit 10 Things To See Next Week in York and beyond for the unforeseeable future in Lockdown hibernation. Enter home entertainment, wherever you may be, whether together or in self-isolation, in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic. From behind his closed door, CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these suggestions.

Street protest: The Everything Is Possible: The York Suffragettes cast on the march from York Minster Plaza to York Theatre Royal in 2017. Picture: Anthony Robling

Streaming of Everything Is Possible: The York Suffragettes, York Theatre Royal Collective Arts programme

YORK Theatre Royal is streaming the 2017 community play Everything Is Possible: The York Suffragettes for free on its YouTube channel until May 31.

Co-produced with Pilot Theatre, this outdoor and indoor production was performed by a community cast of 150 and a choir of 80, taking the form of a  protest play that recalled how women in York ran safe houses, organised meetings, smashed windows and fire-bombed pillar boxes as part of the early 20th century Suffragette movement.

“Now the stage is dark and the streets are empty, but looking back to the way in which that show brought people together, inspiring them in so many ways, is a wonderful reminder of the power of theatre and community,” says playwright Bridget Foreman.

Whispers From The Museum: the new mystery adventure from Scarborough Museums Trust

Whispers From The Museum, online mystery adventures for children

ADVENTUROUS youngsters can solve a new online mystery, Whispers From The Museum, set at Scarborough Art Gallery and Rotunda Museum, from May 12. The buildings may be closed under the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions but strange messages have been appearing inside. Who or what is making them and what are they trying to tell us?

For six weeks, young people – and their grown-ups – can uncover stories about assorted Scarborough Museums Trust objects by completing online missions and challenges from their own home, set by Scarborough artist Kirsty Harris.

The stream team: Your Place Comedy double bill Simon Brodkin and Maisie Adam, performing from their living room to yours

Your Place Comedy, streamed from their living rooms to yours

AT the initiation of Selby Town Hall arts centre manager Chris Jones, here comes gig two of Your Place Comedy, a Sunday night when comedians stream a live show via YouTube and Twitch from their living room into yours from 8pm. There is no charge, but you can make donations to be split between the ten small, independent northern venues that have come together for this Lockdown fundraising scheme.

After Hull humorist Lucy Beaumont and a pyjama-clad Mark Watson in the inaugural online gig, this weekend’s stream team will be Theresa May’s Tory conference P45 prankster Simon Brodkin and Harrogate’s Maisie Adam, as seen from home previously on last Friday’s Have I Got News For You.

Grayson Perry with his teddy bear Alan Measles on a visit to York in May 2014 to open the Meet The Museums Bears event

Inspired by Grayson’s Art Club on Channel 4…

IF you have enjoyed Grayson Perry’s convivial call to art, Grayson’s Art Club, on Channel 4 on Monday nights, with portraits and animals as the two subjects so far, seek out the “Ultimate Artists’ Activity Pack”.

This downloadable artist activity pack is suitable for children and adults alike, with Grayson among the contributing artists. So too are Ampleforth College alumnus Antony Gormley, Mark Wallinger, Michael Landy, Gillian Wearing and Jeremy Deller.

The Art Is Where The Home Is pack is the creation of Sandy Shaw, director of the Firstsite Gallery in Colchester, who says the activities should be fun, done on A4 paper and ideally shared.

Drag diva Velma Celli’s poster for Large & Lit In Lockdown, her next online show

What next for Velma Celli, York’s drag diva?

AFTER last weekend’s concert streamed from a Bishopthorpe kitchen in aid of St Leonard’s Hospice, York’s international drag diva Velma Celli has confirmed another such online extravaganza.

Large & Lit In Lockdown will be large and live at 8pm on May 16. “All you need to do is get your tickets from the link below and a live link will arrive in your email inbox on the day of the show.

“Click on it at show time and BOOM! There she is,” says Velma, the spectacular singing creation of Ian Stroughair. Tap in: https://www.ticketweb.uk/event/velma-celli-large-secret-york-venue-tickets/10581785.

Activity of the week: Rearranging your bookshelves

THANKS to Zoom and all manner of online visual services, placing yourself in front of your bookshelves is becoming the new normal, as tracked by the Bookcase Credibility Twitter feed, @BCredibility.

You may not go as far as J K Rowling, who re-arranged her books in colour sequences, but this is the chance to both gut your book collection and to find new ways to categorise those shelves, more imaginatively than merely alphabetically. This is spring cleaning with a new purpose.

Romesh Ranganathan: Rearranged York Barbican date

Still keep trying to find good news

POCKLINGTON’S Platform Festival in July, off. More York Races meetings, a non-runner. Deadpan comedian Romesh Ranganathan on Sunday at York Barbican, off; Whitby Fish & Ships Festival next weekend; the chips are down, alas. The list of cancellations grows like the wisteria adorning York’s houses this month, but you should keep visiting websites for updates.

Platform Festival? Negotiations are underway to move as many acts as possible to next summer. Romesh? His show, The Cynics Mixtape, is in the 2021 diary for May 15, still without an apostrophe in its title. Fish & Ships?  Sailing into harbour next May. York Races? Further updates awaited.

Woodland bluebells , Spring 2020

Venturing outdoors…

…FOR your daily exercise, be that a run, a cycle ride or a stroll near home, in a changing environment. If your route allows, check out the bluebells, now a glorious woodland haze, and the rhododendrons, bursting through too. In Rowntree Park, the ducklings are taking to the water, no need for armbands. Thank you, nature and the natural world, for keeping up our spirits.

Clap for Carers

STAND by your doors at 8pm every Thursday, no excuses. Theatre-goers, concert-goers, save your hand-clapping for our NHS doctors, hospital staff, carers, volunteers and key workers. How moving, too, to see familiar buildings bathed in blue light: a glowing tribute growing by the week.

Louis Theroux: New BBC radio series of interviews in lockdown

And what about…

NEW albums by The Strokes (the uncannily titled The New Abnormal); Lucinda Williams, Car Seat Headrest and Damien Jurado. Michael Henderson’s new state-of-the-nation book That Will Be England Gone, The Last Summer Of Cricket. The TV adaptation of Normal People, Sally Rooney’s story of complicated Millennial teenage love, directed by Room filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson on BBC Three, One and iPlayer. Louis Theroux’s lockdown interview series, Grounded, on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds. Parsnips, however you cook them.

Copyright of The Press, York

Simon Brodkin and Maisie Adam are stream team for Sunday’s Your Place Comedy gig

Sunday service: The stream team of Simon Brodkin and Maisie Adam, delivering comedy to your living room

PRANKSTER Simon Brodkin and Have I Got News For You panellist-in-lockdown Maisie Adam form the second Your Place Comedy double bill on Sunday.

The 8pm show will be streamed live from their living rooms to yours, looking to build on the success of the April 19 launch, when more than 3,500 people tuned in to watch Mark Watson, Hull comedian Lucy Beaumont and compere Tim FitzHigham.

Chris Jones, Selby Town Council’s arts officer and manager of Selby Town Hall, is again co-ordinating this weekend’s online fundraising show, working in tandem with nine other small, independent arts centres and theatres from across Yorkshire and the Humber during the Covid-19 shutdown.

Brodkin and Adam’s show will be free to watch on YouTube and the Twitch video live streaming service, with an option for viewers to donate if they have enjoyed the broadcast. All money raised will be distributed equally among the supporting venues, each being faced with navigating their way through these challenging Coronavirus days.

Compere Tim FitzHigham and a pyjama-clad Mark Watson on screen during the inaugural Your Place Comedy online broadcast

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.

“In a nutshell, at a time of huge uncertainty and upheaval in the Coronavirus lockdown, including for the live entertainment industry, I got these venues from around Yorkshire and the Humber to come together to provide our audiences with some much-needed laughter during these difficult times, each chipping in a small amount of money to put on each live stream,” says Chris, who was up until 4am on Tuesday morning putting everything in place for Sunday’s gig.

“Their contributions to Your Place Comedy go towards paying the artists a guaranteed fee at a time when all live income has been taken away, and, in exchange, venues get a show to sell to their own audiences as one of their own, helping maintain those vital relationships with audiences they have nurtured over the years.”

Watson and Beaumont’s April show raised £3,500 in donations for the venues. “We were overwhelmed by the response to our first ever broadcast,” says a delighted Chris, who was interviewed about Your Place Comedy on BBC 5 Live on Tuesday.

Prescient move: Simon Brodkin handed a P45 to Theresa May at Tory party conference

“The fantastic audiences, who are the absolute lifeblood of the ten venues involved in this project, watched and donated in their droves. Drawing more than 3,500 viewers was considerably more than the venues’ combined capacities, so the show went even better than we had imagined, to say the whole project was put together from scratch in the space of two weeks by three people with no live streaming experience.” 

Come Sunday, compere Tim FitzHigham, writer and star of BBC Radio 4’s The Gambler and presenter of CBBC’s Super Human Challenge, will introduce Brodkin and Adams’s sets from their homes, from his.

Prankster and character comedian Brodkin, 42, is best known for his alter-ego Lee Nelson and, latterly, as the man who handed Prime Minister Theresa May a P45 during the 2017 Conservative Party Conference. North Yorkshire-born comedian, writer and actor Adam, 26, has made her mark on Have I Got News For You, Mock The Week and 8 Out Of 10 Cats and appears regularly at the Harrogate Comedy Festival.

“It’s a distinctly different style line-up to the first show,” says Chris. “Simon is a truly fascinating performer. A former doctor turned character comic, he’s reinvented himself as one of the best pranksters the UK has ever seen. Listening to him spill the beans on how those daring exploits are pulled off is remarkably compelling.

One giant leap for Maisie Adam: From Pannal to the Have I Got News For You panel

“Maisie is destined to be omnipresent on our TV screens. Originally from Pannal, just outside Harrogate, she played her first ever gig at Otley Labour Club in 2016. She’s since had a pretty meteoric rise, winning the best new act competition in the country, So You Think You’re Funny?, in 2017; being nominated as Best Newcomer in the Edinburgh Comedy Awards a year later, and now appearing regularly on prime-time panel shows.”

Maisie, a former head girl at St Aidan’s School in Harrogate, appeared from her home in Brighton on last Friday’s home-alone edition of BBC One’s long-running satirical quiz show, Have I Got News For You, partnering team captain Ian Hislop.

Reflecting on the comedic impact of the first show, Chris says: “Both Mark Watson and Lucy Beaumont were fantastic. Mark is relatively experienced when it comes to live streaming and was comfortable enough with the format to perform in his pyjamas.

“For Lucy, it was a first foray into ‘audience-free’ comedy, but her set was pitch perfect – even featuring a rather bizarre bedtime story! – and broadcast live from the pub that her husband, [comedian] Jon Richardson, has built in their house.”

Lucy Beaumont: A “pitch-perfect set, even featuring a rather bizarre bedtime story”

How did the format work, Chris? “We were very aware that one of the limitations of live streamed comedy was a lack of audience interaction, so we devised a function that allowed viewers to send messages directly to the acts,” he says.

“This worked incredibly well and really gave the show that extra feeling of intimacy and warmth that you get from watching comedy in a small venue environment.”

Before the April 19 debut gig, Chris had said: “If the first one is a success and this looks like a sustainable model, I would hope to do several more through the lockdown period and possibly beyond.”

Now he is projecting an initial run of five shows. “We hope that, for as long as our doors have to remain closed, we can continue to connect with audiences and bring them big laughs from some of the UK’s best performers through the Your Place Comedy project,” he says.

“At a time when so many life-affirming social connections have been lost, and a great number of performers have had their livelihoods taken away overnight, it is brilliant to be able to support artists, audiences and independent venues in this way.”

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

Pocklington’s Platform Festival in July is cancelled in ‘heart-breaking decision’

No Saving Grace: Robert Plant: was to have headlined Platform Festival this summer

POCKLINGTON’S 2020 Platform Festival, headlined by Robert Plant’s new band in July, is off.

Run by Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC) at The Old Station, the annual festival has “very sadly has been cancelled for Covid-19 health and safety reasons”.

The organisers, PAC director Janet Farmer and venue manager James Duffy, are working on transferring all the 2020 programme to July 21 to 27 2021 and will keep festival-goers updated over the coming weeks.

“We will weather this storm and return in 2021 stronger and more vibrant than ever,” they vow.

Omid Djalili: Booked to open Platform Festival on July 8

The 2020 line-up would have opened with comedian Omid Djalili on July 8, followed by Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant’s Saving Grace with Suzi Dian on July 10, and a Saturday bill on three stages, featuring Shed Seven Acoustic: Rick Witter & Paul Banks, Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Ward Thomas, Lucy Spraggan and York country singer Twinnie on July 11.

The BBC Big Band on July 14 and folk-rock stalwart Richard Thompson on July 15 would have completed the festival line-up.

In a joint statement, heartbroken Janet and James say: “Following the continuing developments in the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Platform Festival.

“The safety of our audience members, artists, staff, volunteers and wider community has to come first and we did not want to put additional pressure on the health and emergency services at this time.”

Shed Seven’s Paul Banks and Rick Witter: Topping Platform Festival’s Saturday bill with an acoustic set

Janet and James continue: “Platform is a labour of love, for PAC staff, and being unable to share it with you all in the venue’s 20th anniversary year is heart-breaking. It is, of course, the choice we had hoped we wouldn’t have to make.

“We looked at the possibility of staging the event at a later date in 2020 but the most important thing for us, other than your obvious safety, is to give our customers certainty and so we have made the decision to move this year’s festival to July 2021.”

Praising Platform’s regular festival-goers, they say: “Platform is nothing without our audience, you make it the great festival that it is. We want to thank you for your patience, support and understanding with us, while we have been working to reschedule the festival for you. We will weather this storm and return in 2021 stronger and more vibrant than ever.”

Dealing with housekeeping matters, they confirm: “If you have already booked your tickets, rest assured these are secured. You will be offered the choice of a refund or the chance to hold on to your tickets for the 2021 edition.

Richard Thompson: July 15 gig would have climaxed the 2020 Platform Festival

“We plan to carry as much of the programme as possible forward and, so far, almost all artists have agreed to work with us on this, which is amazing. We will, of course, keep you updated and we hope to have this all finalised in the coming weeks.

“Please be patient and wait to hear from us. Our box office – and external ticket agencies – is extremely busy and we will contact you in due course.”

Janet and James conclude: “Platform 2021 will take place on July 22 to 27 and we would love to see you all there for our biggest party yet. Stay home, stay safe and look after each other. For urgent enquiries, please email info@pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

“If you are in a position to support Pocklington Arts Centre and Platform Festival, we have set up a crowdfunding page via https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/pac.”

Mary Coughlan: Pocklington concert moved to September 23

Meanwhile, Pocklington Arts Centre has released an updated list of rescheduled shows for 2020/21, with the prospect of more being added in the coming weeks and months.

The Wandering Hearts, winners of the 2018 Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award at the UK Americana Awards, move their sold-out In Harmony, An Intimate Tour show from April 14 to August 27 2020.

Mary Coughlan, “Ireland’s Billie Holiday”, switches her April 21 gig to September 23; inquisitive folk truth seeker John Smith, from May 21 to November 3, and American singer-songwriter Jesse Malin, June 27 to February 2 2021.

Andy Parsons: Comedian re-booked for April 24 2021

BBC Radio 2 and Channel 5 presenter Jeremy Vine now asks “What the hell is going on?” on February 26 2021, rather than May 1 2020.

Billy Bremner & Me, comedian Phil Differ’s comedy-drama recounting his dream of eclipsing the fiery Leeds United and Scotland captain’s footballing deeds, moves from June 5 to March 11 2021; Herman’s Hermits re-emerge on April 22 next spring, and Mock The Week comedian Andy Parsons’ sold-out April 28 gig is re-booked for April 24 2021.

Led as ever by vocalist Maddy Prior, folk favourites Steeleye Span’s 50th anniversary celebrations of debut album Hark The Village Wait will have to wait until its 51st anniversary, their show now moved from May 3 2020 to May 7 2021.

James Felice, left, Will Lawrence, Jesske Hume and Ian Felice of The Felice Brothers, now to play Pocklington on June 22 next summer

BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners Catrin Finch, from Wales, and Seckou Keita, from Senegal, will be joined by Canadian multi-instrumental trio Vishten on June 10 next summer, rather than June 13 2020 as first planned.

The Felice Brothers, from the Catskill Mountains, New York State, will be playing almost a year to the day later than their original booking. Ian and James Felice, joined by drummer Will Lawrence and bass Jesske Hume, are in the PAC diary for June 22 2021, replacing June 23 this summer.

The spotlight would have been on their 2019 album Undress, as well as their back catalogue from 2006 onwards, but now there should be new material too.

Courtney Marie Andrews: Watch this space for an upcoming new date announcement

A new date for American country singer Courtney Marie Andrews’ now postponed June 17 concert with her full band should be confirmed in the next week. Her new album Old Flowers will be released on Loose/Fat Possum Records on June 5.

All existing tickets holders for the rescheduled shows are being contacted by the PAC box office for ticket transfers or refunds.

Nothing happening in these Lockdown limbo days. Everything off. Here are 10 Things To Do on the home front, courtesy of The Press, York. LIST No. 4

Nothing happening full stop. Now, with time on your frequently washed hands, home is where the art is and plenty else besides

EXIT 10 Things To See Next Week in York and beyond for the unforeseeable future in our now extended Lockdown hibernation. Enter home entertainment, wherever you may be, whether together or in self-isolation, in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic. From behind his closed door, CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these suggestions.

Celebrating Shakespeare’s 456th birthday: Tamsin Greig as loyal servant Malvolia in the National Theatre’s Twelfth Night, screening on YouTube from tonight

Shakespeare’s birthday

WILLIAM Shakespeare’s 456th birthday falls today. The Bard, by the way, was no stranger to writing under debilitating duress, working in London amid the bubonic plagues of 1592 and 1603, when more than 30,000 Londoners died, and a third plague in 1606.

That year alone, Bill quilled three of his mightiest works, King Lear, Macbeth and Antony & Cleopatra. Tonight is a chance to celebrate on a lighter note, watching the National Theatre in the NT At Home YouTube streaming of Twelfth Night, starring Tamsin Greig as loyal servant Malvolia, at 7pm for free. Twelfth Night will be available for seven nights and days on demand.

No Morris dancing in York on St George’s Day under lockdown rules

St George’s Day

TODAY is not only the Bard’s birthday but also St George’s Day, in principle another cause for English celebration, given the dragon-slaying, princess-saving Roman soldier’s status as this nation’s patron saint. However, if outbreaks of Morris Dancing and Punch & Judy shows are the best we can throw at it in usual circumstances, maybe Lockdown is a chance for some home schooling instead.

Today’s task: Find out in more detail who St George was; why he is England’s patron saint and why the English flag is a red cross on white. Oh, and come up with your own way of celebrating at home; surely it must be better than dancing with bells on.

York Shut Studios…but artists embrace the virtual to compensate for Coronavirus-enforced cancellation

York Open Studios going virtual

THIS should have been weekend number two for York Open Studios, the chance to see work by 144 artists and craft makers in 100 locations in and around York, whether in their homes or studios.

Instead, as with last weekend, it will be York Shut Studios but that does not mean York’s artists have put their brushes into lockdown. Creativity demands improvisation, and so you can head to yorkopenstudios.co.uk for the “Virtual Open Studio”, where you can still bring their home work into your home.

Stream team: Compere Tim FitzHigham, left, and comedian Mark Watson in their living rooms for the first Your Place Comedy online show

Your Place Comedy, streamed from their living room to yours

AT the initiation of Selby Town Hall arts centre manager Chris Jones, here comes Your Place Comedy, a Sunday night when comedians stream a live show via YouTube and Facebook from their living room into yours. There is no charge, but you can make donations to be split between the ten small, independent northern venues that have come together for this Lockdown scheme.

The first one, featuring Hull humorist Lucy Beaumont and a pyjama-clad Mark Watson, drew 3,500 viewers last Sunday. Chris is planning the second 8pm online gig for May 3 at yourplacecomedy.co.uk; acts to be confirmed.

Puppet Theatre: the third Lockdown Legends Challenge set by York  Theatre Royal

Lockdown Legends Challenge, set by York Theatre Royal

EACH Monday morning, York Theatre Royal will post a theatrical #LockdownLegendsChallenge on its Twitter and Facebook pages for the whole family to take part in, just for fun. Even the participation of pets is “actively encouraged”.

After One-Minute Plays in week one and Costume Creation in week two, this week’s challenge is Puppet Theatre, or pup-pet theatre if your pooch partakes. “Re-create a scene from Shakespeare with household objects,” comes the invitation. “Then send your responses to lockdownlegends@yorktheatreroyal.co.uk and we’ll share these on our social media pages throughout the week.”

It’s time for Bingo in the street

Vintage game of the week: Bingo…in your street

BINGO is all about houses, and Lockdown Limbo is the chance to shout “House” in a game conducted with neighbours in our sunny springtime streets at Bruce Forsyth’s favourite social distance: “Nice two metres, two metres nice”.

What is bingo, should you never have ventured to Mecca Bingo or Clifton Bingo Club? Bingo is “a game in which players mark off numbers on cards as the numbers are drawn randomly by a caller, the winner being the first person to mark off all their numbers and exclaim ‘House’.” Repeat. Bingo.

The Boomtown Rats: Re-arranged York Barbican gig

Still keep trying to find good news

DEER Shed Festival, off. Courtney Marie Andrews at Pocklington Arts Centre in June, off. The Boomtown Rats at York Barbican, off. Jack Dee, Off The Telly, Barbican too, off. The list of cancellations grows like the spring grass, but do keep visiting websites for updates.

Deer Shed, at Baldersby Park, Thirsk? Definitely returning in summer 2021. Boomtown Rats? October 26. Jack Dee, October 1. No news on Courtney, yet, alas.

Venturing outdoors…

…FOR your daily exercise, be that a run, a cycle ride or a stroll near home, in a changing environment. Amid these disconnected, alien, strange days, your senses heightened, there is the chance to appreciate the previously unexperienced: the bird song in excelsis, a chorus no longer impeded by traffic; the bluer, bigger skies; the fresher air, the pollution levels so noticeably dropping.

York actor Mick Liversidge has taken to reciting Shakespeare’s sonnets in the fields, exercising mind and body alike. Why not Shake up your routine too?

York’s city walls lit up in blue for the NHS

Clap for Carers

STAND by your doors at 8pm every Thursday, no excuses. Theatre-goers, concert-goers, save your hand-clapping for our NHS doctors, hospital staff, carers, volunteers and key workers. How moving, too, to see familiar buildings and landmarks bathed in blue light: a tribute growing and glowing by the week.

Play at home: York country singer Twinnie’s new album, Hollywood Gypsy, released on April 17

And what about…

NEW albums by Laura Marling, Ron Sexsmith, Cornershop and York country singer Twinnie. Interior design books. Cerys Matthews and Guy Garvey on Sundays on BBC 6Music. The return of BBC One’s Killing Eve on Sunday nights and iPlayer. A themed new recipe of the week, whatever reason and seasoning grabs you.

Catching Rick Witter’s improvised home version of Shed Seven’s Chasing Rainbows on social media:. “I’m just staying home all the time”. Well, you are, aren’t you.

Copyright of The Press, York

Your Place Comedy debut is a stream dream of a Yorkshire living room hit

Stream team: Your Place Comedy compere Tim FitzHigham, left, and a pyjama-clad Mark Watson on screen during April 19’s online gig

REASONS to be cheerful part one. The first Your Place Comedy night, streamed live from Mark Watson and Lucy Beaumont’s living rooms to yours, was a big success.

Compered by Tim FitzHigham, Sunday’s online fundraiser for ten small, independent northern venues in Coronavirus shutdown drew more than 3,500 viewers.

“That’s considerably more than their combined capacities,” says a delighted event co-ordinator Chris Jones, Selby Town Council’s arts officer, who manages the Selby Town Hall arts centre.

“The show went even better than we had imagined, to say the whole project was put together from scratch in the space of two weeks by three people with no live streaming experience!” 

Reasons to be cheerful part two. “The show was free to watch on Facebook and YouTube, with an option to donate. We received £3,500 in donations, which will now be split between the venues,” says Chris.

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.

“In a nutshell, I was frustrated that the traditional relationship between venue, artist and audience – the venue providing the artist with income and the audience with entertainment – has been has been eroded for the foreseeable future by Covid-19 and I wanted to find a way to re-create that,” says Chris.

“So, at a time of huge uncertainty and upheaval in the Coronavirus lockdown, including for the live entertainment industry, I got these venues from around Yorkshire and the Humber to come together to provide our audiences with some much-needed laughter during these difficult times, each chipping in a small amount of money to put on Sunday’s live stream.

Lucy Beaumont: “Rather bizarre bedtime story”

“Their contributions to Your Place Comedy go towards paying the artists a guaranteed fee at a time when all live income has been taken away, and, in exchange, venues get a show to sell to their own audiences as one of their own, helping maintain those vital relationships with audiences they have nurtured over the years.”

Reasons to be cheerful part three. “Both Lucy and Mark were fantastic. Mark is relatively experienced when it comes to live streaming and was comfortable enough with the format to perform in his pyjamas,” says Chris.

“For Lucy, it was a first foray into ‘audience-free’ comedy, but her set was pitch perfect – even featuring a rather bizarre bedtime story! – and broadcast live from the pub that her husband, [comedian] Jon Richardson, has built in their house.”

How did the format work, Chris? “We were very aware that one of the limitations of live streamed comedy was a lack of audience interaction, so we devised a function that allowed viewers to send messages directly to the acts,” he says.

“This worked incredibly well and really gave the show that extra feeling of intimacy and warmth that you get from watching comedy in a small venue environment.”

Before Sunday’s inaugural show, Chris said: “If the first one is a success and this looks like a sustainable model, I would hope to do several more through the lockdown period and possibly beyond.”

Reasons to be cheerful part four. “We’re now planning a second show, tentatively scheduled for Sunday, May 3, with two new acts on the bill,” he says. “Watch this space.” Then watch www.yourplacecomedy.co.uk when the line-up is confirmed.

Should you still be wondering what exactly was Hull humorist Lucy Beaumont’s “rather bizarre bedtime story”…..no, you should have been watching!

Watson and Beaumont’s Sunday fun-day for your place from their living rooms

Come Hull or high water, Lucy Beaumont will be streaming online from her living room on Sunday

MARK Watson and Lucy Beaumont will star in the first Your Place Comedy night in a streamed show live from their living rooms on Sunday at 8pm.

At a time of huge uncertainty and upheaval in the Coronavirus lockdown, not least for the live entertainment industry, ten small, independent venues across the north have come together to “provide their audiences with some much-needed laughter during these difficult times”. 

The driving force behind the online venture is Chris Jones, Selby Town Council’s arts officer, who manages the Selby Town Hall arts centre. “In a nutshell, I was frustrated that the traditional relationship between venue, artist and audience – the venue providing the artist with income and the audience with entertainment – has been has been eroded for the foreseeable future by Covid-19 and I wanted to find a way to re-create that,” he says.

“So, I’ve got ten venues from around Yorkshire and the Humber to chip in a small amount of money to put on a live stream comedy gig this Sunday (April 19), featuring Mark Watson and Lucy Beaumont and compered by Tim FitzHigham.”

Joining together in this venue-focused initiative 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.

What’s on at home: Mark Watson , live from his living room

“Their contributions to Your Place Comedy go towards paying the artists a guaranteed fee at a time when all live income has been taken away, and, in exchange, venues get a show to sell to their own audiences as one of their own, helping maintain those vital relationships with audiences they have nurtured over the years,” says Chris.

“The show will be free to watch on Facebook and YouTube via www.yourplacecomedy.co.uk, but with an option to donate. All monies raised will be distributed evenly among the ten supporting venues, each of them now having to navigate their way through some challenging financial times.”

Mark Watson is an Edinburgh Comedy Award winner, television panel show regular and ever innovative performer. Lucy Beaumont, from Hull, is a BBC New Comedy Award winner who writes BBC Radio 4’s To Hull And Back and stars in the Dave channel’s Meet The Richardsons. Compere Tim Fitzhigham writes and stars in BBC Radio 4’s The Gambler and presents CBBC’s Super Human Challenge.

Summing up the living-room comedy initiative, Chris says: “In these trying times, when the wonderful audiences who make the work we do possible are unable to visit our venues in person, and when the performers who rely on us for their livelihoods have had many months’ worth of shows cancelled, the organisations involved in Your Place Comedy want to help support those who make live entertainment happen, bringing a little bit of joy to the audiences we miss so much.

“If the first one is a success and this looks like a sustainable model, I would hope to do several more through the lockdown period and possibly beyond.”

Compere Tim FitzHigham

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

Tim Brooke-Taylor RIP

Tim Brooke-Taylor, July 17 1940 – April 12 2020

BLAME Tim Brooke-Taylor for the stereotype image of the mithering, miserable, tight but bragging Yorkshireman.

Well, not only Tim, as we celebrate the comic genius and geniality of this son of Derbyshire, Cambridge Footlights president, Goodie and stalwart I’m Sorry I Haven’t panellist, who passed away yesterday, taken by the Covid-19 blight at 79.

The Four Yorkshireman sketch is often attributed to Monty Python, but wrongly so. It was in fact co-written by Brooke-Taylor for At Last The 1948 Show, the ITV series he made with Marty Feldman and future Pythons John Cleese and Graham Chapman in 1967 and 1968.

Monty Python were subsequently to appropriate it and so too was The Secret Policeman’s Ball charity bash, when performed by Cleese, Terry Jones, South Yorkshireman Michael Palin and a young Rowan Atkinson.

“And you try telling the young people of today that and they won’t believe you,” you might say, borrowing the sketch’s pay-off line.

Tim recalled the sketch’s motivation when interviewed ahead of his An Audience With Tim Brooke Taylor show at Selby Town Hall in November 2014: the year when the grainy black-and-white footage of the original recording for At Last The 1948 Show was re-discovered.

“I come from Derbyshire, so all Yorkshiremen are a pain in the neck and we have a chip on the shoulder about them,” said the Buxton-born Brooke-Taylor, not entirely seriously.

“In the Seventies, I was asked by five different publishers to write about Yorkshire because I’d picked on the county, but then Yorkshiremen were not at their best in the Seventies, were they!”

“Geoffrey Boycott!” scoffed the cricket enthusiast. “But I’ve since met some very nice Yorkshiremen and I’ve had to change my attitude, which is rather annoying.”

Tim, the perennial wounded innocent in The Goodies alongside Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie, went on to say why he loved being a team player, rather than performing solo. “I find that comedy is funnier in groups; there are great stand-ups but I love seeing people bouncing words off each other,” he reasoned.

Had Tim ever been tempted to write his autobiography, came the final question? “I’ve been offered deals, but I think the interesting ones are written by those with nasty things to say, like Roy Keane’s book,” he said. “My book would be too happy.”

Too happy? For all four of the grouchy Four Yorkshiremen, maybe, but not for the rest of us. Thank you, Tim Brooke-Taylor, for all the years of happiness and laughter your brought us.

“We’ll lead you to a better life,” you sang. “Goodies, goody, goody, yum, yum.”