More Things To Do in Ryedale, York and beyond comedy & climate change. Here’s Hutch’s List No. 13, from Gazette & Herald

Vera Chok’s Lauren and Jay McGuiness’s Ben in a scene from 2:22 – A Ghost Story, on tour at Grand Opera House, York, this week

JUST a normal week? No, paranormal, more like, as a ghost story pumps up the spooks. Fear not, a hope-filled musical, dances of love, loss and legacy and soul, folk and funk gigs are Charles Hutchinson’s picks too.  

New ghost to haunt “Europe’s most haunted city”: 2:22 – A Ghost Story, Grand Opera House, York, spooking until Saturday, 7.30pm fright-nightly; 2.30pm today (1/5/2024) and Saturday; 3.30pm, Friday

JENNY believes her new London home is haunted, hearing a disturbance every night at the same time, but husband Sam isn’t having any of it. They argue with their first dinner guests, old friend Lauren and new partner Ben.

Belief and scepticism clash, but something feels strange and frightening, and that something is drawing closer, so they decide to stay up… until 2:22 in the morning… and then they’ll know in The Battersea Poltergeist podcaster Danny Robins’s paranormal thriller, wherein secrets emerge and ghosts may, or may not, appear. Fiona Wade, George Rainsford and Vera Chok join The Wanted singer Jay McGuiness in Matthew Dunster & Isabel Marr’s cast. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Come From Away: Award-winning musical of hope, humanity and unity on tour at Leeds Grand Theatre

Musical of the week: Come From Away, Leeds Grand Theatre, running until May 11, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Thursday and Saturday matinees

IRENE Sankoff and David Hein’s four-time Olivier Award-winning musical tells the remarkable true story of 6,579 air passengers from around the world being grounded in Canada in the wake of 9/11. Whereupon the small Newfoundland community of Gander invites these ‘come from aways’ into their lives with open hearts.

As spirited locals and global passengers come together to forge friendships, we meet first female American Airlines captain, the quick-thinking town mayor, the mother of a New York firefighter and the eager local news reporter in a celebration of hope, humanity and unity. Box office: 0113 2430808 or leedsheritagetheatres.com.

The poster for Alexander O’Neal’s farewell tour, Time To Say Goodbye, bound for York Barbican on Friday

Farewell tour of the week: Alexander O’Neal, Time To Say Goodbye, York Barbican, Friday, 7.30pm

AFTER nearly five decades, Mississippi soul singer Alexander O’Neal is hitting the road one final time at 70 on his Time to Say Goodbye: Farewell World Tour, accompanied by his nine-piece band.

O’Neal will be undertaking a journey through his career with the aid of never-before-seen-photos, testimonies and tributes, all set to the tune of such hits as Criticize, Fake and If You Were Here Tonight. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Phoenix Dance Theatre in Dane Hurst’s Requiem, part of the Belonging: Loss. Legacy. Love programme at York Theatre Royal. Picture: Drew Forsyth

Dance show of the week: Phoenix Dance Theatre in Belonging: Loss. Legacy. Love, York Theatre Royal, Friday, 7.30pm; Saturday, 2.30pm and 7.30pm

YORK Theatre Royal is the final venue on Leeds company Phoenix Dance Theatre’s first British tour since 2022 with a visceral triple bill of works by international dance makers Dane Hurst, Miguel Altunaga and Phoenix artistic director Marcus Jarrell Willis.

Belonging: Loss. Legacy. Love opens with South African choreographer and former Phoenix artistic director Hurst’s reimagining of Mozart’s Requiem in response to pandemic-induced grief. Two world premieres follow: Afro-Cuban choreographer Altunaga’s first Phoenix commission, the daring Cloudburst, and Texas-born Jarrell Willis’s Terms Of Agreement. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

The Milton Rooms’ poster for the Comedy vs Climate workshops this weekend in Malton

Workshop of the week: Comedy vs Climate Change, Milton Rooms, Malton, Saturday and Sunday

THIS weekend Comedy vs Climate Change hosts a brace of workshop projects for 18 to 30-year-olds from North Yorkshire with the aim of raising awareness of climate issues and funds for environmental causes, as well as finding hope in climate humour that shapes a greener, better and fairer future.

Saturday’s 2pm to 5pm session provides an introduction to stand-up and joke writing; Sunday’s 10am to 1pm session focuses on improv and character development. Both use humour to explore environmental issues based around local rivers. Ring 01653 696240 or go to themiltonrooms.com to book a place.

Jah Wobble & The Invaders Of The Heart: Playing dub, funk and world music at Pocklington Arts Centre

Funkiest gig of the week: Jah Wobble & The Invaders Of The Heart, Pocklington Arts Centre, May 9, 8pm

SUPREME bassist Jah Wobble’s two-hour show takes in material from his work with John Lydon in Public Image Ltd and collaborations with Brian Eno, Bjork, Sinead O’Connor, U2’s The Edge, Can’s Holger Czukay, Ministry’s Chris Connelly and Killing Joke’s Geordie Walker.

Born John Wardle in 1958, he was renamed by Sex Pistol Sid Vicious, who struggled to pronounce his name correctly. Wobble has combined elements of dub, funk and world music, especially Africa and the Middle East, in his songwriting and has written books on music, politics, spirituality and Eastern philosophy too. Box office: 01759 301547 or pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Gigspanner Trio: Led by fiddler Peter Knight at Helmsley Arts Centre

Folk gig of the week: Gigspanner Trio, Helmsley Arts Centre, May 10, 7.30pm

IN the wake of his departure from Steeleye Span, fiddle player Peter Knight has turned his full attention to the Gigspanner Trio, a ground-breaking force on the British folk scene.

Knight, who first performed with the fledgling Steeleye line-up in 1970, is joined in his trio by percussionist Sacha Trochet and guitarist Roger Flack. Together, they combine self-penned material with arrangements of music rooted in the British Isles and beyond. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly: On tour at Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

Half-term show announcement of the week: There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, May 28, 2.30pm

FIRST written as a song in 1953, There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly was a chart-topping hit for singer and actor Burl Ives before being adapted into a best-selling book by Pam Adams a few years later, one still found in schools, nurseries and homes across the world.  

To mark the nursery rhyme’s 50th anniversary, children’s author Steven Lee has created a magical musical stage show for little ones to enjoy with their parents that combines the charming nonsense of the rhyme with his own “suitably silly twists”. Box office: 01723 370541 or sjt.uk.com.

More Things To Do in York and beyond the paranormal before 2:22 in the morning. Hutch’s List No. 18, from The Press

Vera Chok and Jay McGuiness in a scene from 2:22 – A Ghost Story, haunting the Grand Opera House, York, from Tuesday

JUST a normal week? No, paranormal, more like, as a ghost story pumps up the spooks. Fear not, a Led Zeppelin legend, country-town teen days, a hope-filled musical and dances of love, loss and legacy are Charles Hutchinson’s picks too.  

New ghost to haunt “Europe’s most haunted city”: 2:22 – A Ghost Story, Grand Opera House, York, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm fright-nightly; 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday; 3.30pm, Friday

JENNY believes her new London home is haunted, hearing a disturbance every night at the same time, but husband Sam isn’t having any of it. They argue with their first dinner guests, old friend Lauren and new partner Ben.

Belief and scepticism clash, but something feels strange and frightening, and that something is drawing closer, so they decide to stay up… until 2:22 in the morning… and then they’ll know in The Battersea Poltergeist podcaster Danny Robins’s paranormal thriller, wherein secrets emerge and ghosts may, or may not, appear. Fiona Wade, George Rainsford and Vera Chok join The Wanted singer Jay McGuiness in Matthew Dunster & Isabel Marr’s cast. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Robert Plant’s Saving Grace: Playing Harrogate Royal Hall on Tuesday

Gig of the week outside York: Robert Plant’s Saving Grace, Harrogate Royal Hall, Tuesday, 8pm

ERSTWHILE Led Zeppelin singer and lyricist Robert Plant, now 75, leads the folk, Americana and blues co-operative Saving Grace, featuring Suzi Dian (vocals), Oli Jefferson (percussion), Tony Kelsey (mandolin, baritone, acoustic guitar, and Matt Worley (banjo, acoustic/baritone guitars, cuatro), on their 15-date Never Ending Spring itinerary. South Carolina singer-songwriter Taylor McCall supports. Box office: 01423 502116 or harrogatetheatre.co.uk.

Country matters: Henry Madd’s Henry and Marc Benga’s Jake in Land Of Lost Content at Theatre@41, Monkgate, York

Touring play of the week: Henry Madd’s Land Of Lost Content, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Sunday, 7.30pm

NIC Connaughton, the Pleasance’s head of theatre, directs Land Of Lost Content, Henry Madd’s autobiographical insight into friendship, adolescence, forgiveness and life not going to plan in an empowering coming-of-age story about the trials of growing up in a small country town and its ongoing effects on two estranged mates.

Henry (Madd) and Jake (Marc Benga) were bored friends who grew up in Ludlow, where friendships were forged in failed adventures, bad habits and damp raves as they stumbled through teenage days looking for something to do. Then Henry moved away. Now he is back, needing to face up to the memories and the people he left behind. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Come From Away: Award-winning musical of hope, humanity and unity on tour at Leeds Grand Theatre

Musical of the week: Come From Away, Leeds Grand Theatre, Tuesday to May 11, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Thursday and Saturday matinees

IRENE Sankoff and David Hein’s four-time Olivier Award-winning musical tells the remarkable true story of 6,579 air passengers from around the world being grounded in Canada in the wake of 9/11. Whereupon the small Newfoundland community of Gander invites these ‘come from aways’ into their lives with open hearts.

As spirited locals and global passengers come together to forge friendships, we meet first female American Airlines captain, the quick-thinking town mayor, the mother of a New York firefighter and the eager local news reporter in a celebration of hope, humanity and unity. Box office: 0113 243 0808 or leedsheritagetheatres.com.

Claire Morley: Directing York Shakespeare Project in Sunday’s rehearsed reading of John Fletcher’s The Tamer Tamed. Picture: S R Taylor Photography

Battle of the sexes, round two: York Shakespeare Project in The Tamer Tamed, Creative Arts Centre Auditorium, York St John University, tomorrow (28/4/2024), 5pm

YORK Shakespeare Project complements this week’s run of Shakespeare’s The Taming Of The Shrew at Theatre@41, Monkgate, with a rehearsed reading of John Fletcher’s Jacobean riposte to the Bard’s most controversial comedy, directed by Claire Morley.

In Fletcher’s sequel, the widowed Petruchio has a new wife and a new challenge as he discovers that he is not the only one who can do the taming. Fletcher borrows characters from Shakespeare and Ben Jonson and a key plot device from Ancient Greek dramatist Aristophanes’s Lysistrata for his exploration of marriage and relationships. Box office: parrabbola.co.uk or yorkshakes.co.uk.

The poster for Alexander O’Neal’s farewell tour, Time To Say Goodbye, bound for York Barbican on May 3

Farewell tour of the Week: Alexander O’Neal, Time To Say Goodbye, York Barbican, May 3, 7.30pm

AFTER nearly five decades, Mississippi soul singer Alexander O’Neal is hitting the road one final time at 70 on his Time to Say Goodbye: Farewell World Tour, accompanied by his nine-piece band.

O’Neal will be undertaking a journey through his career with the aid of never-before-seen-photos, testimonies and tributes, all set to the tune of such hits as Criticize, Fake and If You Were Here Tonight. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk

Phoenix Dance Theatre in Dane Hurst’s Requiem, part of the Belonging: Loss. Legacy. Love programme at York Theatre Royal. Picture: Drew Forsyth

Dance show of the week: Phoenix Dance Theatre in Belonging: Loss. Legacy. Love, York Theatre Royal, May 3, 7.30pm; May 4, 2.30pm and 7.30pm

YORK Theatre Royal is the final venue on Leeds company Phoenix Dance Theatre’s first British tour since 2022 with a visceral triple bill of works by international dance makers Dane Hurst, Miguel Altunaga and Phoenix artistic director Marcus Jarrell Willis.

Belonging: Loss. Legacy. Love opens with South African choreographer and former Phoenix artistic director Hurst’s reimagining of Mozart’s Requiem in response to pandemic-induced grief. Two world premieres follow: Afro-Cuban choreographer Altunaga’s first Phoenix commission, the daring Cloudburst, and Texas-born Jarrell Willis’s Terms Of Agreement. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

The Cult: Marking 40th anniversary with the 8424 tour this autumn. Picture: Jackie Middleton

Gig announcement of the week: The Cult, The 8424 Tour, York Barbican, October 29

SINGER Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy mark the 40th anniversary of The Cult, the Bradford band noted for their pioneering mix of post-punk, hard rock and melodramatic experimentalism, by heading out on The 8424 Tour.

Once dubbed “shamanic Goths”, Astbury and Duffy will perform songs from The Cult’s 11-album discography, from 1984’s Dreamtime to 2022’s Under The Midnight Sun, in a set sure to feature She Sells Sanctuary, Rain, Love Removal Machine, Wild Flower and Lil’ Devil. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

More Things To Do in Ryedale, York and beyond the Bard festival celebrations. Hutch’s List No. 12, from Gazette & Herald

Footsbarn Theatre in Twelfth Night: First British performances in 15 years in world premiere at York International Shakespeare Festival

A FEAST of Shakespeare, a musical’s 60th anniversary, Motown magic, smalltown teenage troubles and a Yorkshire rock band’s birthday bash hit the mark for Charles Hutchinson.  

Festival of the week: York International Shakespeare Festival, until Sunday 

SHAKESPEAREAN Identity is the theme of the sixth York International Shakespeare Festival, now an annual event, run by director Philip Parr. Sponsored by York St John University, it features shows, lectures by internationally recognised academics, exhibitions and workshops presented by Shakespeare enthusiasts from all over the world.

Among the highlights will be Footsbarn Theatre’s first British visit in 15 years with Twelfth Night on Saturday and Sunday and York Explore’s exhibition of 300 years of representations of Othello. Tickets and full programme details are available at yorkshakes.co.uk/programme-2024.

Fiddler in the woods: Alice Atang’s Fiddler, Perri Ann Barley’s Golde and Steve Tearle’s Tevye set the scene for NE Theatre York’s Fiddler On The Roof

Musical of the week: NE Theatre York in Fiddler On The Roof, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, running until Saturday, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

STEVE Tearle directs NE Theatre York in Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick and Joseph Stein’s musical, taking the role of Tevye, the humble village milkman, for the third time too in this 60th anniversary production.

When three of Tevye’s five daughters rebel against the traditions of arranged marriages by taking matters into their own hands, mayhem unfolds as he strives to maintain his Jewish religious and cultural creeds, against the backdrop of the Tsar’s pogrom edict to evict all Jews from his Russian village in 1905. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

The poster for 1812 Theatre Company’s double bill at Helmsley Arts Centre

Double bill of the week: 1812 Theatre Company in Baby Dolls and Contractions, Helmsley Arts Centre, Thursday to Saturday, 7.30pm

HELMSLEY Arts Centre’s Young Arts Leaders Charlotte Mintoft and Amelia Featherstone direct the 1812 Theatre Company in Tamara von Werthern’s Baby Dolls and Mike Bartlett’s Contractions respectively. The first is a futuristic comedy about conception, state control and rebellion, wherein three women meet at a baby shower but darker things than cupcakes and babygrows are on their mind. 

The second, an ink-black comedy, focuses on the boundaries between work and play. Whereas Emma thinks she’s in love with Darren, her boss thinks she’s in breach of contract. The situation needs to be resolved. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Barrie Rutter: Reflecting on shaking up Shakespeare at Northern Broadsides and beyond

Breaking down the Bard barrier in the north: Barrie Rutter: Shakespeare’s Royals, York Theatre Royal Studio, Friday, 7.45pmRipon Theatre Festival, Ripon Cathedral, July 4, 7.30pm

BARRIE Rutter, founder and former director of Northern Broadsides, celebrates the Bard’s kings and queens – their achievements, conquests and foibles – with tales, anecdotes and memories from a career of playing and directing Shakespeare’s Royals.

Told he could never play a king on account of his Yorkshire accent, Hull-born Rutter, now 77, created his own theatre company in 1992 in Halifax to use the northern voice for Shakespeare’s kings, queens and emperors, not only the usual drunken porters, jesters or fools. Box office: York, 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk; Ripon, ripontheatrefestival.org.

Soul Satisfaction: Four Tops and Motown hits here they come at Milton Rooms, Malton

Ryedale tribute show of the week: Soul Satisfaction, The American Four Tops Motown Show, Milton Rooms, Malton, Friday, 8pm

DIRECT from the United States, Soul Satisfaction combine powerful vocals, sweet harmonies and high-stepping dance routines in the American Four Tops Motown Show.

This celebration of Motown’s golden era revels in Reach Out (I’ll Be There), Walk Away Renee, It’s The Same Old Song, Loco In Acapulco, I Can’t Help Myself and Bernadette, complemented by The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Marvin Gaye and Ben E King hits. Box office: 01653 696240 or themiltonrooms.com.

The trials of growing up in a small country town: Henry Madd’s Henry and Marc Benga’s Jake in Land Of The Lost Content at Theatre@41, Monkgate, York. Picture: Ali Wright

Touring play of the week: Henry Madd’s Land Of Lost Content, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Sunday, 7.30pm

NIC Connaughton, the Pleasance’s head of theatre, directs Land Of Lost Content, Henry Madd’s autobiographical insight into friendship, adolescence, forgiveness and life not going to plan in an empowering coming-of-age story about the trials of growing up in a small country town and its ongoing effects on two estranged mates.

Henry (Madd) and Jake (Marc Benga) were bored friends who grew up in Ludlow, where friendships were forged in failed adventures, bad habits and damp raves as they stumbled through teenage days looking for something to do. Then Henry moved away. Now he is back, needing to face up to the memories and the people he left behind, as Madd draws on themes of mental health and substance abuse in rural areas in his blend of theatre and spoken word. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Joe Martin: Troubadour tales at the Milton Rooms, Malton

Troubadour of the week: Joe Martin, Milton Rooms, Malton, Sunday, 8pm

INDEPENDENT singer-songwriter and modern-day troubadour Joe Martin captures stories of people and encounters picked up on the road in his tales of friends, strangers and his own experiences.

Before his solo venture, Lancashire-born Martin fronted a country band while studying at university in Leeds, opening for The Shires and appearing at the Country to Country festival. Now he performs in Europe and the United States, such as at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee. Box office: 01653 696240 or themiltonrooms.com.

The Cult: 40th anniversary tour heads to York Barbican in October. Picture: Jackie Middleton

Gig announcement of the week: The Cult, The 8424 Tour, York Barbican, October 29

SINGER Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy mark the 40th anniversary of The Cult, the Bradford band noted for their pioneering mix of post-punk, hard rock and melodramatic experimentalism, by heading out on The 8424 Tour.

Once dubbed “shamanic Goths”, Astbury and Duffy will perform songs from The Cult’s 11-album discography, from 1984’s Dreamtime to 2022’s Under The Midnight Sun, in a set sure to feature She Sells Sanctuary, Rain, Love Removal Machine, Wild Flower and Lil’ Devil. This year they have begun a vinyl reissue series. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

More Things To Do in York and beyond “the carriage ride of your life”. Hutch’s List No. 17 for the spring scene, from The Press

Footsbarn Theatre’s Twelfth Night: First British performances in 15 years in world premiere at York International Shakespeare Festival

BUCKLE up for Austen’s sister act, Shakespeare’s battle of the sexes and Sheridan’s scandalous comedy of manners, plus music, art and poetry in the library, advises Charles Hutchinson.  

Festival of the week: York International Shakespeare Festival, until April 28 

SHAKESPEAREAN Identity is the theme of the sixth York International Shakespeare Festival, now an annual event, run by director Philip Parr. Sponsored by York St John University, it features moving shows, lectures by internationally recognised academics, exhibitions and workshops presented by Shakespeare enthusiasts from all over the world.

Among the highlights will be Footsbarn Theatre’s first British visit in 15 years with Twelfth Night, American actress Debra Ann Byrd’s powerhouse solo show Becoming Othello and York Explore’s exhibition of 300 years of representations of Othello. Tickets and full programme details are available at yorkshakes.co.uk/programme-2024.

Katherine Lea: Making her Hotbuckle Productions debut in Pride & Prejudice at Helmsley Arts Centre

Ryedale play of the week: Hotbuckle Productions in Pride & Prejudice, Helmsley Arts Centre, tonight, 7.30pm

IN artistic director Adrian Preater’s humorous, multi role-playing adaptation of Jane Austen’s 1813 novel, Hotbuckle Productions enter the world of the Bennets.

From headstrong Elizabeth to proud Mr Darcy, rich characterisations abound as five sisters deal with marriage, morality and misconceptions. “Hotbuckle up for the carriage ride of your life” with Joanna Purslow, Tomas Mason and company newcomer Katherine Lea. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Carl Hutchinson: Storytelling Geordie comic appearing at The Crescent, York

Comedy gig of the week: Carl Hutchinson: Today Years Old, The Crescent, York, tomorrow, 7.30pm

YORK’s Burning Duck Comedy Club presents Geordie comic Carl Hutchinson in his third consecutive back-to-back tour show, Today Years Old. Expect a night of storytelling, rich in observation and physical comedy. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.

Fiddler in the woods: Alice Atang’s Fiddler, Perri Ann Barley’s Golde and Steve Tearle’s Tevye set the scene for NE Theatre York’s Fiddler On The Roof

Musical of the week: NE Theatre York in Fiddler On The Roof, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, April 23 to 27, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

STEVE Tearle directs NE Theatre York in Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick and Joseph Stein’s musical, taking the role of Tevye, the humble village milkman, for the third time too in this 60th anniversary production.

When three of Tevye’s five daughters rebel against the traditions of arranged marriages by taking matters into their own hands, mayhem unfolds as he strives to maintain his Jewish religious and cultural creeds, against the backdrop of the Tsar’s pogrom edict to evict all Jews from his Russian village in 1905. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Lydea Perkins’ Lady Teazle and Joseph Marcell’s Sir Peter Teazle in Tilted Wig’s The School For Scandal, on tour at York Theatre Royal next week

Touring play of the week: Tilted Wig, Malvern Theatres and Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, present The School For Scandal, York Theatre Royal, April 23 to 27, 7.30pm plus 2pm Thursday and 7.30pm Saturday matinees

JOSEPH Marcell, fondly remembered as Geoffrey the butler in the American comedy series Fresh Prince of Bel Air, stars in Seán Aydon’s new production of Richard B Sheridan’s comedy of manners The School For Scandal, where gossip never goes out of fashion.

Marcell plays Sir Peter Teazle, who believes his young wife is sleeping with someone else. Not true, but if her husband believes it, maybe she should give it a go. After all, if you are going to cause a scandal, you may as well enjoy it. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Florence Poskitt: Stepping into Kate’s shoes in York Shakespeare Project’s The Taming Of The Shrew

Seventies’ Shakespeare play of the week: York Shakespeare Project in The Taming Of The Shrew, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, April 23 to 27, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday

IN a late change of cast, actor-musician Florence Poskitt, from the York musical comedy duo Fladam, is taking over the principal role of Kate in Maggie Smales’s production of Shakespeare’s controversial battle of the sexes, now set in 1970.

A psychedelic world is opening up, promising peace, love and equality, but Kate was born to be wild and wants a voice of her own. The times they are a’changin’ and the old order is dead…or is it? Let battle commence. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Barrie Rutter: Shaking up Shakespeare at Northern Broadsides and beyond

Breaking down the Bard barrier: Barrie Rutter: Shakespeare’s Royals, York Theatre Royal Studio, April 26, 7.45pmRipon Theatre Festival, Ripon Cathedral, July 4, 7.30pm

BARRIE Rutter, founder and former director of Northern Broadsides, celebrates the Bard’s kings and queens – their achievements, conquests and foibles – with tales, anecdotes and memories from a career of playing and directing Shakespeare’s Royals.

Told he could never play a king on account of his Yorkshire accent, Hull-born Rutter, now 77, created his own theatre company in 1992 in Halifax to use the northern voice for Shakespeare’s kings, queens and emperors, not only the usual drunken porters, jesters or fools. Box office: York, 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.ukRipon, ripontheatrefestival.org.

Kai West’s poster for Bull’s Live At The Library day on May 19, based on the Cluedo board game design

Gig announcement of the week: Bull present Live At The Library, York Explore Library & Archive, Library Square, York, May 19, from 12 noon

YORK Explore and Please Please You team up with York band Bull for a day of music, art and poetry to celebrate Explore York’s tenth birthday and raise funds for York’s libraries. The climax will be a 6.30pm to 10pm gig by Bull, Marnie Glum, Rowan and performance poet Stu Freestone (tickets, tickettailor.com/events/exploreyorklibrariesandarchives/1216274).

Free activities include open mic-style performances run by Bull frontman Tom Beer in the Marriott Room from midday, featuring Gabbie Lord, Maggie, Gilles, She Choir, Filipe, Old Time Rags, Eve Thomas & Co and more,  plus art workshops for all ages hosted by Izzy Williamson (lino printing, 1pm) and Bull bassist and illustrator Kai West (T-shirt design and screen printing, 12 noon to 2pm) in the Garden Room, with donations welcome.

More Things To Do in Ryedale, York and beyond “the carriage ride of your life”. Hutch’s List No. 11, from Gazette & Herald

Katherine Lea: Making her Hotbuckle Productions debut in Pride & Prejudice

BUCKLE up for Austen’s sister act, Shakespeare’s battle of the sexes and Sheridan’s scandalous comedy of manners, plus music, art and poetry in the library, baroque and blues concerts and tragic opera, advises Charles Hutchinson.   

Ryedale play of the week: Hotbuckle Productions in Pride & Prejudice, Helmsley Arts Centre, Saturday, 7.30pm

IN artistic director Adrian Preater’s humorous, multi role-playing adaptation of Jane Austen’s 1813 novel, Hotbuckle Productions enter the world of the Bennets.

From headstrong Elizabeth to proud Mr Darcy, rich characterisations abound as five sisters deal with marriage, morality and misconceptions. “Hotbuckle up for the carriage ride of your life” with Joanna Purslow, Tomas Mason and company newcomer Katherine Lea. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Patricia Qua: Ceramicist and graphic designer taking part in York Open Studios for the first time in Hempland Drive, York

Art around every corner: York Open Studios, Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 5pm

AS many as 156 artists and makers who live or work within a ten-mile radius of York will be welcoming visitors to 106 workspaces to show and sell their art, ranging from ceramics, collage, digital, illustration, jewellery and mixed media to painting, print, photography, sculpture, textiles, glass and wood. Among them will be 31 new participants. Full details and a map can be found at yorkopenstudios.co.uk. Look out for booklets around the city too.

Keeping an eye on things: English Touring Opera in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut at York Theatre Royal

Opera of the week: English Touring Opera in Manon Lescaut, York Theatre Royal, Friday, 7.30pm

ENGLISH Touring Opera returns to York in Jude Christian radical production of Giacomo Puccini’s heartbreaking Manon Lescaut, for which she brings incisive direction to her sharp, poetic new translation.

Puccini’s 1892 breakthrough hit presents a devastating depiction of a woman wrestling with her desire for love on her own terms and the rigid double standards imposed on her by society. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

London Obbligato Collective: Opening the York Baroque+ Day at the NCEM

Classical concert of the week: London Obbligato Collective, York Baroque+ Day, National Centre for Early Music, York Saturday, 12 noon  

FORMED by Masumi Yamamoto, the new London Obbligato Collective focuses on “accompanied harpsichord sonatas”, where the harpsichord is given the solo role within the trio sonata texture, highlighting and enriching the colours and nuances of the instrument.

Next Saturday’s programme includes 18th century music by Felice Giardini, Johann Christian Bach and Carl Friedrich. Box office: 01904 658338 or ncem.co.uk.

Lydea Perkins, as Lady Teazle, and Joseph Marcell, as Sir Peter Teazle, in Tilted Wig’s The School For Scandal. Picture: Anthony Robling

Touring play of the week: Tilted Wig, Malvern Theatres and Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, present The School For Scandal, York Theatre Royal, April 23 to 27, 7.30pm plus 2pm Thursday and 7.30pm Saturday matinees

JOSEPH Marcell, fondly remembered as Geoffrey the butler in the American comedy series Fresh Prince of Bel Air, stars in Seán Aydon’s new production of Richard B Sheridan’s comedy of manners The School For Scandal, where gossip never goes out of fashion.

Marcell plays Sir Peter Teazle, who believes his young wife is sleeping with someone else. Not true, but she is starting to think that if her husband believes it, she should give it a go. After all, if you are going to cause a scandal, you may as well enjoy it. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Florence Poskitt: Stepping in to play Kate in York Shakespeare Project’s The Taming Of The Shrew

Seventies’ Shakespeare play of the week: York Shakespeare Project in The Taming Of The Shrew, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, April 23 to 27, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday

IN a late change of cast, actor-musician Florence Poskitt, from the York musical comedy duo Fladam, is taking over the principal role of Kate in Maggie Smales’s production of Shakespeare’s controversial battle of the sexes, now set in 1970.

A psychedelic world is opening up, promising peace, love and equality, but Kate was born to be wild and wants a voice of her own. The times they are a’changin’ and the old order is dead…or is it? Let battle commence. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Redfish Blues Band: Returning to Milton Rooms, Malton

Blues gig of the week: Redfish Blues Band, Ryedale Blues Club, Milton Rooms, Malton, April 25, 8pm

NOMINATED for Blues Band of the Year and Blues Album of the Year in the UK 2024 Blues Awards, Redfish Blues Band return to Malton with Christian Sharpe on vocals and guitar, Steve McGuckin on Hammond, Rod Mackay on bass and Steve Gibson on drums.

As witnessed on their Together Is Better album and Soho Rising (Girls, Girls, Girls) single, they play a delicious, bubbling gumbo of blues, soul, gospel and funk in live performances defined by energy and restraint. Box office: 01653 696240 or themiltonrooms.com.

Kai West’s poster for Bull’s Live At The Library day on May 19, based on the Cluedo board game design

Gig announcement of the week: Bull present Live At The Library, York Explore Library & Archive, Library Square, York, May 19, from 12 noon

YORK Explore and Please Please You team up with York band Bull for a day of music, art and poetry to celebrate Explore York’s tenth birthday and raise funds for York’s libraries. The climax will be a 6.30pm to 10pm gig by Bull, Marnie Glum, Rowan and performance poet Stu Freestone (tickets, tickettailor.com/events/exploreyorklibrariesandarchives/1216274).

Free activities include open mic-style performances run by Bull frontman Tom Beer in the Marriott Room from midday, featuring Gabbie Lord, Maggie, Gilles, She Choir, Filipe, Old Time Rags, Eve Thomas & Co and more,  plus art workshops for all ages hosted by Izzy Williamson (lino printing, 1pm) and Bull bassist and illustrator Kai West (T-shirt design and screen printing, 12 noon to 2pm) in the Garden Room, with donations welcome.

More Things To Do in York and beyond as art bursts out of every corner. Here’s Hutch’s List No. 16, from The Press

Impressionist oil painter Michael Hasan Reda: Making his York Open Studios debut in Prices Lane

ART from the city and out of this world, an orchestra of two, Canadian rock, Italian opera and a courtroom thriller have Charles Hutchinson reaching for the front door key.

Art event of the fortnight: York Open Studios, today and tomorrow; April 20 and 21, 10am to 5pm

AS many as 156 artists and makers who live or work within a ten-mile radius of York will be welcoming visitors to 106 workspaces to show and sell their art, ranging from ceramics, collage, digital, illustration, jewellery and mixed media to painting, print, photography, sculpture, textiles, glass and wood. Among them will be 31 new participants. Full details and a map can be found at yorkopenstudios.co.uk. Look out for booklets around the city too.

East Riding Artists: Addressing climate change in From The Earth exhibition at Nunnington Hall

Ryedale exhibition of the week: From The Earth, East Riding Artists, at Nunnington Hall, Nunnington, near Helmsley, until May 12, 10.30am to 5pm

THE climate crisis is high on the worldwide agenda; evidence of nature’s fragility can be found everywhere we turn, and few would question that our Earth is changing dramatically, in some cases irrevocably. Nature, however, is a force to be reckoned with, prompting 32 painters, potters and creatives from East Riding Artists to celebrate everything our natural world has to offer.

From the power of the North Sea and the beauty of Yorkshire’s countryside and coastline to the food we grow and the flowers we cultivate, From The Earth cherishes the best of our ever-changing world. Normal admission applies; National Trust members, free.

In Flight: Barenaked Ladies land at York Barbican on Sunday

Pinch me, look who’s coming to York: Barenaked Ladies, In Flight UK Tour 2024, York Barbican, Sunday, 7.50pm

IN the words of Barenaked Ladies drummer Tyler Stewart: “Our In Flight UK Tour 2024 will feature tasty new songs from the album and of course, a whole slew of BNL hits spanning 35 years. So come on Subjects! It’s time to ring in spring with your favourite Canadians, Barenaked Ladies. We look forward to seeing your happy faces.” Support acts will be Callum Beattie and Ferris & Sylvester.

Sold out already in the York Barbican week ahead are the Modfather Paul Weller’s return on Wednesday and arch comedian Tom Allen’s Completely gig on Thursday. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

The Blackheart Orchestra: Two musicians, Chrissy Mostyn and Rick Pilkington, play 13 instruments between them at Helmsley Arts Centre

Prog rock for the space age: The Blackheart Orchestra, Helmsley Arts Centre, Friday (19/4/2024), doors, 7.30pm

CHRISSY Mostyn and Rick Pilkington’s two-piece “orchestra” play 13 instruments between them from their prog-rock space station on stage, from acoustic and electric guitars, bass and bowed guitar to piano, organ, vintage synthesisers, omnichord, melodica and electric percussion.

Drawing on influences as varied as Kate Bush, Portishead, Cocteau Twins, Steve Reich and Philip Glass, they combine folk and rock roots with electronica and classical music. Foxpalmer, alias London singer-songwriter Fern McNulty, supports, from 8pm. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Patrick Draper, Tony Jameson and Alfie Joey: Comedy at the treble on Friday at the Milton Rooms, Malton

Hilarity Bites Comedy Club: Alfie Joey, Patrick Draper and Tony Jameson, Milton Rooms, Malton, Friday, 8pm

ALFIE Joey is a polymath: artist, radio presenter, podcaster, comedian, communication coach, Ted X speaker, impressionist, interviewer, charity auctioneer, motivator, children’s author, master of ceremonies, pantomime player, sitcom actor, Britain’s Got Talent participant and illustrator for York writer Ian Donaghy’s book Never Stop Drawing.

Comedy will be his focus in Malton, where he will be joined by Patrick Draper, purveyor of deadpan jokes, visual gags and songs, and host Tony Jameson. Box office: 01653 696240 or themiltonrooms.com.

Keeping an eye on things: English Touring Opera in Manon Lescaut. Picture: Richard Hubert Smith

Opera of the week: English Touring Opera in Manon Lescaut, York Theatre Royal, Friday, 7.30pm

ENGLISH Touring Opera returns to York in Jude Christian radical production of Giacomo Puccini’s heartbreaking Manon Lescaut, for which she brings incisive direction to her sharp, poetic new translation.

Puccini’s 1892 breakthrough hit presents a devastating depiction of a woman wrestling with her desire for love on her own terms and the rigid double standards imposed on her by society. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

London Obbligato Collective: Opening York Baroque+ Day at the NCEM

Classical concert of the week: London Obbligato Collective, York Baroque+ Day, April 20, 12 noon  

FORMED by Masumi Yamamoto, the new London Obbligato Collective focuses on “accompanied harpsichord sonatas”, where the harpsichord is given the solo role within the trio sonata texture, highlighting and enriching the colours and nuances of the instrument.

Next Saturday’s programme includes 18th century music by Felice Giardini, Johann Christian Bach and Carl Friedrich. Box office: 01904 658338 or  ncem.co.uk.

Jury service: Christopher Haydon’s cast for Reginald Rose’s courtroom thriller Twelve Angry Men at the Grand Opera House, York

Show announcement of the week: Twelve Angry Men, Grand Opera House, York, May 13 to 18, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday matinees

CHRISTOPHER Haydon’s touring production of Reginald Rose’s Twelve Angry Men for Bill Kenwright Ltd returns to York on the American courtroom thriller’s 70th anniversary tour, having last played the Grand Opera House in April 2015.

Tristan Gemmill, Michael Greco, Jason Merrells, Gray O’Brien and Gary Webster feature in the cast for this study of human nature and the art of persuasion set in the jury deliberating room, where 12 men hold the fate of a young delinquent, accused of killing his father, in their hands. What looks an open-and-shut case soon becomes a dilemma as the jurors are forced to examine their own self-image, personalities, experiences and prejudices. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Any Suggestions Improv’s Louise Jones to run improv beginners couse at Theatre@41, Monkgate, York. How do you apply?

Louise Jones: Tutor for Beginners Improv course at Theatre@41, Monkgate, York

EVER wanted to learn improv comedy? Whether you are a seasoned performer or have never stepped on a stage, Louise Jones’s improv course at Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, is for you.

“Please note this beginners’ course is for performers and non-performers who identify as female, non-binary or trans,” says comedy tutor Louise.

“The six to eight-week course has been designed to welcome people with any experience, including no experience whatsoever, to learn improvised comedy. From spontaneity to building outrageous characters, exploring unknown rooms, and working with others, it’s guaranteed to put a huge smile on your face and increase your confidence on stage.

The poster for Beginners Improv, now beginning on April 15

“There’ll be a showcase at the end of the course for you to show the world your new fantastic skills and enjoy the fun of performing with your fellow improvisers.”

After running a free workshop during York International Women’s Week, Louise will roll out the course from April 15 on Monday evenings, excluding May 20, from 7pm to 9pm.

Sessions cost £10 each or £64 for the full course. If you are interested, please email louiseasimprov@gmail.com promptly. “We’d love to see you there,” she says.

Louise Jones performing with Any Suggestions Improv

Louise is an improviser and co-founder of Any Suggestions Improv, the team behind Any Suggestions, Doctor?, An Improvised Adventure in Space and Time, a show nominated for Best Improv Show at Leicester Comedy Festival 2023.

Latest show Suggestions Of The Unexpected will be heading to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer.

Louise also has appeared in The Silliad and performs with Right Here Right Now, Riding Lights Theatre Company’s short-form improv night at Friargate Theatre, York.

Putting you in the picture for More Things To Do in Ryedale, York and beyond. Here’s Hutch’s List No. 10, from Gazette & Herald

Michael Hasan Reda: Impressionist oil painter of landscapes, cityscapes and gardens, making his York Open Studios debut at his studio in Prices Lane, York

ART out of this world, comedy in the news, a poetic war of words, an orchestra of two, a very colourful musical and a courtroom thriller have Charles Hutchinson reaching for the front door key.

Art event of the fortnight: York Open Studios, April 13 and 14, April 20 and 21, 10am to 5pm; preview, Friday, 6pm to 9pm

156 artists who live or work within a ten-mile radius of York will be welcoming visitors to 106 workspaces to show and sell their art, ranging from ceramics, collage, digital, illustration, jewellery and mixed media to painting, print, photography, sculpture, textiles, glass and wood. Among them will be 31 new participants. Full details and a map can be found at yorkopenstudios.co.uk. Look out for booklets around the city too.

News alert: The Drop The Dead Donkey newsroom team reunites for Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin’s new play at Leeds Grand Theatre

Breaking News of the week: Drop The Dead Donkey: The Reawakening!, Leeds Grand Theatre, until April 13

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

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

Reuben Khan: Playing the lead role in York Stage’s Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

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

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

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

Shareefa Energy!: Guest performance poet at Friday’s Say Owt Slam clash at The Crescent, York

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

SAY Owt, “York’s loveable gobby gang of performance poets”, take over The Crescent for a raucous, high-energy night of verse that combine a slam war of words with a guest performer. “In a slam, poets have three minutes to wow the audience,” says host Henry Raby. “It’s fast, frantic and fun: perfect for people who love poetry, and those who think they hate poetry too.”

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

East Riding Artists: Exhibiting at Nunnington Hall in From The Earth’s celebration of the natural world

Ryedale exhibition of the week: From The Earth, East Riding Artists, at Nunnington Hall, Nunnington, near Helmsley, until May 12, 10.30am to 5pm

THE climate crisis is high on the worldwide agenda; evidence of nature’s fragility can be found everywhere we turn, and few would question that our Earth is changing dramatically, in some cases irrevocably. Nature, however, is a force to be reckoned with, prompting 32 painters, potters and creatives from East Riding Artists to celebrate everything our natural world has to offer.

From the power of the North Sea and the beauty of Yorkshire’s countryside and coastline to the food we grow and the flowers we cultivate, From The Earth cherishes the best of our ever-changing world. Normal admission applies; National Trust members, free.

The Blackheart Orchestra’s Chrissy Mostyn and Rick Pilkington: Thirteen instruments divided between two musicians at Helmsley Arts Centre

Prog rock for the space age: The Blackheart Orchestra, Helmsley Arts Centre, April 19, doors, 7.30pm

CHRISSY Mostyn and Rick Pilkington’s two-piece “orchestra” play 13 instruments between them from their prog-rock space station on stage, from acoustic and electric guitars, bass and bowed guitar to piano, organ, vintage synthesisers, omnichord, melodica and electric percussion.

Drawing on influences as varied as Kate Bush, Portishead, Cocteau Twins, Steve Reich and Philip Glass, they combine folk and rock roots with electronica and classical music. Foxpalmer, alias London singer-songwriter Fern McNulty, supports, from 8pm. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Patrick Draper, Tony Jameson and Alfie Joey: April 19’s comedy line-up at the Milton Rooms, Malton

Hilarity Bites Comedy Club: Alfie Joey, Patrick Draper and Tony Jameson, Milton Rooms, Malton, April 19, 8pm

ALFIE Joey is a polymath: artist, radio presenter, podcaster, comedian, communication coach, Ted X speaker, impressionist, interviewer, charity auctioneer, motivator, children’s author, master of ceremonies, pantomime player, sitcom actor, Britain’s Got Talent participant and illustrator for York writer Ian Donaghy’s book Never Stop Drawing.

Comedy will be his focus in Malton, where he will be joined by Patrick Draper, purveyor of deadpan jokes, visual gags and songs, and host Tony Jameson. Box office: 01653 696240 or themiltonrooms.com.

Jury service: Christopher Haydon’s cast for the courtroom thriller Twelve Angry Men, on tour at Grand Opera House, York

Show announcement of the week: Twelve Angry Men, Grand Opera House, York, May 13 to 18, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday matinees

CHRISTOPHER Haydon’s touring production of Reginald Rose’s Twelve Angry Men for Bill Kenwright Ltd returns to York on the American courtroom thriller’s 70th anniversary tour, having last played the Grand Opera House in April 2015.

Tristan Gemmill, Michael Greco, Jason Merrells, Gray O’Brien and Gary Webster feature in the cast for this study of human nature and the art of persuasion set in the jury deliberating room, where 12 men hold the fate of a young delinquent, accused of killing his father, in their hands. What looks an open-and-shut case soon becomes a dilemma as the jurors are forced to examine their own self-image, personalities, experiences and prejudices. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lucy Worsley: Revelations about Jane Austen at York Barbican

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Makiko: the back story

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

Studied photography at International Center of Photography in New York.

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

At present at Royal College of Art in London.

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

Particular interest in high-functioning autism. In 2014 she launched her first documentary/photography book, Beautifully Different. Re-published in Japanese in March
2016.

Ha!Milton is not a musical, says tone-deaf comedian Milton Jones as he launches tour show. York, Sheffield and Ilkley await

Shirt alert: Which bright idea will Milton Jones try out next on tour?

MILTON Jones, the shock-haired master of the one-liner, has been toying with using his latest tour title for a while.

Cue Ha!Milton, heading for the Grand Opera House, York, on September 7 on his September 3 to December 15 itinerary. “To be honest, people have been encouraging me to use my name in a title for a long time. This one’s been around for seven/eight years,” he says.

“This is not a musical,” he clarifies, wanting to “make it clear that it’s not a spoof of Hamilton”, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s multi award-winning Broadway and West End hit. “I am tone deaf and have no sense of rhythm, but at least I don’t make a song and dance about it.”

In his “whole new show of daftness”, the 59-year-old Kew comedian from BBC Radio 4 solo series and TV panel shows has “more important things to discuss.  “Like giraffes…and there’s a bit about tomatoes,” he says.  

Giraffes and tomatoes, Milton? “You know what it’s like. You don’t want to be painted into corner when you’re asked for a title and some details a year ahead of a tour without making a rod for your back,” he says.

“I have 200 new jokes, but if it has a story, it’s about my life being tone deaf, starting with a Nativity play, with me playing Angel A and everyone else calling me ‘Angela’.

“I’m also including an AI machine, something called an ‘overhead projector’! It’s nice when you uncover it and you release observational gizmo nostalgia.”

Whereas music fans want bands to play the old hits, comedy audiences demand fresh material. “People want similar, but not the same jokes, and as long as you can provide that, that’s OK,” says Milton.

“To some degree I’m fortunate because I travel at such speed in my shows that people don’t always remember the jokes, but for my own sanity I don’t want to go dead behind the eyes by sticking to the same lines throughout the tour.

“Apparently, I go around the house muttering words, constantly looking at words and images and turning them upside down and then coming up with new things. In fact, soon I’ll be going out for a jog because physical exercise is one of the few things that turns my brain off by putting my body under stress.”

The poster for Milton Jones’s Ha!Milton tour, bound for York Barbican on September 7

Putting a show together, built around quickfire gags and puns, is “not just a case of whether a joke is good or bad, but of how you package it so they don’t see it coming,” says Milton.

“What I like doing is putting something in someone’s head, where they think of one punchline but then it veers off into another one.”

What’s more, Milton does not merely rattle off pun after pun. “You have to try to pace the show overall because, after 15 minutes, people can’t take more of the same,” he says.

“So you have to change the angle of attack, whether it’s with the overhead projector, or with a narrative story or a cartoon, to pace the show and find ways to keep it fresh. That’s why you do work-in-progress shows to do that.

“What you don’t want is for the audience to be ahead of you, so you have to keep making the formula different for the next joke.”

Milton tours regularly and favours long itineraries when doing so. Why? “Possibly because I enjoy it! That’s rather a basic answer, but one of things about Covid, when all of us were at home, we were thinking, ‘how are we going to get out of it, if we are going to get out it?’, and I really missed touring,” he says.

“It takes so long to put together a tour that I might as well do as many dates as possible before doing another one.”

What happens when a new idea pops into that punning cranium? “I can hold about three things in my head, and if I think of something and don’t write it down, normally I’ll run into it again,” he says.

“You think you have brilliant ideas in the night, but then when you look at them in the cold light of day, often they’re not so good. Or sometimes you have a bad idea but you improvise something from it, and you wouldn’t have got to that point without coming up with the first thought. The point is to try something out so at least you’re one step up the ladder to something working.”

Come September 7, let’s see what has become of Milton’s first thoughts on discussing giraffes and tomatoes…

Milton Jones: Ha!Milton, Grand Opera House, York, September 77.30pmBox office: atgtickets.com/york. Also Sheffield City Hall, December 4, sheffieldcityhall.co.uk; King’s Hall, Ilkley, December 8, bradford-theatres.co.uk.