More Things To Do in York and beyond when moments of laughter, sadness and reflection make List No. 66, from The Press

Beth Hutchinson in her monologue in Rowntree Players’ premiere of The Missing Peace. Picture: Duncan Lomax

FROM The Missing Peace to Shed Seven at the races, Charles Hutchinson finds the missing pieces to fill your diary

Premiere of the week: Rowntree Players in The Missing Peace, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, January 27 to 29, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

ROWNTREE Players director Gemma McDonald has adapted York author, singer, motivational conference speaker and charity champion Big Ian Donaghy’s book The Missing Peace, now billed as “One play…15 endings”.

On stage, Donaghy’s exploration of life after death takes the form of 15 Talking Heads-style monologues, many drawn from interviews he conducted in York. “It’s not a play about death, it’s a play about life,” he says. “There will be moments of laughter, sadness and reflection throughout.”

Look out for Mark Addy, who has recorded the narrator’s role as the Station Announcer. Box office: 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes of The Shires: Acoustic show in their regular haunt of Pocklington

Country gig of the week: The Shires – Acoustic, Pocklington Arts Centre, January 26, 8pm

THE Shires, Britain’s best-selling country music act, bring their 2022 intimate acoustic tour to Pocklington on the back of working on their upcoming fifth album.

Award-winning duo Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes have made a habit of playing Pocklington since their Studio debut in 2014, appearing regularly at PAC and playing the Platform Festival at The Old Station in 2016 and 2019. To check ticket availability, go to pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk or call 01759 301547. 

Ross Noble: What is a Humournoid? Find out, or maybe not, in his new tour show

Comedy gig of the week: Ross Noble: Humournoid, Grand Opera House, York, January 29, 8pm

WHAT happens when a creature is created and bred to do stand up, asks Geordie comic Ross Noble in his Covid-delayed but finally here new tour show, Humournoid?

“Nobody knows because that isn’t a thing,” says his tour blurb. “What is a thing is Ross Noble doing a show. You can come and see it. This is it.”

As ever with this improviser supreme, it turns out Humournoid has no theme, says Noble, who promises a typically freewheeling performance on his return to one of his five favourite venues in the world. Box office: atgtickets.com/York.

Porridge Radio: Brighton band making waves at The Crescent in York. Picture: El Hardwick

If you discover one band this month, make it: Porridge Radio, The Crescent, York, January 31, 7.30pm

EVERY Bad, their 2020 album released by the super-cool Secretly Canadian label, has propelled Porridge Radio from a word-of-mouth gem of Brighton’s DIY scene to one of the country’s most exciting upcoming bands.

“Last here opening for BC Camplight, we’re very pleased to see them return,” say promoters Please Please You and Brudenell Presents. Pet Shimmers, a new supercharged seven-piece from Bristol, support. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.

Malaika Kegode: Guest poet at Say Owt Slam’s return to The Crescent

Word wars: Say Owt Slam with guest poet Malaika Kegode, The Crescent, York, February 5, 7.30pm

BRISTOL writer, performer and producer Malaika Kegode will be the special guest at York spoken-word hub Say Owt’s first Slam night for more than two years.

Kegode has appeared at WOMAD and Edinburgh Book Festival, published two poetry collections with Burning Eye Books and created Outlier, an autobiographical gig-theatre with prog-rock band Jakabol. Passionate about cinema, culture and race, her lyrical work journeys through lives and loves, exploring genre, form and the power of the written word made visual.

In the raucous poetry Slam, performers will have three minutes each to wow the audience. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.

Contrarian comedian Alfie Brown: Emotional moments in his Sensitive Man show

Moral dilemmas: Alfie Brown: Sensitive Man, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, February 10, 8pm

DOES emotion help us make moral judgments? In his new show, contrarian comedian Alfie Moore will address this question, using jokes.

These jokes will weave together to create something greater than the sum of their parts, answering a question about emotion and its complicated relationship with morality.

“I refute that I am saying things to plainly and wilfully disrupt social progress,” he says. “I am not. I might seem smug, I know, apologies, and I am often misunderstood. So, at this particular point in the unfolding history of meaning, intention, signs and signifiers, I am sometimes going to tell you what I mean.” Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Florence Odumosu as Nina Simone in Black Is The Color Of My Voice at the SJT, Scarborough

Nina’s blues: Black Is The Color Of My Voice, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, March 12, 7.30pm

FLORENCE Odumosu plays Nina Simone in Apphia Campbell’s story of the North Carolina-born jazz and blues singer and activist seeking redemption after the untimely death of her father. 

Simone reflects on the journey that took her from a young piano prodigy, destined for a life in the service of the church, to a renowned vocalist and pianist at the forefront of the civil rights movement. Box office: 01723 370541 or at sjt.uk.com.

Chasing winners: Shed Seven to play after the May 14 race card at Doncaster Racecourse

Racing certainty…hopefully: Shed Seven, Live After Racing @Doncaster Racecourse, May 14, from 11.15am

YORK band Shed Seven’s day at the races should have taken place on May 15 2021, but Covid made it a non-runner. Now they are under starter’s orders at Doncaster Racecourse for a hit-laden live set after the May 15 race card this spring.

Among the Sheds’ runners and riders will be Going For Gold, Chasing Rainbows, She Left Me On Friday, Disco Down, Dolphin, Where Have You Been Tonight? and fan favourites from 2017’s comeback album Instant Pleasures, Room In My House and Better Days. For tickets for the race-day and concert package, go to: doncaster-racecourse.co.uk/whats-on.

There is nothing like…two dames

Berwick Kaler: Had to miss the last week of Dick Turpin Rides Again at the Grand Opera House, York, after positive Covid test. Picture: David Harrison

HOW did a York theatre cope with Covid crocking its legendary dame? Find out in Episode 73 of Graham Chalmers and Charles Hutchinson‘s Two Big Egos In A Small Car podcast. Under discussion too are Peter Jackson’s fab, formidable Beatles documentary Get Back; Mike Leigh’s Naked foreseeing Britpop and The Tourist going down better than Novax in Australia.

To listen, head to: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1187561/9886020

Alan McHugh: Aberdeen’s dame answered the call when Covid struck Berwick Kaler

Peter Schoenecker invites ‘a new way of looking’ at Pocklington Arts Centre show

Pocklington artist Peter Schoenecker and his wife Janet at the opening of his Pocklington Arts Centre exhibition

PETER Schoenecker’s A New Way Of Looking mixed-media artworks open Pocklington Arts Centre’s 2022 season of studio exhibitions.

On show until Saturday, February 19 are watercolours, acrylics and lino prints by the Pocklington artist, a former graphic designer, who is inspired by the landscape and seascape textures and lighting in and around his Yorkshire home.

Schoenecker has painted since he was a child, and after working mainly in print and graphics during his professional career, retirement has allowed him to pursue more of an interest in fine art while simultaneously offering him a chance to experiment with a variety of techniques.

Abstract Collage by Peter Schoenecker

“My aim is usually to create a mood or atmosphere using colour or black and white,” says Peter. “All the media are enjoyable to work in and switching between them keeps me interested and innovative, hopefully bringing a freshness to the work.”

Schoenecker often combines more than one medium in one piece. Take, for example, the set of acrylic paintings on Perspex that he names among his favourites in the exhibition.

“I really enjoyed creating the three acrylics on Perspex works as this was a new technique for me and one that I feel has many possibilities,” he says. “By using multilayers, new landscapes reveal themselves with the same mood as the original, but more abstract and with a life of their own.”

Branch On Table, lino print, by Peter Schoenecker

He wants visitors to feel galvanised by A New Way Of Looking. “Hopefully, they will take a little time to look more closely into the pictures to see some of the details and perhaps see how they have been created,” he says.

“I also hope they leave inspired to try something different and not stay locked into one medium or style, to be open to learning and trying something new.”

The exhibition is free to view during Pocklington Arts Centre’s opening hours only. For more details, go to pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk or call 01759 301547.

Angel Of Light by Peter Schoenecker

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Director Janet Farmer to leave Pocklington Arts Centre after 25-year association

Director Janet Farmer in the Pocklington Arts Centre auditorium

DIRECTOR Janet Farmer is to leave Pocklington Arts Centre this spring, ending a 25-year association with the East Yorkshire venue.

She will retire in mid-April after 22 years in post, preceded by three years of fundraising to transform the market town’s former cinema into a theatre, concert venue, cinema and studio gallery. The recruitment process to appoint her successor will start later this month.

From a standing start in 2000, Janet has led Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC) into becoming a leading small-scale arts venue, recognised nationally as a beacon of good practice with a significant cultural reputation.

Janet has drawn more than £1million in public funding to support the venue’s presentation of 3,500 film screenings and staging of 900 live events, numerous festivals, from Pocktoberfest to the Platform Festival at the Old Station, plus hundreds of community events, workshops, exhibitions and private hires.

She has programmed a diverse range of acts over the past 22 years, naming her personal favourites as Joan Armatrading, Lesley Garrett, Shed Seven, John Bishop, The Shires, Rhod Gilbert, Sarah Millican, Lucinda Williams, Baroness Shirley Williams, KT Tunstall, The Unthanks, Mary Chapin Carpenter, David Ford and Josh Ritter.

When informing PAC staff and volunteers of her decision, Janet said: “I am sure this will be said on many occasions over the next few months, but I want to thank all of the staff and volunteers for their tireless support, hard work, dedication and friendship. This has been vital to making PAC the success it is today.

“It has been an absolute pleasure and honour to lead PAC over two decades and it fills me with immense pride knowing what has been achieved during this time. I look forward to returning as a customer and perhaps a volunteer in years to come.”

In response, “all at Team PAC” responded on social media: “Janet, you moulded our identity, you are part of the building’s DNA and the legacy and success of your tenure will be seen for decades to come. Pour yourself a large drink and enjoy your well-deserved retirement.”

CharlesHutchPress will be interviewing Janet Farmer and venue manager James Duffy to reflect on her tenure at Pocklington Arts Centre. Watch this space.

What’s going in 2022’s arts diary to amuse, agitate, excite and exasperate Two Big Egos In A Small Car’s Chalmers & Hutch?

Pilot Theatre’s The Bone Sparrow: Premiering at York Theatre Royal next month

PODCASTING culture vultures Graham Chalmers & Charles Hutchinson pick their way through what lies ahead in their 2022 arts diary, from formulaic films to pioneering theatre in Episode 72 of Two Big Egos In A Small Car.

Plus tributes to Joan Didion and Dean Stockwell RIP, when you head to: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1187561/9850438

More Things To Do in York and beyond as something wickedly funny this way comes. List No. 64, courtesy of The Press, York

When shall we three meet again? When the hurlyburly’s done in The HandleBards’ Macbeth at York Theatre Royal

AS the pantomime season draws to a close, Charles Hutchinson turns his focus to new seasons and new reasons to venture out.

The skittish play: The HandleBards in Macbeth, York Theatre Royal, January 25, 7.30pm; January 26, 2pm and 7.30pm

THE HandleBards were the first professional company to play York Theatre Royal after Lockdown 3, lifting the long gloom with a ridiculously funny Romeo And Juliet. Now the three-pronged troupe opens the Spring! Season with an all-female, bewitching, unhinged, bicycle-powered, dead funny take on Macbeth, starring Kathryn Perkins, Natalie Simone and Jenny Smith.

Expect music, mayhem, murders, unusual applications of cycling paraphernalia and more costume changes “than you can Shake a spear at” in this irreverent, skittish romp through Shakespeare’s tragic “Scottish play”. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Charles Court Opera in The Mikado, visiting Harrogate Royal Hall on Sunday. Picture: Bill Knight

Oh, Vienna: International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival’s New Year celebration, Harrogate Royal Hall, today and tomorrow, 7.30pm.

ENCHANTMENT awaits in the Magic Of Vienna New Year Gala Concert today when the National Festival Orchestra, conducted by Aidan Faughey, presents works by Johann Strauss, Mozart and Lehar. International opera stars James Cleverton and Rebecca Bottone will be the soloists.

Charles Court Opera’s London production of G&S’s The Mikado will be performed on Sunday night, accompanied by the National Festival Orchestra. Box office: 01422 323352 or at gsfestivals.co.uk.

One Iota: Debut album launch at the JoRo

York album launch of the month: One Iota, supported by Odin Dragonfly, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, January 21, 7.15pm

YORK band One Iota are launching their debut album, More Than You Take, recorded at the venerable Abbey Road studios, in London, and Fairview Studios, Willerby.

Adam Dawson, James Brown, Andy Bowen and Phil Everard’s alt-pop group grew out of their three-piece tribute to The Beatles – The Threetles, of course – when they acquired a taste for writing their own songs in lockdown.

One Iota’s debut live show promises a full line-up, featuring live string arrangements for the Fab Four-influenced songs marked by rich vocal harmonies, innovative melodies and “more hooks than a cloakroom”. Box office: josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Jacob George: Soloist for Schumann’s Violin Concerto at the Academy of St Olave’s January concert

By George, he’s back: Academy of St Olave’s Winter Concert, St Olave’s Church, Marygate, York, January 22, 8pm

THE Academy of St Olave’s Winter Concert features Jacob George, son of musical director Alan George, as soloist for Schumann’s Violin Concerto. He returns to solo duty for the York chamber orchestra after performing the Sibelius Violin Concerto in 2019.

The ASO’s first concert since last September’s sold-out resumption also includes two works inspired by Italy: Schubert’s Overture in the Italian Style, and Mendelssohn’s “Italian” Symphony No. 4. Box office: academyofstolaves.org.uk.

Nunkie Theatre Company’s artwork for the third instalment of their M R James Project, A Warning To The Curious

Ghosts at play: Nunkie Theatre Company in M R James’s A Warning To The Curious, Theatre@41 Monkgate, York, January 28, 7.30pm

NUNKIE Theatre Company bring two of M R James’s eeriest and most entertaining ghost stories back to life in Robert Lloyd Parry’s candlelit one-man show. Lost Hearts, an early work, is constructed around one of his most memorable villains, the predatory scholar Mr Abney.

Lloyd Parry pairs it with perhaps James’s most poignant and personal story, inspired by his holidays in Aldeburgh: A Warning To The Curious’s account of a young archaeologist being haunted and hunted by the guardian of an ancient treasure. Has the English seaside ever looked so menacing? Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Yvette Stone’s life-size puppet of The Creature, as first seen in Blackeyed Theatre’s Frankenstein in 2016. The new tour visits Scarborough next month. Picture: Alex Harvey-Brown

Monster smash: Blackeyed Theatre in Frankenstein, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, February 9 to 12

NICK Lane has reinterpreted John Ginman’s original 2016 script for Blackeyed Theatre, built around Mary Shelley’s Gothic novel, wherein nothing can prepare Victor Frankenstein for what he creates in pursuit of the elixir of life.

Eliot Giuralarocca’s highly theatrical production combines live music and ensemble storytelling with Bunraku-style puppetry to portray The Creature, in the life-size form of Yvonne Stone’s 6ft 4inch puppet, operated by up to three actors at once. Box office: 01723 370541 or at sjt.uk.com.

Four decades of topical songs and glamour: Fascinating Aida’s Liza Pulman, left, Dillie Keane and Adèle Anderson. Picture: Johnny Boylan

Never tire of satire: Fascinating Aida, York Barbican, February 12, 7.30pm

DILLIE Keane, Adèle Anderson and Liza Pulman’s latest Fascinating Aida tour show features old favourites, songs you haven’t heard before and some you wish you’d never heard in the first place.

“But the songs are mostly topical and the glamour remains unstoppable,” say the satirists, who have been capturing the political and social fixations of our times for nigh on 40 years, from 1984’s Sweet FA to 2012’s Cheap Flights and beyond. All tickets remain valid from the postponed May 5 2021 date. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Marc Almond fronting The Loveless, headliners at late-October’s Tomorrow’s Ghosts Festival in Whitby

Looking ahead to Halloween: Marc Almond’s The Loveless, headlining the Saturday bill at Tomorrow’s Ghosts Festival 2022, Whitby Pavilion, October 29

THE Loveless make their Tomorrow’s Ghosts debut with a headline set of their devilishly dark arts at Whitby Pavilion next Halloween.

In a project designed to take its constituent parts back to where they all began, Soft Cell singer Almond, Sigue Sigue Sputnik axeman Neal X, Iggy Pop’s touring rhythm section of Mat Hector and Ben Ellis and haunting Hammond organist James Beaumont “pledge themselves to the pulp appeal of garage rock in its rawest, most gripping guise”.

The Loveless draw material from Almond’s expansive back catalogue, Lou Reed and David Bowie’s canons, warped 1960s’ R&B staples and lost garage-rock gems. Box office: ticketweb.uk/event/tomorrows-ghosts-festival.

Artist Stephen Todd in his Sheffield studio

Weekend opening: Kentmere House Gallery, Scarcroft Hill, York, today and tomorrow

NEW year, New Beginnings and a website “going live again at last” adds up to the start of 2022 for Ann Petherick’s gallery in her home at Kentmere House, York.

Among the works on show today and tomorrow from 11am to 5pm are Allotments In Autumn paintings by featured artist Stephen Todd, from Sheffield.

Kentmere House Gallery also will be open for the York Residents Residents’ Weekend on January 29 and 30, 11am to 6pm each day.

‘My aim is to create art that seems incomplete, impermanent and imperfect,’ says sculptor Janie Stevens as According To McGee exhibition opens this weekend

Sculptor Janie Stevens, flanked by According to McGee co-directors Greg and Ails McGee

ACCORDING To McGee launches its series of Affirmations exhibitions with a fusion of ceramics and sculpture tomorrow (8/1/2022).

“We’re still all about the paintings,” says Ails McGee, co-director of the gallery in Tower Street, York. “I’ve been working on my own series of Still Lifes; Beth Ross is here, David Baumforth, Horace Panter too, but we just thought the blank slate of 2022 merited a new approach and so we have some new 3D items.”

They take the form of a ceramic collection from David Austin Duckworth and the latest forms from celebrated sculptor Janie Stevens, who lives just outside York.

Part of Janie Stevens’ sculptural paean to simplicity, Imperfect

“What was important was to kick off the year with art that is for the most part positive and aspirational,” says Ails. “The front gallery is a battle-cry for the positive values of art. Art often throws the cultural equivalent of a Molotov cocktail into contemporary life, but it can also simply reflect what’s aspirational and optimistic.

“Sculptor Janie Stevens launches Imperfect, a sculptural paean to simplicity. It’s her collection of sculptures that greets the visitor in our front gallery and we’re delighted to be widening our remit with work such as this.”

Yorkshire-born Janie says: “Direct carving is a way of freeing the spirit, both my own and the spirit of the stone. I really enjoy observing how the stone changes as the light falls – pure alchemy! My work is hand carved, original and, above all, tactile. Sculpture is not just for the eyes.”

Artist Harry Malkin with Ails McGee at According To McGee in 2019

She encourages connecting with the natural stone through touching, feeling and stroking a sculpture too.

“I take inspiration from Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Tony Cragg,” says Janie, who works with local quarried stone, both in limestone and soapstone. “I’m driven by shape, tactility and emotion; three-dimensional form excites me as I continually test my understanding of the natural world.

“My aim is to create art that seems incomplete, impermanent and imperfect, which therefore aesthetically has no limitations to its beauty and simplicity.”

“Harry is an ex-miner and knows exactly what it is to work chest deep in freezing black water one mile underground,” says Greg McGee

Co-director Greg McGee highlights the latest work by According To McGee regular Harry Malkin, on view in the back gallery in the briefest of exhibitions. “It’s a pleasing counterpoint to the front room,” he says. “Harry is an ex-miner and knows exactly what it is to work chest deep in freezing black water one mile underground.

“These portraits of a rapidly vanishing world from a true draughtsman are a crucial part of Britain’s recent heritage, but they’re here for Saturday only, so if anyone needs a contemporary reason to visit their favourite heritage city, this is it.”

Janie’s art also can be found online at: accordingtomcgee.com/collections/janie-stevens

Will Daniel Craig’s James Bond requiem feature in Two Big Egos In A Small Car’s review of the cultural year just gone?

Exit Daniel Craig’s 007

NO time like the present to discover no-nonsense arts podcasters Graham Chalmers and Charles Hutchinson’s look back to the year of No Time To Die, Ralph Fiennes in York, Grayson Perry’s Pre-Therapy Years and Emma Rice’s Wuthering Heights.

For shooting from the hip with a quip, head to: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1187561/9817663

What can we learn from ants? Find answers online via Scarborough Museums Trust

Artist Feral Practice researching in the field. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

QUESTION of the day: What can we learn from ants?

Artists and naturalists will come together on Zoom on January 19 from 7pm to 9pm to  address this fascinating question in Ask The Ants.

In an event organised by Scarborough Museums Trust, designed to complement Scarborough Art Gallery’s ongoing exhibition, The Ant-ic Museum, artists Feral Practice and Marcus Coates will discuss what ants can teach us about our anthropological world in the company of ant ecologies specialist Dr Elva Robinson and natural world author Charlotte Sleigh.

Subverting a Gardeners’ Question Time format, the panel will draw on their specialist knowledge of ants to answer questions from the audience about human society. “Seeing our entrenched issues or thorny problems through the unusual position of the ant world opens up unexpected pathways of creative thinking for everyday life,” says the Scarborough Museums Trust literature.

Online attendees can submit questions in advance via https://bit.ly/AskTheAnts or ask it on the day. Questions can vary from the political and societal to the deeply personal. They should not be questions about ants, however!

An exhibit at The Ant-ic Museum exhibition at Scarborough Art Gallery. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

The January 19 event is part of Ask The Wild, a collaborative project by Feral Practice and Marcus Coates that offers fresh perspectives on personal, social and political issues in human society by bringing expert knowledge of natural history disciplines to bear on everyday human problems and dilemmas. Previous events include Ask The Sea at Tate St Ives, Cornwall, and Ask The Birds at Whitechapel Gallery, London.

Feral Practice’s Fiona MacDonald is an artist, curator and writer who specialises in human-nonhuman relationships, creating art projects that “develop ethical and imaginative connection across species boundaries”.

Performance artist, writer and filmmaker Marcus Coates seeks to draw parallel in his work through “examining how we perceive ‘human-ness’ in imagined non-human realities”.

Elva Robinson, senior lecturer in Ecology at the University of York, conducts research on the wood ants of the North York Moors. Her book Wood Ant Ecology And Conservation was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016.

Charlotte Sleigh is a researcher, writer and practitioner whose work is spread across the science humanities. Her research interests began in the history of biology and now have an emphasis on animals, and she is the author of Ant (Reaktion, 2003) and Six Legs Better: A Cultural History Of Myrmecology (Johns Hopkins, 2007).  

Tickets for Ask The Ants are free and can be booked via Eventbrite at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ask-the-ants-tickets-207822040317

Work from The Ant-ic Museum exhibition at Scarborough Art Gallery. Picture: Tony Bartholomew