Dreams come true for mudlarking jewellery designer Ruth Claydon at Time and Tide exhibition debut at Pyramid Gallery

York jewellery designer Ruth Claydon mudlarking for treasure on the River Thames in London

MUDLARK Ruth Claydon’s Time and Tide collection of upcycled jewellery from treasure-seeking trips to London are on show at Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York.

A mudlark is defined as “someone who fearlessly embraces the hunt for treasure on the banks of the river Thames. Come low tide, you might spot a solitary figure armed with nothing but a pair of tweezers and a small pot, kneeling by the water’s edge as the tide ebbs out”.

York jewellery designer Ruth first chanced on this pastime a few years ago when crossing Waterloo Bridge, from where she espied people milling about on the riverbanks. “As soon as I saw them, I had to check it out, dragging my poor patient friends with me down to a strangely sandy spot,” she recalls.

On discovering that the Thames is Britain’s largest archaeological site, and that all that was needed was a permit, combined with patience and tenacity, Ruth wholeheartedly embraced her desire to trawl for trash turned treasure by time.

Upcycled jewellery designed by Ruth Claydon from her mudlarking finds

“It’s hard to exactly explain the strange lure of the river, but it’s something about the tranquillity I find there,” she says.

“The new layer of history being uncovered by each tide; the joy of holding something lost for 500 years; the unexpected thrill of a rough garnet beneath the rubble; the inevitable poignancy of all that goodness being quickly submerged once again by the incoming tide; the slight sense of danger; the closeness to nature; seeing London from a unique angle, and not least the fascinating characters I encounter down on the foreshore.”

Ruth designs jewellery under the label of Moth and Magpie, the magpie being known for its habit of bringing shiny bits and bobs back to its nest. “She loves incorporating her mudlarking finds into her designs, which she has been doing gradually, but this is the first exhibition where she’s devoted the entire collection to her obsession,” says Pyramid Gallery owner and curator Terry Brett.

“It’s an obvious progression from her signature use of salvaged and ancient materials used in her previous work, where each piece is made from preloved jewellery merged with ancient treasures and heirloom finds.”

“It’s hard to exactly explain the strange lure of the river, but it’s something about the tranquillity I find there,” says Ruth Claydon, pictured on one of her riverbank mudlarking sessions in London

Ruth says: “Planning a special exhibition incorporating mudlarked treasures for Pyramid Gallery is pretty much a dream come true. There are few established galleries that would take a risk with such niche designs, but then Pyramid does enjoy delighting customers with the unexpected.”

Terry Brett, a visionary gallerist who is unafraid to take risks, has embraced Ruth’s quirky work, championing her by not only giving her this first show and launching her career with a special exhibition, but also by being a mentor.

“I’d never have thought of tea staining my labels to match my jewellery. That was a brainwave of Terry’s,” she says. “It’s that level of attention to detail that makes all the difference.”

Fiona MacFarlane, who manages Pyramid Gallery, equally has played a huge part in nurturing Ruth’s practice. “Not only did I have the privilege of working alongside her for many years, but Fiona’s input has been invaluable,” says Ruth. “She’s always giving me ideas about what to make next and displaying my pieces in the most artful ways.

“It’s newer ground for me that makes my heart beat faster,” says Ruth Claydon of her Time and Tide jewellery-designs, crafted from her mudlarking discoveries

“I’ve called this show Time and Tide, after the two original craftsmen for this body of work, using pieces that in themselves are worth nothing, like fragments of copper, which I’ve formed into beads and soldered with real gold solder. I love the high-low contrast and the patina that the river has created on the ancient metal.”

Expect the unexpected, she advises. Such as? Rough garnets from the Thames set amid 100 per cent recycled sterling silver; distressed metal patinated to perfection by time and tide, then shaped into unique beads; salvaged copper wire crafted into rustic bangles. 

“I’ve been making under the name Moth and Magpie for years. The name is descriptive of the style of jewellery I love to craft, all bohemian and intricate, but this new collection is something differently. A coming of age, if you will,” says Ruth.

“Melted and mended metal, fire and gold and silver, a rustic, simple and edgy aesthetic. It’s newer ground for me that makes my heart beat faster, pieces I’m loathe to part with because I want them for myself. It’s my hope that authenticity and excitement shines through in every piece.” 

Ruth Claydon at work creating her jewellery

Summing up Ruth’s work and artistic progression, Terry says: “I’ve known Ruth since 2008, at which point she was an artist making handmade cards, small pictures, and was experimenting with turning found objects into art and jewellery.

“To me, she was a natural artist with a great sense of humour and style that was a mix of pre-Raphaelite and slightly gothic. All she needed at that time was an outlet and some encouragement. So, she came to work in the gallery and got involved with displaying and selling. I knew that the gallery would gain much if we could harness her natural talent and her quirky and flamboyant style.”

Terry continues: “Every piece of jewellery she makes has a name that reflects the origins of the ‘found’ elements or just her own imagination that is informed by something historical or exotic. The words that she types out onto information cards, using an old typewriter, are almost as important to the customer as the item of jewellery that she is describing.

“The ‘mudlarking’ was a natural progression for Ruth. She is now incorporating artefacts that you simply wouldn’t find at a car-boot sale. Somehow, she makes old corroded bits of metal into precious artefacts and tells or gives them a story.”

Ruth Claydon’s Time and Tide exhibition will run until “at least the end of October”.

Finders, keepers, or not in the case of Ruth Claydon, who makes jewellery pieces “I’m loathe to part with because I want them for myself”, she says, but part with them she must at her Time and Tide exhibition at Pyramid Gallery, York

Berrt DeBaldock launches second volume of Good Rabbits memorials with fundraiser for Refugee Action York at Pyramid Gallery

Author and artist Berrt deBaldock, alias Terry Brett, with his Good Rabbits Gone 2 book at Pyramid Gallery, York

BERRT deBaldock will be raising funds for Refugee Action York from his second volume of cartoon-rabbit tributes to celebrities and remarkable individuals.

Under his nom d’art, the 92-page book is the work of Pyramid gallery owner and curator Terry Brett, who draws the rabbit memorials at the time of the individual’s death, compiling them for his charity project with his tributes or memories of the person.

“Good Rabbits Gone Volume Two To Infinity covers February 2020 and August 2021, which happens to be the period of the start and possible ‘end’ of the pandemic. Hence the book has a subtitle, The Covid Years,” says Terry, who will hold a charity launch at his gallery in Stonegate, York, on Wednesday, October 6 from 6pm to 8.30pm.

“It looks like a strange diary of the pandemic. We have tributes to luminaries such as Terry Jones of Monty Python, rock’n’roll pioneer Little Richard and television and radio personality Tim Brooke-Taylor, Forces’ sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn and Bond Girls Honor Blackman and Dame Diana Rigg, alongside the most venerable Bond, Sir Sean Connery.

“But also we have a visual list of several pandemic crises such as ‘lockdown’, ‘beer going down the drain’ and the ‘demise of the office’. All portrayed as rabbits.”

Bertt deBaldock will sign copies of Good Rabbits Gone 2 at the launch, where donations are invited to Refugee Action York, with proceeds going towards the charity’s work in helping refugees settle into life in Great Britain.

Refugee Action York (RAY) was founded in 2002 to challenge myths and misconceptions about refugees and asylum seekers and to raise awareness of the contribution that refugees and asylum seekers make to our society.

RAY works with refugees, asylum seekers and migrants from within and around the City of York, providing a safe meeting point where people can seek information and support, learn new skills and languages and form lasting friendships. Through providing this support, RAY hopes to empower individuals to assist them in rebuilding their lives.

In addition to the sessions and services offered by the charity, RAY campaigns on behalf of local asylum-seeking families and their relatives who are under threat of detention and/or deportation.

RAY participates in the annual Refugee Week in York as part of a national and international awareness-raising campaign.

Author Berrt says: “I wanted to do a tribute to a friend and fellow musician and artist, Jean Moss, who died in July aged just 73. Philip, her husband, had been actively supporting Refugee Action York and Jean was a supporter of the charity.

“So I’ve decided to split the proceeds between St Leonard’s Hospice and Refugee Action York. The book will be launched at the event for RAY on October 6 and then there will be another event for St. Leonard’s in November.

“I feel good about supporting RAY, always having been one to welcome migrants from other cultures into our community. With so many negative vibes about migrants into the UK – mostly associated with Brexit – I think it’s now vital that we welcome all refugees, demonstrate that we care and help them to integrate.”

The book itself, paid for by Terry’s business Pyramid Gallery, is being given away. Donations are voluntary. 

“From my experience with the first volume, released last November, people enjoy being given the book. Most of those people have then offered a donation, sometimes via the website JustGiving.co.uk.

“The fundraising page for St Leonard’s is listed as Terry-Brett6 and the fundraising page for RAY is Terry-Brett7, so people can choose which they prefer.”

O+M Snowhome design store launches £3,000 Kickstarter scheme for Alison Hardcastle to make Word Map of York

A teaser for a Word Map of York, the next project for O+M Snowhome and artist Alison Hardcastle, pending Kickstarter funding

MATT and Helen Harris are launching a new project tomorrow to create a Word Map of York at O+M Snowhome, Gillygate, York.

“Snowhome’s previous owner, Angus McArthur, developed the first Word Map – of the British Isles – ten years ago with Yorkshire artist Alison Hardcastle,” says Helen. “Ten years on, there’s been a Word Map of London and even one of the USA, but never one of York.

“Having spent a lot of time exploring the city over the past 18 months, we felt it was the right time to celebrate all the city has to offer with a Word Map of York. So, we’re setting up a £3,000 Kickstarter campaign from tomorrow (22/9/2021) to crowdfund to allow us to commission Alison to create the artwork and bring the maps to life.”

Independent design store Snowhome was founded in 2001 by artist and printmaker Angus McArthur, after he moved to York from London, and was transformed into O+M Snowhome by Matt and Helen in July 2020 once Angus decided to focus on York Ghost Merchants in Shambles.

“O+M Snowhome has a long tradition of creativity and collaboration and its popular Word Map series is a firm favourite among customers visiting the lifestyle store,” says Helen. 

“As the shop celebrates its 20th birthday, at a point in our lives when many of us have been staying at home more than we could have ever imagined, we’ve decided it’s time to celebrate the city with a Word Map of York.” 

Matt says: “Like many people, we’ve spent much of the past 18 months exploring the place we call home. Those daily walks took us on new routes and found us making unexpected discoveries, creating a new-found appreciation and gratitude for the city we live in. 

Mapped out: Alison Hardcastle at work creating her Word Map of London

“We were very aware of York’s rich history and well-known sites, but what we also discovered were the natural spaces, community links and little-known facts that, like so many places people call home, all combine to sum up the spirit of the city.” 

After researching the city and gathering recommendations, Matt and Helen now have more than 200 possible entries to form the content for a new Word Map of York, created once again with Alison Hardcastle. 

As with the others in the series, the map will comprise word entries hand-drawn by Alison to form the mapped shape of the city, creating a unique typographic artwork that celebrates the people, creations, events, culinary delights, fun facts and much more, all linked with the city. 

“At a time when many of us are enjoying the chance to explore new places once again, we hope the map will serve to share York’s hidden gems with locals and visitors to the city alike,” says Helen. 

Artist Alison is no less excited at the prospect of returning to the Word Map family. “Spending time hand-lettering the entries to form the artwork is always so therapeutic and I can’t wait to see how we can create a map that really celebrates the unique character of York,” she says.

Tomorrow’s launch of the Kickstarter campaign will seek to crowdfund the money to enable Matt and Helen to commission Alison to create the artwork exclusively for the shop and bring it to life in their next run of Word Map prints.

Like all Kickstarter campaigns, the project will need to raise its full funding goal to go ahead. To achieve their £3,000 target, the couple have created a range of options from single greetings cards to an opportunity to own the first copies of the map print. 

Helen and Matt Harris in the doorway of O+M Snowhome, in Gillygate, York

“As a special thank-you to anyone able to help make the map a reality, backers to the campaign will be able to enjoy early bird offers on the finished art prints, access to an exclusive 20th birthday colourway, plus the chance to own one of ten unique screen-prints of the finished map, which will include a bespoke entry of the backer’s choice, each hand printed, signed and numbered by Alison in her studio,” says Matt. 

As Matt and Helen want to share the benefits of the project, they look forward to continuing the long-standing relationships with Alison and printers Wood Richardson in bringing the maps to life. 

“It’s been an economically tough time for many, so it’s especially important to us that if the project can go ahead, it helps to fire opportunities for other creatives and businesses,” says Matt.

“If the campaign is successful and the project can go ahead, the maps will all be ready for backers to receive in time for the Christmas gift season in December. The Kickstarter campaign launches on September 22 with some early bird offers until midnight on September 26. The campaign will end at midnight on October 7.” 

To find out more about the Word Map of York Kickstarter campaign, go to snow-home.co.uk/awordmapofyork or visit their Kickstarter page at  kickstarter.com/projects/wordmapofyork/york-word-map-a-city-celebration. 

The story behind O+M

HUSBAND and wife team Matt and Helen Harris took over ownership of long-standing York contemporary design shop Snowhome in July 2020 from its founder Angus McArthur.

“O+M Snowhome was born as we brought the offer from own own homewares and lifestyle shop, Owl & Monkey, in Heslington Road, to Snowhome, bringing together the shared values of creativity, collaboration, innovation and inspiration, where quality, good design and fairness were at the heart of the range and independent retail experience,” they say.

Pocklington Arts Centre studio reopens with East Riding Artists’ Mixed Messages

Road To Nunnington, by Heather Burton, from East Riding Artists’ Mixed Messages exhibition at Pocklington Arts Centre from today

POCKLINGTON Arts Centre’s exhibition spaces burst back into life from today with the Mixed Messages show by members of East Riding Artists (ERA).

On show in the studio and foyer for six weeks until Thursday, October 28 will be paintings, ceramics, sculpture and jewellery.

Director Janet Farmer says: “It’s a pleasure to welcome East Riding Artists back to Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC), and it’s fantastic to finally be reopening our exhibition spaces.

“With the return of our cinema screenings, live events and now our exhibitions, the arts centre is once again welcoming plenty of visitors back through the doors, which is wonderful.”

The annual ERA show has become a key date in the artists’ calendar, traditionally attracting hundreds of visitors to PAC at Oak House, Market Place. 

Red Sky, by Shirley Davis-Dew, from the Mixed Messages exhibition

ERA chair Larry Malkin says: “This is a wonderful venue for artists from across the whole of the East Riding to showcase their work. 

“ERA goes from strength to strength, and this is one of the first in an evolving programme of exhibitions and events extending well into 2022.”

Entry to Mixed Messages is free during opening hours only. Please note, PAC is operating temporary changes to those hours, now being open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 11am to 3pm, and on Saturdays, 10am to 1pm, but closed on Wednesdays and Sundays. 

For further information on Mixed Messages, visit pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk; more details on East Riding Artists can be found at eastridingartists.co.uk.

Artists respond to impact of pandemic for In The Open show at Ryedale Folk Museum

Artist Amelia Baron with her thread on calico cotton work Connected at the In The Open exhibition at Ryedale Folk Museum

IN The Open explores the impact of the Covid-19 public health crisis on artists and their creative practice in an open exhibition at Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton-le-Hole, near Kirkbymoorside.

In 2021, in a desire to do something positive to support artists as the lockdown restrictions were lifted, the museum and artist Kane Cunningham came together to look at how artists were affected by the pandemic and how it changed their work.

The project finale is the exhibition of artistic responses to the northern landscape, on show in the art gallery and online via the museum’s website, ryedalefolkmuseum.co.uk, until Sunday, November 14. 

Lockdown Feathers, monoprint, by Andrew Dalton

Funded by Arts Council England and selected by a panel featuring curator Jennifer Smith, photographer Joe Cornish, painter Kane Cunningham and ceramic artist Layla Khoo, In the Open assembles paintings, photographs, ceramics and textiles by more than 80 professional, amateur and hobby artists who have turned to the landscape for inspiration. 

Museum director Jennifer Smith says: “We are absolutely delighted by the quality and variety of entries. It is encouraging to witness the broad range of people turning to art to express their feelings about landscape and countryside during the pandemic. It has been my great pleasure to bring these individual perspectives together.” 

Museum staff also invited entrants to submit an accompanying piece of writing, reflecting on the effects of the events of the past 18 months on their artistic practice. 

Message In A Bottle – Yellow Peril III, embroidered fabric and cement, by Nerissa Cargill Thompson

“Many artists have taken the opportunity to discuss the role that their art has played in their lives during this time, supporting them through the lockdowns in a range of really significant ways,” explains Jennifer. 

As well as showcasing art produced during lockdown, a central aim of In The Open was to provide a platform for artists to speak openly and share their experiences. 

“During the selection process, we had a strong sense of the therapeutic aspects of making art, as well as the benefits of spending time out of doors,” says Jennifer.

Rievaulx Abbey, etching and collagraph, by Anna Matyus

“It’s very moving to learn how much both their artwork and the countryside have meant to artists in these times. Some artists have contributed very personal reflections. Taken together, they are poignant, touching and capture a particular moment in time. 

Ryedale Folk Museum is open from 10am to 5pm in September, then 10am to 4pm in October and November. For more information, go to: ryedalefolkmuseum.co.uk/art-gallery/

In The Open curator Jennifer Smith, director of Ryedale Folk Museum

The In The Open artists:

Garth Bayley; Sandra Storey; Nerissa Cargill Thompson; Kevin Parker; Adele Froude; Gaby Lees; Jennifer Cottis; Diana Terry; Freya Horsley; Rebekah Staples; Andrew Dalton; Anna Matyus; Rachel Morrell; Margaret Geraghty.

Emma Paragreen; Jane Wilson; Sarah Roberts; Tim Bos; Zara Browne-Gilbert; Debra Snow; Gigi Dyer; Jill Setterington; Susan Noble; Annie Louvaine; Diane Eagles; Heather Burton; Rebecca Hughes; Jane Walker.

A Moment On The Road, oil and acrylic on canvas, by Louise Ventris

Ernest Newton; David Hope; Louise Ventris; Katy Doncaster; Sue Slack; Jane Taylor; Tessa Bunney; Sarah Connell; Nick Walters; Iona Stock; Catherine Hill; Peter Hicks; Kirsty Davis; Francesca Simon; Janine Baldwin; Alice O’Neill.

Chris Carbro; Judith Pollock; Colin Culley; Sarah Cawthray; Alex McArthur; Sarah Billany; Angela Summerfield; Louise Gardner; Claire Castle; Marion Atkinson; Sandra Oakins; Teddi Coutts; Lucy Saggers; Christian Bailey.

The In The Open exhibition on display at Ryedale Folk Museum

Natalie McKeown; Stef Mitchell; Ken Clarry; Kimberli Werner; Louise Goult; Alina Savko; Louise Lorimer; Lesley Wood, Christine Heath; June Appleton; Joe Cornish; Joan Currie; Alison Britton; Susan Plover; Rob Moore.

Caroline Clarke Green; Simon Dobbs; Louise Harrison; Jean Stephenson; Simon Thurlow; Kane Cunningham; Lindsey Tyson; Judith Glover; Margaret Robson; Fran Brammer; Sally Lister; Amelia Baron and Wendy Tate.

Sea View From Coastal Path, papercut/collage, by Alice O’Neill

More Things To Do in and around York as creative night market launched. List No. 49, courtesy of The Press, York

Big news! York artist Freya Horsley, right, and gallery co-director Ails McGee with Freya’s paintings Turning Tide and Liquid Light at According To McGee, York

BIG paintings, a night market, thrillers at the double, cookery chat, an anniversary celebration, a long-awaited Scottish return and a brace of comedians are the diverse focus of Charles Hutchinson’s attention.

Exhibition of the week: Freya Horsley, Contemporary Seascapes, According To McGee, York, running until October 11

ACCORDING To McGee is playing host to the biggest paintings the Tower Street gallery has ever exhibited: Liquid Light and Turning Tide, two mixed-media works on canvas by Freya Horsley.

The York artist is displaying a new series of seascape paintings depicting the Cornish, Scottish and north east coastlines.

“Her art makes you look twice because it has a calming quality and, like a good sunrise, it makes you go ‘wow!’,” says co-director Greg McGee.

York Creatives Night Market: Debut night of arts, crafts, music, food and drink at Shambles Market tomorrow

York Creatives Night Market, Shambles Market, York, tomorrow, 7pm to 10.30pm

POSTPONED at short notice on August 20, the debut York Creatives Night Market goes ahead tomorrow in a chance to browse art and products by independent traders.

Street food, drinks and music all evening are on the menu too for this free event, open to all.

The Rusty Pegs: Tenth anniversary concert at Theatre@41, Monkgate, York

Celebrating ten years on: The Rusty Pegs, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Saturday, 8pm

TEN years ago, York country band The Rusty Pegs formed, drawn from volunteers at the Monkgate theatre, who were asked to perform their debut gig there at a Raising The Roof fundraiser.

To mark a decade of making music together, the Pegs have decided to come full circle by performing an anniversary gig in the same place where it all started, this time launching the autumn season. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

No mistaking Justin Currie: Del Amitri return with Fatal Mistakes album for first York gig since 2002

Long time coming: Del Amitri, York Barbican, Saturday, 7.45pm

DEL Amitri follow up the May 28 release of their seventh studio album, Fatal Mistakes, with a return to York Barbican after a 19-year hiatus.

Justin Currie’s Glaswegian band last played there in May 2002, the year they released their last album, Can You Do Me Good?.

“It’s been nearly 20 years since we toured with a new album, lord knows what took us so long,” says Currie. “The prospect of sprinkling our set with a few choices from Fatal Mistakes fills us with the sort of excitement that, for some men of our age, might call for light medication. We think the adrenaline will see us through.” Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

No smoke without ire: Scottish comedian Daniel Sloss blows his top at York Barbican

Comedy gig of the week: Daniel Sloss: Hubris, York Barbican, Sunday, 7.30pm

SUNDAY’S gig is third time lucky for Scotsman Daniel Sloss, whose October 3 2020 and May 8 2021 visits were ruled out by the accursed Covid.

Sloss, 30, has sold out six New York solo off-Broadway seasons, appeared on American television’s Conan show ten times and toured to more than 50 countries. Now, at last, comes his new show, with special guest Kai Humphries.

Look out for Sloss’s book, Everyone You Hate Is Going To Die (And Other Comforting Thoughts On Family, Friends, Sex, Love, And More Things That Ruin Your Life), from October 12. For tickets for Sunday, go to: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

What’s cooking? Cookbook writer Yotam Ottolenghi finds flavour at York Theatre Royal on Tuesday

Flavour of the month: Yotam Ottolenghi, A Life In Flavour, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday, 7.30pm

CHEF, restaurateur and food writer Yotam Ottolenghi reflects on A Life In Flavour, provides cooking inspiration and signs copies of his “flavour-forward, vegetable-based” cookbook, Ottolenghi Flavour, after the show on Tuesday.

West Jerusalem-born Ottolenghi will be discussing the tastes, ingredients and flavours that excite him and how he has created a career from cooking.

Expect “unique insights into how flavour is dialled up and why it works, from basic pairings fundamental to taste, to cooking methods that elevate ingredients to great heights”. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Dane Baptiste: Comedian with a chip on his shoulder at Burning Duck Comedy Club

The other comedy gig of the week: Burning Duck Comedy Club presents Dane Baptiste: The Chocolate Chip, The Crescent, York, September 23, 7.30pm

IN his own words, Dane Baptiste is now a “grown ass black man, too old to be concerned with chicken or trainers, too young to be considered a peer of Trevor McDonald”.

Has he got a chip on his shoulder? “Yes. A chocolate one,” says Baptiste, a south east London stand-up who once worked in media sales.

Noted for his boldly provocative material, he hosts the podcasts Dane Baptiste Questions Everything and Quotas Full. Box office: thecrescentyork.com/events.

The Rowntree Players’ poster for next week’s production of Agatha Christie’s Spider’s Web

Web of the week: Rowntree Players in Agatha Christie’s Spider’s Web, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, September 23 to 25, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

DIPLOMAT’S wife Clarissa is adept at spinning tales of adventure, but when a murder takes place in her drawing room, she finds live drama much harder to cope with in Rowntree Players’ autumn return, directed by Howard Ella.

Desperate to dispose of the body before her husband arrives with an important politician, she enlists the help of her guests. 

In a conscious parody of the detective thriller, Christie’s Spider’s Web delivers suspense and humour in equal measure in an intricate plot of murder, police detection, hidden doorways and secret drawers. Box office: 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

In the chair: Just Some Theatre in rehearsal for The Killer Question, heading to Theatre@41, Monkgate, York

Mystery of the week ahead: Just Some Theatre in The Killer Question, Theatre@41 Monkgate, York, September 25, 7.30pm

THE Silence Of The Lambs meets Last Of The Summer Wine in Dave Payne’s dark comedy thriller The Killer Question, marking the York debut of Manchester company Just Some Theatre.

Did The Chair game show champion Walter Crump’s obsession with death ultimately lead to his own? Inspector Black believes so, and now Crump’s dopey widow, Margaret, finds herself accused of her husband’s murder. 

Faced by more than one deadly twist in the tale, can Inspector Black solve the mystery? Will Margaret be home in time for Countryfile? Just as important, which actor – Peter Stone, Jake Urry or Jordan Moore – will play which character? The audience decides. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Freya Horsley goes very BIG for seascapes exhibition at According To McGee gallery

Big news! York artist Freya Horsley, right, and According To McGee co-director Ails McGee stand by Freya’s largest-ever paintings, Turning Tide, left, and Liquid Light, ahead of her Contemporary Seascapes exhibition opening tomorrow

ACCORDING To McGee reopens its York doors this weekend to the biggest paintings that the Tower Street gallery has ever exhibited.

York painter Freya Horsley’s solo show, Contemporary Seascapes, launches on Saturday morning in a bold statement of her artistic practice.

“These aren’t only the biggest paintings we’ve exhibited, they’re the biggest commercial paintings in the UK”, says a laughing gallery co-director Ails McGee.

Message, by Freya Horsley, at According To McGee

“Freya has created a stunning collection. The size is not a gimmick. Combined with her evolving compositions and palette on both her large-scale pieces and her smaller works, it’s a confident demonstration of where she is as a painter, at the top of her game, and selling to collectors from all over the world.”

According To McGee’s front room will be displaying the new series, a mixture of seascape paintings depicting the Cornish, Scottish and North East coastlines, including the two large mixed-media works on canvas, Liquid Light and Turning Tide, each priced at £4,500.

Co-director Greg McGee points to the “integral optimism” of these new works. “It’s been a rough time for everybody. Loss and loneliness have been a steady drizzle on life for over a year, but things are slowly clicking back into gear, and I can’t think of a better way to reflect that than through beautiful paintings of the sea,” he says.

Freya Horsley on a sketching trip to the coast

“There’s restlessness, depths, and enough luminosity to help hammer home our message as gallery curators at this time: nature can heal. Because of that, Freya’s art connects with collectors internationally.”

Greg delights in pointing out that Freya is the only artist with whom he has appeared on the Beeb. When BBC One’s Best House In Town featured York in its inaugural series in February 2019, Greg was among the five judges, and Freya’s art was instantly recognisable in one of the houses.

“Her art makes you look twice because it has a calming quality and, like a good sunrise, it makes you go ‘wow!’,” he says. “That came across very powerfully on TV. We have clients who watched the show in Dubai who got in touch, saying ‘I’m watching in Burj Khalifa the guy who sells me paintings and the art I like to collect most’.

Open Eyes, by Freya Horsley, on show at According To McGee from this weekend

“It was a very good showboat for York. We’re glad that we’re still here to celebrate the increasingly powerful art of one of Yorkshire’s most collectable painters.”

Freya Horsley’s Contemporary Seascapes exhibition runs at According To McGee, Tower Street, York, from September 11 to October 11. Gallery opening hours are: Monday to Friday, 11am to 3pm; Saturdays, 11am to 4pm, or by appointment on 07973 653702.

For more of Freya’s art, check out: accordingtomcgee.com/collections/freya-horsley

More Things To Do in and around York with fishermen, Irishmen and a Scotsman. List No. 48, courtesy of The Press, York

Getting Away With Murder(s) documentary filmmaker David Wilkinson at the gate of Auschwitz 1

AS the Grand Opera House reopens, diaries are starting to fill to pre-pandemic levels, much to the delight of a post self-isolating Charles Hutchinson.

Film world premiere of the week: Getting Away With Murder(s); Everyman York, Blossom Street, York, tonight, 6.30pm to 10.30pm

IT has taken 18 years for Yorkshire filmmaker David Wilkinson to bring his documentary, Getting Away With Murder(s), to the big screen.

Exploring an overlooked aspect of the Holocaust, he reveals that “almost one million people in 22 countries willingly carried out the unprovoked murder of 11 million innocent men, women and children but 99 per cent of those responsible were never prosecuted”.

Wilkinson, who examines the reasons behind the disregard for justice, will take part in a post-screening Q&A. Box office: everymancinema.com.

Fisherman’s Friends: Hooked on sea songs at York Barbican

They inspired a film and now they are back: Fisherman’s Friends: Unlocked & Unleashed, York Barbican, tomorrow, 7pm

CORNISH “buoy band” Fisherman’s Friends – combined aged 401 – re-emerge from lockdown for their Unlocked & Unleashed tour.

As celebrated in the film that shares their name, for 40 years they have met on the Platt of Port Isaac’s harbour to sing the songs of the sea.

In the line-up are lobster fisherman Jeremy Brown; writer, shopkeeper and master of ceremonies Jon Cleave; smallholder and engineer John ‘Lefty’ Lethbridge; Yorkshire-born builder John McDonnell; Padstow fisherman Jason Nicholas; filmmaker Toby Lobb and the new boy, former ambulance driver Pete Hicks. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

One Night In Dublin: One night in York for Irish songs aplenty at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre

Irish gig/jig of the week: One Night In Dublin, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Saturday, 7.30pm

SATURDAY night is the chance to spend One Night In Dublin – in York – when “Murphy’s Irish Pub” opens its doors at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre.

Join in the craic as the lively Irish tribute band covers such Irish staples as Galway Girl, Tell Me Ma, Dirty Old Town, Irish Rover, Seven Drunken Nights and Whiskey In The Jar. Box office: josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Gary Meikle: Scottish comedian in Surreal mode at York Barbican

This experience really is “Surreal”: Gary Meikle: Surreal, York Barbican, Sunday, 8pm

DELAYED from April 8 to this weekend, playfully dark cheeky-chappie Scottish comedian and “viral sensation” Gary Meikel presents his second tour show in York.

Looking to “get away with talking about anything that will have you laughing at things you probably shouldn’t be”, punchy storyteller Meikle draws material from his own experiences, not least his unique family dynamic.

New show Surreal covers such topics as evolution, social media, how to deal with burglars, single mums, bee sex and small-man syndrome. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Exploration of family, myth and memory loss: Second Body’s Max Barton and Jethro Cooke in Styx at Theatre At The Mill

Residency of the week: Second Body in Styx, Theatre At The Mill, Stillington, near York, Sunday and Tuesday, 8pm

SECOND Body duo Max Barton and Jethro Cooke present their theatre-concert exploration of family, myth, memory loss and Max’s grandma, now with remixed music and bearing wounds wrought by 18 months of disrupted human connectivity.

“What does it mean to lose the memories that make us who we are?” they ask. “How can we continue to be ourselves when we are separated from our loved ones.” Box office: tickettailor.com/events/atthemill.

Back in Black: Robert Goodale and Antony Eden in the ghost story The Woman In Black, haunting the Grand Opera House, York, from Monday. Picture: Tristram Kenton

Re-opening of the week: Grand Opera House, York, for The Woman In Black, Monday to Saturday

AFTER 547 days, the Grand Opera House, York, steps out of the darkness and into The Woman In Black from Monday.

In PW Productions’ latest tour of Stephen Mallatratt’s adaptation of Susan Hill’s ghost story, Robert Goodale plays Arthur Kipps, an elderly lawyer obsessed with a curse that he believes has been cast over his family by the spectre of a “Woman in Black” for 50 years now.

Antony Eden is the young Actor he engages to help him tell that story and exorcise his fears, but soon reality begins to blur and the flesh begins to creep. Box office: atgtickets.com/york

Bird song: Henry Bird, pictured in his Vampires Rock days, will be the special guest for You Can’t Stop The Beat

Community concert of the week: You Can’t Stop The Beat, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Tuesday, 7.30pm

GENERATION Groove and Community Chorus are joined by special guest Henry Bird, the well-travelled York singer and guitarist for Tuesday’s fundraiser.

“Concerts and performances have been on hold for well over a year and we’re all delighted to be back getting you singing and even dancing and raising money to help the wonderful Joseph Rowntree Theatre go from strength to strength,” say the organisers. Box office: josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Waitress: Serving up a slice of musical pie at Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday

Musical of the week outside York: Waitress, Leeds Grand Theatre, September 14 to 18

MEET Jenna, a waitress and expert pie-maker who dreams of some joy in her life. When a hot new doctor arrives in town, life turns more complicated and challenging, but with the support of her workmates Becky and Dawn, she finds that laughter, love and friendship can provide the perfect recipe for happiness.

Sara Bareilles and Jessie Nelson’s comedy musical stars Lucie Jones as Jenna, Emmerdale’s Sandra Marvin as Becky, Evelyn Hoskins  as Dawn and Busted’s Matt Willis as Dr Pomatter. For tickets:  0113 243 0808 or at leedsheritagetheatres.com.

Destiny calling: Kirk Brandon’s Spear Of Destiny are heading to The Crescent in York

Cult band you really should see: Spear Of Destiny, The Crescent, York, September 19

LEADING Spear Of Destiny for 38 years now, Kirk Brandon heads out on their Worldservice@35 tour on the back of releasing last November’s lockdown album.

Brandon’s post-punk band – featuring Adrian Portas (New Model Army/Sex Gang Children), Craig Adams (Sisters Of Mercy/The Cult /The Mission), Phil Martini (Jim Jones And The Righteous Mind) and saxophonist Clive Osborne – re-recorded 1985’s WorldService album during 2020.

The WorldService@35 tour features the album and B-sides in full plus an extended career-spanning encore at three Yorkshire shows: York, then Leeds Brudenell Social Club on September 21 and The Welly, Hull, September 25.

Pie thrower: Jonathan Pie will vent his anger at the truth vacuum at the Grand Opera House, York

Angriest man of the month award: Jonathan Pie, Fake News (The Corona Remix), Grand Opera House, York, September 19, 7.30pm

JONATHAN Pie, the no-holds-barred fictitious political broadcaster alter-ego of Tom Walker, is resuming his Fake News tour that began in 2019 and had to twiddle its agitated thumbs through lockdown.

In that hiatus, Walker continued to post Jonathan Pie content to his social-media channels, whether commenting on the global reaction to the 2020 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement or woke culture.

Now he unleashes his righteous rage once more on stage. Tickets for the York slice of Pie are on sale at atgtickets.com/york.

Back in that small car, big egos running rampant, podcasters Chalmers and Hutch set off to the Edinburgh Film Festival

Sign of the festival times in Edinburgh

GOOD to be back, good to be back. After a summer break, Graham Chalmers and Charles Hutchinson resume their arts chat with reflections on their return to the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Did Graham’s day out among the 90,000 throng at Leeds Festival pass the test after all that Covid testing?

Verdicts too on Harrogate Theatre’s immersive play, Our Gate, and on British Sea Power’s name change in woke times can be heard in Episode 55 at: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1187561/9127399 .

More Things To Do in and around York for Grayson Perry’s ‘normal people’. List No. 47, courtesy of The Press, York

What’s up Duck? The Dead Ducks sketch comedy troupe head for Theatre@41 Monkgate, York

CLOWNS, ominous things, Grayson, James, tango, chamber music, horrible British history and watercolours in teamwork add up to shows aplenty for Charles Hutchinson and normal people alike to check out.

Sketch comedy show of the week: The Dead Ducks: Ducks Out Of Water, Theatre@41 Monkgate, York, tomorrow (3/9/2021), 8pm

UNIVERSITY of York Comedy Society sketch troupe The Dead Ducks make their Theatre@41 debut with Ducks Out Of Water as a cast of five serves up fun scenes that range from the relatable to the ridiculous.

Be prepared for completely original content in a humorous mix of parody and farce with a delectable side order of top-notch acting.

Look out for pirates, cowboys, clowns and assorted animals, alongside Winnie the Pooh, Sherlock Holmes and Mickey Mouse “like you have never seen them before”. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk/events/.

Sunset Gazing, by Suzanne McQuade, on show at Village Gallery, Colliergate, York

Exhibition of the week: Suzanne McQuade, Touch Of Tranquillity, Village Gallery, Colliergate, York, until Octoger 23; open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm

LEEDS watercolourist Suzanne McQuade quit her long-standing customer service job five years ago to take the plunge and become a full-time artist.

“Using watercolours is like teamwork; I have to allow the watercolour to move and merge, and utilise the patterns it creates,” says Suzanne, who loves how this medium’s translucency enables light to flood into her landscapes and seascapes.

Drawing inspiration from the British countryside and coastline, she paints what she finds captivating, from a dramatic sky to underwater rocks. “I try to make the scene in front of me to be as beautiful as possible,” she says.

Alexander Wright: Performing Small, Small Ominous Things with Megan Drury at Theatre At The Mill, Stillington

Open-air theatre show of the week: Small Small Ominous Things, Theatre At The Mill, Stillington Mill, near York, Saturday, 8pm

LOOK out for a tiny red gun hidden in the grass; a picture of a puppy eating a toy dinosaur; a dull feeling in the pit of your stomach; a bug burrowing into your skin.

Welcome to a late-night mix of stories, tales and unsettling considerations from partners Megan Drury and Alexander Wright, Australian actor, writer and creative artist and North Yorkshire writer, theatre-maker and visionary facilitator respectively.

Gather around the fire as they collaborate for the first time live At The Mill, bringing small, small ominous things out into late-summer’s fading light. Box office: tickettailor.com/events/atthemill/

Making a splash: The new Normal for artist Grayson Perry, performing on tour at York Barbican

Who-knows-what-to-expect gig of the week: Grayson Perry: A Show For Normal People, York Barbican, Monday, 7.30pm

IN his own words, despite being an award-winning artist, Bafta-winning TV presenter, Reith lecturer and best-selling author, Grayson Perry is a normal person – and just like other normal people, he is “marginally aware that we’re all going to die”.

Cue Grayson Perry: A Show For Normal People, where Grayson takes you through an enlightening, eye-watering evening wherein this kind of existentialism descends from worthiness to silliness. “You’ll leave safe and warm in the knowledge that nothing really matters anyway,” his show patter promises.

Grayson asks, and possibly answers, these big questions in a show “sure to distract you from the very meaninglessness of life in the way only a man in a dress can.” Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Home, James? Briefly, yes, when rehearsing at Broughton Hall, near Skipton. Scarborough Open Air Theatre awaits. Picture: Lewis Knaggs

Gig of the week outside York: James, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, September 9, gates open at 6pm

WHERE better for James to play a summer show in the wake of releasing their 2021 single Beautiful Beaches than at Scarborough Open Air Theatre.

The Manchester legends will be combining myriad anthemic favourites with selections from their “sweet 16th” album, All The Colours Of You, released in June.

Fronted by Clifford-born Tim Booth, James are completing a hattrick of Scarborough OAT visits after shows in May 2015 and August 18. Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com

Prima Vocal Ensemble artistic director Ewa Salecka with Misatango composer Martin Palmeri

Well worth the wait: Misatango: Prima’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration, Temple Hall, York St John University, Lord Mayor’s Walk, York, September 11, 7.30pm

AFTER a year’s delay, Prima Vocal Ensemble director Ewa Salecka is thrilled to be holding the York choir’s tenth anniversary concert at last at a socially distanced Temple Hall.

At the concert’s core will be “the fabulous Misa a Buenos Aires, Misatango, an exhilarating fusion of Tango and Latin Mass”, by Argentinian composer Martín Palmeri, performed with the Mowbray Orchestra string quartet, bandoneon virtuoso Julian Rowlands, pianist Greg Birch and mezzo-soprano soloist Lucy Jubb. Box office: primavocalensemble.com.

Tim Lowe: York Chamber Music Festival director and cellist

Festival of the month: York Chamber Music Festival, September 16 to 18

CANADIAN pianist Angela Hewitt plays YCMF’s opening recital on September 16 and joins fellow festival artists Anthony Marwood and Pablo Hernan, violins, Lilli Maijala, viola, and Tim Lowe, cellist, for the closing gala concert on September 18, both at the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York.

Marwood, Hernan, Maijala and Lowe play string quartets by Haydn, Mendelssohn and Schumann at the NCEM on September 17.

Festival director Lowe joins pianist John Paul Ekins for the first 1pm concert at the Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, on September 17; on the next lunchtime, Ekins plays works that connect Beethoven and Liszt. Box office: tickets@ncem.co.uk.

The Horrible Histories poke fun at Barmy Britain at the Grand Opera House, York, in October

History in the re-making: The Horrible Histories in Barmy Britain, Grand Opera House, York, October 21 to 24

CAN you beat battling Boudicca? What if a Viking moved in next door? Would you lose your heart or head to horrible Henry VIII? Can evil Elizabeth entertain England?

Will Parliament survive gunpowder Guy? Dare you stand and deliver to dastardly Dick Turpin? Escape the clutches of Burke and Hare and move to the groove with party Queen Victoria?

So many questions for The Horrible Histories’ Live On Stage team to answer with the aid of the 3D illusions of Bogglevision as skulls hover, dams burst and missiles fly into the family audience. For tickets for Birmingham Stage Company’s eye-popping, gruesome, scary and unbelievable trip through British history, go to atgtickets.com/york.