More Things To Do in York and beyond in 2022 as the icing man cometh. List of ingredients No. 63, courtesy of The Press

Car Park Panto’s cast dishes up a Horrible Christmas to Sunday’s drive-in audience at Elvington Airfield

AS U2 once sang, all is quiet on New Year’s Day, but Charles Hutchinson has his diary out to note down events for the months ahead.

Drive-in pantomime: Car Park Panto’s Horrible Christmas, Elvington Airfield, near York, tomorrow (Sunday,) 11am, 2pm and 5pm

BIRMINGHAM Stage Company’s Horrible Histories franchise teams up with Coalition Presents for Car Park Panto’s Horrible Christmas.

In writer-director Neal Foster’s adaptation of Terry Deary’s story, when Christmas comes under threat from a jolly man dressed in red, one young boy must save the day as a cast of eight sets off on a hair-raising adventure through the history of Christmas.

At this Covid-secure experience, children and adults can jump up and down in their car seats and make as much noise as they like, tuning in to the live show on stage and screen. Box office: carparkparty.com.

Shaparak Khorsandi: Revisiting her 1900s’ experiences in It Was The 90s! at Selby Town Hall

Looking back, but not nostalgically: Shaparak Khorsandi, It Was The 90s!, Selby Town Hall, January 22, 8pm

SHAPARAK Khorsandi, the Iranian-born British stand-up comedian and author formerly known as Shappi, tackles the celebrated but maligned 1990s in her new show, It Was The 90s!.

Back then, she flew around London with hope in her heart, a tenner in her pocket and spare knickers in her handbag. “But how does the decade of binge drinking and walks of shame look now without snakebite and black-tinted specs?” asks Shaparak, 48.

“This is a show about how we ’90s kids are looking to young people to learn how to take care of ourselves, because if you survived the car crash of being a ’90s kid, then surely Things Can Only Get Better.” Box office: 01757 708449 or selbytownhall.co.uk.

Round The Horne as re-created by Apollo Stage Company at the Grand Opera House, York

Looking back, nostalgically: Round The Horne, Grand Opera House, York, January 27, 7.30pm

FROM the producers of The Goon Show and Hancock’s Half Hour tours comes another radio comedy classic, re-created live on stage by Apollo Stage Company.

Compiled and directed by Tim Astley from Barry Took and Marty Feldman’s scripts, this meticulous show takes a step back in time to the BBC’s Paris studios to re-play the recordings of the Sunday afternoon broadcasts of Kenneth Horne and his merry crew in mischievous mood.

Expect wordplay, camp caricatures and risqué innuendos, film spoofs and such favourite characters as Rambling Sid Rumpo, Charles and Fiona, J. Peasemold Gruntfuttock and Julia and Sandy. Box office: atgtickets.com/York.

Kipps, The New Half A Sixpence Musical: Making its York debut at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre in February

Heart or head choice: Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company in Kipps, The New Half A Sixpence Musical, Joseph Theatre Company, York, February 9 to 12, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

IN the coastal town of Folkestone, Arthur Kipps knows there is more to life than his demanding but unrewarding job as an apprentice draper.

When he suddenly inherits a fortune, Kipps is thrown into a world of upper-class soirées and strict rules of etiquette that he barely understands. Torn between the affections of the kind but proper Helen and childhood sweetheart Ann, Kipps must determine whether such a simple soul can find a place in high society.

Tickets for this fundraising show for the JoRo are on sale on 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Giovanni Pernice: This is him in This Is Me after his Strictly Come Dancing triumph

Strictly winner comes dancing: Giovanni Pernice: This Is Me, York Barbican, March 9, 7.30pm

GLITTER ball still gleaming, Giovanni Pernice will take to the road on his rescheduled tour after winning Strictly Come Dancing as the professional partner to ground-breaking deaf EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis.

The Italian dance stallion will be joined by his cast of professional dancers for This Is Me, his homage to the music and dances that have inspired Pernice’s career, from a competition dancer to being a mainstay of the gushing BBC show.

“Expect all of your favourite Ballroom and Latin dances and more,” says Giovanni. Tickets remain valid from the original date of June 11 2020. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

The Script: Returning to Scarborough Open Air Theatre in July

Off to the East Coast part one: The Script, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, July 14

IRISH rock band The Script topped the album charts for a sixth time in October with their greatest hits collection Tales From The Script, matching the feats of Arctic Monkeys, Pink Floyd and Radiohead.

Those songs can be heard live next summer when lead vocalist and keyboardist Danny O’Donoghue, guitarist Mark Sheehan and drummer Glen Power return to Scarborough Open Air Theatre for the first time since June 2018.

Formed in Dublin in 2007, The Script have sold more than 30 million records, chalking up hits with We Cry, The Man Who Can’t Be Moved, For The First Time, Hall Of Fame and Superheroes. Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com.

Jane McDonald: Leading the line-up at Yorkshire’s Platinum Jubilee Concert at Scarborough Open Air Theatre

Off to the East Coast part two: Jane McDonald and special guests, Yorkshire’s Platinum Jubilee Concert, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, June 4

WAKEFIELD singing star Jane McDonald will top the bill at next summer’s Scarborough celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. A host of special guests will be added.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be headlining this very special concert, and where better to be holding such a brilliant event than in Yorkshire,” she says. “Everyone knows I’m a proud Yorkshire lass, so it will be so thrilling to walk on to stage in Scarborough for these celebrations.” Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com.

Paul Hollywood will pour some sugar on Harrogate Convention Centre in October

The Great British Baker gets cooking: Paul Hollywood Live, Harrogate Convention Centre, October 23

GREAT British Bake Off judge, celebrity chef and cookbook author Paul Hollywood promises live demonstrations, baking tasks, sugar-coated secrets and special surprises in next autumn’s tour.

Visiting 18 cities and towns, including Harrogate (October 23) and Sheffield City Hall (November 1), Wallasey-born baker’s son Hollywood, 55, will work from a fully equipped on-stage kitchen, sharing his tricks of the trade. Tickets for a slice of Hollywood action are on sale at cuffeandtaylor.com.

It may be warm outside for this time of year, but the White Witch has turned Castle Howard to ice for Christmas In Narnia

On the home straight: Christmas In Narnia at Castle Howard, All pictures: Charlotte Graham

THE last chance to experience Christmas In Narnia fast approaches at Castle Howard, near York, where magical furniture and storybook scenes have been installed this winter.

Inspired by C S Lewis’s Narnia Chronicles, the North Yorkshire country house invites visitors to step through the wardrobe door to explore a world of festive adventure in a dazzling interpretation of the places familiar to Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. 

“For our displays, visitors don’t just step into the world of Narnia, they retrace the steps of the Pevensie children from their familiar surroundings at the home of Professor Digory Kirke into the world of perpetual winter ruled over by the White Witch,” says Charlotte Lloyd Webber, who has returned to Castle Howard for a fourth year to orchestrate the displays that run through through the John Vanbrugh-designed house. 

“Taking our explorers through the bedrooms of the children gives a hint of the character traits that become amplified in the magical world, before we step out of the wardrobe into the frozen lands.”

A soundscape by Karen Monid accompanies the trip around the house, evoking both the 1940s and the magical world to add an extra dimension and atmosphere to the visit.

Once back on the China Landing, the imposing door of the mirrored wardrobe awaits: the traditional entry point to Narnia. Stepping through a tunnel of fur coats, once through the wardrobe, visitors will discover that icy fingers of frost have touched every part of the path with a blizzard of white.

Stepping through the wardrobe door…

In the distance, the lamp-post marker surrounded by Mr Tumnus’s abandoned presents beckons visitors into a frozen world, where the White Witch’s enemies have been turned to stone. The Antique Passage is filled with frozen animals, twigs and icicles.

The Great Hall is usually the warm heart of the Castle Howard Christmas displays, but not this time. Under the White Witch’s icy gaze, the evergreen tree – standing at 28ft, making it probably the largest real indoor decorated tree in the country – has been caught in a snowstorm.

Every branch is covered with snow and thousands of icicles, together with a constellation of tiny, glistening white lights.  Placed centrally beneath the dome, it is as though the spruce tree has grown out of the floor.

Stepping from the Great Hall into the Garden Hall, visitors enter the epicentre of the self-proclaimed Queen of Narnia’s domain, and there they find the White Witch, larger than life, frozen in time and covered in hundreds of icicles, on board her sleigh.  Projections and sounds bring the scene to life and continue into the White Witch’s palace. 

An icy passageway through the Cabinet rooms leads out of the land of snow, whereupon visitors return to the warmest and most comfortable place in all Narnia: Mr Tumnus’s house. The snow has started to melt and elements of the forest have taken refuge, winter evergreens growing over the fireplace, with its roaring blaze, and real trees creating a sylvan atmosphere.

The re-emergence of Christmas comes with the Fox’s dining room, set out for a magnificent feast with his woodland friends beneath an arbour dressed in glittering red to create a canopy above the table. 

An icy passageway at Castle Howard

Celebrations continue next door with the colours of the ocean in the Turquoise Dining Room, providing a backdrop for Narnia’s mermaids, singing at the coronation of the Pevensie children.

Onwards to the Long Gallery, where visitors will marvel as they mark the return of Aslan – and Father Christmas – to the magical kingdom. Stepping through another wardrobe door, they encounter suspended rainbow wooden Christmas trees and dancing lights en route to the Octagon, where the four thrones of the Pensive Kings and Queens await.

Located directly above the four thrones is a new feature for this winter, bringing the Octagon ceiling into play through the magic of projection, courtesy of digital-mapping pioneer Ross Ashton and Karen Monid, the team behind the Northern Lights light and sound installation at York Minster in June 2018 and October 2019.

The ceiling appears to open to reveal a starry sky above with an animation that evokes the very essence of Christmas. 

Narnia would not be the complete without its noble lion. A giant model of Aslan, fashioned from pages from the CS Lewis novels painted gold, oversees the Long Gallery, surrounded by sculptures of other woodland animals.

The visit concludes in the Castle Howard Chapel, where a Nativity scene has been laid out by the main altar, and where Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s donation tree stands, dressed with wooden ornaments decorated by children from Slingsby Primary School.

Bretta Gerecke stands by the Great Hall’s 28ft spruce tree, “caught in the White Witch’s snowstorm, every branch covered with snow and thousands of icicles and a constellation of tiny white lights”

“We are incredibly proud of this winter’s displays and very grateful to our friends at Harper Collins for permitting us to tell the Narnia story in Castle Howard’s unique way,” says the Hon Nicholas Howard, guardian of Castle Howard. 

“The displays look marvellous at any time of the day, but I am particularly fond of the late afternoon and evening, as the light fades outside, making the glow of all the lights and candles inside the house seem just that little brighter.  Even when you step back outside of the house into the winter evening, the avenue of illuminated trees running the length of the drive looks picture perfect.”

To reduce crowding, fewer people have been allocated a place per time slot, prompting the Castle Howard team to open the house until later on Saturdays throughout the run and Friday evenings in December.

“In previous years, we’ve hosted twilight visits on occasional evenings as we moved closer to the festive season, but this year, we’re adding soundscapes and projections that look particularly spectacular as the daylight fades,” says Abbigail Ollive, head of marketing. 

Christmas In Narnia at Castle Howard is the work of the returning Charlotte Lloyd Webber and Bretta Gerecke and their team of specialist designers, lighting experts and even a “baublographer”, whose task was to instal dozens of trees, thousands of baubles and tens of thousands of fairy lights for the displays. 

“When it came to planning this year’s installation, the Howard family were very keen that it should go back indoors and Narnia was a great idea. Nick [Nicholas Howard] used to work in publishing and had a very good relationship with the C S Lewis estate,” says Charlotte.

“It absolutely makes sense to do a story theme in a house like this, which was designed by a dramatist,” says Charlotte Lloyd Webber

“Victoria [Howard] had always been resistant to stories previously, but now, after seeing Christmas In Narnia, she’s saying, ‘OK, what’s next?’!

“It absolutely makes sense to do a story theme in a house like this, which was designed by a dramatist [Vanbrugh].”

Bretta agrees. “The rooms in this house feel episodic, suiting story scenes, and the apotheosis is how the Long Gallery is set out.”

Going back to the original books for inspiration for these displays has been a “fantastic” experience for Charlotte’s team. “C S Lewis writes with such colour and attention to detail, and yet it has given us scope to put our own individual interpretation on this magical world to weave familiar parts of Castle Howard into the story,” she says.

Charlotte finds resonance in 1940s’ wartime experiences being echoed by the pandemic’s lockdowns and restrictions of 2020 and 2021. “What struck us was the poignancy of the four children going through the worst disaster of the 20th century, the Second World War, and now we’re going through the worst disaster of the 21st century so far.

“What we wanted to do was emphasise the sense of stepping out of what’s happening in the world now, to step through the wardrobe door into the magical world of Narnia.”

The Octagon ceiling “opens to let in the universe”

Ross Ashton talks of a prevailing feeling of doom and existential crisis being lifted by experiencing Christmas In Narnia, before Bretta adds: “That’s what makes the pay-off in the Long Gallery so rewarding. That sense of hope. That final room is joyful and hopeful, but you have to have some tragedy first to have that release of potential joy.”

The Christmas displays at Castle Howard always take the form of a journey, but this year the experience has expanded to become multi-sensory, heightened by Ross Ashton’s projection and Karen Monid’s soundscape. “One of the things about the sense of sound is that it happens in real time and you have to be constantly alive to that, to let it reveal itself, as we can only take in things in real time too,” she says.

“It is the sound that envelops you, goes all around you, giving a voice to the room and the design, and because we’re telling a story in each room, the sound has to respond to that. I had to make a decision, room by room, as to what the important sounds should be.”

Rather than arriving with a fixed soundtrack for the 38 rooms, Karen had to consider the acoustics of each room, “rooms that could ring like bells,” she says. “When it came to choosing the sound of the wind, I went for a low-pitched variation, so it could travel down the passageways without having to turn the volume up.

“The Garden Room and the Great Hall have the same wind sound too; the idea is that it should keep pulling you onwards. That’s why I’ve tuned the winds all in the same key.”

Every detail is planned carefully. “There are curated tracks in the rooms, such as for the Mermaids’ music, which I put together with no bass in it because I wanted to take that weight out of the sound, so you feel lifted,” says Karen.

Aslan, the lion, made from paper from the C S Lewis books

When Karen and Ross work in tandem on a project, the sound always comes first, and then Ross plays his creative hand. “It’s the end result you’re interested in,” he says. “You react to the space; Castle Howard has a theatrical design and this space is a gift. Here it’s a half dome, an octagon, and in the room, there’s all this amazing décor to wonder at.

“It’s an unusual space; you look at it to see how it inspires you and I think it has an Arabic feel to it, with that Eastern flavour being different to Narnia – and of course Aslan is the Turkish word for ‘lion’.”

Ashton’s constantly moving animated projection design “opens the roof to reveal the universe to give a spectacular ending to the trail”. “You see Aslan, and of course the lion is the emblem of Castle Howard, and you see Father Christmas too, who turns up at the end of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe,” he says.

How can Charlotte and her team trump Christmas In Narnia? “That’s what we try to do each year…but it’s not a competition!” she says. “Next year we’ll find something totally different for a theme, maybe a fairytale, but definitely totally different.”

Christmas In Narnia runs at Castle Howard until January 3. All time slots are sold out, but any returns automatically will become available to book via castlehowardchristmas.seetickets.com/timeslot/christmas-in-narnia. Tickets include timed access to the house, with full access to the gardens and adventure playground.

Why January 1 is the day to start reading Alex Johnson’s Art Day By Day almanac

Author and journalist Alex Johnson with his latest book, Art Day By Day. Picture: Vincent Franklin

LOOKING for a cultural book to read one day at a time in 2022? Look no further than Art Day By Day, 366 Brushes With History, edited by Alex Johnson, freelance journalist, writer, design and lifestyle blogger and half-decent snooker player, formerly of this parish.

Published by Thames & Hudson, Alex’s daily almanac presents a selection of historical art events for every day of the year, from the momentous and headline-grabbing to the intimate, amusing, and illuminating; from Donatello to Dennis the Menace, Fabergé to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Spain to Senegal.

As Alex puts it, by taking a novel approach to the history of art, Art Day By Day “aims to change the pace at which the story is told”. Hence CharlesHutchPress’s advice to browse it in daily instalments.

Educated in York at Bootham School and trained in print journalism at the Yorkshire Evening Press, as it then was, this polymath of the written form contributes regularly to the Independent, Fine Books magazine and The Idler (on snooker, sheds and microarchitecture) from his St Albans home.

He runs the blogs Bookshelf (on creative bookcase designs) and Shedworking (a term he coined about garden offices) and has now added to that list his sites on tiny houses and “pubworking” (whose day is yet to come, he says). Oh, and he co-created the two The Writers Game games, Classic Authors and Modern Authors, with Laurence King.

Already he has written and edited such books as Bookshelf, Improbable Libraries, A Book Of Book Lists, Book Towns, Shelf Life, The Haynes Shed Manual, Edward Lear And The Pussycat (The Adventures Of Famous Writers And Their Pets), Menus That Made History, How To Give Your Child A Lifelong Love Of Reading and A Soundtrack For  Life (Classical Music To Take You Through The Day) for Scala Radio.

Now he has edited Art Day By Day, “snapshots of the most exciting, unusual and noteworthy art events from around the world and throughout history, told through direct testimonies, eyewitness accounts and contemporary chroniclers”.

“I’ve always been interested in dates and almanacs,” says Alex, who studied Modern History at The Queen’s College, Oxford. “I’d done a couple of books with Thames & Hudson before, so they were perfect for this one.

“The truth is, with nearly all my book covers, I have no input. The publishers send me the cover, saying ‘everyone really likes it’, and I can’t really say ‘No’!” says Alex Johnson. “I think this one works really well”

“Lockdown was a good time to be able to sit down and research it, and like my other books, it’s a book about something I’d like to read about.

“I did lots of arts modules at university as part of my history studies, from Anglo-Saxon art to Renaissance art. Most Oxford History degrees weren’t very flexible but by chance they had several good art modules.”

How did Alex select the subject matter for each day? “There were some things I knew I wanted to write about and some things that jumped out as I looked through the dates; or going through letters and thinking, ‘I want to do something on that’,” he says.

“I wanted it to be as broad as possible, taking in film, comic strips, photography, architecture, even album covers, as well as those things you might expect, like Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling and Edvard Munch’s The Scream being stolen, because I didn’t want it to be too highbrow.

“At first it was a case of narrowing it down for each day, then getting down to the last few dates and thinking, ‘nothing happened on that day’, but I was determined to try to avoid too much ‘this or that artist was born or died on this day’, which I thought I could just put at the bottom.”

Comedian Tony Hancock is among the eye-catching entries, for the London premiere of his first leading film role in The Rebel on March 2 1961. “I’ve always been a big Hancock fan, and that was one of the ones I wanted to shoe in, where he played an appalling, childish, inept artist in Paris,” says Alex.

He likes the thought that going down “interesting rabbit holes” could lead readers to other places. “I really hope that they will have the same feeling as I did when they read about the first Fabergé egg and then want to read something far more interesting than those 400 words that will lead them somewhere else,” he says.  “Likewise, by reading condensed versions of some of Van Gogh’s letters, I hope they will seek out more of his letters.”

Artwork – save for the cover design – does not feature in the book. “It’s a shame, but it would have made the book even bigger than its 464 pages, but it’s not like the art is hidden away. If I can find it, then other people can!” urges Alex.

The cover for Alex Johnson’s next book, Rooms Of Their Own

Summing up his philosophy behind Art Dy By Day, he says: “Art is all around us, whether a Woodstock festival poster, a Superman comic or Dennis the Menace’s 1951 debut in The Beano, so that’s why it’s art in the broadest sense, and in many ways, the book is not about art but creative production.

“It would be easy just do something that just features the Great Masters, but there’s no point in doing that, just repeating what we already know, with nothing new added, but this book pinpoints moments of inspiration, when something happened, rather than highlighting great trends.

“It’s about the human side of it all, as things happen to people doing their job, rather than just sitting and pondering!”

Alex has two more books in the pipeline. First up is Rooms Of Their Own: Where Great Writers Write, whether beds, sheds, cafés bathrooms, basements or libraries, published by Frances Lincoln (Quarto) in April with illustrations by James Oses.

The second will be one of Alex’s list books, this one for the British Library, The Book Of Book Jokes, coming out in June. “The trouble with a joke is that you look at it and think, ‘is that still funny?’!” he says. “Some of them are appallingly corny, some are highfalutin. Some are in French or German.”

In the meantime, this is the day when you should buy Alex Johnson’s Art Day By Day. After all, it was included in the arts section of Guardian Bookshop Christmas gift guide.

What features on the Leap Year day of February 29 in Art Day By Day? Sculptor Augusta Savage is born, 1892.

Alex Johnson’s Twitter profile at @shedworking: Writer. Books (art, sheds, food, music, bookish subjects). Columns (@finebooks + @idler). All sorts (@Independent since 2007). Coined term ‘shedworking’.

Where does Alex write and edit? “I used to work from a shed but now removed temporarily to the cellar.”

‘Sand is running out all over the world’… ‘Climate change will bells on’…Cue Emma Gibson’s Quicksand sculpture triptych

Installation artist Emma Gibson on Scarborough’s South Bay beach with maquettes of her large sculptures of grains of sand , soon to be on show at Scarborough Art Gallery. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

EMMA Gibson’s upcoming Quicksand exhibition aims to raise awareness of “one of our most under-appreciated natural commodities”.

On show at Scarborough Art Gallery from February 12 to June 5, Gibson’s triptych of sculptures transforms minuscule grains of sand into megalithic forms, putting this endangered but seemingly ubiquitous material – used to make anything from phone screens to windows, from plastics to paint ­– under the microscope.

Applying micro-3D scanning technology, Gibson worked with the Imaging and Analysis Centre at the Natural History Museum, London, to discover the otherworldly shapes of individual sand grains before recasting them as colossal forms.

Each piece was made using recycled plaster and clay, timber and a pioneering resin made from recycled plastic bottles that have been redirected from landfill and the oceans.

Simon Hedges, head of curation, exhibitions and collections at Scarborough Museums Trust, says: “Sand is running out all over the world – it’s a global problem; it’s climate change with bells on. It may be difficult to believe, but sand is limited – and it’s critical as a commodity for so many types of technology.

Emma Gibson holding a maquette of one of her grain-of-sand sculptures. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

“It’s estimated that, for construction alone, the world consumes roughly 40 to 50 billion tons of sand on an annual basis. That way outstrips the rate at which sand is being naturally replenished by the weathering of rocks by wind and water.”

As a museum in a coastal setting, Scarborough Art Gallery “feels it’s our responsibility to help raise awareness of this issue,” says Hedges. “Emma’s sculptures are a particularly stunning way of doing that. Three giant grains of sand, each over a metre tall, have been created after being magnified nearly 3,000 times,” he continues.

“They represent just three of the many different types of sand there are – a fossil foraminifera, a rolled-up piece of quartz and a chip from a shell.”

Gibson says: “Quicksand is about assumptions in relation to perceptions: we assume that there is the same amount of sand available as stars in the sky. People say: ‘Can’t you just use sand from the Sahara to build stuff? We’ve got loads of sand.’ But you can’t because it’s wind-blown and all the grains are circular.

“I started reading all these strange documents about people stealing sand because it’s a seriously valuable commodity. Some go to the beach to sunbathe; others turn up in the middle of the night in a truck to take the sand away. There are people getting murdered over sand, it’s really serious.”

Emma Gibson’s sculptures of grains of sand arrive in Scarborough for exhibiting at Scarborough Art Gallery from February 12. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

Explaining her creative process, Gibson says: “Grains of sand are really tiny, so I wanted to explore how I could make them important to humans at their own scale.

“I’m hoping people will have some kind of murmuration – just a little moment in their minds where they recalibrate their belief system in nature and technology, and what their purposes are. Maybe it can offer an altered perspective and state of mind for a moment.”

Alongside the sculptures, Gibson will be re-creating her studio in Scarborough Art Gallery. “I’ll be showing films, digital and physical models and supporting materials as part of the development process of the work, which is as much about the science as the aesthetic,” she says.

Gibson will create a learning experience that will lay out globally significant issues in an inclusive and approachable space.

Scarborough Museums Trust’s learning team is devising hands-on learning experiences for primary-school children, in collaboration with geologist Dr Liam Herringshaw, including a Beach in a Box, to “bring an important part of the curriculum to life in new and engaging ways”. 

” I’m hoping people will have some kind of murmuration – just a little moment in their minds where they recalibrate their belief system in nature and technology,” says artist Emma Gibson . Picture: Tony Bartholomew

Co-curated with theYorkshire Sculpture Park, near Wakefield, Quicksand has been gifted to Scarborough Museums Trust by Selfridges & Co, where it was first exhibited in The Art Block gallery, in London, in 2020.

Emma Gibson: the back story

BORN in 1980, this British installation artist explores the uncertain state of reality. She studied at Open School East and the University of the Arts in London and now lives and works in the Scottish Highlands.

Gibson’s large-scale installation works are the result of both traditional and technological making processes, often using 3D-scanning and digital representations to create physical sculptures and total environments. Regularly, she collaborates with scientists in her fields of interest.

Her creative practice revolves around coastlines and shores as a metaphor for the edge of reality, the end of the internet and a loss of control – a place “where science and nature collide and mimic each other, where so much is unknown, where human intervention can go no further”. 

Scarborough Art Gallery is open from 10am to 5pm every day except Mondays, plus on Bank Holidays. Entry is free with a £3 annual pass that allows unlimited free entry to the Rotunda Museum, Scarborough, too.

You won’t go to the ball as Covid becomes the Ugly Sister of the pantomime season

Faye Campbell’s Cinderella in Cinderella at York Theatre Royal, where a Covid outbreak in the cast has shut down performances until December 30

YORKSHIRE culture podcasters Graham Chalmers and Charles Hutchinson discuss the impact of Covid on the busiest time of the theatre year in Episode 70 of Two Big Egos In A Small Car.

Under discussion too are Don’t Look Up, Andy McKay’s follow-up film to The Big Short; filming The Witcher in Harrogate; farewell to the Uthink Piccadilly Pop-Up art studios in York, and World Party’s neglected forewarning of climate change decades ago.

To listen, head to: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1187561/9786685

What’s on the menu? More Things To Do in York and beyond, hopefully, but check for updates. List No. 62, from The Press, York

Waiter! David Leonard’s Vermin the Destroyer, left, and A J Powell’s Luvlie Limpit survey what’s left of the Ye Olde Whippet Inn menu as Martin Barrass’s Dunkin Donut offers advice in Dick Turpin Rides Again. Picture: David Harrison

GIVEN the ever-changing Omicron briefings, Charles Hutchinson has a rubber as well as a pencil in his hand as he highlights what to see now and further ahead.

Still time for pantomime unless Omicron measures intervene part one: Dick Turpin Rides Again, Grand Opera House, York, until January 9

BACK on stage for the first time since February 2 2019, grand dame Berwick Kaler reunites with long-standing partners in panto Martin Barrass, David Leonard, Suzy Cooper and A J Powell.

After his crosstown switch to the Grand Opera House, Kaler steps out of retirement to write, direct and lead his first show for Crossroads Pantomimes, playing Dotty Donut, with Daniel Conway as the company’s new face in the Essex lad title role amid the familiar Kaler traditions. Look out for the flying horse. Box office: atgtickets.com/York.

Come join the rev-olution: Stepsisters Manky (Robin Simpson), left, and Mardy (Paul Hawkyard) make a raucous entrance in Cinderella. Alas, the Theatre Royal panto is now on hold until December 30 after a Covid outbreak

Still time for pantomime but only after a week in self-isolation: Cinderella, York Theatre Royal, ending on January 2 2022

COVID has struck three cast members and understudies too, leading to the decision to cancel performances of Cinderella from today until December 30.

Fingers crossed, you can still enjoy Evolution Productions writer Paul Hendy and York Theatre Royal creative director Juliet Forster’s panto custom-built for 21st century audiences.

Targeted at drawing in children with magical storytelling, silliness aplenty and pop songs, Cinderella has a thoroughly modern cast, ranging from CBeebies’ Andy Day as Dandini to Faye Campbell as Cinders and ventriloquist Max Fulham as Buttons, with his Monkey on hand for cheekiness.

Robin Simpson and Paul Hawkyard’s riotous step-sisters Manky and Mardy and puns galore add to the fun. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

A wintry landscape by Julia Borodina, on show at Blossom Street Gallery, York

Buy now before her prices go up! Julia Borodina, Into The Light, Blossom Street Gallery, York, until January 31

JULIA Borodina will be competing in Sky’ Arts’ 2022 Landscape Artist of the Year, set for screening in January and February. Perfect timing for her York exhibition, Into The Light, on show until the end of next month.

Bretta Gerecke, part of the design team behind Castle Howard’s Christmas In Narnia displays, stands by the 28ft decorated tree in the Great Hall. Picture: Charlotte Graham

THE Christmas tree of the season: Christmas In Narnia at Castle Howard, near York, until January 2

CASTLE Howard has topped past peaks by installing a 28ft spruce tree from Scotland in the Great Hall as part of the Christmas In Narnia displays and decorations.

 “We believe that this is the largest real indoor Christmas tree in the country, standing around eight feet higher than the impressive tree normally installed in Buckingham Palace,” says the Hon Nicholas Howard, guardian of Castle Howard. 

“It’s certainly the largest we have had, both in terms of height and width at the base, which has a huge footprint in the Great Hall – but thankfully leaves a gap on either side for visitors to walk right around it.” Tickets for Christmas In Narnia must be booked before arrival at castlehoward.co.uk.

York Community Choir Festival: Eight diverse concerts at Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York

Choirs galore: York Community Choir Festival, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, February 27 to March 5 2022

EIGHT shows, different every night, will be the format for this choral celebration of how and why people come together to make music and have fun.

At least four choirs will be on stage in every concert in a festival featuring show tunes, pop and folk songs, world music, classical music, gospel songs, close harmonies, blues and jazz.

From primary-school choirs through to teenage, young adult and adult choirs, the choral configurations span male groups, female groups and mixed-voice choirs. Proceeds will go to the JoRo theatre from ticket sales on 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

David Ford’s poster for his Interesting Times tour, visiting Pocklington Arts Centre in March

If you see one sage and rage singer-songwriter next year, make it: David Ford, Interesting Times Tour 22, Pocklington Arts Centre, March 10 2022, 8pm

EASTBOURNE troubadour David Ford will return to the road with an album of songs documenting the tumultuous year that was 2020.

May You Live In Interesting Times, his sixth studio set, charts the rise of Covid alongside the decline of President Trump. Recorded at home during various stages of lockdown, the album captures the moment with Ford’s trademark emotional eloquence and dark irony.

After the imposed hiatus times three (and maybe four, wait and see), the new incarnation of Ford’s innovative, incendiary live show promises to demonstrate just what happens when you shut such a creative force in a room for two years. Box office: 01759 301547 or at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Sir Tom Jones: Playing Scarborough Open Air Theatre for a third time next summer

Amid the winter uncertainty, look to next summer’s knight to remember: Sir Tom Jones at Scarborough Open Air Theatre, July 26 2022

SIR Tom Jones will complete a hattrick of Scarborough Open Air Theatre concerts after his 2015 and 2017 gigs with his July return.

In April, the Welsh wonder released his 41st studio album, the chart-topping Surrounded By Time, featuring the singles Talking Reality Television Blues, No Hole in My Head, One More Cup of Coffee and Pop Star.

Sir Tom, 81, will play a second outdoor Yorkshire concert in 2022, at The Piece Hall, Halifax, on July 10. Box office for both shows: ticketmaster.co.uk.

Flying dreamers: Elbow showcase their ninth studio album in Scarborough next July

Deep in the bleak midwinter, think of days out on the Yorkshire coast part two: Elbow, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, July 9 2022

MAKE Elbow room in your diary to join Guy Garvey, Craig Potter, Mark Potter and Pete Turner on the East Coast in July.

Formed in 1997 in Bury, Greater Manchester, BBC 6 Music Sunday afternoon presenter Garvey and co chalked up their seventh top ten album in 2021 with Flying Dream 1.

Released on November 19, Elbow’s ninth studio album was written remotely in home studios before the lifelong friends met up at the empty Brighton Theatre Royal to perfect, perform, and record the songs. Box office: ticketmaster.co.uk.

What’s the Story? Mourning glory? Podcast duo Chalmers & Hutch discuss Spielberg’s divisive re-make of West Side Story

WHY re-tell West Side Story? Culture podcasters Graham Chalmers and Charles Hutchinson mull over Spielberg’s musical in Episode 69 of Two Big Egos In A Small Car.

Plus Christmas singles competing for the top spot; Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and the American Dream; and cult band I Like Trains’ live comeback in Leeds.

That gig promptied this question: Is swaggering Manchester’s music scene really that much better than self-deprecating Leeds?

Catch the debate at: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1187561/9744141

Next month Julia Borodina makes a splash in Sky Arts’ Landscape Artist of the Year, but first she is exhibiting at gallery in York

Julia Borodina: Russian-born West Yorkshire artist exhibiting at Blossom Street Gallery . Sky competition awaits

WEST Yorkshire painter Julia Borodina will be competing in Sky Arts’ 2022 Landscape Artist of the Year, set for screening in January and February.

Perfect timing for her York exhibition, Into The Light, now on show at Blossom Street Gallery until the end of January.

“She’s managed not to let anything slip regarding the outcome,” says gallery owner Kim Oldfield. “I first met Julia when she exhibited here as part of the Leeds Fine Artists Group, and it’s very exciting that she’s now been selected for the Sky competition.”

Born in Tobolsk, Western Siberia, Russia, Julia graduated with distinctions in Fine Art from Omsk University, later completing a Masters in Painting in the UK in 2002.

Autumn, Woodland, acrylic on board, by Julia Borodina

“I usually work from my studio at the Creative Arts Hub in Mirfield, south of Leeds, or paint outdoors at various locations, depending on the season,” she says. “My main themes are landscapes and townscapes. 

“I greatly enjoy working outdoors as it gives me an opportunity to develop suitable compositions and experiment with light conditions.”

Julia is always searching for beauty. “I’m trying to capture a unique moment of life, which on its own is telling a story. I’m interested in painting ‘portraits’ of things and places,” she says.

“The whole experience of painting ‘en plein-air’ is an ideal working environment for me. I start from investigating the area on foot or on my bicycle, noting the places of interest and making quick sketches. 

Anglesey, acrylic, by Julia Borodina

“Next step will be to come back to the selected spots and to produce a number of preliminary studies and additional photos if needed. After that the collected material matures and expands in the studio.”

Julia has exhibited her work at the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, Society of Women Artists, Royal Society of Marine Artists and Society of Wildlife Artists at the Mall Galleries, London.

As well as being a member of Leeds Fine Artists Group, she has taken part in annual exhibitions in York and Holmfirth and at other British galleries and art fairs. Overseas, she shows work at the National Watercolour Exhibition in Russia.

Julia enjoys sharing her creative knowledge with students. “I have extensive teaching experience since graduating and have worked with all age groups, being especially excited to inspire my youngest pupils at primary-school level,” she says.

“I’m trying to capture a unique moment of life, which on its own is telling a story,” says Julia Borodina of her “portraits of things and places”

“We’ve produced some amazing artwork based on climate change, as well as international projects in Chengdu, China, funded by the British Council.

“I teach workshops for children on Saturdays at the Creative Arts Hub, Mirfield, and receive invitations to design and run unique art projects tailored to the needs of both primary and secondary schools.”

Julia also runs painting workshops, teaching short and long-term painting and drawing courses for adults.

From next month, the focus will fall on her Sky Landscape Artist of the Year endeavours after she was selected last summer for the seventh series. “I have very happy memories of the filming and invite you to watch it this winter, when it will be out on Sky Arts TV and Freeview in January and February,” says Julia, still staying tight-lipped on how she fared!

Julia Borodina: Into The Light, Blossom Street Gallery, York, running until January 31; gallery closed from December 25 to January 17. Opening hours before Christmas Day: 10am to 4pm; Christmas Eve, 10am to 3pm. From January 17: 10am to 5.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday; 10am to 4pm, Sundays.

The poster for Julia Borodina’s Into The Light exhibition at Blossom Street Gallery, York

More Things To Do in York and beyond as panto takes over an airfield car park. List No. 61, courtesy of The Press, York

Finding his feet: Jared More’s Fizzy Finn with Meg Blowey’s Tink the Cobbler in Riding Lights Theatre Company’s “crackling new Christmas adventure”

PLAN B may need its own Plan B amid the Omicron surge, but Charles Hutchinson seeks to be positive – in Christmas spirit only – until otherwise informed.

Children’s show of the week: Riding Lights Theatre Company in Fizzy Finn Finds His Feet, Friargate Theatre, York, today to December 23

JON Boustead’s “crackling new Christmas adventure” addresses children’s mental health problems arising from lockdowns and separation from family and friends.

Finn is a fidget whose brain is ablaze with an unbreakable buzz that fizzes to his fingers and tickles his toes, or it would do if he could only find his feet in a 50-minute story of fear and bravery suitable for children aged five to 11.

The show’s magical blend of vivid storytelling, original music by Patrick Burbridge and creative puppetry is presented by Jared More’s Fizzy Finn and Meg Blowey’s Tink the Cobbler. Box office: 01904 613000 or at ridinglights.org/fizzy-finn.

Christmas Eve would not be complete in York without…City Screen showing It’s A Wonderful Life

Christmas film tradition of the week: It’s A Wonderful Life (U) at City Screen, York, today, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Christmas Eve

AN elderly angel is sent from Heaven to help desperately frustrated businessman George Bailey (James Stewart) as he contemplates suicide.

Taking George back through his life to point out what good he has done, the angel shows him what life would have been like if he had never existed.

Frank Capra’s classic from 1946 is a Christmas Eve big-screen staple: City Screen has shows that day at 3pm and 6pm. Box office: 0871 902 5747 or at picturehouses.com.

Joe Alexander Shepherd: York pianist returns to the NCEM tonight

Pianist of the week: Joe Alexander Shepherd, National Centre for Early Music, York, tonight, 7.30pm

YORK pianist and composer Joe Alexander Shepherd combines beautiful contemporary and classical music with a Christmas ambience tonight, complemented by special guest appearances by singer-songwriter Wounded Bear and singer Amelia Saleh on his return to the NCEM. Expect new compositions, by the way.

Shepherd composed the music for UEFA’s First World War Truce video, starring footballers Sir Bobby Charlton, Wayne Rooney and Gareth Bale, and for a UK Women’s Rugby Football Union advert.

Concert proceeds will go to the Charlie Gard Foundation to support families affected by mitochondrial disease. Box office: 01904 658338 or at ncem.co.uk.

Art attack: Replete’s mural Shark at Piccadilly Pop Up, Piccadilly, York

Finale of the week: Uthink Piccadilly Pop Up art studios and gallery, 23 Piccadilly, York,  today and tomorrow

THE Uthink Piccadilly Pop Up art studios and gallery must vacate their temporary premises by the end of the month after being served notice by the re-developers.

Since August 2020, the studios opened to the public on Saturdays to showcase work by 15 artists, ranging from painting, drawing, abstract art and collages to photography, sculpture, installation and poetry.

Today, public opening will be from 12 noon to 6pm; on Sunday, a festive market and extended art exhibition will run from 11am. Admission is free.

Shed Seven: Two “Shedcember” nights in Leeds on the Another Night, Another Town tour

Gigs of the week outside York: Shed Seven, Another Night, Another Town – Greatest Hits Live Tour, Leeds O2 Academy, Monday and Tuesday

SHED Seven have restarted their Covid-stalled tour after calling off December 10 to 16’s run of shows to next March when a member of the touring party tested positive.

Earlier this week, the York band tweeted: “Excited to confirm that the tour will resume this Friday [December 17] in London – let’s finish what we started!! New dates for the shows that were postponed will be announced next week. Shed Seven ride again. See you down the front. X.”

Tickets are still available for both Leeds gigs at ticketmaster.co.uk/shed-seven-leeds. Doors open at 7pm each night.

Head’s up: Michael Head to play The Crescent on Tuesday

Cult gig of the week:  Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band, The Crescent, York, Tuesday, 7.30pm

IN the wake of Adios Señor Pussycat in 2017, Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band are working on a new album, nearing completion.

Devotees of the 60-year-old Liverpudlian’s gilded songwriting brio can expect to hear new songs as well as much-loved nuggets from his days in Shack and The Pale Fountains. Pet Snakes support at this standing-only gig. Box office: thecrescentyork.seetickets.com/event/michael-head

Car Park Panto’s Horrible Christmas: Parking up at Elvington Airfield on January 2

Pantomime in a car park? Oh yes it is, in Car Park Panto’s Horrible Christmas, Elvington Airfield, near York, January 2, 11am, 2pm and 5pm

BIRMINGHAM Stage Company’s Horrible Histories franchise teams up with Coalition Presents for Car Park Panto’s 14-date tour of Horrible Christmas to racecourses, airfields, stadiums and a motor-racing circuit.

In writer-director Neal Foster’s adaptation of Terry Deary’s story, when Christmas comes under threat from a jolly man dressed in red, one young boy must save the day as a cast of eight sets off on a hair-raising adventure through the history of Christmas.

At this car-centred, Covid-secure experience, children and adults can jump up and down in their car seats and make as much noise as they like, tuning in to the live show on stage and screen. Box office: carparkparty.com.

Rachel and Becky Unthank: York Barbican concert on Sorrows Away tour

Looking ahead to 2022: The Unthanks, Sorrows Away, York Barbican, May 31; doors 7pm

NORTHUMBRIAN folk sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank will perform forthcoming new album Sorrows Away and Unthanks favourites with an 11-piece ensemble in a co-promotion by York’s Please Please You, The Crescent and Black Swan Folk Club and Brudenell Presents from Leeds.

As the album title suggests, Sorrows Away promises to be a blues-belter and a step into the light for sisters known more for melancholia and, well, sorrow. For tickets for The Unthanks’ return to touring after a two-year hiatus, go to: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Uthink Pop Up Piccadilly studios & gallery to close with final art events this weekend

Art attack: Shark, mural by Replete, at Piccadilly Pop Up, Piccadilly, York

THE Uthink Piccadilly Pop Up art studios and gallery must vacate their temporary premises in York,by the end of the month after being served notice by the re-developers.

In 2019, the charity Uthink PDP (People Developing People) took over York’s former tax office headquarters at 23, Piccadilly, when it was sold by City of York Council and began renting out space to York artists.

“Since August 2020, we’ve opened to the public every Saturday to showcase our work, give or take a plague or two,” says Richard Kitchen, one of Piccadilly Pop Up’s founders and artists.

“We now comprise 15 artists, including some who have exhibited elsewhere, some who have been selected for York Open Studios, a handful of young artists, from York College, on our mentoring programme, and a nationally renowned graffiti artist and muralist.

“Our work ranges from painting and drawing through abstract art and collage to photography, sculpture and installation. There’s even some poetry.”

To mark the “suddenness of the circumstances” behind the closure, Pop Up Piccadilly’s final events will be held this weekend to “celebrate all we have achieved during our tenancy”. On Saturday, public opening will be as usual, from 12 noon to 6pm; on Sunday, a festive market and extended art exhibition will run from 11am. Admission is free.

A morning-till-evening special exhibition, “commemorating our beloved building” with photographs, art, spoken-word contributions and possibly a sound installation or musical performance, was under discussion for December 21 but will not go ahead.

“We’d be very happy to see you this weekend, especially if you haven’t visited us before,” says Richard. “We were gaining quite a reputation for enterprise and innovation and were much loved and admired by many of our visitors.”