More Things To Do in and around York and at home despite Cassandra Boris’s “six months” of masked-up misery. List No.15, courtesy of The Press

Fields And Lanes creative couple Mick and Jessa Liversidge head to the Easingwold Community Library willow tree for an open-air hour of poetry and song on Sunday

BORIS Johnson put on his serious face and hands act on Tuesday night to address the nation on the ins and outs of his Government’s latest Covid-clampdown measures: a stitch in time saves nine, Rules of Six, 10pm curfews and any number of other numbers that invariably add up to confusion.

However, Covid-secure, socially distanced theatre shows, exhibitions, cinema, comedy and concerts can continue, as well as home entertainment, of course.

Here, Charles Hutchinson tracks and traces signs of artistic life…with immediate results  

The Easingwold Community Library willow tree: Sunday’s setting for Fields And Lanes poetry and songs

Joint project of the week: Fields And Lanes Under A Willow Tree, Timeless Songs and Poems by Jessa and Mick Liversidge, outside Easingwold Community Library, Sunday, 2pm

INSPIRED by the “wonderful reaction” to the online streaming of their outdoor poetry and song performances in lockdown, creative Easingwold couple Jessa and Mick Liversidge present an hour of uplifting words and music in the open air this weekend.

The show will be Covid-safe and socially distanced; tickets are free, with a pay-as- you-feel collection afterwards, but must be acquired in advance on 07526 107448 or by emailing ecl.generalenquiries@gmail.com.

Giles Shenton…will go to any lengths to promote his one-man show Three Men In A Boat

Three is a magic number: Three Men In A Boat, Kick In The Head Productions, Milton Rooms, Malton, Sunday, 2.30pm

GILES Shenton takes the helm for 95 minutes in Kick In The Head’s one-man/Three Men show, a “rip-roaring barrel of fun” wherein he plays writer Jerome K Jerome and everyone besides in a delightfully ridiculous tale of men behaving badly while messing about on boats.

Shenton invites you to “join Jerome as he recounts the hilarious story of his boating holiday along the magnificent River Thames with his two companions, George and Harris, and Montmorency the dog”.

Justin Moorhouse will stay in his house to perform his Your Place Comedy set from the living room on Sunday. Shappi Khorsandi will surely not be needing armour to do likewise from her place

Living room laughs: Your Place Comedy: Justin Moorhouse and Shappi Khorsandi, Sunday, online at 8pm

IN the fifth of six Your Place Comedy shows live-streamed from their living rooms into yours since lockdown, Justin Moorhouse and Shappi Khorsandi form the digital double bill introduced remotely by compere Tim FitzHigham.

The virtual comedy project has been organised by Selby Town Hall manager Chris Jones in liaison with nine other independent North and East Yorkshire arts centres and theatres, with donations welcome after each free screening to be divided between the still-closed venues. You can watch on YouTube and Twitch with more details at yourplacecomedy.co.uk.

Top Of The Hill, acrylic on canvas, by Debbie Lush

Exhibition launch of the week: Debbie Lush, Featured Artist, Blue Tree Gallery, Bootham, York, and online at bluetreegallery.co.uk, Saturday to November 7

TEN new works by Devon landscape artist Debbie Lush go on show at Blue Tree Gallery from this weekend.

The former freelance illustrator, who ran a Somerset country inn for 13 years, draws inspiration for her vividly coloured coastal and rural landscapes from her walks with her dog along weather-beaten coastal paths, across muddy footpaths, through gateways and over fields and farmland.

“I love the act of brushing blobs of paints of varying thickness in bright colours on a surface, one over another, to assemble landscapes,” she says.

Uninvited Guests invite guests to Love Letters Straight From Your Heart at the SJT and on Zoom. Picture: Jonathan Bewley

Antidote to isolation: Uninvited Guests’ Love Letters Straight From Your Heart, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, and on Zoom on October 1, 2.30pm and 7.30pm

THEATRE company Uninvited Guests will construct a “completely digital, wholly personal and wonderfully live experience” at the SJT and on Zoom in “very different” afternoon and evening shows.

Performed by Jessica Hoffman and Richard Dufty, Love Letters Straight From Your Heart invites the audience’s words, song dedications and stories – sent in earlier – to the stage where they are given a new shape, look you straight in the eye and offer to dance with everyone in the room.

Only 45 tickets will be sold for each show to maintain intimacy, but any number of audience members can sit at screens to watch what unfolds in 60 to 75 minutes.

Giant story: Riding Lights Theatre Company go online for Christmas

Latest Christmas show to be confirmed: Riding Lights Theatre Company in The Selfish Giant, storytelling theatre on film online, for primary schools

YORK company Riding Lights say, “We can’t come to you, but we can still bring exciting entertainment into every classroom with our online version of The Selfish Giant.

“The Giant is angry. He’s been away for a long time and returns to find children playing in his beautiful garden!

Every day after school, they come and run about, laughing and playing games under the blossom on his peach trees, listening to the delightful songs of the birds. So, he puts up a big wall and an even bigger Keep Out notice to put a stop to all that. Then winter seizes the garden in its icy fingers.”

Riding Lights ask primary school to book the online show via: https://ridinglights.org/the-selfish-giant-no/costs-and-booking/.

No traditional queue at York Barbican when Daniel O’Donnell tickets go on sale tomorrow. Booking is online only

Looking ahead to Irish gigs at the double: Clannad, York Barbican, March 10 2021 and Daniel O’Donnell, York Barbican, October 21 2021

CLANNAD are booked in to play York Barbican on March 10 on their Farewell Tour, but let’s see where Boris Johnson’s new Rule of Six Months’ More Misery leaves that show. Fingers crossed, we can wave goodbye to social distancing by then to enable bidding adieu to the ethereal purveyors of traditional Irish music, contemporary folk, new age and rock, led by Moya Brennan.

Meanwhile, tickets go on sale at 9am tomorrow (Friday) at yorkbarbican.co.uk for Kincasslagh crooner Daniel O’Donnell’s return to the Barbican on October 21.

And what about…?

A visit to Duncan Lomax’s new photographic exhibition space, Holgate Gallery, opening officially from tomorrow in Holgate Road, York, to show work by the 2016 York Mystery Plays official photographer and political satirist Cold War Steve.

The York Printmakers Virtual Print Fair, running until October 4, with daily updates at https://www.facebook.com/YorkPrintmakers/

Scary times ahead for the Stephen Joseph Theatre as Fright Fest By The Sea looms

Here’s Jack: Jack Nicholson in The Shining, part of the Fright Fest By The Sea festival of fear at the SJT

HERE’S Johnny! Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre will present Fright Fest By The Sea, a week of scary movies with “terror levels suitable for all the family” as part of its October film programme.

Anglo-German director Wolf Rilla’s 1960 sci-fi horror movie Village Of The Damned – “Beware the stare that will paralyze the will of the world!”, the poster warns – will be shown on October 23 at 2pm and October 24 at 7pm.

An American Werewolf In London, John Landis’s 1981sci-fi horror comedy advert for Yorkshire’s infamous brand of hospitality for outsiders, is booked in for October 23, 7pm, October 27, 7pm, and October 28, 2pm.

Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan’s 2019 computer-animated black comedy version of The Addams Family will run on October 24, 2pm October 27, 2pm, October 28, 7pm, October 29, 2pm, and October 30, 2pm.

An American Werewolf In London: A taciturn Yorkshire welcome awaits all who enter….

Gerald Thomas’s 1966 British comedy Carry On Screaming, the 12th of 31 Carry On capers, stars Fenella Fielding, Kenneth Williams and Harry H Corbett as a private detective in his only appearance in the series, on October 29 at 7pm and October 31 at 2pm.

Ah, here’s Johnny! Jack Nicholson ad-libbed that “Here’s Johnny” moment, echoing announcer Ed McMahon’s introduction of Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, in The Shining, Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 psychological horror film. Enjoy it again on October 30 and 31 at 7pm.

The October programme of films and streamings in The McCarthy will open with Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes (Captured Live)his Olivier Award-winning dance-drama adaptation of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1948 film.

This tale of obsession, possession and one girl’s dream to be the greatest dancer in the world will be shown on October 1, 2pm, October 2, 7pm, and October 3 and 4, 2pm.

What a scream: The poster for Carry On Screaming

October 1’s 7pm screening of Parasite offers the chance to judge why Bong Joon-ho’s black-and-white South Korean dark comedy thriller became the first non-English language film to win the Oscar for Best Picture in February.

Hats off, masks on, for John-Paul Davidson and Stephen Warbeck’s new British comedy, The Man In The Hat, showing on October 2, 2pm, October 3, 7pm, October 6 and 7, 7pm, and October 8, 2pm.

The titular man in the hat (Ciaran Hinds) journeys through France in a Fiat 500, accompanied by a framed photograph of an unknown woman. In pursuit are five angry men in a Citroën Dyane, but why are they chasing him and how can he shake them off?

Thirty years ago, Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo made their historic debut as The Three Tenors. On October 8 at 7pm and October 10 at 2pm, Three Tenors: Voices For Eternity (Event Cinema) celebrates the emotional highlights of the first concert and the sequel in Los Angeles, with new interviews and never-before-seen backstage footage.

Ciaran Hinds: The man in the hat in The Man In The Hat

A global audience of 1.6 billion people watched that ground-breaking debut concert, one that catapulted classical music into a new dimension, spawning the best-selling classical album of all time. 

A second new British film, 23 Walks, Paul Morrison’s gentle, sweet, funny, romantic story of love in later life, will have screenings on October 9 at 2pm and 7pm, October 10, 13 and 14, 7pm, and October 15, 2pm.

Alison Steadman and Dave Johns play Fern and Dave, who meet when walking their dogs in a North London park. Over the course of 23 walks together, romance begins to blossom but the two also hide secrets that could derail their new-found love.

Completing a trilogy of new British film releases, Sally Hawkins, David Thewlis, Billie Piper and Penelope Wilton star in Eternal Beauty on October 16 at 2pm and 7pm, October 17 at 2pm, October 20 at 7pm and October 22 at 2pm and 7pm.

Hawkins, who made her professional stage debut as Juliet in Romeo And Juliet at York Theatre Royal, plays Jane, a fragile but irrepressible woman who hears voices and has paranoid episodes.

Sally Hawkins and David Thewlis in Eternal Beauty

The film’s director, actor turned writer-director Craig Roberts, appeared alongside Hawkins in the independent hit film Submarine, by the way.

Michael Ball and Alfie Boe – Back Together (Captured Live) gives cinema audiences the chance to enjoy the final show of their sold-out tour on screen on October 17 at 7pm and October 18 at 2pm.

The SJT has been awarded the VisitEngland We’re Good To Go industry standard mark, signifying its adherence to Government and public health guidance by introducing comprehensive measures for the safety and comfort of cinema patrons, such as limited capacities and aisle access for every pair of seats booked. Find out more at: https://www.sjt.uk.com/were_back

Cinema tickets at the SJT for films cost £7 (concessions £6; Circle members/NHS/under-30s £5); for Event Cinema, including Captured Live, £12; for live streamings, £17.

To book, go to sjt.uk.com/whatson or call the box office on 01723 370541 (open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 11am to 4pm, for both phone calls and in-person bookings).

The Stephen Joseph Theatre poster for Fright Fest By The Sea

More Things To Do in and around York and at home, as opposed to a “social gathering” for the joy of six. List No 14, from The Press

Helen Wilson in a damned spot of Scottish bother in York Shakespeare Project’s Sit-down Sonnets at Holy Trinity churchyard, Goodramgate, York. Picture: John Saunders

MUSICAL theatre in a park, drag cabaret at a sports club, Shakespeare sonnets and songs in churchyards, high-speed film action at an airfield and chamber music online catch Charles Hutchinson’s eye

Graveyard smash of the week: York Shakespeare Project’s Sit-down Sonnets, Holy Trinity churchyard, Goodramgate, York, until Saturday

WHEN York Shakespeare Project’s Macbeth bit the dust in March, put on hold by the Covid lockdown, York’s purveyors of Shakespeare’s Sonnet Walks decided to stage a sit-down, but not as an act of protest.

Director Mick Taylor and producer Maurice Crichton hatched a plan to present assorted familiar Shakespeare characters, brought into the modern world, to reflect on the pandemic with an accompanying sonnet.

Holy Trinity’s churchyard, with its five park benches, tree shelter and mown grass, provides an ideal socially distanced open-air setting. Bring a rug, cushion, camp chair, flask and biscuits, suggests Maurice, to performances at 5.45pm and 7pm, plus 4.15pm on Saturday.

Polly Bolton: Sharing a double bill with Henry Parker in the NCEM churchyard

Double bills in another churchyard: Songs Under Skies, National Centre for Early Music, St Margaret’s Church, Walmgate, York, tonight, September 16 and 17

SONGS Under Skies brings together the National Centre for Early Music, The Crescent, The Fulford Arms and the Music Venues Alliance for an open-air series of acoustic concerts.

The opening night with Amy May Ellis and Luke Saxton on September 2 was driven inside by the rain. Fingers crossed for more clement conditions for Wolf Solent and Rosalind tonight, Polly Bolton and Henry Parker on September 16 and Elkyn and Fawn the following night.

Gates will open at 6.30pm for each 7pm start; acts will perform either side of a 30-minute interval with a finishing time of 8.30pm. 

The Bev Jones Music Company in a socially distanced rehearsal for Sunday’s show at the Rowntree Park Amphitheatre

Musical theatre showcase part one: Bev Jones Music Company, Strictly Live In The Park, Rowntree Park Amphitheatre, York, Sunday, 3pm.

THE Bev Jones Music Company stage a full-sized musical theatre concert with more than 20 socially distanced singers and a five-piece band on Sunday afternoon.

Strictly Live In The Park promises a “spectacular show for all the family, with popular show music, pop music, dance and comedy”, under the musical direction of John Atkin with choreography by Claire Pulpher.

Expect numbers from Adele to Robbie Williams, Cabaret to Hairspray, Mack & Mabel to South Pacific, The Full Monty to Chess, Miss Saigon to the finale, Les Miserables, all arranged by the late company driving force Bev Jones. Also expect temperature tests on arrival.

Conor Mellor in York Stage Musicals’ first show at the Rowntree Park Amphitheatre, York. He will be back for the second one too. Picture: Jess Main

Musical theatre showcase part two: York Stage Musicals present Jukebox Divas, Rowntree Park Amphitheatre, York, September 18 to 20, 7pm

AFTER the sold-out three-night run of York Stage Musicals’ first ever outdoor show last month, producer/director Nik Briggs and musical director Jessica Douglas return to their Rowntree Park psychedelic igloo to stage Jukebox Divas.

Jessica’s band line-up has changed, so too has the singing sextet, with Conor Mellor from the debut show being joined by Dan Conway, Sophie Hammond, Grace Lancaster and Eleanor Leaper.

“With music from We Will Rock You, Mamma Mia! and more modern releases like + Juliet and Moulin Rouge, audiences will be entertained for 90 minutes with vocal tributes to artists such as Elvis Presley, Queen, Meat Loaf, Katy Perry, Carole King and many more,” says Nik.

Baby Driver: one of the films with high-speed thrills to be screened at AA Getaway Drive-in Cinema at Elvington Airfield

Car experience of next week: AA Getaway Drive-in Cinema, Elvington Airfield, near York, September 18 to 20

AFTER Daisy Duke’s Drive-in Cinema on Knavesmire, now comes a celebration of high-speed thrills and derring-do skills at Elvington Airfield…on screen, courtesy of AA Getaway Drive-in Cinema.

Tickets have sold out already for the September 19 screenings of James Gunn’s 2014 space chase, Guardians Of The Galaxy (12A), at 2.30pm and James Mangold’s 2019 Ford v Ferrari race-track clash, Le Mans 66 (12), at 7.30pm.

Bookings can still be made, however, for Guardians Of The Galaxy on September 18 at 2.30pm and September 20 at 7.30pm and Edgar Wright’s 2017 getaway-car heist thriller, Baby Driver (15), September 18, 7.30pm, and September 20, 2.30pm.

No more kitchen-sink dramas for Velma Celli as York’s drag diva deluxe swaps live-streaming for the great outdoors in Acomb tomorrow

Stepping out of her Bishopthorpe kitchen into the York open air: Velma Celli: An Evening Of Song, York RI Community Sports Club, New Lane, Acomb, tomorrow, 8pm.

AFTER a spring and summer of concerts live-streamed from home, York drag diva Velma Celli takes to the outdoor stage at a sports club.

“The show will be a mixed bag of whatever I fancy on the day – pop, rock, impressions and some musical theatre obviously – and of course requests online. Message me on Facebook,” advises Velma.

Very special guests are promised: definitely York soul powerhouse Jessica Steel will be among them.

Tim Lowe: York Chamber Music Festival artistic director and cellist

Festival of the month: York Chamber Music Festival, September 18 to 20

THE 2020 York Chamber Music Festival is going online to live-stream three concerts from the National Centre for Early Music, Walmgate, York, in a celebration of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth.

Festival artistic director and cellist Lowe will be performing with Simon Blendis and Charlotte Scott, violins; Matthew Jones, violin and viola; Jon Thorne, viola, and Katya Apekisheva, piano. For full details on the programme and on how to watch the concerts, go to ycmf.co.uk.

Strictly between us: Anton du Beke and Giovanni Pernice’s tour poster for Him & Me next summer at the Grand Opera House, York

One for the 2021 diary: Anton & Giovanni, Him & Me, Grand Opera House, York, July 12

STRICTLY Come Dancing staples Anton du Beke and Giovanni Pernice will link up for their debut tour together, Him & Me, next year.

Details are sketchy, but the dapper Sevenoaks ballroom king and the Italian stallion say: “This show promises to be the best night out in the Summer of 2021 for all ages…A true dance extravaganza!”

Anton and Giovanni will be joined by a “world-class cast” of dancers and singers for a show produced by Strictly Theatre Co and directed by Alan Burkitt.

And what about…?

A visit to the reopened Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre exhibition in Blossom Street, York. Malton Harvest Food Festival on Saturday. New Light Prize Exhibition, with more than 100 artists, opening at Scarborough Art Gallery on September 19. York Walking Festival, running or, rather, walking until Sunday (details at iTravel York website).

Jon, by Laura Quin Harris, at the New Light Prize Exhibition at Scarborough Art Gallery

Shed Seven LIVE? Not this summer, alas, but on a new album out in December, yes

Shed Seven’s artwork to announce their December 4 live album, Another Night, Another Town

SHED Seven are to release a live album on December 4 after a frustrating summer of Covid-cancelled gigs.

Specially curated by the York Britpop luminaries and available exclusively through the Sheds’ store, Another Night, Another Town “captures their dynamic live performances and anthemic songs over 21 songs”.

As trailed on the shedseven.com website, Shed followers can pick up a limited-edition coloured gatefold vinyl edition, a special double CD set, a 180g heavyweight triple vinyl version and a download, plus a selection of new merchandise.

From this week, you can pre-order a signed copy to download album opener Room In My House and Ocean Pie now.

“A few words” from frontman Rick Witter accompany the announcement: “When it became clear virtually no live events would be taking place this year and with no Shedcember [December tour] to look forward to, we thought it was a good time to go through recordings from our 2019 [Shedcember] tour and 2018 Castlefield Bowl show [in Manchester] to curate the best live album we could.

“From 10,000 people singing along to Chasing Rainbows at Leeds Arena to playing the classic outro of I Am The Resurrection in the home of the Stone Roses, this 21-track album features the best from our live shows over the last couple of years.”

The live album has been mixed by Chris Sheldon, who produced the Sheds’ 1996 album A Maximum High and 1999 single Disco Down (whose lyrics have been raided for the ‘Another Night, Another Town’ title).

Taking it sitting down: Shed Seven have been left with a blank summer gig diary in Covid-19 2020

“We’re delighted with the results, which we think are as close as we can get to capturing the Shed Seven live experience on record,” continues Rick, 47. “We haven’t released a live album since we returned as a five-piece in 2007 and we certainly haven’t released one as good as this!

“We hope this album provides just a little bit of the live experience we’re all missing before we return in 2021.”

Another Night, Another Town will be Shed Seven’s fifth “live” album after Where Have You Been Tonight? Live, in 2003; Live At The BBC, in 2007; See Youse At The Barras: Live In Concert, 2009, and Live At Leeds 2007, digital download only, in 2009.

The track listing will be: Room In My House; Mark; Where Have You Been Tonight?; People Will Talk; Devil In Your Shoes; Butterfly On A Wheel; She Left Me On Friday/I Am The Resurrection; Better Days; On Standby; It’s Not Easy; Getting Better; Enemies And Friends; Ocean Pie; Dolphin; High Hopes; Disco Down; Bully Boy; Going For Gold; Parallel Lines; Invincible and Chasing Rainbows.

The Sheds should have been playing in the open air at The Piece Hall, Halifax, on September  19, but as with this summer’s post-racing concert at Doncaster Racecourse on August 15, preceded by Witter and guitarist Paul Banks’s acoustic set at Pocklington Arts Centre’s Platform Festival at The Old Station on July 11, Covid-19 intervened.

However, Shed Seven’s diary for outdoor engagements in 2021 is taking shape: Don 21 Music Live, Doncaster Racecourse, May 15; Neighbourhood Festival, London, May 29; Isle of Wight Festival, Newport, June 18; The Piece Hall, Halifax, June 26; Corbridge Festival, July 3; Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, Beaufort, July 31, and Watchet Music Festival, Somerset, August 29.

Meanwhile, The Piece Hall has added Nile Rodgers & Chic to next summer’s concert list, booked in for June 18 with Liverpool soul singer Rebecca Ferguson as the support act. Tickets will go on sale at 10am on Friday at www.seetickets.com and www.lunatickets.co.uk

York Chamber Music Festival goes online to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary

THE 2020 York Chamber Music Festival is going online to live-stream three concerts from the National Centre for Early Music, Walmgate, from September 18 to 20.

Festival artistic director Tim Lowe says: “This year, we can’t have an audience because of the Covid-19 virus, but we were determined to put on some wonderful concerts anyway.

“We’ll be able to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth as first planned, and the only change is that we’ve decided it’s not possible to stream the lunchtime recitals”

Cellist Lowe will be performing with Simon Blendis and Charlotte Scott, violins; Matthew Jones, violin and viola; Jon Thorne, viola, and Katya Apekisheva, piano.

On September 18, their programme will be: Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, Op. 95, Serioso; Herbert Howells’ Fantasy String Quartet, Op. 25 and Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E Flat major, Op. 44.

On September 19, they will play: Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 1 in F major, Op.18, No. 1; Josef Suk’s Piano Quartet in A minor, Op.1 and César Franck’s Piano Quintet in F minor.

September 20’s festival climax will open with Beethoven’s String Quintet in C major, Op. 29, followed by Antonín Dvořak’s String Quintet in E Flat major, Op. 97.

“In each of the three online concerts, I’ve selected one work to represent or point to key moments in Beethoven’s artistic evolution and spiritual journey,” says Tim. “It was Beethoven’s great tragedy that for much of his adult life he became progressively deaf until there was nothing left. It would seem that as his outer-ear faded, so his inner-ear quickened.”

Assessing each Beethoven piece, Tim says: “In the String Quartet No. 1 in F major, Op.18, No. 1, we catch Beethoven thinking hard about his entry to this genre and already changing convention, poetic and assured.

“The String Quintet in C major, Op. 29 is a pivotal work that is the harbinger of his middle-period chamber music, a bubbling attractive piece that belies Beethoven’s realisation of impending deafness.

“The enigmatic, experimental F minor String Quartet, Op. 95 is the forerunner of his last series of ‘late’ quartets, already reaching for the stars but with a new sort of music never heard before, light years ahead.”

​Summing up the accompanying works, he says: “Almost everything else in the programme can be thought of as a legacy of this one man [Beethoven]. A feature of the 2020 event is that we’re playing piano quintets, which was more or less invented as an ensemble by Robert Schumann – having immersed himself in a study of Beethoven’s trios and quartets – Mozart and Haydn too – while his wife, international pianist Clara, was away on tour.” 

A Yorkshireman’s favourite price will apply. “To maximise our outreach, we’ve decided that the concerts will be free to listen to and we hope you will join us this month to enjoy them,” says Tim. “But we ask that you make a donation if you possibly can, in lieu of buying tickets.

“Putting on these concerts and recording them is very costly. York Chamber Music Festival is a non-profit charity that depends on support from donors and sponsors. Please help if you possibly can: there is a ‘Donate’ button on our website, ycmf.co.uk, should you wish to help.”

Over the past seven years, York Chamber Music Festival has presented more than 40 concerts and recitals. “We’ve brought to the city some of the country’s best, internationally renowned players,” says Tim.

“Feedback and press reviews both refer to the freshness and vitality that the festival artists bring to core and less familiar chamber music repertoire. Steven Isserlis, Anthony Marwood, Ian Brown, Adrian Brendel, Charles Owen, Emma Johnson, to name but a few, have joined us for great music-making.”

For full details on the 2020 festival programme and participating musicians and on how to watch the concerts, go to www.ycmf.co.uk.

“We hope you can join us for some wonderful live concerts from York. Stay safe and well,” concludes Tim.

Say Owt Showcase quartet want a word with you…at a social distance near you

They’ll say owt to entertain you: Stu Freestone, Henry Raby, Hannah Davies and Dave Jarman

DO you want an assortment of noisy, slam-winning York performance poets, word-weavers and gobheads to perform at a social distance near you?

If so, the Say Owt Showcase luminaries Henry Raby, Stu Freestone, Hannah Davies and Dave Jarman are the quartet to entertain you, being “ideal for socially distanced spaces and audiences”.

“We’re York’s lovable and raucous poetry gang and we’re available to programme and present high-energy, 60-minute showcases of the sharp, relevant, hilarious and engaging spoken word,” says Henry, director of the Say Owt’s “war of the words” slam nights.

Stu Freestone: “Cheekiest of rogues”

“Say Owt’s word-warriors have delighted in ripping up stages at the Great Yorkshire Fringe and the Arts Barge in York, the Edinburgh Fringe and the Ilkley Literature Festival, and last month we performed as part of York Theatre Royal’s Pop-Up On The Patio festival, a bubbled and socially distanced event.

“Our Say Owt Showcase on August 28 sold out and played to a drizzly, but happy, audience.”

Performance poet in residence at the Deer Shed Festival, author, playwright and event organiser Raby is noted for his punk poetry being anarchic and raw, with a sharp political edge, much like his regular Tweets.

Taking the mic: Henry Raby in action

He has performed at Latitude Festival, Boomtown Fair and the Intentional Youth Arts Festival and toured with Creative Arts East and Apples and Snakes’ Public Address Tour.

His latest solo show, Apps And Austerity, looks back over the past decade of technology and stultifying, stringent political policies, as aired at the Pop-Up festival last Friday.

Freestone, Raby’s fellow co-founder of Say Owt, is the cheekiest of rogues with his devilish facial hair and a penchant for Hip-Hop. His work is blissful, engrossing and, above all, unflinchingly honest.

Hannah Davies: Addresses themes of young love, female identity and the small moments that makes us smile

An actor too, he has worked with various York companies and in 2015 was nominated for Best Spoken Word Artist at the Saboteur Awards. The only thing remotely cheesy about him is when he may have served you from behind the counter at The Cheese Trader in Grape Lane.

When playwright, actor, poet, writing course tutor and stage director Hannah Davies “isn’t trying to smash the patriarchy”, she is busy with her York theatre company Common Ground. 

Hannah has won slams across the UK and was a finalist in the BBC Fringe Slam 2017, and her work encapsulates themes of young love, female identity and the small moments that make us smile.

Dave Jarman: Plucking words out of the air like the ripest of fruit

Say Owt associate artist Dave Jarman describes himself as a “word-gobbing, ukulele-strumming, bodhran-abusing poet from t’North”.

Resident poet for the Great Yorkshire Fringe in 2017, playwright, actor and occasional Elf, he reflects on community, people, places and our national identity in his poetry and performances.

For more information on how to send for the four wordsmen of the apocalypse to do a show for you, email info@sayowt.co.uk.

Will you dig it all as York Mediale, the digital media arts festival, seeks a cutting edge?

“We want to explore how we connect with loved ones, with our community, with nature and with our culture,” says Tom Higham, York Mediale’s creative director

YORK Mediale returns next month to deliver ambitious and cutting-edge digital arts projects inspired by and reacting to 2020.

For its second iteration, the international new media arts organisation has lined up six new commissions, five being world premieres, the other, a UK premiere.

Running from October 21 into the New Year, the programme of events will take place in York neighbourhoods, online and at two cultural landmarks, York Minster and York Art Gallery.

The first York Mediale in 2018 was the largest media arts festival in Britain, drawing an audience of 65,000 to diverse digital-rooted events over ten days, celebrating York as the UK’s first and only UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts.

The Coronavirus pandemic has led York Mediale to forego the original 2020 festival dates of October 21 to 25, instead “pivoting from a biennial festival to a charity creating and delivering a year-round programme of exceptional digital arts events, embedded in and enriching the creative life of the city of York and beyond”.

In a progression from the 2018 debut, this will involve working closely with York artists, young people and neighbourhoods.

Themes of love, nature and community – particularly poignant at this time following months of lockdown and isolation – will run through artists’ installations and interactive performance, engaging audiences both in person and digitally.

Leading artists in their field from across the world have created work for York, such as Marshmallow Laser Feast, fresh from their show at the Saatchi Gallery in London; composer, musician and producer Elizabeth Bernholz, otherwise known as the artist Gazelle Twin, and arts collective KMA, whose installations have transformed numerous public spaces, from London’s Trafalgar Square to Shanghai’s Bund.

The York community is being encouraged to take part, so today the Mediale team is launching two calls for participation. Firstly, Mediale is calling out for 50 members of the public to feature in a piece that will serve as a memento for the times we live in.

Secondly, in collaboration with York’s Guild of Media Arts and nine other UNESCO Creative Cities of Media Arts, Mediale is launching a call-out to York artists, worth £2,500.

Tom Higham, York Mediale’s creative director for the  2018 festival and now the 2020 one too, says: “York Mediale is a place where, through digital arts, we can explore, challenge and reflect on our lives.

“Plans for this year’s Mediale were well underway as the pandemic took hold. That we’re able to work with artists and producers to create an event at all is something we’re really proud of.”

Mediale planned “as best it could” for what it knew would be a different type of event. “We looked closely at the works already submitted and worked to develop the pieces that would most closely examine these extraordinary times,” says Tom.

“We wanted to explore how we connect with loved ones, with our community, with nature and with our culture. We have been developing projects around those themes, and we’re excited to now present a series of works.

“All of these projects resonated with us at the start of 2020 but we could never have imagined how they could develop to so beautifully reflect our worries, hopes and relationships to our communities.”

York artist and filmmaker Kit Monkman: Collaborating with Gazelle Twin and University of York Music Department for Absent Sitters, an online event at York Mediale 2020

York Mediale audiences will discover how the human body is hardwired, synchronised and inextricably linked to nature; experiment with a new form of performance, and explore the invisible transaction between a person and a piece of art and how WhatsApp has shaped communities for the COVID generation at this year’s “diverse, digitally engaged and mentally stimulating event”.

What digital delights are upcoming in York Mediale 2020-2021?

People We Love, November 2 to 29 at York MInster

THIS commission from creative collective KMA will be positioned in the Minster nave, where a new temporary “congregation” will be made up of a collection of five large high-definition screens, showing a series of video portraits focused on people that have been filmed looking at a photograph of someone they love.

The viewer will not know who is being looked at but will experience the emotion on the face projected on screen before them, interpreting each unspoken story.  

Visitors can add their story to the installation as a pop-up booth will be on-site, ready to capture the love stories of the city without the need for words.

Human Nature, October 21 to January 24 2021 at York Art Gallery

A TRIPTYCH of installations under the banner of Human Nature, curated by York Mediale and York Museums Trust, comes together as a centrepiece of York Mediale 2020 in a “hugely ambitious show”.

Embers And The Giants, a short film by Canadian media artist Kelly Richardson, makes its UK premiere, exploring human intervention through thousands of tiny drones mimicking a natural spectacle, suggesting a time when we will need to amplify nature in order to convince the public of its worth.

The Tides Within Us, a commission from immersive art collective Marshmallow Laser East, looks at the journey of oxygen from lungs to the heart and body in a series of installations that echoes the ecosystem within nature. 

Fine artist Rachel Goodyear presents Limina, a series of animations supported by her intricate drawings, in response to an untitled sculpture from York Art Gallery’s collection; all offering a glimpse into the psyche and fragments of the unconscious.

Absent Sitters, October 21 to 25, online

GAZELLE Twin, billed as “one of the UK’s most vital contemporary voices in electronic music”,  collaborates with York artist and filmmaker Kit Monkman and the University of York Music Department to experiment with a new form of performance.

In this intimate, shared event, you will be guided by a “performer medium” to investigate what is live performance in 2020? The audience, contributing via video call, will become part of an online audio-visual experience that examines the power of “collective imagination” and the importance of “presence/absence” in a live event. Are we live? Can we connect? Who are you? Questions, questions, questions.

Good Neighbours, October 21 to 25, The Groves, York

GOOD Neighbours, from Amsterdam’s affect lab – interactive artist Klasien van de Zandschulp and researcher Natalie Dixon – is based on research into the micro-politics of communities and the increase in WhatsApp neighbourhood watch groups through lockdown.

Individual audience members will use their own mobile devices as they immerse themselves in a weirdly familiar fictional documentary walk alongside live performance, taking place in The Groves area of York.

What exactly is York Mediale?

York Mediale is an international media arts organisation that celebrates York as the UK’s first and only UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts.  The independent arts charity was founded in 2014 to mark that designation.

As well as bringing new commissions from leading artists to the city for each festival, Mediale provides opportunities for the best emerging talents to showcase their art. Through incorporating technologies into their works, artists of all kinds will challenge, provoke, interrogate and celebrate our cities, our landscapes, our lives.

York Theatre Royal whistles up a couple of extra Hansel And Gretel shows on the patio

Keep on running: Jennifer Clark as Gretel, with Claire Pascoe as Mother behind her, in the opening performance of Whistle Stop Opera: Hansel And Gretel at Slung Low, The Holbeck, Leeds. Picture: Tom Arber

ALL three Saturday performances of Whistle Stop Opera: Hansel And Gretel at the National Centre for Early Music, York, have sold out, but now the bewitching open-air show will pop up on York Theatre Royal’s Pop-Up Patio tomorrow too.

Touring from August 18 to September 5 as part of Opera North’s Switch ON autumn programme of outdoor events and digital projects, the 40-minute production is devised and directed by John Savournin for four singers and accordion and provides an introduction to opera for families, as well as being suitable for adults.

The Whistle Stop mini-opera uses excerpts from Engelbert Humperdinck’s magical 1893 opera to retell the fairy tale of two hungry children, lost in the woods, and a gingerbread cottage that hides a scary secret.

Every witch way: Claire Pascoe’s Witch in shocking pink in Hansel And Gretel

“Journey through the woods and gorge yourself on the exciting twists and turns of the plot as you meet the characters along the way,” says Opera North. “Just beware of the evil witch and don’t stray too far from your tour guide – you never know what trickery you may encounter along the way.”

Whistle Stop Opera: Hansel And Gretel has been performed in outdoor settings across the North in August and September, with social distancing in place for audience members and performers and limited numbers of tickets available, in accordance with Covid-19 guidelines, for “pods” of up to five people, although exact seating arrangements have varied from venue to venue.

In the Hansel And Gretel company are Laura Kelly-McInroy (Jennie Hildebrand in Street Scene, 2020) as Hansel; Jennifer Clark (Flora, The Turn Of The Screw, 2020) as Gretel; Claire Pascoe (Emma Jones, Street Scene, 2020; Witch, Into the Woods, 2016) as Mother/Witch, and director John Savournin (Carl Olsen, Street Scene, 2020; Priest Fotis, The Greek Passion, 2019) as Narrator/Sandman. Miloš Milivojević will play accordion.

Clasped hands at the double: Jennifer Clark’s Gretel and Laura Kelly-McInroy’s Hansel in Whistle Stop Opera: Hansel And Gretel

In the initial announcement, Hansel And Gretel was to have played Pontefract Castle, Pontefract, tomorrow at 4.30pm, but that performance no longer appears on the Opera North listings.

Instead, York Theatre Royal’s patio will play host to shows at 1pm and 3pm with a maximum audience of 35 at each one. Given the speedy uptake of tickets for Saturday’s 11.30am, 1pm and 3pm performances in the NCEM garden, do not delay a moment longer in booking for tomorrow at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk, tickets costing a fiver. Please note, access to Pop-Up On The Patio events is restricted to paid ticket holders only.

The Theatre Royal also advises: “As we all know, the weather in England can be unpredictable, so we recommend dressing for the weather and bringing waterproofs just in case.”

The Pop-Up On The Patio stage at York Theatre Royal with deck-chair seating

This short-notice addition to the Pop-Up programme comes on the back of the Pop-Up On The Patio festival that ran on three Fridays and Saturdays from August 14 to 29, co-ordinated by Theatre Royal producer Thom Freeth.

Taking part in a Covid-secure summer season of outdoor performances, on a terrace stage designed by Yorkshire theatre designer Hannah Sibai, were “Yorkshire’s finest theatre and dance makers”.

Step forward York Dance Space; Mud Pie Arts; Crafty Tales; Fool(ish) Improv; The Flanagan Collective and Gobbledigook Theatre; puppeteer Freddie Hayes; Cosmic Collective Theatre; performance poet Henry Raby; Say Owt Showcase, the York outlet for slam poets, word-weavers and “gobheads”; magician, juggler and children’s entertainer Josh Benson and singer Jess Gardham.

York Theatre Royal’s artwork for the inaugural Pop-Up On The Patio festival

Looking back on the weather-defying patio parade of shows, executive director Tom Bird says: “It’s been brilliant to do a patio season; we’re totally over the moon with how it went. It’s just been terrific to give local artists the chance to perform, even if it’s only to 35 people each show.

“Now we’re announcing the Whistle Stop Opera performances and we’re looking to do more outdoor shows.”

Leeds Festival goes for six of the best by doubling up on headliners for 2021 return

The 2021 line-up of headliners and early confirmed acts for Leeds Festival and its sister event, Reading Festival

LEEDS Festival will have headliners at the double next summer after last week’s no-show in Covid-2020.

Croydon rapper Stormzy and ex-Oasis lippy lead vox Liam Gallagher, bill toppers from this summer’s scrapped event, will have their day in the Bramham Park sun/rain, joined by four 2021 additions: American rapper Post Malone, rock bands Catfish And The Bottlemen and Queens Of The Stone Age and dance duo Disclosure, who released their new album, Energy, last Friday.

Only Rage Against The Machine from the 2020 headliners will not be at next summer’s August 27 to 29 event.

The six headliners will be split between Main Stage West and Main Stage East in what Melvin Benn, managing director of promoters Festival Republic, calls Leeds Festival’s “most epic plan yet”.

Gallagher will be the Friday headliner on Main Stage East; Queens Of The Stone Age, Friday, Main Stage West; Stormzy, Saturday, East; Catfish And The Bottlemen, Saturday, West; Post Malone, Sunday, East, and Disclosure, Sunday, West.

Further acts confirmed for next summer are Lewis Capaldi; Two Door Cinema Club;  Doja Cat; Mabel; AJ Tracey; Fever 333; DaBaby; Ashnikko; MK; 100 Geks; Lyra; Madison Beer; Sofi Tucker and Beabadoobee.

Tickets go on sale on Thursday (September 3) from 9am at leedsfestival.com and via Ticketmaster. Tickets bought for this summer will remain valid; alternatively, refunds will be available.

Benn envisages that entry to Bramham Park, near Wetherby, will be monitored by an NHS-linked tracing app, to be shown at the security gates.

More Things To Do in York and beyond or at home, in or hopefully out of the rain, courtesy of The Press, York. List No. 13

Benched: Lisa Howard as grief-stricken Cathy, coming out of isolation on Easter Sunday 2020 in Matt Aston’s lockdown play, Every Time A Bell Rings, presented by Park Bench Theatre. Picture: Northedge Photography

A BANK Holiday on Monday, the return to schools drawing ever closer, masked or unmasked, the summer calendar is speeding by.

Make the most of the outdoors before the crepuscular Covid uncertainty of autumn and beyond arrives for theatres, concert halls and gig venues alike.

Charles Hutchinson pops outside, then quickly head back indoors in the rain with these recommendations.

Comedy for your living room…from theirs: Your Place Comedy presents Paul Sinha and Angela Barnes, Sunday, 8pm

Paul Sinha and Angela Barnes: The stream team for Your Place Comedy, performing in their living rooms on Sunday night

YORKSHIRE virtual comedy project Your Place Comedy returns after a summer break to deliver a second series of live streamed shows over the next three months, re-starting with The Chase star Paul Sinha and  BBC Radio 4 News Quiz guest host Angela Barnes this weekend.

Corralled by Selby Town Council arts officer Chris Jones, ten small, independent theatres and arts centres from God’s Own Country and the Humber are coming together again, amid continued unease for the industry, to provide entertainment from national touring acts.

Sunday’s show will be broadcast live to viewers’ homes for free, with full details on how to watch on YouTube and Twitch at yourplacecomedy.co.uk. “As before, viewers will have an option to make a donation to the venues if they have enjoyed the broadcast,” says Chris.

Mucking around: Cassie Vallance enjoying herself in Teddy Bears’ Picnic in the Friends’ Garden, Rowntree Park,
York. Picture: Northedge Photography

Garden theatre part three: Park Bench Theatre in Every Time A Bell Rings, Friends Garden, Rowntree Park, York, until September 5

SAMUEL Beckett’s First Love has left the bench for good. Children’s show Teddy Bears’ Picnic, starring Cassie Vallance, resumes daytime residence from today.  From this week, the premiere of Engine House Theatre artistic director Matt Aston’s lockdown monologue Every Time A Bell Rings occupies the same bench on evenings until September 5.

Performed by Slung Low and Northern Broadsides regular Lisa Howard and directed by Tom Bellerby on his return to York from London, Aston’s 50-minute play is set in Lockdown on Easter Sunday 2020, when isolated, grief-stricken Cathy searches for solace on her favourite park bench in her favourite park in this funny and poignant look at how the world is changing through these extraordinary times.

Tickets for performances in the Covid-secure Friends Garden must be bought in advance at parkbenchtheatre.com or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk. Bring picnics, blankets and headphones to tune in to shows delivered on receivers. 

Decked out: Hannah Sibai’s design for the Pop-Up On The Patio festival at York Theatre Royal

Deckchairs will be provided: Pop-Up On The Patio, week three at York Theatre Royal, August 28 and  29

YORK Theatre Royal’s Covid-secure summer festival of outdoor performances on Hannah Sibai’s terrace stage climaxes with five more shows, three tomorrow, two on Saturday.

First up, tomorrow at 4pm, is York company Cosmic Collective Theatre’s cult show Heaven’s Gate, an intergalactic pitch-black comedy starring  satirical writer Joe Feeney, Anna Soden, Lewes Roberts and Kate Cresswell as they imagine the final hour of four fictionalised members of a real-life UFO-theistic group.

York performance poet Henry Raby puts the word into sword to slice up the past decade in Apps & Austerity at 6.30pm; Say Owt, the York outlet for slam poets, word-weavers and “gobheads”, follows at 8pm. On Saturday, York magician, juggler and children’s entertainer Josh Benson is unstoppable in Just Josh at 1pm before York pop, soul and blues singer Jess Gardham closes up the patio at 4pm.

Jo Walton: Rust on show at Pyramid Gallery

York exhibition of the week and beyond: Jo Walton, Paintings and Rust Prints, Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, until September 30

YORK artist Jo Walton uses rust and rusted metal sheet in innovative ways to create her artworks. Iron filings are applied as ‘paint’ and as they rust, reactions occur, resulting in every painting being unique and unrepeatable.

“Jo’s work is abstract, inspired by horizons,” says Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett. “Her work features enhanced rust-prints on plaster surfaces, combinations of rusted sheet metal with oil painting and painting seascapes on gold-metal leaf.”

The poster for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet

First blockbuster of the summer…at last: Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, at York cinemas

THE wait is over. This summer has been more blankbuster than blockbuster, thanks to the stultifying impact of the Covid lockdown and the big film companies’ reluctance to take a chance on a major release in the slow-burn, socially distanced reopening of cinemas.

Step forward Christopher Nolan, director of Memento, Inception, three Dark Knight/Batman movies and Dunkirk to grasp the nettle by releasing the 151-minute psychological thriller/action movie Tenet.

John David Washington (yes, Denzel’s son), Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh ride a rollercoaster plot that follows a secret agent who must manipulate time in order to prevent the Third World War. Apparently, Tenet is a “film to feel, not necessarily understand”, like a Scarborough fairground ride, then.

Bella Gaffney expresses her enthusiasm for taking part in Songs Under Skies in the National Centre for Early Music churchyard garden

Double bills galore outside a church: Songs Under Skies, National Centre for Early Music, St Margaret’s Church, Walmgate, York, between September 2 and 17

SONGS Under Skies will bring together the National Centre for Early Music, The Crescent, The Fulford Arms and the Music Venues Alliance for an open-air series of acoustic concerts next month in York.

Dates for the diary are: September 2, Amy May Ellis and Luke Saxton; September 3, Dan Webster and Bella Gaffney; September 9,  Kitty VR and Boss Caine; September 10, Wolf Solent and Rosalind; September 16, Polly Bolton and Henry Parker; September 17, Elkyn and Fawn.

Gates will open at the NCEM’s Walmgate home, St Margaret’s Church, at 6.30pm for each 7pm start; acts will perform either side of a 30-minute interval with a finishing time of 8.30pm. 

The artwork for the new album by perennial York Barbican favourites The Waterboys

And what about…

Discovering The Waterboys’ new album, Good Luck, Seeker, Mike Scott’s latest soulful blast, met with universal thumbs-up reviews. Or bunking down with 1981 Ashes-winning captain turned psychoanalyst Mike Brearley’s new book for the end of summer, Spirit Of Cricket.