Northern Aldborough Festival marks 30th anniversary with music, comedy and a talk. Here’s the full programme, June 13 to 22

Sir Tony Robinson: Guest speaker at Northern Aldborough Festival. Picture: Paul Marc Mitchell

THE 30th anniversary Northern Aldborough Festival, in Aldborough, near Boroughbridge, opens tonight.

Sir Tony Robinson, Leeds Piano Competition winner Alim Beisembayev and one of the world’s great violin virtuosos, Viktoria Mullova, will be among the headline acts

Half an hour’s journey from York or Harrogate, opera singers, pianists and jazz ensembles will mingle among the village’s Roman history.

Festival director Robert Ogden says: “Each year we invite a headline speaker. It’s fitting Sir Tony Robinson is this year’s guest, given the setting of our festival and its rich historic and archaeological significance. It promises to be a very special evening.”

Run as a charity, the annual festival’s mission is to bring high-end live music to its rural location, making the “sleepy village” that was once a prosperous Roman capital an unlikely epicentre for classical music.

This year, its music programme has a focus on championing young classical talent. The opening night sees 25-year-old Tom Fetherstonehaugh conducting the young musicians of the Fantasia Orchestra, performing Tchaikovsky and Chopin alongside pianist Alim Beisembayev, who at 23 won the last Leeds International Piano Competition.

Further highlights include Armonico Consort with a semi-staged production of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen and the rising star of classical guitar, Jack Hancher.

The festival also welcomes an award-winning comedian with an opera degree, Amy Webber, as heard on BBC Radio 4, and the British jazz pianist Julian Joseph, who performs with his trio.

Pan-flute player Adriana Babin, already a bona-fide star at 22 in her home country of Moldova, will head for Aldborough, as will the Mikeleiz-Zucchi Duo, featuring Canadia saxophonist David Zucchi and Spanish accordionist Iñigo Mikeleiz-Berrade.

The festival’s nationwide hunt for the best vocal talent returns in the annual New Voices Singing Competition, with cash prizes of £7,000 and a live semi-final and grand final.

The competition was launched in 2023 by festival director Robert Ogden, supported by longstanding sponsors, in response to the funding cuts faced by the classical music sector, to provide a platform for emerging vocal talent.

Robert, who began his career as a counter tenor, adds: “We’ll have some world-class musicians once more in Aldborough. It doesn’t matter if you are an aficionado of classical music, or you’re a complete novice, we hope audiences will come and experience these very special performances. 

“The rewards of a live concert are so huge, there’s nothing like it; it’s an emotional, visceral experience that you can’t replicate on a screen. It’s a chance to hear remarkable sounds in an intimate and gorgeous countryside setting.”

Aldborough’s late-night venue The Shed also returns for concert-goers who want to continue festivities in a relaxed environment with a variety of live entertainment and refreshments.

The ever-popular Last Night Outdoor Concert will see Queen tribute band Majesty perform to circa 1,000 festival-goers in the grounds of Aldborough Manor. Those attending are invited to bring a picnic and dance the night away, ending with an orchestrated firework display.

Northern Aldborough Festival 2024 programme

June 13, 6.30pm

Alim Beisembayev (piano) with Fantasia Orchestra, conducted by Tom Fetherstonehaugh, St Andrew’s Church, Aldborough

Winner of the Leeds International Piano Competition at 23, Kazakstan-born Alim Beisembayev performs the opening concert with the young musicians of Fantasia Orchestra, conducted by Tom Fetherstonehaugh, 25. Programme includes Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings and Chopin’s 1st Piano Concerto.

June 13, 9pm

After the Show in The Shed

Light musical entertainment and something to eat and drink.

June 14, 11am

Jack Hancher, guitar, Brockfield Hall, Warthill, York

ELEGANT, expressive, fiery and passionate, Jack Hancher is a rising star of the classical guitar, whose debut album will be released this year on the Deux-Elles label.

Last year he became one of only three guitarists to win the Gold Medal of the Royal Overseas League Competition.

June 14, 8pm

Amy Webber, The Old Hall, North Deighton     

Wry comedian Amy Webber performs her job-hunting one-woman show, No Previous Experience, equipped with a mini electric piano and an opera degree that has never been useful. Winner of Audience Choice Award at Musical Comedy Awards.

June 15, 11am

Adriana Babin, St Andrew’s Church, Aldborough             

At the age of 22, Moldovan musician Adriana Babin has already won major prizes and performed all over the world. The warm, rich, and haunting pan flute is rarely heard in classical music, but she has collaborated with European orchestras, starred on German television and received an award from Moldova’s Minister of Culture.

June 15, 7pm

Julian Joseph Trio, St Andrew’s Church, Aldborough

Bandleader, pianist, composer, educator and broadcaster Julian Joseph OBE has championed jazz home and abroad for 35 years. He presents originals and classics with his hard-swinging trio.

June 15, 9pm

After the Show in The Shed

Light musical entertainment and something to eat and drink.

June 16, 3pm

Young Artist Showcase, St Andrew’s Church, Aldborough            

Chance to catch upcoming stars as four of Yorkshire’s most talented young musicians perform.

June 17, 12 noon

The New Voices Singing Competition: Semi-final 1, St Andrew’s Church, Aldborough

After launching national New Voices competition in 2023, the hunt for the year’s best classical vocal talent returns. First group of semi-finalists battle for a place in the Grand Final. Judging panel includes conductor Edward Gardner OBE and English bass Sir John Tomlinson CBE.

June 17, 3.30pm

The New Voices Singing Competition: Semi-final 2, St Andrew’s Church, Aldborough

Second group of semi-finalists.

June 18, 11am

Lea Shaw, mezzo soprano, with Kristina Yorgova, piano

Before the Grand Final of 2024’s New Voices Singing Competition, last year’s victors, Lea Shaw and Kristina Yorgova, return to perform their winners’ recital. 

Shaw is a Scottish Opera Emerging Artist and Scottish Opera’s Associate Artist; Bulgarian pianist Kristina Yorgova is a master’s student at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

June 18, 7pm

Grand Final of the New Voices Singing Competition, St Andrew’s Church, Aldborough            

Hundreds of young singers graduate each year with aspirations to become professionals. This competition is a nationwide hunt with four finalists chasing cash prizes of £7,000 in a springboard for UK classical vocal talent.

June 18, 10pm

After the Show in the Shed

Musical entertainment and something to eat and drink.

June 19, 7.30pm

Viktoria Mullova, violin, with Alasdair Beatson, piano, St Andrew’s Church, Aldborough

Moscow Conservatoire graduate Viktoria Mullova extraordinary violin talent captured the world in the 1980s before her much-publicised defection to the West. She will perform Beethoven and Schubert works with Scotsman Alasdair Beatson, her piano accompanist in a three-year collaboration of concerts and recordings.

June 20, 11am

Mikeleiz-Zucchi Duo

Formed in the spirit of curiosity and open-mindedness, Canadia saxophonist David Zucchi and Spanish accordionist Iñigo Mikeleiz-Berrade sound like an unusual pairing, but this dynamic duo won the Royal Overseas League Annual Music Competition’s Mixed Ensemble Prize. Rooted in jazz and folk, both instruments are on the fringes of classical music in a dance-themed programme of Praetorius, Ravel and Piazzolla works.

June 20, 7.30pm 

An Evening with Sir Tony Robinson, St Andrew’s Church, Aldborough

ACTOR, author, broadcaster, comedian, presenter and political activist Sir Tony Robinson promises a behind-the-scenes insight into his life and career, from playing Baldrick in the BBC comedy Blackadder (1983-1989) to hosting Channel 4’s Time Team, presenting history and archaeology series and writing books on the subject and being active on many charity and political campaigns.

June 20, 9.30pm

After the Show in the Shed

Light musical entertainment and something to eat and drink.

June 21, 7.30pm

Armonico Consort presents Henry Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, directed by Christopher Monks, St Andrew’s Church, Aldborough. Grounds of Aldborough Manor open for picnics at 5pm.

The Fairy Queen is a musical adaption of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, given an inventive, magical  performance on a beautiful midsummer evening. vision of director, Chirstopher Monks.

June 22, gates open at 5.30pm

Majesty – A Tribute to Queen, grounds of Aldborough Manor

Majesty close the festival with their latest Queen show, The Break Free Tour. Bring a picnic; let the orchestrated fireworks begin.  

More Things To Do in York and beyond, whether Unfortunate or fortunate to be here. Hutch’s List No. 24, from The Press

Swing when you’re singing: Ryedale Primary Choir schoochildren doing their vocal exercises for Across The Whinny Moor

MUSICAL moorland mermaids and a villainous sea witch, motion in art and a Mozart mass, vintage Pink Floyd and a Louise Brooks silent movie set up Charles Hutchinson’s week ahead.

Ryedale Festival community event of the week: Across The Whinny Moor, St Peter’s Church, Norton, today, 4pm

THE world premiere of the Community Song Cycle: Across The Whinny Moor follows the trail of North Yorkshire’s Lyke Wake Walk, meeting cheeky hobs, angry mermaids, resourceful giants and wise witches along the way. 

The all-age cast for a walk through stories and songs by John Barber and Hazel Gould includes the schoolchildren of the Ryedale Primary Choir, the Ryedale Voices, Harmonia and The RyeLarks choirs, Kirkbymoorside Town Junior Brass Band, storyteller Rosie Barrett and mezzo-soprano soloist Victoria Simmonds, conducted by Caius Lee. Box office: ryedalefestival.ticketsolve.com/ticketbooth/shows/1173652657. 

Tim Pearce’s poster artwork for Life Forms In Motion at Blossom Street Gallery

Six of the best: Life Forms In Motion, Blossom Street Gallery, Blossom Street, York, until June 30

SIX Yorkshire artists give individual responses to the challenge of interpreting the motion of life forms in a range of static media. In a nutshell, time and space condensed into single, dynamic images.

Taking part are Tim Pearce, painting and sculpture; Cathy Denford, painting; Jo Ruth, printmaking; Adrienne French, painting; Mandy Long, ceramic sculpture, and Lesley Peatfield, photography. Opening hours: Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm; Sundays, 10am to 3pm.

Robert Hollingworth: On baton duty at the University of York Choir and Symphony Orchestra’s concert at York Minster tonight

Classical concert of the week: University of York Choir and Symphony Orchestra, York Minster, tonight, 7.30pm

UNDER the direction of Robert Hollingworth and John Stringer, the University of York Choir and Symphony Orchestra perform Mozart’s ‘Great’ Mass in C minor, widely considered to be among his supreme choral works.

This will be complemented by a selection of works by Anton Bruckner, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Austrian composer’s birth, including the Te Deum, “the pride of his life”. Box office: 01904 322439 or yorkconcerts.co.uk.

Across The Fields To The Sea, by John Thornton, from his Kentmere House Gallery exhibition

“Favourite artist” of the week: John Thornton, Across The Fields To The Sea, Kentmere House, Gallery, Scarcroft Hill, York

BORN in York and now living in Selby, seascape and landscape artist John Thornton has opened his latest show, Across The Fields To The Sea, at his regular York gallery.

“John is everyone’s favourite painter,” says gallery owner and curator Ann Petherick. “I’m delighted he has produced a new and exciting collection of paintings of Askham Bog and Skipwith Common woodlands and meadows and the occasional seascape, inspired by his travels in Yorkshire since the end of Covid.” Opening hours: First weekend of each month, 11am to 5pm; every Thursday, 6pm to 9pm; any other time by appointment on 01904 656507 or 07801 810825.

Louise Brooks in Diary Of A Lost Girl, showing at the NCEM on Tuesday

Film event of the week: Diary Of A Lost Girl (PG), with pianist Utsav Lal, National Centre for Early Music, Walmgate, York, June 11, 7.30pm

TRAILBLAZING New York raga pianist Utsav Lal improvises his live score to accompany Diary Of A Lost Girl, a rarely shown gem of German silent cinema starring American icon Louise Brooks.

Presented by Northern Silents, G W Pabst’s 1929 film traces the journey of a young woman from the pit of despair to the moment of personal awakening. Box office: 01904 658338 and at ncem.co.uk.

Sex, sorcery and suckers: Shawna Hamic’s filthy-humoured Ursula in Unfortunate: The Untold Story Of Ursula The Sea Witch. Picture: Pamela Raith

Musical discovery of the week: Unfortunate: The Untold Story Of Ursula The Sea Witch, Grand Opera House, York, June 11 to 15, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee

AFTER a hit London season, Yorkshire writer-director Robyn Grant heads north with her raucously rude, wickedly camp parody musical Unfortunate, wherein Disney diva Ursula, the villainous sea witch, rules the waves and waves the rules.

New York actress Shawna Hamic’s Ursula gives her filthy-humoured take on what really happened all those years ago under the sea in a bawdy tale of sex, sorcery and suckers. Age recommendation: 16+, on account of strong language, partial nudity and scenes of a sexual nature. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Courtney Broan as Ado Annie in Pickering Musical Society’s Oklahoma!

American classic of the week: Pickering Musical Society in Oklahoma!, Kirk Theatre, Pickering, June 11 to 15, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

LUKE Arnold directs Pickering Musical Society in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1943 love story of Curly (Marcus Burnside) and Laurie (Rachel Anderson), set in the sweeping landscapes of the American heartland. 

Further roles go to Courtney Broan as Ado Annie, Stephen Temple as Will Parker, Michael O’Brien as Mr Carnes and Rick Switzer-Green as AliHakim, joined by dancers from the Sarah Louise Ashworth School of Dance. Box office: 01751 474833 or kirktheatre.co.uk.

Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets: Re-visiting Pink Floyd at York Barbican

Rock gig of the week: Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets, York Barbican, June 12, 7.45pm

NICK Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets follow up their April 2022 appearance at York Barbican with Wednesday’s date on their Set The Controls Tour.

Once more, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason will be joined by Spandau Ballet guitarist Gary Kemp, bassist Guy Pratt, guitarist Lee Harris and keyboardist Dom Beken to perform vintage Pink Floyd material. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.   

The poster artwork for Calamity Jane, starring Carrie Hope Fletcher, on tour at Grand Opera House next spring

Show announcement of the week: Carrie Hope Fletcher in Calamity Jane, Grand Opera House, York, April 29 to May 3 2025

IN the week when Nikolai Foster’s production of An Officer And A Gentleman The Musical is on tour at the Grand Opera House, the York theatre announces the booking of another show with the North Yorkshire director at the helm, this one bound for the West End.

Three-time WhatsOnStage Best Actress in a Musical winner Carrie Hope Fletcher will star in the whip-crackin’ musical as fearless Dakota gun-slinger Calamity Jane. “She is one of those roles that doesn’t come around all too often,” she says. “She’s action, romance and comedy all packed into one character, and I can’t wait to take on the challenge of filling her shoes.” Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

What’s On in Ryedale, York and beyond, whether whales, walks or water. Here’s Hutch’s List No. 19, from Gazette & Herald

Guy Rhys’s Captain Ahab, centre, leads the whale hunt in Simple 8’s Moby Dick, on tour at York Theatre Royal

SEEKING a whale of a time? Head off to Moby Dick, open studios and musicals full of physical exercise, suggests Charles Hutchinson.

Touring play of the week: Simple8 in Moby Dick, York Theatre Royal, tomorrow to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee

SEBASTIAN Armesto’s stage adaptation captures the romantic, ambiguous, richly allegorical spirit of Herman Melville’s novel for Simple8, specialists in creating worlds out of nothing in bold new plays that tackle big ideas with large casts.

Armed with sea shanties played live on stage, planks of wood, tattered sheets and a battered assortment of musical instruments, the ensemble of actors and actor-musicians, led by Guy Rhys’s whale-seeking Captain Ahab, brings Moby Dick ingeniously to life. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Wildlife and landscape artist Jonathan Pomroy: Opening his studio at 4
Pottergate, Gilling East, for North Yorkshire Open Studios

Art event of the week: North Yorkshire Open Studios 2024, Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 5pm

STRETCHING from the coast to the moors, dales and beyond, 169 artists and makers from North Yorkshire’s artistic community invite you to look inside their studios this weekend.

Among them will be Steve Page (Sheriff Hutton); Russell Hughes (Easingwold); Richard Gray (Easingwold); Justine Warner (Sheriff Hutton); Patrick Smith (Sheriff Hutton); Calum Balding (Thornton le Clay); Sue Walsh (Cawton); Jonathan Pomroy (Gilling East); Stephen Bird (Ampleforth); Mary Raynar (Helmsley); Ruth King (Boltby) and Marcus Jacka (Boltby). For full details, go to: nyos.org.uk. A full brochure is available.

Tim Pearce’s poster artwork for Life Forms In Motion at Blossom Street Gallery, York

York exhibition of the week: Life Forms In Motion, Blossom Street Gallery, Blossom Street, York, until June 30

SIX Yorkshire artists give individual responses to the challenge of interpreting the motion of life forms in a range of static media. In a nutshell, time and space condensed into single, dynamic images.

Taking part are Tim Pearce, painting and sculpture; Cathy Denford, painting; Jo Ruth, printmaking; Adrienne French, painting; Mandy Long, ceramic sculpture, and Lesley Peatfield, photography. Opening hours: Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm; Sundays, 10am to 3pm.

Save our lido: Drip Drop Theatre in All Those On Board at Helmsley Arts Centre

Making a splash: Drip Drop Theatre in All Those On Board, Helmsley Arts Centre, tomorrow, 7.30pm

NORTH Yorkshire company Drip Drop Theatre presents the premiere of E C R Roberts’s new musical All Those On Board, wherein Bingham-by-the-Sea’s Save The Lido group members are determined to save the town’s long-closed 1930s’ swimming pool from demolition.

They need to come up with the funding before the deadline, no matter to what lengths they must go. Fifteen original songs, live instruments, leg-kicking choreography and colourful swimming hats combine in this lido-themed show for fans of upbeat musical theatre and outdoor swimming in whatever form. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Gary Stewart: Playing the Paul Simon songbook at Helmsley Arts Centre

Ryedale gig of the week: Gary Stewart, The Only Living Boy In (New) York: The Songs of Paul Simon, Helmsley Arts Centre, Friday, 7.30pm

PERTHSHIRE-BORN singer, songwriter, folk musician and Hope & Social drummer Gary Stewart’s compositions are influenced by Sixties and Seventies’ folk artists. Chief among them is New Jersey’s Paul Simon, whose songs Easingwold-based Stewart grew up learning and performing.  

Here he interprets such Simon standouts as The Boxer, Mrs Robinson, Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard, Kodachrome and Graceland. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Ryedale Primary Choir: Taking part in Across The Whinny Moor at St Peter’s Church, Norton, on Saturday

Ryedale Festival community event of the week: Across The Whinny Moor, St Peter’s Church, Norton, Saturday, 4pm

THE world premiere of the Community Song Cycle: Across The Whinny Moor follows the trail of North Yorkshire’s Lyke Wake Walk, meeting cheeky hobs, angry mermaids, resourceful giants and wise witches along the way. 

The all-age cast for a walk through stories and songs by John Barber and Hazel Gould includes the schoolchildren of the Ryedale Primary Choir, the Ryedale Voices, Harmonia and The RyeLarks choirs, Kirkbymoorside Town Junior Brass Band, storyteller Rosie Barrett and mezzo-soprano soloist Victoria Simmonds, conducted by Caius Lee. Box office: ryedalefestival.ticketsolve.com/ticketbooth/shows/1173652657.

Mezzo-soprano Victoria Simmonds: Singing in Across The Whinny Moor

Tribute gig of the month: The Belgrave House Band presents Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black, Milton Rooms, Malton, June 16, 8pm

THE Belgrave House Band, specialists in reimagining classic albums, have visited Malton previously with their interpretations of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars.

Now they return with their take on Amy Winehouse’s second album, 2006’s Back To Black, joined by London vocalist Lydia Kotsirea and a full horn section, backing vocalists and rhythm section from the burgeoning Leeds jazz scene. York singer-songwriter Maggie Wakeling supports. Box office: 01653 696240 or themiltonrooms.com.

The poster artwork for Calamity Jane, whip crackin’ its way to the Grand Opera House, York, next spring

Show announcement of the week: Carrie Hope Fletcher in Calamity Jane, Grand Opera House, York, April 29 to May 3 2025

IN the week when Nikolai Foster’s production of An Officer And A Gentleman The Musical is on tour at the Grand Opera House, the York theatre announces the booking of another show with the North Yorkshire director at the helm, this one bound for the West End.

Three-time WhatsOnStage Best Actress in a Musical winner Carrie Hope Fletcher will star in the whip-crackin’ musical as fearless Dakota gun-slinger Calamity Jane. “She is one of those roles that doesn’t come around all too often,” she says. “She’s action, romance and comedy all packed into one character, and I can’t wait to take on the challenge of filling her shoes.” Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Ryedale Festival’s magical community song cycle Across The Whinny Moor celebrates the Lyke Wake Walk at St Peter’s Church

Ryedale Primary Choir: Ready to take part in Across The Whinny Moor, the Ryedale Festival community song cycle

DO you believe in magic? Mezzo-soprano Victoria Simmonds, storyteller Rosie Barrett and an all-age Ryedale cast bring cheeky hobs, angry mermaids, resourceful giants and wise witches to life in Ryedale Festival’s community song cycle Across The Whinny Moor on Saturday afternoon at St Peter’s Church, Norton.

Inspired by the Lyke Wake Walk, this evocative and mysterious tapestry of magical thinking, Yorkshire superstitions and the power of imagination is packed full of local folk legends.

The song cycle gently follows the route of the 42-mile walk across the highest and widest part of the North York Moors National Park, dwelling in spots of interest to explore stories such as The Ballad of Wade and Bell, where, at Wade’s Causeway, the songs tell of mermaids as the first glimpses of the sea come into sight.

Saturday’s 4pm world premiere will feature a cast of more than 100 schoolchildren and amateur singers, who have co-created Across The Whinny Moor with composer John Barber and writer Hazel Gould.

Mezzo-soprano Victoria Simmonds

Developed through sessions in Ryedale schools, a one-off event for young people and online workshops with choir members, together they have explored local folklore and ideas, creating new segments of text and music that Barber and Gould have worked into the new song cycle.

Conducted by Caius Lee, the Ryedale Primary Choir schoolchildren and the Ryedale Voices, Harmonia and The RyeLarks choirs will be joined by Kirkbymoorside Town Junior Brass Band, Simmonds and Barrett.

Alison Davis, who runs the three adult choirs, says: “We are thrilled to be part of this community song cycle and have enjoyed working with John and Hazel since January. It was great to see them at choir rehearsals and they’ve taken away a good idea of our level and style and have written some incredible original material for us, quite different from our usual music.”

In amongst the new music, Simmonds will sing works by Schubert (The Erl King), Handel and Rebecca Clarke. Shining Brass will play Mendelssohn’s Baba Yaga and traditional folk tunes, such as The Lyke Wake Dirge and The Lark In The Morning, arranged by Barber.

Ryedale Voices: One of the choirs performing at St Peter’s Church, Norton

Rosie Barrett creates original stories that bring heritage to life, often commissioned by museums, including Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton-le-Hole, where she has worked on its latest exhibition, Believe It Or Not?

Running until November 17 (closed on Fridays), the exhibition showcases more than 200 objects connected with magical thinking and folk beliefs, many of them being explored in Across The Whinny Moor.

Rosie says: “I’ve always had a particular fondness for folklore, which I believe connects us deeply with our ancestors. When we hear the stories that the people of the past heard, we are sharing in the emotions and experiences that they shared, and, by reinventing folk tales, we ensure that they stay relevant for each generation. “

Writer Hazel Gould says: “I love to go walking and often use walking time as a way to clear my head. If I can resist the temptation to listen to a podcast or music, the time I spend walking can often be incredibly helpful if I have an idea that I’m struggling with or need to develop.

Harmonia: On song for Across The Whinny Moor

“There’s something about the rhythm of walking that allows my thoughts a bit of free range, away from the distractions of a busy life, and it becomes a place where the imagination can blossom. 

“Walking and stories seem to be perfect partners, so we were delighted to discover more about the Lyke Wake Walk and wanted to use this map across the moors as a way to bring together some of the stories from the rich folklore of the region.”

Hazel continues: “It has been a huge pleasure to learn more. I have loved working alongside our primary school groups and adult choirs to talk about these tales and create songs together, from angry hobs to misunderstood women, sometimes called witches. We hope you like it too.”

Festival artistic director Christopher Glynn says: “Enabling and celebrating local music making is very important to the festival. Presented in association with the Richard Shephard Music Foundation and Ryedale Folk Museum, Across The Whinny Moor brings together the Ryedale Primary Choir, storyteller Rosie Barrett, local choirs run by Alison Davis, the Kirkbymoorside Town Junior Brass Band, star mezzo-soprano Victoria Simmonds and conductor Caius Lee.

Sing when you’re swinging: Ryedale Primary Choir

“John and Hazel have harnessed the rich and wild ideas of all these performers, and we are very excited to hear the result on June 8. Join us!’’

Music foundation chief executive officer Cathy Grant says: “The young people involved in the community song cycle have been brought together by the Richard Shephard Music Foundation, the charity helping to increase musical opportunities for children in our region.

“They come from the Ryedale Primary Choir and local primary schools and are aged between seven and 13. Overall, around 120 children have taken part in songwriting workshops, in-school singing workshops or choir rehearsals, and a group of these will be in the final performance on Saturday, singing alongside the adult choir and other musicians.”

Ryedale Festival presents Community Song Cycle: Across The Whinny Moor, a walk through stories and songs by John Barber and Hazel Gould, world premiere, St Peter’s Church, Norton, June 8, 4pm. Box office: ryedalefestival.ticketsolve.com/ticketbooth/shows/1173652657.

Navigators Art & Performance teams up with York Festival of Ideas for Micklegate Art Trail and Auden night of words & music

The locations on Navigators Art & Performance’s Micklegate Art Trail for the York Festival of Ideas

YORK arts collective Navigators Art & Performance is making a double contribution to the York Festival of Ideas fortnight.

This morning marks the official launch of the Micklegate Art Trail, an innovative community engagement project, highlighted today by activities in participating venues from 11 am.

Running until June 23 at 10am to 4pm each day, the trail is a collaboration between shops, restaurants, artists, makers and community groups.

Artists taking part will be: Adele Karmazyn; Ala Jazayeri; Angela Scott; April Gibson; Brenda Christison; Caroline Lewis; Chalky the Yorkie; Chrissy Buse; Desmond Clarke; Donna Maria Taylor; Eliiot Harrison; Em Goldie; Emma Parker; Fiona Kemp; George Willmore; Hellboreia; Isabel Bullon Benito; Jude Redpath; Katie Fleming; Katie Lewis; Lara Aitken; Larrissa Guida Lock; Leon Francois Dumont; Lincoln Lightfoot and Linda Harrison.

So too are: Lisa Power; Lu Mason; Lucy Churchill; Mark Kesteven; Matthew Fawcett; Melissa Hill; Naomi Wells Smith; Nicholas ESRJ King; Nick Kobyluch; Nick Walters; Nicola Glover; Nicola Harper; Pete (The Plasterer) Baker; Phil Bixby; Poppy Burr; Richard Mackness; Rizak; Schiewe Ceramics; Simon Pagan; Sola; Steve Beadle; Susan Bradley; Tom Bennett; Tom Maynard and Zoe Phillips.

Twenty locations will be putting artists’ work in the window: The Punch Bowl, Plaskitt & Plaskitt Interior Design and Blossom Street Gallery, all Blossom Street; Bridal Relived; Brewdog; Old School Barber Shop; Holy Trinity Church; Cads of Micklegate; Skosh; The Falcon; 84 Sandwich Bar; Dannie Lea Hair & Beauty; Divine Coffee Roasters; Eliza Lamb; Hudson Moody; Oxfam Bookshop; Cafe Fleur; Fancy Dance Shop and Amnesty Bookshop, all Micklegate, and The Hooting Owl, Rougier Street.

The Micklegate Art Trail brochure

Tonight, Navigators Art & Performance turns the focus on York-poet  W H Auden at Museum Street Tavern, where York musicians, poets and performers will be gathering for An Exploration of W H Auden’s Poetry in Words, Music and Performance from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

“Wystan Hugh Auden was born in Bootham, York, in 1907. Informed by science and engineering, his fascination with the world and its workings was expressed in a myriad of poetic forms, earning him the title the Picasso of modern poetry,” says Navigators Art & Performance.

“As well as over 400 poems of both profundity and great wit, he wrote drama, es-says, libretti, travel writing and works of criticism: a range that reflects the multi-faceted nature of human life and his own aliveness to all of it.

“Openly gay and defiantly anti-establishment, he was controversial and influential in his views on politics, morals, love, and religion, and widely recognised as a leader of the British avant-garde at a time of cultural and creative flux in Europe.

“His editor recognised him as ‘the first poet writing in English who felt at home in the 20th century. Auden died in Vienna in 1973. We hope you will make him feel at home in the 21st century too.”

In the words of W H Auden in 1927: “All genuine poetry is in a sense the formation of private spheres out of a public chaos.”

Tonight’s programme:

Introduction About York Trailblazers.

Hugh Bernays talk; Jealous Love (Auden, unpublished)

Auden’s Face (original)

Charlotte Shevchenko Knight: Night Mail (Auden)

Musée des Beaux Arts (Auden)

Ukrainian as In (original)

Richard Kitchen: O What Is That Sound (Auden)

Look, Stranger (Auden)

StreetLines:  extract 2 (original)

Anthony Vahni Capildeo (recorded material) Letters from Iceland (Auden)

Letters from Jorvik (original)

Janet Dean: 1st September 1939 (Auden)

England 2020 (original)

Three Dresses: My Mother Wonders

How I Felt About Her Death (original)

JT Welsch: Lullabye – duet with Janet Dean (Auden; guitar)

As I Walked Out One Evening (Auden; guitar).

Part Two, after 20-minute interval

Alan Gillott talk; Influence (original)

Carrieanne Vivianette: This Thing (original)

Performative interpretation of a poem by Auden (title to be revealed!)

JT Welsch: The Fall Of Rome (Auden; guitar)

Funeral Blues (Auden; guitar)

Elizabeth Chadwick Pywell: Poem XVII Auden)

If I Could Tell You (Auden)

Behold the Body Of The Moon (original)

Lower On Your Arms Reversed (original)

Richard Kitchen: Clerihews (various)

Jane Stockdale: Silent Lands (original; acapella)

If I Could Tell You (Auden; guitar)

As I Walked Out One Evening (Auden; Shruti box).

The poster artwork for The Basement Sessions #4

“The Festival of Ideas has a different theme every year and the great thing about it is that if you’re organising an event that might fit, you just contact the organisers and propose it,” says Navigators Art co-founder Richard Kitchen.

“If they like your proposal, you’re in! We did that for the first time last year and it was an amazing success, particularly our sold-out performance event, which we hope will happen again this year.

“By demand, we’re hoping to repeat the Auden event in October, when the associated York Trailblazers sculpture project will be in place at various locations in York.” Watch this space for updates.

In addition, on June 8,Navigators Art & Performance’s The Basement Sessions #4 offers a night of music, spoken word and comedy at The Basement, City Screen Picturehouse at 7pm with Percy, Amy Albright, Cai Moriarty, Danae, Suzy Bradley, Kane Bruce, Rose Drew and John Pease. 

For tickets and full festival details, visit: yorkfestivalofideas.com.

More Things To Do in York and beyond as Pride comes out to play. Here’s Hutch’s List No. 23 for 2024, from The Press, York

Angels Of The North: Headlline drag act at York Pride today

PRIDE pageantry and wartime memoirs, open studios and open-air Status Quo lead off Charles Hutchinson’s recommendations.

Celebration of the week: York Pride, Knavesmire, York, today

NORTH Yorkshire’s biggest LGBT+ celebration opens with the Parade March for equality and human rights from Duncombe Place, outside York Minster, at 12 noon, processing through the city-centre streets, up Bishopthorpe Road to the festival’s Knavesmire site.

Pride events will be spread between the main stage, Queer Arts’ cabaret tent, Polymath’s dance tent and a funfair, complemented by a licensed bar and marketplace. Among the main stage acts will be headliners Angels Of The North, alias winner Ginger Johnson, Tomara Thomas and Michael Marouli, from RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Season 5, plus Max George, Big Brovaz & Booty Luv, Jaymi Hensley, Janice D and Eric Spike.  Full details: yorkpride.org.uk.

Into the woods: George Stagnell as Dennis “Hank” Haydock in the short film In The Footsteps of Hank Haydock, premiered at Helmsley Arts Centre tonight

D-Day landmark of the week: Everwitch Theatre, Bomb Happy D-Day 80, In The Footsteps Of Hank Haydock (film premiere) and Sleep/Re-live/Wake Repeat (live performance), Helmsley Arts Centre, tonight, 7.30pm

TO commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Bomb Happy playwright Helena Fox has created two poignant, lyrical new works telling the stories of two Yorkshire Normandy veterans from conversations and interviews she held with them in 2016.

Featuring York actor George Stagnell, the short film In the Footsteps of Hank Haydock: A Walk In The Park was shot on location in the Duncombe Park woodland with its lyrical account of Coldstream Guardsman Dennis “Hank” Haydock’s experiences in his own words. In Sleep/Re-Live/Wake/Repeat, playwright Helena Fox and vocalist Natasha Jones bring to life the first-hand experiences of D-Day veteran Ken “Smudger” Smith and the lifelong impact of PTSD and sleep trauma through spoken word and a cappella vocals. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

York artist Adele Karmazyn: Taking part in North Yorkshire Open Studios

Art event of the week: North Yorkshire Open Studios 2024, today and tomorrow, June 8 and 9, 10am to 5pm

STRETCHING from the coast to the moors, dales and beyond, 169 artists and makers from North Yorkshire’s artistic community invite you to look inside their studios over the next two weekends.

Taking part in and around York will be Robin Grover-Jacques, Adele Karmazyn, Anna Cook, Boxxhead, Simon Palmour, Duncan McEvoy, Evie Leach, Jane Atkin, Jane Dignum, Jen Dring, Parkington Hatter, Jo Walton, Kitty Pennybacker, Lu Mason, Robert Burton, Lincoln Lightfoot, Sharon McDonagh, Claire Castle, Rosie Bramley, Emma Welsh, Lesley Peatfield, Gonzalo Blanco and Freya Horsley. For full details, go to: nyos.org.uk. A full brochure is available.

Isobel Staton: Directing Cain and Abel for A Creation For York, today’s York Mystery Plays Supporters Trust promenade production

York community play of the week: York Mystery Plays Supporters Trust in A Creation For York, around Micklegate, York, today, from 2pm and 3.30pm

YORK Mystery Plays Supporters Trust stages a trilogy of 20-minute plays from the Creation cycle, directed by Katie Smith, Dan Norman and Isobel Staton under Dr Tom Straszewski’s mentorship.

The promenade procession starts with Smith’s The Creation Of Man at St Columba’s, Priory Street, at 2pm and 3.30pm, and progresses to Holy Trinity, Micklegate, for Norman’s The Fall Of Man at 3pm and 4.30pm, then onwards to St Martin’s Stained Glass Centre, Micklegate, for Staton’s Cain And Abel at 4pm and 5.30pm. Tickets: ympst.co.uk/creation.

The poster artwork for Navigators Art & Performance’s night of live music, spoken word and comedy, The Basement Sessions #4, at City Screen Picturehouse

Navigators Art & Performance at York Festival of Ideas (festival running from today until June 14)

YORK arts collective Navigators Art & Performance presents the Micklegate Art Trail, a collaboration between shops, restaurants, artists, makers and community groups, from today until June 23, 10am to 4pm, including a special exhibition at Blossom Street Gallery. Tomorrow is the “official” launch day with activities in participating venues from 11 am.

Tomorrow comes As I Walked Out One Evening, An Exploration of W H Auden’s Poetry in Words, Music and Performance with York musicians, poets and performers at Museum Street Tavern, York, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. On June 8, The Basement Sessions #4 offers a night of music, spoken word and comedy at The Basement, City Screen Picturehouse at 7pm with Percy, Amy Albright, Cai Moriarty, Danae, Suzy Bradley, Kane Bruce, Rose Drew and John Pease. Tickets and full festival details: yorkfestivalofideas.com.

Rain or shine: Francis Rossi, left, leads veteran band Status Quo at Scarborough Open Air Theatre tomorrow

Coastal gig of the week: Status Quo, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, Sunday, gates 6pm

DENIM rock legends Status Quo open the 2024 season at Scarborough Open Air Theatre, where they played previously in 2013, 2014 and 2016. Led as ever by founder Francis Rossi, who turned 75 on Wednesday, they must pick their set from 64 British hit singles, more than any other band. The support act will be The Alarm. Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com/statusquo.

Georgia Lennon, as Paula Pofriki and Luke Baker as Zack Mayo in An Officer And A Gentleman, on tour at Grand Opera House, York

Musical of the week: An Officer And A Gentleman The Musical, Grand Opera House, York, June 4 to 8, 8pm, Tuesday, 7.30pm, Wednesday to Saturday, plus 2.30pm, Wednesday and Saturday matinees

NORTH Yorkshireman Nikolai Foster directs Leeds-born actor Luke Baker as fearless young officer candidate Zack Mayor in the Curve, Leicester touring production of An Officer And A Gentleman.

Once an award-winning 1982 Taylor Hackford film, now Douglas Day Stewart’s story of love, courage and redemption comes re-booted with George Dyer’s musical theatre arrangements and orchestrations of pop bangers by Bon Jovi, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Blondie and the signature song (Love Lift Us) Up Where We Belong. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Guy Rhys, centre, as Captain Ahab in Simple8’s Moby Dick, setting sail at York Theatre Royal next week

Touring play of the week: Simple8 in Moby Dick, York Theatre Royal, June 6 to 8, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee

SEBASTIAN Armesto’s stage adaptation captures the spirit of Herman Melville’s novel – romantic, ambiguous and rich with allegory – for Simple8, specialists in creating worlds out of nothing in bold new plays that tackle big ideas with large casts.

Armed with sea shanties played live on stage, planks of wood, tattered sheets and a battered assortment of musical instruments, the ensemble of actors and actor-musicians, led by Guy Rhys’s whale-seeking Captain Ahab, brings Moby Dick ingeniously to life. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

In Focus: Northern Silents presents G W Pabst’s film Diary Of A Lost Girl, starring Louise Brooks, at NCEM, York, June 11

“From the pit of despair to the moment of personal awakening”: Louise Brooks’s

TRAILBLAZING New York raga pianist Utsav Lal will provide the live score for Diary Of A Lost Girl, a rarely shown gem of German silent cinema starring Louise Brooks, at the National Centre for Early Music, York, on June 11 at 7.30pm.

Premiered in Vienna, Austria, on September 12 1929, and now screened by Northern Silents, G W Pabst’s film traces the journey of a young woman from the pit of despair to the moment of personal awakening.

Directed with virtuoso flair by Pabst, Diary Of A Lost Girl (PG, 104 minutes) represents the final pairing of the Czechia-born Austrian filmmaker with American silent screen icon Louise Brooks, mere months after their first collaboration in the now-legendary Pandora’s Box, for which Brooks had arrived in Berlin on October 14 1928 to play alluring temptress Lulu.

In Diary Of A Lost Girl, she is pharmacist Robert Henning’s innocent daughter Thymian, who is traumatised by the suicide of housekeeper Elisabeth after her father expels her from the house.

Even more so when Henning’s assistant rapes Thymian. Pregnant, she refuses to marry her assailant, prompting her outraged father to sendher to a reformatory for “wayward women”, where a cruel regime prevails. Henning, meanwhile, makes advances towards new housekeeper, Meta, who insists Thymian should not be allowed to return home.

Thymian escapes with her friend Erika but discovers that her child has passed away. She joins Erika in working at a brothel, then marries a count, but can she ever escape her past?

Pianist Utsav Lal, noted for his innovative performances at Carnegie Hall, Southbank Centre and around the world, will improvise a unique live score at the 7.30pm screening.

Huddersfield-based Northern Silents will return to the NCEM with another fusion of new music and vintage film on October 15. Watch this space for more details.

Tickets for Diary Of A Lost Girl are on sale on 01904 658338 and at ncem.co.uk.

In Focus too: Anita Klein, 30 Years In York, exhibition launch at Pyramid Gallery, York, today at 12 noon

Poster artwork for Anita Klein’s 30 Years In York exhibition at Pyramid Gallery, York

ARTIST Anita Klein will attend today’s opening of her Thirty Years In York exhibition of paintings, linocuts and etchings at Pyramid Gallery, York.

“Anita was one of the first artist printmakers to be shown here and has shown her work in York constantly since June 1994,” says Terry Brett, owner and curator of the gallery in Stonegate.

That first exhibition marked a dramatic change in both the look of the gallery and its fortunes under the new ownership of Terry, who took the keys to Pyramid Gallery on May 31 1994 with his then partner and wife Elaine.

“As soon as Elaine and I had taken over the gallery, I contacted the Greenwich Printmaking co-operative who ran a shop in Greenwich market,” Terry recalls. “They agreed to do a show and I collected work by 15 artists in my car.

“Several of those artists have supplied Pyramid Gallery regularly for 30 years. The first print that sold was a small drypoint print by Anita Klein, which I had put in the window one evening, before the show had opened.”

Terry continues: “Anita was not a big name in the art world in 1994, but she certainly had a following and has since had a very successful career as an artist with features on BBC Radio and national newspapers and magazines.

Pyramid Gallery curator Terry Brett with Anita Klein works and a copy of her 2022 book Out Of The Ordinary, charting her career since 1982

“‘From working with Anita and other former Greenwich artists, such as Mychael Barratt, Trevor Price and Louise Davies, I have come to realise that the relationship between artist and gallery is something that is really worth nurturing. I place great importance on visiting the South East London-based artists, personally collecting the work for each show.”

To mark the start of Terry Brett’s 30th year as a gallerist, Anita Klein is travelling up from London to attend today’s opening from 12 noon to 2pm, when she will sign copies of her 2022 book, Out Of The Ordinary, too.

Australian-born Anita began her career by studying painting on degree and post-graduate courses at the Slade School of Art, where she was influenced by Paula Rego, who encouraged her to “draw what she wanted to draw”.

In response, she started to capture scenes depicting ordinary moments of her own life. Given expert guidance at the school, she learnt to reproduce those sketches using the various techniques of printmaking.

She met her future husband and artist Nigel Swift at the Slade. From the outset, Anita’s artistic diary of her life has often featured amusing or romantic scenes of the two of them or sometimes only  ‘Nige’ in the throes of some activity that Anita has observed and captured in a sketch.

In 1984 she was awarded the Joseph Webb Memorial prize by the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers to spend the summer drawing from the Italian masters. Anita and Nigel stayed in a flat in Arezzo, Tuscany, and filled sketch books with sketches of Italian frescoes.

Casserole, linocut, by Anita Klein

Soon after, they married and had two children, Maia and Leia, Anita recording it all in many small prints using techniques that included woodcuts, etching, lithograph, aquatint and drypoint. When their daughters were small, she made small sketches while they were asleep and developed them into drypoint prints at a printmaking evening class.

For her first solo show in 1986, she had a year to prepare enough images to fill a gallery in London, which led her to simplify the way she worked. Fortunately for all her followers and collectors, the first show was successful and led to another solo show elsewhere.

Many years later, after she supplied her work to as many as 60 galleries, the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers elected Anita to the prestigious position as president. During those 38 years, her work and life has been profiled in national newspapers and magazines and on BBC Radio 4’s Home Truths, presented by John Peel.

In 2007, Anita and Nigel bought a flat in a medieval hilltop town in Tuscany. After painting large oils from her studio in London for many years, she started to paint in acrylics on canvas when staying in Italy.

By using acrylics, she was able to roll up the paintings and carry them back to London, which in turn enabled Pyramid Gallery to show a few of her paintings, along with a larger exhibition of the prints.

For Terry, the choice of Anita Klein to begin a year of anniversary celebratory shows, is apt. “My own family life corresponds quite closely with Anita’s in that I got married about the same time and had two daughters, Elinor and Suzy, just two years prior to the births of Maia and Leia,” he says.

Artist Anita Klein: 30 years of exhibiting at Pyramid Gallery, York

“I could relate to almost every image that Anita created about her family life. When I was helping my two daughters learn to drive, Anita produced a print that could easily have been about us. We even had a similar car. ‘Picking Maia and Leia up from School’ or ‘Driving to Ballet’ could also easily have been about my own family.”

When asked how she came to start documenting her own life, Anita says: “There was no plan to start with. Drawing my everyday life was at first a continuation of the kind of drawings I did as a child. And as I spent the first 20 or so years of my career bringing up my two children with no extra childcare help, it was really the only subject matter I knew.

“Looking back, I can see that I have always wanted to hold onto and celebrate the ordinary. The small repetitive joys that can so easily go unnoticed and unappreciated.”

 Knowing how fortunate he is still to be able to represent an eminent London artist with such a large following, Terry asked Anita: “What does Pyramid Gallery and York mean to you?”.

“Pyramid Gallery has been very good to me over the years, showing and selling my work from the very early days of my career while other galleries have come and gone,” she says. “At one point I had prints in over 60 galleries worldwide.

“These days I have cut this down substantially – the Internet and social media enables me to reach a wide audience, and Pyramid is one of only a small handful of galleries that has a large selection of my work.” 

Eating Pizza, linocut, by Anita Klein

Mounting this exhibition has enabled Terry to pause a while and “take a long look at the gallery more as a pleasurable activity than as a business”.

“Sometimes I can become a bit too focused on the sales figures and the marketing, but in recent weeks I’ve been looking forward to celebrating the landmark of having been nurturing the gallery for three decades, as if it were a part of me that I have to ease through challenges and crises,” he says.

“Pyramid Gallery has become a meeting point for those that need to create and those that need the joy of feeling moved or inspired. It really is more about people than it is about art.

“It gives me a glowing feeling of warmth that I am able to connect a great artist like Anita, who is a storyteller and recorder of social history and of human emotions, with those who visit the gallery for exactly the same experience that inspired the creation of the images.”

For Terry’s 30th anniversary show, Anita will be showing two or three acrylic paintings alongside coloured linocut prints and many black-and-white images of various sizes with a price range from £96 for a small etching up to £7,000 for a large painting.

Here Terry Brett puts questions to Anita Klein

Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett with works by Anita Klein

You first supplied Pyramid Gallery as part of a show by Greenwich Printmakers in 1994. How important was that co-operative to you and was it an easy decision to be part of that show?

“Greenwich Printmakers was a vital first step to exhibiting and selling my work, both through their gallery in Greenwich Market and through their ‘outside exhibitions’. Those exhibitions introduced my work to a number of regional galleries, including Pyramid.

“In the days before social media it was crucial to get your work seen as much as possible in galleries, so that first show was a great opportunity for me. 

In those days you were bringing up two small daughters and doing your art on the floor when they were napping. Many of your drypoints were quite small – was this by choice or a necessity?

“I did some painting when my children were small, but without a studio in the early days I was limited to small-scale work. I drew my drypoints while the children slept and printed them once a week at a printmaking evening class.” 

Do you enjoy being ‘dragged out’ of London to open a show in York?

“It’s wonderful to have exposure of my work in York, and it’s always a pleasure to visit such a fascinating and vibrant city.” 

When did you realise that other people would very quickly find parallels in their own lives and connect so easily with your work?

“It came as a surprise at first that other people saw themselves in my work. I thought my life was unique! Now I know that we are all much more alike than we think, especially in the most private parts of our lives.” 

Cold water wild swimming has become an important activity to you. Does the need for a new image in your art ever drive you to do find new places to swim?

“Not really. I can always make up the backgrounds! But I’m always on the lookout for beautiful places to swim, so just as with all other parts of my life this feeds into my work.”

June Flowers, linocut, by Anita Klein

What’s On in Ryedale, York and beyond when artists open studios. Here’s Hutch’s List No 18, from Gazette & Herald

Into the woods: George Stagnell as Dennis “Hank” Haydock in In The Footsteps of Hank Haydock, premiered at Helmsley Arts Centre on Saturday

WARTIME memoirs and Catholic women trailblazers, open studios and open-air Status Quo lead off Charles Hutchinson’s recommendations.

Double bill of the week: Everwitch Theatre, Bomb Happy D-Day 80, In The Footsteps Of Hank Haydock (film premiere) and Sleep/Re-live/Wake/Repeat (theatre), Helmsley Arts Centre, June 1, 7.30pm

TO commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Bomb Happy playwright Helena Fox has created two poignant, lyrical new works telling the stories of two Yorkshire Normandy veterans from conversations and interviews she held with them in 2016.

Featuring York actor George Stagnell, the short film In the Footsteps of Hank Haydock: A Walk In The Park was shot on location in the Duncombe Park woodland with its lyrical account of Coldstream Guardsman Dennis “Hank” Haydock’s experiences in his own words. In Sleep/Re-Live/Wake/Repeat, playwright Helena Fox and vocalist Natasha Jones bring to life the first-hand experiences of D-Day veteran Ken “Smudger” Smith and the lifelong impact of PTSD and sleep trauma through spoken word and a cappella vocals. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Mary Ward (Augsberg portrait): Foundress of the Bar Convent, as featured in the Trailblazers audio trail

York exhibition of the week; Trailblazers of the Bar Convent, Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre, Blossom Street, York, until September 30, 10am to 5pm; last entry 4pm

AS part of the citywide York Trailblazers sculpture trail, the Trailblazers of the Bar Convent audio trail uncovers tories behind key characters down the years at the oldest surviving Catholic convent in Great Britain.

Using QR codes, visitors will discover more about the trailblazing women whose bravery and determination made history locally, nationally and around the world. Among them are foundress Mary Ward, who believed that girls deserved an equal education to boys; Mother Superior Ann Aspinal, who determined to build a secret chapel totally hidden from the outside world, and Sister Gregory Kirkus, who set up the convent’s first ever museum. Tickets: barconvent.co.uk.

Kathyrn Williams & Withered Hand: Heading to Selby Town Hall tonight

Duo of the week: Kathryn Williams & Withered Hand, Selby Town Hall, tonight, 8pm

KATHRYN Williams is the Liverpool-born, Newcastle-based, Mercury Music Prize-nominated singer-songwriter with 16 albums to her name. Withered Hand is singer-songwriter Dan Willson (CORRECT), from the Scottish underground scene.

They first met in 2019 in an Edinburgh Book Festival spiegeltent, prompting Williams to tweet Willson: “What kind of songs would we write together and what would they sound like?” The results can be heard on the album Willson Williams, released on One Little Independent Records, and in concert in Selby. Box office: selbytownhall.co.uk.

The poster for the three-day Drawsome! 2024 festival in York

York festival of the week: Drawsome! 2024, Young Thugs Studio, May 31; The Crescent, June 1; Arts Barge, Foss Basin, York, June 2

DRAWSOME! combines exhibitions and workshops with live music each evening. Things Found and Made is exhibiting at The Golden Ball, Cromwell Road, from May 31 and Greek-Australian graphic novel artist Con Chrisoulis for one night only at Young Thugs Studio, Ovington Terrace, on May 31 from 7pm, when Ichigo Evil, Plantfood, Mickey Nomimono and Drooligan will be performing.

On June 1, Bonneville, Lou Terry, Captain Starlet and Leafcutter John play at The Crescent community venue, where workshops run from 1 to 4pm, featuring Bits and Bots Recycled Robot, with Tom Brader, and Creative Visible Mending, with Anna Pownall, complemented by Zine Stalls hosted by Things Found and Made, Adam Keay and Teresa Stenson. 

On June 2, the Arts Barge presents Dana Gavanski, Kindelan, Moongate and We Are Hannah, after three 11am to 2pm workshops: Poem Fishing with Becca Drake and Jessie Summerhayes, Adana Letterpress and lino printing, and Screenprinting with Kai West. 

Sarah Sharpe: Opening her studio at Viriditas Nook, Mill Beck House, 2 Pinewood, Norton, Malton, for North Yorkshire Open Studios

North Yorkshire Open Studios 2024, June 1 and 2, 8 and 9, 10am to 5pm

STRETCHING from the coast to the moors, dales and beyond, 169 artists and makers from North Yorkshire’s artistic community invite you to look inside their studios over the next two weekends.

The event is organised by the artist-run collective North Yorkshire Open Studios, which supports painters, sculptors, printmakers, jewellers, ceramicists and photographers. Taking part in the Malton area will be Angela Cole (Westow), Catriona Stewart (Norton), Sandra Oakins (Norton), Jo Naden (Scagglethorpe), Sarah Sharpe (Norton) and Jonathan Moss (Malton). For full details, go to: nyos.org.uk. A full brochure is available.

Status Quo: Francis Rossi, left, leads his legendary band at Scarborough Open Air Theatre

Coastal gig of the week: Status Quo, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, June 2, gates 6pm

DENIM rock legends Status Quo open the 2024 season at Scarborough Open Air Theatre, where they played previously in 2013, 2014 and 2016. Led as ever by founder Francis Rossi, who turns 75 today, they must pick their set from 64 British hit singles, more than an any other band. The support act will be The Alarm. Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com/statusquo.

Georgia Lennon as Paula Pokrifki and Luke Baker as Zack Mayo in An Officer And A Gentleman The Musical. Picture: Marc Brenner

Musical of the week: An Officer And A Gentleman The Musical, Grand Opera House, York, June 4 to 8, 8pm, Tuesday, 7.30pm, Wednesday to Saturday, plus 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday matinees

NORTH Yorkshireman Nikolai Foster directs Leeds-born actor Luke Baker as fearless young officer candidate Zack Mayor in the Curve, Leicester touring production of An Officer And A Gentleman.

Once an award-winning 1982 Taylor Hackford film, now Douglas Day Stewart’s story of love, courage and redemption comes re-booted with George Dyer’s musical theatre arrangements and orchestrations of pop bangers by Bon Jovi, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Blondie and the signature song (Love Lift Us) Up Where We Belong. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Graffiti Classics!: “Making classical music wickedly funny and fantastically exhilarating” at Milton Rooms, Malton

Breaking boundaries: Graffiti Classics!, Milton Rooms, Malton, June 14, 8pm

GRAFFITI Classics! is not only a classical concert but also a gypsy-folk romp, an opera, a stand-up comedy set and dance show rolled into one uplifting, virtuosic experience.

Bursting the “elitist boundaries of the traditional string quartet”, Graffiti Classics! embraces Beethoven to bluegrass, baroque to pop, Mozart to Elvis, Strauss to Saturday Night Fever, as 16 strings, eight dancing feet and four voices combine with one aim: “to make classical music wickedly funny and fantastically exhilarating for everyone, young and old”. Box office: 01653 696240 or themiltonrooms.com.

More Things To Do in York and beyond when saying Yes to a love of food and music. Hutch’s List No. 22, from The Press

Malton Spring Food Lovers Festival: Look out for the festival guide and map on site

FOOD for thought on the arts and culture front, from street cookery to dance, trailblazing women to Drawsome! artists and musicians, prog-rock and folk greats to coastal Dexys, as Charles Hutchinson reports.

Flavour of the week: Malton Spring Food Lovers Festival, today, from 9am; tomorrow and Bank Holiday Monday, from 10am

ON the streets of “Yorkshire’s Food Capital”, Malton Food Lovers Festival celebrates Yorkshire’s supreme produce and cooking over three days of 120 artisan stalls and street food vendors, talks, tastings, chef demonstrations, brass bands and buskers, festival bar, food shops, sculpture trail, entertainment, blacksmith workshops, vintage funfair and family fun with Be Amazing Arts’ Creativitent, Environmental Art’s Creative Chaos and Magical Quests North.

The live musicians will be: today, Malton White Star Band, 11am to 1pm, The Rackateers, 1pm to 3pm, and Oz Ward, 6pm to 8pm; tomorrow, White Star Training Band, 11.30am to 12.30pm, and The Rackateers, 1pm to 3pm, and Monday, The Acoustic Buddies, 11am to 12pm and 2pm to 3pm. Festival entry is free.

Mary Ward (Augsberg portrait): Foundress of the Bar Convent, featuring in the Trailblazers audio trail

Exhibition launch of the week; Trailblazers of the Bar Convent, Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre, Blossom Street, York, opening today

THE Trailblazers of the Bar Convent audio trail focuses on uncovering the stories of key characters from the history of the oldest surviving Catholic convent in Great Britain.

Among them are foundress Mary Ward, who believed that girls deserved an equal education to boys; Mother Superior Ann Aspinal, who determined to build a secret chapel totally hidden from the outside world, and Sister Gregory Kirkus, who set up the convent’s first ever museum. Tickets: barconvent.co.uk.

What a hoot: Gemma Curry and her owl puppet in Hoglets Theatre’s Wood Owl And The Box Of Wonders

Pre-festival show of the week: Hoglets Theatre in Wood Owl And The Box Of Wonders, Fountains Mill, Fountains Abbey, near Ripon, tomorrow, 11am and 2pm

IN an Early Bird event for the 2024 Ripon Theatre Festival, York company Hoglets Theatre presents director Gemma Curry’s solo show Wood Owl And The Box Of Wonders for age three upwards.

A lonely little owl wants nothing more than to fly into the night and join his friends, but how can he when he is made from wood in Gemma’s magical half-term journey of singing owls, fantasy worlds, friendship and an age-old message about love?  The 40-minute show featuring beautiful handmade puppets and original music will be complemented by an optional puppet-making activity. Box office: ripontheatrefestival.org.

Lesley Ann Eden and her York School of Dance and Drama pupils: Presenting Pinocchio And Ponchetta at Joseph Rowntree Theatre. Picture: Nigel Holland

Dance show of the week: York School of Dance and Drama in Pinocchio And Ponchetta, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, tomorrow, 6.30pm

YORK choreographer and dance teacher Lesley Anne Eden presents her 50th anniversary York School of Dance and Drama show with a company ranging in age from six to 70.

Pinocchio And Ponchetta is Lesley’s take on the old story of Pinocchio and his sister, “full of fabulous dancing and great fun for all the family”, with the promise of her trademark quirky props. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

The cover artwork for York Barbican-bound Richard Thompson’s new album, Ship To Shore

Folk luminary of the week: Richard Thompson, York Barbican, May 27, doors 7pm

GUITARIST, singer and songwriter Richard Thompson showcases his 20th solo album – and first since 2018’s 13 Rivers – ahead of the May 31 release of Ship To Shore on New West Records.

Notting Hill-born Thompson, 75, who made his name with folk rock pioneers Fairport Convention before forming his Seventies’ duo with Linda Thompson, will be performing with a full band. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Yes: Playing York Barbican on Tuesday

Rock gig of the week: Yes, The Classic Tales Of Yes Tour 2024, York Barbican, May 28, 8pm

PROG-ROCK legends Yes perform iconic songs from more than 50 years of groundbreaking music-making, definitely including a 20-minute medley from their 1973 album Tales From Topographic Oceans and “possibly” from latest album Mirror To The Sky too.

In the line-up will be Steve Howe, guitars and vocals, Geoff Downes, keyboards, Billy Sherwood, bass guitar and vocals, Jon Davison, vocals and acoustic guitar, and Jay Schellen, drums. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk. 

Kathryn Williams and Withered Hand: Teaming up at Selby Town Hall

Duo of the week: Kathryn Williams & Withered Hand, Selby Town Hall, May 29, 8pm

KATHRYN Williams is the Liverpool-born, Newcastle-based, Mercury Music Prize-nominated singer-songwriter with 16 albums to her name. Withered Hand is singer-songwriter Dan Willson, from the Scottish underground scene.

They first met in 2019 in an Edinburgh Book Festival spiegeltent, prompting Williams to tweet Willson: “What kind of songs would we write together and what would they sound like?” The results can be heard on the album Willson Williams, released on One Little Independent Records on April 26, and in concert in Selby (and Otley Courthouse on May 30). Box office: selbytownhall.co.uk.

Dexys: Heading to the Yorkshire coast on May 30

Coastal trip of the week: Dexys, Scarborough Spa Grand Hall, May 30, doors 7pm

AFTER playing York for the first time in their 45-year career last September, Dexys return to North Yorkshire on the latest leg of The Feminine Divine Live!

Led as ever by Kevin Rowland, Dexys open with a theatrical presentation of last year’s album, The Feminine Divine, to be followed by a second soulful set of beloved hits, from Come On Eileen and Jackie Wilson Said to The Celtic Soul Brothers and Geno. Box office: 01723 376774 or scarboroughspa.co.uk.

Bonneville (York singer-songwriter Bonnie Milnes) promotes her debut album New Lady at Drawsome! 2024 gig at The Crescent

York festival of the week: Drawsome! 2024, Young Thugs Studio, May 31; The Crescent, June 1; Arts Barge, Foss Basin, York, June 2

DRAWSOME! combines exhibitions and workshops with live music each evening. York multi-disciplinary artist Rowan Jackson will be exhibiting at Angel on the Green, Bishopthorpe Road, from 7pm on May 27; Things Found and Made at The Golden Ball, Cromwell Road, from May 31 and Greek-Australian graphic novel artist Con Chrisoulis for one night only at Young Thugs Studio, Ovington Terrace, on May 31 from 7pm, when Ichigo Evil, Plantfood, Mickey Nomimono and Drooligan will be performing.

On June 1, Bonneville, Lou Terry, Captain Starlet and Leafcutter John play at The Crescent community venue, where workshops run from 1 to 4pm, featuring Bits and Bots Recycled Robot, with Tom Brader, and Creative Visible Mending, with Anna Pownall, complemented by Zine Stalls hosted by Things Found and Made, Adam Keay and Teresa Stenson. 

On June 2, the Arts Barge presents Dana Gavanski, Kindelan, Moongate and We Are Hannah, after three 11am to 2pm workshops: Poem Fishing with Becca Drake and Jessie Summerhayes, Adana Letterpress and lino printing, and Screenprinting with Kai West. Drawsome! is run in aid of Bowel Cancer UK.

The poster for Drawsome! 2024

In Focus: Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, York Theatre Royal, May 29 and 30, 7,30pm; The Showstopper Kids Show, May 30, 2pm

SHOWSTOPPER! The Improvised Musical heads back to York Theatre Royal in an expanded format with a children’s version of the spontaneous musical comedy for half-term week.

The Showstoppers have 14 years behind them at the Edinburgh Fringe, to go with a BBC Radio 4 series, a West End run and an 2016 Olivier Award for their blend of comedy, musical theatre and, wait for it, spontaneity. 

Each Showstopper show is created live on the spot from audience suggestions, resulting in a new musical comedy at each performance, which is then named by the audience. 

The cast takes suggestions for the setting, genre and style to transform them into an all-singing, all-dancing production with humorous results. Anything can be expected at a Showstopper show, so if the audience fancies Hamilton in a hospital or Sondheim in the Sahara, The Showstoppers will sing it.

Thursday’s Showstopper Kids Show is for children of all ages, who will see their own ideas being turned into a fully improvised musical right in front of them. 

The children will decide where the story is set, what happens next and who the characters are. The Showstoppers will create whatever is suggested, so the characters could be anyone, such as the children’s favourite TV show characters, and the show could be set under the sea or in a doll’s house. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

What’s On in Ryedale, York and beyond food, glorious food. Here’s Hutch’s List No 17 for 2024, from Gazette & Herald

Jeanette Hunter’s Wicked Witch, right, in rehearsal for York Musical Theatre Company’s The Wizard Of Oz with Daan Janssen’s Lion, left, Rachel Higgs’s Scarecrow, Zander Fick’s Tin Man, Sadie Sorensen’s Dorothy and Toto puppeteer Adam Gill

FOOD for thought for the cultural week ahead, from the Yellow Brick Road to Heaven revisited, a foodie festival to Laurie Lee, seascapes to coastal Dexys, as Charles Hutchinson reports.

Musical of the week: York Musical Theatre Company in The Wizard Of Oz, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, until Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee

YORK stage stalwart Jeanette Hunter will play a villain for the first time next week, starring as the Wicked Witch in York Musical Theatre Company’s The Wizard Of Oz.

Following the Yellow Brick Road will be Sadie Sorensen’s Dorothy, Rachel Higgs’s Scarecrow, Zander Fick’s Tin Man and Daan Janssen’s Lion, while further principal roles will go to Liz Gardner as Glinda, Marlena Kellie as Auntie Em and Martin Hunter as the Wizard. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk. 

Velma Celli’s Show Queen: Celebrating the best of London’s West End and Broadway musical theatre hits at York Theatre Royal

Cabaret celebration of the week: Velma Celli’s Show Queen, York Theatre Royal, tomorrow (23/5/2024), 7.30pm

DRAG diva Velma Celli, the alter ego of York actor Ian Stroughair, goes back to Ian’s roots in Cats, Chicago, Fame and Rent for a new celebration of the best of London’s West End and Broadway musical theatre hits.

The show “takes us to every corner of the fabulous genre, from Kander & Ebb and Lloyd Webber to Stephen Schwartz’s Wicked and Schönberg’s Les Miserables and many more,” says Velma. “Like, more than Six!”. Special guests will be burlesque star Miss Betsy Rose and belting York singer Jessica Steel. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Rebecca Ferguson: Liverpool soul singer’s last album and tour at 37

Soul gig of the week: Rebecca Ferguson, Heaven Part II Tour, York Barbican, Friday, 7.30pm

LIVERPOOL soul singer and The X Factor alumna Rebecca Ferguson is touring her fifth and final album, Heaven Part II, released last December 12 years to the day since her debut, Heaven.

Working with new contributors and original Heaven writers and producers, Ferguson sings of love, family, joy, liberation and her journey to happiness over the past seven years. She is, however, calling time on recording and touring to “find a way to have a relationship with music which is positive”. Friday’s support acts will be York country singer Twinnie and Eloise Viola. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Malton Spring Food Lovers Festival: Look out for the festival guide and map on site

Festival of the week: Malton Spring Food Lovers Festival, Saturday, from 9am; Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday, from 10am

ON the streets of “Yorkshire’s Food Capital”, Malton Food Lovers Festival celebrates Yorkshire’s supreme produce and cooking over three days of 120 artisan stalls and street food vendors, talks, tastings, chef demonstrations, brass bands and buskers, festival bar, food shops, sculpture trail, entertainment, blacksmith workshops, vintage funfair and family fun with Be Amazing Arts’ Creativitent, Environmental Art’s Creative Chaos and Magical Quests North.

The live musicians will be: Saturday, Malton White Star Band, 11am to 1pm, The Rackateers, 1pm to 3pm, and Oz Ward, 6pm to 8pm; Sunday, White Star Training Band, 11.30am to 12.30pm, and The Rackateers, 1pm to 3pm, and Monday, The Acoustic Buddies, 11am to 12pm and 2pm to 3pm. Festival entry is free.

Kirkby Soul: Playing outdoors at Hemsley Walled Garden on Saturday

Fundraiser of the week: Kirkby Soul, Helmsley Walled Garden, Helmsley, Saturday, 7.30pm

RYEDALE eight-piece band Kirkby Soul present an evening of soul music in aid of Helmsley Arts Centre and Helmsley Walled Garden. Bring chairs, cushions, blankets, dancing shoes and picnics. A paying bar will be operation in the orchid house. Come prepared for the British weather! A marquee will be erected just in case. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Anton Lesser: Performing in Red Sky At Sunrise, Laurie Lee in Words and Music at Grand Opera House, York

Literary event of the week: Red Sky At Sunrise, Laurie Lee in Words and Music, Grand Opera House, York, May 26, 7.30pm

AUTHOR Laurie Lee’s extraordinary story is told in a captivating weave of music and his own words in Red Sky At Sunrise, performed by actors Anton Lesser and Charlie Hamblett, accompanied by David Le Page’s musical programme for Orchestra Of The Swan.

Together they celebrate Lee’s engaging humour, as well as portraying his darker side, in a performance that has startling resonance with modern events, tracing Lee’s path through Cider With Rosie, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning and A Moment Of War as he ended up fighting with the International Brigades against General Franco’s forces in the Spanish Civil War. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Jo’s Place, seascape, by Carolyn Coles, from her Home Is Where The Heart Is exhibition at Bluebird Bakery, Acomb

Exhibition launch: Carolyn Coles, Home Is Where The Heart Is, Bluebird Bakery, Acomb, York, May 30 to August 1

CREATING atmospheric, impressionistic and abstract seascapes, South Bank Studios artist Carolyn Coles paints mostly with acrylics on stretched canvasses, using an array of techniques and implements.

Known for evoking emotional responses, Carolyn reflects her love for the Yorkshire landscape, offering a direct response to the feelings and connections to places that feel like home. Everyone is welcome at the 6pm to 9pm launch on May 30, when Carolyn will be happy to answer questions.

Dirty Ruby: Ryedale Blues’ headliners at Milton Rooms, Malton

Blues gig of the week: Ryedale Blues presents Dirty Ruby, Milton Rooms, Malton, May 30, 8pm

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE five-piece Dirty Ruby have drawn comparisons with Seventies’ bands Stone The Crows and Vinegar Joe in their energetic, sharp-edged blues rock, combining Hammond organ and bluesy guitar with soulful lead vocals. Box office: 01653 696240 or themiltonrooms.com.

Dexys: Showcasing The Feminine Divine at Scarborough Spa

Coastal trip of the week: Dexys, Scarborough Spa Grand Hall, May 30, doors 7pm

AFTER playing York for the first time in their 45-year career last September, Dexys return to North Yorkshire on the latest leg of The Feminine Divine Live!

Led as ever by Kevin Rowland, Dexys open with a theatrical presentation of last year’s album, The Feminine Divine, to be followed by a second soulful set of beloved hits, from Come On Eileen and Jackie Wilson Said to The Celtic Soul Brothers and Geno. Box office: 01723 376774 or scarboroughspa.co.uk.

In Focus: The 1879 FA Cup clash of Darwen FC and the Old Etonians in The Giant Killers at Milton Rooms, Malton

The tour poster for Long Lane Theatre Club’s The Giant Killers

MANCHESTER United meet “noisy neighbours” Manchester City in the 143rd FA Cup final on Saturday, coinciding with the tour launch of a fitting theatrical tribute to the competition’s early days.

Staged by Long Lane Theatre Club, The Giant Killers tells the story of how Darwen FC came to the public’s attention in 1870s’ Lancashire to proclaim Association Football as a people’s game and not only the preserve of the upper classes.

Good news for Malton, the story of Darwen’s FA Cup clashes with the toffs of the Old Etonians is booked to appear at the Milton Rooms on July 4 (now confirmed as the date for another battle, the 2024 General Election).

The Giant Killers recounts how a ragtag bunch of mill workers in Darwen took on the amateur gentleman’s club of the Old Etonians in the FA Cup quarter-final in 1879. The Old Etonians were winning 5-1 but Darwen rallied to force a replay after a 5-5 draw. 

One replay turned into three, with one abandoned through bad light. Forced to travel to London a very expensive three times and with team members losing a day’s work, Darwen eventually succumbed 6-2, but their story of working-class men inspiring a nation enabled the top hats in football crowds to turn into ‘’a sea of flat caps’’.

Kick-off – or kick-toff! – will be at 7.30pm for Andrew Pearson-Wright & Eve Pearson-Wright’s story of how Darwen FC rose up against prevailing social prejudice and the might of the Football Association to earn a place in history as the first real ‘‘giant killers’’ in English football. Box office: 01653 696240 or themiltonrooms.com.

Beverley & East Riding Early Musical Festival: Who is taking part in concerts, workshops and talks from May 24 to 26?

Beverley & East Riding Early Music Festival director Delma Tomlin

THE 2024 Beverley & East Riding Early Music Festival opens on Friday with a 7.30pm concert by rising stars El Gran Teatro del Mundo, sponsored by the Embassy of Spain.

Based in Spain, this young instrumental group captivated audiences on their British tour last year and will be visiting Beverley for the first time to perform Life Is A Dream (La Vida Es Sueño) at St Mary’s Church.

Undertaking a magical musical journey through the night, these specialists in French music from the time of the Sun King bring to life the operas of the Grand Siècle with instrumental interpretations of scenes where darkness will be the best ally of love and sleep, death’s best friend.

The National Centre for Early Music (NCEM), the charitable York organisation behind the festival, welcomes the new sponsorship. Director Delma Tomlin said: “This is the first time we have received sponsorship from the Embassy of Spain, in London, and we are absolutely delighted to be working together to promote Spanish music through the ages.

“The Embassy’s generous financial support – supporting the travel costs from Spain – makes all the difference and we are thrilled to be able to welcome such fabulous musicians to perform here in the East Riding of Yorkshire.”

José María Robles Fraga, Minister Counsellor for Cultural and Scientific Affairs at the Embassy of Spain, said: “This newly stablished partnership provides a unique opportunity for Spanish musicians performing in the UK.

“We are very proud to support this initiative and we are confident that audiences at the Beverley Early Music Festival will enjoy the immense talent of this Spanish ensemble”.

Running from May 24 to 26, this year’s festival takes the theme of Threads of Gold, weaving together stories of Beverley’s remarkable history through music and song, combined with a distinctly Spanish twist.

El Grano Teatro del Mundo: Performing Life Is A Dream (La Vida Es Sueño) at St Mary’s Church on Friday

“This year we are threading together music, history and song – designed to entertain, to engage and to intrigue,” says Delma.  “There’s a wealth of music and drama in store and as always, there are plenty of opportunities to make music as well as enjoy it – so we hope to weave you a tapestry of delights for 2024.”

Further concerts with a Spanish theme include Nigel Short directing the award-winning choir Tenebrae in their acclaimed interpretation of Tomás Luis de Victoria’s Requiem Mass for six voices – a masterpiece of the Spanish Golden Age – at Beverley Minster on Saturday at 7.30pm.

In the festival finale on Sunday at 7.30pm at East Riding Theatre, Beverley, The Telling present their heart rend(er)ing music theatre show Into The Melting Pot.

Written by Clare Norburn and directed by Nicholas Renton, it tells the stories of the women of medieval Spain torn apart by religious intolerance, performed by actor Suzanne Ahmet as Blanca, Patience Tomlinson as Queen Isabella (offstage voice), singers Clare Norburn and Avital Raz, Emily Baines, recorders and doucaine, Giles Lewin, oud, and Jean Kelly, harp & percussion.

Music and theatre collide in this fully staged show that heads back to 1492 Spain for a story of migration, community and conflict. At twilight on her final night in Seville, a Jewish woman lights the lamps. She is being forced to leave Spain and set sail for an uncertain future.

Her tale echoes down the ages to the personal stories of people of all faiths and backgrounds affected by politics and war today, as she tunes into a community of stories told by Jewish, Christian and Muslim women, soundtracked by plaintive Sephardic songs and lively Spanish medieval music.

The newly appointed BBC Radio 3 New Generation Baroque Ensemble Augelletti make their sold-out Beverley festival debut with A Curious Mind at St Nicholas Church, Beverley, on Saturday at 10am.

Focusing their musical lens on an ever curious and well-connected York clergyman and musician, Edward Finch, Ensemble Augelletti tell his singular story and perform some of his compositions and arrangements alongside music by his friends Purcell, Handel and Geminiani.

On Saturday, harpsichordist Steven Devine returns to Beverley with virtuoso violinist Bojan Čičić in a 4pm programme of Handel Sonatas at Toll Gavel United Church, melding GF Handel’s violin sonatas with those of the Italian-born violinist and composer Giovanni Stefano Carbonelli.

Tenebrae: Performing Tomás Luis de Victoria’s Requiem Mass at Beverley Minster on Saturday. Picture: Sim Canetty-Clarke

In A World Of Inspiration at Toll Gavel United Church on Sunday, the London Handel Players present a 3pm programme of Baroque works from Baroque composers from Poland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Canary Islands, India and the British Isles.

The festival’s opening illustrated lecture by Dr John Jenkins at St Mary’s Church on Friday at 4pm has sold out. Under the title of “…and oil dripped from the golden tomb”, the University of York co-director of the Centre for Pilgrimage Studies and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society recalls a Medieval Pilgrimage to St John of Beverley.

From his death in 721, to the destruction of his golden shrine in Beverley Minster in 1541, John of Beverley was the most important saint in the East Riding, prompting pilgrims to flock to his golden and bejewelled shrine from near and far.

By the close of the Middle Ages, thanks to the miracles he worked for the kings of England, St John had become a saint of national importance on a par with St George. Dr Jenkins’s lecture reveals why pilgrims came, or in some cases were forced to come, to Beverley, and the unique and wonderous spectacle the Minster canons provided for medieval visitors.

In the festival’s second lecture, at Toll Gavel United Church Hall, on Sunday at 4.30pm, Professor Melanie Giles, from the University of Manchester, reveals more of the ancient history of the East Riding in Ancient Threads and Enchanted Garments: Stories of preserved textiles from Iron Age and Roman Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

Ancient textiles, made of both vegetal and wool fibres, are rarely preserved in archaeological contexts because of their organic and fragile nature. In this talk, Prof Giles shares the story of some rare examples, ranging from the edge of Iron Age cloaks, bags and containers from Arras burials in East Yorkshire to threads and garments found with bog bodies dating to the early Roman period in North Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

Instrumentalists are invited to The Birth Of The Orchestra, a day-long workshop led by members of El Gran Teatro del Mundo at Hexagan Music Centre, Beverley, on Saturday at 9.30m.

This workshop on Baroque orchestral performance practice, based on the writings of George Muffat with additional music by Corelli and Lully, will be directed by Julio Caballero in the company of fellow El Gran Teatro del Mundo musicians Miriam Jorde, oboe, Bruno Hurtadoviol, cello, and Andrés Murillo, violin.

Ensemble Augelletti: Making Beverley & East Riding Early Music Festival on Saturday morning

The workshop is open to players of Baroque oboe, traverso, bassoon, recorder and string players with Baroque instruments or modern instruments with gut strings and Baroque bows. Music will be provided and is available to download on the NCEM website, ncem.co.uk, for private practice before the event. Participants should be confident sight-readers.

Singers have two workshop options: festival debutants SongPath’s uplifting blend of walking, talking and music-making, setting off from Hengate Memorial Gardens on Saturday at 1.30pm to 3pm, followed by Tenebrae’s choral workshop, Music of the Spanish Golden Age, at Hexagan Music Centre on Sunday at 9.30am.

Contralto Jess Dandy, mezzo-soprano Joanne Harries and recorder player Olwen Foulkes lead a 90-minute singing walk around Beverley in Songpath, inviting participants to “immerse yourself in an outdoor experience that transcends conventional concerts, exploring mental well-being through the transformative power of music and nature”. Wear suitable clothing and footwear and bring a brolly, they advise.

Choral singers are invited to join Tenebrae’s experienced workshop leader Joseph Edwardsto work on some of the repertoire from Saturday’s n their programme. Music for the day includes Alfonso Lobo’s Versa est in Luctum and Tomás Luis de Victoria’s Taedet Anima and Astiterunt Reges Terrae.

The workshop is open to all voices with some sight-singing experience. The afternoon concludes with a short informal performance of music studied during the day, open to all, free of charge.

Beverley & East Riding Early Music Festival runs from May 24 to 26. Box office: 01904 658338,  ncem.co.uk or in person from Beverley Tourist Information Centre, Customer Service Centre, Cross Street, Beverley. Full programme: ncem.co.uk/whats-on/bemf.

Beverley & East Riding Early Music Festival: the back story

ESTABLISHED in 1988 to celebrate Beverley’s historic association with musicians from medieval times.

Blessed by a wealth of ecclesiastical buildings and musical carvings in stone and wood in both Beverley Minster and St Mary’s Church, making it the “perfect place for a festival of early music”.

Supported by East Riding of Yorkshire Council and administered by National Centre for Early Music, York.

Annual festival combines concerts, illustrated lectures and associated workshops.