Liberation Day arrives on Saturday, but Lockdown is still a block to theatres and gigs. Nevertheless, here are More Things To Do on days in and days out, courtesy of The Press, York. LIST No. 9

Opening the gateway to venturing outdoors once more….

JULY 4 is “Liberation Day”, apparently, but not for theatres and concert halls. They can re-open, not for live performances, however, leaving them in a state of inertia that only exacerbates their growing crisis.

As for cinemas, tipped to return to life next weekend, the consensus is that July 31 is now looking the more likely re-start date for the summer blockbusters.

This column will steer clear of the pubs and bars and restaurants making their comebacks – you can read of that welcome uptick elsewhere – but focus on the widening opportunities for entertainment, enlightenment and exercise beyond the front door, while still highlighting the joys on the home front too.

CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these suggestions.

Back on track: Jorvik Viking Centre is “Good To Go” from next Saturday

Jorvik Viking Centre, re-opening on July 11

THE ever-resilient Jorvik Viking Centre is back on track from next Saturday with the Good To Go certification from Visit England, so all the boxes marked Government and industry Covid-19 guidelines have been ticked.

One important change is a switch to pre-booked visits only, with designated time slots every 20 minutes, to help control visitor flow and numbers, as well as extended hours over the summer months.

Within the building, in Coppergate, free-flow areas, such as the galleries will be more structured with presentations delivered by Viking interpreters, rather than video content or handling sessions.

Lutenist Elizabeth Kenny: Joining countertenor Iestyn Davies at a socially distanced National Centre for Early Music for York Early Music Festival online concert

York Early Music Festival, online from July 9 to 11

NEXT week’s “virtual” three-day event will be streamed online from the National Centre for Early Music, replacing the July 3 to 11 festival that would have celebrated Method & Madness. Concerts will be recorded at the NCEM’s home, St Margaret’s Church, in Walmgate, with social-distancing measures in place and no live audience.

York counter-tenor Iestyn Davies and lutenist Elizabeth Kenny present The Art Of Melancholy on July 9 at 7.30pm, when John Dowland’s Elizabethan music will be complemented by Davies’s renditions and readings of poetry by Robert Burton, Michael Drayton, Rose Tremain, Leo Tolstoy and Dowland himself.

On July 10, online concerts feature lute and theorbo player Matthew Wadsworth at 1pm, harpsichordist Steve Devine at 3.30pm and lyra viol player Richard Boothby at 7.30pm. July 11’s programme includes Consone Quartet at 1pm and Stile Antico at 7.30pm.

Tickets are on sale at and, with a festival package at £30, individual concert tickets at £10 each and illustrated talks at £3.50 each.

Richard Bainbridge RIP: York Musical Theatre Company will mark the first anniversary of his passing on Sunday

Remembering Richard, York Musical Theatre Company, Sunday, 7.30pm, online

YORK Musical Theatre Company will mark the first anniversary of leading light Richard Bainbridge’s exit stage left on Sunday with a special online memorial concert.

Streamed on YMTC’s YouTube channel, the 7.30pm programme will celebrate Richard’s theatrical life with songs from all the shows he loved and the many he graced with the company.

Taking part will be Eleanor Leaper; Matthew Ainsworth; John Haigh; Florence Taylor; Moira Murphy; Amy Lacy; Rachel Higgs; Peter Wookie; Matthew Clare; Chris Gibson; Helen Singhateh, Jessa & Mick Liversidge. Returning to the ranks will be professional York actor Samuel Edward-Cook, alias Sam Coulson in his YMTC days.

Joker: One of the films at the Daisy Duke’s Drive-In Cinema in York

Daisy Duke’s Drive-In Cinema, Knavesmire, York, tomorrow to Sunday

STATIC cinemas remain in the dark, but drive-in cinemas with social distancing rules in place have been given the Government green light.

North Easterners Daisy Duke’s Drive-In Cinema are revving up for four screenings a day. Take your pick from the very familiar Mamma Mia!, The Jungle Book, The Lion King, Frozen 2, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Greatest Showman, A Star Is Born, 28 Days Later, Pulp Fiction and Joker. Tickets can be booked at

Interaction between staff and customers will be kept to a minimum, with cars parked two metres apart and those attending expected to remain within their vehicles for the duration of the screenings on LED screens with the sound transmitted to car radios.

Ready for a reading challenge? Here comes The Silly Squad

The Silly Squad, Explore York Libraries’ Summer Reading Challenge 2020, July 10 to September 18

GIVEN that Explore York’s libraries “aren’t open fully yet”, The Silly Squad Challenge is going virtual this summer, enabling children to take part online. There will be activities to do too, all on the same theme of fun, laughter and silliness.

The Silly Squad is a team of animal friends that loves to go on adventures and get stuck into all manner of funny books. This year, the Challenge features extra special characters designed by the author and illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson.

The Silly Squad website provides an immersive and safe environment for children to achieve their reading goals. Head to Explore’s website and join through the Summer Reading Challenge button.

Paul Weller: York Barbican in 2021; new album tomorrow

Keep seeking out the good news

NO Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad at York Theatre Royal from July 14, and Everybody’s no longer Talking About Jamie at Leeds Grand Theatre that week too. Even the Downing Street daily briefings are off after all the unintended humour of 24 episodes of Hancock’s Half Hour.

However, all’s Weller that’s Paul Weller as the Modfather’s autumn 2020 gig at York Barbican is moved to June 29 2021. In the meantime, his new album, On Sunset, is out tomorrow.

Drag diva Velma Celli, the creation of York actor Ian Stroughair, has announced another online outing, The Velma Celli Show, Kitchen, on July 11 at 8pm.

Kitchen sing drama: York drag diva Velma Celli announces latest online show on the home front

And what about…?

BBC One revisiting Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads monologues, each one even starker in their isolation in these dislocated times of solitary confinement, shielding, loneliness and finding other people irritating. The Leeds playwright, now 86, has added two ones to his 1988 collection. “Quite bleak,” he says.

New albums by Neil Young (“new” but unearthed 1970s’ recordings); Jessie Ware, Nadine Shah and Haim.

Scarborough Art Gallery unlocking its doors from this weekend. A walk on York’s city walls with its new temporary one-way system in place for social distancing from Saturday….and then drop down for a drink at Grays Court Hotel’s new walled garden bar, in the shadow of York Minster.

Or a walk along Pocklington Canal, but watch out for the two swans, guarding their nine cygnets by the water’s edge.

Theatres, cinemas and concert venues are still closed, but Lockdown is easing. Here are More Things To Do on days in and days out, courtesy of The Press, York. LIST No.8

Can’t wait to get out, like these sled dog racers in Dalby Forest from Tony Batholomew’s online exhibition Forest 100: A Year In The Life? If so, read on…

METRE by metre, Downing Street daily briefing by catch-you-by-surprise Downing Street daily briefing, we are moving closer to the beginning of the end of the 10 Things To See Next Week In York shutdown.

However, there is still no theatre, concert venue or cinema re-opening for the foreseeable future, although cinemas are making plans to do so in July. Watch this ever-shifting space.

In the meantime, amid the loosened-lockdown dawn of summer, when football and horse racing are back, albeit with no crowds, and beaches are back, but too crowded, the search continues for entertainment, enlightenment and exercise at home and farther afield.  

From behind his door, increasingly ajar, CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these suggestions.

Drive-In Cinema parks up in York next month, but unlike in this poster, viewers will have to stay in, not on, their cars throughout each screening

Daisy Duke’s Drive-In Cinema, Knavesmire, York, July 3 to 5

STATIC cinemas, no, but Boris Johnson’s Government has given the green light to drive-in cinemas with social distancing rules in place.

North Easterners Daisy Duke’s Drive-In Cinema have been quick off the mark to announce a Drive-In Saturday (one for David Bowie fans), and a Friday and Sunday too, from July 3 to 5.

Interaction between staff and customers will be kept to a minimum, with cars parked two metres apart and those attending expected to remain within their vehicles for the duration of the screenings on LED screens with the sound transmitted to car radios.

Four screenings a day are in store, with the film line-up taking in The Jungle Book, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Frozen 2, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Greatest Showman, A Star Is Born, 28 Days Later, Pulp Fiction and Joker. Tickets can be booked at

Oh, and if theatres are still closed come December, would there be any takers for a drive-in pantomime?

Rosy Rowley: Reprising her role in the 2012 York Mystery Plays as Mrs Noah in the York Radio Mystery Plays

York Radio Mystery Plays, on BBC Radio York, Sunday mornings throughout June

YORK Theatre Royal and BBC Radio York are collaborating to bring the York Mystery Plays to life on the airwaves on the Sunday Breakfast Show with Jonathan Cowap.

Working remotely from home, a cast of 19 community and professional actors has recorded four 15-minute instalments under the direction of Theatre Royal associate director Juliet Forster.

After Adam And Eve and The Flood Part 1, the series continues with The Flood Part 2 this weekend and Moses And Pharaoh on June 28. Hear the earlier ones at

York In Flood, 2019, taken by Museum Gardens, from Katherine-of-Yorkshire’s exhibition at Village Gallery, York 

Galleries re-opening…

NO, not the big ones yet, such as York Art Gallery, but among those to announce the re-opening of doors in York this week are Simon Main’s Village Gallery, in Colliergate, and Ann Petherick’s Kentmere House Gallery, in Scarcroft Hill.

Village Gallery is presenting a photographic show by Instagrammer Katherine-of-Yorkshire until August 2. “Katherine regularly posts photographs on Instagram, mainly of York, and usually in black and white, using the camera on her phone to take the photos,” Simon says.

“She manages to convey a deep feeling of peace, even when documenting the major floods in York that happen all too regularly, as well as showing a different perspective of well-known places.”

Open by appointment only until further notice, Kentmere House is displaying A Life In Colour, Work from the Studio of Jack Hellewell, 1920-2000, including unframed pieces never seen before, to mark Hellewell’s centenary. 

North York Moors, by Jack Hellewell, at the re-opened Kentmere House Gallery, York

Mother Shipton’s Pixie Village Trail, Knaresborough

HAVE you ever dreamt of stepping into an utterly enchanted realm, deep in the captivating woodland, filled with fairy rings and secret doorways, where pixies are waiting to play?

If so, at Mother Shipton’s you can tread carefully through the land of the woodland people and keep your eyes peeled as you follow the trail to see their tiny houses.

Visitors will be provided with a trail sheet to explore the natural woodland at their own pace. Please note, open to pre-booked car admissions only, this Pixie Village event will not include any confined spaces and the actors will not be interacting with visitors, in order to reduce large gatherings of crowds and physical contact.

Shed Seven: Rearranging two big outdoors concerts in Yorkshire for their 2021 diary

Seek out the good news

NO York Festival with Madness, Westlife and Lionel Richie at York Sports Club from tomorrow until Sunday. No revival of Alan Ayckbourn’s Just Between Ourselves opening at the SJT tonight for a summer run. No Ronan Keating: Twenty Twenty gig at York Barbican tomorrow.

However, one festival is going ahead, albeit in revised online form, namely the York Early Music Festival, from July 9 to 11, with York countertenor Iestyn Davies’s concert with lutenist Elizabeth Kenny as the stand-out.

Keating’s Twenty Twenty show will now be in Twenty Twenty One, on January 13 to be precise. Meanwhile, York’s Britpop alumni Shed Seven have re-arranged two 2020 outdoor concerts for next year, now playing Doncaster Racecourse post-racing on May 15 2021, rather than August 15 this summer, and headlining an all-Yorkshire bill at the Piece Hall, Halifax, on June 26 2021, instead of the same date this year.

The artwork for Bob Dylan’s new album, Rough And Rowdy, out tomorrow

And what about…

79-YEAR-OLD Bob Dylan’s first album of original songs in eight years, Rough And Rowdy Ways, out tomorrow, on Columbia.  Phoebe Bridgers’ Punisher and Maccabees frontman Orlando Weeks’s solo debut A Quickening as further album recommendations. Spike Lee’s new Vietnam War film, Da 5 Bloods, streaming on Netflix. The Salisbury Poisonings, on BBC iPlayer, York actor Mark Addy among the cast. Talking Heads, Alan Bennett’s isolation monologues re-visited in Covid-19 times with two new additions, on BBC One from Tuesday.

Gardens at National Trust properties re-opening, such as Beningbrough Hall; bookings only. Val and Emma Carr’s Stanley & Ramona dinky coffee house, in Bishopthorpe Road, serving up coffee and cake again, hurrah.

Walks through the rhododendrons at Forestry England’s Wheldrake Wood and watching out for the tiny toads and frogs at the RSPB’s Fairburn Ings. Tony Bartholomew’s Forest 100: A Year In The Life online exhibition of Dalby Forest from spring 2019 to spring 2020 at

York countertenor Iestyn Davies: Performing at the revised 2020 York Early Music Festival on July 9. Picture: Benjamin Ealovega

Copyright of The Press, York

The last idea of the day at 2020 York Festival of Ideas: Tales From My Shed, Tim Dowling’s talk, 7pm, 14/6/2020

Tim Dowling: Shed tales in lockdown

THE Guardian writer Tim Dowling closes the door on the 2020 York Festival of Ideas by shedding light on shed life in lockdown.

In this evening’s closing online talk, he asks: “What happens when a global pandemic shrinks life to a claustrophobic domestic sphere? Some of us adapt, some of us protest, some of us reassess our goals…”

…and some of us, like Tim Dowling, “barely notice the difference”. How come?

For 12 years, Dowling has chronicled a life of small nothings in his Guardian column. Suddenly, in these Covid-19 times, he finds the rest of the world is taking to the bunker too.

Who better to explore life in lockdown at a festival brimful of isolation ideas than this “leading expert in never going anywhere if he can help it”.  

Dowling did make one big move, however: he first came to Britain from the United States at the age of 27. Now, in addition to his column in the Guardian’s Weekend magazine, he is the author of such books as How To Be A Husband and Dad You Suck.

Happy to be joining that CV is How To Be Happy All The Time, his audiobook on the subject of cynicism. Cynics will not be surprised to learn the audiobook is short. Happiness never lasts, as we cynics know.

You can, nevertheless, find it from 7pm to 8pm this evening when joining Dowling, albeit remotely, in his shed world. Online admission is free, but booking is required at:

Brought to you virtually by the University of York, York Festival of Ideas concludes today. Visit for full details of this afternoon and evening’s programme.

Will the last one out tonight, please turn off the virtual festival light. See you next June.

Idea of the day at online 2020 York Festival of Ideas: How To Be A Good Ancestor, philosophical talk, 4pm, 13/6/2020

The dust jacket to Roman Krznaric’s imminent new book, The Good Ancestor

WILL you even read to the end of this sentence?

I asked because social philosopher and author Roman Krznaric reckons we are “living in the age of the tyranny of the now, where the greatest challenge facing humankind is our inability to think long term,”,as he will discuss in this afternoon’s free talk at the online 2020 York Festival of Ideas.

Sorry, you can’t read his powerful new book just now. Be patient. You will have to wait until July 16 when The Good Ancestor: How To Think Long Term In A Short-Term World will be published by WH Allen (Penguin Random House).

For a taster, tune in this afternoon, when Krznaric will contend: “Politicians can barely see past the next election or businesses past the next quarterly report, and we are addicted to the latest tweet and the ‘buy now’ button.

“How can we overcome this frenetic short-termism and extend our time horizons to tackle long-term challenges from the climate crisis to threats from artificial intelligence and genetically engineered pandemics?”

Krznaric will reveal how you can expand your imagination far beyond the here and now. Exploring everything from the seventh-generation thinking of indigenous peoples and politically empowered “guardians of the future” to the history of the London sewers and the latest neuroscience research, he will argue that we have an inbuilt capacity to become “cathedral thinkers”.

“It is time to confront one of the most vital questions of the 21st century: How can we be good ancestors?” says Krznaric, a “public philosopher who writes about the power of ideas to change society”.

His books, such as Empathy, The Wonderbox and Carpe Diem Regained, have been published in more than 20 languages. His new one, the aforementioned The Good Ancestor: How To Think Long Term In A Short-Term World, is “the book our children’s children will thank us for reading”, says U2 guitarist The Edge.

What did Roman ever do for you? Write books, plan long term, found the Empathy Museum, give a talk online today….

After growing up in Sydney and Hong Kong, Krznaric studied at the universities of Oxford, London and Essex, where he gained a PhD in political sociology.

Founder of the world’s first Empathy Museum, he is a research fellow of the Long Now Foundation in San Francisco and his writings have been influential among political and ecological campaigners, education reformers, social entrepreneurs and designers. H

His public speaking, talks and workshops have taken him from a London prison to Google’s headquarters in California. Learn more at and @romankrznaric.

Online admission is free to today’s talk but booking is required at:

Oh, and good news, if you have only a short-term attention span, the talk shouldn’t take up too much if your time. It lasts only 50 minutes.

Brought to you remotely by the University of York, the 2020 York Festival of Ideas is into its last two days but is still brimful of ideas this weekend, gathered under the new online umbrella of Virtual Horizons. For full details, visit

Did you know?

FOUNDED by Roman Krznaric, the Empathy Museum’s offices are in London but this international arts project does not have a permanent home.All our projects are travelling, nimble pop-ups – they’ve been across the UK and to Belgium, Ireland, the USA, Australia, Brazil and even Siberia,” says the website.

“The Empathy Museum is an experiential project exploring the art of empathy through stepping into the shoes of other people and looking at the world though their eyes.” In a nutshell, “outrospection”, rather than introspection.

Idea of the day at online York Festival of Ideas: Human Flourishing In Times Of Stress, panel discussion, 6pm, 12/6/2020

On the panel tonight: Franziska Kohlt, Tim Radford and Penny Spikins, hosted by Tom McLeish

THIS evening’s panel discussion at the online York Festival of Ideas will explore how stories, things and thinking can bring comfort in times of stress. Times like now in Covid-19 2020.

Taking part under the chairmanship of Tom McLeish, the University of York’s first professor of natural philosophy, will be Dr Franziska Kohlt and Dr Penny Spikins, from the University of York, and science journalist Tim Radford.

Franziska Kohlt asks why many of us have felt drawn to the comfort of childhood classics, often unjustly dismissed as “escapism”, she argues.

This evening, she explores how books such as Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland, Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind In The Willows, or Charles Kingsley’s The Water-Babies, were written in times of epidemics, illness and crisis, and how these works can be valuable emotional tools to carry us through such times.   

Penny Spikins asks why, when in crisis, we turn to programmes such as BBC One’s The Repair Shop to find some sense of comfort, and why cherished possessions seem to help when we feel stressed or isolated.

She examines where our tendency to attach to things came from in our evolutionary past and how finding attachments to objects can compensate for missing human relationships at times of stress or isolation.

Tim Radford’s contribution is drawn from his book The Consolation Of Physics. “It is both a conversation with the past and a celebration of the shared scientific tradition of generosity and co-operation that has taken human understanding, mediated by international experiment, to the edge of the solar system, to the origins of universe and to cataclysmic star-death in distant galaxies,” he says.

Franziska Kohltis a research associate with the University of York’s department of sociology and editor of The Lewis Carroll Review. She is a researcher in the History of Science and Fantastic Literature and an active science communicator with an interest in the socio-psychological history of what narratives make science communication effective.

She has explored a broad variety of topics, from insects to AI, in journal articles and exhibitions, and regularly appears on international media as an expert on Lewis Carroll.

Penny Spikins, senior lecturer in the archaeology of human origins at the University of York, is a Palaeolithic archaeologist with a particular interest in the evolution of human emotions.

Her research has covered the human origins of our sense of compassion, gratitude and tolerance and has been published in many journal papers and in her book How Compassion Made Us Human.

Now, she is completing a new book, Hidden Depths: The Palaeolithic Origins Of Our Most Human Emotions.

New Zealand-born freelance journalist Tim Radford has spent most of his life in weekly, evening and daily newspapers. He retired as science editor of the Guardian in 2005 and is now a founding editor of

Tom McLeish is professor of natural philosophy in the physics department and in the centre for medieval studies and the humanities research centre at the University of York.

He has won awards in the UK, USA and EU for his interdisciplinary research in “soft matter and biological physics” and also works across science and humanities on medieval science, theology, sociology and philosophy of science. He is the author of The Poetry And Music Of Science and appears regularly on BBC radio.

Admission to this online panel discussion is free but booking is required at:

Brought to you remotely by the University of York, York Festival of Ideas is brimful of ideas until June 14, gathered under the new umbrella of Virtual Horizons. For full details, visit

Idea of the day at the online York Festival of Ideas: This Golden Fleece. Talk is sheep at 6pm, 11/06/2020

Wool Britannia: This Golden Fleece author Esther Rutter weaves her way through Britain’ s knitting history this evening at the York Festival of Ideas

WOOLLY thinking will be encouraged at the online York Festival of Ideas this evening.

At 6pm, author Esther Rutter will weave a journey through Britain’s long history of knitting in her talk This Golden Fleece.

Esther grew up on a sheep farm in Suffolk, learning to spin, weave and knit as a child. On re-engaging with that past, over the breadth of a year, she travelled the length of the British Isles to discover the fascinating stories of communities whose lives were shaped by wool, knitting them together in her book This Golden Fleece (Granta Books).

Esther unearthed tales of mill workers of the Border countries, English market towns built on profits of the wool trade and the Highland communities cleared for sheep farming. She also found tradition and innovation intermingling in 21st century knitwear industries.

Esther, who read English at Magdalen College, Oxford, is writer-in-residence at the University of St Andrews (2017-2020) in the School of Geography and Sustainable Development.

She also works as a freelance project manager for UNESCO, developing cultural engagement projects in collaboration with Edinburgh’s City of Literature Trust.

Join Esther this evening, albeit remotely, for her discussion of the craft and history of knitting, exploring wool’s influence on our landscape, history and culture. Admission is free but booking is required at

Brought to you remotely by the University of York, York Festival of Ideas is brimful of ideas until June 14, gathered under the new umbrella of Virtual Horizons. For full details, visit

York Early Music Festival embraces new technology to go online for three-day event

Iestyn Davies: York countertenor switches from Bach arias on July 8 to John Dowland and The Art Of Melancholy on June 9

THE cancelled 2020 York Early Music Festival is back on…online, headlined by York international countertenor Iestyn Davies.

The virtual version of the summer festival will be streamed from the National Centre for Early Music from July 9 to 11, replacing the original live event from July 3 to 11.

Concerts will be recorded at the NCEM’s home, St Margaret’s Church, in Walmgate, with social-distancing measures in place and no live audience.

Booking will open on Friday, June 19 at and, with a festival package at £30, individual concert tickets at £10 each and illustrated talks at £3.50 each.

The artwork for the 2020 York Early Music Festival , now replaced by a streamlined, streamed version of the festival next month

Iestyn Davies would have been performing Bach: Countertenor Arias with Scottish instrumentalists the Dunedin Consort on July 8 at the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York. “We figured we couldn’t get the whole of the Dunedin Consort down from Scotland under the lockdown rules,” says festival administrative director Dr Delma Tomlin.

Instead, Davies will present The Art Of Melancholy, joined by lutenist Elizabeth Kenny, a former artistic adviser to the York Early Music Festival and frequent performer at the NCEM, for a concert streamed on July 9 at 7.30pm.

The music of Elizabethan lutenist John Dowland will be complemented by Davies’s renditions and readings of poetry by Robert Burton, Michael Drayton, Rose Tremain, Leo Tolstoy and Dowland himself.

“Iestyn lives in York but he’s a countertenor of truly international prowess and we’re delighted he can join us for the revised festival,” says Delma.

Dr Delma Tomlin: Administrative director of the York Early Music Festival

“Dowland is known for his music of extraordinary misery but utter beauty. He knew that in love, the only thing sweeter than happiness was sorrow. Few living interpreters understand his music more profoundly than Iestyn, who has devised this evening of poetry, music and drama for voice and lute to explore a composer for whom a single teardrop can hold a universe of emotion.”

On July 10, festival artistic advisor John Bryan will provide an illustrated introduction to the day’s online festivities at 10.30am, with each concert linked by a theme of fantasy. Lute and theorbo player Matthew Wadsworth will perform Echoes In Air, a 1pm programme of works by Kapsperger and Piccinini, Dowland and Francesco da Milano, alongside a new piece written specially for him by Laura Snowden, Echoes In Air. 

At 3.30pm, harpsichordist Steve Devine will continue his NCEM series of Preludes and Fugues from Book 1 of J S Bach’s The Well-tempered Clavier, here performing Nos 13 to 24. The day will end with Richard Boothby’s 7.30pm concert on lyra viol, with his programme yet to be announced.

Pianist and professor David Owen Norris will give an illustrated introduction to the July 11 online concerts at 10.30am.

Stile Antico back in the days when you could stand together on a staircase. Social distancing will prevail at their July 11 concert. Picture: Marco Borggreve

BBC New Generation artists Consone Quartet, comprising Agata Daraskaite and Magdalena Loth-Hill, on violins, Elitsa Bogdanova, on viola, and George Ross, on cello, will play Beethoven’s String Quartet in G Major Op 18, No 2 and String Quartet in D Major Op 18, No 3 at 1pm.

York Early Music Festival luminary Peter Seymour, a leviathan of the York classical music world, will introduce the story behind his recording of Bach’s St Matthew Passion at 3.30pm.

Stile Antico will present Breaking The Habit: Bringing to life the music of the Renaissance through song at 7.30pm.

The 16th century saw an unprecedented number of female rulers,” says Delma, setting up the concert’s premise. “From the powerful Medici women of Italy to the great Tudor queens of England, women across Europe held more power than ever before. 

Steven Devine: Bach to the future as he works his way through Preludes and Fugues

“Many of these monarchs used their patronage to facilitate the production of music of exquisite beauty by the finest composers of the day, extravagant showcases of their power contrasting with intimate and personal compositions. 

“The century also saw the first publication of music by female composers, often Italian nuns, whose convents supported musical groups of astonishing ability.” 

To bring the online festival together, the NCEM is working with digital producer Ben Pugh.” We’ve purchased more video and sound equipment, so it’s more like a TV studio environment now,” says Delma.

“It’s fortunate that the NCEM is a big space, being a church building, which will help with social distancing. The opening and closing concert will be streamed as live, and the other concerts will be pre-recorded over a ten-day period.

Elizabeth Kenny: Joining Iestyn Davies for July 9 concert

“After their concert, Stile Antico will stay on at the NCEM for three days of recordings for their Mayflower project, now put back to 2021.

“We’ll also be putting the remainder of Steven Devine’s Bach’s Preludes and Fugues series online in the autumn as his Bach concerts streamed from the NCEM during lockdown have been received really well.”

The 2020 festival was to have run from July 3 to 11 with a theme of “the Method & Madness of musical styles, from the wild excesses of the Italian Renaissance, through the soothing virtuosity of Bach, to the towering genius of Beethoven”.

Among the artists would have been Davies; Devine and Consone Quartet; The Sixteen, singing The Call Of Rome at York Minster, and Barokksolistene, from Norway, with their vivacious festival opener, Alehouse.

Violinist Rachel Podger: Scheduled to play 2021 York Early Music Festival

Lined up to take part too were Rose Consort of Viols; Voces Suaves; Prisma; Profeti della Quinta; L’Apothéose; Hubert Hazebroucq & Julien Martin; The Society of Strange & Ancient Instruments; the University Baroque Ensemble and Peter Seymour directing Handel’s opera Orlando.

Already Delma has confirmed the 2021 festival will run from Friday, July 9 to Saturday, July 17. “Guest artists scheduled to join us next summer include The Tallis Scholars, The Sixteen, Brecon Baroque, led by violinist Rachel Podger, and gamba specialist Paolo Pandolfo,” she says.

The 2020 York Early Music Christmas Festival will go ahead, “but it may all be online,” reveals Delma. “That should be a little bit easier to arrange than for this summer’s festival.

“I should be able to work it all out in good time, whereas re-organising the summer event on a big scale became utterly impossible because the majority of performers were from overseas.

Consone Quartet: Performng Beethoven String Quartets on July 10

“So, instead, we’re doing a digital festival of musicians based in England willing to come to the NCEM next month for this very exciting venture that’s turned out to be brilliant, but for different reasons than the festival we first envisaged.”

The NCEM’s spring series of streamed concerts in lockdown has gone well. “They’ve been free with the option to donate to the NCEM afterwards, and we’ve even had people tuning in from Ecuador, Australia and Southern India, which has been fascinating for us,” says Delma.

“It gives us a chance to connect with a much broader audience and we may well re-share these concerts in the future, but we’re now going to have to find a way of earning money from streamed concerts, setting up a paywall to pay for watching them, in order to help us still be here in a year’s time. The free model can’t continue; we will have to get people into the habit of paying for streaming.”

Another idea of the day at the online York Festival of Ideas: Friendship: Nature’s medicine, a friendly talk at 8pm, 10/6/2020

The hand of friendship: nature’s “little helper”, according to author and professor Robin Dunbar, who needs to talk tonight. Image: Symbolon from Noun Project

AT this pandemic-enforced time of alienation, disconnection, lockdown, social distancing, shielding and virtual gatherings when everyone’s gone to the Zoom, how topical for the York Festival of Ideas to host a talk on Friendship: Nature’s medicine. Online, of course.

At 8pm tonight, psychology professor and author Robin Dunbar, from the University of Oxford, will explore the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms involved in friendships and how they produce these remarkable effects as nature’s “little helper”.

“Like all monkeys and apes, humans are intensely social,” says the festival website. “Close relationships, whether family or friend, are our way of buffering ourselves against the stresses that life puts us under.

“In fact, loneliness has turned out to be the biggest killer. It turns out that friendships have a bigger effect on our quality of life, as well as our ability to resist and recover from illness, than almost anything conventional medicine can throw at us.”

The cover to Robin Dunbar’s 2010 book of evolutionary quirks, How Many Friends Does One Person Need?

Robin Dunbar is professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of Oxford, an Emeritus Fellow of Magdalen College and an elected Fellow of the British Academy.

His principal research interests focus on the evolution of sociality with particular reference to primates and humans. He is best known for the social brain hypothesis, the gossip theory of language evolution and Dunbar’s Number (the limit on the number of relationships that we can manage).

Among his science books are: Grooming, Gossip And The Evolution Of Language (1996); The Human Story (2004); How Many Friends Does One Person Need? (2010); The Science Of Love And Betrayal (2012); Human Evolution: A Pelican Introduction (2014); Human Evolution: Our Brains And Behaviour (2016), and Evolution: What Everyone Needs To Know (2018).

Online admission tonight is free but booking is required at

Brought to you remotely by the University of York, York Festival of Ideas is full of ideas until June 14, gathered under the new umbrella of Virtual Horizons. For full details, visit

Idea of the day at the online York Festival of Ideas: The History Of Dance, a step-by-step talk, 7pm, 10/6/2020

Let’s dance…let’s talk about dance: Lottie Adcock, of Dance The Past, seeks to achieve a quick feat this evening in her History Of Dance talk

LOTTIE Adcock, of Dance The Past, sets herself the challenge of taking a whistle-stop tour through the history of dance in only 40 minutes in her online Festival of Ideas event this evening.

To do so, Lottie must cram more than 10,000 years of footwork, choreography and social etiquette into her terpsichorean talk: quick steps indeed.

The festival website invites you to “experience the history of dance spanning the periods from the 10th century to present day at this fun and informative talk.

“Perfect for anyone who’s ever wondered how the medieval peasantry let off steam; which moves Mr Darcy was busting out on the dance floor; or what on earth a Black Bottom Shuffle is.”

Lottie Adcock has been performing in historic dance groups for more than ten years. She formed the group Eboracum Early Dance and runs the YouTube channel Dance The Past.

Lottie covers Medieval, Tudor, Renaissance, Baroque, Regency (Jane Austen), Victorian and 1940s’ dances, highlighting dance from both court and country.

She provides teaching, public workshops, private events, private tutoring and bespoke workshops. For more information, visit the Dance The Past website,; follow Lottie on Twitter, @DancetheP;  Facebook, @dancethepast.

Admission is free for this evening’s talk, but booking is required at:

Brought to you remotely by the University of York, York Festival of Ideas is full of ideas until June 14, gathered under the new umbrella of Virtual Horizons. For full details, visit

Another idea of the day for the online York Festival of Ideas: Off Limits? Art, social media and censorship. Panel discussion, 8pm, 9/6/2020

Will anything be Off Limits when online censorship of art is under discussion tonight?

TONIGHT, the online York Festival of Ideas holds a panel discussion on art censorship in the age of social media.

Taking part, under the chairmanship of Michael White, will be art historians Amy Werbel and Kyveli Lignou-Tsamantani, from the University of York, and contemporary artists Joanne Leah and belit sağ.

“While on the surface we live in a culture that appears to be ever more permissive, restrictions on the circulation of images is increasing at a very fast rate,” contends the Festival of Ideas website.

“In particular, demands for social media companies to show responsibility is leading to many images being removed.

“But what are the implications of this for artists who increasingly need to use social media to build their audiences and careers? Many are now faced with navigating algorithms designed not just to remove unwanted photographs, but even drawings and cartoons.

“In addition, a huge amount of historical art represents acts that would be considered objectionable and reprehensible. Can they be circulated online?”

As artists and museums move increasingly into the space of the internet, tonight’s expert panel will discuss where we should place the boundaries between freedom of expression and social responsibility.

After the 8pm discussion, Michael White, head of the University of York’s history of art department, will host a question-and-answer session.

Admission is free but booking is required at:

About the speakers

Joanne Leah’s image-based work explores themes of sexuality, isolation and identity from her base in New York City. She focuses on live models who exist on the fringe of society: sex workers, people from the BDSM and LGBTQA+ communities, as well as non-traditional body types.

Exhibitions include Acid Mass at the Not For Them gallery in Queens; NSFW: Female Gaze at the Museum of Sex and the performance/installation project, Fletish.

She founded to provide a liaison between artists and social-media policy makers. Examples of her work can be found on her Instagram page @twofacedkitten and at

Kyveli Lignou-Tsamantani is a postgraduate student in the University of York’s history of art department, researching the politics and ethics of spectatorship of atrocity images in contemporary art.

Her main focus addresses issues of visibility and invisibility in the same context. Her broader research interests cover the ethics of photography/photojournalism, contemporary art and issues of spectatorship, artistic “genealogies” in art history and arts and politics in general.

belit sağ is a video-maker and visual artist who lives in Amsterdam. Her moving-image background is rooted in her work within video-activist groups (VideA, karahaber, and in Ankara and İstanbul.

She was a resident artist at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York, and Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam.

Her practice focuses on the role of visual representations of violence in the experience and perception of political conficts in Turkey, Germany, Netherlands.

Amy Werbel is professor of history of art at the Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY) in New York. She is now researching art censorship as a Fulbright Fellow at the University  of York.

Amy joined SUNY in 2013 as a specialist in the art of the United States and is the author of numerous works on the subject of American visual culture and sexuality.

Her book Lust On Trial: Censorship and the Rise of American Obscenity in the Age of Anthony Comstock (Columbia University Press, 2018) won the 2019 Peter C. Rollins Book Prize of the Northeast Popular and American Culture Association.

Michael White is head of the University of York’s history of art department, working chiefly on the inter-war avant-gardes. He wrote his doctoral thesis on Theo van Doesburg and has a special interest in De Stijl and modernism in the Netherlands.

He was the external curator of the Tate Liverpool exhibition Mondrian And His Studios in 2014. His books include Generation Dada: The Berlin Avant-Garde and the First World War (Yale University Press, 2013).

Brought to you remotely by the University of York, York Festival of Ideas is full of ideas until June 14, gathered under the new umbrella of Virtual Horizons. For full details, visit