APPLICATIONS from ensembles across the world are invited for next year’s York International Young Artists Competition. The closing date is January 15 2024.
This longstanding competition for young ensembles will take place from July 10 to 13 at the National Centre for Early Music, Walmgate, York, as part of York Early Music Festival 2024.
The final will take place on Saturday, July 13 with a day of public performances at the NCEM. The first prize includes a recording contract from Linn Records; a £1,000 prize; opportunities to work with BBC Radio 3 and a concert at the 2025 York Early Music Festival.
Further prizes on offer include: the Friends of York Early Music Festival Prize, the Cambridge Early Music Prize and one for The Most Promising Young Artist/s, endorsed by the EUBO Development Trust.
The competition is open to early music ensembles with a minimum of three members and an average age of 32 years or under and a maximum age of 36 for individuals.
The ensembles must demonstrate historically informed performance practice and play repertory spanning the Middle Ages to the 19th century on period instruments.
The competition is recognised as a major international platform for emerging talent in the world of early music. Attracting musicians from all over the globe, it offers a major boost to young professional careers with opportunities for performance, recording and broadcasting, plus international exposure.
Festival director and NCEM founder Delma Tomlin says: “We’re delighted to be staging the Young Artists competition once again in 2024. One of the highlights of our festival, the competition takes place every two years and fills every corner of the NCEM with music and laughter.
“We believe it is extremely important to nurture and develop young talent, and the competition provides an important opportunity for young artists and musicians not just from the UK but from all over the world.”
Last year’s winners, Protean Quartet, say: “We were delighted and honoured to win the main prize in 2022. Taking part in the competition was an amazing experience. It was wonderful performing at the NCEM’s home, the beautiful St Margaret’s Church, and meeting the other ensemble who were taking part. The prize provides a real boost to our confidence, profile and careers.”
Protean Quartet performed at last summer’s festival, as did 2019 winners L’Apothéose, who say: “Winning the York competition was an extremely important and prestigious recognition of our career. It was wonderful to return to York for the recording of our CD with Linn Records and to appear at the York Early Music Festival last July.”
BAVARIAN revelry and riotous Russian politics, Frankenstein in wartime and jazz era Joni, comedy and charity nights entice Charles Hutchinson to do battle with Storm Babet.
Festival of the week: Jamboree Entertainment presents Yorktoberfest, Clocktower Enclosure, York Racecourse, Knavesmire Road, York, today, 1pm to 5pm; Friday, 7pm to 11pm; next Saturday, 1pm to 5pm and 7pm to 11pm
YORKTOBEFEST returns for a third autumn season of beer, bratwurst, bumper cars and all things Bavarian in a giant marquee. Look out for the Bavarian Strollers, with their thigh-slapping oompah tunes and disco classics, and York’s international drag diva Velma Celli with her stellar singing and saucy humour.
Dancing is encouraged, as is the wearing of Lederhosen, Dirndls or any other fancy dress, with nightly competitions and prizes for the best dressed. Box office: ticketsource.co.uk/yorktoberfest.
Fundraiser of the week: York Rotary presents A Song For Everyone, Memorial Hall, St Peter’s School, Clifton, York, tonight; doors 7pm, concert 7.30pm to 10.15pm
YORK singer and guitarist Steve Cassidy and his band are joined by guest vocalist Heather Findlay to perform a “huge range of popular hits covering six decades”. Expect rock, ballads and country music. Proceeds from this fundraising concert will go to St Leonard’s Hospice and York Rotary Charity Fund. Box office: yorkrotary.co.uk/a-song-for-everyone or on the door.
Spooks at Spark: Halloween Makers’ Market, Spark:York, Piccadilly, York, today, 12 noon to 4pm
THE Halloween edition of Spark:York’s Makers’ Market features “spooktacularly” handcrafted work by independent makers. Taking part will be Wistoragic Designs, Enthralled Yet, Gem Belle, A Forest of Shadows, Kim’s Clay Jewellery and the Mimi Shop by Amelia. Entry is free.
Jazz gig of the week: Hejira: Celebrating Joni Mitchell, National Centre for Early Music, Walmgate, York, tomorrow, 6.30pm
JAZZ seven-piece Hejira honour the works of Canadian-American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and painter Joni Mitchell, mostly from the late 1970s, in particular Mingus from her “jazz period” and the live album Shadows And Light, recorded in 1979 with a Jazz All Stars line-up featuring saxophonist Michael Brecker and guitarist Pat Metheny.
Hejira is fronted by Hattie Whitehead, who – in her own way – has assimilated the poise, power and beauty of Joni’s vocals and plays guitar with Joni’s stylistic mannerisms. Joining her will be Pete Oxley, guitar; Ollie Weston, saxophones; Chris Eldred, piano and keyboards; Dave Jones, electric basses; Rick Finlay, drums, and Marc Cecil, percussion. Box office: 01904 658338 or ncem.co.uk.
Tribute show of the week: Go Your Own Way – The Fleetwood Mac Legacy, Grand Opera House, tomorrow, 7.30pm
GO Your Own Way celebrates the Fleetwood Mac era of Rumours and that 1977 line-up of Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie, Christine McVie and Mick Fleetwood in this new tribute show. Dreams, Don’t Stop Rhiannon, Gold Dust Woman, Everywhere, Little Lies and Big Love all feature. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Film screening of the week: Northern Silents Film Festival presents The Great Train Robbery (1903) and The General (1926), National Centre for Early Music, York, Monday, 7.30pm
NORTHERN Silents artistic director and pianist Jonny Best brings musical commentary to a pair of silent cinema’s most famous railway chase films.
The 12-minute escapade The Great Train Robbery still packs a punch after 120 years, while Buster Keaton’s greatest achievement, the 80-minute The General, is both a brlliantly staged American Civil War epic and a comedy-thriller packed with visual humour, daring stunts and dramatic tension.
Keaton plays railroad engineer Johnny Gray, whose beloved locomotive, The General, is stolen by Yankees, stirring him to strive to get it back against the odds. Box office: 01904 658338 or ncem.co.uk.
One for the Halloween season: Tilted Wig in Frankenstein, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday to Saturday; 7.30pm October 24 and 26 to 28; 2pm, October 25 and 26; 2.30pm, October 28
TILTED Wig’s Frankenstein is an electrifying reimagining of Mary Shelley’s Gothic 19th century horror story, now set in 1943. While Europe tears itself apart, two women hide from their past at what feels like the very end of the world. One of them has a terrifying story to tell.
Adapted and directed by Sean Aydon, this new thriller explores the very fabric of what makes us human and the ultimate cost of chasing “perfection” with a cast featuring Eleanor McLoughlin as Doctor Victoria Frankenstein, Basienka Blake as Captain/Richter and Cameron Robertson as The Creature. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Comedy bill of the week: Burning Duck Comedy Club presents Tom Lawrinson & Friends, Spark:York, Piccadilly, York, Tuesday, 7.30pm
AFTER Tom Lawrinson and Eryn Tett starred in Burning Duck’s inaugural Spark Comedy Fringe, promoter Al Greaves has invited them back to spark more laughs.
Absurdist alternative comedian Tett opens the show; Lawrinson, who made his Edinburgh Fringe debut with Hubba Hubba, is the headline act. In between come two shorter spots (wait and see who those “friends” will be), with guest host MC Mandy McCarthy holding everything together. Box office: burningduckcomedy.com.
A word or two on women: Burning Duck Comedy Club presents Helen Bauer: Grand Supreme Darling Princess, The Crescent, York, Thursday, 7.30pm; Hyde Park Book Club, Headingley, Leeds, Friday, 8pm
HELEN Bauer, Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer nominee, Late Night Mash star and Trusty Dogs podcaster, heads to York and Leeds with a show about the women in her life, from her mother to her best friend and that one girl who was mean in 2008. Oh, and Disney princesses, obviously. Box office: York, wegottickets.com/event/581816; Leeds, wegottickets.com/event/581817.
Spotted in the distance: 101 Dalmatians The Musical, Grand Opera House, York, November 5 to 9 2024, not 2023
A NEW musical tour of Dodie Smith’s canine caper 101 Dalmatians will arrive in York next autumn. Written by Douglas Hodge (music and lyrics) and Johnny McKnight (book), from a stage adaptation by Zinnie Harris, the show is reimagined from the 2022 production at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London. The cast and creative team are yet to be announced.
When fashionista Cruella de Vil plots to swipe all the Dalmatian puppies in town to create her fabulous new fur coat, trouble lies ahead for Pongo and Perdi and their litter of tail-wagging young pups. Smith’s story will be brought to stage life with puppetry, choreography, humorous songs and, yes, puppies. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
In Focus: Political drama of the week: York Settlement Community Players in Government Inspector
IN his first time in the director’s seat for 15 years, Theatre@41 chair and actor Alan Park directs the Settlement Players in David Harrower’s adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s Russian satirical exposé of hypocrisy and corruption in high places, prompted by a simple case of mistaken identity.
Park’s ensemble cast of eccentrics will undertake a fun, chaotic journey through 1980s’ Soviet Russia. “Communism is collapsing, it’s every man, woman and dog for themselves. What could possibly go wrong?” he asks, as the bureaucrats of a small Russian town are sent into a panic by news of the government inspector’s imminent arrival.
Harrower’s version premiered at the Warwick Arts Centre in May 2011 and transferred to the Young Vic, London, later that year. Now it provides “the perfect platform for Settlement Players’ hugely talented ensemble”, led by Mike Hickman as the town’s Major.
Andrew Roberts plays Khlestakov, accompanied by Paul French as his long-suffering servant, Osip. YSCP regulars combine with newcomers in Park’s company of Alison Taylor as the Major’s wife; Pearl Mollison, the Major’s daughter; Katie Leckey, Dobchinsky; Sonia Di Lorenzo, Bobchinksy; Maggie Smales, the Judge; Matt Pattison, Postmaster; Mark Simmonds, Head of Hospitals; Paul Osborne, School Superintendent; Adam Sowter, Police Superintendent; Florence Poskitt, Mishka, and Alexandra Mather, Dr Gibner.
Jim Paterson will lead a live band, made up of cast members, such as Pattison and Sowter, to help transport next week’s audiences to a 1980s’ provincial Soviet town full of eccentric personalities. Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk
GHOSTS in gardens, men in hats and nowt else, kings in trouble, Halloween scares and pumpkins galore offer an autumn harvest for Charles Hutchinson and you to pick.
Yorkshiremen of the week: The Full Monty, Grand Opera House, York, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday matinees
CELEBRATING the 25th anniversary of Peter Cattaneo’s Sheffield film, The Full Monty takes to the stage in a national tour of Simon Beaufoy’s play, wherein a group of lads on the scrapheap try to regain their dignity and pride in a story of ups and downs, humour and heartbreak, resonant anew amid the cost-of-living crisis.
Leaving their hat on will be Danny Hatchard’s Gaz, Jake Quickenden’s Guy, Bill Ward’s Gerald, Neil Hurst’s Dave, Ben Onwukwe’s Horse and Nicholas Prasad’s Lomper. Box office: atgtickets.com/york
Fiddler of the week: Ryan Young & David Foley, National Centre for Early Music, York, Monday, 7.30pm
FIDDLER and 2022 MG ALBA Musician of the Year nominee Ryan Young brings new and exciting ideas to traditional Scottish music with his spellbinding interpretations of very old, often forgotten tunes. Joining him in York will be guitarist David Foley. Box office: 01904 658338 or ncem.co.uk.
Play of the week: York Shakespeare Project in Edward II, Theatre@41, Monkgate, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee
PHASE two of York Shakespeare Project offers the chance over the next 25 years to see works by Shakespeare’s rivals, led off by Christopher “Kit” Marlowe’s intimate historical tragedy Edward II under the direction of Tom “Strasz” Straszewski.
Expect themes of cancel culture, social mobility and celebrity to pour out of this modern interpretation of Marlowe’s 1952 work, starring Jack Downey as Edward II, James Lee as his lover Gaveston and Danae Arteaga Hernandez as his wilful Queen, Isabel, in this “fantasia of power and love”. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Cabaret return of the week: Fascinating Aida – The 40th Anniversary Show, York Barbican, Wednesday, 7.30pm
DILLIE Keane, Adèle Anderson and Liza Pulman, “Britain’s raciest and sassiest musical cabaret trio”, celebrate 40 years of Fascinating Aida travels in their typically charming, belligerent, political, poignant, outrageous and filthy new show. Much-loved favourites, such as Dogging and Cheap Flights, will be combined with fresh satirical numbers. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Meanwhile, actress, presenter and writer Miriam Margolyes’s Oh Miriam! Live show on Monday has sold out.
Opera of the week: York Opera in Verdi’s Macbeth, York Theatre Royal, Wednesday and Friday, 7pm; Saturday, 4pm
JOHN Soper directs York Opera in its autumn production of Giuseppe Verdi’s 1847 opera Macbeth, starring the highly experienced duo of baritone Ian Thomson-Smith as Macbeth and soprano Sharon Nicholson-Skeggs as Lady Macbeth.
Sung in English, it stays true to Shakespeare’s original play, complete with witches, ghosts, cut-throats and the political scheming of the Scottish court. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Gigs of the week: Lloyd Cole, Tuesday, 8pm; Paul Carrack, Thursday, 7.30pm at York Barbican
LLOYD Cole plays two sets in one night on Tuesday, the first acoustic and solo, the second electric, with a band featuring two of his Commotions compadres, Blair Cowan and Neil Clark, as he showcases his 12th solo album, On Pain.
Sheffield singer, songwriter, guitarist and keyboard player Paul Carrack, the soulful voice of Ace, Squeeze and Mike + The Mechanics hits, returns to one of his most regular joints on Thursday. How long has this been going on? Oh, a long, long time. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Halloween days and nights: Hallowtween and Hallowscream, York Maze, near Elvington, York until November 4
HALLOWTWEEN is billed as the “UK’s only Halloween event for families with children aged ten to 15”. Venture inside four of York Maze’s Hallowscream scare houses but without the monsters that inhabit them at night for the shocks and thrills of Corny’s Cornevil, The Singularity, The Flesh Pot and a new haunted house.
Hallowscream fright nights promise fear and fun in five live-action scare houses, plus a new stage show, bar and hot food. Box office: hallowtween.co.uk or yorkmazehallowscream.co.uk.
Trail of the season: Ghosts In The Garden, haunting York until November 12
THE eerie sculptures of Ghosts In The Gardens return for the third time for haunted York’s spookiest season, as unearthly monks, a noble knight, Vikings, painters, archers, even a phantom peacock, pop up in translucent 3D wire mesh form.
Unconventional Designs have created a free trail of 39 sculptures, installed at Museum Gardens, The Artists’ Garden, Treasurer’s House, Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, Middletons Hotel, St Anthony’s Garden, Barley Hall, Shambles, Clifford’s Tower, The Judge’s Lodging, DIG, Castle Museum Mill, Edible Wood and Library Lawn.
Children’s festival of the month: Pumpkin Festival at Piglets Adventure Farm, Towthorpe Grange, Towthorpe Moor Lane, York, October 14, 15, 21, 22 and 28 to 31, then November 1 to 3
HERE comes the Pumpkin Patch (with a free pumpkin for every paying child), Pumpkin Carving Marquee, Catch The Bats Quiz, Professor Dan’s Tricks and Treats Magic Show at 12 noon and 2pm, The Bat-walk Fancy Dress Parade at 3.30pm, Gruesome Ghosts of York in the Maize Maze and Spooky Animal Encounters.
From November 1 to 3, the attractions will be Professor Dan’s eye-popping Magic Show (same show times), Gruesome Ghosts of York in the Maize Maze and Spooky Animal Encounters. Tickets: pigletsadventurefarm.com.
Postponed: Bev Jones Music Company in Guys And Dolls, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, October 18 to 21.
LUCK won’t be a lady next week after all. Cast illness has put paid to the Bev Jones Music Company’s first production since Covid-blighted 2020. Claire Pulpher was to have directed a York cast led by tenor Chris Hagyard in Frank Loesser, Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows’ 1950s’ musical. Plans are afoot to stage the show next summer instead. Ticket holders are being contacted by the JoRo box office team.
Duo of the week: Catrin Finch & Aoife Ni Bhriain, National Centre for Early Music, York, Friday, 7.30pm
AFTER her award-winning collaborations with Seckou Keita and Cimarron, Welsh harpist Catrin Finch has formed a virtuoso duo with Dublin violinist Aoife Ni Bhriain, who commands both the classical world and her traditional Irish heritage.
Inspired by a multitude of influences and linked by the cultures of their home countries, they follow up last November’s debut at Other Voices Cardigan with a select few concerts previewing the extraordinary and original material from their October 27 debut album, Double You. Box office: 01904 658338 or ncem.co.uk.
Looking ahead: Paloma Faith, The Glorification Of Sadness Tour 2024, York Barbican, May 12
NEXT spring, Paloma Faith will play York for the first time since her York Racecourse Music Showcase set on Knavesmire in June 2018, promoting her sixth studio album, next February’s The Glorification Of Sadness.
Her new songs will be “celebrating finding your way back after leaving a long-term relationship, being empowered even in your failures and taking responsibility for your own happiness”, following last year’s split from French artist Leyman Lachine. Hull Bonus Arena on May 3 awaits too. Box office: from 10am on October 20, ticketmaster.co.uk and seetickets.com.
In Focus: Chronicled and Summer Art finalists’ exhibitions at Spark: York, Piccadilly, York, today and tomorrow
SPARK:YORK, the creative community space in Piccadilly, York, is hosting two exhibitions this weekend, both exploring themes powerfully relevant to our communities today.
Chronicled is a pop-up show organised by the University of York’s Ukrainian Society, showcasing works by Kyiv street photographer Dima Leonenko.
His dynamic vision of everyday life in the Ukrainian capital during the Russianfull-scale invasion is reflected through his film photos. ”When I see a character or a scene that catches my attention, I just press the button and capture it,” he says.
On show from 12 noon to 10.30pm today and tomorrow, Dima’s exhibition will be accompanied by an interactive project that allows visitors to immerse themselves in the “war-life reality’’ of the Ukrainian people. The event takes place in Spark:York’s co-working space downstairs, with a drinks welcome, from 6pm to 8pm tonight.
Spark:York also will be showcasing artworks submitted to its summer art competition, set up to encourage York-based artists to imagine the city’s future 100 years from now and share their ideas, fears and hopes surrounding the impact of climate change on this historic city.
Leon François Dumont, Spark:York resident artist and judging panel member, says: ”In this art exhibition, we’ve witnessed a remarkable outpouring of creativity from both young and adult artists.
“From a city transformed by shipping containers to a bubble-like dome preserving York under water, these artworks by the finalists are a testament to the power of imagination.”
The exhibition can be viewed in Spark:York’s Show studio upstairs today and tomorrow from 12 noon to 9pm. Guests are invited to contribute to a time capsule created on the day by leaving a message and a memento for the people of York in 2050, the year of the UK’s net zero target. Spark: York hopes to pass the time capsule on to the City of York Council for safekeeping.
At the front of Spark:York will be an art installation by VRAC (Vape Recycling Awareness Campaign), a York campaign group that has been been working with Spark:York over the past 18 months to collect used vapes that would otherwise end up being discarded, either in landfills or down drains, polluting waterways and ground water with toxic metals. An estimated 1.5 million per week are discarded in this way.
Group founder Mick Storey says: ”The SUCKERED – not – SUCCOURED installation, using some 3,000 used vapes, conveys a message about our responsibility to all our young people and the future generations yet to come who will inherit whatever future it is we leave behind us.”
Spark:York “hopes that both exhibitions can open a discussion around the future of our communities, as well as provoke reflections and meaningful actions that can help build a better world for us all”.
Entry to both exhibitions is free. For more information, head to: www.sparkyork.org/
NEWS ALERT: 26/10/2023
The York In 100 Years exhibition has moved to Spark:York’s pop-up space, where it will be on display until November 5.
Tim Lowe and Katya Apekisheva, Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York, September 15
YORK Chamber Music Festival’s tenth anniversary season bounced into life with this lunchtime recital centred round Brahms’s First Cello Sonata. The remainder of the programme involved some Beethoven variations, a couple of Tchaikovsky bonbons and two Schumann movements originally intended for horn. But it was a pleasing taster nonetheless.
The first of Brahms’s two sonatas for cello and piano, in E minor, is a surprisingly mature work, given that it mostly dates from his late twenties and is his first chamber piece for two instruments.
Compared to most of his contemporaries he was a late developer. The first movement, in which the major key makes futile attempts to take over from the minor, relies heavily on the cello’s lower range. Here the balance between the players was, rarely in this recital, not quite right and a little more heft in the cello might have solved the problem. But there was no faulting Tim Lowe’s upper register, which sang with heartfelt joy.
There was a jaunty opening to the minuet and an engaging return to its resumption after the halting trio. Bach’s influence on the finale was plain to hear and the ebb and flow between the duo after the central unison was riveting, before a decidedly edgy coda.
Beethoven’s variations on Handel’s aria See, The Conquering Hero Comes – nowadays often sung as an Easter hymn – shows a remarkable affinity for the cello’s spectrum of colours, which Lowe amply demonstrated. As so often as an accompanist, Katya Apekisheva was quick to adapt her tone to the work’s chameleon moods.
Two Tchaikovsky pieces originally intended for piano solo revealed the composer’s talent for a long-breathed melody, particularly one in a minor key. He loved his C sharp minor Nocturne, Op 19 No 4 so much that he orchestrated it. Lowe was richly touching in the little cadenza at its heart. Even more soulful was the Valse Sentimentale (Op 51 No 6 in F minor) with its passionate undercurrents.
Schumann wrote his Adagio and Allegro, Op 70 for horn and piano but allowed a cellist friend to transcribe it. In this guise it sounds remarkably different. Lowe delivered a beautifully calm line in the Adagio, and the duo captured the Allegro’s rapture superbly, with its second theme ideally balanced by the piano, before full-blown excitement at its close.
Festival Strings, National Centre for Early Music, Walmgate, York, September 15
STRING quartets by Haydn and Mendelssohn preceded Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen in its original form in this evening recital, which was the first at which all of the festival’s seven resident string players were present. Looked at another way, this was late Haydn, early Mendelssohn and late Strauss, a potent combination.
Jonathan Stone led the ensemble for Haydn’s Emperor quartet, Op 76 No 3 in C, backed by John Mills as second violin, Simone van der Giessen as viola and Jonathan Aasgaard as cello. There is always an element of hazard – part of the fun, if you like – when four independent souls, mainly used to solo work, link talents, particularly in a work by Haydn that requires the utmost precision.
That hazard is increased when they opt to play with very little vibrato, as here. That decision was odd given that this is a work of the late 1790s, with several toes, if not a whole foot, in the Romantic era. That may be the reason why this combo never quite settled.
Intonation was slightly awry in the nervous first movement and even the Emperor adagio (variations on Haydn’s hymn for the Kaiser, now the German national anthem) lacked real character, virtually vibrato-less.
The minuet was much more relaxed, even chirpy, with nice shading in its trio, but the finale was a touch too fast for its semiquavers to enjoy real clarity. The overall effect was intimate where we needed to hear more of Haydn’s heart on his sleeve.
Mills took over from Stone to lead Mendelssohn’s Second Quartet, Op 13 in A minor, with Hélène Clément as the new viola. Although only 30 years separate this piece from the Haydn, the players’ difference in approach was tangible.
Right from the start, there was a new commitment. After a rich opening Adagio, inner voices shone through commendably in the turbulent Allegro. After the slow movement’s central fugato, Mills’s little recitative to return to the opening was exquisite.
The central scherzo in the Intermezzo was light and delicate, returning to the movement’s opening with a delicate rallentando, before almost no break into the restless finale. Among so much incident here, the viola’s recall of the fugato theme was a pivotal moment, briefly changing the mood, before another outbreak of violence, stilled in its turn by the violin’s pacifying cadenza, supremely executed.
Thereafter, the recall of the very opening Adagio brought comfort and calm. It had been a passionate narrative, probably inspired by the teenage Mendelssohn’s unrequited infatuation at the time.
For nearly half a century, Strauss’s Metamorphosen was known only as a piece for 23 solo strings. Then the original version, for string septet with double bass foundation, came to light in 1990. It is writing of great intensity, which grew from a lament on the bombing of Munich in 1943.
The ensemble, led again by John Mills, brought great clarity to the score’s complex tapestry. From the dark opening on lower strings, its eventual emergence into major key territory brought a gradual quickening of rhythmic life, with all the players becoming as fervent as the ‘engine-room’ of violas.
When this had subsided back into grief, the cry of pain from the top three voices was answered by a vivid tutti, after which resignation slowly took over, with Strauss’s dotted figure assuming the characteristics of a recurring sob. It had seemed to subsume remorse, regret and elegy – for all mankind.
Katya Apekisheva, Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York, September 16
KATYA Apekisheva is one of a very rare breed of pianists, one who is equally accomplished as a soloist and as a supportive player (otherwise known as an accompanist). She changed her originally published lunchtime programme into an all-Schubert recital, combining works written in the last year of his life, 1828.
Schubert’s Drei Klavierstücke (Three Piano Pieces), D.946, of May 1828 together equal the breadth of a full-scale sonata, although their keys are not related. They are better considered as impromptus, which implies sudden inspiration, even if they are all essentially in three parts.
Apekisheva took time to adjust her tone down to the size of the venue and began quite stridently, blurring the first statement in No 1 in E flat minor with over-pedalling, an oversight that she handsomely corrected on its repeat. Still, the central melody was too loud to be much of a contrast with the opening.
No 2 in E flat major enjoyed a more tender start, although it quickly boiled into something like anger when Apekisheva produced a trombone in the left hand where a gentler bassoon would have done the trick. Then we began to sense a Viennese flavour emerging at the move to the minor key, before a beautifully smooth transition back to the calm of the opening. This was more like it.
No 3 in C major was a real crackerjack, crisp and crunchy. The central trio was trimly smooth, right down to its stormy ending, and the syncopation in the returning scherzo injected exactly the wit we had been waiting for. She was back in the groove.
September 1828, a mere two months before Schubert’s death, saw him produce no less than three full-scale piano sonatas, which together may be said to crystallise his musical philosophy. The last of these, D.960 in B flat major, has a serenity largely missing from its two predecessors, which are more volatile. Apekisheva underlined this with some of her finest playing, growing more luminous with each movement.
Her opening was very spacious, a touch slower than is traditional, but right in keeping with the composer’s marking ‘Molto moderato’. The second theme was quicker, but its melodic flow was several times impeded by a little too much rubato. There was real nobility in the slow movement’s second melody, where the trombone returned, quite justifiably this time, to her left hand. But its overall mood was deeply ruminative, even doleful.
The scherzo was flickering and fairy-light, just what the doctor ordered, with fierce accents in its trio. Apekisheva’s contrasting moods throughout the finale were testimony to her deft touch, which enabled her to convey her ideas in the subtlest ways, tiny inflexions that reflected her intelligence.
By the end she had the sunlight bursting through the detached notes in the left hand, with the movement’s magical octave opening reduced to a pianissimo before the final burst of enthusiasm. This was Apekisheva at her radiant best.
Festival Strings and Piano, Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York, September 16
THREE works written by English composers in the first two decades of the 20th century made an extremely satisfying combination on the festival’s second evening. Vaughan Williams’s rarely heard Piano Quintet was the centrepiece, framed by Bridge’s Three Idylls and Elgar’s Piano Quintet after the interval.
Bridge’s Three Idylls of 1906 come right out of the Edwardian playbook, those balmy years before Europe turned to war. They speak of a more Arcadian time infused with innocence. Bridge opens and closes the first, which is in C sharp minor, with a viola solo, the instrument reflecting his own professional career as a player.
Simone van der Giessen brought to it the dark colouring it demands. But with Jonathan Stone as leader the ensemble dissolved neatly into its quicker, major key section, before muting back into something calmer.
The Allegretto, No 2 in E minor, was notable for its springy rhythms, before breaking off into greater restraint. No 3 in C major, an Allegro con moto, has a catchy tune, with more than a sniff of Morris dancing; its snippets were jovially exchanged between the voices. The unexpected chorale that follows did not deter a snappy ending.
Vaughan Williams did not encourage, nor expect, his Piano Quintet in C minor (1903-5) to be played, regarding it as backward-looking. But his widow Ursula succumbed to pressure and allowed its performance only as recently as 1990. It reveals much about the composer’s early influences, as well as his likely direction of travel; we can now see it as a pivotal work, in other words.
The work is unusual in using a double bass and dispensing with a second violin. This give its bass line a firmer foundation and, with pizzicato, a more percussive impact. Its broad Brahmsian sweep at the start shows Vaughan Williams’s Romantic inclinations, before folk-song notions had grabbed his imagination. Even here, however, the second theme, with strings alone, begins to sound English and the use of the coda to give each player, including the double bass, a brief solo is a distinctive touch.
The chorale-like start to the Andante, heard in the piano and commented upon by the strings, was handled eloquently here before becoming more animated. On its return, the piano accompaniment sounded as if cribbed from his song Silent Noon, which was written the same year as this work was begun: a hazy, calming effect.
Strings and piano faced off against each other in the final Fantasia, but after Katya Apekisheva’s piano had furiously escaped the fray, they all came together in a staccato reconciliation, led by John Mills’s violin.
A wistful reminiscence, with pianistic bells tolling across the landscape, was followed by a grand build-up broken only by the piano’s return to the chorale and a quiet close that the ensemble controlled beautifully. It was hard to imagine a more revealing account of this superb work.
Elgar’s Piano Quintet in A minor of 1918, by contrast, was written in the wake of a searing war. Its hesitant introduction breaks into anger in its second theme, from which the ensemble, with Jonathan Stone back in the leader’s chair, did not recoil. The little three-note rhythm, a drumbeat of war, permeated the whole first movement, and the ensemble made the most of it, even in the deeply rueful ending.
The immense climax at the centre of the slow movement subsided as quickly as it arrived, and the extended coda resumed the telling harmonic stasis with which the movement had opened. The ensemble was unflaggingly insistent throughout Elgar’s heavily accented finale, building to a coda that was thrillingly optimistic.
AN historic crucifix, a Wolds art trail, 40th anniversaries at the quadruple and a York-made horror double bill promise a heap of interesting encounters for Charles Hutchinson and you alike.
Exhibition launch of the week:Hide & Seek: The Aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot, Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre, Blossom Street, York, today until November 16
THE only surviving item from thousands seized in raids on Catholic houses after the 1605 Gunpowder Plot goes on show in York. The late 16th/early 17th century crucifix belonged to Father Edward Oldcorne (1561-1606), who was hanged, drawn and quartered despite being innocent of involvement. His crime: he attended school in York with infamous plotter Guy Fawkes and committed the treasonous act of becoming a Catholic priest.
On display will be new research into the crucifix, more information on Oldcorne and the men he was caught alongside, and an exploration of how priest hiding holes were constructed within the fabric of buildings. Tickets: barconvent.co.uk.
Children’s gig of the week: Andy And The Odd Socks, York Theatre Royal, today, 1pm
STRAIGHT off the telly and onto the live stage, Andy And The Odd Socks bring their madcap mix of songs, slapstick and silliness to life with a 70-minute show to entertain families of all ages.
Fronted by Andy Day, CBeebies regular and 2021 York Theatre Royal panto star as Dandini in Cinderella, their sock’n’roll makes for the ideal first concert for children. Andy And The Odd Socks are patrons for the Anti-Bullying Alliance, by the way. Tickets update: filling up fast; 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Studio show of the week: Essential Theatre in The Mistake, York Theatre Royal Studio, tonight, 7.45pm
DIRECTED by Rosamunde Hutt, Michael Mears’s Spirit of the Fringe award-winning play explores the events surrounding the catastrophic ‘mistake’ that launched the nuclear age, followed by a post-show discussion.
1942. On a squash court in Chicago, a dazzling scientific experiment takes place, one that three years later will destroy a city and change the world forever. Two actors, one British (Mears), one Japanese (Riko Nakazono), enact the stories of a brilliant Hungarian scientist, a daring American pilot and a devoted Japanese daughter, in a fast-moving drama about the dangers that arise when humans dare to unlock the awesome power of nature. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Season start of the week: York Late Music, Franko Bozak, 1pm; Delta Saxophone Quartet, 7.30pm, Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York, today
FRANKO Bozac showcases the reasons why the accordion should not be underestimated in his afternoon programme, featuring a collaboration between composer James Williamson and visual artist Romey T Brough.
Celebrating their own ruby anniversary, the Delta Saxophone Quartet mark York Late Music’s 40th year by performing Steve Martland, The Soft Machine and new works. Box office: latemusic.org or on the door.
Musical of the week: Be Amazing Arts in West Side Story, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, today and tomorrow, 2.30pm and 7.30pm
MALTON company Be Amazing Arts present Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s musical transition of Shakesespeare’s Romeo And Juliet to modern-day New York City, where two young idealistic lovers find themselves caught between warring street gangs, the “American” Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks.
Arthur Laurents’s book remains as powerful, poignant and timely as ever, charting the lovers’ struggle to survive in a world of hate, violence and prejudice in this innovative, heart-wrenching landmark Broadway musical. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
Art event of the weekend: Pocklington Area Open Studios 2023, today and tomorrow, 10am to 5pm
TAKING in Pocklington, villages with ten miles of the East Yorkshire market town, the Yorkshire Wolds and North Derwent Valley, Pocklington Area Open Studios 2023 features 28 artists in 14 venues.
This compact art trail features paintings, ceramics, textiles, jewellery and photography, with the chance to meet diverse painters and makers, many in their own studios, who will preview their latest works for sale, discuss their creative processes, potential commissions and upcoming workshops and courses.
Venue 1: Park Lane End Studio, Park Lane, Bishop Wilton: Colin Pollock, oils, acrylics and watercolour; Judith Pollock, printmaking and mixed media.
Venue 2: The Studio, The Old School, Skirpenbeck: Lesley Peatfield, fine art and abstract photography; Richard Gibson, sculptures.
Venue 3: Rocking Horse Studio, Rocking Horse Yard, Fangfoss: Shirley Davis Dew, painting; Sue Giles, textile art exploring Japanese Shibori techniques of dyeing; Richard Moore, handmade ceramic tiles.
Venue 4: Fangfoss Pottery, The Old School, Fangfoss,: Gerry Grant, ceramics; Sarah Relf, drawing and illustration.
Venue 5: I Woldview Road, Wilberfoss: Mo Burrows, jewellery; Bernadette Oliver, acrylic, ink and collage; Tori Foster, jewellery.
Venue 6: 4 Archibald Close, Pocklington: Peter Schoenecker, 2D and 3D art works.
Venue 7: 35 St Helens Road, Pocklington: Mary Burton, acrylics and pastels; Lee Steele, ceramics; Ingrid Barton, mixed media.
Venue 8: Newfold House Granary Studio, Newton upon Derwent: Chris Cullum, textile arts.
Venue 9: Tullyframe, Main Street, Barmby Moor: Penny De Corte, ceramic art; Avril Cheetham, jewellery.
Venue 11: Church Farm, Town Street, Hayton: Noreen Thorp, pastel, watercolour and mixed media, Lynda Heaton, watercolour and mixed media.
Venue 12: Hayton Studio, Manor Farm, Town Street, Hayton: Peter Edwards, mixed media; Harry Hodgson, mixed media.
Venue 13: Plum Tree Studio & House, Pocklington Lane, Huggate: Belinda Hazlerigg, paintings, printmaking, silk scarves and ceramics.
Venue 14: 3 Stable Court, Londesborough: Tony Wells, ceramics.
For the brochure, map and artist details, head to: pocklingtonareaopenstudios.co.uk/info.html.Free entry.
Touring play of the week: Frantic Assembly in Metamorphosis at York Theatre Royal, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2pm Thursday and 2.30pm Saturday matinee
POET, author, broadcaster and speaker Lemn Sissay has adapted Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis for Frantic Assembly, visceral purveyors of theatre full of physicality, movement and emotional truths, who last toured Othello to York.
Gregor Samsa finds himself transformed from breadwinner into burden in this absurd and tragic story, wherein humans struggle within a system that crushes them under its heel in Kafka’s existential depiction of the limitations of the body and mind, imagination and aspiration. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Sing something synth-full: Howard Jones: Celebrating 40 Years 1983-2023, York Barbican, Wednesday, doors, 7pm
SINGER, songwriter and synth player Howard Jones, 68, is marking the 40th anniversary of his revolutionary debut single, New Song, performing in a five-piece with Kajagoogoo’s Nick Beggs on bass and Robert Boult on guitar. Expect a “sonic visual feast” of hits and fan favourites and a support spot from Blancmange.
“I think my ’80s’ work still resonates through the generations because of the positive message in the lyrics,” says Jones. “I’ve always believed that music can give the listener a boost, especially when things in life prove challenging. Things can only get better when we realise the power of our own actions and engagement.” Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
More 40th anniversary celebrations: The Waterboys, York Barbican, Thursday, 7.30pm
MIKE Scott has made a habit of playing York Barbican, laying on his Scottish-founded folk, rock, soul and blues band’s “Big Music” in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018 and October 2021.
Since then, The Waterboys have released 15th studio album All Souls Hill in 2022; re-released 2000’s Rock In A Weary Land, 2003’s Universal Hall and 2007’s Book Of Lightning on vinyl; appeared on Sky Arts’ The Great Songwriters and announced a six-CD box set of This Is The Sea for early 2024. Joining Scott will be Memphis keyboard player “Brother” Paul Brown, British drummer Ralph Salmins and Irish bassman Aongus Ralston.
Level 42’s Living It Up tour date on Friday the 13th is unlucky for some – it has sold out – but tickets are still available for fellow Eighties’ combo The Waterboys at yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Spooky screening of the week: Book Of Monsters and Zomblogalypse, Spark: York, Piccadilly, York, Friday, 6pm to 11pm
YORK’S horror filmmaking community gathers this Friday The 13th for a special double screening of Dark Rift Horror’sBook Of Monsters and MilesTone Films’Zomblogalypse.
Both York-made indie films have enjoyed award-scooping film festival tours, with Dark Rift’s follow-up feature, How To Kill Monsters,now screening internationally.
Meet the filmmakers, cast and crew of each movie, including directors Stewart Sparke, Hannah Bungard, Miles Watts and Tony Hipwell and star Lyndsey Craine. Add in signings, photo opportunities with cast and props, and merchandise to buy, including both films on Blu-ray, official posters, art cards and other fun stuff. Box office: ticketpass.org/event/EGUKTC/dark-rift-double-bill. 18-plus only.
In Focus: How York composer James Williamson, artist Romey T Brough and Croatian accordionist Franko Bozac collaborated for Late Music premiere and Blossom Street Gallery exhibition
YORK composer James Williamson’s composition, Romey Collages, will be premiered by accordionist Franko Bozac as part of the 2023 York Late Festival season today.
The work is a collaboration between James and artist Romey T Brough that emerged from him seeing her work at Blossom Street Gallery, Blossom Street, York.
Romey, who lived and worked in York for many years, now resides at her studio in the Hertfordshire countryside. Her latest collages will be on show at Kim Oldfield’s gallery until October 29 under the exhibition title of A Collaboration in Music and Colour
“It’s a really interesting exploration of the relationship between the audible and visual,” says Kim.
Croatian accordion virtuoso Franko Bozac will be making his Late Music debut at St Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel this afternoon, when Romey Collages will be showcased.
Composer James Williamson says: “This set of five pieces is a direct response to a set of monoprint collages by Romey. I first came across her work in 2016 in Blossom Street Gallery, where one of Romey’s collages was displayed on the wall and it immediately caught my eye.
“The collage was a vibrant display of repeated strips of colours, each strip with its own character, yet similar to the one before and after; a kind of self-similarity.”
At the time, James was working towards his PhD in composition, which drew on minimalist visual art and a fascination with the Deleuzian idea of difference and repetition and how might this apply to composing.
“To cut a long story short, I contacted Romey through the gallery to learn more about her work. We immediately connected over a coffee and thought it would be a great idea to collaborate on a project,” says James.
“Romey then created a series of five collages that drew inspiration from music, with each work having a musical title: Chaconne, Aubade, Nocturne, Pastorale and Berceuse. I then responded to these works and created a set of five pieces, each one being a musical interpretation of the works and their titles.
“Like most of my recent work, I use one or two ideas in each piece. I flesh these ideas out using repetition of singular fragments or phrases, juxtaposed by other contrasting fragments, similarly to Romey’s collages.”
Around the same time, James was contacted by Franko Bozac to commission a new piece. “I thought it would be great to tie the two projects together. I have always loved the accordion for its sound and versatility, and rather fittingly, when the bellows open up, it reminds me of collages themselves.”
In turn, Romey recalls: “I had a phone call from Kim, when I was exhibiting my monoprint collages in Blossom Street Gallery, saying that a young composer was interested in meeting me as he composed music the way I created my collages.
“I was very intrigued, and we met up for coffee outside York Theatre Royal. I hadn’t heard any of James’s compositions but was amazed by how we both could understand each other’s creative processes, and when he suggested a collaboration I was delighted to agree.”
On the bus back to her York studio, she thought of moods of the day from dawn to night. “Early the next day I travelled to Monks Cross on a very misty morning and Aubade/Dawn came to me,” she says. “The rest followed on, culminating in Nocturne/Night, inspired by the view from my studio through an established beech hedge of car headlights flashing past.
“I have since then indulged in listening to James’s compositions and created more collages inspired by his work. It’s been an exciting collaboration for me, and I hope to continue creating music-inspired images.”
Describing her modus operandi, Romey says: “My monoprints are created by painting with acrylic paint onto glass; the image is then transferred to paper. The glass is wiped clean each time a print is taken, therefore each one is unique.
“The collages are a development following on from the photographic ones I occasionally create. I am fascinated by how reorganising strips of my monoprints can bring more intensity to the colours and evoke memories and emotions.”
DrJames Williamson: the back story
STUDIED at University of Huddersfield and Royal Academy of Music, completing PhD in Composition at University of York.
His works have been performed by: Psappha; Aurora Orchestra; Hebrides Ensemble; London Sinfonietta; CoMA London; Croatian Philharmonic Orchestra; Lunar Saxophone Quartet; Delta Saxophone Quartet; Quatuor Diotima; Ligeti String Quartet; University of York Symphony Orchestra; RAM Symphony Orchestra; Kate Ledger (piano); Anna Snow (voice); Ian Pace (piano), Franko Bozac (accordion) and Stephen Altoft (19-division trumpet).
Broadcasts include BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction and Hear And Now, Beethoven FM (Chile) and Radio 3 Beograd.
Romey T. Brough: the back story
STUDIED initially at Harrow Art School in Middlesex, north of London. Awarded various certificates including national Diploma in Design.
Studied overseas in Italy in Positano, winning a scholarship. Studied with Professor Spadini at Rome Academy.
Work exhibited regularly at Royal Academy, London, and is in archives of Tate Gallery, London, and galleries and collections throughout UK, Japan, Australia and United States of America.
IT began inauspiciously in the library of the old Yorkshire Evening Press building in Coney Street, York.
Rick Broadbent was 16/17, living in Tadcaster, twixt York and Leeds, and was on work experience. His first taste of journalism, in the mid-1980s.
“I certainly made an impression because I remember writing an obituary of someone who hadn’t died. Can’t remember the guy’s name, but relatively obscure. Jeremiah…”
Deep in the labyrinth of cuttings files, he found a Jeremiah, but the wrong one as it turned out. “It was clearly a baptism of ineptitude,” says the award-winning author and journalist for The Times for more than 20 years, recalling his cub reporter howler.
Rick would leave Yorkshire at 18 to study at Reading University – one of three northerners at a southern university, alongside a Scouser and a Geordie – but Yorkshire has never left him. So much so, his latest book is Now Then: A Biography Of Yorkshire, whose publication today is accompanied by a Meet The Author tour that visits St Peter’s School Memorial Hall, York, tomorrow, as well as South Cave, Malton, Ilkley, Sheffield, Farsley and Ripon.
As he writes in the book’s final words: “I live in Dorset, but Yorkshire is where I’m from and, more often than not, where I’m at. It’s a state of its own and a state of mind. That’ll do.”
He depicts a “remarkable county, swathed in world-stopping beauty and practical magic, stunning in positive and negative ways, but it’s like the Hotel California – you can check out, but you can never leave”.
The Leeds-born “exiled Yorkshireman” has written a humorously honest, unsparing, celebratory biographical mosaic, not a hagiography. “I loved the place but had sometimes loathed it too”, writes the outsider with the insider’s knowledge.
Broadbent acknowledges the tropes, the ee bah gums, the Stereotykes, as one chapter is headed – Boycott’s batting, ferret-leggers and folk singers without flat caps on Ilkley Moor – as he seeks the true soul of the Texas of England and ponders whether “Yorkshireness” even matters in a shrinking world.
Social history, memoir and reportage, high hills and flat vowels, are woven into the mosaic of Yorkshire now and Yorkshire then, ordinary Yorkshire and its extraordinary lives. “What I didn’t want to do was do a chronological history,” he says of his task of representing a Yorkshire “so large, multifarious and unmanageable”.
Hence the diversity of interviews, from rock stars (Richard Hawley) to rhubarb growers, ramblers to William Wilberforce’s descendants, William and Dan, the Archbishop of York, the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, to Barnsley bard Ian McMillan.
“I thought, you have to pool all this information, draw these disparate places and stories into themes and sections.” In a nutshell, Outsiders. Workers. Writers. Miners. Minstrels. Artists. Yorkists. Stereotykes. Champions. Ramblers. Chefs. Pioneers. Legends. Seasiders. Now. Then.
As a starting point, he dug up his own past, before turning to Britain’s largest county at large. Excavating his father’s remains from a Tadcaster graveyard in 2011, gathered in a coffee jar, to be scattered at sea in accordance with his wishes at Lamorna Cove, in Cornwall, where the Broadbents had always holidayed and family members had since gravitated south. “It was not so much scattering ashes as throwing rocks at seagulls,” he recalls with typical Broadbent humour.
Cornwall and Yorkshire share common ground: a belief that devolution and self-sufficiency from such natural riches would suit each county. “From that moment I started to think about the Yorkshire we had known. It felt like a severing of roots, and leaving again made me reconsider,” Rick writes. “Basically, I wanted to know if we had made a mistake by chucking Dad off the Cornish coast.”
Explaining the choice of a Yorkshire greeting with a nod to past and present for the title, he says: “It just seemed a natural title to me. Evocative of Yorkshire. If you live there, you have every right to gripe, but when you move from Yorkshire, your pride grows in exile; like the further away you are, your affection for the Knaresborough Bed Race grows in direct proportion to the likelihood of you never having to attend it.
“One of the key goals of the book is getting away from the stereotypes. Some of it is because of Yorkshire’s size; some of it is down to the stereotype Yorkshire personality. In that chapter, I mention the Four Yorkshiremen sketch, but the best ones are by Harry Enfield and Hale & Pace.”
That “’ear all, see all, say nowt”, stiff-necked stereotyping means Yorkshire has a defined image like no other county. Hence the tea towels, the Ey Ups, the Nora Battys.
“But when people talk of Yorkshire as ‘God’s Own Country’, they’re not talking about inner-city Sheffield, but the dales and moors and All Creatures Great And Small,” says Rick. “It’s a badge of honour, a badge of pride.”
Stephen Millership’s cover illustration depicts York Minster on fire (“I asked for the fire to be on there,” says Rick); a band stand, but with Jarvis Cocker, arms aloft, rather than a brass band; Kes’s kestrel, but no ferrets; colliery and cricket; White Rose flag and dry stone wall; farmer and sheepdog; viaduct and verdant pastures. “The ferret is mentioned but only to show how people reduce this huge county to two or three tropes,” says Rick.
Battles of distant days, Towton and Marston Moor, feature as does the battle of Orgreave in the Miners’ Strike. “I wanted to look at Yorkshire’s industrial heritage: when [Margaret] Thatcher was doing that to the mining communities, wrecking them with no after-plan. Or talking about the Grimethorpe Brass Band story, the Brassed Off story, but also the steel industry and shipbuilding,” says Rick.
“Looking at common themes, one of them is of Yorkshire being abandoned, now with HS2, and that feeds into the desire for devolution. Going back to being victimised in the Harrowing of the North [in William the Conqueror’s reign); the purging of the dales under Elizabeth I.
“These things come down to being abandoned and neglected, and I wanted to reflect that, rather than have some ee-bah-gum fun with the book. Johnny Giles said ‘being Leeds United [the “Dirty Leeds of Don Revie’s 1960s-’70s], we just had to defend ourselves’, and it’s the same with Yorkshire.”
Relegation-bound Leeds United were “a constant drain” on lifelong fan Broadbent’s enthusiasm throughout his writing project and feature as they “disappoint their fans week after week” in “the most controversial poem ever written”, Tony Harrison’s V, a Leeds work full of verses and versus and verbal V signs that strikes a chord with Broadbent’s own sentiments.
“I was a kid when it came out and I remember we giggled at the swear words at school. All those complaints came in when it was on TV. But reading it again, it’s all so relevant, with all that class division.”
You can allus tell a Yorkshireman, but tha’ can’t tell him much, as the saying goes, but Now Then will tell Yorkshiremen and outsiders alike plenty, from stories of industrial neglect and forgotten tragedies to the Bronte Sisters and Marks & Spencer, a lost albatross to a stuffed crocodile.
“I’m fascinated by that phrase, ‘it’s where you’re from and where you’re at’. For me it means taking your roots with you, though others say it’s where your mind’s at. But I read it differently: you can take Yorkshire with you wherever you are. Doing this book, as the outsider from inside, that feeling is stronger than ever.”
Now Then: A Biography Of York, by Rick Broadbent, published in hardback by Allen & Unwin/Atlantic Books on October 5.
York Literature Festival presents Rick Broadbent in conversation on Now Then: A Biography Of Yorkshire, St Peter’s School, Clifton, York, tomorrow, 7pm. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Rick’s Meet The Author tour of Yorkshire also takes in Festival of Words, South Cave Library, near Hull, Saturday, 1.30pm, sold out, with Yorkshire Tea and Cake. St Michael’s Church, Malton, Saturday, 7.30pm, presented by Kemps Books; box office, kempsgeneralstoreco.uk/pages/events.
Ilkley Literature Festival, Ilkley Grammar School, Hall B, Sunday, 3.45pm; ilkleyliteraturefestival-tickets.ticketsolve.com. In Conversation at La Biblioteka, Eyre Lane, Sheffield, Tuesday, 6.30pm; labiblioteka.co.
Farsley Literature Festival, Truman Books, Town Street, Farsley, near Leeds, Wednesday, 6.30pm; trumanbooks.co.uk. An Evening with Rick Broadbent, Ripon Arts Hub, Allhallowgate, Ripon, presented by The Little Ripon Bookshop, Thursday, 7pm; littleriponbookshop.co.uk/events.
Each event will be a talk, followed by a question-and-answer session and a book signing.
FROM Sir Grayson to Dame Joan, Rambert’s return to Hancock’s re-creation, Lawrence to James, Charles Hutchinson puts the names in the frame for upcoming artistic and cultural adventures.
A brush with an artist: Grayson Perry: A Show All About You, Harrogate Convention Centre, tomorrow, 7.30pm
ARTIST, iconoclast and television presenter Grayson Perry follows up A Show For Normal People with A Show All About You, wherein the new knight asks, “What makes you, you?”. Is there a part deep inside that no-one understands? Have you found your tribe or are you a unique human being? Or is it more complicated than that?
Perry, “white, male, heterosexual, able bodied, English, southerner, baby boomer and member of the establishment”, takes a mischievous look at the nature of identity, promising to make you laugh, shudder and reassess who you really are. Box office: 01423 502116 or harrogatetheatre.co.uk.
York legend of the week: Steve Cassidy Band and Friends, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, tomorrow, 7.30pm
YORK’S Steve Cassidy Band play a varied range of rock, country and ballads and always love performing at his favourite venue, joined as ever by guests this weekend. A three-time winner of New Faces, Cassidy recorded with York composer John Barry and Sixties’ sonic innovator Joe Meek. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
National treasure of the week: Dame Joan Collins, Behind The Shoulder Pads, Grand Opera House, York, Monday, 7.30pm
TO coincide with the release of her memoir Behind The Shoulder Pads, Hollywood legend, author, producer, humanitarian and entrepreneur Dame Joan Collins, 90, is embarking on a 12-date autumn tour with husband Percy Gibson by her side.
Returning to the Grand Opera House, where they presented Unscripted in February 2019, they will field audience questions and tell seldom-told tales and enchanting anecdotes, accompanied by rare footage from Dame Joan’s seven decades in showbusiness. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Comedy gig of the week: Fingers & Fringe in A Night At The Theatre, York Theatre Royal, Thursday, 7.30pm
JARRED Christmas hosts a Thursday bill of Clinton Baptiste, Huge Davies, Jake Lambert, Laura Lexx, Michael Akadiri, Abi Clarke and Jack Gleadow. Eight acts, one night of comedy at the theatre. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Nostalgia of the week: Apollo Theatre Company in Galton & Simpson’s Hancock’s Half Hour, Grand Opera House, York, Thursday,7.30pm
FROM the producers of the Round The Horne and The Goon Show tours comes another radio comedy classic live on stage. Written by young up-and-comers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, pre-Steptoe And Son, Hancock’s Half Hour introduced sitcom to the BBC’s Light Programme in 1954.
Tony Hancock played a less successful version of himself, surrounded by Sid James, Hattie Jacques and Kenneth Williams. Now, Apollo Theatre Company takes a trip back to 23 Railway Cuttings, East Cheam, to join “the lad himself” and his motley crew for three “lost” episodes, whose original recordings no longer exist but were re-created for BBC Radio 4 as The Missing Hancocks. John Hewer (Just Like That: The Tommy Cooper Show) plays Hancock with Ben Craze and Colin Elmer as James and Williams respectively. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Big in York, for one night only: Kieran Hodgson: Big In Scotland, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Thursday, 7.30pm
IN 2020, the world changed forever as Kieran Hodgson – Gordon from the BBC’s Two Doors Down – moved to Scotland. Now he is travelling around the still-just-about United Kingdom to reveal how it is working out. For him and for the Scots. Tickets update: Sold out; for returns only, tickets.41monkgate.co.uk. Also playing Selby Town Hall, Friday, 8pm; box office, 01757 708449 or selbytownhall.co.uk.
Cult gig of the week: Mozart Estate, The Crescent, York, October 7, 7.30pm
MOZART Estate is the new name for Go-Kart Mozart in the further adventures of Birmingham native Lawrence, cult leader of Eighties’ indie guitar band Felt and subject of the re-released 2011 documentary Lawrence Of Belgravia.
Lawrence – Hayward is his neglected surname – later led the pseudo-novelty band Denim, whose biting social commentary was coated in a bubblegum strain of Seventies’ glam rock. After four Go-Kart Mozart albums, he switched to Mozart Estate for January 2023’s Pop-Up! Ker-Ching! And The Possibilities Of Modern Shopping. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.
Looking ahead: James with special guests Razorlight, Leeds First Direct Arena, June 8 2024
JAMES will follow up the April 2024 release of their as-yet-untitled 17th studio album with an eight-date arena tour, taking in Leeds as the only Yorkshire venue. Tickets go on sale on October 6 at 9.30am at wearejames.com, gigsandtours.com and ticketmaster.co.uk.
Mixing the album this week, Clifford-raised frontman Tim Booth, 63, says: “The new songs sound belting and will fit this arena tour. Really looking forward to celebrating with you. Expect a mixture of the expected and unexpected – just like life. Nothing but love.”
In Focus: Dance show of the week: Rambert’s Death Trap, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday and Wednesday, 7.30pm
RAMBERT first toured to York Theatre Royal in 1951 and for almost 40 years were regular visitors to the city, performing there 17 times. Their last visit was in February 1990, and they return 33 years later with Death Trap, a “meta dance comedy, full of the turbulence of life and death” with themes of bereavement and loss, partial nudity, strong language and strobe and haze effects.
Rambert’s last show, Peaky Blinders: The Redemption Of Thomas Shelby, drew audiences in excess of 100,000, Now comes Death Trap, devised by Ben Duke, of Lost Dog, in a darkly humorous programme of stylish, inspiring, story-telling, character-driven dance theatre that combines two short, savage, absir, funny works: 2017’s Goat and 2022’s Cerberus.
Inspired by the music and spirit of Nina Simone, Goat is danced to a band on stage performing such iconic songs as Feelings, Feeling Good and Ain’t Got No/ I Got Life. Cerberus enters a world where dance is a matter of life or death in a bittersweet musing on myth and mortality, complete with funeral couture. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
AND then there were ten as Charles Hutchinson picks his cultural highlights, from Christie mystery to prints aplenty, Wax words to science explosions, extinction fears to singers’ farewells.
Thriller of the week: Pick Me Up Theatre in Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, running until September 30, 7.30pm (except tomorrow and Monday); 2.30pm, today, tomorrow and next Saturday
TEN strangers are summoned to a remote island. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they are unwilling to reveal and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder.
As the weather turns and the group is cut off from the mainland, the bloodbath begins and one by one they are brutally murdered in accordance with the lines of a sinister nursery rhyme in Agatha Christie’s murder mystery, directed for York company Pick Me Up Theatre by Andrew Isherwood, who will play retired Inspector William Blore too. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Print deadline: York Printmakers Autumn Fair, York Cemetery Chapel and Harriet Room, today and tomorrow, 10am to 5pm
IN its sixth year, the York Printmakers Autumn Fair features work by 26 members exhibiting and selling hand-printed original prints, including Russell Hughes, Rachel Holborow, Michelle Hughes, Harriette Rymer and Jo Rodwell.
On display will be a variety of printmaking techniques, such as linocut, collagraphs, woodcut, screen printing, stencilling and etching. Artists will be on hand to discuss their working methods and to show the blocks, plates and tools they use.
Seriously silly: Phil Wang, Wang In There, Baby!, York Barbican, tonight, 7.30pm
AFTER his Netflix special, David Letterman appearance, role in Life & Beth with Amy Schumer and debut book Sidesplitter, PhilWang discusses race, family, nipples and everything else going on in his Philly little life in his latest stand-up show, Wang In There, Baby! Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Gig of the week outside York: Cinder Well, The Band Room, Low Mill, Farndale, North York Moors, tonight, 7.30pm
CINDER Well, multi-instrumentalist Amelia Baker’s experimental American roots project, showcases her mysterious April 2023 album, Cadence.
The title refers to the cycles of our turbulent lives, to the uncertain tides that push us forward and back, as Cadence drifts between two far-flung seas: the hazy California coast where Baker grew up and the wind-torn swells of County Clare, western Ireland, that she has come to love. Box office: thebandroom.co.uk.
Explosive children’s show of the week: Ministry of Science Live in Science Saved The World, Grand Opera House, York, tomorrow, 12.30pm and 4pm
MINISTRY of Science take an anarchic approach to science communication, looking at the scientists, engineers and inventors who have shaped the modern world, while proving that each and every one of us has the ability to change our world for the better.
Expect 20ft liquid nitrogen clouds, exploding oxygen and hydrogen balloons, fire tornados, hydrogen bottle rockets, ignitedmethaneand even a self-built Hovercraft. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Play of the week: A Play For The Living In A Time Of Extinction, York Theatre Royal, Wednesday to Saturday, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee
DIRECTED for York Theatre Royal by Mingyu Lin, Miranda Rose Hall’s play heads out on a life-changing journey to confront the urgent ecological disaster unfolding around us. Part ritual, part battle cry, this “fiercely feminist off-grid” one-woman show offers a moving evaluation of what it means to be human in an era of man-made extinction.
Leeds actress Stephanie Hutchinson will be joined at each performance by eight cyclists, who will ride specially adapted bicycles to power the electricity required for lighting and sound. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Waxing lyrical: Ruby Wax: I’m Not As Well As I Thought, York Alive festival, Grand Opera House, York, Thursday, 7.30pm
IN 2022, American-British actress, comedian, writer, television personality and mental health campaigner Ruby Wax, 70, began a search to find meaning, booking a series of potentially life-changing journeys. Even greater change marked her inner journey, as charted in her book I’m Not As Well As I Thought and now in her “rawest, darkest, funniest show yet”. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Nostalgia of the week…for the last time: Maximum Rhythm’n’Blues with The Manfreds, Grand Opera House, York, Friday
JOIN legendary pioneers of Sixties’ British rhythm & blues The Manfreds as they celebrate 60 years in the business. Vocalists Paul Jones, 81, and Mike D’Abo, 79, are touring together for the final time, alongside long-standing members Tom McGuinness, Rob Townsend, Marcus Cliffe and Simon Currie, to rejoice in Do Wah Diddy Diddy, If You Gotta Go, Go Now, Pretty Flamingo, My Name Is Jack and Mighty Quinn. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Dance at the treble: Daniel Martinez Flamenco Company, Art Of Believing Special Edition, National Centre for Early Music, York, October 1, 3.30pm, 6pm and 8.30pm
LAST at the NCEM in November 2022, the Daniel Martinez Flamenco Company returns to York for three performances in one day of Art Of Believing, a 90-minute show suffused with emotion, passion and grit.
Works from Martinez’s Herald Angel Award-winning production Art Of Believing will be complemented by previously unseen pieces performed by musicians, singers and dancer Gabriela Pouso. Box office: 01904 658338 or ncem.co.uk.
Looking ahead: Kenny Thomas, Him 2024 Tour, Grand Opera House, York, May 19 2024
ISLINGTON soul singer-songwriter Kenny Thomas will front his all-star band in York on his nine-leg British tour next spring, showcasing songs from his “lost” third album, the never-commercially-released Him, alongside his greatest hits.
“Over three decades on from when I first started out, this tour demonstrates that soul music is here to stay,” says Thomas, 55, whose Best Of compilation will be out on November 3. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
In Focus: Stephanie Hutchinson on starring in a one-woman show for the first time in A Play For The Living In A Time Of Extinction
STEPHANIE Hutchinson had never imagined she would do a one-woman show.
Come Wednesday, however, the Leeds actress will be giving her solo turn for five performances in “a bold experiment in eco theatre-making” and a “fiercely feminist off-grid production” at York Theatre Royal.
The title, A Play For The Living In A Time Of Extinction, is an indication that this Headlong, London Barbican and York Theatre Royal co-production will be unlike anything you have seen before.
Hands up anyone who has witnessed a stage production powered by bicycles. Only The HandleBards on their open-air Shakespeare travels come to mind.
Strictly speaking, Stephanie will not be on her own. Eight cyclists per performance will be pedalling away to power lights and microphones, while the York Theatre Royal Choir will be participating too.
After a Barbican run, Miranda Rose Hall’s play is on a zero-travel tour using an eco-friendly blueprint. The rest of the production, from local actor to cyclists, is provided by the theatre hosting the show, culminating in York next week.
Stephanie sees it as a co-operative production, not only a one-woman show. “I’ve not seen A Play For The Living but heard a lot about it,” she says.
Her character, a dramaturg called Naomi, pressed into impromptu service as an actress, is fearful of death but is determined to confront fears about an impending ecological disaster.
“What caught my eye was just how sustainable the production is,” she says. “Naomi is described as a woman in her 20s who is scared of dying. She’s already had to go on stage and act in front of people. She’s confronted that fear. Now she’s facing her fear of dying and wants to have a conversation about it.
“I like how interactive it is. It’s not just me, not just a verbal splurge. She wants to know what others are thinking. I don’t want the audience to feel they’re just being talked at.”
Despite the subject, A Play For The Living is not all gloom and doom, emphasies Stephanie. There are funny moments. Gloomy and funny is her hope for the experience.
“I don’t think it’s just a message play,” she says. “Naomi’s having a conversation, making the audience aware of what she’s found during her research. It’s also like an ode to the Earth as well because the Earth has given us so much but in return we’re not treating it back very well. It’s almost like she’s blessing the Earth and thanking it. But we do need to be careful – if we keep going the way we’re going, future generations might not have it.”
Stephanie was last seen on York Theatre Royal’s main stage in Green Hammerton company Badapple Theatre’s Elephant Rock during the TakeOver season in May 2022. Her other credits include Shake The City, based around the clothworkers’ strike in Leeds in 1970, staged at both Leeds Playhouse and Jermyn Street Theatre in London.
All this is something of a surprise for Stephanie who did not nurse acting ambitions from a young age. “I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I was a teenager. Then when I was 15, 16, I was going to theatre classes where you’d do singing, dancing, acting and I was like, ‘I quite actually like this – can I do it at uni or go to a drama school?’.
“So, at 18, I went to Salford University and graduated with a BA (Hons) Performing Arts. I’ve managed to carry it on, although I’m not quite sure how I’ve done that. My ambition is just to keep on going because I can’t really see myself doing anything else. Even in my day job, I do role play and that’s acting on the side. Acting is getting paid for doing what I love.
“I thought I would never do a one-person show. I am feeling very happy where I am at the moment. Very happy.”
FRENCH comedy, a very English murder thriller, state-of-the-nation politics and police procedures stir Charles Hutchinson into action for the week ahead.
Comedy gigs of the week: Dawn French Is A Huge Twat, York Barbican, tonight and tomorrow, 7.30pm
HER show is so named because, unfortunately, it is horribly accurate, says self-mocking comedian and actress Dawn French. “There have been far too many times I have made stupid mistakes or misunderstood something vital or jumped the gun in a spectacular display of twattery,” she explains.
“I thought I might tell some of these buttock-clenching embarrassing stories to give the audience a peek behind the scenes of my work life.” Tickets update: Limited availability at yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Tonight, meanwhile, Sarah Millican plays a Work In Progress gig at Pocklington Arts Centre at 8pm. Sold out already alas.
Thriller of the week: Original Theatre Company in Murder In The Dark, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2pm Thursday and 2.30pm Saturday matinees
TOM Chambers and Susie Blake star in Torben Betts’s new ghost story chiller cum psychological thriller, set on New Year’s Eve, when a crash on a deserted road brings washed-up singer Danny Sierra and his dysfunctional family to an isolated holiday cottage in rural England.
From the moment they arrive, inexplicable events begin to occur…and then the lights go out, whereupon deeply buried secrets come to light. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Children’s show of the week: Magic, Monsters and Mayhem with Robin Simpson, Bluebird Bakery, Acomb Road, Acomb, tomorrow, 4.30pm
YORK Theatre Royal pantomime dame Robin Simpson – he will be playing Dame Trott in Jack And The Beanstalk this winter – switches to storyteller mode to journey back to magic school on Sunday afternoon.
He will be telling stories of wonderful creatures, exciting adventures and “more magic than you can wave a wand” as he places the audience in charge of an interactive show ideal for Harry Potter fans. Suitable for Key Stage 2, but smaller siblings are welcome too, along with Potter-potty grown-ups. Box office: bluebirdbakery.co.uk.
Police spotted operating in the vicinity: Mikron Theatre in A Force To Be Reckoned With, Clements Hall, Nunthorpe Road, York, tomorrow, 4pm
IN Amanda Whittington’s new play for Marsden travelling players Mikron Theatre, fresh from police training school, WPC Iris Armstrong is ready for whatever the mean streets of a 1950s’ northern market town can throw at her.
Joining forces with fellow WPC Ruby Weston, they make an unlikely partnership, a two-woman department, called to any case involving women and children, from troublesome teens to fraudulent fortune tellers. Box office: 07974 867301 or 01904 466086, or in person from Pextons, Bishopthorpe Road, York.
Songwriting bond of the week: Kathryn Williams & Polly Paulusma: The Big Sky Tour, Pocklington Arts Centre, Tuesday, 8pm
AS label buddies on One Little Independent Records, Kathryn Williams and Polly Paulusma met on a song-writing retreat. They wrote songs together and tutored courses at Arvon Foundation and as their friendship developed and strengthened, they supported each other over lockdown.
It seemed a foregone conclusion that they would tour together at some point. Finally, those Thelma and Louise dreams – hopefully without the killing or the cliff finale – come true on a month-long itinerary, playing solo sets and uniting for a few songs. Box office: pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.
Streets ahead: Mike Skinner’s film The Darker The Shadow The Brighter The Light and Q&A, Everyman Leeds, September 21, 8pm; Everyman York, September 25, 7pm
THE Streets’ Mike Skinner presents his debut feature film, the “neo-noir” clubland thriller The Darker The Shadow The Brighter The Light, in an exclusive Q&A tour to Everyman cinemas.
Birmingham multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Skinner funded, wrote, directed, filmed, edited and scored his cinematic account of the seemingly mundane life of a DJ whose journey through London’s nightclubs turns into a tripped-out modern-day murder mystery. Each screening will be followed by a live question-and-answer session with Skinner, giving an insight into the music and story behind the film. Box office: thestreets.co.uk.
Political drama of the week: Mark Thomas in England And Son, York Theatre Royal Studio, September 22, 7.45pm; September 23, 2pm and 7.45pm
POLITICAL comedian Mark Thomas stars in this one-man play, set when The Great Devouring comes home: the first he has performed not written by the polemicist himself but by playwright Ed Edwards.
Edinburgh Fringe award winner England And Son has emerged from characters Thomas knew in his childhood and from Edwards’s lived experience in jail. Promising deep, dark laughs and deep, dark love, Thomas undertakes a kaleidoscopic odyssey where disaster capitalism, Thatcherite politics and stolen wealth merge into the simple tale of a working-class boy who just wants his dad to smile at him. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Print deadline: York Printmakers Autumn Fair, York Cemetery Chapel and Harriet Room, September 23 and 24, 10am to 5pm
IN its sixth year, the York Printmakers Autumn Fair features work by 26 members, exhibiting and selling hand-printed original prints, including Russell Hughes, Rachel Holborow, Michelle Hughes, Harriette Rymer and Jo Rodwell.
On display will be a variety of printmaking techniques, such as linocut, collagraphs, woodcut, screen printing, stencilling and etching. Artists will be on hand to discuss their working methods and to show the blocks, plates and tools they use.
In Focus:Theatre event of the week: Alan Ayckbourn’s Truth Will Out, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, tomorrow, 2.30pm
IN a rare stage appearance, Sir Alan Ayckbourn plays Jim in a rehearsed reading of his Covic-crocked 2020 SJT premiere Truth Will Out, joined by John Branwell, Frances Marshall and the cast of his 89th play, Constant Companions.
Truth Will Out is an up-to-the-minute satire on family, relationships, politics and the state of the nation, wherein everyone has secrets. Certainly former shop steward George, his right-wing MP daughter Janet, investigative journalist Peggy and senior civil servant Sefton do.
Enter a tech-savvy, chippy teenager with a mind of his own and time on his hands to bring their worlds tumbling down, and maybe everyone else’s along with them, in Ayckbourn’s own “virus” storyline, written before Coronavirus stopped play.
“It’s ‘the one that got away’, with most of the cast in place, and we even did a season launch,” says Sir Alan. “The play was one of my ‘What ifs’: what if a teenager invented a virus that brought the whole thing down. A ‘virus’ play, like Covid, with the virus escaping and the play ending in the dark, waiting till dawn.”
Racism, trade unionism and infidelity all play their part in Truth Will Out too. “It’s a melting pot of wrongdoings,” says Sir Alan. Tickets update: limited availability on 01723 370541 or sjt.uk.com.
WOLDS Pride’s Taking Pride In Queer Joy! exhibition by LGBTQIA+ artists is making an impact at Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC).
Launched with live performances by York performance poet Crow Rudd and York spoken word artist and activist Mal Fox at an evening event hosted by Wolds Pride chair Adam Tipping, the show coincides with Sunday’s Wolds Pride day in Market Place and PAC.
“Over the past three years we’ve been doing our community outreach work, working with our partners to promote the opportunity for queer expression, and when some people got in touch to say they were interested in doing an exhibition, we set it in motion with Pocklington Arts Centre,” he says.
“We’re really thankful to the artists from Pocklington, York and Leeds who are taking part, and though at first we thought we would just be exhibiting local queer artists’ work, now it’s becoming an immersive show, so you can add to it because we’ll be leaving our resources out in the exhibition studio throughout the run. You can drop in whenever to be creative.”
In addition, the Warm Space community café runs on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays when PAC is open for free community activities.
Adam champions the power of art. “It’s a way to express how you are feeling, exploring your identities through your imagination and creativity, and sometimes it can be easier to do that through creativity rather than speaking out,” he says.
“Everyone has creativity within them and that’s why we’d welcome anything for this exhibition, whether it’s a photograph, a poem, a story, a drawing, a colouring-in. Anything goes.
“But it’s also a space where you can just come and appreciate other people’s work, have a moment of silence and contemplation, in a safe place.”
Addressing the exhibition title, Adam says: “Taking Pride In Queer Joy! is a broad and open theme, allowing artists to say what it means to them and what being an LGBTQIA+ artist means to them.
“With ‘Queer’, it’s the power of reclaiming that word because for a long time it was used in a derogatory way, and it has to be acknowledged that for some people it still symbolises hurt, but we see reclaiming it as a means of empowerment, to be celebrated, as there’s something special about being queer.”
Adam will come on to ‘Joy’ but first he says: “We are living in a concerning time that’s very challenging for our community. If you look at the news at the moment, the trans, non-binary and gender-diverse communities are being challenged daily, by society’s debates around trans people playing sport, about access to spaces, access to health care.
“After five years of waiting and campaigning, we’re still waiting for the Government to deliver a fully inclusive ban on conversion therapy. It’s vital that this ban is delivered as a matter of absolute urgency to ensure no more LGBTQIA+ people are subjected to it.”
In the light of last month’s homophobic double stabbing outside the Two Brewers, the LGBTQ+ nightclub in Clapham, south London, Adam says: “If you look at the hate crime figures, they’re disturbing. We’re seeing a rise in those figures and a lot of that is likely fuelled by the culture wars in the media.
“The reason we chose ‘Joy’ in the exhibition title was because of everything that’s going on right now, which is why an event like this exhibition launch, and a space like this, is so important, especially in rural areas.
“I grew up here [Adam is 29 now] and I barely knew any queer people in Pocklington, let alone there being a space for us, so it’s really empowering and special to be able to open a space like this, and hopefully people can come and find their own joy here.
“People that hold protected characteristics or identities that are outside the social norms, still often face funny looks, particularly in rural areas, but with the rise of smaller Pride organisations [in Scarborough, Bridlington, Goole, Beverley and Pocklington] over the past two years, I find hope that people are advocating for these communities and establishing safe spaces, without people having to travel miles to find them. There are fantastic people right across Yorkshire creating these spaces.”
Wolds Pride presents Taking Pride In Queer Joy! in the Pocklington Arts Centre gallery studio, Market Place, Pocklington, until September 22. Opening hours: 10am to 4pm, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 10am to 5pm, Thursday; 10am to 1pm, Saturday, plus during performances.
Festival focus: Wolds Pride 2023, Pocklington, September 17
WOLDS Pride 2023 will be bigger and better on its return to Pocklington town centre on Sunday from 11.30am to 6.30pm, replete with live entertainment, resources, activities, freebies and stands.
“We got the ball rolling for Wolds Pride in 2020, gaining charitable status that year, and then held our first Wolds Pride event last September: the first ever Pride event in the Pocklington/Wolds area,” says chair Adam Tipping.
“We’ve thrilled to have attained funding from the National Lottery Community Fund, and as part of our 2023 offer, the main event will be on Sunday, taking over the whole of the Pocklington Arts Centre building and Market Place, so there’ll be a road closure in place.
“We’ve been working tirelessly to ensure this event is as memorable, pride-filled and jam-packed as possible for you all, and we can’t wait to come together with you for our 2023 celebrations.”
Run by a team of volunteers, Wolds Pride 2023 is completely free, all are welcome, and no tickets are required. “Simply come along and join in the family-friendly fun in a safe, affirming space,” advises Adam. “Be sure to dig out your favourite outfit, bring along someone you know, and join us in celebrating our local LGBTQIA+ community.”
11.30am: Flag ceremony to launch Wolds Pride in Market Place.
11.45am to 6.30pm: Quieter Zone, Pocklington Arts Centre Oak Room, run in collaboration with Autistic Pride at Pride. Chance to contribute to the paper chain alternative pride parade that has been making its way throughout Prides all summer.
12.30pm to 1.30pm: Trans Joy panel discussion, Pocklington Arts Centre main stage, with performance poet Crow Rudd, spoken word artist Malin Fox and moderator Journals of Dami.
1pm to 2pm: Join York company Thunk-It Theatre’s free family workshop to create a giant map of our dream world; Interactive Activities and Workshop Zone, Pocklington Arts Centre gallery. “Chocolate rivers, free houses for everyone, whatever you dream, let’s build it together!” say Thunk-It’s Becky Lennon and Jules Risingham. Suitable for all ages.
2.30pm to 3.30pm: Free tote bag painting and decorating workshop with Journals of Dami, Interactive Activities and Workshop Zone, Pocklington Arts Centre gallery. Suitable for all ages; children aged eight and under must be supervised.
4.15pm to 5.15pm: Free introduction to poetry workshop with Crow Rudd, Interactive Activities and Workshop Zone, Pocklington Arts Centre gallery. Suitable for age 16 plus.
12 noon to 5.30pm: Community Pride Flag; chalk boards; larger-than-life games, including Connect4 and hoopla; badge making and colouring sheets; messages of LGBTQIA+ joy; all in Interactive Activities and Workshop Zone, Pocklington Arts Centre gallery.
12 noon to 5.30pm: Health and Wellness Zone, delivered in collaboration with Pocklington businesses. Includes yoga, meditation and massage tasters, Interactive Activities and Workshop Zone, Pocklington Arts Centre gallery.
12 noon onwards: Make-up specialist Sonia Schofield will offer attendees free makeovers inside Pocklington Arts Centre, whether a touch of blush or rainbow eyeshadow.
Plus free face painting. Stilt walkers. Dancing to favourite Pride anthems. Free resources, information and signposting.
Pride Market, 25 stall holders, Market Place and Pocklington Arts Centre. From community stands publicising support, services, safe spaces, events and opportunities, to local businesses and vendors selling products, rainbow merchandise, arts & crafts and refreshments.
Mal Fox (he/they)
DISABLED, autistic, ADHD, aroace, non-binary, transmasc poet, crafter, artist and activist, who lives in York with his partner, child and two cats. His work focuses mainly on his experience of mental illness, neurodivergence and queerness.
Trans Joy panellist, PAC main stage, 12.30pm to 1.30pm.
Performing spoken word, PAC main stage, 4.15pm to 4.25pm.
Crow Rudd (they/them)
DISABLED, non-binary, queer, internationally published York performance poet, multiple slam champion, mentor, events producer, host, workshop facilitator, exhibition co-organiser and network founder based in York. Their work focuses on mental illness, queerness, activism, grief, identity, radical acts of love and the importance of cuddles.
Panellist on Trans Joy panel, Pocklington Arts Centre main stage, 12.30pm to 1.30pm.
Performing performance poetry, PAC main stage, 1.40pm to 1.50pm.
Running Introduction To Poetry workshop, PAC Interactive Activities and Workshop Zone, 4.15pm to 5.15pm.
Journals of Dami (she/he/they)
CULTURAL curator and photographer from Newcastle, focusing on creating multi-dimensional representation for marginalised communities such as Black people, disabled people, the LGBTQ+ community and those troubled by mental health.
Uses myriad forms of media and art, such as photography, spoken word, films, writing and more, to create a world where she and others like her can exist unapologetically.
Moderator for Trans Joy panel discussion, PAC main stage, 12.30pm to 1.30pm.
Performing spoken word, PAC main stage, 1.30pm to 1.40pm.
Leading free tote bag painting workshop, PAC Interactive Activities and Workshop Zone, 2.30pm to 3.30pm.
HOST for the day, offering the main-stage welcome at 1.50pm. Often dubbed “Mr Pride” with 21 years of Pride experience; vice-chair for Pride in Hull; co-founding co-chair of UK Pride Organisers Network and Interpride Global Advisory Council member.
Provides “pride team” support to Wolds Pride. His day job includes training and performing, often with a big blue steam engine called Thomas.
Abbadabbatwo – Abba tribute
ALEX and Toni pay tribute to super-trouper Swedes Abba with audience participation, crazy costumes and “undeniably dancey” music. Performing together since 1996, they formed this electrifying show in 2018.
Playing Pocklington Arts Centre main stage, 1.55pm to 2.40pm.
MXYM (pronounced M-X-Y-M)
NEWCASTLE singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, self-producing all their own work in a high-speed collision of avant-garde, goth and glam rock. Inspired by Grace Jones, Motley Crue, Madonna and Bjork, MXYM’s musical landscape is diverse and always extensively queer.
Performing on Pocklington Arts Centre main stage, 3pm to 4pm.
BLACK drag king, from Newcastle, who is “the personification of organised chaos”. Expect powerful live vocals, dancing and lip-synching, action-packed into a high-energy, camp performance.
Performing on PAC main stage, 4.05pm to 4.10pm.
Wolds Wonders Theatre Group
BASED at Pocklington Arts Centre, welcoming adults with learning disabilities to explore song, dance and drama. The group provides a safe, friendly, fun environment for members to “try and achieve things they didn’t think they could do”.
Presenting special video performance, PAC main stage, 4.35pm to 4.40pm, preceded by Dance Time from 4.25pm to 4.35pm.
The Family Shambles Takeover!
DRAG collective from York, featuring Luna Hex, “life-sized Monster High doll and mother of Coven Events”; Tommy Boi, “the dancing tailor of York and bisexual drag king”; Miss Diagnosis, “the non-binary, scary, camp, punk drag clown of York”, and Cuppa T, “non-binary drag artist and the UKs hottest beverage”.
Also Linda from HR, a “delusional killjoy, overpromoted, and ready to push you under a bus at a second’s notice”. By the way, her host human form, Phil, is a writer of post-punk pop bangers and founder of the Trans and Non-Binary Open Mic nights at Over The Rainbow Café, above The Portal Bookshop, Patrick Pool, York.
Performing on PAC main stage, 4.45pm to 6pm, to be followed by closing speeches and the last dance.