Who’s performing at Ryedale Festival and when in a July event full of Handel, Vaughan Williams and even an ABBA sing-song?

Baritone Roderick Wilson: Artist in residence at 2022 Ryedale Festival

THE 2022 Ryedale Festival will embrace 300 performers in 52 concerts from July 15 to 31, kicking of the event’s fifth decade of inspiring performances in beautiful North Yorkshire locations.

Under Christopher Glynn’s artistic directorship, the festival will find a special place for Handel’s music, including a pop-up production of his magical opera Acis And Galatea that will visit three churches.

The music and legacy of Ralph Vaughan Williams will be in focus too, as will the genre-blending elan of Errollyn Wallen and the 50th anniversary of Swedish supergroup Abba.

The Kanneh-Mason family will open the festival on July 15 with a concert by the seven brothers and sisters from Nottingham, aged between 11 and 24. On July 16, Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason will be in conversation with Edward Seckerson in House of Music: Raising The Kanneh-Masonsa joyful celebration of this extraordinary musical story.

Six world premieres will take centre stage. Julian Philips will mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Vaughan Williams with Looking West, a new work inspired by the ancient stories and landscapes of northern England. 

Composer Julian Philips: World premiere of Looking West

Roxanna Panufnik’s Babylonia will go on an imaginative journey to the Middle East, while Errollyn Wallen and Tarik O’Regan will explore the myth of creation in their co-composed work Ancestor, to be premiered by Philharmonia Baroque. 

Joseph Howard’s community song cycle Seven Mercies celebrated the heritage and talent of Pickering on May 21; Robert Balanas will be debuting an ABBA medley for solo violin, and Callum Au will be bringing a new work co-commissioned with Spitalfields Festival.

A strong line-up of artists in residence will be in Ryedale for the festival. Baritone Roderick Williams will lead two of the four concerts marking Vaughan Williams’s anniversary with Christopher Glynn and fellow artists in residence the Maxwell Quartet, as well as leading a singing masterclass with talented young artists. The Gesualdo Six will perform two vibrant programmes in Ampleforth Abbey and Castle Howard.

The festival’s two ensembles in residence, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque (in their first UK tour for more than a decade), will present one of Handel’s Dixit Dominus, a tour-de-force of vocal and instrumental virtuosity that bubbles with the energy and exuberance of youth.

Ryedale Festival Young Artists will be in the spotlight too. Violinist Roberts Balanas will perform a late-night candlelit concert, while Scottish accordionist Ryan Corbett will set out on a “troubadour trail” across Ryedale, bringing music – from the grandeur of Bach to the romance of Tchaikovsky – to beautiful and little-known churches across the region.

The Maxwell Quartet: Artists in residence

Soprano Siân Dicker and pianist Krystal Tunnicliffe will create a relaxed, informal and interactive concert for people living with dementia, their friends, family and carers – and anyone else who would like to attend. Bassoonist Ashby Mayes will collaborate with Krystal Tunnicliffe in an enterprising programme at a coffee concert.

Further highlights will include the London Mozart Players with pianist conductor Martin James Bartlett; The National Youth Choir of Great Britain performing a programme on the theme of environment; Pete Long and Friends playing 100 Years Of Jazz In 99 Minutes and fast-rising soloists such as violinist Johan Dalene, cellist Bruno Phillipe, trumpeter Lucienne Renaudin Vary, harpsichordist Richard Egarr and pianists Rebeca Omordia and Alim Beisembayev. Renaudin Vary will give a brass masterclass too.

Dame Janet Baker will be in conversation with Edward Seckerson and a visit from poet, author and broadcaster Lemn Sissay will be among the literary events. Family concerts will include a musical version of the modern children’s classic Izzy Gizmo.

For the final gala concert, trumpeter Lucienne Renaudin Vary will join the Royal Northern Sinfonia for a sunny-spirited concerto at the heart of an eclectic programme that will take in  lyricism of two English romantics, a Bach-inspired work by Errollyn Wallen and one of Haydn’s most rousing and witty symphonies.

A new partnership with the Richard Shephard Foundation is working in primary schools to transform the festival’s engagement with children across Yorkshire. Already this has supported Seven Mercies, a new Community Song Cycle by Joseph Howard and Emma Harding at the Church of St Peter and St Paul, Pickering, on May 21. Inspired by the church’s famous murals, this celebration of local heritage and talent took the theme of countering difficult times through small acts of kindness.

Dame Janet Baker: In conversation at Duncombe Park

Seven Mercies is one of two major elements of the festival taking place outside the main festival in July. Post festival, on October 29, the Hallé Orchestra and Chorus, Natalya Romaniw, Alice Coote, Thomas Atkins, James Platt and conductor Sir Mark Elder will perform Verdi’s mighty and dramatic Requiem in York Minster.

First-time ticket-buyers can attend selected events for £10, under-18s for £5. All are invited to watch the free-to-view additional content that will be shared on the digital platform RyeStream.

Artistic director Christopher Glynn says: “From legendary artists such as Dame Janet Baker to stars of the new generation like the Kanneh-Masons, we’ve brought together a line-up of international quality to perform in stunning locations across the beautiful area of Ryedale, from historic old churches to magnificent stately homes.

“As always, the festival is a celebration of music and place, and how they can enhance each other. I’m especially pleased that we are working with the Richard Shephard Music Foundation to bring musical opportunities to primary school children across Yorkshire, and that hundreds of tickets will be available from as little as £5 for under-18s and first-time attenders. We look forward to welcoming music-lovers from far and wide to Ryedale this summer.”

For full details, go to: ryedalefestival.com. Box office: 01751 475777; ryedalefestival.com; in person from Memorial Hall, Potter Hill, Pickering, second floor, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 9.30am to 2.30pm.

Opening concert: The Kanneh-Mason family of musicians

2022 Ryedale Festival programme

July 15, 7pm, St Peter’s Church, Norton

Opening Concert

Kanneh-Mason Family

July 16, 3pm, St Michael’s Church, Malton

House of Music: Raising the Kanneh-Masons

Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason

July 16, 8pm, St Mary’s Priory Church, Old Malton

Johan Dalene, violin

Charles Owen, piano

July 17, 3pm, Helmsley Arts Centre

Family Concert

July 17, 7pm, Duncombe Park

Pre-concert talk: Katy Hamilton

London Mozart Players: July 23 concert

July 17, 8pm, Duncombe Park

The Wanderer

Roderick Williams, baritone

Christopher Glynn, piano

July 18, 11am, Helmsley Arts Centre

Shakespeare’s Infinite Variety

Lucy Beckett, speaker

July 18, 3pm to 5pm, Helmsley Arts Centre

Roderick Williams, masterclass

July 18, 7pm, Sledmere House and Church

Double Concert

July 19, 11am, All Saints’ Church, Slingsby

The Maxwell Quartet

Christopher Glynn: Ryedale Festival artistic director

July 19, 2pm, All Saints’ Church, Helmsley

Pre-concert talk

Katy Hamilton

July 19, 3pm, All Saints’ Church, Helmsley

Acis And Galatea I

July 19, 9.30pm, The Milton Rooms, Malton

Late-Night Folk

July 20, 11am, Birdsall House

Margaret Fingerhut, piano

July 20, 3pm, St Mary’s Church, Lastingham

Acis And Galatea II

July 20, 7pm, Church of St Peter and St Paul, Pickering

Pre-concert talk

Katy Hamilton

Trumpet player Lucienne Renaudin Vary. Picture: Simon Fowler

July 20, 8pm, Church of St Peter and St Paul, Pickering

Mystical Songs

Roderick Williams & The Maxwell Quartet

July 21, 11am, St Nicholas Church, Husthwaite

Troubadour Trail I

Ryan Corbett, accordion

July 21, 3pm, St Michael’s Church, Malton

Acis And Galatea III

July 21, 8pm, Birdsall House

Bruno Phillipe, cello

Tanguy de Williencourt, piano

July 22, 1pm, Church of St Martin-on-the-Hill, Scarborough

National Youth Choir

Poet Lemn Sissay:

July 22, 3pm, St Hilda’s Church, Sherburn

Troubadour Trail II

Ryan Corbett, accordion

July 22, 8pm, The Milton Rooms, Malton

100 Years Of Jazz In 99 Minutes

Pete Long and Friends

July 23, 11am, Holy Cross Church, East Gilling

Troubadour Trail III

Ryan Corbett, accordion

July 23, 3pm to 5pm, The Milton Rooms, Malton

Come and Sing ABBA!

July 23, 8pm, St Peter’s Church, Norton

London Mozart Players

July 24, 3pm, James Holt Concert Hall, Kirkbymoorside

Kirkbymoorside Town Brass Band

July 24, 6.30pm, All Saints’ Church, Kirkbymoorside

Alim Beisembayev, piano

July 24, 9.30pm, All Saints’ Church, Kirkbymoorside

Late-Night Candlelit Concert

Roberts Balanas, violin

July 25, 11am, All Saints’ Church, Hovingham

Rebeca Omordia,piano

July 25, 2pm, Hovingham Hall

National Youth Chamber Choir

Philharmonia Baroque

July 25, 7.30pm, Duncombe Park

Dame Janet Baker

In conversation with Edward Seckerson

The Gesualdo Six. Picture: Ash Mills

July 26, 11am, St Lawrence’s ’s Church, York

Music For A While

Rowan Pierce & Philharmonia Baroque

July 26, 8pm, Ampleforth Abbey

The Gesualdo Six

July 27, 11am, St Michael’s Church, Coxwold

Lucienne Renaudin Vary, trumpet

Félicien Brut, accordion

July 27, 7pm, Castle Howard

Triple Concert

July 28, 11am, St Oswald’s Church, Sowerby

Ashby Mayes, bassoon

Krystal Tunnicliffe, piano

July 28, 3pm, The Milton Rooms, Malton

Dementia-friendly Concert

Siân Dicker, soprano

Krystal Tunnicliffe, piano

Harpsichordist Richard Egarr: A Byrde In The Hande candlelit concert

July 28, 7pm, Duncombe Park

Stephen Kovacevich, piano

July 28, 9.30pm, St Gregory’s Minster, Kirkdale

Late-Night Candlelit Concert

Richard Egarr, harpsichord

July 29, 11am, St Peter’s Church, Norton

Inner City Brass

July 29, 3pm to 5pm, James Holt Concert Hall, Kirkbymoorside

Brass masterclass

Lucienne Renaudin Vary

July 29, 7pm, St Peter’s Church, Norton

A Garden Of Good And Evil

Philharmonia Baroque

July 30, 11am, All Saints’ Church, Hovingham

Siân Dicker, soprano

Krystal Tunnicliffe, piano

July 30, 3pm, The Galtres Centre, Easingwold

Lemn Sissay

My Name Is Why

July 30, 6pm, Church of St Peter and St Paul, Pickering

Pre-concert talk

July 30, 7.30pm, Church of St Peter and St Paul, Pickering

Looking West

July 31, 3pm, The Worsley Arms, Hovingham

Jazz in the Garden

July 31, 5pm, All Saints’ Church, Hovingham

Festival Service

July 31, 6.30pm, Hovingham Hall

Final Gala Concert

Royal Northern Sinfonia

Lucienne Renaudin Vary, trumpet

Post-festival concert: October 29, 7.30pm, York Minster

Hallé Orchestra and Chorus

Verdi: Requiem

Natalya Romaniw, soprano

Alice Coote, mezzo-soprano

Thomas Atkins, tenor

James Platt, bass

Sir Mark Elder, conductor

The Yes and No of Yes as Steve Howe’s band play York Barbican. Will this lead off Episode 92 of Two Big Egos In A Small Car?

Yes: Marking the 50th anniversary of Close To The Edge at York Barbican

AFFIRMATIVE! Culture podcasters Graham Chalmers and Charles Hutchinson look forward to Yes’s June 22 gig, then reappraise Fontaines DC’s Skinty Fia album, Francis Ford Coppola’s influential 1983 teen movie Rumble Fish and Harold Pinter’s rather difficult play The Homecoming.

To listen, head to: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1187561/10685305

More Things To Do in York and beyond as green shoots emerge and Johnny’s here. List No. 85, courtesy of The Press, York

Butshilo Nleya: Drums and drama at Green Shoots at York Theatre Royal

NOT only a certain platinum jubilee is cause for a party. Charles Hutchinson finds reasons aplenty to head out.

What can you say in five minutes? Green Shoots, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday and Wednesday, 7.30pm

NEW work commissioned by York Theatre Royal from 20 York and North Yorkshire professional artists will be premiered in Green Shoots.

Poets, performers, singers, dancers and digital artists will be presenting bite-sized performances focused on “rebooting post-pandemic and looking to the future of the planet”.

Among them will be Fladam; Bolshee; Alexander Flanagan-Wright; Paul Birch; Hayley Del Harrison; Butshilo Nleya; Hannah Davies and Jack Woods; Gus Gowland; Joe Feeney and Dora Rubinstein. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Miles And The Chain Gang: Miles Salter’s new line-up plays the City of York (Roland Walls) Folk Weekend

That’s all folk: City of York (Roland Walls) Folk Weekend, Black Swan Inn, Peasholme Green, York, today, 1pm to 11pm, and tomorrow, 1.30pm to 10.30pm

THE Black Swan Folk Club’s two days and nights of free music and song take in a marquee concert stage; rolling folk club; musicians’ sessions; singarounds; Japanese drumming; indoor concerts; the Poems & Pints hour and workshops.

Playing over the weekend will be Kaminari Taiko, The Ale Marys, The Duncan McFarlane Band, White Sail, Clurachan, Two Black Sheep And A Stallion, Holly Taymar, Blonde On Bob, Les Rustiques, Caramba, Miles And The Chain Gang, Tommy Coyle, Chechelele, Leather’O and more besides. Full programme: blackswanfolkclub.org.uk.

Artwork by North Yorkshire Open Studios mixed-media artist Jo Yeates, who is inspired by the many possibilities of fabric, paper, paint and stitch, on show at South Bank Studios, Southlands Methodist Church, Bishopthorpe Road, York

Art event of the  month: North Yorkshire Open Studios 2022, today, tomorrow, then June 11 and 12, 10am to 5pm

FROM the rugged coastline near Whitby to the rolling Yorkshire Dales, 108 artists and makers invite you inside their studios and workshops.

Over four days, this is the chance to discover secret studio spaces and inspiring locations, watch artists at work, learn about their creative practices and buy contemporary art and design directly from the makers. To plan a route, visit nyos.org.uk to download a free brochure.

Jane McDonald: Headlining Yorkshire’s Platinum Jubilee Concert at Scarborough Open Air Theatre

Coastal party of the weekend: Yorkshire’s Platinum Jubilee Concert, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, today, 6pm

NATIONAL treasure Jane McDonald will be joined by musical theatre stars The Barricade Boys and drag artiste La Voix outdoors in Scarborough this evening.

“It’s going to be amazing,” says Wakefield singer and television presenter McDonald. “A really rousing night, full of song. It will be a real sing-along event, so bring your voices. I expect it’ll be emotional too, but above all else we’ll have a good old party.” Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com.

Beck beckons: More than a year later than first planned, Jeff Beck plays York Barbicanand here’s Johnny too

Guitar god of the week and his (in)famous friend: Jeff Beck, with Johnny Depp, York Barbican, Tuesday, 8pm, sold out

NEWS flash. Fresh from winning his US defamation lawsuit against former wife Amber Heard, Hollywood frontman Johnny Depp, 58, is doing an impromptu victory lap as the special guest of South London rock, blues and jazz guitarist and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jeff Beck, 77, on a tour rearranged from April 2021. 

Beck will take to the York stage with Rhonda Smith, bass, Vanessa Freebairn-Smith, cello, Anika Nilles, drums, Robert Adam Stevenson, keyboards, and Depp, riffing off his piratical Keith Richards vibe no doubt, on guitar. Box office for returns only: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Beware the Ides of March…in June: Shakespeare’s Globe bring Julius Caesar to York Theatre Royal next week. Picture: Helen Murray

Political drama of the week: Shakespeare’s Globe in Julius Caesar, York Theatre Royal, June 10, 7.30pm; June 11, 2.30pm and 7.30pm

PREPARE to confront today’s political landscape as Shakespeare’s tragedy Julius Caesar takes on startlingly new relevance in Diane Page’s account of this brutal tale of ambition, incursion and revolution.

When Cassius (Charlotte Bate) and Brutus (Anna Crichton) decide Roman leader Julius Caesar (Dickson Tyrrell) poses a political threat to their beloved country, ancient Rome feels closer to home than ever amid the conspiracy to kill, the public broadcast of cunning rhetoric and a divisive fight for greatness. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

She’s back to say farewell: Dionne Warwick makes a last visit to York Barbican next Friday

Soul legend of the week: Dionne Warwick, She’s Back: One Last Time, York Barbican, June 10, 8pm

DON’T walk on by. Dionne Warwick’s rescheduled She’s Back: One Last Time itinerary now carries the Farewell Tour tag too, making next Friday’s concert all the more a Must See event.

Now 81, the six-time Grammy Award-winning New Jersey singer, actress, television host and former United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture will be performing such Bacharach/David favourites as I Say A Little Prayer, Do You Know The Way To San Jose and Walk On By, plus material from her May 2019 album, She’s Back. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

The poster for Gary Barlow’s one-man theatre show A Different Stage, visiting the Grand Opera House for four performances

Hottest ticket of the week: Gary Barlow: A Different Stage, Grand Opera House, York, June 9, 10 and 11, 7.30pm; June 12, 2.30pm

FIRST, Take That’s Gary Barlow announced Friday and Saturday solo shows, then he added a Sunday matinee, and, finally, Thursday too. Ticket availability is best for the opening night; barely a handful remain for the others.

“I’ve done shows where it has just been me and a keyboard,” says the Wirral singer, songwriter, composer, producer, talent show judge and author. “I’ve done shows where I sit and talk to people. I’ve done shows where I’ve performed as part of a group.

“But this one, well, it’s like all of those, but none of them. When I walk out this time, well, it’s going to be a very different stage altogether.” Box office, without delay: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.

Getting mighty Crowded: Neil Finn’s band, Crowded House, head for the Yorkshire coast

Whatever the weather with you, Crowded House play Scarborough Open Air Theatre, July 11; gates open at 6pm

CROWDED House are heading out on their first European tour in more than ten years with a line-up of founding members Neil Finn and Nick Seymour, producer and keyboardist Mitchell Froom, guitarist and singer Liam Finn and drummer Elroy Finn, Neil’s sons.

Such favourites as Weather With You, Don’t Dream It’s Over, Distant Sun and Private Universe will be complemented by material from the Antipodeans’ seventh studio album, June 2021’s Dreamers Are Waiting, their first since 2010’s Intriguer. Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com.

Miles And The Chain Gang’s new line-up kicks off summer of gigs at City Of York Folk Weekend on Sunday evening

New on the Chain Gang: Drummer Steve Purton, bassist Matthew Watt and keyboard player Daniel Bowater line up with band leader Miles Salter, back, left

YORK band Miles And The Chain Gang play their first home-city gig in almost a year at the City of York (Roland Walls) Folk Weekend on Sunday.

Catch singer-songwriter Miles Salter and his new line-up on the Marquee Stage at 5.30pm at the Black Swan Inn, Peasholme Green, York, where entry will be free.

“Come by and see us, we’d love to see you, as we kick off a run of events that takes us on a mini ‘tour of Yorkshire’, with dates over the summer at Doncaster, Helmsley and Harrogate, as well as gigs closer to York,” says Miles.

Joining guitarist Miles on stage will be drummer Steve Purton, bassist Mathew Watt and keyboards player Daniel Bowater.

“It feels good,” says band leader Miles. “We’ve got some great little gigs lined up and we’re looking forward to heading out.”

In the Chain Gang diary are: Doncaster Leopard, June 18; Helmsley Arts Centre, July 23; Blues Bar, Harrogate, July 24; The Smithy Arms, Swinton, August 27, and Jolly Sailor Inn, Cawood, September 24.

The band’s fourth single, Love Is Blind, is out now, accompanied by a video by York filmmaker Dave Thorp that has clocked up more than 25,000 views already in only two weeks.

“It’s a good song. People are really responding well to it,” says Miles. “It’s been played on lots of smaller, independent stations in the UK, as well as in the USA and Australia. Several stations made it their ‘single of the week’, including Jorvik Radio in York. It’s great to see it going out into the world – thanks to everybody who helped make this happen.”

Recorded and mixed at Young Thugs Studios in York, Love Is Blind features Salter on vocals and guitar; Tim Bruce, bass; Billy Hickling, drums and percussion; Karl Mullen, piano; Holly Taymar, backing vocals, and Jonny Hooker, organ.

Why Freddie Hayes is feeling chipper about her Faustian puppetry show Potatohead

Shed haven: Puppeteer Freddie Hayes contemplates life as a Potatohead

WHY is “gloriously bonkers” York performer, maker and writer Freddie Hayes a puppeteer?

“I’ve always made puppets from a young age,” she says. “But I lost in a puppet competition at Scarcroft School and it’s been revenge ever since.”

That act of revenge continues with the Edinburgh Fringe-bound Potatohead, her “starch-raving mad” solo adaptation of Christopher Marlowe’s cautionary tale Doctor Faustus And The Seven Deadly Sins, directed by Sh!t Theatre.

Combining puppetry, stand-up comedy, physical theatre, film, singing, dancing and a sack of potato puns, Freddie’s hour-long “one-potato show” plays York Theatre Royal Studio on June 10, the McCarthy at the Stepehen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on June 14, and Seven Arts in her adopted home of Leeds on July 20.

“I’ve always been interested in puppets as objects and creating characters from everyday people you might see in everyday life,” says Freddie, whose absurdist work hovers between childish puppetry and late-night entertainment in its story of humble York spud Charlotte, who dreams of becoming a cabaret superstar but is blighted by a chip on her shoulder.

 “I have quite a dark sense of humour too, and there seems to be something haunting about puppets that intrigues me.

“Puppetry can be very violent, with dark stories like Punch & Judy, where he defeats the Devil and death itself with his powers – so that story has a vague connection with Faust.”

After introducing York and beyond to grouchy pub landlords Fred and Sharon, unhappily married guvnors of a dated York boozer, in Fred’s Microbewery at the 2019 Great Yorkshire Fringe and York Theatre Royal Pop-up Festival, now Freddie switches her attention to the Swiss Army knife of the vegetable world, the potato, in her “unadulterated celebration of silliness”.

Jacket potato! Freddie Hayes in her Potatohead costume on stage

Expect elements of kitsch cabaret and old-school entertainment in her blend of puppetry, clowning and surrealist comedy with room for sexual content and references to religion and the devil, hence the age guidance of 14+.

Why re-tell Faustus, Freddie? “I like the darkness and the idea of being in between life and death, that power struggle, as you try to get your dream to become reality – and in the case of Potatohead, it becomes the struggle of trying to become a stand-up comedian,” she says.

Would that struggle involve selling your soul to the devil? “I’m yet to do so myself! I don’t have to worry about comeuppance! But there is connection between potatoes and Faustus…”

…Really? “The year that the potato arrived in Europe was the same year that Marlowe’s play was premiered,” says Freddie. “Back then, potatoes were very glamorous. They were considered to be exotic and aphrodisiacs too!”

Yes, but why transform Faustus into a potato, or, rather, a couch potato with aspirations of becoming a golden wonder? “What’s great about potatoes is that they can be anything, and I feel like everyone has an inner potato in them. Some days everyone feels a bit like a potato,” says Freddie.

“On top of that, there was the idea that you can become great [not grate!] one day by taking a risk and being brave. That’s the moral of this story.”

Potatoes are even more chameleon than usual in Freddie’s show. “There’s actually a little bit of puppet potato nudity!” she reveals. “They can also fly and shape-shift, disappear and re-appear, so they’re quite magical!

“What’s great is that the potato puppets play these demon spirit characters and they do have this unworldly quality about them, which works well with the narrative of Faustus.”

Spud work: Freddie Hayes’s Potatohead gets digging in the garden. Picture: Amy D’Agorne

Seeking to capture the stupidity of life in her puppetry, she also reflects on her own life through her characters, scenarios and themes. “There’s a part of the show that’s slightly autobiographical in that I talk about my relationship with puppets and how they integrate with my life,” says Freddie, who studied for a BA in puppetry at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama from 2015 to 2018.

“I have this awareness of being dressed as a potato running around with these puppet potatoes, so I give a side-eyed look at the audience, as if to say ‘what am I doing here?’!”

Puppet potatoes abound in Potatohead. “You can probably guess there are seven potatoes for the seven demons [the ‘deadly sins’ in Faustus], and there’s obviously a Mephistopheles, played by Maurice Piper! Beelzebub is a big secret I can’t reveal, though it’s something to do with a popular potato brand,” says Freddie.

Summing up Potatohead’s comedic style, Freddie says: “It’s a very strange one! Imagine if Cilla Black collaborated with The League Of Gentlemen and The Mighty Boosh, all in a one-potato show. Old-school glamour meets general weirdness!” What a mash-up!

As for Freddie’s favourite potato dish, “I love chips,” she says. “Keep it simple. Cheesy chips. Or cheesy chips and gravy if you’re feeling really naughty.”

As part of her debut national tour, Freddie Hayes presents Potatohead at York Theatre Royal, June 10, 7.45pm; Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, June 14, 7.45pm; Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, July 20, 8pm. Box office: York, 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk; Scarborough, 01723 370541 or sjt.uk.com; Leeds, 0113 262 6777 or sevenleeds.co.uk.

Copyright of The Press, York

Question? What is Freddie’s favourite among the seven deadly sins in Doctor Faustus?

“Gluttony. I think I feel I don’t think it’s a terrible sin! It seems quite sweet,” she says.

Freddie Hayes, minus the Potatohead

Freddie Hayes Fact File

Born: York

Lives in: Leeds

Occupation: Performer, writer, puppeteer and maker, crafting bespoke puppets, props and costumes.

Studied for: BA in Puppetry at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London, 2015 to 2018.

Since graduating: Created solo shows Fred’s Microbrewery and Potatohead, performing on UK comedy, festival and cabaret circuit for four years, playing Shambala Festival, Camden Fringe and Leeds International Festival.

Who’s the guvnor here? Puppeteer Freddie Hayes with Yorkshire’s grouchiest pub landlord, Fred, mean host of Fred’s Microbrewery

Home city works: Strut Club cabaret; former artist-in-residence at Southlands Studios; presented Fred’s Microbrewery at 2019 Great Yorkshire Fringe and York Theatre Royal Pop-up Festival; created and filmed short puppet film Fred And Sharon on York’s streets.

Projects: Artist-in-residence at Slung Low Theatre, working with Sh!t Theatre mentors, at The Holbeck, Holbeck, Leeds; associate artist of Slap York; resident puppeteer at Folkestone Puppet Festival.

Debut national PotaTour: Potatohead, May 19 to July 20, playing Leeds, Camden, Brighton Fringe Festival, Bristol, York, Scarborough, Greater Manchester Fringe Festival (July 14, 7pm, 9pm) and Leeds again (Seven Arts, July 20, 8pm).

Support: Started work on Potatohead project with Slap York in 2019. “They’re great at helping emerging artists,” says Freddie. “Without them, I don’t think I would have got going on this show.”

Mash of the day: Freddie Hayes in a Potatoheadshot

Funding: Arts Council National Lottery Project Grant to create Potatohead; Luke Rollason Memorial Bursary Award winner to programme show at Brighton Fringe Festival.

Performance style: Hovering between childish puppetry and late-night entertainment. Often autobiographical, reflecting on her life through relatable characters, scenarios or themes.

Pulling strings: Makes all her puppets, costumes and props. “I see it as a sort of sculpture, and I love making props,” says Freddie. “I do a lot of puppet-making commissions, making them for York Maze and Leeds City Varieties and working freelance for Leeds Playhouse for a while.”

Next up: Presenting Potatohead at Below, The Pleasance Courtyard, 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh, at 2022 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, August 3 to 29, 2pm. Directed by Sh!t Theatre, Freddie’s production will be appearing as a York Theatre Royal supported show with Pleasance Edinburgh National Partnerships. Box office: tickets.edfringe.com/venues/pleasance-courtyard.

Pete Bearder speaks truth to power in Homer To Hip Hop lecture for Say Owt and York Literature Festival at The Crescent

Pete Bearder: Speaking the truth to power at The Crescent on June 19

SAY Owt, York’s performance poetry forum, teams up with York Literature Festival to present author and poet Pete “The Temp” Bearder in Homer To Hip Hop at The Crescent, York, on June 19.

Bearder’s 7.30pm performance lecture on a people’s history of spoken word and poetry will be “part gig, part TedTalk, part party” as he speaks truth to power.

Introducing Bearder’s show, Say Owt artistic director Henry Raby says: “As we enter the post-Covid comeback, meet the artistic revivals that have remade the world from the bottom up.

“Find out why wordsmiths have always been vilified, feared and revered, from the ballad singers and Beat poets, to the icons of dub, punk and hip hop. The spoken word has always been the most immediate tool of cultural revival. This show brings a proud history to life and asks what we can do with it next.”

Say Owt artistic director Henry Raby

Former national Poetry Slam champion, spoken word poet, author and comic Bearder brings to life the poetic movements that have shaped history. His work has been featured on BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service and Newsnight and his Homer To Hip Hop show follows the release of his ground-breaking book Stage Invasion: Poetry & The Spoken Word Renaissance.

Support on June 19 comes from Raby, Say Owt’s “token punk poet”, who has appeared at festivals across the UK and on BBC Radio York. “Althea Thall will be bringing her story-telling energy too and, finally, Jonny Crawshaw will be DJing a hip-hop set afterwards,” says Henry.

Tickets cost £10 via www.thecrescentyork.com/events/home-to-hip-hop-a-peoples-history-of-spoken-word/

The poster for Pete “The Temp” Bearder’s Homer To Hip Hop tour show

More Things To Do in and around York as festivals open and half-term attractions beckon. List No. 84, courtesy of The Press

Fourmidable: York children’s entertainer Josh Benson will perform four Just Josh shows a day at the York Spring Fair and Food Festival

BIG beards, food and funfairs galore, Irish whimsy, postcard art, tree theatre, Moronic music, female folk and a year’s notice of camp comedy catch Charles Hutchinson’s eye.

York Spring Festival and Food Fair, Clocktower Enclosure, York Racecourse, Knavesmire, York, running until June 5

IN its second year at York Racecourse, this event takes in the Platinum Jubilee long weekend celebrations to complement the 15 vintage funfair rides, food stalls,  live music and family entertainment, highlighted by the lighting of York’s Jubilee Beacon on Thursday evening.

Look forward to 6.30pm performances by York musicians Huge, The Y Street Band, Hyde Family Jam and New York Brass Band, plus Wales’s Old Time Sailors.

Busiest of all will be York children’s entertainer, “balloonologist”, juggler and magician Josh Benson, performing his high-energy Just Josh show four times a day. Tickets: ticketsource.co.uk/yorkspringfair.co.uk.

Jorvik Viking Festival: Invading forces take over York city centre for five days. Picture: Charlotte Graham

Half-term festival of the week: Jorvik Viking Festival, York, today until Wednesday

NEARLY two and a half years after hordes of Viking warriors and settlers last descended on the city, York is ready for five days of Norse-themed fun and entertainment. 

Moved from February to fit into the summer half-term holiday, the 2022 festival sees the return of a living history encampment, March to Coppergate, Strongest Viking and Best Beard contests and Poo Day at DIG, as well as a new arena event this evening, The Jorvik Games. For full festival details and tickets, go to: jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk. See full preview below.

Furious romp: The poster for Dylan Moran’s We Got This tour, visiting York tonight

Comedy gig of the week: Dylan Moran, We Got This, Grand Opera House, York, tonight, 8pm

DROLL Irish comedian Dylan Moran promises a joyously furious romp through the frustration and folly of modern-day life in his new tour show.

“These times have not been easy,” he says. “Learn how to make breakfast not even knowing you are out of bed. Diagnose the mirror, reason with the mice and boil yoghurt blindfolded. Enjoy the fruits of hurtling cognitive decline and your neighbours’ sprawling ghastliness, absence of humanity and so, so much more.” Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.

Postcards on the edge: Rows of original postcard artworks on sale at PICA Studios

Art event of the weekend: PICA Postcard Show and Sale, PICA Studios, Grape Lane, York, today and tomorrow, 10am to 4pm

THE artists at the PICA Studios workshop are branching out into one-off postcard artworks for one weekend only. Each postcard will sell for £25 to raise funds towards improving the studio space and to create a gallery in the foyer.

Taking part will be Lesley Birch, Evie Leach, Emily Stubbs, Katrina Mansfield, Ealish Wilson, Sarah Jackson, Ric Liptrot, Jo Edmonds, Lisa Power, Amy Stubbs, Mick Leach, Rae George, Lesley Shaw Lu Mason and Kitty Pennybacker. Purchases also can be made online via instagram@picastudios. 

Badapple Theatre Company’s poster for Danny Mellor’s Yorkshire Kernel at Theatre@41

Family drama of the weekend: Badapple Theatre Company in Yorkshire Kernel, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, today, 2.30pm and 7.30pm

JAMES’S Grandad is at death’s door, but he has one last mission: to find a tree. Many trees in fact, scattered around the country in memory of his Second World War comrades. So begins writer, performer and puppeteer Danny Mellor’s play for Green Hammerton company Badapple.

Divided between being haunted by his plain-speaking grandfather, his mother rekindling her romance with an old flame, and James’s pregnant partner, Rosie, thinking he is cheating on her, Mellor’s “bonkers” solo show undertakes a journey of Yorkshire wit and grit through one man’s determination to leave a long-lasting legacy. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

The Lovely Eggs: Playing The Crescent at the seventh attempt

Cracking gig of the week: The Lovely Eggs, supported by Arch Femmesis and Thick Richard, The Crescent, York, tomorrow, 7.30pm

PROUDLY independent northern psychedelic punk rock duo The Lovely Eggs do not give up. After re-scheduling the tour to promote April 2020’s release of their I Am Moron album seven times, they play The Crescent at last this weekend.

Iggy Pop, no less, contributed to their track I, Moron. “For him just to say nothing but ‘moron’ over and over again fitted in with the sentiment of the song perfectly,” says Lovely Egg Holly Ross. “He just got it. We are all morons. In a world of moronic things. In a world of moronic ideas. You are Moron. I am Moron. We are Moron.” OK, Morons and Eggheads, tickets are on sale at thecrescentyork.com.

Rachel and Becky Unthank: York Barbican debut on Tuesday, showcasing new songs from Sorrows Away

Folk gigs of the week: The Unthanks, Sorrows Away Tour, York Barbican, Tuesday, 7.45pm; Katherine Priddy, supported by George Boomsma, National Centre for Early Music, York, Wednesday, 7.30pm

RETURNING to touring after two years off the road, Northumbrian folk musicians The Unthanks will be previewing their upcoming autumn album Sorrows Away in their York Barbican debut with an 11-piece ensemble. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

The following night at the NCEM, finger-picking guitarist and haunting singer Katherine Priddy performs enchanting songs on the theme of childhood, distant memories and whatever will follow next from last June’s debut album, The Eternal Rocks Beneath. Box office: 01904 658338 or ncem.co.uk.

Katherine Priddy: Contemporary roots singer and guitarist, playing songs from The Eternal Rocks Beneath at the NCEM. Picture: Sam Wood

Gig launch of the week: Tom Allen, Completely, York Barbican, May 28 2023

YOU will have to wait 12 months for comedian, raconteur, arch television jester and radio presenter Tom Allen’s new show, Completely, to arrive in York. Tickets go on sale rather sooner, from 10am on Monday at yorkbarbican.co.uk.

At 38, Bromley-born Allen has finally moved out of his parents’ house, prompting his eagerness to share his life updates, gain audience opinions on his vegetable patch and delve into the protocol of inviting friends with children for dinner.

On the distant horizon: Tom Allen’s newly announced York Barbican show is a full year away

Jorvik Viking Festival returns with more fun and games…

TENTS for an encampment are being set up in Parliament Street and screens installed at the Eye of York. Traders are transporting their wares to the Guildhall and St Sampson’s Square and a faint smell of mead is wafting through the air. Welcome to the return of the Jorvik Viking Festival.

Nearly two and a half years after hordes of Viking warriors and settlers last descended on the city, York is preparing for five days of Norse-themed fun and entertainment, starting today (28/5/2022).

Postponed from February to fit snugly into the half-term holiday before the Jubilee bank holiday, this year’s festival will see the return of such favourite events as a living history encampment, the March To Coppergate and the Strongest Viking and Best Beard contests, alongside a new arena event at 6.45pm this evening, The Jorvik Games.

“In February, our evening spectacular is usually a dramatic presentation of a Viking story, but with the evenings being so much lighter in May, our event will also be a little more fun,” says event manager Gareth Henry.

Viking warriors ready for a clash of styles

 “The Viking Games will pit the finest warriors from four teams against each other, with spectators invited to pick their champion and cheer them on to victory. Henry. Of course, being Vikings, they might not always play by the rules – and with their own horde of supporters behind them on the arena field, sparks will fly with skirmishes inevitable!”

Tickets for The Jorvik Games are still available, priced £15 for adults and £11 for concessions, with family tickets also available at jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk.

While Saturday will be the festival’s busiest day, visitors from Sunday to Wednesday will enjoy a host of events and activities too.  On Sunday, at 29/31 Coney Street, visitors can meet Vikings from all over Europe, brought together under the Erasmus scheme, including fun crafting activities. 

Young warriors can hone their skills in Have-A-Go Sword sessions on the Parliament Street stage and the Ting Tang re-enactors will bring theatre to the stage every day too.

Five go Viking in York for five days

The last few places remain on crafting workshops taking place Monday to Wednesday at York Medical Society, on Stonegate, including Nalebinding (Viking knitting), Trichinopoly (wire weaving) and tablet weaving.

On Wednesday, Jorvik’s sister attraction, DIG in St Saviourgate, will host the ever-popular Poo Day, a chance for children (and adults!) to try their hand at making a replica Viking poo, based on the world-famous Lloyds Bank Coprolite (fossilised poo, should you be wondering). 

Jorvik Viking Centre’s exhibition of items from the Silverdale Hoard, on loan from Lancashire County Museums, is also expected to be popular, with tickets for the attraction selling out for many time slots throughout the half-term break. 

“With good weather forecast for the weekend, we’re expecting York to be particularly busy, so would urge visitors to pre-book their tickets wherever possible to avoid disappointment,” says Henry.

Full details of all Jorvik Viking Festival events can be found at jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk.

REVIEW: Martin Dreyer’s verdict on Ryedale Festival premiere of Seven Mercies, Church of St Peter & St Paul, Pickering, May 21

Kathryn Rudge: “Inspired soloist”

RYEDALE Festival floated a powerful reminder of its status in the community with this world premiere of a new song-cycle written by a Pickering-born composer and largely performed by inhabitants of Ryedale.

Joseph Howard’s Seven Mercies was inspired by mediaeval murals in Pickering Church, which have only recently been brought back to life and decoded from beneath the whitewash of centuries.

They refer to specific acts of kindness – properly titled Seven Acts of Corporal Mercy – mentioned by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount and illustrated here by stories from the Bible.

Howard’s music is built around Emma Harding’s poetic libretto, which at its core delivers a song-cycle for mezzo-soprano and piano. Its sections use different female characters whose hardships have been alleviated by someone else’s generosity, often put into a modern context: a refugee, for example, or a hospital patient prevented by Covid regulations from receiving visitors.

That is the backbone of the work and no doubt it could stand alone. But it is immensely coloured and given depth by several choral and brass interludes, as well as introduction, prologue and finale.

Joseph Howard: Pickering-born composer of Seven Mercies

Much of the text here has been devised by choir members themselves. Ryedale Festival Community Choir, under Em Whitfield Brooks, and Ryedale Primary Schools Choir (taken from Pickering Community Junior School and Gillamoor C of E and St Joseph’s RC Primary Schools), conducted by Holly Greenwood-Rogers, were joined by a brass quintet of junior members from Kirkbymoorside Town Band and bell ringer Pam Robb.

Kathryn Rudge was the inspired soloist. Her clean, clear, beautifully projected mezzo was exactly suited to evoking the plight of the desperate and the downtrodden, and Christopher Glynn’s fluently controlled piano gave her superb underpinning. When she took to the pulpit for the finale, she soared angelically above and through the combined forces below, as if offering divine support.

Both choirs had evidently been keenly trained. They represented the voices of the community coming to the aid of the needy. Where the adults were sympathetic and affectionate, the children were infectiously enthusiastic, an apt balance. The young brass were impressive too, in an early fanfare, a lament and a smooth duet for cornets.

Howard’s music, which was always attuned to the text, divided into two styles: a thoughtful, modal English for the soloist that was reminiscent of Vaughan Williams and a much more universal, generally major-key and strongly rhythmic approach for the ensembles. This made sense with such a wide range of talents on hand: all were shown to best effect.

We may thank the Richard Shephard Music Foundation for its association with an occasion that both highlighted an important piece of local history and underlines what a force for good the Ryedale Festival continues to be. The festival itself will run from July 15 to 31 with full details at ryedalefestival.com.

Review by Martin Dreyer

Two Big Egos podcasters’ question of the day: How does Belle & Sebastian’s A Bit Of Previous match up to the best of Belle?

AFTER 26 years of “previous”, stalwart Scottish contrarians Belle & Sebastian release A Bit Of Previous. What’s their way ahead, judging by their latest album, recorded back home in Glasgow?

Two Big Egos In A Small Car culture podcasters Graham Chalmers (their fellow Scot) and Charles Hutchinson mull it over in Episode 91.

Plus: Predicting cinema’s dark future and all hail to New York art-rock pioneers The Velvet Underground. To listen, head to: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1187561/10651348

REVIEW: Martin Dreyer’s verdict on Leeds Lieder Festival: Day 2

Jess Dandy: “That endangered species, a true contralto”

Jess Dandy/Martin Roscoe & Robin Tritschler/Christopher Glynn, Howard Assembly Room, Leeds, April 29

THOSE of us who had not encountered Jess Dandy before, your correspondent included, cannot have avoided reading that she had been likened to Kathleen Ferrier in a national newspaper.

It is an unfortunate comparison and should be dropped before it becomes burdensome. She is indeed that endangered species, a true contralto, which alone entitles her to our attention. She may in time become the one and only Jess Dandy – but she is not Ferrier.

I confess that what initially drew my attention was her accompanist: Martin Roscoe is a supreme musician and a very busy one. Anyone who claims his time deserves our respect, especially since he is most often found as a solo performer.

With that rant out of the way, we may concentrate on Dandy’s lunchtime programme, which opened with Amy Beach and Lili Boulanger before moving onto more familiar territory with Falla, Wolf and Tchaikovsky, each of her five groups therefore in a different language.

Oddly enough, her diction in Beach’s three Robert Browning songs was almost consonant-free, but her tone was richly textured which excited anticipation.

Martin Roscoe: “Supreme musician and a very busy one”

In four unrelated songs by Boulanger, three from her teenage years, she penetrated the surface better. In two Maeterlinck poems, her high ending to ‘Reflets’, finding consolation in the moon, was beautifully controlled and the illusory ‘Attente’ (Waiting) was properly bleak. The prospect of Ulysses’s return to Ithaca brought compensatory joy to her tone.

Falla’s settings of seven traditional Spanish folksongs generally needed a lighter touch to match Roscoe’s impeccable staccatos. These works look easier on paper than they really are.

It was only when Dandy came to Wolf’s Mörike settings (1888) that her diction really began to shine. ‘Er ist’s’ (Spring Is Here) was wonderfully ecstatic, rounded off by the piano’s peerless postlude. She had a real feel for the bitter-sweet ‘Verborgenheit’ (Seclusion) and danced nimbly as the water-sprite Reedfoot alongside the piano’s curlicues. Both performers revelled in the dramatic possibilities of ‘Der Feuerreiter’ (The Fire-rider), while ending peacefully.

Dandy was equally well-suited to four Tchaikovsky songs. Voice and piano neatly intertwined in a Tolstoy poem about spring. There was a wonderfully pained melisma at the end of ‘I was a little blade of grass’ (the girl had been married off against her will). Even if the final climax of ‘Can it be day?’ was not quite full enough, we knew she had these songs in her bloodstream; Roscoe’s postlude was another little masterpiece.

This young lady certainly has talent. She can now afford to be less concerned about delivering perfect tone and concentrate more on acting with her voice.

Robin Tritschler: “Particularly satisfying occasion”

The second evening supplied my fourth recital of the festival. But it was the first in which the singer used no music. Thirty years ago, this would not have been a cause for comment. But times have changed and musicians are no longer routinely learning their scores by heart. One might have thought that during the ‘downtime’ provided by the pandemic, this might have changed. But no.

The hero in question was tenor Robin Tritschler, whose first half – ‘Illuminated Music’ – was English, Britten’s own works framing his realisations of Croft and Purcell. After half-time, we had ‘Illuminating Songs’ from further afield, eight composers stretching from Schubert to Henry Mancini. His admirable partner was Christopher Glynn.

Coloratura flowed easily in ‘Let The Florid Music Praise’ (On This Island) and Croft’s A Hymn To Divine Musick turned the temperature up further. All his Purcell set was characterised by a focus and intensity that was communicated all the more directly by the absence of a music-stand between audience and singer.

‘Music For A While’ enjoyed crispness in both voice and piano, which spilled over strongly into the finish of ‘Sweeter Than Roses’. The darting sections and crazy swings of ‘Mad Bess’ were finely wrought, with Glynn injecting just the right level of fire without dominating.

Christopher Glynn: “Injecting just the right level of fire without dominating “. Picture: Gerard Collett

Britten’s Canticle I: My Beloved Is Mine was hugely convincing, a tenderly felt duet that did full justice to Quarles’s spiritual paraphrase from the Song Of Solomon. Glynn’s flowing piano alongside Tritchler’s vocal freedom came to a close of the utmost serenity.

Moonlight suffused virtually all the second half. The atmosphere was movingly set by Schubert’s incomparable setting of Leitner’s ‘Der Winterabend’: the piano’s seamless line matched the tenor’s legato.

Fauré’s ‘Clair de Lune’ conjured intimacy while Hahn’s ‘L’heure Exquise’ delivered perfumed scents. Mancini’s nostalgic ‘Moon River’, with its Beethovenian opening was nicely balanced by Howells’s setting of De la Mare’s ‘Full Moon’, which disappeared into a niente finish.

Tritschler really opened out in the climactic moments of Liza Lehmann’s ‘Ah, Moon Of My Delight’ (In A Persian Garden), after which Coleridge-Taylor’s ‘Big Lady Moon’ made the perfect encore. This was a particularly satisfying occasion, with both musicians on excellent form.

Review by Martin Dreyer