POCKLINGTON Arts Centre is closing its doors to the public with effect from today in response to the Government’s Coronavirus measures, but vows to re-emerge “stronger and more vibrant than ever” in its 20th anniversary year.
A statement released by director Janet Farmer and venue manager James Duffy this morning said: “In the light of the Government’s latest advice for people to avoid non-essential contact, we have taken the decision to close PAC to the public as of today (Tuesday, March 17).
“The health and safety of our staff, visitors, artists and volunteers is of utmost importance to us and therefore we do not feel it is prudent to remain open to the public at this time.”
Their statement continues: “We don’t know yet how long this closure will last, but this will be at least until Easter 2020 [mid-April]. Further updates will be announced in due course.
“During this period, it is critical that we continue to support our staff, artists and creative partners. We will be working closely with our peers across the region and indeed the country, and we are determined that PAC will emerge from this challenge stronger and more vibrant than ever. We will be publishing more on this in the coming days.”
Anyone who has booked a ticket or is due to attend a public event at PAC will be contacted by the box-office team over the next few days to organise a refund and/or discuss the cancellation.
“Tickets can be refunded but we would ask you to consider supporting the
venue and artists by not accepting a refund, if you are able to afford to,” suggested
the statement. “We will of course try to reschedule events, but this may take
some time, so please bear with us in these very challenging times.”
Pocklington Arts Centre will be setting up a crowdfunding page later
this week. “We’ll publish details of this on our social media accounts,” said
Janet and James. “If you feel able to donate to this, your support would be
most welcome to help secure the long-term future of the venue.”
The statement concluded: “Please visit our social media channels and
website [pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk] for daily/weekly updates and as to when
PAC will reopen.
“Many thanks for your understanding. We very much appreciate your patience in
this unprecedented situation. Take care and keep safe.”
Pocklington Arts Centre’s spring and summer programme to mark the East
Yorkshire venue’s 20th anniversary was launched on March 6 with a
party night of New Orleans Mardi Gras jazz by the New York Brass Band.
Planned as the epicentre of the celebrations is the fifth Platform
Festival of music and comedy, hosted by PAC at The Old Station, with the
headline attraction of Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant’s new project, Saving
Grace, on July 10.
Full details can be found at platformfestival.net and
HAS there ever been a more cynical, anti-arts, pro-insurance industry posh pals statement from Prime Minister Johnson than yesterday’s first Coronavirus daily briefing?
For one so notoriously careless with words, despite his love of a luxuriant lexicon, his careful avoidance of enforcing a shutdown of pubs, clubs, theatres etc, in favour of merely recommending “avoiding unnecessary social” interaction, effectively amounts to washing his and his Government’s hands of the future of one of the power houses of British life: the entertainment industry.
No formal closures means no chance of insurance pay-outs. In an already increasingly intolerant, Right-veering Britain, with its Brexit V-sign to Europe, could it be this is another way to try to suffocate and stifle our potent, provocative, influential, politically challenging, counter-thinking, all-embracing, anti-divisive, collective-spirited, often radical, always relevant, life-enriching, rather than rich-enriching, font of free expression, protest and empowerment?
Was this the day the music died?
History shows that the arts, the pubs, the theatres, the counter-culture, has always found a way to bite back, to fight back, often at times of greatest repression and depression. No Margaret Thatcher, no Specials’ Ghost Town.
We and our very necessary social interactions shall be back, hopefully after only a short break. Meanwhile, we are all in the hands of science, that equally progressive bedfellow to the arts.
A RUSH of ticket sales has prompted a change of venue for The Rock Goes
To The Movies evening with BAFTA-winning filmmaker Tony Palmer next month in
This exclusive Harrogate Film Festival event on March 12 will switch from RedHouse Originals art gallery to The Clubhouse at Cold Bath Brewing Co, on Kings Road, only five minutes from the original location on Cheltenham Mount.
“The evening sold out all its stickers at £12 a pop so quickly that we’ve have had to move to a bigger location,” says Harrogate Advertiser journalist and Charm event promoter Graham Chalmers, a stalwart of the Harrogate music scene, who will be hosting the Q&A with the legendary film-maker, now 77.
“That means extra tickets have been put on sale and are available via the box office at Harrogate Theatre.”
All existing tickets are still valid for the new venue for the 7pm event that will combine a film screening with the Q&A session about Palmer’s work with The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Leonard Cohen, Rory Gallagher, Cream, Frank Zappa, The Who, Donovan and many more.
The London-born film-maker and cultural critic has more than 100 films to his name, ranging from early works with The Beatles, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallagher (Irish Tour ’74) and Frank Zappa (200 Motels), to his classical profiles of Maria Callas, Margot Fonteyn, John Osborne, Igor Stravinsky, Richard Wagner, Benjamin Britten, Ralph Vaughan Williams and more besides.
Over the past 50 years, Palmer has received more than
40 international prizes, including 12 gold medals from the New York Film
Festival, along with numerous BAFTAs and Emmy Awards.
Palmer, who served an apprenticeship with Ken Russell and
Jonathan Miller, made the landmark film All My Loving, the first ever about pop
music history, first broadcast in 1968.
He was responsible too for the iconic live film Cream
Farewell Concert, shot at the supergroup’s last-ever show at the Royal Albert
Hall: a memorable night with Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker in 1968.
Harrogate Film Festival founder Adam Chandler says: “Tony Palmer’s glittering career deserves such an event, so we can’t wait to welcome him. We’re delighted this film-making legend is so popular and are grateful to our venue partners, Cold Bath Brewing Co and RedHouse Originals, for enabling this exciting event to happen.”
Host Chalmers says: “Palmer is the greatest arts documentary filmmaker Britain has produced in the past 50 years and personally knew most of the greatest figures in the classical music world, as well as rock music.
“The fact he’s making the journey to Harrogate as a stand-alone event shows how highly regarded Harrogate Film Festival is nationally and shows that Harrogate, despite appearances, is a town with a genuine rock’n’roll pedigree.”
RedHouse Originals gallery previously has played host to Pop Art doyen Sir Peter Blake and still will be involved in next month’s event, hanging classic 1960s’ artwork and photography at The Clubhouse and curating the music playlist for the after-show party.
Presented by Chalmers in conjunction with Harrogate Film Society, Rock Goes To The Movies will feature a rare screening of Palmer’s film about The Beatles that featured in his All You Need Is Love TV series, with a script by Fab Four insider Derek Taylor, plus clips from Palmer’s Cream Farewell Concert film.
Tickets available from harrogatetheatre.co.uk, on 01423 502116 or in person from the Harrogate Theatre box office.More information on the 2020 Harrogate Film Festival at harrogatefilm.co.uk.
Any profits from the evening will go to Harrogate Film Society and Harrogate Film Festival.
Tony Palmer’s ten music films
1. All You Need Is Love,1975-1976,17-part series on the history of American
Popular Music from Bing Crosby to The Beatles.
2. Bird On A Wire, 1972, featuring Leonard.
3. All My Loving,1968, including The Who, The Beatles and more.
4. Cream Farewell Concert 1968.
5. 200 Motels – Frank Zappa,1971.
6. Rory Gallagher – Irish Tour,1974.
7. A Time There Was, 1979, profile of composer Benjamin Britten.
8. Tangerine Dream – Live In Coventry Cathedral,1975.
9. Ginger Baker In Africa,1971.
10. Wagner – By Charles Wood, music conducted by Georg Solti, photographed
by Vittorio Storaro; with Richard Burton, Vanessa Redgrave and Laurence Olivier,1983.
Festival is to launch on Saturday with new venues to avoid Storm Dennis, the
all-too-soon sequel to Storm Ciara nightly, daily and nightly again.
keeping with the Vikings knowing where and when to anchor their boats and pitch
their tents on their world travels, this weekend’s Norse invaders of York will
be tweaking their plans slightly in the face of Storm Dennis being expected to
unleash its fury over the next few days.
Gareth Henry, of York Archaeological Trust, says: “We breathed a sigh of relief
when Storm Ciara missed us, but it seems that Thor has taken a leaf out of his
trickster brother’s repertoire and is throwing Dennis our way for our opening
“Thankfully, the Vikings are a hardy and adaptable bunch, so we’ve managed to rearrange most of the most exposed parts of the festival to alternative, sheltered and indoor locations for the first few days, and we hope to have everything back to normal from Tuesday or Wednesday, weather permitting.”
biggest changes will be to the Viking encampment,
normally sited in Parliament Street. From Saturday to Monday, however, it
will be relocated to the Undercroft at the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, where entry
will be free on all three days. (Usual admission applies to other parts of
Merchant Adventurers’ Hall.)
planned for the St Sampson’s Square stage and Parliament Street marquee temporarily
will be relocated to Spark: York – the venue for Viking Crafting
for Kids – on Piccadilly on Saturday and Sunday, including Saga Storytelling
and the festival’s newest event, the Viking Costume Competition, on Saturday at 3pm.
Sword Workshops will take place in DIG: An Archaeological Adventure on St
Saviourgate from Saturday to Monday, hopefully returning to St Sampson’s Square
on Tuesday, February 18 for the rest of the festival run.
Nine Realms Bar will operate as normal in Parliament Street for the festival’s duration,
within the Parliament Street Tent that also will host Viking Crafting
for Kids during the weekdays. The Festival Information
Stand can be found in the Parliament Street Tent on Saturday to Monday but
should move outdoors to St Sampson’s Square on Tuesday.
stage, the only events to have been cancelled are the city tours, taking place
on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, starting instead on Tuesday. Thankfully,
flooding has only affected riverside areas accustomed to high water levels each
year, and the vast majority of the city remains unaffected and open for
business, including the Jorvik Viking Centre
confident that visitors can still enjoy an amazing Viking experience
despite these changes,” says Gareth. “But we hope that the good people of York
will consider offering a poem or two to Thor – as Norse explorer Thorhall did
in the Saga of Erik the Red – to bring this weather chaos to an end ahead of
our second festival weekend, when hordes of
warriors will once again descend on the city and march through our historic
Festival visitors are advised to keep an eye on social media and the festival website, jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk, for the latest news and any other scheduling changes.
WHAT are the best ways to see the Vikings for free at the
2020 Jorvik Viking Festival from February 15 to 23?
Families on a budget
visiting the York festival can enjoy a taste of Viking life without breaking
the bank, say the organisers, who are providing a host of events throughout the
nine days free of charge.
Run by the
York Archaeological Trust charity, the celebration of all things Norse takes
over the city centre for the February half-term holiday.
and education are at the heart of the trust’s aims, prompting festival manager
Gareth Henry to explain the importance of having a mix of free and priced
events. “Sharing stories about York’s past has been a huge part of what the trust
has done over the past four decades,” he says.
have to charge to off-set the costs for some of our events, we’re always keen
to make sure there’s plenty to see and do that is completely free of charge, including
the most impressive annual parade in York.”
Jorvik Viking Festival free events are:
The Viking Encampment in Parliament Street, running daily throughout the festival from 10am to 4pm. Meet re-enactors, historic interpreters and traditional craftspeople in their living history encampment at the heart of the city. Everyone has their own tale to tell, so take time to watch them working and listen to them sharing stories of their lives and wares.
the St Sampson’s Square Stage at regular intervals each day; times will be
published on a blackboard each day. Listen to heroes, explorers and settlers as
they relate their stories and watch them demonstrate the battle techniques that
helped to create their reputation as fearsome warriors.
Viking Costume Competition, open to the public to take part at St Sampson’s
Square Stage, February 15, from 3pm.The Vikings were clean, well groomed and
often well dressed as a display of wealth and status. Don’t merely watch
the Vikings strut their stuff; join in! Fashion a Viking throw or tunic
out of an old blanket, scarf or top, make a cardboard shield and, hey presto,
the Viking catwalk awaits.
Annual Strongest Viking Competition, St Sampson’s Square Stage, February 22,
11am. Feats of endurance and strength abound as Viking competes against Viking
to be proclaimed the strongest of York’s warriors. Choose your champion
and cheer them on.
Bloodaxe Reading Challenge. Particularly good for local children, the challenge
to read as many books as you can before the festival has been set up in
association with Explore Libraries. It gives
the chance to win tickets to meet award-winning author Hilary Robinson as she
launches her new book Jasper: Viking Dog at York Explore on February
Beard Competition, St Sampson’s Square Stage, February 22, 3pm. Beards of all
description are welcome, from naturally grown to man-made, in a competition open
to men, women, children and even dogs. Free entry, plus the chance to win prizes.
Coppergate, leaving from Dean’s Park, by York Minster, on February 22 at 1.30pm,
when the city streets will be filled with Vikings of all ages, social status
and profession as their war cries echo around the city centre. More than 200
Vikings are expected to march down to Coppergate, finishing at the Eye of York
in a display of costume, weaponry and Viking style.
of all the events at this year’s Jorvik Viking Festival can be found at
HORDES of Norse academics will descend on York during the 36th Jorvik Viking Festival, armed with fresh news of the Viking world.
February 15 to 23 festival run, lectures and talks will explore the concept of
a single common European-wide market enjoyed by the Vikings, the remarkable
voyage of replica ship The Viking and the latest discoveries at Trondheim.
of talks has been compiled by Dr Chris Tuckley, head of interpretation for York
Archaeological Trust. “Jorvik Viking Festival is attended by Norse
enthusiasts from around the world, from children getting their first taste of
Viking culture, to academics who have devoted their lives to learning more
about our Scandinavian ancestors,” he says.
the colourful hands-on events and presentations, we always host a series of
talks and lectures that are accessible to a wide range of people, from
enthusiastic amateur historians to leading names in the worlds of archaeology
Talks for 2020
Home & Away: Fashion and identity in the Viking Age, presented by Dr
Gareth Williams, of the British Museum, on February 18 at 7pm at the Jorvik
This talk will
explore how fashion varied across the Viking world, including how it fused with
other styles as the Vikings explored the globe. Tickets cost £25.
The Helen Thirza Addyman Lecture by Chris McLees, archaeologist and researcher at Trondheim, a 10th century Viking trading settlement, on February 19 at 7pm at Fountains Lecture Theatre, York St John University.
This lecture will present the archaeology of
this important place on the northern periphery of the Viking and medieval
worlds, including the results of excavations at sites associated with the
renowned late-Viking kings Olav Haraldsson (St Olav) and Harald Hardrada. Tickets
are £10 for adults, £8 for concessions.
Looking for Jet in A Dark Place, by Sarah Steele,
consultant geologist for Whitby Museum, who explores the trade in black jet
around the Viking world at the Jorvik Viking Centre on February 20 at 7pm.
The mineral of
jet, which requires extreme global warming to form, was traded as far afield as
Greenland, yet remains notoriously difficult to identify in the archaeological
record. Attendees will learn how modern technology may soon appreciate fully
the scope of Whitby Jet’s trade during
the medieval period. Tickets cost £25.
All of these events
build up to the Richard Hall Symposium, closing the festival on February 23 in
the De Grey Lecture Theatre at York St John University.
The theme of that
day’s talks will be A Single Market for Goods and Services? , Travel and
Trade in the Viking World, with experts including Professor Lesley Abrams, of
Oxford University, Dr Gareth Williams, from the British Museum, Dr Jane Kershaw,
of the School of Archaeology at Oxford University, and Maria Nørgaard, project leader at Vikinger på Rejse, Denmark.
For more details on all the talks and presentations at the 2020 Jorvik Viking Festival, visit jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk.
THE comedy is over for the Great Yorkshire Fringe
after five summers in York, blaming “city-centre management” for the decision
to exit stage left.
In a formal statement, founder and director
Martin Witts said: “Our experience of sponsoring, curating and managing
an event in this small city of ours has led to the conclusion that until a
well-managed and efficient is implemented, a festival of our size cannot thrive
and does not have a place in York.”
Here Martin, who also runs the Leicester Square
Theatre and Museum of Comedy in London, answers Charles Hutchinson’s questions.
1.What made you take this decision, Martin?
“My patience with all the red tape ran out of time.
It was the same things every year, no matter what you try to do to address the
most critical things on the Parliament Street village green site. Access.
Drainage. The licence. Security. What we were required to do changed
“Right from the start, there were frustrations. We
wanted to start the festival in 2014, but it took a year to get the licence from
the city council for Parliament Street.”
2.What would constitute a “well-managed and
efficient city-centre management”?
of York Council, Make It York and York BID are all involved in how the city centre
is run. Everyone has great intentions, but there are too many chiefs, not
enough Indians, and it’s got too complicated. That’s the frustration.”
3.Sean Bullick, managing director of Make It York,
says he would “welcome the opportunity to discuss options with you to
bring the event back”. Will you have that discussion?
“I had a meeting with Sean and
Charlie Croft [assistant director of communities and culture at City of YorkCouncil] last year to say this needs to
be resolved, but we still had problems at last summer’s festival with the drainage
provision for the toilets.”
4. Last summer, some people said the ticket prices were high; some
reckoned the quality of the newer acts had lowered; others felt the same names
kept returning. Your thoughts?
“We had no complaints about the festival content or
the programming or the pricing. There were no negative comments from patrons on
our social media and in the box-office day book. Indeed, only positives. The
average ticket price remained the same.
“But there was a drop in audience numbers certainly,
when the Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, running at the same time at the Castle car
park, had an impact.”
5. Do festivals have a natural cycle, especially
when the fickle world of comedy is prone to “the new rock’n’roll” going in and
out of fashion?
“No, I disagree with that. Comedy always has a new
audience and new acts. You only have to see the popularity of the New Comedian of
the Year award we ran each year.
“Comedy is always changing, but people like to keep
seeing their favourite comedian too.”
6.Emotionally, how do you feel about calling a halt
to the Great Yorkshire Fringe after five years?
“I’m incredibly disappointed to be having to do this. You should see the messages I’ve had from the volunteers who worked for the Fringe saying it was the highlight of their career. It was the highlight of my career too.
“In an ideal world, if it had been easier, if there
wasn’t the problem of the structure of the city-centre management, we would
like to have continued the festival, but your patience runs out in the end when
you want things to run smoothly.”
7. What did you achieve?
”We were committed to running the festival for five years and you hope
that after those five years, you’ve covered your costs, broken even, and
established yourself, which we had – and we proved Parliament Street could be a
village green with shows and all the food and drink stalls.”
8. Would you consider taking the Great Yorkshire
Fringe to another great Yorkshire city?
“No, absolutely not. I’m not planning to move it to
Leeds. This festival was always designed for the city of York, the city where
my family is from. York is the capital city of Yorkshire; the second city of
9. You say you will “continue to invest in the
cultural scene of York”. In what ways will you do this?
“We’ll continue to do events in York, but not hold
the festival, but do them in the spirit of the Great Yorkshire Fringe. We’ll
probably have a year off but we’ll support The Arts Barge by doing a couple of
things with them in York this summer.”
10. What else is happening in the world of Witts right now?
“We’re opening a scenery workshop in Pocklington, and I’ve bought the contents of the Goole Waterways Museum after it went into liquidation. We might look at doing something with antiquities and artefacts there.”
YORK’S Norse settlers will aim to be the most stylish
Vikings in the world when the 2020 Jorvik Viking Festival runs from February 15
Event manager Gareth Henry explains how this might be achieved: “The Vikings cared about their appearance and personal hygiene. Combs to keep their hair and beards in order were prized possessions carved out of bone and sometimes beautifully decorated, while beautiful beads and jewellery were a sign of wealth and status,” he says.
“During the festival, you’ll see many superb examples
of adornments on the clothing of the re-enactors who come to take part.”
At next month’s nine-day festival, visitors can join costumed interpreters in showing off their Viking style with a number of events aimed at creating and expressing traditional Norse style:
Viking Costume Competition, St Sampson’s Square, February 15, 3pm. Open to the public, a judging panel will consider those who believe they are York’s best dressed, with Viking and Viking-inspired fashion welcome to take to the main stage for the ultimate Project Norseway. An expert panel of judges will share their views on the best male, female and children’s Viking attire in this free event.
Best Beard Competition, St Sampson’s Square, February 22, 3pm. A traditional favourite, where the audience chooses the best facial hair on show. Open to men, women, children and this year, for the first time, bearded canines, expect some genuine chin growth, re-purposed head tresses and even some man-made creations as competitors vie for the coveted trophies.
Trichinopoly. Not some kind of Viking board game, but the art of wire weaving to create jewellery and adornments by one of Jorvik Viking Centre’s team of historic educators. The workshops run on Tuesday, February 18, 2pm to 5pm, and Wednesday, February 19, 10am to 1pm, in the York Medical Society on Stonegate, priced at £30 per person, including all materials and refreshments.
An adult leather-working workshop. This will introduce participants to some of the skills required to make simple leather items inspired by archaeological finds from Coppergate. The session takes place on Tuesday, February 20 from 10am to 12 noon at the York Medical Society on Stonegate.
Home & Away: Fashion and identity in the Viking Age, Jorvik Viking Centre, Tuesday, February 18, 7pm to 8.30pm. Presented by Dr Gareth Williams, of the British Museum, whose talk will explore how fashion varied across the Viking world, including how it fused with other styles as the Vikings explored the globe. Tickets cost £25.
The use of
black jet in Viking jewellery will be explored by Sarah Steele, of Ebor
Jetworks, during the symposium that rounds off the festival on Sunday, February
23 with a series of talks and presentations on the latest Viking research
around the world.
For more information on events during the 2020 Jorvik Viking Festival, and to book tickets, visit jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk.
Vikings will make a nine-day stop in York next month for the 36th annual
celebration of all things Norse, the Jorvik Viking Festival.
largest event of its kind in Europe, drawing 45,000 people each year, this
winter’s festival will run from February 15 to 23, incorporating two weekends to
give even more visitors a chance to explore the lives of those who settled in
also can look at how Vikings were perceived by other cultures around the world
during their travels – sometimes trading, sometimes raiding.
mainstay living history encampment in Parliament Street will provide a constant
presence, with the smell of woodsmoke and fresh timber filling the air from
demonstrations of Viking woodturning and metal work.
manager Gareth Henry, from the festival organisers, the Jorvik Viking
Centre, says: “Weekends are by far the busiest time for the Jorvik Viking Festival, and incorporating two weekends
makes the festival accessible to any families whose half-term holidays don’t
align with those of York and North Yorkshire.
hoping that more people than ever before come along to experience a slice of
our proud Norse heritage and enjoy the vast range of events on offer this year.”
the nine days, a host of events, activities, demonstrations and talks are
available, many of them free of charge as part of the educational goals of York
Archaeological Trust, the Jorvik Viking Centre owners.
surrounded by all things Viking is a superb and fun way of learning about this
remarkable culture,” says marketing manager Beth Dawes.
you spend time chatting to the re-enactors who repopulate the Viking city for
us; attending lectures and expert talks; trying out new skills in a hands-on
workshop, or even just watching the magnificent March To Coppergate through the
city streets, everyone takes away something new when they visit.”
for 2020 will be a Viking costume competition, looking to find the best-dressed
Viking in York on Saturday, February 15 at 3pm on the festival’s St Sampson’s
too, a Trichinopoly workshop, teaching the art of Viking wire weaving on February
18, has sold out already.
route will be announced for the parade through the city centre, March to
Coppergate, on Saturday, February 22, giving new opportunities to photograph around
200 costumed re-enactors as they walk through the city streets.
details of all the 2020 festival events are available online at jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk,
where visitors can pre-book tickets for key events. Some events, including
the Viking Banquet on February 15 and the night-time son-et-lumiere Battle
Spectacular in the Land of Darkness, have sold out, so reservations for other
activities and the lecture programme are recommended strongly.
Veteran Yorkshire arts journalist CHARLES HUTCHINSON doffs his cap to the makers and shakers who made and shook the arts world in York and beyond in 2019.
of the year: Alan
Ayckbourn’s Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present, at Stephen Joseph Theatre,
Scarborough, from September 4
Ayckbourn penned one play to mark his 80th birthday, then decided it
wasn’t the right one. Instead, writing more quickly than he had in years, he
constructed a piece around…birthdays. Still the master of comedy of awkward
Honourable mention: Kay Mellor’s Band Of Gold, Leeds Grand Theatre, November 28 to December 14.
Should Have Seen It production of the year: Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge, York
Theatre Royal, September 20 to October 12.
Once more, the
sage Arthur Miller bafflingly did not draw the crowds – a Bridge too far? – but
Theatre Royal associate director Juliet Forster found resonance anew for this
age of rising intolerance in Trumped-Up America and Brexit Britain.
home-grown show of the year: York Stage Musicals in Shrek The Musical, Grand Opera House, York, September
12 to 21
swapped directing for his stage return after five years in the wind-assisted
title role and stunk the place out in Shrek tradition in a good way. Jacqueline
Bell‘s Princess Fiona and Chris Knight’s Donkey were terrific too.
Honourable mention: Pick Me Up Theatre in Monster Makers, 41 Monkgate, October 23 to 27
launch of the year: Rigmarole
Theatre in When The Rain Stops Falling, 41 Monkgate, York, November 14 to 16
Smales, a previous Hutch Award winner for her all-female Henry V for York
Shakespeare Project, set up Rigmarole to mount Andrew Bovell’s apocalyptic
Anglo-Aussie family drama. More please.
play of the year: The
Comedy About A Bank Robbery, Grand Opera House, York, February 5 to 12
for Mischief Theatre with a riotous show, so diamond-cutter sharp, so rewarding,
in its comedy, that it is even better than the original botched masterplan, The
Play That Goes Wrong.
Honourable mention: Nigel Slater’s Toast, York Theatre Royal, November 19 to 23
play of the year:
Handbagged, York Theatre Royal, April 24 to May 11
In a play of wit, brio and intelligence, Moira Buffini presents
a double double act of 20th century titans, Margaret Thatcher and
The Queen, one from when both ruled, the other looking back at those days, as
they talk but don’t actually engage in a conversation.
of the year: Emma Rice
for Wise Children’s Wise Children, in March, and Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers, in
September, both at York Theatre Royal
once of Cornwall’s pioneering Kneehigh Theatre and somewhat briefly of
Shakespeare’s Globe, has found her mojo again with her new company Wise
Children, forming a fruitful relationship with York Theatre Royal to boot.
Watch out for Wuthering Heights in 2021.
director of the year:
John R Wilkinson, Hello And Goodbye, York Theatre Royal Studio, November
Theatre Royal associate artist John R Wilkinson had long called for the return of in-house productions in the Studio and what he called “the blue magic of that space”. He duly delivered a superb reading of Athol Fugard’s apartheid-era South African work starring Jo Mousley and Emilio Iannucci.
Comedy show of the year: Sir Ian McKellen in Ian McKellen On Stage With Tolkien, Shakespeare, Others…And You, Grand Opera House, York, June 17
A delightful variation on the An Evening With…format, wherein Sir Ian McKellen celebrated his 80th birthday with a tour through his past. His guide to Shakespeare’s 37 plays was a particular joy.
Honourable mention: John Osborne in John Peel’s Shed/Circled In The Radio Times, Pocklington Arts Centre bar, March 27
of the year: Live
In Libraries York, York Explore, autumn
wood-panelled Marriott Room, veteran busker David Ward Maclean and Explore York
mounted a series of four intimate, low-key concerts, the pick of them being Bonnieville
And The Bailers’ magical set on October 25. Along with The Howl & The Hum’s
Sam Griffiths, Bonnie Milnes is the blossoming York songwriter to watch in
of the Year: The
Arts Barge’s Riverside Festival, by the Ouse, July and August
umbrella of Martin Witts’s Great Yorkshire Fringe, but celebrating its own identity
too, The Arts Barge found firm footing with two locations, an ever-busy tent
and, hurrah, the newly docked, freshly painted barge, the Selby Tony. The Young
Thugs showcase, Henry Raby, Rory Motion, Katie Greenbrown, jazz gigs, a naked Theo
Mason Wood; so many highs.
Honourable mentions: York Festival of Ideas, June; Aesthetica Short Film Festival, November.
York Barbican gig of the year: The Specials, May 9
Still The Specials, still special, on their 40th anniversary world tour, as the Coventry ska veterans promoted their first studio album in 39 years, Encore, still hitting the political nail on the head as assuredly as ever.
Honourable mentions: David Gray, March 30; Art Garfunkel, April 18; Kelly Jones, September 14.
Happiest nights of the year: Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre in Twelfth Night, Castle car park, York, July 4 and September 1
JOYCE Branagh, Kenneth’s sister, set Shakespeare’s comedy in the Jazz Age, serving up “Comedy Glamour” with a Charleston dash and double acts at the double. “Why, this is very midsummer madness,” the play exhorts, and it was, gloriously so, especially on the last night, when no-one knew what lay just around the corner for the doomed Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre.
Most moving night of the year: Glory
Dazed, East Riding Theatre, Beverley, January 26
Cat Jones’s play, starring York actor Samuel Edward Cook, brings
to light issues surrounding the mental health of ex-servicemen as they seek to
re-integrate into civilian society while struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder. The post-show discussion with ex-soldiers from Hull spoke even
Solo show of the year: Serena
Manteghi in Build A Rocket, autumn tour
NO sooner had she finished playing Ophelia in Shakespeare’s
Rose Theatre’s Hamlet than Serena Manteghi revived her remarkable role as a seaside
resort teenage single mum in Christopher York’s award-winning coruscating play.
Honourable mention: James Swanton in Irving Undead, York Medical Society, October 10 to 12.
Favourite interview of the year: Brian Blessed, giving oxygen to his An Evening With Brian Blessed show at Grand Opera House, York, in August
The exuberance for life in Brian – Yorkshire man mountain, actor, mountaineer and space travel enthusiast – at the age of 83 would inspire anyone to climb Everest or reach for the stars.
the year: John
Newman, The Out Of The Blue Tour, The Crescent, York, June 30
Settle sound of soul, John Newman, and his soul mates parked their old camper van
outside the almost unbearably hot Crescent, threw caution to the wind and burnt
the house down on a night that must
have been like watching Joe Cocker or Otis Redding on the rise in the Sixties.
Honourable mentions: Nick Lowe’s Quality Rock’n’Roll Revue, Pocklington Arts Centre, June 25; The Howl & The Hum, The Crescent, York, December 14
of the year: Van
Gogh: The Immersive Experience, York St Mary’s, York, now extended to April 2020
This 360-degree digital art installation uses technology to create
a constantly moving projected gallery of 200 of Vincent Van Gogh’s most famous
19th century works in the former church. Breathtaking, innovative, and,
yes, worth the admission charge.
Honourable mention: Ruskin, Turner and The Storm Cloud, Watercolours and Drawings, York Art Gallery, from March 28
production of the year: The Wizard Of Oz, Leeds Playhouse, until January 25
£15.8 million transformation from the West Yorkshire Playhouse to Leeds
Playhouse, artistic director James Brining gave West Yorkshire’s premier
theatre the grandest, dandiest of re-opening hits. Still time to travel down
the Yellow Brick Road with Agatha Meehan, 12, from York, as Dorothy.
stage left: Berwick
Kaler, retiring on February 2 after 40 years as York Theatre Royal’s pantomime
dame; Tim Hornsby, bowing out from booking acts for Fibbers on June 29, after 27
years and 7,500 shows in York; Damian Cruden, leaving the Theatre Royal on July
26 after 22 years as artistic director; James Cundall’s Shakespeare’s Rose
Theatre, in September, after hitting the financial icebergs .
not forgotten: York Musical Theatre Company leading man,
director, teacher, chairman, bon viveur and pub guvnor Richard Bainbridge, who
died on July 6.