’TIS the season for Dickens shows to begin, from solo shows to a musical, and to venture into Neverland too as Charles Hutchinson gets his festive skates on.
Fantastical adventure of the week and beyond: Christmas In Neverland, Castle Howard, near York, extended until January 7
CASTLE Howard is transformed with floristry, installations, props, soundscapes and projections to create an enchanting festive experience inspired by J M Barrie’s Peter Pan in Charlotte Lloyd Webber Event Design’s sixth magical installations inside the 300-year-old country house.
Look out for the Darling children’s London bedroom, Mermaid’s Lagoon, Captain Hook’s Cabin and the Jolly Roger as the design team prioritises sustainability and recycled materials, such as paper and glass, and teams up with Leeds theatre company Imitating The Dog, whose immersive projections and soundscapes feature for the first time. Tickets: castlehoward.co.uk.
Thriller of the week: Nunkie Theatre Company in Casting The Runes, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Sunday (26/11/2023), 7.30pm
M R James wrote his ghost stories to perform to friends in the years leading up to the First World War. Today they have lost none of their power to terrify and amuse in the hands of Nunkie Theatre Company, presenting two tales in a one-man show.
Casting The Runes’ story of the unforgettable Mr Karswell, magic lanternist, occult historian and scourge of academics, is partnered by James’s most neglected masterpiece, The Residence At Whitminster, wherein a dark shadow looms over the precinct of a peaceful English church. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Comedy gig of the week: Bridget Christie: Who Am I?, Grand Opera House, York, Sunday (26/11/2023), 7.30pm
BRIDGET Christie is hot, but not in a good way, she says, in her menopause comedy, where she is confused, furious, sweaty and annoyed by everything. At 52, she leaks blood, sweats, thinks Chris Rock is the same person as The Rock and cannot ride the motorbike she bought to combat her mid-life crisis because of early osteoarthritis in her hips and RSI in her wrist.
In Who Am I? Christie wonders why there are so many films, made by men, about young women discovering their sexuality, but none about middle-aged women forgetting theirs. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Dickens of a good storyteller: James Swanton’s Ghost Stories For Christmas, York Medical Society, Stonegate, York, select dates from November 27 to December 11, 7pm
SOON to be seen in Lot No. 249, Mark Gatiss’s retelling of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Christmas ghost story for the BBC, gothic York storyteller and actor James Swanton revives his seasonal Charles Dickens trilogy: A Christmas Carol (six performances), on the book’s 180th anniversary, The Haunted Man and The Chimes (two each).
“‘All three stories are richly rewarding,” says James. “They brim with Dickens’s eye for capturing the weird, the strange and the odd, from human eccentricities to full blown phantoms. Dickens’s anger at social injustice also aligns sharply with our own – and of course, there’s a lot to be angry about at the moment.” Box office and performance details: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
American musical of the week: Shrek The Musical, Grand Opera House, York, Monday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday matinee
LEAVE winter troubles far, far away to join the musical adventure as ogre Shrek (Antony Lawrence) and his buddy Donkey (Brandon Lee Sears) endeavour to complete their quest to defeat the dragon and save Princess Fiona (2016 Strictly champ Joanne Clifton). Look out for James Gillan’s Lord Farquaad too.
Based on the first animated Shrek film, DreamWorks’ musical features such David Lindsay-Abaire and Jeanine Tesori songs as Big Bright Beautiful World and I Know It’s Today alongside Neil Diamond’s climactic I’m A Believer. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Festive musical of the week: NE Theatre York in A Christmas Carol, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee
STEVE Tearle first staged Alan Menken’s musical version of Charles Dickens’s heart-warming story A Christmas Carol for NE Musicals five years ago. Once more he will combine directing a cast of 60 with playing the chain-clanking Jacob Marley.
Kit Stroud plays Ebenezer Scrooge, whose deep dislike of mankind is interrupted on Christmas Eve by three ghosts who, one by one, warn him of the consequences of the suffering he has caused. Will he join them, or will he mend his ways? Tickets update: all but the first two performances have sold out; last few tickets for Tuesday and Wednesday, 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
Solo play of the week: Mark Farrelly’s Jarman, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Wednesday, 7.30pm
MARK Farrelly, the writer-performer behind Quention Crisp: Naked Hope and Howerd’s End, turns his attention to Derek Jarman, iconoclastic filmmaker, painter, Prospect Cottage gardener, gay rights activist and writer.
“His influence remains as strong as it was on the day AIDS killed him in 1994, but his story, one of the most extraordinary lives ever lived, has never been told. Until now,” says Farrelly, whose passionate, daring reminder of the courage it takes to truly live when alive takes Jarman from Dungeness to deepest, brightest Soho. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Gig announcement of the week: Paul Weller, York Barbican, April 17 2024
THE Modfather Paul Weller will head back to York Barbican next spring after kicking off 2024 with a long-awaited January return to Japan and a trip to Australia, highlighted by three nights at the Sydney Opera House. He last performed at the Barbican in April 2022.
In 2023, Weller has played around Europe, performed a handful of Forest Live shows and had a special guest slot to Blur at Wembley Stadium. Next spring’s 14-date tour also takes in Sheffield City Hall on April 11. Tickets go on sale from Friday, December 1 at 10am at ticketmaster.co.uk, seetickets.com, gigantic.com and paulweller.com.
AND then there were thrillers, music, spoken word and comedy gigs, a cricket legend show and smooth crooner tribute for Charles Hutchinson to recommend.
Thriller of the week: Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, Grand Opera House, York, November 22 to 25, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday matinees
AFTER Pick Me Up Theatre’s September staging at Theatre@41, Monkgate, here comes Lucy Bailey’s “genuinely terrifying” touring production of Agatha Christie’s best-selling 1939 crime novel, starring, among others, Andrew Lancel as William Blore, David Yelland as Judge Wargrave and Sophie Walter as Vera Claythorne.
Ten strangers – eight guests and a butler and his housekeeper wife – are lured to a solitary mansion off the coast of Devon. When a storm cuts them off from the mainland, the true reason for their presence on Soldier Island becomes horribly clear. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Spanish sarcasm of the week: Ignacio Lopez, YO1 Live Lounge, York Barbican, November 18, 8pm
SPANISH export Ignacio Lopez, from Live At The Apollo, The Now Show and Stand-Up Sesh, scrutinises his immigrant upbringing and family tree in a show about clashing cultures and never fitting in.
Sharing his biggest failures with a globe-trotting story of music, comedy and admin cock-ups, exotic outsider comedian Ignacio skewers Britain and Spain with an armada of stand-up sarcasm, silliness and songs. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Comedy times two at Grand Opera House, York: Simon Brodkin, Screwed Up, November 18, 8pm; Lucy Beaumont, The Trouble & Strife, November 19, 8pm
THE most viewed British comedian of all time on TikTok, notorious prankster and Lee Nelson creator Simon Brodkin rips into celebrity culture, social media, the police, Putin, Prince Andrew and Jesus in his new stand-up show, Screwed Up. Nothing is off limits, from his mental health to his five arrests and his family.
An award-winning stand-up (and actress) before she met Leeds comedian and now husband Jon Richardson, Hull-born Lucy Beaumont lets slip on her rollercoaster world through a surrealist lens. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Chat show of the week: An Audience With Henry Blofeld, York Theatre Royal, November 20, 7.30pm
TEST Match Special alumnus Henry Blofeld, 84, will discuss rather more than the art of cricket commentary. “If you think you’re going to learn how to play a forward defensive, you’ll be sadly disappointed,” he forewarns.
Instead, expect his colourful life story in a tongue-in-cheek show, full of after-dinner anecdotes and meandering digressions where Blowers pokes fun at himself and his TMS gaffes and his subjects veer from intergalactic travel to horticulture to mountaineering. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Folk gig of the week: The Trials Of Cato, Pocklington Arts Centre, Thursday, 8pm
2019 BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners The Trials Of Cato pay homage to the folk tradition while twisting old bones into something febrile and modern, combining stomping tunes and captivating stories.
Formed in Beirut, Lebanon, the Welsh/English band have been based in Britain since 2016, releasing the albums Hide And Hair in 2018 and Gog Magog, named after the mythical giant of Arthurian legend and a Cambridgeshire hilltop, last year. Mandolin player and vocalist Polly Bolton has joined the trio after leaving The Magpies. Support act will be Annie Dressner, once of New York City, now of Cambridgeshire. Box office: 01759 301547 or pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk
Underground movement of the week: Navigators Art & Performance, The Basement Sessions, The Basement, City Screen Picturehouse, York, November 25, doors, 7pm
YORK creative hub Navigators Art & Performance launches the Basement Sessions series of Music, Spoken Word and Comedy – Live, Local and Loud! with a bill of performers from the York area and “a few surprises up the sleeve”.
In the line-up are punk/post-punk/alt. rock/indie band What Fresh Hell, playing their farewell gig; pop, soul and acoustic singer-songwriter Jess Gardham; comedian John Pease; performance artist Carrieanne Vivianette, exploring the legacies of radical women through voice, movement and improvisation, and jazz-turned-punk Battle of the Bands finalists Attacker TV. Box office: bit.ly/nav-base-1 or on the door.
Tribute show of the week: Atila Huseyin in King For A Day: The Nat King Cole Story, National Centre for Early Music, York, November 26, 7pm
ATILA Huseyin combines live music, narration and projected archive images and footage in his concert celebration of one the 20th century’s greatest vocalists and entertainers, Nat King Cole. of the Twentieth Century: Nat King Cole.
Accompanied by world-class musicians, Huseyin performs such favourites as Nature Boy, Unforgettable and When I Fall in Love alongside stylish reworkings of his lesser-known gems. Box office: 01904 658338 or ncem.co.uk.
Looking ahead: Chris McCausland, Yonks!, Grand Opera House, York, November 10 2024
LIVERPUDLIAN comedian Chris McCausland will follow up his 140-date Speaky Blinder tour with 104 shows on his Yonks! travels in January to May and September to December 2024. Why Yonks? “I’ve been called an ‘overnight success’, even though I’ve been doing this for yonks,” he reasons after more than two decades on the stand-up circuit.
This year, McCausland, 46, has hosted his own travel series, Wonders Of The World I Can’t See, on Channel 4. His Work In Progress show at Selby Town Hall on Wednesday (8pm) has sold out. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
TOM Berkeley & Ross White’s The Golden West has won the Best of Festival Award at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2023 in York.
Award winners in the 13th festival were announced in a ceremony on Sunday at the Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens, spotlighting outstanding storytelling across multiple genres.
Winner of the Best Drama Award too, The Golden West is set in November 1849, when two warring Irish sisters seek their fortune in the gold rush after fleeing the Great Famine. However, with winter fast approaching, their feud soon threatens to become deadly.
Other award winners were:
Best Advertising Award: RNIB/See Differently, directed by Jesse Lewis-Reece.
Best Animation Film: Letter To A Pig, directed by Tal Kantor.
Best Artists’ Film Award: The Song, directed by Bani Abidi.
Best Comedy Award: Festival Of Slap, directed by Abdou Cissé
Best Dance Award: Spicy Pink Tea, directed by Aqsa Arif.
Best Documentary Award: Nail Nai & Wai Po (Grandma & Grandpa), directed by Sean Wang.
Best Documentary Feature: After The Bridge, directed by Davide Rizzo & Marzia Toscano.
Best Experimental Film: Thieves, directed by Michelle Williams Gamaker.
Best Fashion Award: An Ode To Procrastination, directed by Aleksandra Kingo.
Best Family Friendly Award: I’m Not Afraid, directed by Marita Mayer.
Best Music Video Award: Debbie featuring Berwyn, Cousin’s Car, directed by Relta.
Best Narrative Feature: Black Moon, directed by Tonatiuh Garcia.
Best Thriller Award: Hide Your Crazy, directed by Austin Kase.
Best VR & 360 Award: From The Main Square, directed by Pedro Harres.
Best Game: Paper Trail, by Newfangled Games.
Best Cinematography Award: The Red Suitcase, directed by Cyrus Neshvad.
Best Director Award and Best Screenplay Award: Safe, directed by Debbie Howard.
Best Editing Award: Outlets, directed by Duncan Cowles.
All the films from the five-day festival can be streamed online at asff.co.uk until November 30, along with the 60 masterclasses.
THE inaugural Scarborough Film Festival is running from today until Sunday.
“We’ve put together a really fantastic programme of films that includes feature films, both arthouse and mainstream, short films, documentaries, animation, locally made films and artist moving images,” says co-director Elizabeth Boag. “We hope there really is something for everyone.”
A familiar face to theatre audiences from her Stephen Joseph Theatre performances, not least in Alan Ayckbourn comedies, actress Elizabeth is joined in the directorial team by Martha Cattell, archivist at the Yorkshire & North East Film Archives.
Elizabeth had decided to move back to Yorkshire from London in April 2021, after the pandemic, with a new son to bring up as a Yorkshireman and teach to walk in the sea.
“Having worked at the SJT, where they still show films in the McCarthy auditorium in what was the old Odeon cinema building, I messaged the theatre about setting up a film festival, as I’d love one to be held in Scarborough,” she says.
“I’d done a scheme in London called Firehouse Films [“a film lab with a difference”], where the principle was to give fledgling filmmakers the chance to work with actors and crew at a South East London location, without having to pay to pay for any of those.
“Each director would have a month to make a short film, with Firehouse Films providing a database and crew, and the actors would work for free for two days. That was in January to March 2013, producing 12 films, before I ended up coming to the SJT to do Alan Ayckbourn’s Arrivals And Departures that summer.”
Elizabeth admits she “didn’t know short films were a thing until I started acting”, but the seed was duly planted in her head to establish a film festival to “show amazing films to the people of Scarborough”.
Roll the years forward, and serendipitously Martha Cattell also had approached SJT artistic director Paul Robinson over the possibility of launching a film festival at the East Coast resort.
“Paul asked if I knew her and said she had some very cool friends that I did know,” recalls Elizabeth. “We met and got on really well, and while we come from different angles and our areas of interest are quite different, our tastes are similar. I’m more in touch with the narrative side and Martha more with artist films and documentary films.”
Martha was working as the curator for Crescent Arts in Scarborough [October 2020 to December 2022] when they first met and is now the project delivery manager for the Yorkshire & North East Film Archives, exploring how the moving image can be used in environment and climate narratives.
Profiled on LinkedIn as a freelance film programmer and creative producer, she gained a PhD from the University of York in 2019 in the ethics of representing the whaling industry in art and film. Earlier, she had chaired the York Student Cinema on campus.
An artist too (who works with seaweed), Martha’s diverse career has taken in programming and coordinating the Gateway Film Festival in Peterborough, involvements with the Aesthetica Short Film Festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest and Hebden Bridge Film Festival, and co-directing and programming Sea/Film, an organisation committed to bringing alternative film and cinema to Yorkshire, the Humber and the North East.
Pooling their skills, Elizabeth and Martha decided “we wanted to make a film festival that would be very accessible, make it something for everyone, something they may not have seen before but would speak to them”.
More than 30 years since York entered the modern age of cinema-going at Clifton Moor, Scarborough still awaits its first multiplex cinema, although multi-million-pound plans were approved in March for one to transform the Brunswick shopping centre. In the meantime, Scarborough cinephiles must head up the stairs at the SJT or to the Hollywood Plaza Cinema, in North Marine Road, home to a weekly programme of Hollywood blockbusters and newly released films.
“One of the reasons we were keen to partner with the SJT for the festival was to help it survive as an arthouse cinema, presenting a cross-section of films. The SJT was the obvious hub for the festival as I’d worked there so much that I had a natural ‘in’,” says Elizabeth.
“I grew up in Pickering, where there was the Pickering Castle cinema, but sadly it closed when I was in my teens [in 2006, later to be converted into apartments in 2013], but we loved going there. It was such a wonderful place to go.”
A love of cinema was born. “For young people growing up in Scarborough, I want to give them the chance to go to the cinema and enjoy it as I did and still do,” says Elizabeth.
To that end, she and Martha are encouraging children and school groups to partake in the festival, whether in a Q&A, workshop or family screening.
Film aficionados will note that the debut Scarborough Film Festival is running in the same week as the 13th Aesthetica Short Film Festival in York. “In our planning, we said, ‘we have to avoid our weekend clashing with Aesthetica’…but our festival has a very different remit, with a very different offering, and next year we will make sure we don’t clash.
“If people are going to Aesthetica and spot something that attracts them in our programme, then maybe they’ll come over here too.”
CharlesHutchPress’s guide to the Scarborough Film Festival programme
November 9, 5pm: Opening event, McCarthy Cinema, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Bait and The Tide, plus Q&A with local cast and crew of The Tide. A night of films exploring the tensions faced by coastal communities. Suitable for age 15 plus.
SHOT on a vintage 16mm camera using monochrome Kodak stock, Mark Jenkin’s timely, funny, poignant Bait goes to the heart of a Cornish community facing up to unwelcome change.
Made in Scarborough, with support from Film Hub North through the BFI Network Short Film Fund, Dan Hartley’s 2021 film The Tide charts the fate of a rusting trawler and its beleaguered crew as they struggle to eke out a living from the waters of the North Sea beyond Scarborough.
Producer and cast member Liam Thomas will lead the Q&A session. “This will be the first screening of The Tide in Scarborough, and we’re delighted that cast members and the crew will be attending,” says festival co-director Elizabeth Boag.
November 9, 8pm, McCarthy Cinema, Stephen Joseph Theatre: Complicité presents Can I Live?,plus Q&A with Fehinti Balogun. Conceived, written and performed by Fehinti Balogun. Suitable for age 12 plus. Captioned screening.
WHY don’t we talk about it? Fehinti Balogun asks this urgent question and offers an invitation in Can I Live?, a new digital performance about the climate catastrophe, exploring his personal journey into the biggest challenge of our times.
Addressing themes of racism and classism as he weaves his story with spoken word, rap, theatre, animation and the scientific facts, Fehinti charts a course through the fundamental issues underpinning the emergency.
In doing so, he identifies the intimate relationship between the environmental crisis and the global struggle for social justice, and shares how, as a young Black British man, he has found his place in the climate movement.
In the face of a sense of helplessness about the climate catastrophe, Can I Live? is an outstretched hand, inviting audiences to recognise they are not alone – and that through understanding the issues and connecting with the many powerful activists around the globe driving change, we can find a sense of hope for the future.
November 10, 1.45pm, McCarthy Cinema, Stephen Joseph Theatre: Caribbean Stories short films programme, curated by Barbadian journalist turned filmmaker, programmer and exhibitor Denyce Blackman. Age: 18 plus
PRESENTED in partnership with the Caribbean International Film Festival, this collection of varied, stirring stories from around the Caribbean showcases the richness of culture, language and experiences in portraits from Bahamas, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Martinique.
November 10, 5.30pm, Woodend Gallery & Studios, The Crescent; Queer Shorts: Liquid Thoughts short films programme. Age:18 plus
A SERIES of short films exploring themes of water and queerness, showing in collaboration with SJT, Crescent Arts and Scarborough Museums and Galleries alongside their exhibitions Always Been Here; and Garth Gratrix: Cheeky Felicia.
“There’s a vibrant queer artistic community in Scarborough and we’re very keen to invite them into the festival,” says Elizabeth.
November 10, 8pm, McCarthy Cinema, Stephen Joseph Theatre: Ken Loach’s The Old Oak, plus Q&A with lead actor Dave Turner. Age: 18 plus
KEN Loach partners again with screenwriter Paul Laverty for what is reportedly his final film at 87. In a once thriving North East mining community, The Old Oak is the last pub standing, kept afloat by a few remaining locals who feel abandoned by the system.
When a group of Syrian refugees arrives to be placed in the former pit village’s cheap, vacant homes, tensions begin to rise, but an unlikely union forms between the pub’s affable landlord, TJ Ballantyne (Dave Turner), and an aspiring young Syrian photographer, Yara (Ebla Mari).
November 11, 10am, McCarthy Cinema, Stephen Joseph Theatre: Family Film, Song Of The Sea (PG)
TOMM Moore’s enchanting Irish animation tells the story of Ben and his little sister Saoirse – the last Seal-child – who embark on a fantastic journey across a fading world of ancient legend and magic in an attempt to return to their home by the sea.
November 11, 11.45am to 1.30pm, Boden Room, Stephen Joseph Theatre: Animation Workshop. Age recommendation: perfect for families with children aged four plus.
CHILDREN’S author and self-taught animator Terenia Edwards leads an Introduction To Animation workshop. Learn the basic mechanics of animating and make your very own thaumatrope – a spinning toy that creates a visual illusion – inspired by Song Of The Sea. Free event but book to ensure a place.
November 11, 3pm, McCarthy Cinema, Stephen Joseph Theatre: Competition Selection, film programme of Yorkshire Shorts with presentation and Q&A
“INITIALLY, we did an international call-out asking for submissions on the themes of Coast, Community and Environment, but we had so many submissions – more than 2,000 – that we decided to narrow it down to Yorkshire films, either filmed in Yorkshire or made with Yorkshire talent in them,” says Elizabeth.
“Our selection panel watched them and then Martha and I made the final decision on the choice of films to be shown.”
The panel of industry judges for Saturday’s competition will be: BAFTA-winning TV drama director Jordan Hogg; broadsheet film critic, Tim Robey; Zoe Naylor, from the BFI Academy, and Scarborough Film Festival’s resident blogger, freelance journalist (and Elizabeth’s cousin to boot) Laurence Boag-Matthews.
A Q&A with attending filmmakers will follow the screening, whereupon the panel will announce the winner and runner-up.
November 11, 5pm, Stephen Joseph Theatre bar: Gala Drinks Reception, Celebrating The Filmmakers
SCARBOROUGH Film Festival partners with Brass Castle to celebrate East Coast filmmakers and their work. Those purchasing a ticket for the Yorkshire Shorts film programme automatically will book a place at the drinks reception and receive a free Brass Castle beer when they show the ticket at the bar.
This is an opportunity for audience to meet the filmmakers and judges in an informal setting, for people to network and for plans for future collaborations to be hatched.
November 11, 7.45pm, McCarthy Cinema, Stephen Joseph Theatre: Revive, live performance
REVIVE combines live music and spoken word with a chance to see archive film through a new lens. Environmental archive film from Martha Cattell’s Nature Matters project for the Yorkshire and North East Film Archives will be given new music or spoken-word scores by five performers with links to Scarborough.
Step forward: musical comedian Charlotte Brooke, poet and actor Tanya-Loretta Dee, rap artist Charles Kirby, poet Charlotte Oliver and singer-songwriter Jon Plant. Book a ticket for the Yorkshire Shorts programme to attend this event.
November 12, 11am, SeaGrown, Scarborough Harbour: Stories Of The Sea: Artist Moving Image
STORIES Of The Sea explores the work of artists who have focused on communities living in or near the sea.
Julia Parks’s Seaweed Stories looks at the relationship between people, seaweed and landscape, in the past, present and future. Webb-Ellis’s For The First Baby Born In Space was filmed during the long, hot summer of 2018, recording teenagers from Whiby and elsewhere as their coming of age coincides with a time when so much else is in flux.
Both Julia Parks and Webb-Ellis will attend a Q&A after the screening. Please note: unfortunately the SeaGrown boat is accessible only via a series of steps, so this venue is not suitable for wheelchair users or people with mobility issues.
What is an “artist moving image”? “Not necessarily narrative or documentary, though there is a narrative to both these works but they are pieces of art on film that move,” says Elizabeth.
November 12, 4pm, Railway Club, next to Scarborough railway station: So Which Band Is Your Boyfriend In?, film exploring real-life experiences of non-male participants in the UK’s DIY/underground music scenes, plus Q&A with local musicians
THROUGH a series of interviews with members of the music community, this film looks at their experiences – both positive and negative – and investigates what can be done to make music more accessible to everyone, regardless of gender. Screened in collaboration with Record Revivals, the record store next to the SJT.
November 12, Railway Club, Scarborough, 7pm: screening of Babylon preceded by premiere of visual companion piece to The Hydrogen Trees’ debut album Secret Arcade and followed by Rebel Radics Sound System live set
IN Franco Rosso’s Babylon, a 1980 cult classic that pulsates with an irresistible dub soundtrack, a young Blue (Brinsley Forde) aims for success at a Reggae Sound System competition.
Presented in collaboration with Record Revivals, the screening will be followed by a live dub set by Dan from Scarborough’s very own Rebel Radics Sound System, who will give a brief introduction to the film and sound system culture. The film will be played through Rebel Radics sound system too.
November 9 to 12, at Mandy Apple Artspace, 44, Newborough, Scarborough, Developing Filmmakers, Thursday, 10am to 2pm; Friday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm
IN response to Scarborough being home to vibrant young film-making talent, Scarborough Film Festival will showcase a selection of their films on a loop in Mandy Apple’s intimate lounge space throughout the four days.
Featured work includes: Vida, devised, shot and produced by BA Acting students from CU (Coventry University) Scarborough; Birds On The Edge, produced by Arcade, in partnership with North York Moors National Park Trust and Scarborough Pupil Referral Service; Written In The Waves, devised, shot and produced by CU Scarborough BA Acting students Chavez Idjerhe, Crystal Jackson, Selwyn Peterken and Luke Simpson; The Wait, written, directed and starring first-time filmmaker, Jessica Vautier.
This event is FREE and unticketed; feel free to drop in any time.
REIGNITE II: The Creative Economy will bring together key partners and industry leaders to explore the impact of large-scale cultural programming on York’s wider economy this evening at City Screen Picturehouse, York
The 6pm to 9pm event will feature a film screening and Q&A with “some of the UK’s most significant creative talent”, as part of this week’s BAFTA-qualifying Aesthetica Short Film Festival, when York becomes a cinematic playground for global giants in the media and gaming industries.
Highlighting York’s decade-long UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts designation, the discussion will focus on the role of media arts in driving economic growth, attracting tourism and fostering a vibrant and creative city for years to come.
Aesthetica director Cherie Federico says: “Reignite II is an opportunity to discuss the economic impact of culture on our city and how bold cultural programming offers an uplift in the city centre through economic and social inclusion.
“Through Reignite, we are looking to unite the city in support of the high growth and economic potential of York’s creative industries, and we’re committed to supporting the sector to reach its full potential.”
Rachel Bean, project manager at York BID (Business Improvement District), says: “We believe that media arts have a vital role to play in the city’s economic future, and we’re excited to build on the success of [the first meeting of] Reignite and continue to work closely with Aesthetica and partners to explore this potential.”
Reignite: Economic Impact Through Creative Industries was launched last month to celebrate York’s creative sector and its significant impact on the local economy. The inaugural event brought together representatives across all sectors to unite under York’s UNESCO Media Arts status, with the aim of encouraging all sectors in York, including hospitality, retail, and transport, to recognise the vast potential of York’s creative sector to transform the city’s economy.
Organisations Aesthetica, Viridian FX, Bright White, York Museums Trust and the National Railway Museum, together with a panel of young creatives, highlighted the need to embrace the city’s UNESCO designation to strengthen the York economy, with ambitions to create educational pathways, develop new skills and jobs and attract investment.
“Reignite is about making York’s UNESCO Media Arts relevant to the city’s arts and culture and seeking to transform York into a knowledge-based economy,” says Cherie. “We’re looking to develop Reignite events every quarter, working in tandem with City of York Council.
“We have a few hundred businesees in the creative industries in York already, but we must encourage more businesses to set up in York, particular in gaming and coding. We’ve reached the point where the city is being recognised for being very innnovative in what it’s achieving in the worlds of visual special effects and gaming, and we need to build on that.
“York has a unique cultural heritage and we must re-define ourselves as a regional city that thinks nationally and internationally, with a strategy for start-ups, education and inward investment.
“We want to encourage future careers, whether as arts workers or coders, and to legitimise those career paths in York, and we want to inspire not only young people in the city.”
New York-born Cherie has studied, worked and lived in York for more than two decades, setting up the international art magazine Aesthetica 20 years ago and subsequently the Aesthetica Short Film Festival, now its 13th year, and the Aesthetica Art Prize, an annual showcase for cutting-edge global talent at York Art Gallery.
“Aesthetica Short Film Festival underpins the values of York’s UNESCO Media Arts designation, making it visible with large-scale, bold cultural programming that has an economic impact on the city and cultural impact on residents and visitors alike,” she says.
“The draw of the festival, bringing big names to the city, highlights everything we’re seeking to do. This year we have ten representives from from Ridley Scott Associates; Oscar-winning filmmaker Tim Webber; the head of BAFTA Games, Luke Hebblethwaite; the BBC’s head of environmental documentaries, Mike Gunton, and fashion photographer Michel Haddi.
“BAFTA-winning Bait director Mark Jenkin, Bridgerton cinematographer Diana Olifirova, Suffragette director Sarah Gavron, Northern Irish director Kathryn Ferguson, who made the Sinead O’Connor documentary Nothing Compares, and Aesthetica alumna Jennifer Sheridan, director of Extraordinary for Disney+, they’re all coming too.
“So is Terri White, former editor-in-chief of Empire film magazine, whose memoir Coming Undone is being adpated into a TV series starring Billie Piper. We’ll have films by Ricky Gervais, Maxine Peake and Ben Whishaw too.”
Tonight’s event is supported by City of York Council, York BID, Aesthetica, Kit Monkman’s Viridian FX and York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.
YORK is one of only 12 UNESCO Creative Cities in the United Kingdom and is unique in being the UK’s first and only UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts.
York is part of a network of 246 Creative Cities that has identified creativity as a strategic factor in sustainable urban development.
To strengthen the creation, production, distribution and dissemination of cultural activities, goods and services.
To develop hubs of creativity and innovation and broaden opportunities for creators and professionals in the cultural sector.
To improve access to and participation in cultural life, in particular for marginalised or vulnerable groups and individuals.
To fully integrate culture and creativity into sustainable development plans.
In 2020, York launched a new Culture Strategy – York’s Creative Future – with inclusion and participation at its core, “showcasing the city’s commitment to ensuring culture is relevant and accessible to everybody in York regardless of age, background or postcode”.
FIVE days of short films lead off a week long on Latin pop and school rock musicals, plus science and sticks, dance moves and festive designs, as Charles Hutchinson reports.
Festival of the week: Aesthetica Short Film Festival, York city centre, November 8 to 12
THE 13th edition of York’s Aesthetica Short Film Festival combines 300 films and 15 venues in a five-day showcase of worldwide independent film that champions emerging creative talent.
Guest programmes explore the climate crisis, Black British cinema and LGBTQ+ experiences. Look out too for the Aesthetica Games Lab, in celebration of video game culture, plus multiple masterclasses, networking sessions, kids’ workshops, AI workshops and the VR Lab’s selection of 360 (degree) and immersive film experiences. York residents can save 50 per cent each day with the York Days Discount. Full programme and tickets: asff.co.uk.
Exhibition launch of the week: Comfort And Joy, Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, November 4, 11am to 3pm, until mid-January 2024
PYRAMID Gallery’s Christmas show, Comfort And Joy, combines paintings, prints, ceramics, sculpture and glass. Look out for needlepoint by Dinny Pocock, jewellery by Joy McMillan and sculpture by Paul Smith, Lynn Muir, Helen Martino, Peter Hayes, Eva Mileusnic, Gwen Vaughan, Fidelma Massey and Louise Connell, among others.
On show too will be paintings and original prints by Sarah Williams, Anita Klein, Lesley Birch, Eliza Southwood, Emma Whitelock, Trevor Price, Mychael Barratt and Hilke Macintyre, porcelain origami by Kate Buckley, plus glass by Keith Cummings, E&M Glass, Hannah Gibson, Tracey Knowles, Will Shakspeare, Morag Reekie, Jo Kenny and more besides. Attending today’s launch will be Smith, Birch, McMillan, Whitelock and Knowles.
Inspired event: York Artists & Designer Makers’ Annual Christmas Show, York Cemetery Chapel, Cemetery Road, York, November 4 and 5, 10am to 5pm
YORK artists and designers return to York Cemetery Chapel this weekend for their Inspired festive showcase. Adrienne French will be exhibiting paintings; Jo Bagshaw and Richard Whitelegg, jewellery; Elliot Harrison, illustrations; Catherine Boyne-Whitelegg, pottery; John Watts and Wilf Williams, furniture; Petra Bradley, textiles; Sally Clarke, prints, and Simon Palmour, photography.
Science show of the week: Tutti Frutti and One Tenth Human in The Lightbulb Princess, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, November 5, 2pm
LEEDS company Tutti Frutti Productions and Lancaster’s One Tenth Human team up for a magical, fun-filled 50-minute extravaganza for children aged four and upwards that explores the science behind electricity.
Kai’s sister Ray is determined that Mum will enjoy a perfect Christmas. It may be way too early, but already she has Kai and Ali hunting everywhere for decorations. When they find tree-top sparkly fairy Filomina, an unexpected adventure begins, one where they will need your help in a show full of electrifying storytelling and original songs. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Song and dance of the week: An Evening With Anton Du Beke And Friends, York Theatre Royal, November 6, 7.30pm
STRICTLY Come Dancing legend and judge Anton Du Beke sashays into York with his live band, guest singer Lance Ellington and dancers for a fab-u-lous evening of song, dance and laughter. The ballroom king will be combining songs and dances that have inspired him with behind-the-scenes stories from his many years on Strictly. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
New musical of the week: La Bamba!, Grand Opera House, York, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm; Wednesday and Saturday, 2.30pm
NOT to be confused with the 1987 film of the same name or Richie Valens’ teenage hit from 1958, La Bamba! is a new musical fiesta of passion, pride and Latin pop anthems starring Strictly Come Dancing champion Pasha Kovalev, The Wanted’s Siva Kaneswaran and rising star Inês Fernandez, choreographed by Strictly’s Graziano Di Prima.
Follow young Los Angeles dreamer Sofia as she takes her first steps toward stardom and witnesses the power of music to unite communities. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Children’s show of the week: Freckle Productions in Stick Man, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday, 4.30pm; Wednesday, 10.30am, 1.30pm and 4.30pm
WHAT begins as a morning jog becomes a misadventure for Stick Man: a dog wants to play Fetch, a swan builds a nest with him, and he even ends up atop a fire. How will Stick Man return to the family tree in time for Christmas?
Adapting Julia Donaldson’s book, Freckle Productions combine puppetry, songs, live music and funky moves in the 55-minute performance. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Are you ready to rock?York Light Youth in School Of Rock, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Wednesday to Saturday, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee
YORK Light Youth’s tenth anniversary show is the York premiere of the technically and musically challenging musical School Of Rock, combining young performers aged ten to 17 and York Light Opera Company adults.
Based on the 2003 film, the storyline follows Jonny Holbek’s Dewey Finn, a failed wannabe rock star, who vows to turn his clueless prep school students into a rock band to enter Battle of the Bands. Along the way, Dewey finds romance, self-worth, a proper job, while initiating the children and their parents in the beauty of rock. Box office: josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
Recommended but fully booked
QUEEN of British soul Beverley Knight’s York Barbican concert on Thursday has sold out, as has indie pop trio Scouting For Girls’ gig there the next night.
In Focus:Gigs of the week: Teenage Fanclub on tour in Leeds and Sheffield with new album Nothing Lasts Forever in tow
GLASGOW indie legends Teenage Fanclub follow up September’s release of 11th full-length studio album Nothing Lasts Forever with a 12-date November tour, taking in Yorkshire gigs in Leeds on Wednesday (sold out) and Sheffield on November 12
On songs looking for positives while faced with the grim realities of the 21st century, songwriters and guitarists Raymond McGinley and Norman Blake are joined by Francis Macdonald on drums, Dave McGowan on bass and Euros Childs on keyboards.
Light is a recurring theme, both as a metaphor for hope and as an ultimate destination further down the road. That said, although McGinley and Blake found themselves covering similar ground, it was pure coincidence.
McGinley says:“We never talk about what we’re going to do before we start making a record. We don’t plan much other than the nuts and bolts of where we’re going to record and when.
“That thing about light was completely accidental; we didn’t realise that until we’d finished half the songs. The record feels reflective, and I think the more we do this thing, the more we become comfortable with going to that place of melancholy, feeling and expressing those feelings.”
Blake reflects: “These songs are definitely personal. You’re getting older, you’re going into the cupboard getting the black suit out more often. Thoughts of mortality and the idea of the light must have been playing on our minds a lot.
“The songs on the last record were influenced by the break-up of my marriage. It was cathartic to write those songs. These new songs are reflective of how I’m feeling now, coming out of that period.
“They’re fairly optimistic, there’s an acceptance of a situation and all of the experience that comes with that acceptance. When we write, it’s a reflection of our lives, which are pretty ordinary.
“We’re not extraordinary people, and normal people get older. There’s a lot to write about in the mundane. I love reading Raymond Carver. Very often there’s not a lot that happens in those stories, but they speak to lived experience.”
While the vocals and finishing touches on Nothing Lasts Forever were added at McGinley’s place in Glasgow, the music was recorded in an intense ten-day period in the bucolic Welsh countryside at Rockfield Studios, near Monmouth, in late August.
This environment led to a record full of soft breezes, wide skies, beauty and space. “We like to get something out of where we go, and you can definitely hear a stamp of Rockfield on the record,” says McGinley.
“We recorded our album Howdy there in the late ’90s. Prior to that, I’d been a bit reluctant to go as everyone seemed to record there, especially if you were signed to Creation, but I thought I’d go and have a look at the place. “
McGinley continues: “When I went down there, I loved the fact that there’s no memorabilia about anyone who’s ever been in the studio. The only visual musical reference is a picture of [pioneering space age record producer} Joe Meek on their office wall.
“Anyway, over 20 years after our first visit, we decided to go back. When you’re there, it feels like your place. We’re really rubbish at trying to find words to describe how our music sounds, but maybe because we recorded in Rockfield in late summer, there’s something pastoral about the record.”
Blake, McGinley, Macdonald, McGowan and Childs arrived at the residential studio without a fixed plan. Their confidence and ease with working together meant the record came together quickly.
McGinley says: “When we got offered ten days in Rockfield, we weren’t ready in our minds but then we just thought, ‘**** it’ and went for it. If you’re sitting around waiting for the stars to align, you can end up never doing anything. We turned up and worked our way through ideas, and came up with some while we were there.
“The song Foreign Land was born in the studio. If we hadn’t gone there at that point through happenstance, that song wouldn’t exist. We like to let things happen. As people, we find a deadline inspiring. We like to put ourselves on the spot and see what happens. We usually get away with it. This record is the cliche of the blank canvas, which thankfully we managed to fill.”
Blake adds:“We’ve all been playing together for such a long time. In the past, whoever had written the song would have been the director. ‘This is how I’m hearing the drums, if you could play the bass like this’…We don’t do that now.
“Raymond or myself would just bring in the idea and people would listen and play what works with it. We’d play for a couple of hours and that would be the arrangement. There’s a trust that comes from knowing each other such a long time, a kind of telepathy. Everyone knows where they fit in the puzzle.”
The seven-minute acoustic closing track, I Will Love You, looks to a point beyond the fury and polarisation of our modern discourse, to a time when“the bigots are gone/after they apologise/for all the harm that they’ve done”.
McGinley says: “In many ways, us-and-them-ism has taken over the world. I Will Love You is looking for positivity but it’s being totally fatalistic at the same time. This s**t will exist forever, what are you going to do about it?
“I came up with the line ‘I will love you/until the flags are put down/and the exceptionalists are buried under the ground’ while I was playing the guitar. I started wondering what that was all about and where it might go. It’s looking for positives within a fatalistic, negative view of human nature.”
The full track listing is: Foreign Land; Tired Of Being Alone; I Left A Light On; See The Light; It’s Alright; Falling Into The Sun; Self-Sedation; Middle Of My Mind; Back To The Light and I Will Love You.
Teenage Fanclub play Leeds Brudenell Social Club, Wednesday, doors 7.30pm, sold out; Leadmill, Sheffield, November 12, 7.30pm. Support comes from Sweet Baboo. Box office for Sheffield: leadmill.co.uk.
THE 13th edition of the Aesthetica Short Film Festival will be bigger and better than ever with big industry names, new features, more masterclasses and a 50 per cent YorkDays residents’ discount each day.
Significantly too, the festival is determined to highlight York’s status as the UK’s first and only UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts, not only through a festival with one eye on the future, but also through the newly launched Reignite drive, propelled by Aesthetica director Cherie Federico, to highlight the financial impact of York’s creative sector and the need to transform York into a knowledge-based economy.
“The time for complacency is over,” says Cherie. “York has a unique cultural heritage and we must re-define ourselves as a regional city that thinks nationally and internationally, with a strategy for start-ups, education and inward investment.”
At the heart of the five-day festival, spread across 15 venues from November 8 to 12, will be 300 films in competition, including new works by Rick Gervais, Maxine Peake, Ben Whishaw and Oscar-winner Tim Webber, from Framestore.
The 2023 Official Selection of shorts, feature-length films and documentaries VR experiences and games screenings has been curated into five themes: Now, In This Very Moment; Standing at the Threshold of Change; A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With One Step; Be Free From Yourself and It’s Nice to Meet You.
The Guest Programmes for 2023 come from BFI Doc Society, Iris Prize and We Are Parable, among others, while the New Wave initiative provides a platform for up-and-coming directors. Issues such as gender, identity, the climate crisis and social injustices will be prominent throughout the festival film choice.
Festival films span 12 genres: advertising; animation; artists’ film; comedy; dance; documentary; drama, experimental; family friendly; fashion; music video and thriller. They can be experienced on the big screen at assorted locations during the festival run or streamed from home via the festival’s Virtual Platform, open for viewing On Demand until November 30, along with the masterclasses.
Top film industry organisations will be participating in more than 60 masterclasses and practical workshops for adults and children from November 8 to 11, with pre-booking recommended.
The 2023 event welcomes directors and cinematographers such asSarah Gavron (Rocks), Mark Jenkin (Bait), Nicolas Brown (1917), Diana Olifirova (Heartstopper) and Kathryn Ferguson (director of the Sinead O’Connor documentary Nothing Compares), to give sessions on their experience working in the industry, from editing, sound design and cinematography to screenwriting, interactive storytelling, games, AI (artificial intelligence) and VR (virtual reality).
Festival-goers can go behind the scenes with multi-award-winning British animation studio Aardman; BBC Studioswill demonstrate its work in the Natural History Unit, producing series with David Attenborough, while Ridley Scott Associates will delve delves into The Future of Storytelling.
Aesthetica also welcomeGeorge Lucas’s VFX studio, Industrial Light and Magic, alongside Oscar winners Framestore, to discuss the world of visual effects and post-production.
One event asks What is the Role of the Intimacy Co-Ordinator, while another looks at the female gaze and what it means for women to depict women. Other compelling topics will be: Next Level Scriptwriting, Developing Award-Winning Animations; Where to Shoot Your Film; the Power of True Stories and Composing for Screen.
Practical sessions take place at Pitcher & Piano, the StreetLife Hub, the Guildhall and York Theatre Royal, hosted by key organisations, from the London College of Communication to the Pitch Film Fund.
Festival visitors can travel to the past to uncover the magic oftraditional printmaking or look to the future inTestbed of AI Generators and Writing in 360°: A Practical Workshop. Look out too for sessions on how to pitch, a virtual production demonstration and a showcase of Canon’s cinema cameras.
Children can learn to direct, edit and make their own films in Do You Want to Be a Director and How to Make a Film, led by the Pauline Quirke Academy. New for 2023 is How to Make a Game and Do You Want to be a Game Developer? from Impact Games: a chance for young people to learn the secrets behind their favourite games. Pre-booking is essential.
In its 13th year, ASFF becomes the first British film festival to introduce a Games Lab, at Spark:York, inviting audiences to explore new worlds and interactive storytelling with 40 new independent games to play in a celebration of game culture, design and production on PC, console and headset. Workshops, events and masterclasses will accompany the Games Lab too.
“The video game industry is undergoing dramatic change culturally and technologically and is now larger than the film industry and music industry combined,” says festival director Cherie Federico. “We see journeys into narrative design as a crucial way to understand how storytelling is evolving in the 21st century. We see gaming much like film, but as a player you are involved in bringing a story to life.
“The inaugural Games Lab marks a new chapter in the festival’s story and reflects how the screen industry evolving. It’s an exciting moment to take stock of and recognise the impact of gaming culture, and how it touches our daily lives.”
Twenty VR projects in the Screen School VR Lab will be part of the festival’s ever-expanding offering of Virtual and Expanded Reality experiences, presented in tandem with Investigative Games and Kit Monkman’s York-based special effects studio Viridian FX.
This year’s Aesthetica Fringecomprises a sound installation, looking at feminism and women’s experiences in public places, at Bedern Hall; the Inside [Out] exhibition by three female photographers, celebrating women behind the lens, at City Screen Picturehouse; a display of contemporary film posters from the Official Selection at StreetLife Hub and workshops in printmaking, gaming and film for children and adults.
For the festival programme and tickets, head to: asff.co.uk.
EXPERIENCE a vast range of films from around the world with the Official Selection, Guest Programmes and New Wave screenings. This year’s outstanding selection includes films by Ricky Gervais, Maxine Peake, Ben Whishaw and Oscar-winner Tim Webber.
The Official Selection is curated with more than 300 films spanning 12 exciting genres, covering comedy, drama, animation, documentary, family friendly, thriller and more. Guest Programmes come from BFI Doc Society, Iris Prize and We Are Parable among others. New Wave spotlights new talent and is the only strand in a UK festival to showcase graduate films, introducing the filmmakers of the future.
UK film festival first: Pioneering Games Lab
THE Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom sold 10 million copies in three days, making it the fastest-selling game in Nintendo history. Games enable players to interact with stories like never before, from journeying through vast open worlds to navigating mesmeric VR (virtual reality) experiences.
Aesthetica sees the games industry evolving and wants to spotlight and celebrate all that interactive media offer, proudly becoming the first British film festival to develop a Games Lab alongside the film screenings, VR and immersive experiences.
Head to Spark:York to play your way through 40 captivating titles, from squirrel mysteries to mythical island escapades, as these Official Selection games immerse users in imaginative worlds.
Masterclasses and Panel Discussions
WHETHER you are an actor, cinematographer, director, developer, producer, screenwriter or a film aficionado, ASFF has world-class masterclasses to suit you, bringing together big names from across film, games and VR. Speakers include representatives from Aardman, Guardian Documentaries, the BFI, Film4, Ridley Scott Associates, Ubisoft and BBC Writersroom.
The list of directors, producers and visual effects specialists have worked such iconic projects as: Avengers: Endgame, Bridgerton, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Gravity, Ready Player One, Wallace And Gromit, and much more.
Family Friendly screenings: Bring the whole family
INSPIRE your children with a selection of incredible films. The whole family can experience the best in independent cinema at Family Friendly film screenings of comedies, engaging dramas and fun-filled animations. Follow compelling characters, from a brave hummingbird to a shy presenter, in shorts that encourage us to be our best selves. ASFF’s three reels are divided into ascending age groups.
Screen School VR Lab: Expanded Realities here in York
THE possibilities of 360° film are endless. Immersive experiences like these bring audiences closer to the action than ever before, positioning them in both real and entirely imagined environments.
Aesthetica and LCC’s (London College Of Communication) Screen School invite you to dive into a bold selection of imaginative stories. Embark on a multi-sensory journey as you explore the world of 360 cinema. The VR Lab will be held at The Basement, City Screen Picturehouse, alongside panel discussions at York Explore. To join virtually, buy a cardboard headset and experience at home.
Networking Sessions: Meet filmmakers
BUILD relationships, seek out collaborations and make lasting memories. Whether you are looking to connect with industry representatives, discover new opportunities or learn new approaches to filmmaking, Networking Sessions are the perfect opportunity to meet with film sector professionals and share ideas. 2023’s representatives are from renowned organisations such as Canon, The Pitch Film Fund and York special effects studio Viridian FX.
Insightful Workshops: Learn new skills
TRAVEL to the past to uncover the tactile magic of traditional printmaking or look to exciting futures with Test Bed of AI Generators and Writing in 360: A Practical Workshop. A series of workshops will run at Pitcher & Piano, StreetLife Hub, The Guildhall and York Theatre Royal’s Studio, with a host of key organisations, ranging from the London College of Communication and The Pitch Film Fund to Viridian FX and Canon.
These practical workshops are centred around expanded realities, making them essential for those looking to try out new technologies and learn from industry professionals.
Three Exhibitions: Sound & Photography
THE premiere of Flux & Possibilities, Martyn Riley’s deep listening, multi-channel sound installation, explores personal identities and histories at Bedern Hall. Created in partnership with Aesthetica, LCC and Audible, it invites you to listen to numerous female-identifying interviewees across different locations and generations, revealing their personal stories of feminism, inequality and gendered spaces.
Look out too for a film poster exhibition at the StretLife hub and photography exhibition, Inside (Out), featuring three female photographers, at City Screen Picturehouse, both in Coney Street.
Pitching Sessions: Speak with the experts
DEVELOPING a new short or feature project? ASFF offers a series of 20-minute pitching sessions where experts provide guidance on how to develop ideas, break into the industry and further your distribution goals.
These sessions will be led by delegates from BBC Film, Goldfinch, Film4, Guardian Documentaries and Neal Street Productions across various days at Malmaison York, as well as virtually. Pre-selection and applications are required.
Kids’ Workshops: Filmmaking & Games
ASFF believes in nurturing children’s creative potential. New for this year, children can attend workshops to learn how to direct, edit and make films. Budding game developers can join Impact Games to learn what goes into creating the games they love.
Pauline Quirke Academy will lead workshops for young directors keen to get behind the camera, shout “action” and “cut” and tell their unique stories.
Two types of workshops will run: filmmaking and gaming, where children can learn how to code and develop their own games.
Aesthetica Short Film Festival runs in York from November 8 to 12; full programme and tickets at asff.co.uk.
HALLOWEEN films and double bills, classic comedy and a time-travelling York legend, a Disney deep freeze and a punk/jazz collision help Charles Hutchinson leave behind October for November frights and delights.
Play of the week: Noises Off, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2pm Thursday and 2.30pm Saturday matinees
MATTHEW Kelly, Liza Goddard and Simon Shepherd lead the cast in Theatre Royal Bath’s touring revival of Michael Frayn’s riotous Noises Off, directed by Lindsay Posner, who staged Richard III and Romeo And Juliet for York’s first season of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre productions in 2018.
Structured as a play within a play, this cherished 1982 farce follows the on and off-stage antics of a touring theatre company stumbling its way through the fictional farce Nothing On, from shambolic final rehearsals to a disastrous matinee, seen silently from backstage, before the catastrophic final performance. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
York legend of the week: Punch Porteous – Lost In Time, All Saints North Street, York, tonight, 7pm.
HAVE you heard or indeed seen the eccentric, evasive York legend Punch Porteous: soldier, philosopher, worker (when absolutely unavoidable), husbandman, connoisseur of ale and now the subject of poet Robert Powell, creative practitioner Ben Pugh and producer John Beecroft’s “multi-media drama experience”?
York Theatre Royal creative director Juliet Forster directs Powell, Nick Naidu and Imogen Wood in Powell’s story of an ordinary man with an extraordinary predicament, lost in time in York. While the city shape-shifts around him, he is catapulted unpredictably into different eras of its history from c.70 to c.2023. Box office: yorktheatreroyal.co.uk/show/punch-porteous-lost-in-time/.
Music, poetry and comedy bill of the week: Navigation Art & Performance present Punk Jazz: A Halloween Special, The Basement, City Screen Picturehouse, York, tonight, 7.30pm
COMPLEMENTING the ongoing Punk/Jazz: Contrasts and Connections exhibition at Micklegate & Fossgate Socials, Navigators Art & Performance bring together energetic York punk band The Bricks; intense improvisers Teleost; the Neo Borgia Trio, formed for the occasion from a University of York big band; grunge-influenced Mike Ambler and the experimental Things Found And Made.
Taking part too will be firebrand polemical poet Rose Drew and comedians Isobel Wilson and Saeth Wheeler. Box office: https://bit.ly/nav-punkjazz.
Children’s concerts of the week: MishMash presents String!, National Centre for Early Music, Walmgate, York, tomorrow, 11.30am and 2pm
THE Gildas Quartet lead tomorrow’s double celebration of the string quartet in informal 40-minute performances featuring a diverse programme from Haydn to Jessie Montgomery, Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges to Dvorak, and everything in between.
Staged creatively to bring the audience into the music, these fun concerts are suitable for ages seven to 11 and their families. Box office: 01904 658338 or ncem.co.uk.
Community film event of the week: The Witches (PG), Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, tomorrow, 2.30pm
MAKE It York and The Groves Community Centre team up for a Halloween screening of Robert Zemeckis’s visually innovative 2020 film The Witches. Based on Roald Dahl’s novel, it tells the darkly humorous, heartwarming tale of an orphaned boy who goes to live with his loving Grandma in late-1967 in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis, where they have an run-in with the Grand High Witch (Anne Hathaway). Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Folk concert of the week: Emily Portman & Rob Harbron, National Centre for Early Music, Walmgate, York, Tuesday, 7.30pm
EMILY Portman, from The Furrow Collective, and Rob Harbron, who performs with Leveret, Fay Hield and Jon Boden, have formed an inspired collaboration to delve into English folk traditions with an intricately woven contemporary sound.
Portman (voice, banjo and piano) and fellow composer Harbron (concertina, guitar and voice) released their debut album, Time Was Away, last November, comprising eight English folk songs and two 20th century poems set to music. Box office: 01904 658338 or ncem.co.uk.
Halloween screaming/screening of the week: Nosferatu: Live Silent Cinema, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Tuesday, 7.30pm
CHRIS Green’s score was commissioned by English Heritage for an outdoor screening of FW Murnau’s 1922 German Expressionist vampire film at Dracula’s spiritual home of Whitby Abbey. Now the composer plays his haunting blend of electronic and acoustic instruments for the first time in York to accompany the first cinematic interpretation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, one that gave birth to the horror movie. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Double bill of the week: Please Please You presents Steve Gunn & Brigid Mae Power, Rise@Bluebird Bakery, Acomb, York, Wednesday, doors 7.30pm
EXPERIMENTAL Brooklyn guitarist and songwriter Steve Gunn’s “forward-thinking” songwriting draws on the blues, folk, ecstatic free jazz and psychedelia, suffused with a raga influence. His website says he is “currently somewhere working on new music”, although York will be the first of 12 solo gigs in Britian, Spain and Poland in November.
Wednesday’s gig will be opened by Irish singer-songwriter Brigid Mae Power, whose latest folk-tinged dreampop album, Dream From The Deep Well, arrived in March. Box office: seetickets.com/event/steve-gunn/rise-bluebird/.
Musical of the week: York Stage in Disney’s Frozen Jr, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Wednesday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee
IN a story of true love and acceptance between sisters, Disney’s Frozen Jr follows the journey of Princesses Anna and Elsa, based on the 2018 Broadway and West End musical set in the magical land of Arendelle, with all the Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez songs from the animated film.
Producer Nik Briggs directs a cast led by Megan Pickard, Bea Charlton, Matilda Park and Esther de la Pena as the princesses. Malachi Collins plays the Duke of Weselton, Lottie Marshall, Bulda, and Oliver Lawery, King Agnarr. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
In Focus: Say Owt Slam, with special guest Polarbear, The Crescent, tonight, 7.45pm
SAY Owt, York’s loveably gobby gang of performance poets, take over The Crescent community venue twice a year for a raucous night of spoken word and poetry in the form of a stellar slam.
Fast, frantic and fun, a slam gives each poet three minutes to wow the audience. Regular host Henry Raby enthuses: “We love doing Say Owt on a Saturday night, because it’s a party! A poetry party!
“Although one poet will be crowned a Say Owt Slam Champion, this isn’t a bitter battle. It’s a celebration as poets bring a variety of styles and forms. In the past, we’ve had tender personal reflections, hilarious laugh-out-loud comedy poems and fiery political tirades.”
Special guest at tonight’s Say Owt Slam in York will be Polarbear. “The last time he graced our city, Polarbear (a.k.a Steven Camden) was supporting Scroobius Pip and Kae Tempest,” says Henry. “He’s an internationally acclaimed spoken word artist and award-winning writer from Birmingham, whose poetry drips with gorgeous storytelling.
“He talks about people and places with a unique ear for language: celebrating the tiny human characteristics.”
Since first stepping on stage in 2004, Polarbear has performed his work and led creative projects from Manchester to Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur to California, as well as featuring on BBC Radio1, 3 and 6Music, attracting 155,000 views on YouTube and releasing a live album on Scroobius Pip’s Speech Development record label.
A few surprises might be in store tonight too. Box office: thecrescentyork.com/events/say-owt-slam-featuring-polarbear/ or on the door.
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