NO Stone unturned as Two Big Egos In A Small Carpodcasters Chalmers and Hutch hit Episode 40 with thoughts on Harrogate Film Festival, Oliver Stone & JFK; Jagger & Grohl’s Slade-meets-Sham 69 lockdown knockdown single Eazy Sleazy; bye-bye Bay City Roller Les McKeown & Jim Steinman RIP; jazz & happiness; no Covid insurance government support, no Deer Shed Festival in 2021 & what next for the summer festival season? Oh, and the return of pub theatre…outdoors in York.
THE cinema at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre reopens next month with a fortnight of Oscar-nominated films.
Films will be screened in the McCarthy auditorium from Tuesday, May 25, starting with Stanley Kramer’s comedy classic It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, nominated for six Oscars in 1963, followed by 2021 nominees Mank, Nomadland, Wolfwalkers and The Trial Of The Chicago 7.
SJT film programmer Steve Carley says of the first film choice: “When it was re-issued in the 1970s, the publicity said, ‘If ever this mad, mad, mad, mad world needed It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, it’s now!’.
“That seemed particularly appropriate at the moment. I’m hoping this joyous comedy will be the perfect ‘welcome-back’ film.”
In Kramer’s film, an unconnected group of motorists stops to help a driver after a crash, only to discover he is a recently released convict who knows the whereabouts of a stolen $350,000, sparking a madcap car chase to recover the cash.
The all-star cast includes Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Phil Silvers, Terry-Thomas and…Buster Keaton. From half a dozen Oscar nominations, the only win, alas, was for Best Sound Editing. What a mad, mad world indeed, as you can re-discover on May 25 at 2pm and 7pm.
David Fincher’s Mank, the most nominated film at this year’s Academy Awards, will be shown on May 26 at 7pm; May 27 at 2pm and 7pm and May 28 at 2pm.
Best Actor nominee Gary Oldman plays the title role in this black-and-white biopic about screenwriter Herman J Mankiewicz and the development of his most famous script, Citizen Kane.
From ten nominations, not least for Best Picture and Best Director, Mank won two Oscars: Erik Messerschmidt for Best Cinematography and Donald Graham Burt for Best Production Design.
Nomadland, the big prize winner as Best Picture at the 93rd Academy Awards last Sunday at Union Station, Los Angeles, is booked in for May 28 at 7pm, May 29 at 2pm and 7pm and June 1 and 2 at 7pm.
Chinese-born director Chloe Zhao won the Best Director gong, also being nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing.
Third-time Best Actress winner Frances McDormand plays Fern, who embarks on a new life as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad after losing both her job and her husband.
Best Animated Feature Film nominee Wolfwalkers has screenings on June 1 and 2 at 2pm and June 3 at 2pm and 7pm.
The third and final film in director Tomm Moore’s fantasy-adventure Irish folklore trilogy, after The Secret Of Kells and Song Of The Sea, it features the voices of Honor Kneafsey, Sean Bean, Simon McBurney, Maria Doyle Kennedy and Tommy Tiernan.
Nominated without ultimate success for five Oscars, topped off by Best Picture, Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial Of The Chicago 7, will be shown on June 4 and 5 at 2pm and 7pm.
Eddie Redmayne and Best Supporting Actor nominee Sacha Baron Cohen play political activists Tom Hayden and Abbie Hoffman in Sorkin’s dramatization of the real-life 1968 trial of a group of anti-Vietnam War protestors.
Where possible, the SJT is recommending customers should book online at sjt.uk.com. The box-office phone line is open Mondays to Saturdays, 12 noon to 2pm on 01723 370541.
The box office will re-open for in-person bookings from Monday, May 17; noon to 5pm on non-show days; noon to 7.30pm on days with an evening show; 11am to 7.30pm on matinee days.
HARROGATE Film Festival opens tonight with a special 30th anniversary online screening of Oliver Stone’s political thriller JFK, preceded by an exclusive interview with the legendary Hollywood director at 7pm.
Over 30 raw and unscripted minutes recorded from his Los Angeles home, Stone, 74, covers topics not only his controversial film about USA President John F Kennedy’s assassination, but also new findings, insight into his latest projects and the state of politics around the world.
Discussing the success of JFK, Stone comments: “In the United States, we did $70 million alone, for a three-hour eight-minute film. It’s extraordinary as in that era we didn’t have three-hour movies because we had lost that with the roadshows back in the Fifties.
“So, to make a film of this length and be successful after Heaven’s Gate and films that had not done so well, it was an amazing, amazing breakthrough. In many ways, it was the climax to a strange film career that I’ve had.”
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Stone’s throw of the dice at the events surrounding the November 22 1963 assassination of JFK focuses on the alleged cover-up through the eyes of former New Orleans district attorney, Jim Garrison.
Starring Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Oldman, JFK received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor.
Festival director Adam Chandler says: “We are beyond thrilled to be welcoming Oliver Stone to the Harrogate Film Festival. JFK is an amazing piece of cinema that set a high bar for the political thrillers that followed it.
“As ever, Oliver is open and candid with his answers. He doesn’t shy away from giving difficult answers to the questions put to him in the interview and he covers so much ground in the 30 minutes.”
From today, Harrogate Film Festival returns for a fifth year. “The 2021 festival has been meticulously planned to ensure events can still take place within Covid-19 restrictions,” says Adam. “Instead of its usual ten-day run, this year’s event will essentially be a series of ‘mini-festivals’ between April and September, which we hope will enable some of the later events to run face-to-face.
“The 2021 programme has been curated to include a range of events offering something for people of all ages, from aspiring filmmakers to dedicated cinephiles.”
Full festival and ticket details can be found at: harrogatefilm.co.uk. For a WeTransfer link to footage from the Oliver Stone interview, go: tl/t-sX5EodC24k
NO mention of home entertainment here, as Charles Hutchinson decides to cast fears aside – albeit while acting responsibly – as he looks forward to theatres, bars, galleries, museums and music venues opening their doors once more.
Cupid, draw back your bow and let the beer flow, straight to the York Theatre Royal patio
LOVE is in the Step 2 air, and soon on the York Theatre Royal stage too for The Love Season from May 17.
Perfect timing to launch Cupid’s Bar for five weeks on the Theatre Royal patio, where the bar will run from midday to 9.30pm every Thursday to Sunday, providing an outdoor space in the heart of the city for residents and visitors to socialise safely.
Working with regional suppliers, Cupid’s Bar will offer a range of drink options, such as draught beer from Black Sheep Brewery, Masham, and York Gin from, er, York.
Exhibition of the month ahead outside York: Ian Scott Massie, Northern Soul, Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton-le-Hole, North York Moors National Park, May 17 to July 11
MASHAM artist Ian Scott Massie’s Northern Soul show of 50 watercolours and screenprints represents his personal journey of living in the north for 45 years.
“The north is the truth of England, where all things are seen clearly,” he says. “The incomparable beauty of the landscape; the harsh ugliness left by industry; the great wealth of the aristocracy; the miserable housing of the poor; the civic pride of the mill towns and a people as likely to be mobilised by political oratory as by a comedian with a ukulele.”
Reopening exhibition of the month ahead in York: Pictures Of The Floating World: Japanese Ukiyo-e Prints, York Art Gallery, from May 28
YORK Art Gallery’s display of rarely seen Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, complemented by much-loved paintings from the gallery collection, will go on show in a new Spotlight Series.
Marking next month’s gallery reopening with Covid-secure measures, Pictures Of The Floating World will feature prints by prominent Ukiyo-e artists such as Utagawa Hiroshige, along with works by those influenced by Japanese art, York artist Albert Moore and Walter Greaves among them.
This free-to-visit exhibition will highlight the significant impact of Japanese art on the western world and the consequential rise of the artistic movements of Aestheticism and Art Nouveau.”
On the move: Van Morrison’s York Barbican shows
NO reopening date has yet been announced for York Barbican, but Irish veteran Van Morrison’s shows are being moved from May 25 and 26 to July 20 and 21.
“Please keep hold of your tickets as they will be valid for the new date,” says the Barbican website, where seats for Van The Man are on sale without social distancing, in line with Step 4 of the Government’s pandemic Roadmap to Recovery, whereby all legal limits on social contact are potentially to be removed from June 21.
Morrison, 75, will release his 42nd album, Latest Record Project: Volume 1, a 28-track delve into his ongoing love of blues, R&B, jazz and soul, on May 7 on Exile/BMG.
New play of the summer: Alan Ayckbourn’s The Girl Next Door, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, June 4 to July 3
AFTER the 2020 world premiere of his virus play Truth Will Out lost out to the Covid pandemic restrictions, director emeritus Alan Ayckbourn returns to the Stephen Joseph Theatre to direct his 85th play, The Girl Next Door, in the summer season.
“I wrote it back in Spring 2020. I like to think of it as a lockdown love story,” says Ayckbourn, introducing his touching, tender and funny reflection on the ability of love to rise above adversity and reach across the years.
Influenced by his own experiences in two “lockdowns”, one in wartime London in childhood, the other in the on-going pandemic in Scarborough, Ayckbourn will play with time in a plot moving back and forth between 2021 and 1941. Box office: sjt.uk.com.
Gig announcement of the week in York: Imelda May, York Barbican, April 6 2022
IRISH singer-songwriter Imelda May will play York Barbican next April in the only Yorkshire show of her Made To Love tour, her first in more than five years.
“I cannot wait to see you all again, to dance and sing together, to connect and feel the sparkle in a room where music makes us feel alive and elevated for a while,” says May. “Let’s go!”
Last Friday, the 46-year-old Dubliner released her sixth studio album, 11 Past The Hour. The box office opens tomorrow at 10am at yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Gig announcement of the week outside York: James, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, September 9
WHERE better for James to announce a summer show in the week they release new single Beautiful Beaches than at Scarborough Open Air Theatre?
The Manchester legends will play on the East Coast in the wake of launching their new album, All The Colours Of You, on June 4. Tickets go on sale tomorrow (23/4/2021) at 9am at scarboroughopenairtheatre.com.
This will be the third that James, led by Clifford-born Tim Booth, have played Scarborough OAT after shows in 2015 and 2018.
And what about?
GOOD news: Live theatre bursts into life in York for the first time since December 30 when York community arts collective Next Door But One presents Yorkshire Trios in The Gillygate pub’s new outdoor seating area tomorrow and on Saturday.
Themed around Moments Yet To Happen, trios of actors, directors and writers will bring to theatre-starved York a quintet of short stories of laughter, strength, dreams and everything in between: a neighbour with a secret; a delivery driver full of wanderlust; an optimistic carousel operator; a poet inviting us into her world and a Jane McDonald fan on a soapbox.
Bad news for tardy readers? The 7.30pm shows have sold out.
ROLL on Monday and Step 2 of the Government’s roadmap to recovery, when outdoor hospitality can resume and zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas and libraries can re-open.
Charles Hutchinson casts an eye over what’s on and what’s next.
Children’s stream of the week: Strawberry Lion in Five Children And It, via Explore York libraries
YORK company Strawberry Lion’s streamed production of E Nesbit’s novel Five Children And It can be viewed for free on @YorkExplore’s YouTube channel daily until April 14 at 5pm.
Suitable for children aged five and over, the show is written and performed by York actor, musician, writer, theatre-maker and company founder Anna Soden, who has set Nesbit’s 1902 story with the grumpy magical creature on Scarborough beach.
Exhibition launch of the week ahead: Jack Hellewell: Jack’s Travels, Kentmere House Gallery, Scarcroft Hill, York, from April 12
CURATOR Ann Kentmere is toasting Roadmap Step 2 Day by reopening Kentmere House Gallery on April 12 with Jack Travels, the first in a lockdown-delayed series of exhibitions to celebrate the centenary of the late Bradford artist Jack Hellewell.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Ann and David Petherick’s gallery in their York home, and Hellewell’s show will be open every day from April 12 to 17, 11am to 5pm, with extended opening to 9pm next Thursday, before Ann resumes her regular opening hours on the first weekend of each month and Thursdays from 6pm to 9pm. Or you can just ring the bell on the off-chance.
Walking tour launch of the month ahead: The York Dungeon, from April 16
THE York Dungeon will spring its “frighteningly fun but family-friendly” walking tour on this socially distanced haunted city from next Friday.
Taking The York Dungeon above ground on Fridays to Sundays, guests will be led on a tour of hair-raising historic locations by two of the Clifford Street visitor attraction’s most/least loved characters, who will tell horrible tales of York’s murkiest, darkest history, wrapped up in suspense and surprises. Start times will be throughout each day; tickets must be pre-booked at thedungeons.com/york/.
A day by the sea but inside a gallery: Scarborough: Our Seaside Town, Scarborough Art Gallery, May 18 to September 12
SCARBOROUGH Art Gallery’s summertime exhibition will look at life in a seaside town, as seen through the eyes of local people.
Curator Esther Lockwood interviewed team members from Scarborough Museums Trust, asking for their personal views and recollections of life by the sea year-round before selecting items from the trust’s extensive collections.
These will include an early 20th century ice cream cart that once operated on Scarborough’s South Bay beach; the East Coast resort’s Pancake Bell, rung to signal the start of the unique tradition of skipping on the seafront on Shrove Tuesday, and other seaside ephemera, paintings, vintage photographs and postcards.
Missing Grayson’s Art Club on Channel 4 already? Head to Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years, York Art Gallery, May 28 to September 5
GRAYSON Perry’s lockdown-delayed “lost pots” exhibition at York Art Gallery’s Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA) will open at last next month.
This touring show is the first celebration of Perry’s earliest forays into the art world, re-assembling the explosive and creative works the Chelmsford-born artist, author and television presenter made between 1982 and 1994.
“It’s as near as I will ever get to meeting myself as a young man, an angrier, priapic me with huge energy but a much smaller wardrobe,” says Perry.
Audition opportunity: Pick Me Up Theatre, SpongeBob The Musical, Theatre @41 Monkgate, York
YORK company Pick Me Up Theatre are to stage SpongeBob The Musical from December 7 to 18 at Theatre @41 Monkgate, York.
Director Robert Readman and musical director Sam Johnson will hold auditions there in July and August for performers aged 15 to 23 and actor-musicians for the Bikini Bottom Band.
Anyone interested is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org for an audition form.
Gig announcement of the week in York: Del Amitri, York Barbican, September 18
DEL Amitri will follow up the May 28 release of their seventh studio album, Fatal Mistakes, with a September 18 gig at York Barbican.
Justin Currie’s Glaswegian band last played the Barbican in May 2002, the year they released their last album, Can You Do Me Good?.
Greatest hits and new material will combine in a set supported by The Bryson Family. Tickets will go on sale tomorrow (9/4/2021) at 9am at yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Gig announcement of the week outside York: Spiers & Boden, Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC), October 20, 8pm
AFTER years of speculation, much-loved English folk duo Spiers & Boden are back together and not only working on new material, but also bringing a live performance to Pock in the autumn.
John Spiers, 46, and Jon Boden, 44, were the driving forces in big folk band Bellowhead, who played a glorious headline set at PAC’s Platform Festival at The Old Station, Pocklington, in July 2015. Tickets cost £20 at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.
FROM Penny Arcadia To Pocklington Arts Centre, the story behind the historic Market Place venue, will be told by magician and performer Jon Marshall in an online event on May 4.
Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC) has been staging events for more than 20 years, but should you be wondering what the Grade II listed building was once used for and how it came to be the award-winning arts hub it is today, Jon has the answers.
Tales of fire-eaters, magicians and amusements all will feature in the 7.30pm illustrated talk as Jon, director and performer with Hull company Magic Carpet Theatre, takes his audience on a trip down memory lane, delving into the origins of the building formerly known as Oak House, dating back to the 1700s.
“The talk promises to be a fascinating and entertaining online event unveiling the story behind the building from doctor’s house, to cinema, and museum housing Europe’s largest collection of amusement machines, to East Yorkshire’s premier arts venue,” says PAC director Janet Farmer.
Jon, a member of the Inner Magic Circle with Gold Star, promises a fascinating and entertaining evening, replete with tales of former owners of the building Jon and Pat Gresham.
“They were larger-than-life local characters, cinema proprietors and museum curators,” he says. “All will be revealed about the exploits and colourful adventures of Jon, who was once a magician, fire-eater, pantomime promoter and sideshow showman.
“The audience will also hear about Pat, who was determined that when the Penny Arcadia closed, the building should not become yet another retail unit but instead should provide entertainment and a service to the people of Pocklington and the surrounding area.
“I had the privilege of knowing the Gresham family for over 50 years, so participants will be able to see many previously unpublished photographs and images from over the years.”
Jon’s company Magic Carpet Theatre are regular performers at PAC and last October they recorded two shows there for streaming for free on PAC’s YouTube channel: Magic Circus from January 7 to 21 and The Wizard Of Castle Magic from February 18 to March 4, both with financial assistance from the I Am Fund and Smile Foundation.
From Penny Arcadia To Pocklington Arts Centre will take place live on Zoom. Tickets go on sale at £5 each at 10am tomorrow (1/4/2021) at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.
To keep up to date with all of PAC’s planned online and live events, follow PAC on Facebook @pocklingtonartscentre, Instagram @pocklingtonartscentre and twitter @PocklingtonArts.
ONLINE entertainment is still ruling the Stay Home world, but more promoters are announcing shows for the summer as the recovery roadmap begins to twitch our cultural satnav. Charles Hutchinson reaches for his diary.
Last chance to see: Michael Lyons’ Ancient And Modern sculptures, York Art Gallery Artists Garden and Edible Wood
THE free display of large-scale works by late Cawood sculptor Michael Lyons behind York Art Gallery will close on April 11.
On show in his biggest ever exhibition on York soil are nine sculptures created between 1982 and 2000, inspired by nature, myth and ancient cultures, with the central space dominated by Amphitrite, a large painted steel structure evoking the sea that he fashioned in 1993.
Opened in late-May 2019, Ancient And Modern originally was booked to run until May 2020, but has remained in place through these pandemic times.
Recommended resonant webcast of the week and beyond: The Machine Stops online
YORK Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre’s 2016 co-production of The Machine Stops can be watched at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk/show/the-machine-stops-webcast/ until April 5.
Adapted for the stage by Neil Duffield, E M Forster’s 1909 short story is set in a futuristic, dystopian world where humans have retreated far underground and individuals live in isolation in “cells”, with all bodily and spiritual needs met by the omnipotent, global Machine.
Director Juliet Forster says: “It’s even more striking today than it was at the time we staged it: things like human contact and human touch becoming something that’s almost taboo, things that didn’t seem relevant back in 2016 but are really, really striking and even more relevant now.”
Springtime celebration of music online: Awaken, National Centre for Early Music, York, Saturday and Sunday
THE NCEM’s Awaken weekend will present York countertenor Iestyn Davies and Fretwork, the all-male vocal group The Gesualdo Six, I Fagiolini and the English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble, Ensemble Augelletti and The Consone Quartet.
The six-pack of online festivities will celebrate the sublime sounds of spring, recorded in a range of historic venues to mark “the unique association between the City of York and the exquisite beauty of the music of the past”.
Among the architectural gems will be Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate, St Olave’s Church, Marygate, the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall and the NCEM. Full details can be found at ncem.co.uk/awaken.
Online youth theatre opportunity: Thunk-It Theatre sessions with Pocklington Arts Centre
POCKLINGTON Arts Centre’s youth theatre partnership with York company Thunk-It Theatre is to continue for a second series of online drama classes.
Becky Lennon and Jules Risingham’s all-levels drama sessions for children aged six to 11 will be held on Zoom every Sunday during term-time from April 25 to May 30.
The 10am to 11am sessions for Years 2 to 6 children will include fun games, exercises and storytelling, aiming to encourage confidence building, life and social skills, creativity and positivity. Participants will work collaboratively to create a short performance that will explore storytelling. To book, go to pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.
Live music returns to Knavesmire: Sounds In The Grounds at Clocktower Enclosure, York Racecourse, June 25 to 27
NORTH Yorkshire impresario James Cundall’s Sounds In The Grounds is adding a new location to its picnic-concert portfolio for summer 2021.
Complying with Covid-19 guidelines, the Clocktower Enclosure of York Racecourse will play host to the Beyond The Barricade celebration of musicals on June 25, Abba Mania on June 26 and A Country Night In Nashville on June 27.
The capacity will be capped at 1,400 for the fully staged productions with LED screens on either side of the stage. Tickets are on sale at: soundsinthegrounds.seetickets.com.
Here comes a dose of the blues: York Blues Festival, July 24, 12.30pm to 11pm
THE 2nd York Blues Festival will be held on Saturday, July 24 at The Crescent Community Venue, York, organised by Paul Winn and Ben Darwin.
No strangers to the British Blues scene, they present Blues From The Ouse on Jorvik Radio and are members of York band DC Blues.
Winn and Darwin have booked a bill of Robbie Reay; The Swamp Hoppers; Dori & The Outlaws; John Carroll; Dr Bob & The Bluesmakers; DC Blues and Nick Steed Five. Tickets are on sale at yorkbluesfestival.co.uk, thecrescentyork.com and earwormrecords.co.uk.
Sheds on the move…again: Shed Seven, Live After Racing, Doncaster Racecourse, May 14 2022
YORK heroes Shed Seven’s twice-postponed post-racing gig at Doncaster Racecourse will come under starter’s orders on May 14 202.
First diarised for August 15 2020, then May 15 this spring, each show was declared a non-runner under the Government’s pandemic lockdown restrictions.
Let Donny Races wax lyrical: “So don’t have your friends asking ‘where have you been tonight?’ We have ‘high hopes’ that ‘the heroes’ Shed Seven will deliver an outstanding night of music. ‘It’s not easy’ but you’d be stuck to find a ‘better days’ entertainment in Doncaster next summer.” To book raceday tickets, go to: doncaster-racecourse.co.uk/whats-on/
Gig announcement of the week: 10cc, York Barbican, March 26 2022
10cc will play York Barbican next spring in the only Yorkshire show of their 13-date Ultimate Greatest Hits Tour.
“It’s difficult to express just how much we have missed playing live and how much we want to be back playing concerts for you,” says Graham Gouldman, the one group founder still in the touring line-up. “We look forward to seeing you all again in 2022.”
Tickets are on sale at yorkbarbican.co.uk and ticketline.co.uk.
TODAY marks the first anniversary of the imposition of Lockdown, a year when killjoy Covid has cast the arts into darkness, but the artbeat refused to stop.
Here CharlesHutchPress doffs its cap to those who kept the flame alive in the 2020-2021 Hutch Awards, while scowling at a few irritations too.
Uplifting experience of the year? The first socially distanced live theatre enterprise, Park Bench Theatre, mounted by Matt Aston’s Engine House company in the Friends Garden at Rowntree Park, York.
Three solo shows, Chris Hannon in Samuel Beckett’s First Love, Cassie Vallance in Teddy Bears’ Picnic and Lisa Howard in Aston’s lockdown play Every Time A Bell Rings, were all first class, and this venture surely will be rolled out again in Summer 2021.
Summer ventures that reminded you why culture matters, dear Rishi: Badapple Theatre’s tour of back gardens with Danny Mellor’s Suffer Fools Gladly; Alexander Flanagan Wright and Phil Grainger’s week of two-handers, full of music and poetic magic at Stillington Mill; the collaboration between the NCEM, Fulford Arms and The Crescent for a series of acoustic double bills in St Margaret’s churchyard in Walmgate; York Shakespeare Project’s Sit-down Sonnets at Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate.
York is still the home of pantomime, part one: Dame Berwick Kaler’s comeback in Dick Turpin Rides Again at the Grand Opera House had to be stabled for a year, but his former home, York Theatre Royal, took panto to the people with the Travelling Pantomime, the first venture with new partners Evolution Productions, full of wit, energy, fun and mischief.
York is still the home of pantomime, part two: York Stage’s Jack And The Beanstalk at Theatre @41 Monkgate. Nik Briggs, director turned debutant writer, assembled a cast of fabulous Yorkshire talents and West End choreographer Gary Lloyd for a slick slice of “musical theatre with pantomime braces on”. The Biles Beanstalk publicity campaign was a gem too.
Family show of the year: John Godber and his family bubble of wife Jane, actress daughter Martha and stage manager daughter Elizabeth staged his Sunny Side Up! premiere at the socially distanced Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough. “Seeing all those masks, at first it felt more like being in an operating theatre, not a theatre,” said John.
Solo stage performance of the year outside York: Polymath Polly Lister, playing everyone and everything, from Gerda and Kai and a “silly Sorceress” to a Goth raven poet and a grumpy Brummie deer, in Nick Lane’s Christmas show for the SJT, The Snow Queen, transformed from a five-hander to a one-woman show under Covid restrictions and all the better for it.
Lockdown audio show of the year: Alan Ayckbourn x 2, first recording new play Anno Domino with his wife, Heather Stoney, for the summer and then continuing the multiple role-playing in a ghost story for winter nights as he revisited his 1994 play Haunting Julia, both for the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough. His master’s voice, as you have not heard him before, at 81.
Television art show of the year: Grayson Perry and wife Philippa hosting Grayson’s Art Club on Channel 4, championing people’s art with such empathy, wisdom, wit and love.
Festivals that would not lie down but embraced the virtual instead: York Early Music Festival and Christmas Festival; York Festival of Ideas; Aesthetica Short Film Festival, much lengthened online.
Reinvention of a festival at short notice for Covid times: North York Moors Chamber Music Festival, revamped by artistic director Jamie Walton to still go ahead with socially distanced audiences in a Welburn Abbey marquee with the apt theme of Revolution in August.
Comedy innovation of the year: Your Place Comedy livestreams, wherein a monthly double bill of comedians performed from their living rooms into yours.
Organiser Chris Jones, Selby Town Council’s arts officer, rounded up ten, then a dozen, independent Yorkshire and Humber venues to support three series of remote gigs by the likes of Mark Watson & Lucy Beaumont, Shappi Khorsandi & Justin Moorhouse and Hal Cruttenden & Rosie Jones.
Resilient spirits of the year: Chris Sherrington, Fulford Arms; Delma Tomlin, NCEM; Joe Coates and Harkirit Boparai, The Crescent; Cherie Federico, Aesthetica; Greg and Ails McGee, According To McGee; Kate Bramley, Badapple Theatre.
Statement-of-pandemic-times exhibition of the year: Karen Winship’s portraits of NHS frontline workers, first at York Art Gallery, then on the railings at All Saints Church, Pocklington. Harrowing yet life-affirming too.
Gallery launch of the year: Photographer Duncan Lomax’s Holgate Gallery in his front room in York.
Kitchen-synch drama of the year: York drag diva Velma Celli’s chic cabaret shows online from a Bishopthorpe kitchen and a riverside abode with flood water lapping at the door. Alter ego Ian Stroughair also had a ball as Flesh Creep in York Stage’s Jack And The Beanstalk.
Sign of the times: York Theatre Royal’s morale-boosting, we’re-all-in-this-together retro lockdown poster, in Keep Calm And Carry On wartime mode, designed by marketing manager Olivia Potter
Most irritating words of the year: Ramp up; pivot; baked-in; granular; lockdown…again; uptick; Stay Alert; postponed; cancelled; closed; non-viable.
Song of the year: Bird song, although Bonnie & The Bailers’ Baby Drive ran it close.
Album of the year: the always-touched-by-your-prescience-dear Human Contact by The Howl & The Hum.
Good news of the year: The ebullient Bull becoming the first York band to sign to a major record label since Shed Seven. Raise a glass to Tom Beer and co, whose album, Discover Effortless Living, will be out on Virgin EMI Records on Friday (26/3/2021).
Frustration of the year: The much improved second iteration of the York Mediale, the festival of digital media arts, defied budget cuts only to be cut short by Lockdown 2, meaning many missed out on the Kit Monkman-led art installation People We Love at York Minster and the Human Nature triptych of installations at York Art Gallery. It must be hoped People We Love can be revived.
Missed most: Interaction; connection; communication; banter; bursts of cheers and applause and…spontaneity.
Gone but not forgotten: Martin Witts’s Great Yorkshire Fringe; poet, writer, storyteller, blogger and performer Adrian Spendlow; Café Concerto, in High Petergate, York; York City at Bootham Crescent.
THE diary is beginning to turn from blank to much more promising, even if online and home entertainment is still the order of the day, but Charles Hutchinson is feeling positive and so are event organisers.
Outdoor exhibition for World Down Syndrome Day: Sue Clayton, 21, All Saints Church, Pocklington, March 19 to April 19
YORK portrait artist Sue Clayton will celebrate World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) on March 21 with a month-long open-air exhibition on the railings of All Saints Church in Pocklington.
Her collection of 21 portraits is inspired by children and adults with Down Syndrome, especially Sue’s energetic son James. She has chosen the theme of 21 both to mark the date of WDSD and to symbolise the extra 21st chromosome that people with Down Syndrome have.
This is the second outdoor display to be staged by Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC) in lockdown at this location after fellow York artist Karen Winship’s NHS Heroes exhibition from late November to early January.
Springtime celebration of music online: Awaken, National Centre for Early Music, York, March 27 and 28
THE NCEM’s Awaken weekend will feature York countertenor Iestyn Davies and Fretwork, the all-male vocal group The Gesualdo Six, I Fagiolini and the English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble, Ensemble Augelletti and The Consone Quartet.
The online festivities will celebrate the sublime sounds of spring in a range of historic venues to mark “the unique association between the City of York and the exquisite beauty of the music of the past”. Among the architectural gems will be Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate, St Olave’s Church, Marygate, the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall and the NCEM. Full details can be found at ncem.co.uk/awaken.
“Unique” livestreamed concert: The Howl & The Hum, York Minster, May 25
YORK alternative rock band The Howl & The Hum will perform a “unique set to compliment the unique venue” of the Nave of York Minster in a one-off 8.15pm concert livestreamed via ticket.co.
Singer, songwriter and guitarist Sam Griffiths, bassist Brad Blackwell, guitarist Conor Hirons and drummer Jack Williams will combine selections from last May’s prescient album Human Contact with fan favourites and new material recorded in lockdown.
The Howl & The Hum will be the first rock act to play York Minster since York singer-songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich on March 29 2019. Tickets are on sale via thehowlandthehum.com/.
Confirmed for the summertime: Castle Howard Concerts Weekend, August 20 to 22
CASTLE Howard has announced this summer’s concerts weekend will go ahead, in light of the Government’s roadmap rollout.
First up, in the open air at the North Yorkshire country house, will be house music brand Café Mambo Ibiza on August 20, presenting Roger Sanchez, Judge Jules, Julie McKnight (live PA), Ridney and Robin S (live PA), with more big names still to be announced for the Ibiza Classics at the Castle celebration.
Welsh tenor Wynne Evans, from the Go Compare adverts, will be joined by soprano Victoria Joyce and the London Gala Orchestra for the al fresco Castle Howard Proms on August 21.
Four vocalists from We Will Rock You, a five-piece rock band and The Elysium Orchestra will combine for Queen Symphonic on August 22. Box office: castlehoward.co.uk.
Sheds on the move: Shed Seven, The Piece Hall, Halifax, August 28
YORK heroes Shed Seven’s all-Yorkshire bill at The Piece Hall, Halifax, is being rescheduled for a third time, now booked in for August 28.
Joining the Sheds that West Yorkshire day will be Leeds bands The Pigeon Detectives and The Wedding Present and Leeds United-supporting York group Skylights, plus the Brighton Beach DJs.
August 28? Doesn’t that clash with Leeds Festival, co-headlined that day by Stormzy and Catfish And The Bottlemen? Indeed so, but “let’s just say our fans are not their demographic,” quips lead singer Rick Witter.
The Greatest News In The History Of The World…The Greatest Play In The History Of The World…tour to open in Scarborough from May 18 to 22
THE Stephen Joseph Theatre’s Covid-safe reopening show will be the first tour dates of The Greatest Play In The History Of The World…, the hit one-woman play that Ian Kershaw wrote for his wife, Coronation Street alumnus Julie Hesmondhalgh.
Directed by Raz Shaw, it heads out on a heartfelt journey that starts and ends in a small, unassuming house on a quiet suburban road, as Hesmondhalgh narrates the story of two neighbours and the people on their street, navigating the audience through the nuances of life, the possibilities of science and the meaning of love.
Hesmondhalgh says: “It’s a beautiful play, a love story, but a universal one about learning in time what matters in the end, about leaving a mark on the world – and maybe beyond – that shows us, the human race, in all its glorious messiness, confusion and joy.”
York-Shires: The Shires, York Barbican, put back by 12 months
BRITAIN’S biggest-selling country act, The Shires, are rescheduling their May 23 show at York Barbican for May 6 2022.
York is the only Yorkshire venue of their rearranged 25-date tour, when Crissie Rhodes and Ben Earle are billed to be joined by Texan country singer and songwriter Eric Paslay.
“The songs mean so much to us personally, but there really is nothing like looking out at our fans in the crowd and seeing how much of an impact they can have in someone else’s life,” say The Shires. “It’s truly a very special thing”.
And what about?
STILL stuck at home, check out Mindhunter on Netflix, Unforgotten on ITV and Sophia Loren’s Desert Island Discs on BBC Sounds. Seek out Nick Cave & Warren Ellis’s new lockdown album, Carnage.
THE return of live entertainment is on the horizon at last, hopefully from May 17, prompting a surge in show confirmations, but in the meantime Stay Home activities remain prominent in Charles Hutchinson’s diary too.
Children’s streamed show of the weeks ahead: Park Bench Theatre’s Teddy Bears’ Picnic, February 26 to March 7
ONE of the hits of last summer’s Park Bench Theatre open-air season at Rowntree Park, York, is to be streamed by producers Engine House Theatre from tomorrow.
Children’s show Teddy Bears’ Picnic was performed by Cassie Vallance under Covid-safe conditions with more than 1,000 adults and youngsters seeing the show at 30-plus performances.
Suitable for everyone aged three and over, the streamed show will be bolstered by a Make Your Own Teddy Bear craft video. Tickets cost £5 at tpetv.com.
Streamed comedy gig of the weekend: Rosie Jones and Hal Cruttenden, Your Place Comedy, Sunday
ROSIE Jones, Bridlington-born comedian, scriptwriter and actor, will join television comedy mainstay Hal Cruttenden in a virtual double bill on Sunday night, streamed from their living rooms into homes via YouTube and Twitch at 8pm.
Co-ordinator Chris Jones, manager of Selby Town Hall, says: ““I know that times are tough for many people, and so we’re committed to keeping these shows completely free, so please do come and join Hal, Rosie and Tim via yourplacecomedy.co.uk for some top entertainment at an unbeatable price, as for now streaming is the only show in town.”
Youth theatre project launch: Thunk-It Theatre in tandem with Pocklington Arts Centre, from this weekend
YORK company Thunk-It Theatre are partnering with Pocklington Arts Centre to provide youth theatre for the East Riding and beyond.
Weekly drama classes will be available to children aged six to 11 from February 28, initially on Zoom until it is safe to re-open the Market Place venue, when sessions can be held in person.
The all-levels drama sessions for Years 2 to 6 will take place from 10am to 11am every Sunday during term time, run by Becky Lennon and Jules Risingham. To book a place, visit pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.
Game-changing festival announcement of the year so far: Leeds Festival, Bramham Park, near Wetherby, to go ahead
LEEDS Festival, Yorkshire’s biggest outdoor musical gathering of the year, is ON. Organiser Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Reepublic, confirmed the decision yesterday (24/2/2021) in the wake of the Government’s Monday statement on the four-step route out of Covid lockdown strictures.
Already confirmed as headliners are Stormzy, Catfish And The Bottlemen, Post Malone, Disclosure, Liam Gallagher and Queens Of The Stone Age in a new initiative for the August 27 to 29 event that sees the long-running festival introducing a second main stage to enable two bill-toppers per day.
Dance delay: Aljaž Škorjanec and Janette Manrara: Remembering The Oscars, York Barbican, put back to April 2022
STRICTLY Come Dancing regulars Aljaž Škorjanec and Janette Manraraare moving their Remembering The Oscars show at York Barbican for a second time. The persistent pandemic has enforced a switch to April 7 2022 for the only Yorkshire performance of next year’s tour, after an earlier change from Spring 2020 to March 2021. Tickets are still valid.
In the meantime, Aljaž and Janette will star in a streamed one-hour performance of Remembering The Oscars for a limited three-week season from March 27 to April 17. To book, go to: rememberingtheoscars.com.
York gig announcement of the week: Seasick Steve, York Barbican, November 11
CALIFORNIAN country blues singer-songwriter Seasick Steve will return to York Barbican on November 11 on his Just Steve, A Guitar And You Tour.
Tickets go on sale tomorrow (26/2/2021) from 9am at yorkbarbican.co.uk for the only Yorkshire gig of the American’s nine-date autumn solo tour in support of his second album of 2020, last November’s Blues In Mono.
“I’m lookin’ forward to coming and playing for y’all,” says Seasick Steve, 69. “Just gonna be me, you and my guitar. A few songs and a few stories, kinda like we just hangin’ out together! Gonna be fun. See ya there.”
East Yorkshire gig announcement of the week: Jesse Malin, Pocklington Arts Centre, December 7
POCKLINGTON Arts Centre has secured a new date for New York City singer-songwriter Jesse Malin. He will play on December 7 2021, fully 18 months after he was originally booked to perform there in June 2020 as part of PAC’s 20th anniversary programme.
Malin, 53, released his seventh studio album, Sunset Kids, in 2019, produced by Lucinda Williams, American roots icon, country music queen and 2016 Platform Festival headliner at the Old Station, Pocklington.
And what about?
THE return of Grayson’s Art Club for a second series on Channel 4 on Fridays after Grayson Perry’s championing of people’s art was such a spirit-lifting boost to home creativity in the early days of Lockdown 1 last spring.
Perry, by the way, is booked into York Barbican for September 6 on his A Show For Normal People tour and his delayed early pottery exhibition, The Pre-Therapy Years, should open at the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA), York Art Gallery, on May 28, if Step 3 re-opening comes into effect from May 17, as planned.