Scarborough Open Air Theatre clocks up 100th show as Courteeners play tonight

100 not out: Courteeners playing the landmark 100th show at the reopened Scarborough Open Air Theatre tonight. Picture: Cuffe and Taylor

COURTEENERS have the honour tonight of performing Scarborough Open Air Theatre’s 100th show since its 2010 reopening.

Supported by Wirral wonders The Coral, the Manchester band will perform under the East Coast setting sun in a week when fellow Mancunians James will play Britain’s largest purpose-built outdoor concert arena tomorrow and Snow Patrol on Friday.

More than 450,000 people have attended a concert at Scarborough OAT since Her Majesty The Queen re-opened the refurbished Scarborough Borough Council-owned venue in Burniston Road 11 years ago.

Headliners to grace the Scarborough stage include Elton John, Tom Jones, Lionel Richie, Kylie Minogue, Noel Gallagher, Dionne Warwick, Cliff Richard, The Beach Boys, George Benson, Bryan Adams, Michael Ball & Alfie Boe, Status Quo, Happy Mondays, Katherine Jenkins, Little Mix and Britney Spears.

After a pandemic-enforced fallow 2020, this year’s star-studded return has featured Stereophonics, Kaiser Chiefs, Culture Club, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Keane, Olly Murs, UB40 featuring Ali Campbell and Astro and Anne-Marie before concluding with Duran Duran’s sold-out finale on September 17. 

Councillor Jim Grieve, Scarborough Borough Council’s cabinet member for quality of life, said: “Since reopening in 2010, Scarborough Open Air Theatre has established itself as the borough’s premier outdoor live music venue.

“Working with our partners, we’ve brought some of the biggest names in the music industry to the Yorkshire coast. This has boosted the area’s reputation for high- quality events and contributed millions of pounds to the local economy.

“As we reach the milestone of 100 shows at the theatre this week, we look forward to many more years of fantastic events to come.”

Scarborough Open Air Theatre venue manager Stuart Clark: Worked on 90 of the 100 shows since the 2010 reopening

Live music is programmed at Scarborough OAT by promoters Cuffe and Taylor, who are part of Live Nation and have a ten-year contract to deliver headline shows at the 8,000-capacity venue.

Venue programmer Peter Taylor said: “What a week we have in store here at Scarborough Open Air Theatre. Courteeners, James and Snow Patrol are three of the biggest names in British indie rock and to bring all three here in the same week is just fantastic. This really is going to be a week to remember.

“Cuffe and Taylor are so proud to have programmed live music at this wonderful venue since 2016, in which time we have brought many world-famous music icons to the Yorkshire coast. We absolutely love it and we cannot wait to add to the 100 big-name headliners in the years to come. Watch this space!”

Shows at Scarborough OAT attract thousands of visitors to the Yorkshire coast each summer and have created an estimated benefit to the borough of more than £25m in the past decade.

Cuffe and Taylor work hand in hand with the council-led team at Scarborough OAT. Venue manager Stuart Clark has worked on more than 90 of the 100 headline shows since 2010. “It’s a brilliant venue – a real jewel in the Yorkshire coast’s crown,” he said. “You only have to look at the calibre of artists who come here regularly to realise how well thought of Scarborough OAT is.

“It’s such a team effort to put these shows on and I cannot thank the incredible team here at the venue and Cuffe and Taylor enough. But, above all, we’d all like to thank the people of the borough and the Yorkshire coast for their incredible support of the venue down the years – and here’s to many more brilliant nights at the OAT.” 

Tickets are still available for James and Snow Patrol at scarboroughopenairtheatre.com or on 01723 81811. Gates open at 6pm each night.

Mad about the Boy: Boy George lapping up the cheers at Culture Club’s August 14 concert at Scarborough Open Air Theatre this summer . Picture: Cuffe and Taylor

Details of 100 Scarboroughian Nights

1. Gala Opening Night, 23/7/2010

2. 80’s Rewind Night, 31/7/2010

3. The Doves, 7/8/2010

4. N Dubz, 5/6/2011

5. Elton John, 21/6/2011

6. Musicport, 14/8/2011

7. Last Night Of The Proms, 28/8/2011

8. 80’s Rewind 2011, 2/9/2011

9. Dionne Warwick, 6/6/2012

10. John Barrowman, 21/6/2012

11. Olly Murs, 15/7/2012

12. Russell Watson, 4/8/2012

13. Big Night Out, 18/8/2012

14. JLS, 25/8/2012

15. Olly Murs, 6/6/2013

16. The Wanted, 13/6/2013

17. Happy Mondays, 22/6/2013

18. Leona Lewis, 12/7/2013

19. Status Quo, 27/7/2013

20. Katherine Jenkins, 3/8/2013

Ricky Wilson at Kaiser Chiefs’ gig at Scarborough Open Air Theatre on August 8 2021. Picture: Cuffe and Taylor

21. The Saturdays, 23/8/2013

22. McFly, 30/8/2013

23. Jessie J, 25/6/2014

24. McBusted, 27/6/2014

25. Last Night Of The Proms, 28/6/2014

26. Status Quo, 12/7/2014

27. Boyzone, 26/7/2014

28. Little Mix, 27.7/2014

29. Legends Of Pop 2014, 2/8/2014

30. Union J, 23/8/2014

31. James, 22/5/2015

32. Boyzone, 13/6/2015

33. The Vamps, 20/6/2015

34. Last Night Of The Proms with Alfie Boe, 27/6/2015

35. Jessie J, 10/7/2015

36. Elaine Paige and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, 11/7/2015

37. McBusted, 18/7/2015

38. Tom Jones, 29/7/2015

39. Legends Of Pop, 1/8/2015

40. UB40, 14/8/2015

Nile Rodgers & Chic performing at Scarborough Open Air Theatre on August 20 2021. Picture: Cuffe and Taylor

41. Scouting For Girls, 30/8/2015

42. Will Young, 30/6/2016

43. Status Quo, 9/7/2016

44. James Bay, 12/7/2016

45. Wet Wet Wet, 30/7/2016

46. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, 3/8/2016

47. Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, 5/8/2016

48. Legends Of Pop 2016, 6/8/2016

49. Bryan Adams, 8/8/2016

50. Simply Red, 12/8/2016

51. Busted, 2/9/2016

52. The Beach Boys, 24/5/2017

53. Kaiser Chiefs, 27/5/2017

54. The Charlatans, 16/6/2017

55. The Jacksons, 17/6/2017

56. Michael Ball and Alfie Boe, 28/6/2017

57. Cliff Richard, 29/6/2017

58. UB40 featuring Ali Campbell and Astro, 30/6/2017

59. George Benson, 1/7/2017

60. Tom Jones, 2/7/2017

Keane caught in torrential rain at Scarborough Open Air Theatre on August 21 2021. Picture: Cuffe and Taylor

61. Little Mix, 6/7/2017

62. Olly Murs, 9/7/2017

63. Madness, 3/8/2017

64. 80s v 90s, 5/8/2017

65. Jess Glynne, 11/8/2017

66. Lionel Richie, 19/6/2018

67. The Script, 21/6/2018

68. Gary Barlow, 22/6/2017

69. Nile Rodgers & Chic, 24/6/2018

70. Steps, 29/6/2018

71. Alfie Boe, 30/6/2018

72. Emeli Sande, 5/7/2018

73. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, 6/7/2018

74. Stereophonics, 19/7/2018

75. Pete Tong Ibiza Classics, 20/7/2018

76. Il Divo, 21/7/2018

77. James Arthur, 26/7/2018

78. Bastille, 28/7/2018

79. Texas, 11/8/2018

80. Britney Spears, 17/8/2018

Anne-Marie, arms outstretched, at Scarborough Open Air Theatre’s 99th show on August 29 2021. Picture: Cuffe and Taylor

81. James, 18/8/2018

82. Hacienda Classical, 8/6/2019

83. Biffy Clyro, 14/6/2019

84. Cliff Richard, 26/6/2019

85. Years And Years, 18/7/2019

86. Madness, 19/7/2019

87. Lewis Capaldi, 20/7/2019

88. Jess Glynne, 21/7/2019

89. Kylie Minogue, 1/8/2019

90. Lewis Capaldi, 30/8/2019

91. Queen Machine, 31/8/2019

92. Stereophonics, 28/7/2021

93. Kaiser Chiefs, 8/8/2021

94. Culture Club, 14/8/2021

95. Nile Rodgers & Chic, 20/8/2021

96. Keane, 21/8/2021

97. Olly Murs, 27/8/2021

98. UB40 featuring Ali Campbell and Astro, 28/9/2021

99. Anne-Marie, 29/8/2021

100. Courteeners, 8/9/2021

Courteeners’ Liam Fray leading tonight’s 100th concert at Scarborough Open Air Theatre. Picture: Cuffe and Taylor

Ensemble Molière are first New Generation Baroque Ensemble with NCEM, Royal College of Music and BBC Radio 3 support

Ensemble Molière: First New Generation Baroque Ensemble

ENSEMBLE Molière will be the first New Generation Baroque Ensemble from October, backed by the National Centre for Early Music, York, BBC Radio 3 and the Royal College of Music.

The new scheme will showcase and nurture exceptional British-based ensembles in the early years of their professional careers in the baroque sphere, supporting them to new heights of professionalism and artistry over two years, using the range of expertise, performance and recording opportunities available through each partner organisation.

A new group will join the programme in 2023 to begin a new two-year programme, helping to encourage UK Baroque ensembles of the future, supporting artists at a crucial stage in their careers. 

Comprising five musicians playing on historic instruments, Ensemble Molière combine flute, violin, bassoon, viola da gamba/cello and harpsichord in creative programmes from the 17th and 18th century repertoire, performed at many of the leading Baroque and Early Music festivals.

Chosen through a non-competitive process to become the first New Generation Baroque Ensemble, ensemble musicians Flavia Harte, Alice Earll, Catriona McDermid, Kate Conway and Satoko Doi-Luck can build on their early success through residencies at the NCEM and Royal College of Music (RCM) and a regular presence on BBC Radio 3, enabling them to further develop their professional skills, reputation, profile and artistry.

BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show will feature Ensemble Molière on Sunday, September 19 at 2pm in the first of a series of regular updates, performances and features about the group.

Ensemble Molière say: “We are thrilled and honoured to be appointed the first ever BBC New Generation Baroque Ensemble and to become part of the New Generation family. We are looking forward to collaborating with the wonderful team from three organisations – BBC, RCM and NCEM – as well as to the opportunities and experiences we will enjoy on the scheme, including live performances and broadcasts.

“It will be a fantastic springboard for Ensemble Molière and will help us reach the next step as a group. We are very grateful to the New Generation Baroque Ensemble team for their support.”

“Ensemble Molière have an amazing future ahead of them,” says NCEM director Delma Tomlin

NCEM director Delma Tomlin says: “We are thrilled to be part of this UK-based venture that takes place over the next two years and we look forward to welcoming Ensemble Molière, who will be performing in our festivals in Beverley and York.  

“It’s wonderful to be working with the Royal College of Music and BBC Radio 3 once again and this is a fabulous opportunity for Ensemble Molière, who have an amazing future ahead of them.”

BBC Radio 3 controller Alan Davey says: “For some time, we have been keen to see if we can offer help and support to UK-based period-instrument ensembles in the early stages of their careers to allow them to develop and thrive with the same kind of spirit of innovation and adventure we see in the best ensembles across the world.  

“With this new scheme – as with our hugely successful New Generation Artists and New Generation Thinkers programmes – we want to support the best new talent and by working in partnership with the chosen Baroque ensembles and with the NCEM and RCM, we hope to build an even richer world of  ambitious, innovative  and thrillingly excellent music-making for the future.

“We are delighted to welcome Ensemble Molière and look forward to working with them over the coming years to bring their extraordinary music to wider audiences.”

Professor Ashley Solomon, head of historical performance at the Royal College of Music, says: “I am absolutely delighted that together with our colleagues at the NCEM and BBC Radio 3 we have appointed Ensemble Moliere as the first ensemble in the New Generation Baroque Ensemble scheme that we are now launching.

“Nurturing and inspiring the new generation of historical performers is part of our ethos at the Royal College of Music and I look forward to working with and mentoring the players in this exceptional ensemble. We hope that this unique opportunity will help support and enable them to thrive.”

Ensemble Molière’s musicians are:  Flavia Hirte, flute; Alice Earll, violin; Catriona McDermid, bassoon; Kate Conway, viola da gamba/cello, and Satoko Doi-Luck, harpsichord.



Forty years on, Kevin Rowland revamps “fraudulent” Too-Rye-Ay for 2022 Dexys album and tour. York Barbican awaits

Dexys’ Kevin Rowland, second left, announces the second coming of Too-Rye-Ay, “as it could have sounded”

COME again, Eileen. Dexys, now shorn of the Midnight Runners appendage, are reworking their 1982 album, Too-Rye-Ay, for a 40th anniversary release and accompanying tour.

Led as ever by Kevin Rowland, Dexys will play York Barbican on September 30 2022 on their Too-Rye-Ay, As It Could Have Sounded Tour, in what may well be the   veteran Birmingham band’s first ever York appearance, unless you know otherwise.

Released in July 1982, the one with strings, brass and dungarees attached reached number two, Dexys’ highest ever album chart position, buoyed by the top-spot success of ubiquitous wedding-party staple Come On Eileen.

The Van Morrison cover, Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile), went top five too and Let’s Get This Straight (From The Start) peaked at number 17, but the notoriously perfectionist, restless Rowland says: “For many years, I’ve struggled with Too-Rye-Ay.

“I was never happy with many of the mixes on the record. Tracks like ‘Eileen’ and one or two others were really good, but with most others, while I felt the performances were really good, that didn’t come over properly in the mixes.”

The iconic 1982 album artwork for Kevin Rowland & Dexys Midnight Runners’ Too-Rye-Ay

The strongly devoted, long hooked on such exquisite highs as The Celtic Soul Brothers, Let’s Make This Precious, All In All (This One Last Wild Waltz), Old and Until I Believe In My Soul, may raise an eyebrow at Rowland’s assertion, but nevertheless he says: “I even felt fraudulent promoting the album, because I knew it didn’t sound as good as it should have.

“And of course, the irony was, it was by far our most successful Dexys album, because of the worldwide success of Come On Eileen. I knew there were other songs on there just as good as ‘Eileen’, but they hadn’t been realised properly.

“So, I was absolutely delighted to get this opportunity to remix the album with the masterful Pete Schwier, who has worked with Dexys since 1985, and Helen O’ Hara [violinist on the original album] is also helping.”

Too-Rye-Ay, As It Could Have Sounded will be released in this “brand new way and sound” next year via Universal on various formats, whereupon Rowland’s band will head out on the road to perform the album in full, complemented by soulful Dexys’ gems such as their first number one, Geno.

“I’m so into doing this album, that we are doing shows to promote it next year, where we will play the whole of the album from start to finish, as well as other Dexys’ favourites,” says Rowland, who turned 68 on August 17.

“There is no way on Earth I would be doing this tour, or even promoting a normal 40th anniversary re-issue, if it wasn’t for the opportunity to remix it and present it how it could have sounded.

“This is like a new album for me. It is an absolute labour of love. I want people to hear the album as it was meant to sound.”

York will be the only Yorkshire location on next year’s 11-date tour taking in The Forum, Bath, on September 17; New Theatre, Oxford, September 18; Brighton Dome, September 19; Albert Hall, Manchester, September 21; Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, September 22; Symphony Hall, Birmingham, September 26; Cambridge Corn Exchange, September 27; St David’s Hall, Cardiff, September 29; York Barbican, September 30, and London Palladium, October 2.

York tickets go on sale on Friday (10/9/2021) at 10am at yorkbarbican.co.uk. Let’s make this precious all over again.

Matchbox to spark up third-time-lucky York Ted-Fest 5 at Huntington WMC in October

Rockabilly rebels Matchbox top the York Ted-Fest 5 bill on October 30

STRIKE a light, look who will be headlining York Ted-Fest 5 at the Huntington WMC, York, on October 30. Step forward Matchbox, those rockabilly good old boys, still playing with their original hit-making 1980s’ line-up.

“York Rock’n’Roll Club continues to put rock’n’roll and rockabilly music there for the masses, reminding everyone why rock’n’roll is still around after 60 years,” says organiser Dave Williamson.

“Our next big gig in York after all these restrictions is our twice-postponed Ted-Fest 5, now taking place at the Huntington WMC, in North Moor Road, next month. Joining Matchbox will be Phil Haley & His Comments, who are the nearest thing to Bill Haley you will ever see.”

Echoes Of The Past DJ will be spinning discs at the 6pm to 11.45pm event; tickets cost £12 on the door.

The poster for York Ted-Fest 5. Please note: Phil Haley’s band are called “Comments”, not “Commets”

Kevin Clifton to turn up the heat again in Burn The Floor at Grand Opera House

Kevin Clifton in Burn The Floor, returning to the Grand Opera House next January

STRICTLY champ Kevin Clifton will return to the Grand Opera House, York, in the hot hit ballroom dance show Burn The Floor on January 21 2022.

“Kevin from Grimsby”, who left BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing professional roster after seven seasons at the end of 2019, last scorched the Opera House boards in May 2019.

After announcing his Strictly exit to make a full-time move into the world of musical theatre, he was set to play there too on the 2020/2021 UK and Ireland tour of Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom The Musical, directed by Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood, but the Covid pandemic put paid to the York run from November 23 to 28.

Clifton should have been on tour from September 26 2020 to June 26 2021 in his “dream role” of Scott Hastings, having been inspired by watching Luhrmann’s 1992 Australian film at the age of ten.

Dream role: Kevin Clifton should have played Scott Hastings in Strictly Ballroom The Musical but the pandemic put a stop to the 2020-2021 tour

He is thrilled to be rejoining his “dance family” once again for next January and February’s tour of Burn The Floor, a show with a “mix of eclectic live music, jaw-dropping choreography and ground-breaking moves, performed by an international ballroom dance company with an abundance of infectious, rebellious energy and passion”.

Clifton, 38, enthuses: Burn The Floor is the show that ignited a spark in me and changed me forever as a performer. Through Broadway, West End and touring all over the world, this show has ripped apart the rule book, revolutionised our genre and inspired and shaped me as the dancer I am today.”

Billed as a “fiery, energetic and revolutionary ballroom production”, Burn The Floor has been packing a punch for more than two decades with its combination of Tango, Waltz and Rhumba routines.

In the heat of the moment: Kevin Clifton with the Burn The Floor company of international ballroom dancers

The 2022 tour has been rescheduled from spring last year, when it was only a week away from opening until Lockdown 1 cast theatres into darkness.

Clifton joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2013, performing in the final five times, missing out only in 2017 and 2019, and was crowned Strictly champion in 2018 with celebrity partner Stacey Dooley, the BBC documentary filmmaker, presenter and journalist.

A former youth world number one and four-time British Latin Champion, Clifton has won international open titles all over the world. After making his West End musical theatre debut in 2010 in Dirty Dancing, he starred as Robbie Hart in The Wedding Singer at Wembley Troubadour Park Theatre and as rock demigod Stacie Jaxx in the satirical Eighties’ poodle-rock musical Rock Of Ages in the West End, a role that also brought him to Leeds Grand Theatre in August 2019.

Tickets for Burn The Floor are on sale on 0844 871 3024 or at atgtickets.com/york.

The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon to play York Barbican on next spring’s hits tour

The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon: Compilation album and greatest hits tour in 2022. Picture: Kevin Westerberg

THE Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon will play York Barbican on April 30 next spring in his first York concert since May 2011.

That bygone night, the Irish chamber-pop leprechaun performed at York Minster, but the “divine” in The Divine Comedy was not the reason he could be found in northern Europe’s largest Gothic cathedral.

The Dean and Chapter had agreed to allow Tribeca Arts impresario Ben Pugh to run a series of rock/world concerts in the Minster, and if Hannon let slip a couple of X-rated words – one to describe Minster arsonist Jonathan Martin, the other in a lyric – the wrath from above did not befall him. He looked up heavenwards only when sipping red wine from a glass, mouthing “sorry” playfully.

His return to York next spring will follow the February 4 2022 release of Charmed Life – The Best Of The Divine Comedy, marking the completion of the Northern Irish singer, songwriter, musical score composer and cricket enthusiast’s third decade as a recording artist.

This 24-track, career-spanning compilation of hit singles and fan favourites, compiled by Hannon and remastered at Abbey Road Studios, London, takes in such eloquent, often mischievously humoured landmarks as National Express, Something For The Weekend, Songs Of Love, Our Mutual Friend, A Lady Of A Certain Age, To The Rescue and Norman And Norma, complemented by the new composition The Best Mistakes.

“I’ve been luckier than most,” reflects 50-year-old Hannon. “I get to sing songs to people for a living and they almost always applaud. So, when asked what to call this collection I thought of Charmed Life. I like the song and it rather sums up how I feel about my life.”

The career retrospective will be available as a 24-track standard double CD; on double heavyweight black vinyl in a gatefold sleeve; on limited-edition double heavyweight colour vinyl in a gatefold sleeve and as a limited-edition triple CD edition, bolstered a “Super Extra Bonus Album” of new and unreleased recordings.

Discussing the bonus disc, Hannon says: “It felt right to celebrate 30 of The Divine Comedy. I can’t give you an overview of these songs. They’re a crazy mixed-up bunch. Some are strangely seasonal, some relate to what we’ve all been going through recently, some are just nuts. Enjoy!”

The poster for The Divine Comedy’s April and May 2022 tour

Hannon signed his first record deal at 20 in1990, subsequently releasing 12 albums and performing hundreds of shows. He will add to that tally with 19 British and Irish dates next April and May, when he will play a second Yorkshire show at the Victoria Theatre, Halifax, on May 13.

 “I am so looking forward to playing live again,” says Hannon. “The last couple of years have been a reminder of how much it means to me personally. It really is my favourite thing. And it seems fitting that we’ll be coming back with a greatest hits set. You know, in case everyone’s forgotten who I am and what we do!”

 Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday (10/9/2021) at yorkbarbican.co.uk and victoriatheatre.co.uk.

Track listing for Charmed Life:

Charmed Life; National Express; Norman And Norma; Something For The Weekend; Songs Of Love; The Best Mistakes; At The Indie Disco; Bad Ambassador; A Lady Of A Certain Age; Becoming More Like Alfie; Come Home Billy Bird; Have You Ever Been In Love; Our Mutual Friend; Generation Sex; How Can You Leave Me On My Own; Perfect Lovesong; Your Daddy’s Car; You’ll Never Work In This Town Again; Absent Friends; Everybody Knows (Except You); The Certainty Of Chance; Sunrise; To The Rescue; Tonight We Fly.

Track listing for Bonus deluxe 3CD/deluxe digital disc:

I’ll Take What I Can Get; Don’t Make Me Go Outside; Who Do You Think You Are; The Adventurous Type; When When When; Home For The Holidays; Te Amo España; Perfect Lovesong 2021; Simple Pleasures; Those Pesky Kids.

Did you know?

THE last time Neil Hannon’s compositions were heard on a York stage was in the Theatre Royal’s August 2019 production of Swallows And Amazons, a play with music that affirmed Hannon as a songwriter always ripe for musical theatre in the Flanders & Swann and Stiles & Drewe mode, with even a pinch of Sondheim salt and Randy Newman pepper.

Alex Wingfield (front) with Hanna Khogali, Laura Soper and William Pennington in Swallows And Amazons, featuring music by Neil Hannon, at York Theatre Royal in August 2019. Picture: Anthony Robling

Back in that small car, big egos running rampant, podcasters Chalmers and Hutch set off to the Edinburgh Film Festival

Sign of the festival times in Edinburgh

GOOD to be back, good to be back. After a summer break, Graham Chalmers and Charles Hutchinson resume their arts chat with reflections on their return to the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Did Graham’s day out among the 90,000 throng at Leeds Festival pass the test after all that Covid testing?

Verdicts too on Harrogate Theatre’s immersive play, Our Gate, and on British Sea Power’s name change in woke times can be heard in Episode 55 at: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1187561/9127399 .

More Things To Do in and around York for Grayson Perry’s ‘normal people’. List No. 47, courtesy of The Press, York

What’s up Duck? The Dead Ducks sketch comedy troupe head for Theatre@41 Monkgate, York

CLOWNS, ominous things, Grayson, James, tango, chamber music, horrible British history and watercolours in teamwork add up to shows aplenty for Charles Hutchinson and normal people alike to check out.

Sketch comedy show of the week: The Dead Ducks: Ducks Out Of Water, Theatre@41 Monkgate, York, tomorrow (3/9/2021), 8pm

UNIVERSITY of York Comedy Society sketch troupe The Dead Ducks make their Theatre@41 debut with Ducks Out Of Water as a cast of five serves up fun scenes that range from the relatable to the ridiculous.

Be prepared for completely original content in a humorous mix of parody and farce with a delectable side order of top-notch acting.

Look out for pirates, cowboys, clowns and assorted animals, alongside Winnie the Pooh, Sherlock Holmes and Mickey Mouse “like you have never seen them before”. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk/events/.

Sunset Gazing, by Suzanne McQuade, on show at Village Gallery, Colliergate, York

Exhibition of the week: Suzanne McQuade, Touch Of Tranquillity, Village Gallery, Colliergate, York, until Octoger 23; open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm

LEEDS watercolourist Suzanne McQuade quit her long-standing customer service job five years ago to take the plunge and become a full-time artist.

“Using watercolours is like teamwork; I have to allow the watercolour to move and merge, and utilise the patterns it creates,” says Suzanne, who loves how this medium’s translucency enables light to flood into her landscapes and seascapes.

Drawing inspiration from the British countryside and coastline, she paints what she finds captivating, from a dramatic sky to underwater rocks. “I try to make the scene in front of me to be as beautiful as possible,” she says.

Alexander Wright: Performing Small, Small Ominous Things with Megan Drury at Theatre At The Mill, Stillington

Open-air theatre show of the week: Small Small Ominous Things, Theatre At The Mill, Stillington Mill, near York, Saturday, 8pm

LOOK out for a tiny red gun hidden in the grass; a picture of a puppy eating a toy dinosaur; a dull feeling in the pit of your stomach; a bug burrowing into your skin.

Welcome to a late-night mix of stories, tales and unsettling considerations from partners Megan Drury and Alexander Wright, Australian actor, writer and creative artist and North Yorkshire writer, theatre-maker and visionary facilitator respectively.

Gather around the fire as they collaborate for the first time live At The Mill, bringing small, small ominous things out into late-summer’s fading light. Box office: tickettailor.com/events/atthemill/

Making a splash: The new Normal for artist Grayson Perry, performing on tour at York Barbican

Who-knows-what-to-expect gig of the week: Grayson Perry: A Show For Normal People, York Barbican, Monday, 7.30pm

IN his own words, despite being an award-winning artist, Bafta-winning TV presenter, Reith lecturer and best-selling author, Grayson Perry is a normal person – and just like other normal people, he is “marginally aware that we’re all going to die”.

Cue Grayson Perry: A Show For Normal People, where Grayson takes you through an enlightening, eye-watering evening wherein this kind of existentialism descends from worthiness to silliness. “You’ll leave safe and warm in the knowledge that nothing really matters anyway,” his show patter promises.

Grayson asks, and possibly answers, these big questions in a show “sure to distract you from the very meaninglessness of life in the way only a man in a dress can.” Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Home, James? Briefly, yes, when rehearsing at Broughton Hall, near Skipton. Scarborough Open Air Theatre awaits. Picture: Lewis Knaggs

Gig of the week outside York: James, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, September 9, gates open at 6pm

WHERE better for James to play a summer show in the wake of releasing their 2021 single Beautiful Beaches than at Scarborough Open Air Theatre.

The Manchester legends will be combining myriad anthemic favourites with selections from their “sweet 16th” album, All The Colours Of You, released in June.

Fronted by Clifford-born Tim Booth, James are completing a hattrick of Scarborough OAT visits after shows in May 2015 and August 18. Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com

Prima Vocal Ensemble artistic director Ewa Salecka with Misatango composer Martin Palmeri

Well worth the wait: Misatango: Prima’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration, Temple Hall, York St John University, Lord Mayor’s Walk, York, September 11, 7.30pm

AFTER a year’s delay, Prima Vocal Ensemble director Ewa Salecka is thrilled to be holding the York choir’s tenth anniversary concert at last at a socially distanced Temple Hall.

At the concert’s core will be “the fabulous Misa a Buenos Aires, Misatango, an exhilarating fusion of Tango and Latin Mass”, by Argentinian composer Martín Palmeri, performed with the Mowbray Orchestra string quartet, bandoneon virtuoso Julian Rowlands, pianist Greg Birch and mezzo-soprano soloist Lucy Jubb. Box office: primavocalensemble.com.

Tim Lowe: York Chamber Music Festival director and cellist

Festival of the month: York Chamber Music Festival, September 16 to 18

CANADIAN pianist Angela Hewitt plays YCMF’s opening recital on September 16 and joins fellow festival artists Anthony Marwood and Pablo Hernan, violins, Lilli Maijala, viola, and Tim Lowe, cellist, for the closing gala concert on September 18, both at the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York.

Marwood, Hernan, Maijala and Lowe play string quartets by Haydn, Mendelssohn and Schumann at the NCEM on September 17.

Festival director Lowe joins pianist John Paul Ekins for the first 1pm concert at the Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, on September 17; on the next lunchtime, Ekins plays works that connect Beethoven and Liszt. Box office: tickets@ncem.co.uk.

The Horrible Histories poke fun at Barmy Britain at the Grand Opera House, York, in October

History in the re-making: The Horrible Histories in Barmy Britain, Grand Opera House, York, October 21 to 24

CAN you beat battling Boudicca? What if a Viking moved in next door? Would you lose your heart or head to horrible Henry VIII? Can evil Elizabeth entertain England?

Will Parliament survive gunpowder Guy? Dare you stand and deliver to dastardly Dick Turpin? Escape the clutches of Burke and Hare and move to the groove with party Queen Victoria?

So many questions for The Horrible Histories’ Live On Stage team to answer with the aid of the 3D illusions of Bogglevision as skulls hover, dams burst and missiles fly into the family audience. For tickets for Birmingham Stage Company’s eye-popping, gruesome, scary and unbelievable trip through British history, go to atgtickets.com/york.

FortyFive Vinyl Café has 30 free tickets for John & Yoko’s Imagine film screening

The poster for the remastered Imagine, John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s film

IMAGINE there are free tickets to see the 50th anniversary screening of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Imagine film.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one, I hope someday you’ll join us for an exclusive show at FortyFive Vinyl Café, the Micklegate café bar, record store and music venue in York.

That day will be Thursday, September 9, but hurry, hurry, because only 30 tickets for the 7.30pm event are available to reserve via fortyfive.uk.com/events/imagine-50th-anniversary-screening.

FortyFive Vinyl Café will present this in-person screening of the remastered 1972 film in surround sound in collaboration with the Music Venue Trust, in celebration of the song, album and film.

Meanwhile, Charlatans’ frontman Tim Burgess’s Tim’s Twitter Listening Party will host a simultaneous online Listening Party event, where the experience of watching and listening to the music of John & Yoko’s film will be enhanced by a second-screen Twitter experience.

Prima Vocal Ensemble to perform Palmeri’s Misatango at tenth anniversary celebration

Prima Vocal Ensemble artistic director Ewa Salecka with composer Martin Palmeri at Carnegie Hall, New York City in 2019

AFTER a year’s delay, Prima Vocal Ensemble artistic director Ewa Salecka is thrilled to be holding the York choir’s tenth anniversary concert at last.

“It’s just a few weeks since restrictions lifted and our 18-month perseverance against the odds has paid off,” says a relieved Ewa. “We’re now very excited to announce Misatango, a signature Prima evening of eclectic and surprising material with professional guest artists on September 11 at a socially distanced Temple Hall, York St John University.

“Our celebration event will feature the fabulous Misa a Buenos Aires, Misatango, an exhilarating fusion of Tango and Latin Mass by the Argentinian Martín Palmeri, performed by the award-winning Prima choir, Mowbray Orchestra string quintet, London-based bandoneon virtuoso Julian Rowlands, pianist Greg Birch and mezzo-soprano soloist Lucy Jubb.” 

The “wonderfully diverse” programme will embrace familiar traditional music from the British Isles, Ireland and North America, taking in a cappella pieces by Tallis and Antognini and trad songs, such as Shenandoah, Scarborough Fair and Parting Glass, before travelling across the Equator to embrace the distinctive patterns and harmonies of Buenos Aires in Palmeri’s work.  

“This is probably the first choral performance in York since lockdown ended, and it’s a truly outstanding orchestral and choral work to mark this event,” says Ewa. “Rest assured, Palmeri’s work is becoming extremely popular for a very good reason: it’s a stand-out and stand-alone composition, a Latin Mass that brings a smile to the face and gets everyone’s toes tapping.”

Prima Vocal Ensemble joined singers aplenty at Carnegie Hall, New York City, in 2019 to perform Martin Palmeri’s Gran Misa

Prima was founded by Polish-born performer, producer and music director Ewa Salecka and pianist Greg Birch in 2010. “Since then, we’ve collaborated with top composers and singers, put on spectacular shows in and around York and in prestigious locations from London to New York,” says Ewa (pronounced ‘ever’).

“We’ve performed in choral festivals and competitions throughout Europe, from the summit of the Italian Tyrol to 100 metres underground in Poland’s Wieliczka Salt Mines!”

The lockdowns of the past 18 months have challenged Ewa and the choir, but nevertheless she has worked tirelessly to keep members practising, first through Zoom meetings, then with outdoor and indoor in-person rehearsals.

“These have all been in Simulcast form, allowing both attendees and remote-access singers to practise together,” she says.

In a display of continued international collaboration despite the pandemic, Ewa even gained a bronze award for the choir during lockdown by submitting a virtual entry of the choir singing in a choral competition in Szczecin, Poland.

Prima Vocal Ensemble’s poster for September 11’s tenth anniversary celebration concert

To mark both the tenth anniversary and the return to live performance, she has chosen an inspiring, uplifting repertoire, encapsulated by Palmeri’s Misatango, first performed by Prima  in York in 2017 in its North of England premiere.

“The choir then had the privilege to meet and perform with the composer himself at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 2019 for the world premiere of his subsequent work Gran Misa,” says Ewa.

“Palmeri remains a firm friend, sending the choir a personal, inspiring message in the midst of the first lockdown.”

Suffused with a daring mix of sacred music and tango to plunge you into a world of intense emotions, passion and syncopated rhythms, Misatango is “perhaps just what’s needed at the moment,” reckons Ewa.

Prima Vocal Ensemble presents Misatango: Prima’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration, Temple Hall, York St John University, Lord Mayor’s Walk, York, Saturday, September 11, 7.30pm to 9pm. Box office: primavocalensemble.com.

For the full programme and socially distanced tickets, available in advance only, head to: primachoralartists.com/events/misatango-by-m-palmeri-primas-10th anniversary-concert