YORK attracts 8.4 million visitors, but this weekend you are invited to be a tourist in your own city, as Charles Hutchinson highlights.
Festival of the week: York Residents’ Festival, today and tomorrow
MORE than 70 events, attractions and offers make up this weekend’s York Residents’ Festival, with the offers continuing all week.
Organised by Make It York, this annual festival invites all York residents with a valid YorkCard to “explore the city and be a tourist for the weekend”, one card per person.
Pre-booking is required for some highlights of a festival that takes in museums, theatres, galleries, churches, hidden gems, historic buildings, food and drink and shops. For more details, visit: visityork.org/residents-festival.
Children’s show of the week: The Smeds And The Smoos, York Theatre Royal, today, 2.30pm and 4.30pm; tomorrow, 10.30am and 1.30pm
SOAR into space with Tall Stories’ exciting new stage adaptation of writer Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler’s joyful tale of star-crossed aliens.
On a far-off planet, Smeds and Smoos cannot be friends. Nevertheless, when a young Smed and Smoo fall in love, they promptly zoom off into space together.
How will their families get them back? Find out in an interplanetary adventure for everyone aged three upwards, full of music and laughter, from the company that delivered The Gruffalo and Room On The Broom on stage. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be; it’s better in: Eric & Ern, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday and Wednesday, 7.30pm
IAN Ashpitel and Jonty Stephens bring you sunshine in their uncanny portrayal of comedy duo Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise in a show that has been touring for more than five years.
Combining renditions of famous comedy sketches with contemporary references, Eric & Ern contains some of the first new writing in the Morecambe & Wise style in more than in 30 years. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Exhibition of the week outside York: Peter Schoenecker, A New Way Of Looking, Pocklington Arts Centre, until February 19
PETER Schoenecker’s mixed-media artworks open Pocklington Arts Centre’s 2022 season of exhibitions in the studio.
On show are watercolours, acrylics and lino prints by the Pocklington artist, a former graphic designer, who is inspired by the landscape and seascape textures and lighting in and around his Yorkshire home.
“My aim is usually to create a mood or atmosphere using colour or black and white,” he says. “Switching between media keeps me interested and innovative, hopefully bringing a freshness to the work.”
Gig of the week outside York: Echo & The Bunnymen, Leeds O2 Academy, Wednesday, doors, 7pm
AHEAD of the February 18 vinyl reissue of their 1985 compilation Songs To Learn & Sing, Liverpool legends Echo & The Bunnymen play plenty of those songs and more besides in Leeds (and at Sheffield City Hall the night before).
Available for the first time since that initial release, the “Best Of” cherry picks from their first four albums with the single Bring On The Dancing Horses as the icing on top. On tour, vocalist Ian McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant will be leading a band now in their 44th year, still too cool to be called a heritage act. Box office: gigsandtours.com/tour/echo-and-the-bunnymen.
Family show of the week: Birmingham Stage Company in Gangsta Granny, Grand Opera House, York, February 3 to 5, 2.30pm and 7pm; February 6, 11am and 3pm
IN David Walliams’s tale, Friday night means only one thing for 11-year-old Ben: staying with Granny, where he must put up with cabbage soup, cabbage pie and cabbage cake.
Ben knows one thing for sure – it will be so, so boring – but what Ben doesn’t know is that Granny has a secret. Soon Friday nights will be more exciting than he could ever imagine, as he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime with his very own Gangsta Granny, in Neal Foster’s touring production, back in York next week for the first time since 2016. Suitable for age five upwards. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or at atgtickets.com/York.
Compact Sheds: Rick Witter and Paul Banks, Scarborough Spa Theatre, April 17, 7.30pm
SHED Seven shed three when frontman Rick Witter and lead guitarist Paul Banks “go where no Shed has gone before” to play Scarborough over the Easter weekend.
Mr H Presents promoter Tim Hornsby says: “Expect a special night of classic Shed Seven material and a few surprises”.
“You already know this whites-of-their-eyes show is going to sell out, so don’t get bothered with the regular unholy last-minute scramble for tickets and purchase early for a holler-along to some of the best anthems ever,” he advises. Box office: scarboroughspa.co.uk.
Looking ahead to the summer: 2022 York Mystery Plays, York city centre, June 19 and 26
HERE come the wagons, rolling through York streets on two June weekends, as the Guilds of York maintain their four-yearly cycle of York Mystery Plays set in motion in 1998.
As in 2018, Tom Straszewski is the artistic director for a community production involving nearly 600 people creating hours of drama, performed for free, on eight wagons at four locations, including St Sampson’s Square, St Helen’s Square and King’s Manor.
“The plays will cover the creation of the world, floods, last meals together and resurrections,” says Strasz. “We’re still seeking directors, performance groups and actors, who should email firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.”