TWO days of York celebrating all things York lead off Charles Hutchinson’s tips for cultural fulfilment, from Eighties’ nostalgia to a monster musical, a ghost story’s return to a singing French iconoclast.
York Residents’ Festival 2024, today and tomorrow
YORK Residents’ Festival returns this weekend with free entry or offers on more than 50 York attractions, restaurants, bars and retailers.
For the weekend organised by Make It York, historical attractions such as York Minster, Jorvik Viking Centre, Clifford’s Tower, Fairfax House, Barley Hall, Merchant Adventurers’ Hall and Treasurer’s House will be opening their doors for free to residents across the weekend.
Residents can also take advantage of a free river cruise with City Cruises, free wizard golf at The Hole In Wand, in Coppergate Walk, and the first 100 visitors can visit for free at York’s Chocolate Story, King’s Square.
Offers at York eateries and restaurants include The Grand, Rio Brazilian Steakhouse York, Ambiente Tapas and Pearly Cow. Retail offers exclusive to residents are available at Avorium, York Gin, Love Cheese, Potions Cauldron and more besides.
For those preferring to explore by foot, offers and discounts apply to walking tours and outdoor activities. Mountain Goat will be taking residents off the beaten path to explore the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, while the family-friendly Wizard Walk of York promises to be spellbinding. Or why not learn to abseil and climb Brimham Rocks, at Brimham Moor Road, Summerbridge, Harrogate?
To take advantage of York Residents’ Festival offers, you must present a valid York Card, student card or identity card (e.g. driving licence or bus pass) that proves York residency by clearly stating ‘York’.
Make It York managing director Sarah Loftus says: ‘We’re delighted that we have so many York businesses providing fantastic offers for Residents’ Festival weekend. This is a great opportunity for residents to rediscover some of the brilliant attractions, retail and food offers on their doorstop.
“A huge thank-you to our Visit York members for coming together to provide so many brilliant offers; there’s something for everyone during this fun-packed weekend.”
Meanwhile, Ann Petherick is reopening Kentmere House Gallery, in Scarcroft Hill, York, for a new year of exhibitions in time to coincide with the second day of York Residents’ Festival: tomorrow, from 11am to 5pm.
On show are original works of York and Yorkshire by more than 50 professional artists, plus prints, books and cards exclusive to the gallery. The first full weekend opening in 2024 will be on February 3 and 4, 11am to 5pm. Admission is free.
For the full list of offers, and for booking information for York Residents’ Festival, visit visityork.org. Please note, some venues and activities require pre-booking.
Nostalgic gig of the week: The 80’s Movie Mixtape, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, tonight, 7.30pm
THE 80’s Movie Mixtape is a truly independent theatre show showcasing West End singers and musicians from around London and Surrey in a new tribute to Eighties’ blockbuster movies and their electrifying soundtracks.
A band of six actor-musicians – Jamie Ross, lead vocals, keyboard; Celia Crwys Finnigan, lead vocals, keyboard, alto saxophone; Laura Sillett, lead vocals, keyboard, baritone saxophone; Dom Gee-Burch, lead guitar; Ed Hole, bass, and Luke Thornton, drums – combine songs from Footloose, Top Gun, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Dirty Dancing, Back To The Future, American Gigolo, Ghostbusters, Flashdance, Against All Odds and Electric Dreams with Eighties’ party anthems. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
On the move: Navigators Art & Performance, The Basement Sessions 3, The Basement, City Screen Picturehouse, York, February 23, 7.30pm
YORK creative collective Navigators Art & Performance is moving this weekend’s Basement Sessions 3 bill to next month. “Unfortunately, the Basement is ankle deep in flood water and we’re going to have to postpone the gig this Saturday,” says co-founder Richard Kitchen.
Taking part will be poet and actor Danae, from Mexico via York; “punk/jazz riot” Neo Borgia Trio, from the University of York Big Band; writer, poet, performer and multi-instrumentalist JT Welsch; comedian Will Glitch, from Norwich via Hull; left-field post-punk favourites Percy; acoustic duo The Jammingtons Experience and transatlantic guitar band Fat Spatula. Box office: https://bit.ly/nav-events-all.
Independent Venue Week gig of the week: English Teacher, The Crescent, York, tomorrow, 7.30pm
“LEEDS’ music scene is the best in the world,” proclaims Lily Fontaine, English Teacher’s vocalist, guitarist and synthesiser player, without a blink of hesitation. This weekend she heads to near-neighbour York with bassist Nicholas Eden, drummer Doug Frost and lead guitarist Lewis Whitling, who she first met at house parties while they all studied at Leeds College of Music (now Leeds Conservatoire).
After tinkering with projects of their own, they settled on playing together, developing their fusion of dream pop and post-punk noise. Coming next? Writing new songs “somewhere between Adele, Jockstrap and Fontaines D.C.”. Box office: for returns only, thecrescentyork.seetickets.com.
Haunting return of the week: The Woman In Black, Grand Opera House, York, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm; 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday matinees
STEPHEN Mallatratt’s stage adaptation of Scarborough author Susan Hill’s spine-chiller returns to York for the umpteenth time, directed as ever by Robin Herford. As he did at York Theatre Royal in November 2014, Malcolm James plays lawyer Arthur Kipps, who engages a sceptical young actor (Mark Hawkins) to help him tell his terrifying story and exorcise the fear that grips his soul. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Musical of the week: Pick Me Up Theatre in Young Frankenstein The Musical, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Wednesday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee
WHEN the infamous Victor Frankenstein’s grandson, Dr Frederick Frankenstein (James Willstrop), inherits the family castle in Transylvania, will he be doomed to repeat the same mistakes in Mel Brooks’s musical adaptation of his 1974 monster horror-movie spoof?
Andrew Isherwood directs York company Pick Me Up Theatre as Frankenstein’s experiment yields both madcap success and monstrous consequences with the help and hindrance of hunchback henchman Igor (Jack Hooper), Scandinavian assistant Inga (Sanna Jeppsson), mysterious housekeeper Frau Blucher (Helen Spencer) and needy fiancee Elizabeth (Jennie Wogan-Wells). Box office: 01904 501395 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
Comedy gig of the week: Guz Khan Live!, York Theatre Royal, Wednesday, 7.30pm
COVENTRY comedian, impressionist and actor Guz Khan is on his way to selling out York Theatre Royal after his February 25 gig at Leeds City Varieties already did so. Raised on a housing estate in Hillfields, he graduated from Coventry University and taught Humanities at Grace Academy in his home city before focusing on stand-up.
Khan, 38, is best known as the creator and star of the BBC Three comedy drama Man Like Mobeen, wherein he played a former Small Heath drug dealer now trying to live a good life as a Muslim. Box office: “Last tickets” on 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Most unexpected Yorkshire gig announcement of the week: Eric Cantona, Cantona Sings Eric, Leeds O2 Academy, April 16, doors, 7pm
ERIC Cantona once told Leeds United fans from the balcony of Leeds Town Hall, “why I love you, I don’t know why, but I love you” as the 1992 league champions paraded the Division One trophy. Only 207 days later, he was gone…to bitterest rivals Manchester United. Never to be forgiven.
Now 57, the avant-garde French footballer, sardine philosopher, actor, English advert regular and painter “to the rhythm of jazz” is to return to the city. Not in one of those “An Evening With” shows full of nostalgic football chat but as Eric Cantona, singer and musician, performing solo, with piano and cello for company. Box office: academymusicgroup.com/o2academyleeds/events or ticketmaster.co.uk/eric-cantona-tickets.
Piano recital of the week: Late Music presents David Hammond, St Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel, York, Friday, 1pm
DAVID Hammond performs a crossover of ambient and classical solo piano music centred on work by Erik Satie, Brian Eno, Federico Mompou and Howard Skempton, with new works by David Power and Derek O’Connell in the first Late Music recital of 2024.
The full programme will be: Erik Satie, Gnossiennes 1-3; Harold Budd/Brian Eno, The Plateaux Of Mirror; Derek O’Connell, Je mesure le son (first performance); John White, Sonata 95; David Power, Seven Paces Of Stillness (first performance); Erik Satie, Pièces Froides: No.2 Danses de travers; Federico Mompou, Cants Mágics; Howard Skempton, Well, Well Cornelius; Howard Skempton, Rumba; Howard Skempton, Quavers; Budd/Eno/Power mash-up, Remembered, and Erik Satie, Gnossiennes 4-5. Tickets: £5, latemusic.org/david-hammond-piano-2/ or on the door.
In focus: Exhibition launch of the week: Pyramid Gallery, York, from 11am today
FOUR exhibitions are opening simultaneously today at Pyramid Gallery: Gomery & Braganza, ceramics and painting; Linda Combi’s 52 Postcards; glassmaker Jo Kenny’s What Lies Beneath and Ringleaders’ contemporary handmade rings.
Di Gomery, Loretta Braganza, Linda Combi and Jo Kenny all will be attending the 11am to 2.30pm launch. “Come along to the opening and enjoy a glass of wine or soft drink with the artists,” says gallery owner and curator Terry Brett.
Di’s studio is at South Bank Studios, Southlands Methodist Church, in Bishopthorpe Road, York. Her paintings are lyrical responses to landscape, still life and the human form, painted primarily in oil on canvas or board, often large in scale. Her approach is one of playful energy with an underlying structure and solidity.
Di, who worked in the design industry for Courtaulds (England) and Jakob Schlaepfer couture fabric design (Switzerland), has exhibited previously at Pyramid Gallery, Partisan café, in Micklegate, York, HartLaw Solicitors, in Wetherby, Dean Clough Gallery, Halifax, and the Fronteer Gallery, Sheffield.
Paintings created specifically for this Pyramid exhibition explore edges and volume, make reference to other artists, and generally play with surface and colour combinations. Her artistic influences include the work of British and American women abstract expressionists.
Loretta was born in Mumbai, India, came to Great Britain in 1965 and lives and works in York. She began her practice as a ceramicist in 1990 via a career in dance, graphic arts, textile design and sculpture, as well as teaching drawing and painting at York College.
Her distinctive style comprising taut edges, clean lines and complex mark making swiftly earned her exhibitions and commissions, as well as awards from the Crafts Council and the Arts Council.
Artist and illustrator Linda Combi, raised in a California desert, now settled in York, returns to Pyramid Gallery, this time with 52 Postcards, a series of original collage paintings, print cards and booklets that reflect on migration.
“I was inspired to create 52 postcards around the theme of displacement,” she says. “I decided to create postcards as you’d typically send them when you’re on holiday to family and friends back home, but for refugees, they can have very different connotations. It’s grounded in the concept of refugees being in another place, writing a letter to home or to their former self.
“In many of my postcards I use birds as a symbol for people forced to flee. They’re innocent, and they’re on the move.”
Linda’s postcards are mixed media, primarily hand painted and printed papers, but also incorporating coloured pencil, pen, stickers and crayon.
“Refugees and other displaced people have to endure so much,” she says. “Everyone should support refugees – not only do they enrich society, but more than anything, it’s just basic kindness and human empathy to understand how frightening it must be to be to have to flee.”
Fifty per cent of Linda’s sale proceeds will go to UNHRC, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees agency mandated to aid and protect refugees, and the Lemon Tree Trust, an organisation that works alongside displaced people to transform refugee camps through gardening.
Glassmaker Jo Kenny creates pieces at the furnace inspired by exploring the beaches at Whitby, where she now lives. Such a simple childhood pleasure revisited, she finds a contemplative quality in the act of poking around in rock pools. “I feel the joy and excitement of discovery under each pebble,” she says.
Her What Lies Beneath series encourages the viewer to “look a little deeper and maybe feel a little of that childlike excitement making their own discoveries”.
Awarded an Arts Council England grant, Jo was able to develop the series further in collaboration with Scottish master craftsman Gordon Taylor, who completed pieces with his cutting and polishing skills.
Jo splits her time between making and teaching. Her key themes are the effect of the passage of time, erosion, entropy, persistence of image and all things pertaining to the ocean.
Di Gomery and Loretta Braganza’s exhibition runs until March 11; Linda Combi’s 52 Postcards until March 9; Jo Kenny’s glass until March 7, at Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York. Gallery opening hours are: Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm; Saturdays, 10am to 5.30pm. The project can be viewed at Linda’s website, lindacombi.biz, from where purchases can be made too.