STORMY Shakespeare, bountiful balloons, rebellious schoolchildren, heaps of horror movies and Sherlock’s farewell tour are right up Charles Hutchinson’s street.
Theatre event of the week: York Shakespeare Project in The Tempest, on tour from September 23 to October 1
YORK Shakespeare Project’s 20-year journey to stage every Shakespeare play concludes with a Yorkshire tour of The Tempest, the Bard’s powerful last play, directed by Parrabbola artistic director Philip Parr with Paul French as Prospero.
When an unusual collection of people is thrown together on an island by a storm, old injuries must be resolved, a new generation makes new plans and everyone is driven to find something of themselves in a disrupted world.
Parr uses communal storytelling in a new interpretation to highlight themes of colonisation, reconciliation and change. Full tour and ticket details can be found at beta.yorkshakespeareproject.org/the-tempest/.
Comedy gig of the week: Mark Watson, This Can’t Be It, Burning Duck Comedy Club, The Crescent, York, tonight (17/9/2022), 7.30pm
EVERYONE has been pondering the fragility of life in Covid’s shadow. Don’t worry, Bristol comic Mark has it covered. At 42, he is halfway through his days on Earth, according to his £1.49 life expectancy calculator app.
That life is in the best shape in living memory, but one huge problem remains. Spiritual investigation meets observational comedy as Watson crams two years’ pathological overthinking into one night’s stand-up. “Maybe we’ll even solve the huge problem,” he ponders. “Doubt it, though.”
Watson also plays Helmsley Arts Centre on October 7 and Selby Town Hall on November 17. Box office: York, thecrescentyork.com; Helmsley, 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk; Selby, 01757 708449 or selbytownhall.co.uk.
History in the baking: Mikron Theatre Company in Raising Agents, Clements Hall, Nunthorpe Road, York, Sunday, 4pm
MIKRON Theatre Company’s 50th anniversary tour brings the Marsden travelling players to York for a second time this summer this weekend. After the premiere of Lindsay Rodden’s Red Sky At Night at Scarcroft Allotments in May, here comes Rachel Gee’s revival of Maeve Larkin’s play about the Women’s Institute, Raising Agents.
Bunnington WI is somewhat down-at-heel, with memberships dwindling, meaning they can barely afford the hall, let alone a decent speaker. However, when a PR guru becomes a member, the women are glad of new blood, but the milk of WI kindness begins to sour after she re-brands them as the Bunnington Bunnies.
A battle ensues for the very soul of Bunnington, perhaps the WI itself, in a tale of hobbyists and lobbyists that asks how much we should know of our past or how much we should let go of it.
Raising Agents features not only a cast of Hannah Bainbridge, Thomas Cotran, Alice McKenna and James McLean but also songs by folk duo O’Hooley & Tidow, Mikron’s Marsden neighbours of Gentleman Jack theme-tune fame. Box office: email firstname.lastname@example.org; ring 07974 867301 or 01904 466086; call in at Pextons, Bishopthorpe Road, York.
Festival of the week: Yorkshire Balloon Fiesta, Knavesmire, York, September 23 to 25
THE largest hot air balloon and music festival in the north will take off in York for the last time from Friday before moving elsewhere next year. Expect hot-air balloon launches, children’s entertainment, live music, a funfair, a Labyrinth Challenge obstacle course, food and drink and Friday and Saturday Night Glow lit-up balloons.
Friday’s acts will be Sam Sax, Scouting For Girls and DJ Craig Charles’s Funk and Soul Show; on Saturday, Huge, Brainiac Live (science show), Gabrielle, Heather Small and Boyzlife; on Sunday, YolanDa’s Band Jam, Andy & The Odd Socks, Howard Donald (DJ set) and Symphonic Ibiza, before a fireworks finale. Full details and tickets: yorkshireballoonfiesta.co.uk.
Children’s show of the week: Pick Me Up Theatre in Roald Dahl’s Matilda: The Musical Jr, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, September 23 to October 2
REBELLION is nigh when Robert Readman’s York company Pick Me Up Theatre presents Matilda Jr, a gleefully witty ode to the anarchy of childhood and the power of imagination.
Packed with high-energy dance numbers and catchy Tim Minchin songs, this joyous girl power romp will have audiences rooting for the “revolting children” who are out to teach mean headmistress Miss Trunchbull a lesson, led by Matilda, the child with astonishing wit, intelligence, courage and…special powers! Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Whatever happened to I Am Kloot? Off The Beaten Track presents John Bramwell, Ellerton Priory, Ellerton, near York, September 24, 7.30pm. UPDATE: 22/9/2022: GIG CANCELLED AFTER FAMILY BEREAVEMENT
FROM the team behind shows by Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys and The Beta Band’s Steve Mason in Stockton on the Forest Village Hall comes a “super-intimate” gig by I Am Kloot singer, songwriter and guitarist John Bramwell.
Since 2016, Bramwell has reverted to being a solo artist, releasing the home-recorded Leave Alone The Empty Spaces in 2018 and performing with John Bramwell & The Full Harmonic Convergence. The follow-up album, a more expansive affair with a working title of The Light Fantastic, is “scheduled for 2022”. Tickets are on sale via thecrescentyork.com or seetickets.com.
Film event of the week: Dead Northern Horror Festival ’22, City Screen Picturehouse, York, September 23 to 25
YORK’S only horror film festival returns to City Screen for three days, “bigger and bloodier than ever”, with a line-up of horror and fantasy-themed entertainment, new and classic feature films, live horror entertainment, parties, Q&As, special guests and exclusive merchandise.
Among the feature films will be After She Died, The Lies Of Our Confines, Shadow Vaults and Dog Soldiers on September 23; three world premieres with Q&As, Searching For Veslomy, Calling Nurse Meow and The Stranger, plus Eating Miss Campbell, on September 24, and The Creeping, The Group and 28 Days Later on the last day, when Paul Forster will host a séance at 7pm. Box office and full programme: deadnorthern.co.uk.
Double act of the week: Pyramus & Thisbe Productions in Holmes And Watson: The Farewell Tour, York Theatre Royal Studio, September 23 and 24, 7.45pm
JULIAN Finnegan’s Sherlock Holmes and Dominic Goodwin’s Dr Watson team up in Stuart Fortey’s “utterly bonkers” two-man play, wherein the detective has prevailed on the doctor, landlady Mrs Hudson and Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard to join him in a farewell tour of the British Isles before he retires.
For the first time ever, they will re-enact one of Holmes’s most baffling unrecorded cases, The Case Of The Prime Minister, The Floozie And The Lummock Rock Lighthouse, an affair on whose outcome the security of Europe once hung by a thread. Will Professor James Moriarty, the Napoleon of crime, make an appearance? Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Gig announcement of the week: Suede, York Barbican, March 15 2023
SUEDE are to play York Barbican for the first time in 25 years on the closing night of their 2023 tour, in the wake of this week’s release of their ninth studio album, Autofiction, their first since 2018.
Next March’s tour will combine the London band’s classics, hits and selections from Autofiction, climaxing with their first Barbican appearance since April 23 1997. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk and ticketmaster.co.uk.
Art event of the week: York Printmakers Autumn Print Fair, York Cemetery Chapel & Harriet Room, York, September 24 and 25, 10am to 5pm
INNOVATIVE printmaking can be discovered at York Cemetery Chapel, spanning etching, linocut, collagraph, monotype, screen print, solar plate and stencilling. Now in its fifth year, the York Printmakers Autumn Print Fair brings together a thriving, diverse group of enthusiastic artists who work independently but support and challenge each other by sharing opportunities, ideas and processes.
Hundreds of original prints will be on show and entry is free; prices range from £2 to £300. Some members run printmaking courses, so next weekend is a chance to find out more by chatting to the artists behind the prints.
York Printmakers: the background
EMILY Harvey started the group in 2015. “A new arrival in York contacted me via my website to ask if there was a printmakers’ group in the city, at that time the answer was ’no’,” she recalls.
“But I knew there were quite a few printmakers here, so I thought ‘why not?’. A few phone calls later, nine printmakers were sat round a table in the pub, and York Printmakers was born.”
The group now numbers about 50 from a wide range of printmaking backgrounds, from art students to professional artists who exhibit widely.
Emily loves the group’s “unconventional streak”. “We like to experiment with new methods and ideas,” she says. “Printing plates made from eggshells and prints developed using GPS tracking are just some of our recent adventures. Sharing these innovations helps to keep our work lively and relevant.”
The group’s monthly meetings feature a sharing practice slot where printing problems and solutions are discussed. During the Covid lockdown, the group started a themed postcard-sized print challenge, the results being shared in Zoom meetings. Not only did this help the printmakers maintain their creativity, but it also produced some surprising and innovative results. Many of these small prints will be on display during the fair.
Group member Jo Ruth says: ‘One of the joys of being part of this group is the variety of experience among us. Some members are expert printmakers, others are just starting out, but we all have a lot to offer and to learn from each other.”
Members produce their work in their own spaces, some in purpose-built studios but many in far more humble surroundings, such as at their kitchen tables. Exhibitions and events showcase the group’s array of skills with printing processes that date back hundreds of years, through to those that push the boundaries of contemporary practice with innovation in laser-cut plates, digital elements and 3D techniques.
During the past year, work from the group has featured in events across the country, including the Rheged Centre in Penrith, The Inspired By…Gallery in Danby and Ferens Art Gallery in Hull.