More Things To Do in York & beyond when art goes wall to wall and opera takes a love potion. Hutch’s List No. 27, from The Press

One of James Jessop’s works on show in Rise Of The Vandals in the disused office block at 2, Low Ousegate, York

GRAFFITI writ large, an American rock musical, G&S and afternoon tea, a theatre festival and a football play find Charles Hutchinson in tune with the joys of June.

Exhibition/installation of the week: Bombsquad, Rise Of The Vandals, 2, Low Ousegate, York, today, tomorrow, then July 5 to 7, 11am to 6pm.

SPREAD over four floors in a disused Low Ousegate office block, York art collective Bombsquad showcases retrospective and contemporary spray paint culture, graffiti, street art and public art in three galleries, a cinema room, a Wendy house and art shop, in aid of SASH (Safe and Sound Homes).

Taking part in Rise Of The Vandals are York graffiti archivist Keith Hopewell, James Jessop, Bristol legend Inkie, Chu, Rowdy, Kid Acne, Remi Rough, Prefab77, SODA, Replete, Jo Peel, Sharon McDonagh, Lincoln Lightfoot, Anonymouse, Boxxhead and live DJs in SODA’s booth. Free entry; donations are encouraged. Dog friendly.

Johnny Marr: Playing songs from The Smiths to Electronic to his solo career (compiled on his Spirit Power collection) at Scarborough Open Air Theatre

Coastal gigs of the week: Johnny Marr and The Charlatans, tonight; Gregory Porter, Monday, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, gates 6pm

JOHNNY Marr, The Smiths and Electronic guitarist, superstar collaborator and solo artist, cherry-picks from all eras of his career, right up to his November 2023 compilation Spirit Power in his headline set. First up on this north-western double bill on the East Coast will be The Charlatans, as full of indie rock swagger as ever after 22 Top 40 hits.

Grammy Award-winning Californian jazz vocalist and songwriter Gregory Porter performs songs from Liquid Spirit, Take To The Alley, Nat King Cole & Me, All Rise and more besides on Monday night. Box office:

Hamish Brown’s Alexis, left, Alexandra Mather’s Miss Aline Sangazure and Anthony Gardner’s John Wellington Wells in York Opera’s The Sorcerer. Picture: John Saunders

Everything stops for tea:  York Opera in The Sorcerer, York Theatre Royal, July 3 to 6, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

JOHN Soper directs York Opera in The Sorcerer, Gilbert and Sullivan’s first full-length comic opera, wherein Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre (Ian Thomson-Smith) hosts a tea party in the Ploverleigh Hall gardens to celebrate the betrothal of his only son, Alexis (Hamish Brown) to Miss Aline Sangazure (Alexandra Mather), daughter of Lady Annabella Sangazure (Rebecca Smith).

When a love-at-first-sight elixir is mixed into the celebration tea by a sorcerer, John Wellington Wells (Anthony Gardner, in the role played by Soper for York Opera in 2001), mayhem follows as the assembled guests fall under his magic spell. What could possibly go wrong? Box office: 01904 623568 or

Julia Bullock’s Geraldine Granger, Oliver Clive’s Hugo Horton and Grahame Sammons’s David Horton in 1812 Theatre Company’s The Vicar Of Dibley

Religious conversion of the week: 1812 Theatre Company in The Vicar Of Dibley, Helmsley Arts Centre, July 3 to 6, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee

JULIE Lomas directs Helmsley Arts Centre’s resident company in a stage play adapted from the original BBC television series by Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer. When Reverend Pottle dies, much to the surprise of the Dibley Parish Council, his replacement is Geraldine Granger, a vicar who is also a chocoholic sex kitten.

Follow the antics of David Horton, his son Hugo, Jim, Owen, Frank and Mrs Cropley as they adjust to working with the witty and wonderful Geraldine, assisted by her verger, Alice Tinker. Box office: 01439 771700 or

Bright Light Musical Productions in Green Day’s American Idiot: York premiere at Joseph Rowntree Theatre. Picture: Dan Crawfurd-Porter

Musical of the week: Bright Light Musical Productions in Green Day’s American Idiot, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, July 4 to 6, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

NORTH Yorkshire company Bright Light Musical Productions make their JoRo debut in the York premiere of punk rock opera Green Day’s American Idiot with a cast of 14 directed by Dan Crawfurd-Porter and a seven-piece band under Matthew Peter Clare’s musical direction.  

Inspired by the Californian band’s 2004 album, American Idiot tells the story of Johnny (Iain Harvey), “Jesus of Suburbia”, and his friends Will (William Thirlaway) and Tunny (Dan Poppitt) as they attempt to break out of their mind-numbing, aimless suburban existence. Box office: 01904 501935 or

The bootiful game: Long Lane Theatre Club in The Giant Killers at the Milton Rooms, Malton

Football alternative to England at the Euros: Long Lane Theatre Club in The Giant Killers, Milton Rooms, Malton, July 4, kick-off at 7.30pm

THE Giant Killers tells the story of how Darwen FC came to the public’s attention in 1870s’ Lancashire to proclaim Association Football as the people’s game and not only the preserve of the upper classes.

Andrew Pearson-Wright & Eve Pearson-Wright’s play recounts how a ragtag bunch of mill workers in Darwen took on the amateur gentlemen’s club of the Old Etonians in the FA Cup quarter-final in 1879, rising up against prevailing social prejudice and the might of the Football Association to earn a place in history as the first real ‘‘giant killers’’ in English football. Box office: 01653 696240 or

For those about to rock: Live/Wire take the highway to hell with AC/DC classics at The Crescent

Tribute show of the week: Live/Wire, The AC/DC Show, The Crescent, York, July 5 and 6 (sold out), doors 7.30pm

LIVE/WIRE, The AC/DC Show pays tribute to the Aussie heavy rock band, replete with a wall of Marshall amps for two hours of high voltage rock’n’roll. Podge Blacksmith, a double take for frontman Brian Johnson, revels in a set taking in everything from Highway To Hell and Whole Lotta Rosie to Back In Black and latest album Rock Or Bust. Box office for July 5 only:

In Focus: Shepherd Group Brass Bands, Best Of Brass, York Theatre Royal, tonight, 7.30pm

The poster for Shepherd Group Brass Bands’ Best Of Brass at York Theatre Royal

TONIGHT’S Shepherd Group Brass Bands concert features all of the Shepherd bands playing individually and then a mighty ensemble piece, when all 170 players perform a specially composed piece by Liz Lane to mark 20 years of the bands’ sponsorship by the Shepherd Group.

Liz’s celebratory work represents the bands – Brass Roots, Academy Brass, Youth Band, Concert Band and Shepherd Group Brass Band – and the company support that provides first-class rehearsal facilities and has enabled the band organisation to grow.

Liz has led  several workshops, where she has worked with each band, “ storyboarding players’ feelings about the band, what we get from it as players and as a band family as a whole”.

She has been allowed to visit the Portakabin production site too, where she drew inspiration from the machinery used in the production of product lines.

On May 21, players from each band gathered in the band room for the first full run-through in Liz’s presence.  Afterwards she went away with a couple of ideas for final tweaks. Now comes the premiere performance with “a few real surprises in store for the audience”. Box office: 01904 623568 or

In Focus too: Festival of the week: Ripon Theatre Festival, July 2 to 7

Barrie Rutter: Presenting Shakespeare’s Royals in Ripon Cathedral on July 4 at 7.30pm

PUPPETS, stories, dance, drama, circus and street entertainment pop up in new and surprising places alongside more familiar venues, such as Newby Hall, The Old Deanery, Ripon Cathedral, Ripon Arts Hub and Fountains Abbey, as Ripon Theatre Festival returns.

In all, 109 events and activities will be crammed into five days and six nights. Among the highlights will be Barrie Rutter’s Shakespeare’s Royals, The Adventures Of Doctor Dolittle, Red Ladder’s Miners’ Strike musical comedy We’re Not Going Back, the Family Day on July 7 and Folksy Theatre’s open-air As You Like It.

Opening the festival on Tuesday at 11am and 2pm, Andrew Bates’s Brother Aidan brings heritage crafts, history and storytelling to his new home at Fountains Abbey. In Hazelsong Theatre’s interactive event for adults, he creates an Anglo-Saxon book, interwoven with stories of his life as a monk, with his demonstration including parchment and ink making, bookbinding and calligraphy.

On the first night, the Hilarity Bites Festival Special comedy bill will be hosted by Ripon favourite Lee Kyle at Ripon Arts Club on Tuesday at 8pm. Taking part will be sketch supergroup Tarot, musical comedy duo Black Liver and 2023 BBC New Comedian of the Year Joe Kent-Walters in the guise of his outrageous comic creation, Frankie Monroe, the MC of a working men’s club that provides a portal to hell.

York company Pilot Theatre and One To One Development Trust present daily screenings of Monoliths, an immersive, digital theatre experience that interweaves three northern landscapes – a moor, a city and a coast – with sweeping soundscapes and poetic monologues at Ripon Cathedral.

Written by Hannah Davies, from York, Carmen Marcus, from Saltburn-by-the-Sea, and Asma Elbadawi, from Leeds, the stories are an arresting testament to the inextricable link between person and place. Directed by Lucy Hammond, each performance lasts 11 minutes and can be experienced by three visitors at a time, wearing XR headsets. Times: 1.30pm to 3.30pm, July 2 to 5; 10.30am to 3.30pm, July 6.

Nicola Mills is joined by pianist Maria King for A Spoonful Of Julie, an hour-long tribute to Julie Andrews, full of charming stories of her life, songs, singalongs, medleys and favourite things, at Holy Trinity Church on Wednesday from 1pm to 2pm.

In Look After Your Eyes, at Ripon Arts Club at 8pm that night, Yorkshire theatre-maker, performer and physical comedian Natalie Bellingham reflects on the pain and beauty of love: what it is to both connect and unravel.  

Performed by a clown “delving into the space inside us left behind by loss”, her show celebrates being human in all its banality, sprinkled with joy and ridiculousness.

Natalie Bellingham in Look After Your Eyes

Thursday opens with Stand Up Stories, presented by Ripon Theatre Festival storyteller in residence Ilaria Passeri at the Storehouse Bar. Describing herself as the product of a bold Scottish mother, an errant Italian father and a little sister with the vocabulary of a truck driver, Ilaria has found herself in more than a few scrapes, situations and silly scenes.

In a whistlestop twilight tour through the confusing comedy of errors of her life, her tales introduce her family, friends, pets and one very peculiar clown.

From 7.15pm, Ripon Museum Trust guides lead the Ripon Heritage Ghost Walk from the Market Place. At 7.30pm, Northern Broadsides founder Barrie Rutter OBE celebrates the Bard’s Kings and Queens, their achievements, conquests and foibles, in Shakespeare’s Royals at Ripon Cathedral. Cue anecdotes and memories from a globe-spanning career of playing and directing Shakespeare.

Ilaria Passeri returns on Friday morning from 10.30am to 11am for Storytime for pre-schoolers at Ripon Library, featuring Derek the Dragon, Rita the skateboarding Mouse and Brian the Chicken’s messy bedroom. A short-story writing workshop for adults follows from 11.30am to 1pm; bring a pen and notepad.

At 2pm at Ripon Cathedral, Redheart Theatre presents Rupert Mason in Mr Owen’s Notebook, an exploration of Wilfred Owen’s experience of war through his poetry and the works of his contemporaries.

Written and directed by Justin Butcher, Mason’s one-man performance recalls how Owen lived his last summer in Ripon, where he spent his last birthday in the cathedral, now the backdrop to this sold-out show.

Mason charts how an officer travels from the Allied HQ to the Western Front one week before the Armistice and discovers the pocketbook of a young lieutenant killed that day: Wilfred Owen.

In a marquee at The Ripon Inn, in Park Street, Tell Tale Hearts serve up the teatime entertainment Trunk Tales, wherein a well-travelled lady arrives with her trunk of tales that tell of boastful toads, magical fish and fearsome beasts.

Using only the contents of her magical luggage, she creates Arabic seas, epic mountains, fields of turnips and the tallest trees in her interactive stories from around the world for four-year-olds and upwards.

Paulus the Cabaret Geek in Looking For Me Friend

Paulus the Cabaret Geek’s tour of Looking For Me Friend, The Music Of Victoria Wood arrives at Ripon Arts Hub on Friday at 8pm, accompanied by Fascinating Aida pianist Michael Roulston for an hour of songs and stories.

In telling Wood’s story, Paulus unfolds his own in a relatable account of a 1970s’ childhood and what it really means to find your tribe.

Saturday keeps festivalgoers on the move in a day of Pop-Up Events at various locations from 9.30am to 6pm. Ilaria Passeri hosts a morning of adventures for four-year-olds and upwards in Tales From Honeypot Village, featuring Rita the Mouse and the Tidy Trolls in the front room of The Unicorn Hotel at 9.30am and the back room of The Little Ripon Bookshop at 11.30am.

Puppeteers Eye Of Newt open their magical miniature suitcase for Ayla’s Dream, a captivating tale of night skies, light and counting sheep for three to ten-year-olds at Ripon Library at 10.30am (accompanied by a puppet workshop) and Ripon Cathedral from 12 noon to 12.30pm (performance every ten minutes).

York performer Tempest Wisdom takes a journey down the rabbit hole in the family-friendly Curiouser & Curiouser, a show for age five + packed with Lewis Carroll’s whimsical writings, inspired by Ripon Cathedral’s nooks and crannies. Free performances take place at Ripon Cathedral at 11am, 12.30pm and The Little Ripon Bookshop at 2.30pm.

Join the Master and Matron on the front lawn for an interactive game of giant Snakes And Ladders At The Workhouse Museum. Learn how life then, as now, is as precarious as a shake of the dice; slither down the snake to a shaven head and defumigation or ascent to a life out of the ashes from 11am to 12.30pm or 1pm to 3pm.

Festival favourites Lempen Puppet Theatre return with the free show Theatre For One in Ripon Cathedral from 10.45am to 11.30pm and Kirkgate from 1.30pm to 2.30pm and 3pm to 4pm. In a micro-theatre experience for one at a time, plus curious onlookers, a mini-performance of The Belly Bug or Dr Frankenstein will be staged every five minutes.

Members of the Workhouse Theatre Group invite you to experience justice 1871 style in The Trial Of John Sinkler in a case of poaching and threatening behaviour from 2pm to 3pm at The Courthouse Museum.

Ensure justice is seen to be done or perhaps take a more active role in a lively scripted re-enactment led by Mark Cronfield, formerly of Nobby Dimon’s North Country Theatre company.

The festival fun continues in Kirkgate with buskers, bands and more from 3pm to 6pm.

For full festival details and tickets, head to: A preview of further events at Ripon Theatre Festival on July 6 and 7 will follow.