More Things To Do in York & beyond when the stakes are high in Dracula. Get stuck in to Hutch’s List No. 28, from The Press

The Gesualdo Six: Performing in the Chapter House at York Minster on July 9 as part of the 2024 York Early Music Festival. Picture: Ash Mills

A CELEBRATION of the voice, the truth behind Dracula, flying doctors and grim tales lead off Charles Hutchinson’s tips for jaunty July trips.

York festival of the week: 2024 York Early Music Festival, Metamorfosi, today until July 13

IN an eight-day celebration of music from the medieval to the baroque under the title of Metamorfosi, York Ealy Music Festival will focus on the human voice and song with performances by Concerto Soave, The Gesualdo Six, festival newcomers Vox Luminis and Cappella Pratensis & I Fedeli, The Sixteen, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Rose Consort of Viols and Gawain Glenton’s Ensemble In Echo.

Taking part too will be mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston, the Consone Quartet, Cubaroque, Apotropaïk and Utopia, climaxing with the biennial York International Young Artists Competition. Full festival programme and tickets at Box office: 01904 658338.

Princess locked up in the castle: Freckle Productions in Zog & The Flying Doctors

Children’s show of the week: Freckle Productions in Zog & The Flying Doctors, Grand Opera House, York, today and tomorrow, 10.30am and 1.30pm

ZOG, super-keen student-turned-air ambulance, still lands with a bang-crash-thump. Together with his Flying Doctor crew, Princess Pearl and Sir Gadabout, they tend to a sunburnt mermaid, a unicorn with one too many horns and a lion with the flu.

However, Pearl’s uncle, the King, has other ideas about whether princesses should be doctors, and soon she is soon locked up in the castle. Can her friends and half a pound of cheese help Pearl make her uncle better and prove princesses can be doctors too in this Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler story with music and lyrics by Joe Stilgoe? Suitable for age three upwards. Box office:

Carnival time in Copmanthorpe

Carnival of the week: Cop’ Carnival, Copmanthorpe Recreation Centre, Barons Crescent, Copmanthorpe, York, today, 11.30am to 7pm

IN its 55th year, Cop’ Carnival features live music acts and dance troupes on the main stage, an inflatable assault course, fairground rides and attractions, street food vendors, free children’s entertainment, stalls and more besides. No dogs are allowed on site, apart from assistance dogs. Tickets are on sale at; under-14s are admitted free of charge. 

Sam Johnson: Playing with his jazz trio at Theatre@41, Monkgate, York

Jazz gig of the week: Sam Johnson Trio, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, tomorrow (7/7/2024),

THE Sam Johnson Trio, led by pianist Sam Johnson with Georgia Johnson on bass and James Wood on drums, bring a mid-20th century jazz vibe to their performance, in the style of the Vince Guaraldi Trio, Oscar Peterson Trio and vintage Blue Note and Verve Records artists.

Combining original material with jazz standards from the past seven decades, the trio will be joined by guest soloists and frequent collaborators Richard Oakman (saxophone) and Kirsty Hughes (vocals). Box office:

Macabre: Killian Macardle, left, Annie Kirkman and Chris Hannon in Dracula: The Bloody Truth at the SJT. Picture: Pamela Raith

Comedy drama of the week: Dracula: The Bloody Truth, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, tonight to July 27

THE Stephen Joseph Theatre teams up with Bolton’s Octagon Theatre to stage physical theatre comedy exponents La Navet Bete & John Nicholson’s Dracula: The Bloody Truth, based very loosely on Bram Stoker’s story.

SJT artistic director Paul Robinson directs Chris Hannon, Annie Kirkman, Alyce Liburd and Killian Macardle as vampire hunter Professor Abraham Van Helsing reveals the real story behind the legend of Dracula, the one with the Whitby connection. Box office: 01723 370541 or

Paul Weller: Reflecting on turning 66 at Scarborough Open Air Theatre

Coastal gigs of the week: Fatboy Slim, today; Paul Weller, tomorrow, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, gates open at 6pm

NORMAN Cook has come a long way, baby, since he played bass in Hull band The Housemartins. Now the BRIT award-winning, Brighton-based DJ, aka Fatboy Slim, heads back north to fill Scarborough with big beats and huge hooks in Rockafeller Skank, Gangster Trippin, Praise You and Right Here Right Now et al tonight.

The Modfather Paul Weller showcases his 17th studio album, 66, full of ruminations on ageing, in Sunday’s set of songs from The Jam, Style Council and his solo years. Box office:

Here wig go: Sarah-Louise Young in I Am Your Tribute at Theatre@41 Monkgate, York

Fringe show of the week: Sarah-Louise Young, I Am Your Tribute, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, July 11, 7.30pm

AFTER An Evening Without Kate Bush, the Julie Andrews-focused Julie Madly Deeply and The Silent Treatment, Sarah-Louise Young returns to Theatre@41 with her Edinburgh Fringe-bound new show, I Am Your Tribute.

In her “most ambitiously interactive performance yet”, she invites you to help her create the ultimate tribute to an act of your choosing. Along the way she will teach you the tricks of the trade, share her greatest hits and uncover the occasionally darker side of living in someone’s else’s shadow. Expect music, wigs and wonderment. Box office:

Rowntree Players cast members rehearsing for Grimm Tales

Fairy tales of the week: Rowntree Players in Grimm Tales, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, July 11 to 13, 7.30pm

AMI Carter directs Rowntree Players in Carol Ann Duffy’s adaptation of Grimm Tales, dramatised by Tim Supple, with Chris Meadley in the role of the Narrator.

The cast of 15 takes a journey through a selection of delightfully bizarre stories from the Brothers Grimm collection to reveal their true origins and to discover that the path to a happy ending can, indeed, be a little grim. Box office: 01904 501395 or

In Focus: Weekend events at Ripon Theatre Festival, July 6 and 7

The Tea Cosies: Street entertainment with Kitch’n’Sync today

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 for its third year.

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.

Tempest Wisdom: Taking a journey down the rabbit hole in Curiouser & Curiouser

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, while Street Entertainment will be spread between Market Place, Minster Gardens and city streets with a fiesta of free events from 10am to 4pm.

Mark Cronfield and Tom Frere invite you to hail down the ultimate in Georgian transport for Sedan Chair Stories. Be carried above the hoi polloi as your footmen pass on their scurrilous stories from Ripon’s scandalous past.

Bearded Belfast multi-manipulator and circus performer Logy will be juggling danger and excitement in Logy On Fire, a show of full of raw rock’n’roll comedy. Look out for the beautiful birds of The Bachelors Of Paradise parading their glorious wingspans and beautiful tailfeathers.

In Stone Soup, a suitcase show performed from a travelling cart with music and comical puppets, Hebden Bridge company Eye Of Newt ask this question: can you really make soup with only a stone? The secret to making a delicious soup rests with a wandering stranger.

Street performers and fatal fools Medieval Maniax promise to amuse and bemuse with their historical hysterics, music and illusions. Kitch’n’Sync, from Wales, invite you to have a natter with their colourful crochet trolley dollies, Dorothy Dunker, Tippy Teapot and Barbara Bourbon, alias The Tea Cosies.

Logy On Fire: Multi-manipulator and circus performer

A friendly team from Casson & Friends will connect you with the childlike joy of play in their interactive games, set to a bouncing electronic soundtrack, in Arcade.

Playing their part in the day too will be Yorkshire Voices, Medusa, Ripon City Morris Dancers, 400 Roses And Thorns, Ripon Drum Circle, The U3A Folk Group, The Wakeman Mummers, Ripon Rock Choir and Workhouse Walkabouts.

Weekend community performers contribute to the festival on Sunday too in the form of Lily Worth, Trinity Singers, Freddie Cleary, Ripon Goes To Bollywood, Henshaws Performing Arts Group, Danceability, Passion For Movement, Cricket On The Hearth, The U3A Ukulele Group and Ripon Walled Garden Performers.

Open-air theatre specialists Illyria present Oliver Grey’s adaptation of Hugo Lofting’s The Adventures Of Doctor Doolittle in the Newby Hall Gardens at 5.30pm (gates 5pm). In this new family musical, performed with wit and flair, Doctor Doolittle leads a simple life as a village doctor until one day, with the help of his wise old parrot Polynesia, he makes an extraordinary discovery: he can talk to animals.

Radical Leeds troupe Red Ladder Theatre Company return to the festival to with We’re Not Going Back, Boff Whalley’s Miners’ Strike musical comedy about 75 mines, three sisters, one cause and a six-pack of Babycham at Ripon Arts Hub at 7.30pm.

In early 1984, the everyday squabbles of sisters Olive, Mary and Isabel collide with a strike that forces them to question their lives, their relationships and their family ties.

Sunday has a couple of Pop-Up Events, led off by Opera Brunch with down-to-earth diva Nicola Mills, from Huddersfield, whose song menu at Valentino’s Ristorante ranges from Italian arias to crossover classics, served with sweet or savoury pastries and Bucks Fizz or a hot drink from 10.30am to 12 noon.

From 3pm to 4.30pm, in the Guardians’ Room of The Workhouse Museum, Fellfoss Theatre present a rehearsed reading and workshop performance of Fate And The Warrior, Mark Cronfield’s new play about the troubled and prolific Guyana-born author Edgar Mittelholzer, a pioneer of Caribbean culture. Join Cronfield and his scratch team of actors for a dark and intriguing tale in atmospheric surroundings.

Thingumajig Theatre in Kit And Caboodle

Ripon Spa Gardens and Market Place will play host to Sunday’s Family Day from 10am to 4pm. Look out for the Hedge Heads, suspicious-looking shrubbery lurking in the bushes; Henshaws Performing Arts Group’s The Golden Tree, fairy tales of heroes, villains, royalty and fools, and  Open The Books’ The Story Of Daniel, a distillation of all the best bits in 20 minutes, dreams, lions et al.

In Wrongsemble’s epic new adventure The Not So Big Bad Wolf favourite tales are re-spun and woven by Little Red, adventurer, heroine and True Grimm podcaster, on a mission to debunk the myths around her so-called nemesis, with the help of a few storybook staples, her red cloak and a basket full of music, mayhem and magic tricks.

Thingumajig Theatre, from Hebden Bridge, return to Ripon with their big, beautiful, rolling mule packed with miniature puppet shows, full of stories and songs of remarkable journeys and refugees. Struzzo and Maxim, stalwarts of street theatre for many decades, promise music, magic and their famous ostrich.

Three quirky characters are waiting for a train but how will they pass the time in Grantham company Rhubarb Theatre’s show The Three Suitcases? Three Marie Antoinettes take to the street to feed the public their tasty treats in Let Them Eat Cake. Expect a right royal ruckus wherever these comedy pompous poodle-haired queens of comedy go.

Three courageous airmen, Roger, Reggie and Rupert, are caught in a freak storm in The Bombardiers. Armed only with their wits and extremely good looks, who knows where they will end up!

In The Fireman Dave Circus Skills Drop-In, Dave Ford, from Hebden Bridge, invites you to have a go at juggling, plate-spinning, diabolo, hula-hooping and more at Ripon Spa Gardens from 1pm to 2.30pm.

The 2024 festival concludes with Scottish company Folksy Theatre’s open-air production of Shakespeare’s leafy tale of banishment, love and disguise, As You Like It, at The Old Deanery at 7pm. Cue comedy stuffed with music, bold characters and audience interaction. Bring something to sit on, pack a picnic and come prepared for the weather.

“We believe that theatre should be for everyone,” says festival director Katie Scott. “Our varied and accessible programme of events provides real theatrical treats for seasoned theatre-goes, but also lively and low-cost opportunities for first-timers and families. We love bringing events to non-theatre spaces and working with local businesses and other partner organisations to create a buzz in the city which all can enjoy.”

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

Folksy Theatre in As You Like It in the open air at The Old Deanery on Sunday