More Things To Do in and around York before and after Johnson’s “Terminus Est”. List No. 37, courtesy of The Press, York


A fight for survival as sex, power, money and race collide on a hot night: Sophie Robinson as Julie in New Earth Theatre and Storyhouse’s Miss Julie at York Theatre Royal

FREEDOM Day is delayed but Boris Johnson has reached for the Latin dictionary again with his promise of “Terminus Est”.  Meanwhile, back in the real world, life goes on in Charles Hutchinson’s socially distanced diary.

Play of the week ahead: Miss Julie, The Love Season at York Theatre Royal, June 22 to 26

ON the Chinese New Year in 1940s’ Hong Kong, the celebrations are in full swing when Julie, the daughter of the island’s British governor, crashes the servants’ party downstairs.

What starts as a game descends into a fight for survival as sex, power, money and race collide on a hot night in the Pearl River Delta in British-Hong Kong playwright Amy Ng’s adaptation of Strindberg’s psychological drama in New Earth Theatre and Storyhouse’s new touring production. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Reopening today: Leeds Grand Theatre auditorium will be welcoming an audience for the first time in 15 months

Reopening of the day: Leeds Grand Theatre

WHEN Leeds Grand Theatre first opened its doors on Monday, November 18 1878, a playbill declared it would “Positively Open”. Now, after 15 months under wraps, it is “Positively Reopening” today (17/62021) for a socially distanced run of Northern Ballet’s Swan Lake until June 26.

In Northern Ballet‘s emotive retelling, Anthony’s life is haunted by guilt after the tragic loss of his brother. When he finds himself torn between two loves, he looks to the water for answers.

There he finds solace with the mysterious swan-like Odette as the story is beautifully reimagined by David Nixon, who will be leaving the Leeds company after 20 years as artistic director in December. Box office: 0113 243 0808 or at boxoffice@leedsheritagetheatres

Abba Mania: Saying thank you for the superSwedes’ music at York Racecourse on June 26

Staying on track: Sounds In The Grounds, Clocktower Enclosure, York Racecourse, June 25 to 27

JAMBOREE Entertainment presents three Covid safety-compliant Sounds In The Grounds concerts next weekend with socially distanced picnic patches at York Racecourse.

First up, next Friday, will be Beyond The Barricade, a musical theatre celebration starring former Les Miserables principals; followed by Abba Mania next Saturday and the country hits of A Country Night In Nashville next Sunday.

Opening each show will be York’s party, festival and wedding favourites, The New York Brass Band. Tickets are on sale at soundsinthegrounds.seetickets.com or at the gate for last-minute decision makers.

The poster for the return of the York River Art Market

Welcome back: York River Art Market, Dame Judi Dench Walk, York, from June 26

AFTER the pandemic ruled out all last year’s live events, York River Art Market returns to its riverside railing perch at Dame Judi Dench Walk, by Lendal Bridge, for ten shows this summer in the wake of the winter’s online #YRAMAtHome, organised by Charlotte Dawson.

Free to browse and for sale will be work by socially distanced, indie emerging and established artists on June 26, July 3, 24, 25 and 31 and August 1, 7, 14, 21 and 28, from 10.30am to 5.30pm, when YRAM will be raising funds for York Rescue Boat.

On show will be landscape and abstract paintings; ink drawings, cards and prints; jewellery and glass mosaics; woodwork and metalwork; textiles and clothing and artisan candles and beauty products.

Alexander Wright: Contemplating his debut solo performance of poems, stories and new writing on July 10. Picture: Megan Drury

He’s nervous, but why? Alexander Wright: Remarkable Acts Of Narcissism, Theatre At The Mill, Stillington, near York, July 10, 7.30pm

LET Alex tell the story: “In a potentially remarkable act of narcissism, I am doing a solo gig of my own work in a theatre I built (with Phil Grainger and dad Paul Wright) in my back garden. 

“It’s the first time I have ever done a solo gig. I write lots of stuff, direct lots of stuff, tour Orpheus, Eurydice & The Gods to hundreds of places. But I’ve never really stood in front of people and performed my own stuff, on my own, for an extended period. So, now, I am…and I’m nervous about it.”

Expect beautiful stories, beautiful poems and a few beautiful special guests; tickets via atthemill.org.

Ringmaster and Dame Dolly Donut in TaleGate Theatre’s Goldilocks And The Three Bears at Pocklington Arts Centre

Summer “pantomime”? Yes, in TaleGate Theatre’s Goldlilocks And The Three Bears, Pocklington Arts Centre, August 12, 2.30pm

ALL the fun of live family theatre returns to Pocklington Arts Centre this summer with Doncaster company TaleGate Theatre’s big top pantomime extravaganza.

In Goldilocks And The Three Bears, pop songs, magic and puppets combine in a magical adventure where you are invited to help Goldilocks and her mum, Dame Dolly Donut, save their circus and rescue the three bears from the evil ringmaster. For tickets, go to: pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys: Headliners to be found at The Magpies Festival in Sutton-on-the-Forest in August

Festival alert: The Magpies Festival, Sutton Park, Sutton-on-the-Forest, near York, August 14, music on bar stage from 1.30pm; main stage, from 2.30pm

SAM Kelly & The Lost Boys will headline The Magpies Festival in the grounds of Sutton Park.

Confirmed for the folk-flavoured line-up too are: Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra; Blair Dunlop; fast-rising Katherine Priddy; The Magpies; York musician Dan Webster; East Yorkshire singer-songwriter Katie Spencer; the duo Roswell and The People Versus. Day tickets and camping tickets are available at themagpiesfestival.co.uk/tickets.   

A variation on Malvolio’s cross-gartered stocking theme: Yellow and black rugby socks for Luke Adamson’s version of Twelfth Night on the Selby RUFC pitch

Fun and games combined: JLA Productions in Twelfth Night, Selby Rugby Union Football Club, August 20, 7.30pm; August 21, 2.30pm, 7.30pm

“I’M just getting in touch to announce we’re doing some Shakespeare on a rugby pitch in Selby in August. Crazy? Perhaps. But it’s going to be fun!” promises Luke Adamson, Selby-born actor, London theatre boss and son of former England squad fly half Ray.

Adapted and directed by Adamson, a raucous, musical version of “Shakespeare’s funniest play”, Twelfth Night, will be staged with Adamson as Sir Andrew Aguecheek in a cast rich with Yorkshire acting talent.

Out go pantaloons and big fluffy collars, in come rugby socks, cricket jumpers and questionable facial hair. Box office: jlaproductions.co.uk.

Beer, bratwurst, Bavarian dress code, brass band and funfairs bound for Yorktoberfest

BEER, bratwurst and all things Bavarian are on course for York Racecourse this autumn at the debut Yorktoberfest.

Mounted by James Cundall’s Jamboree Entertainment and Johnny Cooper’s Coopers Marquees, the October 28 to 31 event will follow the traditions of the first Oktoberfest, staged in Munich in 1810, where citizens were encouraged to eat, drink and be merry at the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and his princess bride.  

So much fun was had that an annual tradition was born…and now residents of York and beyond will be invited to “eat, drink and be merry-go-round” at the Clocktower Enclosure on Knavesmire, where a giant Bavarian-styled beer tent and traditional funfair will set a festive scene.

Inside the marquee, authentic German beer and a range of German-inspired food will be served at an array of tables and benches, while York’s own Oompah Brass Band will add to the hearty fun with their “thigh-slapping, foot-stomping, feel-good music”.  

Dancing is encouraged, as it has been at such gatherings for more than 200 years, as is the wearing of Lederhosen [traditional Bavarian men’s short trousers], Dirndls [Bavarian women’s rural domestic clothing, made from grey or coloured linen, sometimes with leather bodice and trim] or any other fancy dress, with nightly competitions and prizes for the best dressed.

Prost! Friends drinking together Bavarian beer in national costume or Dirndl at Oktoberfest. Likewise, fancy dressing German-style will be encouraged at Yorktoberfest

The Bavarian Bar also will serve wines, prosecco, spirits and soft drinks for those who prefer not to ‘hop’. A variety of food stalls will provide such essential favourites as sausages, schnitzels and pretzels, as well as vegan and vegetarian options.

Funfairs are integral to German Oktoberfests, and so Yorktoberfest will have its own traditional funfair, with Dodgems, Twister, Speedway and Chair-o-Plane delivering thrills

Yorktoberfest will have a limited capacity, with specific opening times: October 28 and 29,  7pm to 11pm; two sittings on October 30, 1pm to 5pm and 7pm to 11pm, and one sitting on October 31, 1pm to 5pm.

Tickets for Yorktoberfest are newly on sale at ticketsource.co.uk/yorktoberfest, priced at £15 per person for unreserved seating; £90 for a reserved table of six, and £135 for a VIP table of six, situated closest to the stage and with table service. An Early Beer(d) offer of £5 off per person is available on all ticket categories until July 31. Tickets will be on sale at the entrance too, subject to availability.

Yorktoberfest is produced by CMJ Events, a joint venture between the two York family-owned companies of Jamboree Entertainment and Coopers Marquees. CMJ Events will be bringing the York Spring Fair & Food Festival to the Clocktower Enclosure at York Racecourse from May 28 to June 6, as well as Sounds In The Grounds concerts by Beyond The Barricade, Abba Mania and A Country Night In Nashville from June 25 to 27, again at the Clocktower Enclosure.  

Super troupers: Abba Mania will play at the Sounds In The Grounds concert at York Racecourse on June 26

Welburn producer James Cundall’s Jamboree Entertainment team brings 25 years of experience in producing live entertainment worldwide, and closer to home produces Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland ice rink and funfair, Sounds In The Grounds concerts at five venues around England and The Great Ryedale Maze at Sherburn.

Cundall also presented Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre on the Castle car park pop-up Elizabethan theatre site in York in 2018 and 2019.

Coopers Marquees was established in the 1990s and is now the tenth largest marquee company in Great Britain, supplying a range of structures to events large and small.

Co-producer Cundall, chief executive of Jamboree Entertainment says: “We’re determined to bring events to York that people can enjoy after the long months of Covid restrictions. Yorktoberfest promises to be an evening of jollity, with beer, bands, and bratwurst. Dust off the fancy-dress outfits and come along!”

Co-producer  Cooper, CEO of Coopers Marquees, says: “We’re looking forward to seeing one of our biggest marquees, at 160m long, installed on Knavesmire and themed with all things Bavarian, including a stage, bespoke thatched wooden barns, flags galore and generally everything needed for a great night out.”

Yorktoberfest will conform to all prevailing Government guidelines regarding Covid-19.


Hush, hush, here comes the York Spring Fair & Food Festival at York Racecourse in June

A 1933 Hush Hush train

TWO York companies are joining forces to hold the inaugural York Spring Fair & Food Festival in the Clocktower Enclosure at York Racecourse from May 28 to June 6.

James Cundall’s company, Jamboree Entertainment, and Johnny Cooper, of Coopers Marquees, are bringing together one of the largest vintage funfairs seen in North Yorkshire for many years and a food festival that will showcase the “very best artisan products from Yorkshire and beyond”.

Running over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend and through school half-term week, the event will conform to all prevailing Government guidelines regarding Covid-19.

The Vintage Funfair comprises a collection of restored vintage rides from the golden era of fairgrounds. Among them are an exhilarating 1936 Speedway; a rare Brooklands Dodgems from 1937 and a 1930s’ Chair-o-Plane, as well as a beautiful Carousel, Twister, Lighthouse Helter-Skelter, Octopus and Big Wheel. 

Three children’s rides will include the oldest ride, Hush Hush, the Monorail train, dating from 1933, as well as five game stalls offering prizes every time.

Co-producer James Cundall, chief executive officer of Jamboree Entertainment, says:  “It’s exciting to be able to put together a vintage funfair on a scale that hasn’t been seen in York for decades.  

“The rides are visually stunning with artwork going back almost 90 years.  There will be rides and game stalls for all ages, so it’s a great opportunity to get out and have fun in a Covid 19-compliant environment.”

The Food Festival will showcase approximately 40 artisan food and drink producer stalls and will be one of the first times that the public can interact with local food and drink suppliers.

Co-producer Johnny Cooper, CEO of Coopers Marquees, says: “As we emerge from the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 lockdown, we are thrilled to be staging one of the first events in Yorkshire that will place the very best Yorkshire products before an audience hungry for an exciting day out.”

Both Jamboree Entertainment and Coopers Marquees are York-based, family-owned companies. The team at Jamboree Entertainment brings 25 years of experience in producing live entertainment worldwide and, closer to home, produces the award-winning Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland ice rink and funfair, Sounds In The Grounds concerts and the Great Ryedale Maze at Sherburn.  

Coopers Marquees was established in the 1990s and is now the tenth largest marquee company in the UK, supplying a range of structures to events large and small, including numerous food festivals.

The York Spring Fair & Food Festival will be open daily from 10am to 6pm. Admission will be £3 for adults; children aged 12 and under, free. This excludes rides and game stalls, which will cost £3 per person.  £1 of the admission fee will be donated to Ryedale Special Families, a charity that supports families with disabled children and young people, for their New Building Fund. 

Tickets will go on sale on Tuesday, March 30 at ticketsource.co.uk/yorkspringfair.  Booking in advance is recommended as numbers will be restricted under Covid regulations.  If unsold, tickets can be bought at the gate.

Further information can be found at yorkspringfair.co.uk; food or drink suppliers interested in taking a pitch at the event should email admin@yorkspringfair.co.uk.

Jamboree Entertainment will present three Sounds In The Grounds concerts in the Clocktower Enclosure this summer: Beyond The Barricade on June 25; Abba Mania, June 26, and A Country Night In Nashville, June 27.

More Things To Do in York and beyond in the months ahead and at home now. List No. 29, courtesy of The Press, York

Becky Gee, curator of Fine Art at York Art Gallery, with Michael Lyons’ 1993 sculpture Amphitrite in the Artists Garden in May 2019. Picture: Charlotte Graham

ONLINE entertainment is still ruling the Stay Home world, but more promoters are announcing shows for the summer as the recovery roadmap begins to twitch our cultural satnav. Charles Hutchinson reaches for his diary.

Last chance to see: Michael Lyons’ Ancient And Modern sculptures, York Art Gallery Artists Garden and Edible Wood

THE free display of large-scale works by late Cawood sculptor Michael Lyons behind York Art Gallery will close on April 11.

On show in his biggest ever exhibition on York soil are nine sculptures created between 1982 and 2000, inspired by nature, myth and ancient cultures, with the central space dominated by Amphitrite, a large painted steel structure evoking the sea that he fashioned in 1993.

Opened in late-May 2019, Ancient And Modern originally was booked to run until May 2020, but has remained in place through these pandemic times.

Caroline Gruber as Vashti in E M Forster’s The Machine Stops, now starting up again in a York Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre webcast. Picture: Ben Bentley

Recommended resonant webcast of the week and beyond: The Machine Stops online

YORK Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre’s 2016 co-production of The Machine Stops can be watched at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk/show/the-machine-stops-webcast/ until April 5.

Adapted for the stage by Neil Duffield, E M Forster’s 1909 short story is set in a futuristic, dystopian world where humans have retreated far underground and individuals live in isolation in “cells”, with all bodily and spiritual needs met by the omnipotent, global Machine. 

Director Juliet Forster says: “It’s even more striking today than it was at the time we staged it: things like human contact and human touch becoming something that’s almost taboo, things that didn’t seem relevant back in 2016 but are really, really striking and even more relevant now.”

Ensemble Augelletti: Recording for the Awaken online weekend at the National Centre for Early Music, York

Springtime celebration of music online: Awaken, National Centre for Early Music, York, Saturday and Sunday

THE NCEM’s Awaken weekend will present York countertenor Iestyn Davies and Fretwork, the all-male vocal group The Gesualdo Six, I Fagiolini and the English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble, Ensemble Augelletti and The Consone Quartet.

The six-pack of online festivities will celebrate the sublime sounds of spring, recorded in a range of historic venues to mark “the unique association between the City of York and the exquisite beauty of the music of the past”.

Among the architectural gems will be Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate, St Olave’s Church, Marygate, the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall and the NCEM. Full details can be found at ncem.co.uk/awaken.

Becky Lennon and Jules Risingham: Ready to host Thunk-It Theatre’s online youth theatre sessions

Online youth theatre opportunity: Thunk-It Theatre sessions with Pocklington Arts Centre

POCKLINGTON Arts Centre’s youth theatre partnership with York company Thunk-It Theatre is to continue for a second series of online drama classes.

Becky Lennon and Jules Risingham’s all-levels drama sessions for children aged six to 11 will be held on Zoom every Sunday during term-time from April 25 to May 30.

The 10am to 11am sessions for Years 2 to 6 children will include fun games, exercises and storytelling, aiming to encourage confidence building, life and social skills, creativity and positivity. Participants will work collaboratively to create a short performance that will explore storytelling. To book, go to pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Abba Mania: Booked for Sounds In The Grounds at York Racecourse

Live music returns to Knavesmire: Sounds In The Grounds at Clocktower Enclosure, York Racecourse, June 25 to 27

NORTH Yorkshire impresario James Cundall’s Sounds In The Grounds is adding a new location to its picnic-concert portfolio for summer 2021.

Complying with Covid-19 guidelines, the Clocktower Enclosure of York Racecourse will play host to the Beyond The Barricade celebration of musicals on June 25, Abba Mania on June 26 and A Country Night In Nashville on June 27.

The capacity will be capped at 1,400 for the fully staged productions with LED screens on either side of the stage. Tickets are on sale at: soundsinthegrounds.seetickets.com.

Paul Winn: Co-organiser of the 2nd York Blues Festival in July

Here comes a dose of the blues: York Blues Festival, July 24, 12.30pm to 11pm

THE 2nd York Blues Festival will be held on Saturday, July 24 at The Crescent Community Venue, York, organised by Paul Winn and Ben Darwin.

No strangers to the British Blues scene, they present Blues From The Ouse on Jorvik Radio and are members of York band DC Blues.

Winn and Darwin have booked a bill of Robbie Reay; The Swamp Hoppers; Dori & The Outlaws; John Carroll; Dr Bob & The Bluesmakers; DC Blues and Nick Steed Five. Tickets are on sale at yorkbluesfestival.co.uk, thecrescentyork.com and earwormrecords.co.uk.

Racing cert: Shed Seven will ride out at Doncaster Racecourse next May after moving post-racing gig…again

Sheds on the move…again: Shed Seven, Live After Racing, Doncaster Racecourse, May 14 2022

YORK heroes Shed Seven’s twice-postponed post-racing gig at Doncaster Racecourse will come under starter’s orders on May 14 202.

First diarised for August 15 2020, then May 15 this spring, each show was declared a non-runner under the Government’s pandemic lockdown restrictions.

Let Donny Races wax lyrical: “So don’t have your friends asking ‘where have you been tonight?’ We have ‘high hopes’ that ‘the heroes’ Shed Seven will deliver an outstanding night of music. ‘It’s not easy’ but you’d be stuck to find a ‘better days’ entertainment in Doncaster next summer.” To book raceday tickets, go to: doncaster-racecourse.co.uk/whats-on/

Graham Gouldman, second from left, will be returning to York Barbican with 10cc

Gig announcement of the week: 10cc, York Barbican, March 26 2022

10cc will play York Barbican next spring in the only Yorkshire show of their 13-date Ultimate Greatest Hits Tour.

“It’s difficult to express just how much we have missed playing live and how much we want to be back playing concerts for you,” says Graham Gouldman, the one group founder still in the touring line-up. “We look forward to seeing you all again in 2022.”

Tickets are on sale at yorkbarbican.co.uk and ticketline.co.uk.

Sounds In The Grounds summer concerts confirmed for York Racecourse enclosure

Beyond The Barricade: Les Miserables et al at the Clocktower Enclosure at York Racecourse on June 25

AFTER making its socially distanced debut in North Yorkshire last summer, impresario James Cundall’s Sounds In The Grounds is adding a new location to its picnic-concert portfolio for Summer 2021.

Complying with Covid-19 guidelines, the Clocktower Enclosure of York Racecourse will play host to Beyond The Barricade on June 25, Abba Mania on June 26 and A Country Night In Nashville on June 27.

Welburn producer Cundall says: “Audiences can come together and enjoy three evenings of best-loved and internationally renowned bands from their own designated picnic patch – for  two, four or six people – that will be socially distanced from others but close enough to share the fun.”

The capacity will be capped at 1,400 for the fully staged productions with LED screens on either side of the stage.

“We’re just trying to do some fun events for this summer, and we’re encouraging concert-goers to come in fancy-dress: will it be showbiz sparkle, platforms or cowboy boots?!” says Cundall, who is best known in York for two summers of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre in a pop-up Elizabethan theatre on the Castle car park in 2018 and 2019.

Beyond The Barricade, now in its 22nd year, features past principals from Boublil and Schonberg’s Les Misérables in the West End and on UK tours performing much-loved songs from the greatest musicals, among them The Phantom Of The Opera, The Lion King, Evita, Miss Saigon, Chicago, Hamilton and Jesus Christ Superstar, topped off by a spectacular finale from Les Misérables.

From London’s West End to Las Vegas, Abba Mania is billed as the world’s number one touring tribute to the ubiquitous super-Swedes, playing more than 30 countries over the past two decades, delighting millions with platforms, flares and all the hits.

A Country Night In Nashville re-creates the energy and atmosphere of a buzzing Honky Tonk in downtown Nashville in a celebration of country music built around songs from its biggest stars both past and present.

Abba Mania: York Racecourse will be the platform for platforms on June 26

Returning by popular demand, York’s very own party starters, the New York Brass Band– a Glastonbury favourite too, by the way – will be the support act to each concert, performing a different repertoire every night, from jazz to Eighties’ pop to current hits.

Cundall has booked them for no fewer than 17 engagements this summer when his picnic-concert programme will return to 2020’s debut double act of Scampston Hall, near Malton, from June 11 to 13 and Ripley Castle, near Harrogate, from August 20 to 22.

In the new line-up of popular acts for these North Yorkshire country-estate venues will be The Definitive Rat Pack, One Night Of Tina and Killer Queen.

The Definitive Rat Pack presents an uncannily accurate recreation of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr in an evening of swing; Tina Turner’s greatest hits are rolled out in a rock’n’rollercoaster ride through four decades, and Killer Queen recall the iconic songs and showmanship of Queen’s shows in the late Freddie Mercury’s 1980s’ pomp.

Sounds In The Grounds concerts are designed to comply with all official guidance on Covid-19, ensuring audiences can enjoy live music outdoors in a safe and responsible way.

The picnic patches will be defined by painted lines in the grass arena within the grounds, with views of the racecourse and grandstands or stately home. They will be set out in alternating rows, with patches for two people, followed by a row of patches for four people, then for six people. The patches have been designed to be one metre apart within each row, with two-metre aisles between the rows.

Looking back on last year’s launch, Cundall says: “What happened was that Sounds In The Grounds came about because we were sitting in the garden, looking out, thinking, ‘surely there must be something we can do to get artists back to work?’.

“We thought, ‘what if we put people in ‘boxes’ for concerts in the open air, with patches of two, four and six?’.

A Country Night In Nashville: Presenting a country night in York on June 27

“After the shows, people came up and said, ‘that’s amazing, not just for Covid-safe conditions but for the future’. The advantage of this [configuration] is that you can book a patch like you book a theatre ticket: you have a guaranteed place.

“Everyone asked us to continue the concept, which we’ve done, and vaccine or no vaccine, the message is that in our 40s upwards, we’re not going to want to be really close up to other people at concerts.

“Our picnic patch concept enables patrons to pre-book their own designated space, thereby eliminating that mad scramble for the best site, which often mars an outdoor concert. Our audiences can turn up when it suits them and know they will have a safe and fun evening.”

Cundall already had settled on returns to Scampston Hall and Ripley Castle for “fun concerts by bands that play music you know, performed by musicians who’ve worked in shows you know in the West End”.

“Then, late in the day, we thought, ‘why don’t we do something at York Racecourse, where we could get 1,400 people in the Clocktower Enclosure?’,” he recalls.

“We’re thrilled to be adding York Racecourse to our list of prestigious venues!  These picnic concerts are a great opportunity to get together and enjoy a fun night of live music in a safe, socially distanced way. From the glorious Broadway classics to Dancing Queen and Dolly Parton, I hope we have something for everyone.”

He is delighted to have signed up the New York Brass Band too. “Without doubt, they are one of York’s best exports and it will be wonderful to get them on stage in their home city,” he says.

“Importantly, it’s an opportunity for both musicians and crew to showcase their talent again after months of inactivity during these difficult times.”

Artist’s impression of the Great Yorkshire Pantomime tented palace for Aladdin that may (or may not) be staged at York Racecourse in the winter

Cundall recalls the finale to last September’s last Sounds In The Grounds concert. “There was a feeling of ‘when will we see each other again’, so what’s key for us with the new season of shows is we’re trying to re-connect artists and audiences.”

York Racecourse may play host to another James Cundall entertainment enterprise in the winter ahead: the Great Yorkshire Pantomime production of Aladdin in a big top.

Produced by Cundall and directed by Chris Moreno, writer-director of the Three Bears Productions pantos at the Grand Opera House in York, the “tentomime” was first mooted for last Christmas, then confirmed for an Easter run from today (19/3/2021) to April 11 before killjoy Covid forced a postponement decision on January 18.

Billed as “a dream come true”, Aladdin would have played in a luxurious heated tented palace to an audience capacity of 976 in tiered, cushioned seating.

The 36 performances would have been socially distanced and compliant with Covid-19 guidance, presented by a cast of 21, including nine principals, and a band on a 50-metre stage with a Far East palace façade, projected scenery and magical special effects.

Will the show go ahead this Christmas? “We’re waiting to see what the Government will do on Covid measures before deciding on what we’ll do with the pantomime,” says Cundall. Watch this space.

Tickets for all Sounds In The Grounds concerts are on sale at soundsinthegrounds.seetickets.com with prices starting at £59 (plus booking fees) for a standard picnic patch for two people. All Covid-19 guidance from the Government is continuously monitored and followed.

Concert times at Clocktower Enclosure, York Racecourse:

June 25

Gates open at 4.30pm; New York Brass Band, 6pm; Beyond The Barricade, 7.30pm, concert finishes at 10pm.

June 26

Gates open at 4.30pm; New York Brass Band, 6pm; Abba Mania, 7.30pm; finale, 10pm.

June 27

Gates open at 3.30pm; New York Brass Band, 5pm; A Country Night In Nashville, 6.30pm; finale, 9pm.

Sounds In The Grounds to do the rounds at Scampston Hall and Ripley Castle concerts

What a blast: New York Brass Band players make sounds in the grounds of Scampston Hall. Picture: Charlotte Graham

NORTH Yorkshire stately homes Scampston Hall and Ripley Castle are to play host to Sounds In The Grounds, each presenting four nights of live music in the open air.

In a new venture from Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre founder James Cundall MBE, he will stage Covid-secure shows by The Bootleg Beatles, Abba Mania, Beyond The Barricade and A Country Night In Nashville.

The New York Brass Band, from old York, will be the support act every night in these fully staged productions with LED screens beside the stage.

On reflection: New York Brass Band members and A Country Night In Nashville performers at Scampston Hall

In compliance with Covid-19 safety guidelines, audience members can watch the concerts from a designated picnic patch for two, four or six people. These socially distanced patches will be defined by painted lines at each 1,888-capacity grass arena within the grounds of Scampston Hall, near Malton, and Ripley Castle, near Harrogate.

“Sounds In The Grounds offers the opportunity to get together and enjoy a fun night of live music in a stunning setting in a socially distanced way,” says organiser James Cundall. “Whether you prefer the Swinging ’60s or showstoppers, platforms or cowboy boots, I hope we have something for everyone.

“Importantly, it’s an opportunity for musicians and technicians to showcase their talent again after weeks of inactivity during lockdown.”

When A Country Night In Nashville meets the New York Brass Band in the grounds of a North Yorkshire stately home. Picture: Charlotte Graham

Visitors should provide their own chairs and can bring a picnic, although tables should  be left at home. Food and drink stalls will also be on site too.

Beyond The Barricades, featuring past principals from Les Miserables, will celebrate the world’s greatest West End and Broadway musicals at Scampston Hall on August 28 and Ripley Castle on September 4. The guest star will be Australian baritone Lockie Chapman, founding member and former lead singer of The Overtones.

Abba Mania will pay tribute to the super-Swedes at Scampston on August 29 and Ripley on September 5; The Bootleg Beatles will travel through the Fab Four’s back catalogue at Scampston on August 30; Ripley, on September 2; A Country Night In Nashville will evoke the energy and buzzing atmosphere of a Honky Tonk in downtown Nashville, while journeying through the history of country music at Scampston on August 31 and Ripley on September 6.

Let out on bale: New York Brass Band and A Country In Nashville musicians at Scampston Hall. Picture: Charlotte Graham

Tickets are on sale at soundsinthegrounds.seetickets.com/content/ticket-options. If you have any ticketing queries, email soundsinthegrounds@seetickets.com or contact the organisers directly on 07927 291267.

Organiser James Cundall’s separate enterprise, Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, mounted Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre in a pop-up Elizabethan theatre at the Castle car park in York in Summer 2018 and 2019 (also at Blenheim Palace, near Oxford, that second year), but Lunchbox hit the financial rocks of liquidation in October 2019.

Welburn impresario Mr Cundall also runs Thor’s winter and summer bars in York and Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland at York Designer Outlet.  

Fab Four, outdoor: The Bootleg Beatles to play Sounds In The Grounds