Pocklington Arts Centre opens debut in-house theatre show The Elves And The Shoemaker Save Christmas tomorrow

The poster for Pocklington Arts Centre’s festive family show The Elves And The Shoemaker Save Christmas

POCKLINGTON Arts Centre’s debut in-house theatre production, The Elves & The Shoemaker Save Christmas, opens tomorrow with the Godber family at the helm.

Jane Thornton, actress and writer wife of playwright John Godber, directs daughter Elizabeth Godber’s original adaptation of the traditional tale of The Elves & The Shoemaker for Christmas 2023.

This 70-minute, family-friendly, fun, festive musical show will feature three cheeky elves, Jingle, Sparkle and Daredevil Dave, as they journey through a variety of well-known fairy tales with a cast of familiar characters, leading to plenty of comedy capers and mishaps along the way.

Put it this way: “‘Twas the night before Christmas and across East Yorkshire land/Excited children count sheep as three cheeky elves lend a hand/Yes, Jingle, Sparkle and Daredevil Dave have gingerbread to cook, peas to find and shoes to make But who gives the Elves their Christmas? Surely they too deserve a break?”

Jade Farnill: Starring as Jingle in The Elves And The Shoemaker Save Christmas

Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC) has committed to supporting East Yorkshire talent with early career creatives and emerging actors to the fore in this show. Alongside Jane and Elizabeth in the production team are Rick Kay, set design and build, Benjamin Wall, production manager and lighting designer, and Kate Noble, wardrobe and props supervisor, while PAC director Angela Stone has been working closely with crew and cast as producer.

Hull born and bred Jade Farnill will step into the role of Jingle. She is a 2023 graduate and Godber Theatre Foundation Award recipient from the Hammond School in Chester, where she completed a degree in musical theatre performance.

Dylan Allcock will play Daredevil Dave with “just the right balance of characterisation and comedy timing”. As an actor/musician, Dylan will be responsible for musical direction and the creation of an original composition for the show.

Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts graduate Matheea Ellerby will complete the cast in her professional debut as Sparkle.

Dylan Allcock: Playing Daredevil Dave

Writer Elizabeth Godber says: “I am so excited to be writing The Elves And The Shoemaker Save Christmas for Pocklington Arts Centre. Being born and raised in East Yorkshire, I grew up visiting the arts centre to see shows and films and attend workshops as a kid, so now, getting to write their Christmas show for children and families, it really feels as if it has come full circle!

“I’ve had so much fun working on the script:  there’s going to be lots of laughs, lots of live music, lots of local references and lots of Christmas fun that can be enjoyed by everyone of all ages and really bring the community together this December.”

The Elves And The Shoemaker Save Christmas will run for 15 performances, including two matinees for schools only. Schools interested in attending those performance should contact the box office on 01759 301547 or email boxoffice@pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk as they are not bookable online.

Matheea Ellerby: Making her professional debut as Sparkle

PAC is offering a relaxed performance on Sunday at 10.30am for families that require a more relaxed environment when going to the theatre. This will include house lights (rather than dark), a relaxed attitude to involuntary sounds and moving around the auditorium during the performance, a straight run through with no interval, and a quiet break-out space available.

For that show, a section of seats with social distancing is reserved to support those who may prefer some spaces between parties. Four blocks of four seats and one block of two seats can be pre-booked through the box office.

The Elves And The Shoemaker Save Christmas, Pocklington Arts Centre, December 7 to 16. Performances: 7.30pm, December 7, 8, 9, 12, 14, 15 and 16; 1.30pm, December 9, 10, 15 and 16; 10.30am, December 10. Tickets (£12 adults, £9 under 25s, £35 family of four) can be booked at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk or on 01759 301547.

Elizabeth Godber

Elizabeth Godber: the back story

Hull-born writer. Studied BA in Creative Writing and English at University of Hull and MA in Writing for Performance and Publication at University of Leeds. Now PhD student at University of Hull.

Her 2023 adaptation of The Comedy of Errors (More Or Less), co-written with Nick Lane for Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, and Shakespeare North Playhouse, has been nominated for UK Theatre Award. 

Her 2023 play The Remarkable Tale of Dorothy Mackaill was premiered at East Riding Theatre, Beverley, in September.

Further writing credits: Ruby And The Vinyl (John Godber Company/tour); M&S: Dressed In Time (Leeds Playhouse); Three Emos (tour); The Remarkable Tale Of Dorothy (Hull New Theatre); Festive Spirits” (Hull City Hall/Burton Constable Hall).

Poetry and film/audio credits: Forget Me Not (BBC Radio 6 Music); The Way You Look Tonight (BBC Upload Festival/iplayer); Does This Make Sense?” (Random Acts for Channel 4); Restless Verse (online).

‘What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness,” says Wendy Mitchell in People With Dementia Can…Be Inspired show at Pocklington Arts Centre

Dr Wendy Mitchell takes to the skies in a photograph in the People With Dementia Can…Be Inspired exhibition at Pocklington Arts Centre

DR Wendy Mitchell and Bob Long, who both live with dementia, are presenting an inspiring exhibition of photography and poetry at Pocklington Arts Centre until June 16.

Their People With Dementia Can…Be Inspired display combines photographs taken by Sunday Times best-selling author Wendy with poems composed by retired head teacher, pantomime provider, tennis lover and ping-pong player Bob.

The exhibition began its tour at Market Weighton Town Hall, where it was attended by dignitaries, people living with dementia, researchers and other sector experts. Post-Pocklington, further venues will follow.

Wendy says:  “My message is always to see the person, not the disease. Dementia is so misunderstood by society. I hope our work helps more people appreciate that people living with dementia are all different and can still achieve remarkable things.”

Beneath a photograph of Wendy taking to the air, her exhibition statement reads: “On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia. My brain was overwhelmed with images of the last stages of the disease – those familiar tropes, shortcuts and cliches that we are fed by the media, or even our own health professionals.

“But my diagnosis far from represented the end of my life. Instead, it was the start of a very different one. I may not have much of a short term, but in this exhibition I’m hoping to convey that, although we’ve been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we still have feelings.

Bob Long, who wrote the poems on display at the exhibition, with his wife Sue, centre, and exhibition coordinator Sandra Burley, from Dementia Friendly Market Weighton

“I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day-to-day basis with the ever-changing environmnt that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.”

Alongside a photograph of Bob on the tennis court is his message: Parting Shot. Adventure. Achievement. Ambition.

He had moved to Market Weighton from Cambridge with his young family in 1980 to take up a school headship at North Cave. “We never thought we’d still be here 43 years later but we are and we love it!” his exhibition statement reads.

“After I retired there were some signs that I was getting forgetful, so I was referred to the Memory Clinic in 2015.” Later he would be diagnosed with dementia.

“There was then a period of time that caused us to be anxious about our future. However, it wasn’t long before we recognised that we could deal with this change and that we could and would enjoy our togetherness positively.

The People With Dementia Can…Be Inspired exhibition on show at Pocklington Arts Centre

“We are keen that, having found our ‘road’, we would like to assure others that dementia is not our ‘story end’ and that together we are able to enjoy life.”

Damian Murphy, from York dementia support group Minds and Voices says: “First and foremost, this is a joyful exhibition of outstanding photography and talented poetry. Projects like this are helping us to improve our understanding of how best to support people living with dementia. Celebrating and showcasing the talent and stories of Wendy and Bob will serve as an inspiration to others.”

PAC director Angela Stone says: “We’re delighted to be welcoming this exhibition to Pocklington Arts Centre. The essence of breaking the old views of dementia, bringing rights, hope, creativity and potential into light underpins our commitment to create safe and inclusive opportunities for everyone in our community to express themselves in our supportive and welcoming space.

“We are grateful to our friends at Dementia Forward for delivering dementia awareness training to our staff and volunteers to help us better understand how to create engaging, inclusive activities, including our weekly Singing For Fun sessions, held every Thursday morning.

“We also have the forthcoming Smashing Mirrors production of Mike & Millie Go To The Seaside, an interactive workshop for those living with dementia on Thursday, June 8. We are inspired and honoured to share such an important body of work.”

People With Dementia Can…Be Inspired can be viewed during Pocklington Arts Centre’s opening hours: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 10am to 4pm; Thursday, 10am to 5pm; Saturday, 10am to 1pm.

Long shot: The photograph of Bob Long playing tennis and his accompanying message entitled Parting Shot

Sign of the times as Pocklington Arts Centre launches design rebrand for maximum impact on new journey

Pocklington Arts Centre’s new logo, designed by Red Bonsai

POCKLINGTON Arts Centre is introducing a new look to all design, print and soon its website too.

“The development of a contemporary, iconic logo responds to the need to engage new audiences and the demand for clarity and definition in a booming, fast-paced online experience,” says venue director Angela Stone.

After a thorough briefing and selection process, three design agencies were identified to “respond to the nuances of delivering a strong iconic presence that would honour the heritage and reputation of Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC), while appealing to new audiences unfamiliar with the respected and well-beloved East Yorkshire venue”.

Red Bonsai, a creative branding and graphic design studio based in Pocklington, were ultimately selected to develop their proposed concepts. “We were really pleased to be selected to work with the management team to rebrand this unique venue,” says creative director Ashley McGovern.

The poster for this week’s concert by Sabrina Francis with the new Pocklington Arts Centre logo

“I have always enjoyed and admired the arts centre, being a regular audience member. This distinctive venue brings some significant names to the East Riding, and with Pocklington also being our design studio’s hometown, we jumped at the chance.”

Ashley continues: “The new identity illustrates the flexibility and multi-purpose use of Pocklington Arts Centre. Picking up on historical references, we sought to characterise this in a simple gobo (a type of theatrical stage lighting) stencil-style graphic.

“The identity will be used throughout all marketing collateral, on all printed material, on the new website, social media, interiors, and the building fascia signage. We are now working on animated screen idents!

“The new branding is designed to engage with a broader audience. The fresh new look is aimed at ensuring the continued relevance and ambition of the arts centre.”

“We’re excited to welcome our patrons to join us on this exciting new journey,” says Pocklington Arts Centre venue director Angela Stone

PAC has committed to rolling out this new look over the coming months, with the latest What’s On posters and spring brochure out this week with a glimpse of the new design style and logo.

As part of its commitment to the environmental impact of print and paper wastage, distribution will be monitored carefully and reviewed regularly as PAC acknowledges a considerable uplift in online browsing and booking, but there will be a stock of brochures available to pick up during box office opening hours: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 10am to 4pm, Thursday, 10am to 5pm, and Saturday, 10am to 1pm.

Angela Stone says: “We are grateful to have received funding from ERYC Arts Development Fund to create refreshed brand guidelines that have been devised to deliver maximum impact using a design template, reducing our ongoing design costs and delivering a much more intuitive, user-friendly website experience.

“Watch this space for updates on how we will translate this clear design language throughout the building to improve directional signage and our intentions to create a flow from the outside of the building, through the foyer, into the box office and beyond! We’re excited to welcome our patrons to join us on this exciting new journey.”

For details of PAC’s spring programme, head to: pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Angela Stone takes over as Pocklington Arts Centre director with the promise of creativity, community and collaboration

No Stone left unturned: Angela Stone has been appointed Pocklingtoin Arts Centre’s new director after a “carefully executed recruitment process” by Pocklington Town Council

ANGELA Stone is the new director of Pocklington Arts Centre, taking up her post next month as the successor to Janet Farmer, who retired in April after 25 years.

Bringing considerable experience in arts management, Angela has been appointed by Pocklington Town Council after a carefully planned and executed recruitment process.

She was selected from a range of strong candidates attracted to the position both regionally and nationally, as Town Mayor Councillor Steve McNann explained: “Angela conveys a clear passion and commitment to the arts and measurable first-hand experience of managing a thriving venue as a hub of the community.

“We are thrilled to welcome her to the team at such an exciting time of growth and potential for Pocklington Arts Centre and the wider town and surrounding villages.”

Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC) is an award-winning multi-arts venue in the town’s former cinema that presents a diverse programme of live music, comedy and theatre, films new and classic, exhibitions and workshops, complemented by festivals in the Old Station and outdoor concerts.

Sited in Market Place, the 200-seat venue with a ground-floor second performance and exhibition space and upstairs bar draws a loyal audience from across East Riding, boosted by visitors from further afield, sometimes much further.

A network of more than 50 volunteers from the 480-strong Friends of Pocklington Arts Centre plays an integral part in the customer experience.

Outgoing director Janet Farmer bade farewell to Pocklington Arts Centre in April after 25 years

A new team is in place already to work alongside Angela. Dave Parker, formerly of City Screen, York, is the venue manager, filling the shoes of the long-serving James Duffy, and Isobel Bielby has followed Sara Morton into the role of marketing and administration officer.

“I feel inspired by the incredible legacy of Janet Farmer and James Duffy for their commitment to creating the venue we all know and love,” says Angela. “Creativity, community and collaboration are the cornerstones from which we will establish our foundations for continued growth.

“I believe it is our collective responsibility, working collaboratively with our partners at Pocklington Town Council, Arts Council England and East Riding of Yorkshire Council to create adaptive space for inclusive shared experience.

“We will anticipate and respond to the changing demands of our evolving audience and our environmental impact on the spaces we manage.”

Up next at PAC will be the first Wolds Pride celebration on Saturday, a free event from 12 noon to 5.30pm featuring live performances, drag artists, LGBTQ+ story time and a creative corner with arts and crafts for all.

Bluegrass metalheads Hayseed Dixie’s September 27 show has sold out; Northumberland Theatre Company present Chris Connaughton’s all-female three-hander production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth on September 29; Vonda Shepherd plays greatest hits and favourites with her full band on October 4.

China Crisis duo Eddie Lundon and Gary Daly revisit their Eighties’ hits in a night of Wishful Thinking on October 6; East Yorkshire singer-songwriter Katie Spencer is booked in for October 14 and Americana folk singer Lady Nade for the next night.

For further details of the autumn season and tickets, visit pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.