Barrie Rutter films with the sharks at The Deep for Hull Truck’s online short stories

Hull actor Barrie Rutter filming Sam Caseley’s short story Aquarium at The Deep on December 14. Picture: Sean Spencer/Hull News & Pictures

BARRIE Rutter OBE returns to his home city of Hull to star in Hull Truck Theatre’s mini-film season, Miracle On The Humber, appearing online in Aquarium from 5pm today (22/12/2020).

The Ferensway theatre has joined forces with KCOM to present four festive short stories, written by Maureen Lennon and Sam Caseley expressly as a magical digital experience for families, in particular children aged five upwards, to enjoy for free.

Rutter, founder and former artistic director of Halifax theatre company Northern Broadsides and now Hull Truck patron, recorded Caseley’s tale Aquarium at The Deep, home to 3,000 creatures, from sharks to sawfish, in Tower Street, Hull.

“It’s a little Christmas story set in The Deep, where we filmed it last Monday,” says Barrie, 74-year-old son of a Hull dockworker. “It was brilliant because we had free rein as no-one else was there, filming with the Blacktip Reef Sharks, the big  Rays and the Sawfish behind me and these massive tortoises above me. I’m delighted to be taking part in this project; the films are just five minutes each and they’re fun.”

Aquarium forms part of a series spun around the themes of kindness, joy, family and love, linked by the simple idea of performing or experiencing a Christmas miracle and filmed at such Hull and East Riding locations as The Deep, Ferens Art Gallery and DoubleTree by Hilton Hull.

The mini-films are being released on Hull Truck’s YouTube channel from December 21 to 24, with Rutter, Channel 5’s Milkshake presenter Amy Thompson, Middle Child Theatre regular Josie Morley and Emmerdale, War Horse and Remould Theatre Company actor Matthew Booth each narrating a story to “celebrate our unique region while instilling local pride”.

The series opened yesterday with Lennon’s re-telling of Cinderella, followed by Aquarium today, The Christmas Kitten tomorrow and The Christmas Lights on Christmas Eve. Each can be watched on Hull Truck’s YouTube channel, accessible to online audiences in the East Riding and beyond, free of charge.

In at The Deep end: Barrie Rutter narrating Aquarium, filmed at the Hull attraction for Hull Truck Theatre’s Miracle On The Humber. Picture: Sean Spencer/Hull News & Pictures

Janthi Mills-Ward, Hull Truck’s executive director, says: “We’re delighted to be working with KCOM to deliver this fantastic project for our communities this Christmas. Born from the idea of KCOM’s ‘Father Christmas line’ in the 1950s. the idea was to bring magical storytelling back to life for the digital age.

“This project celebrates Hull Truck’s experience in great storytelling and KCOM’s digital expertise of connecting friends, families and wider communities. We live in a really special corner of the world, and these short films really bring this home.

“All of the venues featured in the films have had a hard year and have been in some way affected by the pandemic. It’s extra special to be able to bring these spaces back to life again, especially at this time of year.”

John Rooney, managing director of KCOM Retail, says: “We’re thrilled to join forces with Hull Truck Theatre for this fantastic online experience this Christmas. After what has been a very challenging year for many people, we hope that our festive-flavoured short stories bring some Christmas magic into homes across our region as parents and children settle down to watch them together.

“Hull Truck Theatre has pulled together a brilliant cast list of local talent to bring these original tales to life, from writers to actors and filmmakers, and I’m sure, after all the trials and tribulations of the past 12 months, these can herald a positive new chapter for the area and the brilliant people who live here.

“Happy Christmas from everyone at KCOM and we hope you enjoy our heart-warming Yuletide stories.”

Each film will be available online from 5pm on its allotted day to be enjoyed as a bedtime story experience.

More Things To Do in and around York and at home despite the second wave. List No 17, courtesy of The Press, York

Keeping an ear to the wind for the sound of an artbeat. Charles Hutchinson stands by ScallopMaggi Hambling’s memorial sculpture to composer Benjamin Britten on the beach at Aldeburgh, Suffolk. Picture: Celestine Dubruel

WE may be beset by tiers before bedtime, but the arts world will not lie down meekly in the face of the pandemic’s second wave. Instead, Charles Hutchinson highlights events on-going, on the horizon and online.

Robin Ince and Laura Lexx: The last hurrah for Your Place Comedy this weekend

The rule of six, over and out: Robin Ince and Laura Lexx, Your Place Comedy, live-streaming on Sunday, 8pm

YOUR Place Comedy, the virtual comedy club launched in lockdown by Selby Town Council arts officer Chris Jones and ten independent Yorkshire and Humber arts venues, concludes with its sixth line-up this weekend.

The last laugh will go to The Infinite Monkey Cage co-host Robin Ince and Jurgen Klopp’s number one fan, Laura Lexx, introduced by remotely by regular host Tim FitzHigham, alias Pittancer of Selby, as they perform from their living rooms into yours. The show is free to watch on YouTube and Twitch via yourplacecomedy.co.uk, with donations welcome afterwards.

Matt Haig: Discussing his tale of regret, hope, forgiveness and second chances

Online literary event of the week: Matt Haig, The Midnight Library, Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival, streaming from 8am tomorrow (October 23)

MATT Haig, the award-winning author with the York past, discusses his latest novel, The Midnight Library, a tale of regret, hope and forgiveness set in the strangest of libraries, one that houses second chances.

Haig asks a burning question: If you could wipe away your past mistakes and choose again, would you definitely make better choices? If you can’t view the free stream at 8am, second chances abound: “Come back here on Friday, at a time to suit you,” say the festival organisers. Go to: https://harrogateinternationalfestivals.com/literature-festival/matt-haig/

Offering glimpses into the psyche and fragments of the unconscious: Rachel Goodyear’s Limina, part of York Mediale’s Human Nature exhibition at York Art Gallery

Exhibition of the week and beyond: Human Nature, York Mediale/York Museums Trust, at Madsen Galleries, York Art Gallery, until January 24 2021

THIS triptych of installations under the banner of Human Nature combines the British premiere of Canadian media artist Kelly Richardson’s sensory woodland short film Embers And The Giants with two York Mediale commissions.

London immersive art collection Marshmallow Laser Feast look at the journey of oxygen from lungs to the heart and body in a series of installations that echo the ecosystem in nature inThe Tides Within Us.  

Manchester artist and animator Rachel Goodyear’s Limina combines a surrealist, Freudian and Jungian series of animations and intricate drawings, responding to an untitled sculpture from York Art Gallery’s collection as she offers glimpses into the psyche and fragments of the unconscious.

Hannah Davies: York writer, tutor, actress and spoken-word performer, taking part in Signal Fires Festival

Fired-up event of the week: Northern Girls, Pilot Theatre and Arcade, at Scarborough YMCA Car Park, for Signal Fires Festival, October 27 and 28, 7pm to 8pm

YORK company Pilot Theatre team up with new Scarborough arts makers Arcade to present Northern Girls by firelight for the nationwide Signal Fires Festival.

The one-hour performance sets free the stories of girls and women who live along the North East coastline, encouraging them to write and present tales that matter most to them in 2020.

Short pieces commissioned from Asma Elbadawi, Zoe Cooper, Maureen Lennon and Charley Miles will be complemented by York spoken-word artist Hannah Davies’s work with a group of young women from Scarborough.

Re-Wild Geodome at Pavilion Lawn, York Museum Gardens, for York Design Week, October 26 to November 1, 11am to 4pm

Both eyes on the future festival of the week ahead: York Design Week, October 26 to November 1

SUPPORTED by York’s Guild of Media Arts, the York Design Week festival will seek to design a positive future for the city under five themes: Re-Wild, Play, Share, Make Space and Trust.

In Covid-19 2020, the festival will combine in-person events with social-distancing measures in place, and a wide range of online workshops, exhibition seminars and talks.

Look out for workshops bringing together homeless people and architects to work on solutions for housing; sessions on innovation and rule-breaking; an exhibition inspired by a York printing firm; discussions on community art and planning and city trails designed by individual York citizens. Go to yorkdesignweek.com for full details.

Utterly Rutterly: Barrie Rutter’s solo show will combine tall tales, anecdotes, poetry and prose

Barrie’s back: An Evening With Barrie Rutter, The Holbeck, Jenkinson Lawn, Holbeck, Leeds, November 7, 7.15pm

BARRIE Rutter OBE is to return to the stage for the first time since his successful treatment for throat cancer.

The Hull-born titan of northern theatre, now 73, will perform his one-man show at The Holbeck,  home to the Slung Low theatre company in Leeds. The Saturday night of tall tales and anecdotes, poetry and prose will be a fundraiser for the installation of a new lift at the south Leeds community base, the oldest social club in the country.

“I’m absolutely thrilled at the invitation from Alan Lane and his team at Slung Low to perform at The Holbeck,” says Rutter. “What goes on in there is truly inspirational and I’m delighted support this wonderful venue.” 

Meet the Godbers: Jane, Martha, John and Elizabeth

Family business of the autumn: John Godber Company in Sunny Side Up!, in The Round, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, October 28 to 31; Hull Truck Theatre, November 17 to 22

THE waiting for Godber’s new play is over. The world premiere of the ground-breaking former Hull Truck artistic director’s Sunny Side Up! will be a family affair, starring John Godber, his wife Jane Thornton and daughter Martha, while daughter Elizabeth will be doing the stage management.

Written and directed by Godber, the humorous and moving Sunny Side Up! depicts a struggling Yorkshire coast B&B and the people who run it. “Join proprietors Barney, Cath and Tina as they share their stories of awkward clients, snooty relatives and eggs over easy in this seaside rollercoaster that digs into what our ‘staycations’ are all about,” invites John.

Showtime for Anton du Beke and Erin Boag at York Barbican…but not until 2022

Looking ahead to 2021/2022: Dance shows at the treble at York Barbican

STRICTLY Come Dancing’s glittering weekend return to BBC One was a reminder that regular professionals Anton du Beke, Giovanni Pernice, Graziano di Prima, Aljaz Škorjanec and Janette Manrara are all booked to play York Barbican sometime over the rainbow, Killjoy Covid permitting.

Ballroom couple Anton & Erin’s: Showtime celebration of Astaire, Rogers, Sinatra, Garland, Chaplin, Minnelli, Bassey, Tom Jones and Elton John has moved from February 19 2021 to February 18 2022.

Aljaz and Graziano’s Here Comes The Boys show with former Strictly pro Pasha Kovalev has switched to June 30 2021; Aljaz and Janette’s Remembering The Oscars is now booked in for April 21 2021, and Giovanni’s This Is Me! is in the diary for March 17 next year.

Brydon and band: Rob Brydon will add song to laughter in next year’s new tour show

News just in: Rob Brydon in An Evening Of Song & Laughter, York Barbican, April 14 2021

WOULD I lie to you? Actor, comedian, impressionist, presenter and holiday-advert enthusiast Rob Brydon is to play with a band in York. It’s…true!

Yes, Brydon and his eight-piece band will take to the road next year for 20 dates with his new show, Rob Brydon: A Night of Songs & Laughter, visiting York Barbican on April 14 on his second tour to combine songs and music with his trademark wit and comedy. Expect Brydon interpretations varying from fellow Welshman Tom Jones to Tom Waits, Guys And Dolls to Elvis Presley.

The 5ft 7inch Brydon last appeared at York Barbican for two nights of his improvised stand-up show, I Am Standing Up, in October 2017. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

A magical trail for half-term

And what about….?

HEADING out on the Indie York Medieval & Magical Treasure Trail, running from October 24 to November 1 for half-term entertainment, with full details at indieyork.co.uk.

Likewise, taking up the York Ghost Merchants’ cordial invitation to be spooked by the first annual Ghost Week on the same dates. Among the highlights in “the city of a thousand ghosts” are The Little York Ghost Hunt and The Ghost Parade (also part of the Indie York trail). Discover more at yorkghostmerchants.com.

Both events are entirely free.

Utterly Rutterly as Barrie returns to the stage in one-man show at The Holbeck

Symbol of the North: Actor-manager, artistic director and theatre pioneer Barrie Rutter

BARRIE Rutter OBE is to return to the stage for the first time since his successful treatment for throat cancer.

The Hull-born titan of northern theatre, now 73, will perform his one-man show, An Evening With Barrie Rutter, on November 7 at The Holbeck, Jenkinson Lawn, Holbeck, home to the Slung Low theatre company in Leeds.

The Saturday night of tall tales and anecdotes, poetry and prose will be a fundraiser for the installation of a new lift at the south Leeds community base, the oldest social club in the country.

Actor-manager and artistic director Rutter founded the pioneering touring company Northern Broadsides, based at Dean Clough in Halifax, from where they delivered stories in full-blooded, unapologetic northern dialect in non-traditional spaces across Britain.

A formidable, inspiring frontman, never afraid to be outspoken, Rutter stood down as Broadsides’ artistic director in 2018 after 25 years at the helm but, as this one-off fundraising performance will demonstrate, the irrepressible Yorkshireman has lost none of his fervour to have a good time with audiences.

Barrie Rutter as Lear in Northern Broadsides’ 2015 production of King Lear. Picture: Nobby Clark

The son of a Hull fishmonger, Rutter was given a part in the school play by an English teacher who thought he had “the gob for it”. He discovered he loved the stage, whereupon his career went from taking early steps with the National Youth Theatre to performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company and onwards to making such an impact with the clog-wearing Broadsides. In 2015, he was awarded the OBE for services to drama.

Rutter – he always signed off his director’s notes in Broadsides’ programmes solely with his surname – says: “I am absolutely thrilled at the invitation from Alan Lane and his team at Slung Low to perform at The Holbeck. What goes on in there is truly inspirational and I’m delighted support this wonderful venue when I perform there on November 7.”

All proceeds will go towards the Slung Low’s fundraising campaign for a lift to make The Holbeck accessible to everyone who wishes to attend events and private functions. Generous supporters have gifted £60,000 already towards the £150,000 target.

Alan Lane, Slung Low’s artistic director, says:“Barrie Rutter is one of the reasons why there are so many amazing theatre companies in the greater north nowadays – he was a genuine trail blazer. It’s such an honour to have Barrie perform at the club and delighted to share with our audience the opportunity to see a world-class, one-of-a-kind performer here at The Holbeck.”

Tickets for the 7.15pm show are priced at Pay What You Decide. To book, visit:  https://www.slunglow.org/whats-on/

Broadsides founder Barrie Rutter diagnosed with throat cancer. Treatment to start shortly

Barrie Rutter after receiving his OBE on June 25 2015 at Buckingham Palace. Picture: Nobby Clark

BARRIE Rutter, award-winning Yorkshire actor, director and founder of Northern Broadsides, has been diagnosed with throat cancer.

In an official statement, 73-year-old Rutter is “in the good care of the mighty NHS and will begin his treatment very shortly”. 

Born in 1946, the son of a Hull fish worker, Rutter grew up in a two-up, two-down in the fish dock area of Hull.

Barrie Rutter as Lear in King Lear in 2015. Picture: Nobby Clark

At school, an English teacher frogmarched him into the school play because he had “the gob for it”, and feeling at home on stage, Rutter chose his future direction.

There followed many years in the National Youth Theatre, culminating in The Apprentices, with a role written specially for him by Peter Terson: a  practice to be repeated later in his career.

Seasons at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford, London and Europe completed the 1970s. In 1980, he joined the National Theatre, a formative period when he met and worked closely with a poet who was to become his guru, Leeds writer Tony Harrison. 

Rutter performed in three of Harrison’s adaptations, all written for the Northern voice: The Mysteries, The Oresteia, and The Trackers Of Oxyrhynchus, wherein he played Silenus, a part penned for Rutter.

Barrie Rutter as flash banker Fuller in Northern Broadsides’ For Love Or Money in 2017. Picture: Nobby Clark

This experience was the spark for actor-manager Rutter setting up Northern Broadsides in 1992, the Halifax company noted for bringing the northern voice, song and clog dancing to Shakespeare, classical theatre and new works alike.

Frustrated by what he perceived to be inadequate Arts Council funding for Broadsides, he stepped  down from the artistic director’s post in April 2018. By then he had received the OBE for services to drama in 2015.

He last appeared on the York Theatre Royal stage in November 2017, when the quizzically eye-browed Rutter was at his most Rutter in his farewell Broadsides tour, For Love Or Money, a typically anarchic theatrical double act with Blake Morrison.