More Things To Do in York and beyond as green shoots emerge and Johnny’s here. List No. 85, courtesy of The Press, York

Butshilo Nleya: Drums and drama at Green Shoots at York Theatre Royal

NOT only a certain platinum jubilee is cause for a party. Charles Hutchinson finds reasons aplenty to head out.

What can you say in five minutes? Green Shoots, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday and Wednesday, 7.30pm

NEW work commissioned by York Theatre Royal from 20 York and North Yorkshire professional artists will be premiered in Green Shoots.

Poets, performers, singers, dancers and digital artists will be presenting bite-sized performances focused on “rebooting post-pandemic and looking to the future of the planet”.

Among them will be Fladam; Bolshee; Alexander Flanagan-Wright; Paul Birch; Hayley Del Harrison; Butshilo Nleya; Hannah Davies and Jack Woods; Gus Gowland; Joe Feeney and Dora Rubinstein. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Miles And The Chain Gang: Miles Salter’s new line-up plays the City of York (Roland Walls) Folk Weekend

That’s all folk: City of York (Roland Walls) Folk Weekend, Black Swan Inn, Peasholme Green, York, today, 1pm to 11pm, and tomorrow, 1.30pm to 10.30pm

THE Black Swan Folk Club’s two days and nights of free music and song take in a marquee concert stage; rolling folk club; musicians’ sessions; singarounds; Japanese drumming; indoor concerts; the Poems & Pints hour and workshops.

Playing over the weekend will be Kaminari Taiko, The Ale Marys, The Duncan McFarlane Band, White Sail, Clurachan, Two Black Sheep And A Stallion, Holly Taymar, Blonde On Bob, Les Rustiques, Caramba, Miles And The Chain Gang, Tommy Coyle, Chechelele, Leather’O and more besides. Full programme: blackswanfolkclub.org.uk.

Artwork by North Yorkshire Open Studios mixed-media artist Jo Yeates, who is inspired by the many possibilities of fabric, paper, paint and stitch, on show at South Bank Studios, Southlands Methodist Church, Bishopthorpe Road, York

Art event of the  month: North Yorkshire Open Studios 2022, today, tomorrow, then June 11 and 12, 10am to 5pm

FROM the rugged coastline near Whitby to the rolling Yorkshire Dales, 108 artists and makers invite you inside their studios and workshops.

Over four days, this is the chance to discover secret studio spaces and inspiring locations, watch artists at work, learn about their creative practices and buy contemporary art and design directly from the makers. To plan a route, visit nyos.org.uk to download a free brochure.

Jane McDonald: Headlining Yorkshire’s Platinum Jubilee Concert at Scarborough Open Air Theatre

Coastal party of the weekend: Yorkshire’s Platinum Jubilee Concert, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, today, 6pm

NATIONAL treasure Jane McDonald will be joined by musical theatre stars The Barricade Boys and drag artiste La Voix outdoors in Scarborough this evening.

“It’s going to be amazing,” says Wakefield singer and television presenter McDonald. “A really rousing night, full of song. It will be a real sing-along event, so bring your voices. I expect it’ll be emotional too, but above all else we’ll have a good old party.” Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com.

Beck beckons: More than a year later than first planned, Jeff Beck plays York Barbicanand here’s Johnny too

Guitar god of the week and his (in)famous friend: Jeff Beck, with Johnny Depp, York Barbican, Tuesday, 8pm, sold out

NEWS flash. Fresh from winning his US defamation lawsuit against former wife Amber Heard, Hollywood frontman Johnny Depp, 58, is doing an impromptu victory lap as the special guest of South London rock, blues and jazz guitarist and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jeff Beck, 77, on a tour rearranged from April 2021. 

Beck will take to the York stage with Rhonda Smith, bass, Vanessa Freebairn-Smith, cello, Anika Nilles, drums, Robert Adam Stevenson, keyboards, and Depp, riffing off his piratical Keith Richards vibe no doubt, on guitar. Box office for returns only: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Beware the Ides of March…in June: Shakespeare’s Globe bring Julius Caesar to York Theatre Royal next week. Picture: Helen Murray

Political drama of the week: Shakespeare’s Globe in Julius Caesar, York Theatre Royal, June 10, 7.30pm; June 11, 2.30pm and 7.30pm

PREPARE to confront today’s political landscape as Shakespeare’s tragedy Julius Caesar takes on startlingly new relevance in Diane Page’s account of this brutal tale of ambition, incursion and revolution.

When Cassius (Charlotte Bate) and Brutus (Anna Crichton) decide Roman leader Julius Caesar (Dickson Tyrrell) poses a political threat to their beloved country, ancient Rome feels closer to home than ever amid the conspiracy to kill, the public broadcast of cunning rhetoric and a divisive fight for greatness. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

She’s back to say farewell: Dionne Warwick makes a last visit to York Barbican next Friday

Soul legend of the week: Dionne Warwick, She’s Back: One Last Time, York Barbican, June 10, 8pm

DON’T walk on by. Dionne Warwick’s rescheduled She’s Back: One Last Time itinerary now carries the Farewell Tour tag too, making next Friday’s concert all the more a Must See event.

Now 81, the six-time Grammy Award-winning New Jersey singer, actress, television host and former United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture will be performing such Bacharach/David favourites as I Say A Little Prayer, Do You Know The Way To San Jose and Walk On By, plus material from her May 2019 album, She’s Back. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

The poster for Gary Barlow’s one-man theatre show A Different Stage, visiting the Grand Opera House for four performances

Hottest ticket of the week: Gary Barlow: A Different Stage, Grand Opera House, York, June 9, 10 and 11, 7.30pm; June 12, 2.30pm

FIRST, Take That’s Gary Barlow announced Friday and Saturday solo shows, then he added a Sunday matinee, and, finally, Thursday too. Ticket availability is best for the opening night; barely a handful remain for the others.

“I’ve done shows where it has just been me and a keyboard,” says the Wirral singer, songwriter, composer, producer, talent show judge and author. “I’ve done shows where I sit and talk to people. I’ve done shows where I’ve performed as part of a group.

“But this one, well, it’s like all of those, but none of them. When I walk out this time, well, it’s going to be a very different stage altogether.” Box office, without delay: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.

Getting mighty Crowded: Neil Finn’s band, Crowded House, head for the Yorkshire coast

Whatever the weather with you, Crowded House play Scarborough Open Air Theatre, July 11; gates open at 6pm

CROWDED House are heading out on their first European tour in more than ten years with a line-up of founding members Neil Finn and Nick Seymour, producer and keyboardist Mitchell Froom, guitarist and singer Liam Finn and drummer Elroy Finn, Neil’s sons.

Such favourites as Weather With You, Don’t Dream It’s Over, Distant Sun and Private Universe will be complemented by material from the Antipodeans’ seventh studio album, June 2021’s Dreamers Are Waiting, their first since 2010’s Intriguer. Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com.

Miles And The Chain Gang’s new line-up kicks off summer of gigs at City Of York Folk Weekend on Sunday evening

New on the Chain Gang: Drummer Steve Purton, bassist Matthew Watt and keyboard player Daniel Bowater line up with band leader Miles Salter, back, left

YORK band Miles And The Chain Gang play their first home-city gig in almost a year at the City of York (Roland Walls) Folk Weekend on Sunday.

Catch singer-songwriter Miles Salter and his new line-up on the Marquee Stage at 5.30pm at the Black Swan Inn, Peasholme Green, York, where entry will be free.

“Come by and see us, we’d love to see you, as we kick off a run of events that takes us on a mini ‘tour of Yorkshire’, with dates over the summer at Doncaster, Helmsley and Harrogate, as well as gigs closer to York,” says Miles.

Joining guitarist Miles on stage will be drummer Steve Purton, bassist Mathew Watt and keyboards player Daniel Bowater.

“It feels good,” says band leader Miles. “We’ve got some great little gigs lined up and we’re looking forward to heading out.”

In the Chain Gang diary are: Doncaster Leopard, June 18; Helmsley Arts Centre, July 23; Blues Bar, Harrogate, July 24; The Smithy Arms, Swinton, August 27, and Jolly Sailor Inn, Cawood, September 24.

The band’s fourth single, Love Is Blind, is out now, accompanied by a video by York filmmaker Dave Thorp that has clocked up more than 25,000 views already in only two weeks.

“It’s a good song. People are really responding well to it,” says Miles. “It’s been played on lots of smaller, independent stations in the UK, as well as in the USA and Australia. Several stations made it their ‘single of the week’, including Jorvik Radio in York. It’s great to see it going out into the world – thanks to everybody who helped make this happen.”

Recorded and mixed at Young Thugs Studios in York, Love Is Blind features Salter on vocals and guitar; Tim Bruce, bass; Billy Hickling, drums and percussion; Karl Mullen, piano; Holly Taymar, backing vocals, and Jonny Hooker, organ.

More Things To Do in York and beyond despite Killer Queen banning rock music. List No. 69, courtesy of The Press, York

Bohemians in rhapsody: We Will Rock You weaves its way through 24 Queen songs at the Grand Opera House, York. Picture: Johan Persson

FROM Queen’s “rock theatrical” to Britney fandom, a café’s mug exhibition to folk’s witching hour, outlaw cabaret with gin to confronting digital intrusiveness, Charles Hutchinson finds diversity aplenty to enjoy.

Musical of the week: We Will Rock You, Grand Opera House, York, Monday to Saturday, 7.30pm; 2.30pm, Wednesday and Saturday

WRITER and comedian Ben Elton directs the 20th anniversary of We Will Rock You, the “guaranteed-to-blow-your-mind” Queen musical built around his dystopian futuristic storyline.

In a system that bans rock music, a handful of rebels, the Bohemians, vows to fight against an all-powerful global company and its boss, the Killer Queen.

Musical advisor Brian May says “the world’s first true Rock Theatrical” now has a state-of-the-art new look, with a story of breaking free from conformity more relevant than ever. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or at atgtickets.com/York.

Reiko Kaneko: Taking part in the Cups and Such exhibition at FortyFive Vinyl Cafe. Picture: Cat Garcia

Cracking (or hopefully not) exhibition of the week: Cups and Such…or, A Hug In A Mug, FortyFive Vinyl Café, Micklegate, York, until March 6

“A HUG for you, or for someone else, Cups and Such is an exhibition of beautiful, handmade drinking vessels that promises to offer comfort and solace for all,” says curator Lotte Inch.

Working in tandem with FortyFive Vinyl Café, that welcoming haven of music, coffee and comfort food, Lotte Inch Gallery has selected cups, mugs, beakers, tea bowls and more, made by hand by Rebecca Callis, Reiko Kaneko, Ali Tomlin and the Leach Studios to “offer someone a moment of warmth, a sense of connection and an opportunity to embrace”. 

“This can’t be it,” ponders Mark Watson in Pocklington tonight. Picture: Matt Crockett

Topical comedy gig of the outside York: Mark Watson, This Can’t Be It, Pocklington Arts Centre, tonight, 8pm

AMID so much pandemic pondering about the fragility of life recently, don’t worry, comedian Mark Watson has it covered.  At 41 – he turns 42 tomorrow – he is halfway through his days on Earth, according to the life expectancy calculator app that cost him all of £1.49.

That life is in the best shape in living memory but one problem remains. A huge one. Spiritual enquiry meets high-octane observational comedy as the No More Jockeys cult leader strives to cram two years of pathological overthinking into an evening of stand-up. “Maybe we’ll even solve the huge problem,” says Watson. “Doubt it, though.” Box office for returns only: 01759 301547 or at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Shereen Roushbaiani in Saving Britney at Theatre@ 41, Monkgate, York

Noughties’ nostalgia of the week: Saving Britney, John Cooper Studio, Theatre@41 Monkgate, York, tomorrow (13/2/2022) at 8pm

MILLENNIALS such as Jean grew up with Britney Spears. Saving Britney recounts how the Princess of Pop influenced Jean’s life and how the connections shared between them led to an unbelievable moment of self-discovery.

Inspired by the #FreeBritney movement, Shereen Roushbaiani takes a humorous yet heart-breaking look at celebrity obsession, sexuality and growing up in the early Noughties. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Heal & Harrow’s Rachel Newton and Lauren MacColl

Folk concert of the week: Heal & Harrow, National Centre for Early Music, York, Monday, 7.30pm

HEAL & Harrow are folk musicians Rachel Newton, from The Shee, The Furrow Collective and Spell Songs, and Lauren MacColl, of Rant and Salt House.

Working as duo for the first time, they combine newly composed music and accompanying visuals in a tribute to those persecuted in the 16th and 17th century Scottish Witch Trials, 80 per cent of them women.

The project also explores historical beliefs in the supernatural and modern-day parallels, each piece being based on commissioned works by author Mairi Kidd. Box office: 01904 658338 or at ncem.co.uk.

Reality check: Corinne Kilvington’s Polly in The Girl In The Machine

Premiere of the week: Theatre Space North-East in Girl In The Machine, John Cooper Studio, Theatre@41 Monkgate, York, February 17, 7.30pm

STEF Smith’s ground-breaking play Girl In The Machine explores our unease over digital intrusiveness, then pushes it a step into the future in Jamie Brown’s touring production.

In brief: Owen (Lawrence Neale) and Polly (Corinne Kilvington) are in successful careers and wildly in love, feeling ready to take on the world, but when a mysterious new technology, promising a break from the daily grind, creeps into everyone’s phones, their world is turned upside down.

As the line between physical and digital dissipates, Owen and Polly are forced to question whether their definitions of reality and freedom are the same. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Back on the Chain Gang: Miles Salter lines up new band members for Black Swan gig

Meet the new Gang: Miles And The Chain Gang, The Black Swan Inn, Peasholme Green, York, February 19, 8pm to 11.30pm

YORK writer, musician and storyteller Miles Salter is back with a new Chain Gang for a headline show at the Black Swan.

“This is the first gig with the new line-up and it’s sounding great,” says Salter, introducing Daniel Bowater on keyboards, Steve Purton on drums, Mat Watt on bass and Mark Hawkins on lead guitar.

Miles And The Chain Gang will be supported by Sarah Louise Boyle, Lee Moore and Monkey Paw. “It’ll be a diverse and fun evening, so do come along,” says Salter. Tickets: at prime4.bandcamp.com/merch/miles or on the door.

Sax Forte: First concert of York Unitarians’ 2022 lunchtime series

Sax to the max: Sax Forte, York Unitarians Friday Lunchtime Concerts, St Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel, March 11, 12.30pm

CELEBRATING their 350th anniversary in 2022, York Unitarians open their 11th season of  Friday lunchtime concerts with the return of York saxophone quartet Sax Forte.

Playing together since 2016, Chris Hayes, Keith Schooling, Jane Parkin and David Badcock all have extensive experience with other quartets, bands and orchestras. They are equally at home playing programmes of serious and light classical music or jazz and swing standards. Tickets cost £6 (cash) on the door.

Gin up: Drag diva Velma Celli hosts Outlaw Live cabaret night with a dash of York Gin

Not just the tonic: Velma Celli and York Gin’s Outlaw Live cabaret night, National Centre for Early Music, York, March 25, 8pm to 10.30pm

YORK drag diva Velma Celli invites you to “celebrate your inner outlaw” at York Gin’s cabaret soiree at the NCEM.

For one night only, glamorous Velma and friends will be celebrating all that’s naughty, villainous and defiantly outrageous about York and its outlaws, from Guy Fawkes to Dick Turpin, with a combination of song, laughter and York Gin.

Tickets are on sale at tickettailor.com/events/yorkgin/590817/ and admission includes a gin cocktail on arrival.