Barron night’s scathing comedy to scald Selby as Sara keeps her Enemies Closer

Sara Barron: Selby date. Picture: Karla Gowlitt

CAUSTIC American comedian Sara Barron follows up her Theatre@41, Monkgate, gig in York with a prompt return to North Yorkshire to keep her Enemies Closer at Selby Town Hall on Friday.

In her no-holds barred 8pm gig, blisteringly cynical Barron examines kindness, meanness, ex-boyfriends, current husbands, all four of her remaining friends and two of her 12 enemies.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, she shaped her scathing brand of comedy on the New York circuit and is now playing her debut British tour on the back of Edinburgh Fringe performances since 2018 and television turns on Live At The Apollo, 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Would I Lie To You? and Frankie Boyle’s New World Order.

Barron has appeared on Hypothetical, Richard Osman’s House Of Games, Alan Davies’s As Yet Untitled, Comedy Central’s Roast Battle and Hello, America too, while her radio credits include The News Quiz, The Now Show and Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4. As a writer, she has published two essay collections and been featured in Vanity Fair and on This American Life.

Selby Town Council arts officer Chris Jones says: “Sara is one of the hottest prospects and sharpest writers on the circuit right now. Her deliciously dark material pulls no punches and she looks set to reach the highest echelons of the comedy world. This could well be another ‘I saw them here first’ moment at Selby Town Hall.”

Tickets for Sara Barron: Enemies Closer are on sale at £14 on 01757 708449 and at selbytownhall.co.uk or £16 on the door from 7.30pm.

Barron has posted a trailer, by the way, such is her unbridled excitement at the prospect of visiting Selby for the first time. Take a look at: youtube.com/watch?v=AutocIpagNo

Breabach to return to Selby Town Hall on October 23 as gigs resume after 20 months

Breabach: Selby Town Hall awaits on October 23. Picture: Paul Jennings

SCOTTISH folk luminaries Breabach will be the first touring band to play Selby Town Hall for almost 20 months on October 23.

“Leading lights of the Scottish roots music scene and five-time Scots Trad Music Award winners, they’re a really phenomenally talented band,” says Chris Jones, Selby Town Council’s arts officer. “It’s an absolute thrill to have professional music back in the venue. It’s been far too long!”

Regarded as one of Scotland’s most skilled and imaginative contemporary folk acts, Breabach unite deep roots in highland and island tradition with the innovative musical ferment of their Glasgow base.

Across a 15-year career, they have performed everywhere from Sydney Opera House to New York’s Central Park, receiving nominations for Best Group in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and European Album of the Year in the Songlines Music Awards.

Combining twin bagpipes, fiddle, bass and guitar with Gaelic vocals and step dance, Breabach respect both the origins of the music they play and the band’s roots while embracing the future with new ideas, energy and belief.

When lockdown put paid to their touring plans, Breabach set to work on writing Dùsagadh, a series of five new pieces of music put to animation by BAFTA award winner Cat Bruce.

“This stunning creation then toured ‘virtually’ to 19 venues and festivals across the UK, including Selby Town Hall, with proceeds split between both the band and participating venues and festivals,” says Chris.

Next Saturday’s live set will draw on six Breabach albums: 2007’s The Big Spree; 2010’s The Desperate Battle Of The Birds; 2012’s Bann; 2013’s Urlar; 2016’s Astar and 2018’s Frenzy Of The Meeting.

“Breabach are a real force of nature, and their 2019 performance at the town hall was one of our biggest highlights of recent years” says Chris. “The virtuoso talent on display is just incredible.

“Ewan Robertson, Calum MacCrimmon, Patsy Reid, James Lindsay and James Duncan MacKenzie are five of Scotland’s finest traditional musicians, at the very top of their game, and I’m so excited to have them back as the first touring band to perform here for the best part of two years.”

Tickets for the 8pm concert cost £16 on 01757 708449 or at selbytownhall.co.uk or £18 on the door from 7.30pm.

Selby Town Hall plays host to first night of Paines Plough’s premiere of Sessions

Joseph Black in the role of Tunde in Paines Plough’s premiere of Ifeyinwa Frederick’s Sessions

LIVE theatre returns to Selby Town Hall for the first time since 2019 with the September 29 visit of Paines Plough.

Described by the Daily Telegraph as “the de facto national theatre of new writing”, the London company will be presenting Sessions, the second play by one of Britain’s most hotly tipped young writers, Ifeyinwa Frederick, on the first date of its nationwide tour co-produced with Soho Theatre.

Tunde’s 30th birthday is fast approaching, prompting him to start therapy as he has been unable to head to the gym for weeks and a recent one-night stand ended in tears – his.

A raw, funny and bittersweet deep-dive into the complexities of masculinity, depression and therapy, Sessions interrogates the challenge of opening up and accepting our own vulnerabilities.

Playwright Ifeyinwa Frederick is a fervent believer in the power of storytelling and human connection, a combination that fuels her work as both a writer and entrepreneur. Her debut play, The Hoes, was shortlisted for the Tony Craze Award, Verity Bargate Award and Character 7 Award.

Alongside her theatre work, Ifeyinwa is a restaurateur, co-founding the world’s first Nigerian tapas restaurant, for which she won a Young British Foodie Award and was included on Forbes’ list of 100 Female Founders in Europe.

On the rise: Playwright and restaurateur Ifeyinwa Frederick

“Paines Plough are one of Britain’s finest creative institutions” says Selby Town Council arts officer Chris Jones. “For more than 40 years they have consistently produced exceptional quality, envelope-pushing theatre from some of the UK’s most gifted writers, such as Mike Bartlett, James Graham and Kae Tempest.

“We’ve been working with the company over the past three years as part of a funded project to improve small-scale theatre touring in England, to help more companies make the leap to touring, to bring more high quality work to small venues and to broaden audiences with new and diverse work.

“So I’m thrilled that Paines Plough are returning to Selby Town Hall with Ifeyinwa Frederick’s latest play, giving audiences the chance to see some of the best new writing in the country right here in Selby.”

Joseph Black takes the role of Tunde under the direction of Philip Morris, with design by Anna Reid, lighting by Simisola Majekodunmi, sound and composition by Asaf Zohar and movement by Yassmin V Foster.

Tickets for Wednesday’s 8pm performance cost £13 on 01757 708449 or at selbytownhall.co.uk or £15 on the door.

“The play covers some challenging subject matter, and I know it will be brilliant, because everything Paines Plough do is,” concludes Chris.

Lou Sanders and Ed Gamble lined up for last Your Place Comedy livestream on March 28

Stay Home entertainers: Your Place Comedy double bill Lou Sanders and Ed Gamble

THE final Your Place Comedy virtual double bill for now is confirmed for March 28,  starring Lou Sanders and Ed Gamble live from their living rooms.

“It might be the last one ever, it might not…but there are certainly no more planned at the moment,” says online event founder and organiser Chris Jones, manager of Selby Town Hall arts centre.

“It feels poignant doing the press for next weekend’s Your Place Comedy as Monday marked the first anniversary of the last live show in Selby Town Hall: Wah! frontman Pete Wylie on March 14 2020.

“Who would have thought that a project we started to bridge what everyone assumed would be a small gap in activity would still be the only game in town a whole year on? What a strange place the world has become!”

The collaborative comedy club Your Place Comedy was launched on April 19 last spring with a remote bill of Mark Watson and Hull humorist Lucy Beaumont, compered by Tim FitzHigham, who has since hosted each livestreamed show.

Gathered behind the driving force of Chris Jones, ten small, independent venues across the north came together to “provide their audiences with some much-needed laughter during these difficult times”. 

Compere Tim FitzHigham and a pyjama-clad Mark Watson on screen at the first Your Place Comedy livestream last April

“In a nutshell, I was frustrated that the traditional relationship between venue, artist and audience – the venue providing the artist with income and the audience with entertainment – has been eroded for the foreseeable future by Covid-19 and I wanted to find a way to re-create that,” said Chris at the time.

“So, I’ve got ten venues from around Yorkshire and the Humber to chip in a small amount of money to put on a live stream comedy gig this Sunday (April 19).

“Their contributions to Your Place Comedy go towards paying the artists a guaranteed fee at a time when all live income has been taken away, and, in exchange, venues get a show to sell to their own audiences as one of their own, helping maintain those vital relationships with audiences they have nurtured over the years.”

Chris speculated: “If the first one is a success and this looks like a sustainable model, I would hope to do several more through the lockdown period and possibly beyond.”

The first show drew more than 3,500 viewers, Watson very much at home in his pyjamas and Beaumont telling a rather bizarre bedtime story from the homemade pub that her husband, comedian Jon Richardson, has built in their house.

Lucy Beaumont chose her home-built pub as the location for her Your Place Comedy set

“3,500 viewers! That’s considerably more than their combined capacities,” said Chris afterwards. “The show went even better than we had imagined, to say the whole project was put together from scratch in the space of two weeks by three people with no live streaming experience!”

The Your Place Comedy template has since sustained three series of lockdown livestreams from living rooms, kitchens and attics, free to watch on Facebook and YouTube via www.yourplacecomedy.co.uk, but with an option to donate.

The debut fundraiser elicited £3,500 in donations for the participating venues, and all monies raised since then have been distributed evenly among the supporting venues as they navigate their way through challenging financial times.

The first two series in the venue-focused initiative to bring fun to fundraising brought together Selby Town Hall; The Ropewalk, Barton upon Humber; Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds; East Riding Theatre, Beverley; Junction, Goole; Helmsley Arts Centre; Shire Hall, Howden; Otley Courthouse; Pocklington Arts Centre and Rotherham Theatres.

For the latest series, Howden’s Shire Hall has dropped out because all staff are furloughed – “they’re still very supportive but didn’t want to feel like they were riding on the coattails of everyone else’s work,” says Chris – and newly on board are The Civic, Barnsley, Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, and Rural Arts, at The Courthouse, Thirsk.

Justin Moorhouse and Shappi Khorsandi: At the double on September 27 last year

In 2020, the online platform presented Watson and Beaumont (April 19), Simon Brodkin and Maisie Adam (May 10), Jo Caulfield and Simon Evans (June 7), Paul Sinha and Angela Barnes (August 30), Shappi Khorsandi and Justin Moorhouse (September 27) and Robin Ince and Laura Lexx (October 25).

The Stay Home comedy double bills have resumed in 2021 with Josie Long and Ahir Shah on January 24, followed by Hal Cruttenden and Bridlington-born Rosie Jones on February 28.

Now come TV regulars and Taskmaster champions Lou Sanders and Ed Gamble. “I’m pretty excited about this line-up: both stellar performers and both still on the rise,” says Chris. “Hopefully with those names we can get good engagement and, as the young people on social media say, ‘do some numbers’. If this is to be the last show, it’s a great one to go out on.”

Introducing next weekend’s acts, Chris says: “Lou Sanders is one of Britain’s fastest-rising and most original comedy performers. Having won the Comedians’ Choice Award for Best Show at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe – voted for entirely by fellow comics – she has gone on to star in Aisling Bea’s sitcom This Way Up, appear as a guest on QI, Would I Lie To You, The Unbelievable Truth, 8 Out Of 10 Cats and Live At The Apollo, and perform on The Late Late Show With James Corden in the USA.

“Best known as a regular panellist on Mock The Week, Ed Gamble’s television credits include the Royal Variety Show, Live At The Apollo, QI and 8 Out Of 10 Cats, while he’s also the co-creator of hugely successful food and comedy podcast Off Menu, alongside James Acaster.

Lou Sanders: “One of Britain’s fastest-rising and most original comedy performers,” says Your Place Comedy organiser Chris Jones, Selby Town Council’s arts officer

“Both Lou and Ed have been crowned winners of Taskmaster and the two will be competing against one another in a forthcoming Champion of Champions series.”

As ever, the compere will be Tim FitzHigham, writer and star of BBC Radio 4’s The Gambler, presenter of CBBC’s Super Human Challenge and Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer nominee.

As ever too, the livestream will be free to watch on YouTube and Twitch, with an option for viewers to donate if they have enjoyed the broadcast, to support both performers and venues.

“All face continued uncertainty as lockdown regulations once again prevent theatres from opening,” says Chris. “The venues involved in Your Place Comedy have now been either closed, or severely restricted in what they can deliver, for over a year.

“I don’t think, back in March 2020, any of us in our wildest dreams would have foreseen that 12 months on, the need to connect with audiences in novel, innovative ways would still be so vital, and that engaging with arts and culture online would have become the norm.

Chairman of the bored? Ed Gamble will look to liven everyone up from his living room on March 28

“It’s been so heartening to see the entire live entertainment industry pulling together though, and a real thrill to be able to collaborate remotely with different venues in a project which may otherwise never have come to pass.”

Roll on next weekend. “Sunday, March 28 will be our final scheduled show, although I hope not the last one ever, and I’m delighted that two acts with such impressive live and broadcast CVs have signed up to take part,” says Chris.

“It’s not often that you get the chance to see performers of their calibre deliver a live set without having to pay a penny, so do make the most of it and join us for another night of stellar laughs.”

For full details on Your Place Comedy, and to find out how to watch the March 28 show, visit www.yourplacecomedy.co.uk.

Fitz the bill: Tim FitzHigham has hosted every Your Place Comedy livestream since last April

Hal Cruttenden and Rosie Jones double up for Your Place Comedy online on Sunday. Oh, and when will Selby Town Hall re-open? UPDATED 23/02/2021

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Doubling up: Hal Cruttenden and Rosie Jones link up online from their living rooms for Your Place Comedy on February 28

YORKSHIRE and Humber virtual comedy club Your Place Comedy will play host to its eighth online double bill on Sunday, presenting the remote coupling of Hal Cruttenden and Rosie Jones.

Co-ordinator Chris Jones, manager of Selby Town Hall, says: “After a triumphant return to phones, tablets, laptops and smart TVs on January 24 with Josie Long and Ahir Shah, this collaborative live-stream project, organised by a collective of 12 small, independent northern venues, will once again transport two of the UK’s best stand-ups from their living rooms to yours…and all for free.”

Television comedy mainstay Hal has guested on Have I Got News For You on four occasions, hosted Live At The Apollo, starred in The Royal Variety Performance and appeared as a regular panellist on Mock The Week, popping up on Celebrity Mastermind and Would I Lie To You? too.

Bridlington-born Rosie, a patron of Theatre @41 Monkgate, York, since last May, is one of the fastest-rising stars on the comedy circuit, making her impact on Live At The Apollo, Mock The Week, The Jonathan Ross Show and 8 Out Of 10 Cats and as a panellist on BBC1’s Question Time.

Placed second at the Leicester Mercury New Comedian of the Year Award in 2018, she also has appeared on The Last Leg, Hypothetical and Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, as well as writing for the second series of Netflix hit Sex Education.

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Rosie Jones: Fast-rising voice of comedy, scriptwriter and actor

Once again, the streamed show will be compered by Tim FitzHigham, writer and star of BBC Radio 4’s The Gambler and presenter of CBBC’s Super Human Challenge.

Your Place Comedy will be free to watch on YouTube and Twitch at 8pm, with an option for viewers to donate if they have enjoyed the broadcast. “The money raised will be used to support the performers and the 12 venues involved, all of whom face continued uncertainty as lockdown regulations have once again prevent theatres from opening,” says Chris, manager of Selby Town Hall and arts officer for Selby Town Council.

“We were really thrilled with the response to Your Place Comedy’s return last month. As venues rooted in communities, we’ve all missed those direct connections with our brilliant and loyal audiences while the pandemic has kept theatre doors shut.

“Being able to share laughter and light-hearted moments from some of the acts who would normally appear on our stages, in what always feels like such a warm and intimate way, has been an incredible tonic over the past year and I’m delighted that acts of Hal and Rosie’s calibre have signed up to take part in this latest edition.

“Hal has been among the most prolific comedy performers of recent years, appearing on every panel show and at every comedy festival going, while Rosie looks set to become a superstar of the near future with burgeoning careers as an actor and children’s author now developing alongside her rapidly increasing comedy profile.”

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Hal Cruttenden: Television comedy mainstay, appearing on screen via You Tube and Twitch streaming on Sunday

Joining together to mount Your Place Comedy Season 3 are 2021 additions The Civic, Barnsley, Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, and Rural Arts, at The Courthouse, Thirsk, alongside Selby Town Hall; Otley Courthouse; Ropewalk, Barton upon Humber; East Riding Theatre, Beverley; Junction, Goole; Helmsley Arts Centre; The Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds; Pocklington Arts Centre and Rotherham Theatres.

Delighted at the response to the third wave of Your Place Comedy in lockdown, Chris says: “We had a brilliant return last month with Ahir Shah and Josie Long. Over 600 devices logged on to watch with nearly £1,000 raised in donations to help pay the performers and support the venues involved.

“The acts were brilliant, and it’s been fascinating to watch how quickly and ingeniously comedians have all adapted to the format of online shows over recent months. For many, it works remarkably well, and I do wonder if some version of online gigging in the comedy world will remain even when all of this is over.”

“I know that times are tough for many people, and so we’re committed to keeping these shows completely free, so please do come and join Hal, Rosie and Tim for some top entertainment at an unbeatable price, as for now streaming is the only show in town.”

Ahead of Boris Johnson’s Monday pronouncement, Chris had said: “Sadly, I don’t hold out much hope. I’ve got autumn tours now moving to 2022 as they anticipate social distancing for the rest of the year. We won’t have anything in Selby Town Hall until autumn at the earliest.”

Now, with a road map for reopening at least in pencil form after the Prime Minister announced a four-step plan for lockdown easement, Chris says: “It certainly provides a chink of light.

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Josie Long and Ahir Shah: the double bill for Your Place Comedy on January 24

“The headline is that – if all goes according to plan – venues will be able to open in a socially distanced manner from May 17, but no level of social distancing is viable for us, and I still think audience confidence will be low at that point, so it’s unlikely we will re-open ahead of June.”

Chris is only “cautiously optimistic” about that possibility at the 150-capacity Selby Town Hall. “It certainly seems as though, at current trajectory, the vaccination programme will be all but complete by the end of that month, but most tour shows before autumn have already rescheduled,” he says.

Chris believes “we need a longer lead-in time for ticket sales and for audience confidence to return”. “I also await the small print on this – what conditions will be attached to a non-socially distanced reopening?” he ponders. “Will we have to implement rapid testing on site, or ask people to come with either proof of a recent negative PCR test or vaccination ‘passport’…or both?”

Looking ahead, Chris says: “My focus remains on delivering a full autumn programme, and Monday’s announcements give me more confidence that this will be possible.

“If, with a favourable wind, we are to open safely, in a practically and financially viable manner, at full capacity, before September, I will be thrilled. For the moment though, I remain cautious about the chances of any activity taking place in the summer.”

For full details on Your Place Comedy, and to find out how to watch the February 28 show, go to: yourplacecomedy.co.uk.

Selby Town Hall: When will it re-open?

Hal Cruttenden and Rosie Jones double up for Your Place Comedy online on Sunday UPDATED 23/02/2021

Doubling up: Hal Cruttenden and Rosie Jones link up online from their living rooms for Your Place Comedy on February 28

YORKSHIRE and Humber virtual comedy club Your Place Comedy will play host to its eighth online double bill on Sunday, presenting the remote coupling of Hal Cruttenden and Rosie Jones.

Co-ordinator Chris Jones, manager of Selby Town Hall, says: “After a triumphant return to phones, tablets, laptops and smart TVs on January 24 with Josie Long and Ahir Shah, this collaborative live-stream project, organised by a collective of 12 small, independent northern venues, will once again transport two of the UK’s best stand-ups from their living rooms to yours…and all for free.”

Television comedy mainstay Hal has guested on Have I Got News For You on four occasions, hosted Live At The Apollo, starred in The Royal Variety Performance and appeared as a regular panellist on Mock The Week, popping up on Celebrity Mastermind and Would I Lie To You? too.

Bridlington-born Rosie, a patron of Theatre @41 Monkgate, York, since last May, is one of the fastest-rising stars on the comedy circuit, making her impact on Live At The Apollo, Mock The Week, The Jonathan Ross Show and 8 Out Of 10 Cats and as a panellist on BBC1’s Question Time.

Placed second at the Leicester Mercury New Comedian of the Year Award in 2018, she also has appeared on The Last Leg, Hypothetical and Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, as well as writing for the second series of Netflix hit Sex Education.

Rosie Jones: Fast-rising voice of comedy, scriptwriter and actor

Once again, the streamed show will be compered by Tim FitzHigham, writer and star of BBC Radio 4’s The Gambler and presenter of CBBC’s Super Human Challenge.

Your Place Comedy will be free to watch on YouTube and Twitch, with an option for viewers to donate if they have enjoyed the broadcast. “The money raised will be used to support the performers and the 12 venues involved, all of whom face continued uncertainty as lockdown regulations have once again prevent theatres from opening,” says Chris, manager of Selby Town Hall and arts officer for Selby Town Council.

“We were really thrilled with the response to Your Place Comedy’s return last month. As venues rooted in communities, we’ve all missed those direct connections with our brilliant and loyal audiences while the pandemic has kept theatre doors shut.

“Being able to share laughter and light-hearted moments from some of the acts who would normally appear on our stages, in what always feels like such a warm and intimate way, has been an incredible tonic over the past year and I’m delighted that acts of Hal and Rosie’s calibre have signed up to take part in this latest edition.

“Hal has been among the most prolific comedy performers of recent years, appearing on every panel show and at every comedy festival going, while Rosie looks set to become a superstar of the near future with burgeoning careers as an actor and children’s author now developing alongside her rapidly increasing comedy profile.”

Hal Cruttenden: Television comedy mainstay, appearing on screen via You Tube and Twitch streaming on Sunday

Joining together to mount Your Place Comedy Season 3 are 2021 additions The Civic, Barnsley, Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, and Rural Arts, at The Courthouse, Thirsk, alongside Selby Town Hall; Otley Courthouse; Ropewalk, Barton upon Humber; East Riding Theatre, Beverley; Junction, Goole; Helmsley Arts Centre; The Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds; Pocklington Arts Centre and Rotherham Theatres.

Delighted at the response to the third wave of Your Place Comedy in lockdown, Chris says: “We had a brilliant return last month with Ahir Shah and Josie Long. Over 600 devices logged on to watch with nearly £1,000 raised in donations to help pay the performers and support the venues involved.

“The acts were brilliant, and it’s been fascinating to watch how quickly and ingeniously comedians have all adapted to the format of online shows over recent months. For many, it works remarkably well, and I do wonder if some version of online gigging in the comedy world will remain even when all of this is over.”

“I know that times are tough for many people, and so we’re committed to keeping these shows completely free, so please do come and join Hal, Rosie and Tim for some top entertainment at an unbeatable price, as for now streaming is the only show in town.”

Ahead of Boris Johnson’s Monday pronouncement, Chris had said: “Sadly, I don’t hold out much hope. I’ve got autumn tours now moving to 2022 as they anticipate social distancing for the rest of the year. We won’t have anything in Selby Town Hall until autumn at the earliest.”

Now, with a road map for reopening at least in pencil form after the Prime Minister announced a four-step plan for lockdown easement, Chris says: “It certainly provides a chink of light.

Josie Long and Ahir Shah: the double bill for Your Place Comedy on January 24

“The headline is that – if all goes according to plan – venues will be able to open in a socially distanced manner from May 17, but no level of social distancing is viable for us, and I still think audience confidence will be low at that point, so it’s unlikely we will re-open ahead of June.”

Chris is only “cautiously optimistic” about that possibility at the 150-capacity Selby Town Hall. “It certainly seems as though, at current trajectory, the vaccination programme will be all but complete by the end of that month, but most tour shows before autumn have already rescheduled.”

Chris believes “we need a longer lead-in time for ticket sales and for audience confidence to return”. “I also await the small print on this – what conditions will be attached to a non-socially distanced reopening?” he ponders. “Will we have to implement rapid testing on site, or ask people to come with either proof of a recent negative PCR test or vaccination ‘passport’…or both?”

Looking ahead, Chris says: “My focus remains on delivering a full autumn programme, and Monday’s announcements give me more confidence that this will be possible.

“If, with a favourable wind, we are to open safely, in a practically and financially viable manner, at full capacity, before September, I will be thrilled. For the moment though, I remain cautious about the chances of any activity taking place in the summer.”

For full details on Your Place Comedy, and to find out how to watch the February 28 show, go to: yourplacecomedy.co.uk.

Selby Town Hall: When will it re-open?

Hal Cruttenden and Rosie Jones double up for Your Place Comedy online on Feb 28

Doubling up: Hal Cruttenden and Rosie Jones link up online from their living rooms for Your Place Comedy on February 28

YORKSHIRE and Humber virtual comedy club Your Place Comedy will play host to its eighth online double bill on February 28, presenting the remote coupling of Hal Cruttenden and Rosie Jones.

Co-ordinator Chris Jones says: “After a triumphant return to phones, tablets, laptops and smart TVs on January 24 with Josie Long and Ahir Shah, this collaborative live-stream project, organised by a collective of 12 small, independent northern venues, will once again transport two of the UK’s best stand-ups from their living rooms to yours…and all for free.”

TV comedy mainstay Hal has guested on Have I Got News For You on four occasions, hosted Live At The Apollo, starred in The Royal Variety Performance and appeared as a regular panellist on Mock The Week, popping up on Celebrity Mastermind and Would I Lie To You? too.

Bridlington-born Rosie, a patron of Theatre @41 Monkgate, York, since last May, is one of the fastest-rising stars on the comedy circuit, making her impact on Live At The Apollo, Mock The Week, The Jonathan Ross Show and 8 Out Of 10 Cats and as a panellist on BBC1’s Question Time.

Rosie Jones: Fast-rising voice of comedy, scriptwriter and actor

Placed second at the Leicester Mercury New Comedian of the Year Award in 2018, she also has appeared on The Last Leg, Hypothetical and Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, as well as writing for the second series of Netflix hit Sex Education.

Once again, next Sunday’s streamed show will be compered by Tim FitzHigham, writer  and star of BBC Radio 4’s The Gambler and presenter of CBBC’s Super Human Challenge.

Your Place Comedy is free to watch on YouTube and Twitch, with an option for viewers to donate if they have enjoyed the broadcast. “The money raised will be used to support the performers and the 12 venues involved, all of whom face continued uncertainty as lockdown regulations once again prevent theatres from opening,” says Chris, manager of Selby Town Hall and arts officer for Selby Town Council.

“We were really thrilled with the response to Your Place Comedy’s return last month. As venues rooted in communities, we’ve all missed those direct connections with our brilliant and loyal audiences while the pandemic has kept theatre doors shut.

“Being able to share laughter and light-hearted moments from some of the acts who would normally appear on our stages, in what always feels like such a warm and intimate way, has been an incredible tonic over the past year and I’m delighted that acts of Hal and Rosie’s calibre have signed up to take part in this latest edition.

Hal Cruttenden: Television comedy mainstay, now appearing on screen via You Tube and Twitch streaming

“Hal has been among the most prolific comedy performers of recent years, appearing on every panel show and at every comedy festival going, while Rosie looks set to become a superstar of the near future with burgeoning careers as an actor and children’s author now developing alongside her rapidly increasing comedy profile.”

Joining together to mount Your Place Comedy Season 3 are 2021 additions The Civic, Barnsley, Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, and Rural Arts, at The Courthouse, Thirsk, alongside Selby Town Hall; Otley Courthouse; Ropewalk, Barton upon Humber; East Riding Theatre, Beverley; Junction, Goole; Helmsley Arts Centre; The Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds; Pocklington Arts Centre and Rotherham Theatres.

Delighted at the response to the third wave of Your Place Comedy in lockdown, Chris says:  “We had a brilliant return last month with Ahir Shah and Josie Long. More than 600 devices logged on to watch with nearly £1,000 raised in donations to help pay the performers and support the venues involved.

“The acts were brilliant, and it’s been fascinating to watch how quickly and ingeniously comedians have all adapted to the format of online shows over recent months. For many, it works remarkably well, and I do wonder if some version of online gigging in the comedy world will remain even when all of this is over.”

Looking ahead, but with no road map yet in hand, Chris says: “Sadly we’re back in limbo for the time being with no idea when we’ll be able to open again and to host audiences of any size, so for now streaming is the only show in town.

Josie Long and Ahir Shah: the double bill for Your Place Comedy on January 24

“I know that times are tough for many people right now, and so we’re committed to keeping these shows completely free, so please do come and join Hal, Rosie and Tim for some top entertainment at an unbeatable price!”

Like all of us, arts organisations await Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Coronavirus Lockdown 3 update next Monday 922/2/2021), only too aware that the Prime Minister has been striking a note of caution, at odds with his normally optimistic disposition.

“Sadly I don’t hold out much hope,” says Chris, candidly, as he surveys the Selby Town Hall diary for 2021. “I’ve got autumn tours now moving to 2022 as they anticipate social distancing for the rest of the year. We won’t have anything in the Town Hall until autumn at the earliest.

“There’s less than a month to go now before the first anniversary of our last gig: Pete Wylie on March 14 last year! Next Monday, some guidelines on the long-term plan would be most welcome.”

For full details on Your Place Comedy, and to find out how to watch the February 28 show, go to: yourplacecomedy.co.uk.

Tim FitzHigham: Regular remote host for Your Place Comedy

McGoldrick, McCusker and Doyle go virtual for their debut Christmas concert at home

Christmas trio with a Christmas tree: Michael McGoldrick, left, John McCusker and John Doyle looking very much at home in their promotional picture for Christmas At Hiome

MICHAEL McGoldrick, John McCusker and John Doyle’s Christmas At Home concert will be shown online by Selby Town Hall tomorrow night (16/12/2020).

The folk trio have recorded a 45-minute festive set at The Met in Bury to be “streamed into the homes of people the length and breadth of the UK, linking with venues and festivals from the Highlands of Scotland, across the sea to Belfast, and on to the far south of England”.

Best known for their work with Bob Dylan, Mark Knopfler and BBC Transatlantic Sessions, as well as prominent roles with Solas, Capercaillie and Kate Rusby, this is the first time Manchester multi-instrumentalist McGoldrick, Scottish fiddler and tin whistler McCusker and Dublin multi-instrumentalist Doyle have played a Christmas gig.

Bringing together diverse Yuletide melodies, firm favorites and traditional and contemporary songs and tunes, their magical material will range from the medieval song Curoo Curoo to John Shehan’s hauntingly beautiful melody Christchurch and a majestic rendition of O Holy Night.

John McCusker, left, Michael McGoldrick and John Doyle performing their Christmas At Home concert

Each night’s online show will be different: questions submitted from the virtual audiences of each venue and festival will be answered for the individual streaming. Please note, all ticket buyers will be given the opportunity to send in a question for their particular venue.

McGoldrick says: “We felt we wanted to connect with people at this time of year and had been looking for a way to do this. This November, we were supposed to be performing in Switzerland and the Czech Republic, and John Doyle had flown over from his home in the US.

“The tour was cancelled at short notice and so we thought, this is our chance to use the time to record something special.”

Please note, ticket sales will be split between the artists and the individual venues and festivals, “so you can be confident your purchase will not only support McGoldrick, McCusker and Doyle at Christmas, but also your local venues, promoters and festivals”.

Star performers: John McCusker, Michael McGoldrick and John Doyle

What happens now:

Go to https://myplayer.uk/christmasathome and find the Selby Town Hall date to acquire a ticket for £12. Once you have done so, you will receive an email with information on how to watch the 8pm concert in the comfort of your home. Each ticket will allow one more screening within a seven-day period. Tickets are valid for only one device at a time and cannot be shared.

Looking forward to tomorrow’s streaming, Selby Town Council arts officer Chris Jones says: “We’re delighted to ‘virtually host’ three of the biggest and best names in contemporary folk as they undertake their first ever online tour.

“Christmas folk gigs are always such a warm and joyous affair, and while it’s a real shame that we can’t be welcoming the band into the venue in person this year, I’m very happy to be able to offer the next best thing.

“Some fantastic arts centres, theatres and festivals from across the UK have joined this tour, and all of them are a vital part of our vibrant touring circuit. I hope the venues, and the brilliant artists they put on, stay strong through this pandemic crisis and we can look forward to a bright and live 2021.”

New rule of six as Your Place Comedy leaves living room after Ince and Lexx show

The last hurrah: Robin Ince and Laura Lexx perform the final Your Place Comedy show from their living rooms

YOUR Place Comedy returns for one last hurrah on October 25 as a Rule of Six of a different kind applies to the Yorkshire virtual comedy club.

After Mark Watson and Lucy Beaumont, Simon Brodkin and Maisie Adam, Jo Caulfield and Simon Evans, Paul Sinha and Angela Barnes, Shappi Khorsandi and Justin Moorhouse, now Robin Ince and Laura Lexx form the sixth and final double bill of headline sets, live-streamed for free from their living rooms to yours next weekend.

“Created and funded by ten small, independent venues from across Yorkshire and the Humber, the project has allowed some of our best-loved theatres and arts centres to continue presenting great performances while their doors have remain closed, with nationally acclaimed touring acts delivering unique and intimate sets, live from their own homes,” says comedy co-ordinator Chris Jones, Selby Town Council’s arts officer.

“However, as restrictions across the north of England tighten once more, both performers and venues recognise that it may be some considerable time before live events can be held safely, at a capacity which makes them financially viable.”

Reflecting on Your Place Comedy’s six-of-the-best run of remote shows in lockdown and beyond, and now into these “Not a full lockdown but…” times, Chris says: “Our virtual comedy club has provided a fantastic opportunity for venues to explore new ways of providing entertainment to their audiences.

Robin Ince: Melding ideas on art, literature, music and science

“We’ve presented virtual gigs from the kind of acts who, in normal times, might be appearing on stages across the region, enabling performers to innovate and adapt to a style of delivery that may be with us for good, as well as to earn some vital income.”

Looking ahead to next Sunday’s double bill, Chris says: “I’m thrilled that Robin and Laura have agreed to headline our final show. While Laura looks set to be one of the big stars of the next decade, having racked up a hugely impressive CV of live accolades and broadcast credits in just a few short years, Robin remains one of the most diverse and inventive acts in the business.

“He melds ideas on art, literature, music and science into some of the most brilliant and thought-provoking comedy you’re ever likely to hear.

“As always, the show remains completely free to watch, so please do come and join Laura, Robin and compere Tim FitzHigham, and help us give Your Place Comedy a grand send-off!”

Ince co-hosts the Sony Gold Award-winning BBC Radio 4 series The Infinite Monkey Cage alongside Professor Brian Cox, also co-presenting Book Shambles With Robin And Josie, a hit podcast with fellow comedian Josie Long that draws more than 100,000 listeners a month.

Laura Lexx: Comedian and author

As a stand-up, Ince has won three Chortle Awards and the Time Out Outstanding Achievement Award and was nominated for the British Comedy Awards’ Best Live Show.

Lexx has twice won Best Show at the Comedian’s Choice Awards, voted for entirely by fellow comics, and landed a coveted place in Dave’s Top Ten Jokes of the Edinburgh Fringe.

Last month, she released her first book, Klopp Actually: (Imaginary) Life With Football’s Most Sensible Heartthrob, after going viral during lockdown with her fictional Twitter thread about marriage to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

Hosted once again by the writer and star of BBC Radio 4’s The Gambler, Tim FitzHigham, alias Pittancer of Selby, next Sunday’s double bill will be free to watch on YouTube and Twitch, with an option for viewers to donate if they have enjoyed the broadcast.

“The money raised will be used to support both the performers and the ten venues involved, all of whose livelihoods have been thrown into jeopardy with precious few opportunities to derive any meaningful income from live performances since lockdown closed venues in the middle of March,” says Chris, who programmes both Selby Town Hall and the Otley Courthouse.

Tim FitzHigham: Pittancer of Selby and regular remote host of Your Place Comedy

Taking part too in the lockdown comedy scheme have been The Ropewalk, Barton upon Humber; East Riding Theatre, Beverley, Junction, Goole; Helmsley Arts Centre; Shire Hall, Howden; Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds; Pocklington Arts Centre and Rotherham Theatres.

Reflecting on the impact of the ground-breaking Your Place Comedy scheme, Chris says: “It’s been such an enjoyable project and has evolved into something quite distinct from both TV comedy shows and live gigs: a very intimate, personal experience, more like a podcast than a raucous live show.

“It’s also provided an excellent opportunity to shine a light on the venues involved, to remind people we’re still here – even if we can’t open our doors – and to deliver entertainment to our audiences from the kind of acts who would otherwise be appearing across the region in less challenging times.”

Explaining the decision to call time on the virtual shows, Chris reasons: “Unfortunately, live-streaming is a difficult format to make financially sustainable and the project in its current form has really run its course now.

“The industry as a whole remains in a perilous position, though, and there’s still precious little work available for performers of all stripes. The venues involved will continue to work together, exploring ways in which they can support each other and the artists they miss hosting so much.”

For full details on Your Place Comedy and to find out how to watch next Sunday’s 8pm show, visit www.yourplacecomedy.co.uk.

Khorsandi and Moorhouse confirmed for Your Place Comedy live-streamed gig

At the double: Justin Moorhouse and Shappi Khorsandi confirmed for Your Place Comedy home service for laughter

SHAPPI Khorsandi and Justin Moorhouse will perform live from their living rooms in the fifth instalment of Your Place Comedy streamed gigs on September 27.

Their digital double bill will be the penultimate free show for the virtual comedy project,  originally set up in lockdown to deliver live entertainment into the home from national touring acts who might ordinarily be taking to the stages of theatres and arts centres in Yorkshire and the Humber.

2017 I’m A CelebrityGet Me Out Of Here! contestant, author and BBC 1 Question Time panellist Khorsandi, 47, has appeared frequently on Have I Got News For You, Mock The Week, QI and 8 Out Of 10 Cats, as well as BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends, Just A Minute and The Now Show. She is the daughter of Iranian political satirist and poet Hadi Khorsandi, by the way.

Manchester United fan Moorhouse, 50, played Man City-supporting Young Kenny in both series of Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights on Channel 4, won Celebrity Mastermind and is a frequent panellist on BBC Radio 4’s News Quiz and a familiar voice on TalkSport and BBC 5Live’s Fighting Talk.

As you watch from the socially distanced comfort of your home, regular Your Place Comedy compere Tom FitzHigham, writer and star of BBC Radio 4’s The Gambler and presenter of CBBC’s Super Human Challenge, will introduce the September 27 acts from 8pm.

Humour-plated: Shappi Khorsandi dresses to fight for the right to tell jokes

The live-stream will be free to watch on YouTube and Twitch, but with an option for viewers to donate if they have enjoyed the broadcast. All money raised will be distributed equally among the ten supporting venues, none of whom has had an opportunity to derive any meaningful income from live performances since closing in the middle of March.

Set in motion by Selby Town Council arts officer Chris Jones, who runs the programming for both Selby Town Hall and Otley Courthouse, Your Place Comedy brings together the ten small, independent venues to provide a way to present performers while their doors remain closed and the future of the industry looks uncertain.

Taking part too in the project are The Ropewalk, Barton-upon-Humber; East Riding Theatre, Beverley; Junction, Goole; Helmsley Arts Centre; Shire Hall, Howden; Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds; Pocklington Arts Centre and Rotherham Theatres. Between them all, they have pledged funds to support the performers in the six shows.

Chris says: “With social distancing regulations preventing the vast majority of theatres and arts centres from operating at a profit, or in many cases even opening at all, and with no light at the end of the tunnel, venues across our region continue to look at more innovative ways of connecting with their much-missed audiences and providing work for the artists who have lost so much as a result of the pandemic crisis.

“Justin and Shappi are two of the most consistently funny and highly respected live acts on the circuit today, with nearly 50 years’ performance experience between them.

“They are perfect guests for the show format, which really provides a rather different comedy experience from that of a raucous, sold-out theatre gig. They are personal, intimate, conversational affairs…and completely free to watch. There really is no excuse not to tune in!”

News….Just in…..Moorhouse will play Your Place Comedy gig on September 27

Chris has confirmed the next Your Place Comedy show will be the last “in the current format”. “Despite a feeling of stasis – we’ve not had a live gig at Selby Town Hall since March 14 – the world has really been moving at a dizzying rate in terms of innovation in the performing arts,” he reasons.

“The current model has served us well during lockdown, but I think while audiences have been bombarded with new and exciting offerings that might offer a glimpse of the future, they are, at the same time, looking ever more longingly towards those ultimately irreplaceable live experiences they have been denied for so long.

“We need to regroup and consider how we continue delivering content with that in mind.”

Chris forewarns: “We’re keen to stress that, despite the return of schools and calls to re-populate offices, it is far from business as usual for venues or performers, and we still need the support of our much-loved audiences.

“Live activity to any meaningful degree inside venues is all but non-existent and an entire cultural ecosystem remains very much under threat.”

For full details on September 27’s Your Place Comedy and on how to watch the Khorsandi and Moorhouse double bill, go to: yourplacecomedy.co.uk.