Taking trouble at At The Mill to build a community for the arts and the people

Daniel Kitson: Testing out new material in six Outside performances at Stillington Mill

SUMMER At The Mill is returning for a second season of creative, culinary and community events in the gardens of Stillington Mill, Stillington, near York.

“After the spectacular, gorgeous, fun, exciting, beautiful and heart-warming time we had throughout our inaugural summer last year – what a ride! – we’re over the moon to present the mixed bag of goodies that is Summer At The Mill 2.0,” says programmer, theatre director, writer and performer Alexander Flanagan-Wright.

“Until September 4, we’ll be hosting a load of wonderful events all about community, art, food and flipping good times. We’ll have a pop-up café and bar, community gatherings, theatre, music, comedy, supper clubs and special events.”

The “Wright stuff” is the work of outdoor theatre co-builder Alex, sister Abbigail Ollive (Saturday café cuisine queen and supper club supremo) and their retired headteacher parents Maggi and Paul Wright, together with partners Megan Drury and Paul Smith. That “stuff” also takes in weddings, events and shepherd’s hut accommodation: truly a village cottage industry, you could say, albeit somewhat larger than a cottage.

A Supper Club gathering at At The Mill

“We just had a blast summer,” says Alex. “It was kind of by accident. It felt very serendipitous or of its moment, saying, ‘here is a way we can gather safely, our local community and the arts community, post-lockdown’.

“So this summer is a chance to see if people still care, and so far the evidence is that they do, with the return of the busy Saturday café, the Crafty Tales show [The Case Of The Missing Bunny] that sold out, our Pizza & Cocktail Night and the Dance Dance Dance Big Bank Holiday Silent Disco.

“Last year felt like a huge rush of adrenaline, and then you think, ‘OK, where do we go forward this year for beautiful experiences together?’. Already this year, we’re meeting new people coming to the events and the café.”

Summing up the essence of At The Mill, Alex says: “We believe a feeling of community is so important when people want to have an evening out. Whereas commercial theatre can feel merely transactional, with us, the means is the art, but the end result is a sense of community, and that feels the right way round.

Alexander Flanagan-Wright: At the heart of At The Mill

“On top of that, eating outside together, drinking outside together, is a lovely thing to do, and we have the space and setting to do that.”

Where once Stillington Mill’s 18th century mill would produce flour, now the At The Mill combines food with food for thought, new recipes at the Supper Club, new works on stage. “We’re very clear with the artists about that. Everyone we’ve asked, we’ve said, ‘we think you’re cool, we like your work, do you want to come and play with us?’,” says Alex.

“What we have in abundance is space and time, imagination and a community. What we don’t have in abundance is cash, but we find most performers end up walking away with cash in their pocket.

“We don’t say to them, bring a particular show. What you get instead is artists testing out new material, so it becomes a genuine relationship with the audience built around nurturing new work. We’re seeking an equal balance between the two communities, where they care about each other, and if we do our part well in bringing them together, then they will meet in a beautiful way, and hopefully that process is more valuable, than, say, a Q&A session in a theatre.”

The Saturday cafe at At The Mill, baked by Abbigail Ollive

Alex continues: “Hopefully too, we’re going to be able to sustain that culture of being able to welcome artists for whatever they want to try out, and of audiences being continually excited about seeing new work at such an early stage, performed by people they wouldn’t expect to be passing through their village.”

A case in point is Edinburgh Fringe favourite Daniel Kitson, the Denby Dale stand-up comedian, who asked to take part in the Theatre At The Mill programme after he was tipped off by storytelling performer Sam Freeman.

“Daniel got in touch to say hello, could he come and do a show? I don’t know what the show is about; I don’t know if Daniel does yet, but that feels a pretty exciting thing to be going on, and testament to our aim for brilliant performers to test out their work to our community,” says Alex.

“I’m also aware that there will be those who don’t know who Daniel Kitson is and would just see him as someone standing up in a garden! But it feels beautiful to know that his shows in May will be his first in two years and it’s great to be part of that work-in-progress experience.”

Chris Stokes: Storytelling comedy in Lockdown Detective at At The Mill on May 26

Clearly, plenty of people know exactly who Daniel Kitson is: his 8pm performances of Outside on May 23 to 25 have sold out already and his June 8 to 10 run looks close to following suit.

What’s in store from Kitson? Here’s the show blurb: “Daniel hasn’t been on stage for over two years. And, to be entirely honest, he’s not really missed it. It is, however, his actual job and everyone’s gone back to work now. So, he’s picked out a comfy pen, bought a new notebook and booked himself a summer’s worth of outdoor shows to find out whether he can still do his job and what, if anything, he has to say to large groups of people he doesn’t know.”

Given his performing hiatus and lack of practice, Kitson predicts the shows are “likely to be relatively rickety affairs”. “But Daniel’s already written the question ‘Do worms feel fear?’ in his new notebook, so we should be okay,” the blurb adds. “Also, if it gets boring – you can just use the time to look at the sky and feel small.”

At The Mill’s role in nurturing new work ties in with Alex’s own creativity as a writer and director, whether directing The Flanagan Collective, heading off to Australia with songwriter/musician/performer/magician Phil Grainger or spending last September to December in New York, making the immersive piece Tammany Hall for the Soho Playhouse.

Gary Stewart: Hosting regular Folk Club nights at At The Mill

“We meet loads of brilliant people when touring our work, and it’s great that they want to come here to test new pieces,” he says. “We’re delighted that people will hone shows here just before the Edinburgh Fringe kicks off, or will do shows here that aren’t going to Edinburgh but fit that vibe.”

Picking out upcoming highlights, singer-songwriterTom Figgins follows up last summer’s gig – his first in four years – with a return tomorrow; Chris Stokes’s storytelling comedy show, Lockdown Detective, is booked in for May 26, and Scottish musician Gary Stewart, now resident in nearby Easingwold, will host his regular Folk Club night on May 27, June 24 and July 8.

“For his first night, it’ll be just Gary and his guitar, performing Paul Simon songs solo rather than with his Graceland band. It’s lovely for us that a local musician, who’s internationally renowned, came here and said, ‘I want to play here every month and bring acts here regularly’,” says Alex.

At The Mill’s ERII Platinum Jubilee celebrations will take in Jubilee Jubilee, A Very Jubilant Cabaret, on June 3 and A Right Royal Knees Up, with live music and pizza, on June 5.

Maddie Morris: 2019 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winner, playing a Music At The Mill gig for the first time

Leeds folk duo Maddie Morris & Lilian Grace will make their At The Mill debut on June 12, performing together as Death And The Daughter and playing solo works too. Their 2022 project, The Sticky Monsters, is influenced by the artwork of Swedish artist John Kenn and their compositions deal with childhood, poverty and more general reflections on culture and the idea of fear.

“I saw Maddie, the 2019 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winner, at The Courthouse, Rural Arts’ home in Thirsk, and she’s an absolute folk musician, studying folk music at Leeds University and looking at contemporary politics through the lens of the folk tradition,” says Alex.

Gemma Curry’s York company Hoglets Theatre will perform the children’s show The Sleep Pirates on June 19 (10am to 1pm); York spoken-word collective Say Owt will host a poetry-writing workshop on June 25 (5pm), followed by an evening showcase (7.30pm); Heady Conduct will combine physical storytelling with live music to tell the Greek myth of Tiresias on July 10, and Paperback Theatre will stage their charming account of roguish Toad’s misadventures, The Wind In The Willows, on July 30 at 2.30pm and 7pm.

Alex himself has a couple of contributions to the season: Monster, a work-in-progress new story, on June 16 and 17, and The Gods The Gods The Gods, the Wright and Grainger show whose Australian premiere tour was curtailed by the pandemic, now making its British debut on July 23, 24, 27 and 28 at 8.45pm.

Gemma Curry in Hoglets Theatre’s The Sleep Pirates

“In its full iteration, it’s a big, heavy show, but this will be a lighter version before we take it to the Edinburgh Fringe,” says Alex of the final work in Wright & Grainger’s trilogy of myths, after Orpheus and Eurydice, both sell-outs at last summer’s At The Mill season.

The Gods The Gods The Gods, with its four stories and 14 compositions, corals big beats, soaring melodies and heart-stopping spoken words as it “calls us to the crossroads where mythology meets real life”.

“The Gods are gathering and you’re invited,” says Alex. “We’re excited about testing it out here, to wrangle up the story, to see that all the text and music works, and then add lights for Edinburgh, where we’ll be doing it in the Assembly’s 200-seat spiegeltent.”

The Mill’s summer programme will continue to add new events, with full details, including tickets, at athemill.org. Shows start at 7.30pm unless stated otherwise.

The Flanagan Collective’s Alexander Flanagan-Wright and Gobbledigook Theatre’s Phil Grainger staging Orpheus and Eurydice at At The Mill’s socially-distanced summer season in 2021. Picture: Charlotte Graham

Tornado on its way to York for three days as Stewart Lee double bill hits Theatre Royal

Stewart Lee: Two shows each night for three days in York

DELAYED by lockdowns, Stewart Lee’s Snowflake/Tornado double bill at last blows into York Theatre Royal from tomorrow (3/5/2022) until Thursday.

Bolstered by new material for 2022, the brace of 60-minute sets will be performed back to back nightly from 7.30pm. Good luck trying to acquire a ticket on 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk at this late stage.

Heavily rewritten in the light of two pandemic-enforced dormant years, Snowflake looks at how the Covid-Brexit era has influenced the culture war between lovely snowflakes and horrible people.

Tornado questions Lee’s position in the comedy marketplace after Netflix mistakenly listed his show as “reports of sharks falling from the skies are on the rise again. Nobody on the Eastern Seaboard is safe.”

“I’m just an old-fashioned entertainer at heart,” says Stewart Lee

Is the material still topical after a two-year layoff during the pandemic? “Well, believe it or not, the stuff in Snowflake making fun of Jimmy Carr for doing jokes about ‘gypsies’ has been in my show since 2019, as it’s the sort of thing he always does.

“So it’s just an indication of how he tends to hit the same shock buttons every time,” says Lee, in reference to the show discussing Carr’s ongoing use of material about the Traveller and Roma communities that saw calls for the 8 Out Of 10 Cats host to be prosecuted for incitement to racial hatred. “That’s a step too far, especially when he’s being condemned by members of the current government.

“The weird thing is that, because of the two-year downtime, lots of the material that was a bit ahead of the curve came into focus and goes down even better now. For example, everyone’s thought a lot more about the supposedly ‘woke’ ideas I endorse, what with Black Lives Matter and those leaked police e-mails about hating women. And Boris Johnson’s dishonesty and hypocrisy, which I discuss on stage, is undeniable now.”

Tornado takes the form of a long shaggy dog story about how Lee saw loads of rotisserie chickens being delivered to American comedian Dave Chapelle’s dressing room in London in 2018.

Stewart Lee’s tour poster for his rearranged Snowflake/Tornado itinerary in 2022

“More people know who he is now because he got in trouble with transgender people last year,” he says.

“But some material had to be ditched from Tornado after lockdown. I had 20 minutes in 2019 about what I imagined the new James Bond film would be like,  but it’s out now.

“That said, dropping that bit and switching in some new stuff tightened the second half, which is largely about attempts by the right to weaponise a ‘culture war’ against liberals and minorities.”

Lee’s comedic schtick may be defined as “people paying to see a miserable and frustrated middle-aged man wind himself up into a frenzy about everything”, but to counter that perception, he says: “The funny thing with this tour is that my obvious delight at being back on the boards can’t help but infect the audience. I’m just an old-fashioned entertainer at heart! Like Vera Lynn. Or that Emu.”

Lee, 54, will be touring Snowflake/Tornado until July. His new show, Basic Lee, will be fine-tuned in Edinburgh Fringe work-in-progress shows at The Stand in August before playing the Leicester Square Theatre, London, from September 20 to  December 17. A national tour will follow from  January 26 2023 with full details at stewartlee.co.uk.

York Theatre Royal to support artist or company at this summer’s Edinburgh Fringe

York Theatre Royal: Taking part in Pleasance Theatre’s Edinburgh National Partnership programme for this summer’s Fringe festival

A YORKSHIRE or Humber artist or company could receive up to £2,000 and a guaranteed place in the 2022 Pleasance Edinburgh Fringe programme in a York Theatre Royal scheme.

The partnership with the Pleasance Theatre’s Edinburgh National Partnerships programme will provide support both financially and artistically.

York Theatre Royal is “delighted to be working with the Pleasance Theatre once again as part of their programme to identify and support exceptional local artists and companies who want to take work to the Fringe.”

Each partner is a leading national producing house with a commitment to supporting and developing new artists.

Fellow partner organisations in the scheme are: Bristol Old Vic, Leicester Curve, HOME Manchester, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Scotland, and Sherman Theatre, Cardiff.

The Theatre Royal statement adds: “Working with the Pleasance, we will identify dynamic artists at different stages in their careers, with the primary aim of the scheme being to uncover and support the best companies and artists from Yorkshire and Humber, and across the UK, to present work at the Fringe.”

The successful applicant will receive:

* Up to £2,000 financing from the Pleasance towards the costs of presenting their show at the Edinburgh Fringe.

* Guaranteed inclusion within the Pleasance Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme.

* Edinburgh Fringe registration covered by York Theatre Royal.

* A minimum of one week’s in-kind rehearsal and development space at York Theatre Royal.

* A programming option in the Pleasance London transfer run post-Edinburgh Fringe.

* Support to deliver accessible performances as part of the Fringe run.

* Mentorship, support and advice from both York Theatre Royal and the Pleasance leading up to and during the Fringe.

* Support to build new touring relationships with other National Partnership venues.

To apply, artists and companies should send a pitch to admin@yorktheatreroyal.co.uk, detailing the piece of work to be presented (synopsis, design ideas etc), the creatives involved and information on past productions (reviews, footage, etc).

The closing date for applications is Monday, January 31 at 10am. The application form can be found at: yorktheatreroyal.co.uk/latest/york-theatre-royal-and-pleasance-pathways-call-out/.

Cookery comic George Egg heads to Pock with his Movable Feast tips and quips

What can George Egg rustle up with a couple of cabbages? Find out in Movable Feast

COMEDY and cooking combine when anarchic cook George Egg serves up his Movable Feast at Pocklington Arts Centre on October 13.

Here comes a live cookery show like no other from the award-winning stand-up who makes real gourmet food live on stage but not in the way you would Eggspect. 

In his first show, Anarchist Cook, Egg made a meal in a hotel room with the complimentary appliances. In his second, DIY Chef, he was stuck in a shed cooking with power tools. In Movable Feast, he is on the road with his guide to cooking with cars, on rail tracks and in the sky.  “It’s time for Planes, Trains and Automob-meals (sorry),” he says. 

During his evening focused on making food on the move, the ever-experimental Egg shows ways to cook with a car engine, achieve the most from the battery and even utilise the air-conditioning.

Shocking meal: George Egg cooks up a storm

He also demonstrates how to procure items from the train buffet trolley, beat rip-off restaurant prices at airports and reveal how to turn unexpected roadworks into a picnic. 

This cheeky, creative, multi-sensory show, rich in humour and sprinkled with handy hacks, concludes with the opportunity to taste the results on the three plates.

Pocklington Arts Centre director Janet Farmer says: “When I saw George Egg in this sell-out show at the Edinburgh Fringe, I wasn’t sure what to expect but loved it. A hybrid of comedy and unconventional cooking it is hugely entertaining.”

Egg’s show Snack Hacks ran on BBC Radio 5 Live throughout Euro 2020 this summer, when he was challenged to create food during half-time, combining cuisine from the two nations playing that day.

On the road again: George Egg’s poster for Movable Feast

Egg has appeared and cooked on Channel 4’s Bake Off: An Extra Slice, ITV’s This Morning and BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends and in 2019 he presented an episode of Radio 4’s The Food Programme, recorded at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Tickets for Egg’s 7.30pm show are on sale from today at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk or on 01759 301547.

Movable Feast has further Yorkshire gigs at Potto Village Hall, near Northallerton, on October 9; Stillington Village Hall, near York, October 10; Kilburn Institute, near Thirsk, October 14; Newton-le-Willows Village Hall, near Bedale, October 15; St John’s Church, Sharow, near Ripon, October 16, and Terrington Village Hall, near Malton, October 17.

For ticket details and show times, go to: georgeegg.com.

Egg’n’quips: Comedian and cook George Egg tools up for making an unconventional meal

American comedian Sara Barron promises artful rant on meanness in Enemies Closer on debut tour at York, Selby and Leeds

Barron nights: American comic Sara Barron to play York, Leeds and Selby on 30-date British tour. Pictures: Karla Gowlett

AMERICAN comedian Sara Barron examines kindness, meanness, ex-boyfriends, current husbands, all four remaining friends and two of her 12 enemies in Enemies Closer at Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, on October 9.

Further Yorkshire gigs on Barron’s debut British tour from October 2 to November 14 will be at Sheaf Street, Leeds, on October 20 and Selby Town Hall on September 29 on .

As an American comic, I can’t be like, ‘Yeehaw, this tour is gonna be awesome’ without forcing my UK audience into a full-body cringe,” says Sara, from Chicago, Illinois. “But. May I just say…I think it *will* be awesome, but I’m saying it in an ‘I-live-in-Britain-and-buy-all-my-bras-from-M&S’ kinda way. 

“The UK comedy scene is one of my great beloveds – alongside crafty passive-aggression – so touring this show is truly the fulfilment of a dream. Come if you dig an artful rant. Stay at home if think you’re ‘a positive person’. I hope to see you there!”

“Come if you dig an artful rant, Stay at home if think you’re ‘a positive person’,” advises Sara Barron

Barron first performed the no-holds-barred Enemies Closer at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe, having made her Edinburgh debut with For Worse in 2018, when she was nominated for Best Newcomer in the Edinburgh Comedy Awards and Chortle Awards. Two sold-out runs of For Worse ensued at the Soho Theatre, London.

She has since appeared on the BBC’s Live At The Apollo, Would I Lie To You?, Frankie Boyle’s New World Order and Richard Osman’s House Of Games; Channel 4’s 8 Out Of 10 Cats and Dave’s Hypothetical.

On radio, Sara’s credits include BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz, The Now Show, Where’s The F In News? and Woman’s Hour and BBC Radio Scotland’s Breaking News; she has published two essay collections, People Are Unappealing and The Harm In Asking, and her writing has featured in Vanity Fair and on This American Life.

In New York City, frequently she has hosted the cult storytelling show, The Moth: True Stories Told Live.

York tickets for Enemies Closer are on sale at tickets.41monkgate.co.uk; Leeds and Selby tickets, via berksnest.com/sara.

Writer, director, musician, theatre maker, actor, but still Alex is nervous about tonight

In a field of one: Alexander Wright, playwright, poet, storyteller, musician, director, facilitator, theatre builder…and now solo performer

ALEXANDER Wright is nervous about tonight, but why?

Let Alex tell the story: “In a potentially remarkable act of narcissism, I am doing a solo gig of my own work in a theatre I built [with Gobbledigook Theatre’s Phil Grainger and dad Paul Wright] in my back garden at 7.30pm. 

“It’s the first time I have ever done a solo gig. I write lots of stuff, direct lots of stuff, tour Orpheus, Eurydice & The Gods The Gods The Gods to hundreds of places.

“I’ve released Half Man//Half Bull, a double narrative-led album, with Phil and Olivier Tilney. My production of The Great Gatsby has been performed across the UK, in Belgium, Ireland, and Korea to hundreds and thousands of audience members.

“But I’ve never really stood in front of people and performed my own stuff, on my own, for an extended period. So, now, I am…and I’m nervous about it.”

Double at t’ Mill: Phil Grainger and Alexander Wright at Stillington Mill last August when performing a week of shows back on home turf in Alex’s “back garden”. Picture: Charlotte Graham

Expect beautiful stories, beautiful poems, a few beautiful special guests and hopefully a beautiful sunset under the sails of the At The Mill outdoor theatre on the re-appropriated disused tennis court at Stillington Mill, Mill Lane, Stillington, near York.

Tongue in cheek in its title, Alex’s Remarkable Acts Of Narcissism night is part of the anything but narcissistic inaugural Summer At The Mill season at At The Mill, the Wrights’ family-run business at the mid-18th century former corn mill.

Not only theatre, children’s shows, spoken word and concerts have found a home here but so too has a Saturday morning pop-up café with unicorn ice cream and blissful cakes spun from the culinary imagination of Alex’s sister, Abbigail, and a welcoming wood-burner in the corner.

Then add supper clubs (up next, Tom Smith, from Oxfordshire, cooking an entire lamb on July 17, tickets available); special events; community gatherings; weddings and accommodation in a fairy-lit woodland shepherd’s hut or the two-bedroom Mill Cottage in a converted cow byre.

The stage is set for a night of Theatre At The Mill

Stillington Mill’s pond-side grounds have housed magical performances in previous years, whether on the woodland grass or under canvas, but the outdoor theatre is new for 2021, all because of a vow witnessed one August night by CharlesHutchPress among others at a Grainger and Wright performance in the first socially distanced summer of Covid.

“Phil has a habit of saying what he’s thinking out loud in public, and then being beholden to it. I’m fine with that and so is Phil!”, says Alex, recalling how best friend Phil had announced that a massive pile of wood had just arrived at the mill from G H Brooks, the timber merchants up the road.

They would build a theatre, he promptly promised, with a boldness worthy of Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald pronouncing he would construct an opera house in the middle of a jungle in Werner Herzog’s infamously trouble-beset 1982 film Fitzcarraldo. Thankfully, the task proved less arduous, and no-one behaved like loose-cannon prima-donna lead actor Klaus Kinski.

“I think it’s important to get on with stuff, whatever the circumstances you face, and we’ve always done that. If you wait for people to give you permission, it will never happen, but we had the space to create a theatre, so we have,” says Alex.

Alexander Wright performing Orpheus at At The Mill earlier this summer. Picture: Fair Dinkum Film

“There’s something wonderful about an old tennis court making way for a stage, especially in a village where the mill has long been a focal point for the community. There’s been a mill here since being recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 and the house was built in 1754.

“It’s lovely to keep allowing these buildings to be central to the community, and even though it’s no longer flour, I hope it’s still some form of nourishment, whether it’s cake and sausage sandwiches or theatre and music. It’s good to have an industry of sorts still going on here.”

Phil built the wooden stage and the benches – in his own self-deprecating words “making good-quality wood look like palettes” – with help from his Australian partner Angie Alle, while Alex and father Paul did all the structures above, the pillars and posts and sails. “So, if you fall off the stage, it’s Phil’s fault; if something falls on you, it’s my dad’s and my fault,” Alex jokes.

“Some of it’s trial and error, like having to re-enforce the pillar structures, but we’re always trying to do something that’s beyond what we would normally do. Others might find that intimidating, but I like stretching my capacities.”

Courtly love: Out goes tennis, in comes a theatre, game set and match at Stillington Mill

Reflecting on changing times for theatre and performance under the cloud of Covid, changes that have seen Alex and Phil rooted in North Yorkshire, rather than travelling to New York and the Edinburgh Fringe after returning early from Australia last February, Alex says: “I’m sure lots of people have had the profound realisation in the past 16 months that theatre and the arts are a function or a means to the end,  rather than an end in themselves.

“We get tied up in theatre being something we consume, when in fact it is so much more valuable as a means for people to gather, to hear news, to share stories, to start conversations, and when we’ve not been gathering for 16 months, it’s such a vital tool for doing that – and I think it’s the gathering that’s most important.”

Alex continues: “I love meeting communities, meeting other people, and I feel that everywhere I go, we always leave having learned something. We always play by the same rules: performers and audience, we are together for two hours, and that sense of hanging out together is more important right now than what we see.

“But when we were setting up Summer At The Mill, I was very clear that it needed to serve the communities I care about: the local rural community and the wider, sprawling arts community.

“We’ve made what I hope is a very honest invitation to artists, to encourage them to ask if they want to come here and play, with either a new piece of work or an old piece that they’re getting back on its feet, or maybe for a collaboration, and it’s felt really nice to be able to do that.

A different writing task for playwright and poet Alexander Wright as he works a shift on At The Mill’s Saturday morning pop-up cafe (which turn into a bar for shows, by the way)

“Phil and I see loads of brilliant mates making work around the world, and we’ll hang around with them for a month. Then, six month later, there’ll be another festival, again with all these acclaimed international artists, and it’s kind of amazing when we say, ‘do you want to muck around in our back garden?’ and they’ll say ‘Yes, I’ll try out some new ideas’, and so they’ll play to a new audience, testing out new material. There’s a nice alchemy to it, and it’s a level playing field.

“We’re even talking to a couple of artists about the possibility of doing short residencies, for a week or a weekend, hosting them to let them road-test something new.”

Tonight, meanwhile, it will be Alex’s own turn to do that in a night of spoken word, storytelling and poetry…and, yes, he’s still nervous!

Alexander Wright: Remarkable Acts Of Narcissism, Theatre At The Mill, Stillington Mill, Stillington, near York, tonight (10/7/2021) at 7.30pm. Box office: tickettailor.com/events/atthemill/538906.