More Things To Do in and around York in the embers of the summer festival season. List No 46, courtesy of The Press, York

Liam Gallagher: Tomorrow’s headliner at Leeds Festival

SUMMER ends with Leeds Festival, apparently, but Charles Hutchinson begs to differ by highlighting plenty more reasons to be cheerful as nights start to lengthen.

Biggest crowd of the week: Leeds Festival, Bramham Park, near Wetherby, tomorrow (27/8/2021) to Sunday

AFTER a gap year in Covid-crocked 2020, Leeds Festival returns from tomorrow with a sold-out crowd at full capacity. 

Among the first day’s top acts are headliners Lian Gallagher and Biffy Clyro, Gerry Cinnamon, Wolf Alice, Blossoms and Doncaster’s Yungblud.

Saturday’s names to watch are Stormzy, Catfish And The Bottlemen, AJ Tracey, Mabel, Sam Fender and Sports Team. Sunday promises Post Malone, Disclosure, Two Door Cinema Club, The Wombats and Slowthai.  

Shed Seven: Topping the all-Yorkshire bill at The Piece Hall, Halifax, on Saturday

On the other hand, Yorkshire’s gig of the week is…Shed Seven at The Piece Hall, Halifax, Saturday.

YORK favourites Shed Seven at last can go ahead with their all-Yorkshire bill after 2020’s two postponements and a move from June 26 to August 28 this summer.

The dates may change but the bill remains the same: York’s on-the-rise, rousing  Skylights, Leeds bands The Pigeon Detectives and The Wedding Present and the Brighton Beach DJs on the decks.

Never mind the clash with Leeds Festival. “Let’s just say our fans are not their demographic,” says the Sheds’ Rick Witter.

Andrew Harrison: Performing Nigel Forde’s one-man show, The Last Cuckoo, at Stillington Mill, near York, tomorrow night

Bird song of the week: Sea View Productions in Nigel Forde’s The Last Cuckoo, Theatre At The Mill, Stillington, tomorrow, 7.30pm.

ON his return home from his irascible ornithologist uncle Harry Baskerville’s ’s funeral, Duncan Campbell begins the slow, sad process of working through its effects in The Last Cuckoo, a one-man show about loss, hope and birds.

As he does so, he finds within the ghostly confines of this remote coastal cottage a way into a world he never knew existed: the entrance into a life he never dared hope for. However, this awareness brings with it costly choices and, most daunting of all, the possibility of real change.

Penned exquisitely by Warter poet and writer Nigel Forde, former presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Bookshelf, this beautiful theatre piece will be performed by Riding Lights Theatre Company alumnus Andrew Harrison, directed for Sea View Productions by Robin Hereford. Box office: tickettailor.com/events/atthemill.

The Carpenters Experience: Tribute show to Karen and Richard at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre

Tribute show of the week: The Carpenters Experience, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Saturday, 7.30pm

IT’S Yesterday Once More as British singer Maggie Nestor and eight musicians capture the smooth American sounds of Richard and Karen Carpenter. 

Expect echoes of Karen’s silky contralto, Richard’s pretty piano and seamless harmonies in a big production featuring Close To You, We’ve Only Just Begun, Top Of The World, Rainy Days And Mondays, Solitaire, Goodbye To Love, For All We Know and Only Yesterday. Box office: josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Being Frank: Stephen Tompkinson in Educating Rita, on tour at York Theatre Royal from Tuesday. Picture: Matt Humphrey

Theatre show of the week in York: Educating Rita, York Theatre Royal, August 31 to September 4

WHEN married hairdresser Rita enrols on a university course to expand her horizons, little does she realise where her journey will take her.

Tutor Frank is a frustrated poet, brilliant academic and dedicated drinker, less than enthusiastic about taking on Rita, but soon they learn how much they have to teach each other.

Directed by Max Roberts, Willy Russell’s comedy two-hander stars Jessica Johnson as Rita and Stephen Tompkinson as Frank. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Curtains! Another catastrophe is imminent in Magic Goes Wrong, Mischief and Penn & Teller’s calamitous comedy caper at Leeds Grand Theatre

Theatre show of the week ahead outside York: Magic Goes Wrong, Leeds Grand Theatre, casting a spell from August 30 to September 4

BACK with another comedy catastrophe, this time dusted with magic, Mischief follow up The Play That Goes Wrong and The Comedy About A Bank Robbery with a show created with   Penn & Teller, no less.

A hapless gang of magicians is staging an evening of grand illusion to raise cash for charity, but as the magic turns to mayhem, accidents spiral out of control and so does the fundraising target.

On tour for the first time, the show is written Penn Jillette, Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, Henry Shields and Teller and directed by Adam Meggido. Box office: 0113 243 0808 or at leedsheritagetheatres.com.

Fangfest co-organiser Gerry Grant dunking a raku ceramic in water

Top of the pots: Fangfest, Fangfoss, September 4 and 5, 10am to 4pm each day

FANGFEST, the celebration of pottery, crafts, art and scarecrows in Fangfoss, ten miles east of York, returns next month after a Covid-enforced hiatus in 2020.

To keep the family event as Covid-safe as possible, much of the festival organised by Gerry and Lyn Grant, of Fangfoss Pottery, will be taking place outdoors.

The weekend combines art, pottery, illustration, jewellery, printmaking, archery, wood carving, textiles, willow weaving, classic cars, East Yorkshire history, food and scarecrows. Entry is free.

Kate Winslet, left, and Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite, showing at the Yorkshire Fossil Festival in Scarborough

Dinosaurs, stones and more in Yorkshire Fossil Festival’s fistful of films: Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, September 10 and 11

FOR the first time, the Stephen Joseph Theatre is teaming up with the Yorkshire Fossil Festival SJT to bring five palaeontology-inspired films to the McCarthy screen.

Highlights include September 10’s 8pm screening of stop-motion wizard Ray Harryhausen’s 1969 dinosaur classic, The Valley Of Gwangi, introduced by palaeo-artist James McKay, who hosts a post-screening Q&A too.

Further films on September 10 will be Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur (2pm) and Jurassic Park (5pm); September 11, The Land Before Time (2pm and 5pm) and Ammonite, starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan (8pm). Box office: 01723 370541 or at sjt.uk.com.

Fish’n’quips: George Egg serves up his Movable Feast on tour in October

Meals on wheels, jokes on a plate, here comes George Egg’s cracking tour show…

COMEDY and cooking combine when anarchic cook George Egg serves up his Movable Feast on tour in Yorkshire in October.

Determined to make food on the move, Egg offers 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. 

Sprinkled with handy hacks, the 7.30pm shows conclude with the chance to taste the results on the three plates. Tour dates include Stillington Village Hall, near York, October 10; Pocklington Arts Centre, October 13, and Terrington Village Hall, near Malton, October 17. Box office: georgeegg.com.

Fangfest returns for September weekend celebration of arts and crafts in Fangfoss

Fangfoss Pottery potter Gerry Grant dunking a raku ceramic in water

FANGFEST, the celebration of pottery, crafts, art and scarecrows in Fangfoss, will return on September 4 and 5 after a Covid-enforced hiatus in 2020.

“We didn’t hold it last year but we carried out a questionnaire around the village to see what the residents thought about holding it this year,” says Lyn Grant, who co-organises the festival of practical arts with husband and fellow potter Gerry Grant in the village ten miles east of York.

“There were a few who didn’t want it to go ahead, but the majority did, and that’s why it’s back! The original idea of Fangfest was to try and get visitors to be involved and perhaps encourage them to pick up a craft or hobby. So, many of the exhibitors will be demonstrating and talking about their work with opportunities for people to have a go themselves.”

To keep Fangfest 2021 as Covid-safe as possible, much of the festival will take place outdoors. “At Fangfoss Pottery, at The Old School, we’re holding a ‘Play with Clay Zone’ in the pottery garden under gazebos, where visitors can have a go on the wheel, paint and decorate a little pot and make their own version of the ‘Lambton Worm’. These activities will be free,” says Lyn.

Scarecrows at a past Fangfest

“Inside the pottery, we have re-organised things. For the first time in 46 years, Gerry will move his wheel to enable pottery-throwing demonstrations to take place safely. Outside, there’ll be raku-firing demonstrations.”

The weekend of art and crafts for all the family will combine art, pottery, illustration, jewellery, printmaking, archery, wood carving, textiles, willow weaving, classic cars, East Yorkshire history, food and scarecrows. Entry will be free.

An archaeology display spanning the Stone Age to Victorian times will be on show in St Martin’s Church, featuring artefacts found in the area, with some available to be handled, plus a “Guess the mystery objects” section. Outside the church, members of a history society from Stamford Bridge will discuss their work.

“Fangfoss residents will be showing just how artistic they are when it comes to making scarecrows and there’ll be a scarecrow trail around the village,” says Lyn. “That’s why you’re invited to make a Lambton Worm. Lambton and his worm are going to be my scarecrow this
year.

A pottery-making session at Fangfoss Pottery

“There’ll be plenty of art and crafts on display, spread around the village green and down at the Rocking Horse Shop in Main Street. Taking part will be willow workers, felt makers, medieval tilers, stained-glass workers and decorative forged-iron makers, to name but a few.

“At the Rocking Horse Shop, you can watch how rocking horses are made. Beyond the shop there’ll be an opportunity to have a go at archery. Look out too for a small classic car show on The Green.”

Refreshments will be available at the Carpenters Arms and the Jubilee Park
Committee will host a barbecue and serve teas in the Rocking Horse yard.

Fangfest will run from 10am to 4pm each day and will be opened officially by Geoff Sheasby, Pocklington’s Town Crier for 20 years, on the Saturday. He will judge the scarecrows and award a special prize, although a public vote will be held too. Tony Dew will award the best “Fangs” prize.

For more information, go to: facebook/fangfest.

Emma with her Best Scarecrow prizes for her scarecrow at the 2019 Fangfest

Potter Gerry Grant has just taken his most bizarre commission…and it’s a smash hit

Gerry Grant making one of the pots for smashing at Fangfoss Pottery

IT sounds potty, but Fangfoss potter Gerry Grant is making pots expressly to be broken.

“I’ve just landed my most unusual job yet,” he says. “I’ve been commissioned by York company Pick Me Up Theatre to make some props for next week’s production of The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?.

“What’s so unusual about this request is that they’ve asked me to make a selection of very large pots that will be smashed to pieces on the stage.”

These pots are made for breaking: Gerry Grant with the pottery that Pick Me Up Theatre’s cast will pick up to smash at next week’s performances

Presented by Pick Me Up at the John Cooper Studio, Theatre @41 Monkgate, York, from February 25 to 29, Edward Albee’s American play centres around Martin Gray, a successful, middle-aged architect who has just turned 50 and leads an ostensibly ideal life with his loving wife, Stevie, and gay teenage son, Billy.

However, when he confides to his best friend that he also is in love with a goat named Sylvia, he sets in motion events that will destroy his family and leave his life in tatters.

Albee’s domestic drama ponders the limits of an ostensibly liberal society, showing a family in crisis to challenge audience members to question their own moral judgment of social taboos.

The Goat cast members Bryan Bounds, Will Fealy and Susannah Baines

Director Mark Hird says: “The pottery plates, vases and bowls are an integral part of the show. They represent wealth, prosperity and order in a seemingly perfect household.

“They are expensive works of art collected by world-famous architect Martin Gray to furnish the living room of the family’s New York home – and they’re smashed when Stevie confronts Martin after discovering his affair with Sylvia, the goat.”

Gerry has run Fangfoss Pottery for 43 years with wife Lyn Grant at The Old School, Fangfoss, near York, and never before has he received such a destructive commission.

“The pots have been specially made and fired to break easily,” says potter Gerry Grant. “I do hope they perform the task well”

“I’ve tried for more than 40 years to produce pots that are sturdy and not easily broken. Now I’ve been asked to do the opposite! The pots have been specially made and fired to break easily. I do hope they perform the task well.”

The Goat caused controversy but was a big hit – much like the pottery breaking – with Broadway audiences when it opened in 2002. So much so, it won the Tony Award for best play, 40 years after writer Albee won the same prize for Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf.

Next week marks its York premiere, when Gerry will witness his pots being broken on the 41 Monkgate stage. “I’m looking forward to seeing the play,” he says. “I’m sure it will be a smashing production”.

Tickets for the 7.30pm performances are on sale at pickmeuptheatre.com and on 01904 623568.