More Things To Do in Ryedale, York and beyond, both normal and paranormal. Hutch’s List No 4, from Gazette and Herald

Alex Hamilton: Scottish guitarist plays Ryedale Blues Club gig at Milton Rooms, Malton

BLUES guitars, psychological bunny puppetry, mountain films, sci-fi theatre, paranormal investigations and explosive dance promise out-of-this-world cultural experiences, reckons Charles Hutchinson.

Blues gig of the week: Ryedale Blues Club presents Alex Hamilton Band, Milton Rooms, Malton, tomorrow, 8pm

GLASWEGIAN guitarist Alex Hamilton (formerly Lewis Hamilton) has been part of the British blues/rock scene since 2010. Parading a playing style that recalls Robben Ford and Matt Scofield, he released his debut album, Gambling Machine, at 18, winning the Scottish New Music Award for Jazz/Blues album in 2012.

Further albums Empty Roads, Ghost Train, Shipwrecked and On The Radio have followed. Hamilton makes his return to Malton in a trio with his father, Nick Hamilton, on bass and Ian Beestin on drums. Box office: 01653 696240 or themiltonrooms.com.

George Green in Foxglove Theatre’s Rabbit

New play of the week in York: Foxglove Theatre in Rabbit, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, tomorrow to Saturday, 7.30pm

YORK company Foxglove Theatre identified a need for weirder, more experimental theatre in the city, focusing on “psychological exploration through innovative visual storytelling”. Here comes their debut new work, Rabbit, wherein a brave bunny wakes up lost in a murky forest determined to find her way home to Mumma.

Blending puppetry and visual effects, George Green’s performance explores the psychological damage that develops from even the smallest mishandlings of our childhood selves. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

The poster for 1812 Youth Theatre’s production of Tuesday at Helmsley Arts Centre

When Tuesday is on a Friday and Saturday: 1812 Youth Theatre in Tuesday, Helmsley Arts Centre, Friday, 7.30pm; Saturday, 2.30pm, 7.30pm

AN ordinary Tuesday turns really, really weird when the sky over the school playground suddenly rips open in Alison Carr’s funny and playful play Tuesday. Pupils and teachers are sucked up to a parallel universe as a new set of people rain down from above. ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ must come together to work out what is going on and how to return things to how they were.

Carr combines “a little bit of sci-fi and a lot of big themes”: friendship, family, identity, grief, responsibility – and what happens when an unexpected event turns the world upside down. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Banff Mountain Film Festival: Visiting York Barbican on world tour on Friday

Film event of the week: Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, Red Film Programme, York Barbican, Friday, 7.30pm

EXPERIENCE a night of thrilling adventure – up on the big screen. The Banff Mountain Film Festival features a new collection of short films filled with extreme journeys, untamed characters and captivating cinematography.

Join the world’s top adventure filmmakers and thrill-seekers as they climb, ski, paddle and ride into the wildest corners of the planet. Prize giveaways are promised too. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Back on the Chain Gang: Miles Salter, second left, and his York band play Ampleforth Village Hall for the second time

Ryedale gig of the week: Miles and The Chain Gang, Ampleforth Village Hall, near Helmsley, Saturday, 7.30pm

YORK band Miles and The Chain Gang return to Ampleforth Village Hall by popular demand after a first outing there last summer. Expect rock’n’roll, acoustic songs, new wave, soul and country, plus Rolling Stones, Joni Mitchell and Johnny Cash covers.

Their latest digital single, the country-tinged Raining Cats And Dogs, is sure to feature in the set by Miles Salter, guitar and vocals, Mat Watt, bass, Steve Purton, drums, and Charlie Daykin, keyboards. Tickets: 07549 775971.

Yvette Fielding: Leading the paranormal investigations in the Most Haunted stage show at the Grand Opera House, York

Paranormal show of the week: Most Haunted: The Stage Show, Grand Opera House, York, Sunday, 7.30pm

YVETTE Fielding, “the first lady of the paranormal”, joins Karl Beattie, producer and director of the Most Haunted television series, in the investigative team to take Sunday’s audience on “the darkest, most terrifying journey of your life”, followed by a question-and-answer session.

In a city bursting at the seams with ghost stories and walks, Fielding and Beattie present Most Haunted’s All-Time Top Ten Scares, complete with unseen video footage from haunted castles, manor houses, hospitals and prisons. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Diversity: Dancing around the Supernova at the Grand Opera House, York, for two nights

Dance show of the week: Diversity in Supernova, Grand Opera House, York, March 7 and 8, 7.45pm; Harrogate Convention Centre, Saturday, 3.30pm; Hull Connexin Live, April 7, 2.30pm

2009 Britain’s Got Talent winners Diversity return to York on their biggest tour yet to stage Supernova, devised by founder Ashley Banjo. More than 120,000 tickets have sold for more than 90 dates in 40 cities and towns through 2023 and 2024, with both Grand Opera House performances down to the last few tickets.

Diversity will be supporting the Trussell Trust, the anti-poverty charity, inviting audience members to bring food donations to place in collection points. Cash donations in buckets are welcome too. Box office: York, atgtickets.com/york; Harrogate, 01423 502116 or harrogatetheatre.co.uk; Hull, connexinlivehull.com.

Suzi Quatro: Using this iconic image from her first photographic session with Gered Mankowitz in 1973 to promote her 60th anniversary tour. York Barbican awaits

Gig announcement of the week: Suzi Quatro, York Barbican, November 15

SUZI Quatro will mark the 60th year of her reign as “the Queen of Rock’n’Roll” by embarking on a five-date autumn tour, taking in York Barbican as the only Yorkshire venue.

Born in Michigan, Quatro flew to England in 1971 to work with songwriting duo Chinn and Chapman, chalking up chart toppers with Can The Can and Devil Gate Drive and further hits with 48 Crash, Daytona Demon, The Wild One, If You Can’t Give Me Love and She’s In Love With You, as well as co-writing Babbies & Bairns with dame Berwick Kaler in his York Theatre Royal panto pomp. Tickets will go on sale from 10am on Friday at https://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/event/360060579D80156E.

More Things To Do in York and beyond as arts take to the bike & beach. Hutch’s List No. 8 for 2024, from The Press, York

Pilot Theatre’s cast for A Song For Ella Grey at York Theatre Royal. Picture: Topher McGrillis

BEACH encounters with Orpheus, tandem cyclists divided by Brexit,  a joyful mess in art, an Eighties rom-com revisited, Ukrainian opera and big summer concerts brighten Charles Hutchinson’s days ahead.

York play of the week: Pilot Theatre in A Song For Ella Grey, York Theatre Royal, February 20 to 24, 7pm plus 1pm, Thursday and 2pm, Saturday; Hull Truck Theatre, March 5 to 9, 7.30pm plus 2pm, Wednesday and Saturday

IN Zoe Cooper’s stage adaptation of David Almond’s novel for York company Pilot Theatre and Newcastle’s Northern Stage, Claire and her best friend, Ella Grey, are ordinary kids from ordinary families in an ordinary world as modern teenagers meet ancient forces.

They and their friends fall in and out of love, play music and dance, stare at the stars, yearn for excitement, and have parties on Northumbrian beaches. One day, a stranger, a musician called Orpheus, appears on the beach and entrances them all, especially Ella. Where has Orpheus come from and what path will Ella follow in this contemporary re-telling of the ancient Greek myth. Box office: York, 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk; Hull, 01482 323638 or hulltruck.co.uk.

Displayful artists Luke Beech, Wendy Galloway, Kate Fox and Liberty Hodes, exhibiting at Scarborough Art Gallery. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

Coastal exhibition of the season: Displayful, Scarborough Art Gallery until May 7

DISPLAYFUL celebrates happy accidents and joyful mess, aiming to brighten the winter months by inviting visitors to enjoy uplifting contemporary artistic responses to objects from the collections of Scarborough Museums and Galleries.

The show combines new work by five regional artists, Luke Beech, Kate Fox, Wendy Galloway, Liberty Hodes and Angela Knipe, alongside historical artefacts and asks audiences to consider new possibilities for the lives of objects.

Amber Davies’s Vivian and Oliver Savile’s Edward, centre, in a scene from Pretty Woman The Musical, on tour at the Grand Opera House, York, next week

Musical of the week: Pretty Woman The Musical, Grand Opera House, York, February 20 to 24, 7.30pm, plus 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday matinees

BILLED as Hollywood’s ultimate rom-com, live on stage, Pretty Woman: The Musical is set once upon a time in the late 1980s, when Hollywood Boulevard hooker Vivian meets entrepreneur Edward Lewis and her life changes forever.

Amber Davies plays Vivian opposite Oliver Savile’s Edward; 2016 Strictly Come Dancing champion Ore Oduba, last seen at this theatre in fishnets in March 2022 as Brad Majors in The Rocky Horror Show, has two roles as hotel manager Barnard Thompson/Happy Man, and Natalie Paris will be Vivian’s wisecracking roommate Kit De Luca. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

The poster artwork for Dnipro Opera’s Madama Butterfly at York Barbican

Opera of the week: Dnipro Opera in Madama Butterfly, York Barbican, February 20, 7pm

DNIPRO Opera, the Ukrainian National Opera, returns to British shores after last year’s visit to perform Puccini’s favourite work, Madama Butterfly, sung in Italian with English surtitles (CORRECT).

Set in Japan in 1904, this torrid tale of innocent love crushed between two contrasting cultures charts the affair between an American naval officer and his young Japanese bride, whose self-sacrifice and defiance of her family leads to tragedy. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Carly Bednar in rehearsal for her role as Leila Arden in Griffonage Theatre’s Rope at Theatre@41, Monkgate

Thriller of the week: Griffonage Theatre in Rope, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, February 21 to 24, 7.30pm

HALFWAY through her MA in theatre studies, Katie Leckey directs York company Griffonage Theatre in their Theatre@41 debut in Patrick Hamilton’s thriller Rope, with its invitation to a dinner party like no other.

Set in 1929 against the backdrop of Britain’s flirtation with fascism, this whodunit states exactly who did it, but the mystery is will they be caught? Cue a soiree full of eccentric characters, ticking clocks and hushed arguments. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

An Eiffel and an earful: Don (John Lister) and Carol (Kate Caute) share a cycle but not political views in Paris in 1812 Theatre Company’s Scary Bikers

Ryedale play of the week: 1812 Theatre Company in Scary Bikers, Helmsley Arts Centre, February 21 to 24, 7.30pm

HELMSLEY’S 1812 Theatre Company stage their first John Godber comedy next week, his 2018 two hander Scary Bikers. Outwardly, redundant miner Don (John Lister) and former private school teacher Carol (Kate Caute) have little in common, but beneath the surface their former spouses are buried next to each other. Soon widowed Don and Carol bump into each other.

An innocent coffee leads to a bike ride through the Yorkshire Dales, then a bike tour across Europe to Florence. All looks promising for a budding romance, but their departure date is June 23 2016 and Don and Carol are on the opposite sides of the Brexit fence. Box office: helmsleyarts.co.uk or in person from the arts centre.

S Club: Post-racing party songs at York Racecourse on July 27

Bring it all back: S Club, York Racecourse Music Showcase Weekend, July 27

JULY 27 will be S Club Party time after the Saturday afternoon race card on the Knavesmire track. Once S Club 7, now the five-piece S Club comprises Jo O’Meara, Rachel Stevens, Jon Lee, Tina Barrett and Bradley McIntosh, following last April’s death of Paul Cattermole from heart complications at 46 and Hannah Spearritt not featuring in 2023’s 25th anniversary tour.

This month finds S Club in the USA playing Boston, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Roll on summertime to enjoy chart toppers Bring It All Back, Never Had A Dream Come True, Don’t Stop Movin’ and Have You Ever, plus You’re My Number One, Reach, Two In A Million, S Club Party et al in York. Tickets: yorkracecourse.co.uk.

James: Returning to Scarborough Open Air Theatre in July. Picture: Paul Dixon

Yorkshire gig announcement of the week: James, supported by Reverend & The Makers and Girlband!, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, July 26

MANCHESTER band James play Scarborough Open Air Theatre for the fourth time on July 26, the night when Leeds lads Kaiser Chiefs finish off the evening card at York Races.

“If you haven’t been there before, then make sure you come,” says James bassist and founder member Jim Glennie. “It’s a cracking venue and you can even have a paddle in the sea before the show!” New album Yummy arrives on April 12. Box office: James, ticketmaster.co.uk from 9am on Friday; Kaiser Chiefs, yorkracecourse.co.uk.

More Things To Do in Ryedale, York & beyond as arts take to the bike & beach. Hutch’s List No. 2 from Gazette & Herald

Don (John Lister) and Carol (Kate Caute) share a cycle but not political views in Paris in 1812 Theatre Company’s production of John Godber’s Scary Bikers

BIKERS divided by Brexit, beach encounters with Orpheus, a joyful mess in art, an Eighties rom-com revisited, Ukrainian opera and a big summer signing for Scarborough brighten Charles Hutchinson’s days ahead

Ryedale play of the week: 1812 Theatre Company in Scary Bikers, Helmsley Arts Centre, February 21 to 24, 7.30pm

HELMSLEY’S 1812 Theatre Company stage their first John Godber comedy next week, his 2018 two-hander Scary Bikers. Outwardly, redundant miner Don (John Lister) and former private school teacher Carol (Kate Caute) have little in common, but beneath the surface their former spouses are buried next to each other. Soon widowed Don and Carol will bump into each other.

An innocent coffee leads to a bike ride through the Yorkshire Dales, then a bike tour across Europe to Florence. All looks promising for a budding romance, but their departure date is June 23 2016 and Don and Carol are on the opposite sides of the Brexit fence. Box office: helmsleyarts.co.uk or in person from the arts centre.

Grace Long as Ella Grey in Pilot Theatre’s A Song For Ella Grey. Picture: Topher McGrillis

York play of the week: Pilot Theatre in A Song For Ella Grey, York Theatre Royal; February 20 to 24, Hull Truck Theatre, March 5 to 9

IN Zoe Cooper’s stage adaptation of David Almond’s novel for York company Pilot Theatre, York Theatre Royal and Newcastle’s Northern Stage, Claire and her best friend, Ella Grey, are ordinary kids from ordinary families in an ordinary world where modern teenagers meet ancient forces.

They and their friends fall in and out of love, play music and dance, stare at the stars, yearn for excitement, and have parties on Northumbrian beaches. One day, a stranger, a musician called Orpheus, appears on the beach and entrances them all, especially Ella. Where has Orpheus come from and what path will Ella follow in this contemporary re-telling of the ancient Greek myth? Box office: York, 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk; Hull,  01482 323638 or hulltruck.co.uk.

Displayful artists Luke Beech, Wendy Galloway, Kate Fox and Liberty Hodes, exhibiting at Scarborough Art Gallery. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

Coastal exhibition of the season: Displayful, Scarborough Art Gallery until May 7

DISPLAYFUL celebrates happy accidents and joyful mess, aiming to brighten the winter months by inviting visitors to enjoy uplifting contemporary artistic responses to objects from the collections of Scarborough Museums and Galleries.

The show combines new work by five regional artists, Luke Beech, Kate Fox, Wendy Galloway, Liberty Hodes and Angela Knipe, alongside historical artefacts, and asks audiences to consider new possibilities for the lives of objects.  

Grant Harris: Making connections at Milton Rooms, Malton

Messages from beyond: Grant Harris: Medium, Milton Rooms, Malton, tomorrow (15/2/2024), 7pm

MEDIUM Grant Harris returns to the Milton Rooms to “connect with your loved ones to provide messages of support, reassurance and much needed clarity at times we require it most”.

“There are things we don’t fully understand about life and death but what I do is bring some peace to those who need it,” says Harris, whose shows promise humour too. Tickets: 01709 437700 or 01653 696240.

Amber Davies’s Vivian and Oliver Savile’s Edward, centre, in Pretty Woman The Musical, on tour at the Grand Opera House, York

Musical of the week: Pretty Woman The Musical, Grand Opera House, York, February 20 to 24, 7.30pm, plus 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday matinees

BILLED as Hollywood’s ultimate rom-com, live on stage, Pretty Woman: The Musical is set once upon a time in the late 1980s, when Hollywood Boulevard hooker Vivian meets entrepreneur Edward Lewis and her life changes forever.

Amber Davies plays Vivian opposite Oliver Savile’s Edward; 2016 Strictly Come Dancing champion Ore Oduba, last seen at this theatre in fishnets in March 2022 as Brad Majors in The Rocky Horror Show, has two roles as hotel manager Barnard Thompson/Happy Man, and  Natalie Paris will be Vivian’s wisecracking roommate Kit De Luca. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

The poster artwork for Dnipro Opera’s Madama Butterfly at York Barbican

Opera of the week: Dnipro Opera in Madama Butterfly, York Barbican, February 20, 7pm

DNIPRO Opera, the Ukrainian National Opera, returns to British shores after last year’s visit to perform Puccini’s favourite work, Madama Butterfly, sung in Italian with English surtitles.

Set in Japan in 1904, this torrid tale of innocent love crushed between two contrasting cultures charts the affair between an American naval officer and his young Japanese bride, whose self-sacrifice and defiance of her family leads to tragedy. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Comedian Chloe Petts heads for York with her If You Can’t Say Anything Nice show

Comedy gig of the week: Burning Duck Comedy Club presents Chloe Petts, The Crescent, York, tomorrow (15/2/2024), 7.30pm

BUOYED by her Edinburgh Fringe run and Soho Theatre sell-out debut in London, Chloe Petts serves up her follow-up hour, If You Can’t Say Anything Nice. Everyone complimented her on how polite she was with big issues in the last show, so now she is cashing in those points and plans on being really rude. “Expect routines on wedding dancefloors, the footie and calling you all a bunch of virgins,” she says. Box office: wegottickets.com/event/588889.

Look out too for Burning Duck’s 8pm show at Theatre@41 Monkgate, York, on Friday: the debut tour of northerner Paddy Young: Hungry, Horny, Scared..and “in the gutter but looking down on all of you”. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

James: Returning to Scarborough Open Air Theatre in July. Picture: Lewis Knaggs

Gig announcement of the week: James, supported by Reverend & The Makers and Girlband!, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, July 26

MANCHESTER band James play Scarborough Open Air Theatre for the fourth time on July 26, the night when Leeds lads Kaiser Chiefs finish off the evening card at York Races.

“If you haven’t been there before, then make sure you come,” says James bassist and founder member Jim Glennie. “It’s a cracking venue and you can even have a paddle in the sea before the show!” New album Yummy arrives on April 12. Box office: James, ticketmaster.co.uk from 9am on Friday; Kaiser Chiefs, yorkracecourse.co.uk.

More Things To Do in York and beyond as the Vikings take over. Hutch’s List No. 7 for February 10 onwards, from The Press

In with a shout: Jorvik Viking Festival returns to York

INVASION? Installation? Theatre innovation? Half-term challenges? Giants and dinosaurs? Yes, yes, yes. Charles Hutchinson signposts what to catch in the days and weeks ahead.

Festival of the week: Jorvik Viking Festival 2024, invading York from February 12 to 18

NOW in its 39th year, Europe’s largest annual Viking festival will be attracting up to 45,000 visitors of all ages over the week ahead. “We’d always advise booking in for some of the activities – including a visit to Jorvik Viking Centre and the Festival Finale – but many have booking slots available on the day too,” advises event manager Abigail Judge.

Family activities include Monday’s smelly, squelchy Poo Day! at DIG, St Saviourgate, from 11am to 3pm; daily Berserker Camp, family crafting and saga story-telling Arena! shows, and a new event, the Best Dressed Viking, Best Beast and Best Beard competitions, on February 18 at 12.30pm in St Sampson’s Square. For tickets and the full programme, visit: jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk

Georgia-Mae Myers and Nedum Okonyia in rehearsal for the Imitating The Dog and Leeds Playhouse co-production of Frankenstein. Picture: Ed Waring

Yorkshire theatre premiere of the week: Frankenstein, Leeds Playhouse Courtyard Theatre, February 15 to 24

PIONEERING Leeds company Imitating The Dog teams up with Leeds Playhouse for a “visually captivating and psychologically thrilling” multi-media exploration of Mary Shelley’s Gothic tale of fear and anxiety, posing the question “what is it to be human?”.

Georgia-Mae Myers and Nedum Okonyia play all the roles across parallel narratives, threading together the late-18th century’ story of Frankenstein with a contemporary conversation between a pregnant young couple, fearful of what it means to bring life into the world. Box office: 0113 213 7700 or  leedsplayhouse.org.uk.

Ironing 1924 style at Nunnington Hall over half-term. Picture: Arnhel de Serra

Half-term family activity of the week: Nunnington Hall, Nunnington, near Helmsley, February 10 to 18, 10.30am to 4pm, last entry at 3.15pm.

TRAVEL back to 1924 this half-term when families can enjoy being tasked with carrying out activities performed by household servants 100 years ago, from ironing to dusting bannisters, cross stitch to flower arranging.  

The National Trust property has created a fun, interactive trail around the manor house in the form of a CV that guides visitors through the various servant skills. Children can find out if they meet the requirements necessary to fulfil the responsibilities of the desired positions, and then decide which roles, if any, they would choose to accept. Tickets: nationaltrust.org.uk/nunnington-hall.

Going Wilde in the country: Tiny & Tall Productions and Soap Soup Theatre’s touring production of The Selfish Giant visits Helmsley

Children’s show of the week: Tiny & Tall Productions and Soap Soup Theatre in The Selfish Giant, Helmsley Arts Centre, February 11, 2.30pm

BRISTOL family theatre companies Tiny & Tall Productions and Soap Soup Theatre head north with their collaborative exploration of Oscar Wilde’s children’s story of an unusual friendship, The Selfish Giant.

In this version, the giant Grinter lives happily alone in her huge icy house, shutting out the world that long ago shut her out. Outside, very little greenery is left. One spring day, the children, tired of playing on hard roads and grey rooftops, climb through a chink in her garden walls, changing the course of their lives forever and Grinter’s too. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyartscentre.co.uk.

Jonathan Pie: Hero or villain? Time for a rant at York Barbican

York comedy gig(s) of the week: Jonathan Pie: Hero Or Villain?, York Barbican, February 14 and 15, 7.30pm

FOR the record, ranting political correspondent Jonathan Pie is a fictional character portrayed by British comedian Tom Walker, scripted by Walker and Irish comedian Andrew Doyle. In his latest slice of Pie, he hopes to answer the question: hero or villain?

Join him, on a St Valentine’s Day date or the night after, as he “celebrates the UK’s greatest heroes (nurses/Gary Lineker/24-hour off licence proprietors), takes a verbal blowtorch to its villains (the Tories/cyclists), kicks in the Establishment’s back doors and rifles through its kitchen cupboards”. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Jurassic Live: Dinosaur adventures on a musical journey at York Barbican

Swimming dinosaur alert: Jurassic Live, York Barbican, February 16, 5pm; February 17, 11am, 3pm; February 18, 1pm

NEW for 2024 in this interactive theatrical dinosaur show is the Tylosaurus, a genus of Mosasaur: the largest predatory marine reptile to ever grace our oceans and now the largest marine puppet ever made as it swims in its gigantic purpose-built Jurassic tank on stage. Be warned: if you sit near the front, you will get wet!

Family show Jurassic Live undertakes a musical journey as little Amber, Ranger Joe and Ranger Nora strive to save the day from an evil man determined to close the Jurassic facility. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Barrie and the Bard: Barrie Rutter discusses Shakespeare’s Royals at the SJT, Scarborough, Salts Mill, York Theatre Royal and Ripon Theatre Festival

Regal tour of the north: Barrie Rutter: Shakespeare’s Royals, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, March 1, 7.30pm; Arrival Of Spring Gallery, Salts Mill, Saltaire, April 13, 7.30pm; York Theatre Royal Studio, April 26, 7.45pm; Ripon Theatre Festival, Ripon Cathedral, July 4, 7.30pm

BARRIE Rutter, founder and former director of Northern Broadsides, celebrates the Bard’s kings and queens – their achievements, conquests and foibles – with tales, anecdotes and memories from a career of playing and directing Shakespeare’s Royals.

After being told he could never play a king on account of his Yorkshire accent, Hull-born Rutter, now 77, took the revolutionary step of creating his own theatre company in 1992 in Halifax to use the northern voice for Shakespeare’s kings, queens and emperors, not only the usual drunken porters, jesters or fools. As he says on X: “Lover of language. Awobopaloobopalopbamboom – everything else is Shakespeare”. Box office: Scarborough, 01723 370541 or sjt.uk.com; Salt’s Mill, https://bit.ly/RutterAtSalts;  York, 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk; Ripon, ripontheatrefestival.org.

In Focus: Art installation Colour & Light, York Art Gallery, going full frontal until February 25

Colour & Light: Art from the York Art Gallery collection spreads over the gallery facade in Double Take Projections’ installation. Picture: York BID/Double Take Projections

YORK BID links up with York Museums Trust for the return of Colour & Light: an innovative project designed to warm up York Art Gallery’s facade in the cold winter with an art-filled light installation by David McConnachie’s Edinburgh company Double Take Projections.

This “high impact and large-scale visual arts project” uses 3D projection mapping to bring York’s iconic buildings to life, first York Minster last year, now York Art Gallery, where the projection will play every ten minutes from 6pm to 9pm daily in a non-ticketed free event. 

Highlighting York’s UNESCO Media Arts status, this outdoor projection is the work of Double Take Projections, who architecturally scanned the gallery facade to generate a 3D model.

This model served as the template for content application. From there, they used multiple projections to create one seamless image by projecting from different angles and wrapping content on the irregularly shaped frontage.

Viewers can notice something new at each viewing, such as York’s skyline being hidden in different mediums or artistic elements of the gallery’s façade that they may not have spotted previously.

The William Etty statue in front of the gallery, in Exhibition Square, has been brought to life too. Born in Feasegate and buried just around the corner from the gallery in Marygate, Etty is York’s most iconic artist.

Considered the first significant British painter of nudes and still lifes, Etty’s 19th century paintings were somewhat controversial at the time, but he also played a role in the conservation of the city walls.  His work Preparing For AFancy Dress Ball features in the Colour & Light display.

Not only York Art Gallery’s paintings are highlighted. Spot the reference to the extensive Centre of Ceramic Arts (CoCA) and the two tiled panels on the side of the building, Leonardo Expiring In The Arms Of Francis I and Michelangelo Showing His Moses

Viewers can pick up exclusive Colour & Light merchandise from the Sketch Box for £2 or less while watching the show, as well as churros, soft serve and hot drinks.

Carl Alsop, York BID’s operations manager, says: “This event is all about making world-class culture more accessible, and it’s been brilliant watching the show from Exhibition Square, traditionally a quiet and reserved space, with children playing, dancing and laughing, and people from all backgrounds enjoying the show together.

“It’s also been great to see people discovering some of the less obvious aspects of the projection on a second viewing. Audiences have enjoyed various buildings from York’s skyline reimagined in different mediums, as well as seeing elements of York Art Gallery, like the mosaics on each side of the building, brought to life.”

Richard Saward, York Museums Trust’s head of visitor experience and commercial, says: “We are thrilled to be involved with York BID’s Colour & Light show. This event kicks off a fantastic season at York Art Gallery, including The Aesthetica Art Prize 2024 exhibition and Claude Monet’s painting The Waterlily-Pond, which will be on display in York from May 10 to celebrate the 200th birthday of the National Gallery.” 

REVIEW: 1812 Theatre Company in Jekyll & Hyde The Musical, Old Meeting House, Helmsley Arts Centre, July 5 to 9 ***

Natasha Jones’s Lucy Harris and Joe Gregory’s Dr Jekyll in 1812 Theatre Company’s Jekyll & Hyde The Musical. All pictures: Helmsley Arts Centre, Joe Coughlan Phtography

IN their 30th anniversary year, Helmsley Arts Centre’s resident troupe, the 1812 Theatre Company, staged a musical for the first time.

The Old Meeting House stage is not the biggest, yet still Julie Lomas’s cast could accommodate 22 players in that compact space, with the full company number Murder! Murder! being one of the highpoints for cast and choreographer Michaela Edens alike.

Lomas is an experienced directorial hand from her days at The Grange Theatre, Walsall, where she directed Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse’s Broadway musical for the Grange Players. Likewise, musical director John Atkin had filled the same role for York Musical Theatre Company in May last year.

Know-how and experience duly combined with fresh ideas to good effect in this musical retelling of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella of love, betrayal and murder.

Sarah Barker’s brothel madam, Aunt, in Jekyll & Hyde The Musical

Two keyboards, guitar and drums took care of business with panache, Atkin and cohorts Cameron McArthur, Paul McArthur and Joe Brooks being equally at home with big ballads in the Lloyd Webber mode and the sly wickedness shared with Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street.

Sue Elm, Michael Goslin and Peter Ives’s set was built on two levels, both of them busy with human traffic in the ensemble numbers but best suited to the duets and profusion of solo numbers. Dr Henry Jekyll’s laboratory had to be rather squeezed in at the back but thankfully Joe Gregory is whippet slim.

The Gothic colour scheme of red walls and black doors was particularly effective when matched by the attire of the Victorian prostitutes of the Red Rat, and the use of masks was striking too.

This was CharlesHutchPress’s first encounter with Joe Gregory, and what an impressive lead performance he gave as the handsome/devil conflation of the upstanding, urbane but obsessive Jekyll and vengeful, sadistic, deranged alter ego Hyde welled up from within, once the doctor dares to dabble in reckless scientific experimentation in the cause of research for mental illness.

Joe Gregory’s urbane but obsessive Dr Jekyll

No Hammer Horror histrionics to report here on the journey to the dark side and an inner struggle between good and evil, scientific learning and carnal carnage. Instead, Gregory became more forceful of voice and manner, his movements staccato, stealthy and seductive, his actions ruthless, as brisk and lean as a bull fighter beneath a cocked hat.

The contrast was greater in his singing of the largely narrative songs, where notes would be deliberately strained in Hyde’s more urgent, guttural delivery, never more so than in The Confrontation, the Act Two vocal wrestling match for control in this dangerously dual personality.

It cannot be every arts centre where the artistic director (and youth theatre director to boot) happens to be the stand-out singer and actress for the resident company too. Step forward Natasha Jones, who was a knockout as Lucy Harris, the love-struck but self-protective prostitute, at once feisty but fearful and vulnerable.

What a voice; what expressiveness.  Each and every one of Lucy’s solo songs was better for her singing it, having first teased and tantalised provocatively among the saucy prostitutes in Bring On The Men.

Natasha Jones’s Lucy Harris: “What a voice. What expressiveness”

Her duets with both Gregory’s Jekyll and Hyde fizzed with electricity and, in between, her duet with Amy Gregory’s Emma Carew, Dr Jekyll’s trusting, unknowing fiancée, was Amy’s peak moment too.

As befits a romanticist scientist, Gregory’s Dr Jekyll had chemistry with both women, one relationship tender if preoccupied, the other tactile and voracious, as the chemically altered Hyde gradually prevails, both possessed and possessive.

John Lister’s John Utterson, Kristian Gregory’s Simon Stride, Richard Noakes’s Sir Danvers Carew, Barry Whitaker’s Bishop of Basingstoke, Sarah Barker’s brothel madam, Aunt, and Esme Schofield’s Newsgirl all had their moments in a show best known for Dr Jekyll’s belter This Is The Moment.

It was enjoyable too to spot Rowntree Players’ riotous pantomime dame, Graham Smith, in a deliciously wicked cameo as Sir Archibald Proops QC, a law unto himself indeed.

Joe Gregory’s Dr Jekyll finds peace at last in the arms of Amy Gregory’s Emma in the finale to Jekyll & Hyde The Musical

Julie Lomas directs 1812 Theatre Company for first time in Jekyll & Hyde The Musical

Julie Lomas directing a rehearsal for 1812 Theatre Company’s production of Jeklly & Hyde The Musical

JULIE Lomas directs Helmsley Arts Centre’s resident troupe, the 1812 Theatre Company, in their first ever musical production, Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse’s Jekyll & Hyde, from tomorrow.

In Robert Louis Stevenson’s story, a devoted man of science, Dr Henry Jekyll, is driven to find a chemical breakthrough that can solve some of mankind’s most challenging medical dilemmas. Indeed, he is trying to discover cures for what now would be recognised as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Rebuffed by the powers that be, he decides to make himself the subject of his own experimental treatments, accidentally unleashing his inner demons along with the man the world would come to know as Mr Hyde.

1812’s cast features husband and wife Joe and Amy Gregory in the lead roles of Jekyll/Hyde and Emma Carew. John Atkin is the musical director; Michaela Edens, the choreographer.

Here Julie discusses 1812 Theatre Company’s 30th anniversary production with CharlesHutchPress.

How did you land this directing gig? Were you head-hunted or did you pitch for it?

“An 1812 Theatre Company member suggested that the company should do a musical at the annual general meeting. Apparently, others had been talking about wanting to do it for some time.

“The committee discussed this and I said that if they would like to go ahead, I had experience as a director
in musical theatre and would love to do it.”

 

What attracted you to directing Jekyll & Hyde The Musical?

“I love musicals that dramatic enough to ‘move’ an audience emotionally. There are not many of these that are available for amateurs to perform. I feel that there are several opportunities for this in Jekyll and Hyde.

 

“With its dramatic strengths and less choreographic content, it is a suitable choice as a
first musical for this company.

 

“Plus, I’ve directed it before for the Grange Players in Walsall. This actually made me think very carefully as I prefer not to repeat anything, but this was a musical that I was driven to do again. My concept this time is different, a contemporary treatment but still in a Victorian setting.”



 

What is your directing background?

“Having performed in several plays for The Grange Theatre, Walsall, I was asked if I would like to
direct. My first play was Kindertransport by Diane Samuels, and after that I never looked back.

“I directed several plays there, including Rebecca, Accrington Pals and The End Of The Affair but my favourite by a long way was Peter Schaffer’s Amadeus.

“I think it was being able to bring together my love of music, fabulous period costume, make-up
and wigs plus the wonderful tragic plot line and enigmatic characters. I was fortunate enough to win a regional NODA (National Operatic and Dramatic Association) award for that production, which I treasure.

“I moved into directing a musical there and then directed one professionally for Brownhills Musical Theatre Company, Sweet Charity.”

Do you now specialise in musical theatre?

“I’m keen to embrace many types of theatrical productions. I’ve been a soloist singer since the age of eight and have been lucky enough to have had many fantastic principal roles in musical theatre. My favourites were Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street, Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street and Sally Bowles in Cabaret.

“So, although I cannot say that I specialise in musical theatre, there’s absolutely nothing that compares with the feeling of being part of a musical, as a performer, director or crew member.”

What brought you to Helmsley?

“I moved to North Yorkshire to be geographically close to my son and his wife and see more of my grandchildren. My eldest son and his family live in Sheffield, so I can commute there too.

 

“However, it’s a great place to live in its own right, the peaceful countryside around here is a sheer delight and Helmsley is the prettiest town in which to rehearse and perform! I was looking for a theatre company that would feel like ‘home’ to me and I felt welcomed from the start. The theatre itself is lovely, providing an intimate theatre space, modern studio bar and leafy courtyard.

 

“I live in Westow, a village just outside the Howardian Hills area. I now consider the Helmsley Arts
Centre to be my base. In a few years, even with the lockdown, I have already performed there, worked backstage for a production and I’m also a member of the management committee.”




Any thoughts on why 1812 Theatre Company has not staged a musical in its 30 years until now?

“I would imagine it’s because when the company was set up, the idea was for members to perform plays. However, it’s so much more diverse now. In the past 12 months alone we’ve performed plays, a rehearsed reading, an indoor/outdoor production in Helmsley Walled Garden, a hugely successful pantomime and now a musical!

 

“We’re hoping that this variety will both entice new members, who are always welcome,
and encourage retention of existing members.

 

“The other more sombre answer is that to produce a musical is expensive and we’re hoping to have good audiences, not only to see the amazing performances, but also from a financial
perspective.”




What are the strengths of Bricusse and Wildhorn’s songs?

 

“As we’re repeatedly told by our musical director, John Atkin, this is not an easy musical score. However, it’s such a beautiful one with melodies that linger long after the show is over.

 

“It allows performers to do just that: perform the music, rather than just sing it, and we have worked hard to bring that to the stage. It provides a tour de force for the eponymous actor, Jekyll, which climaxes with him singing a duet with himself, as Hyde. Joe [Gregory] has excelled in the role and I’m sure audiences will appreciate his performance.”



Is this the first time you have worked with musical director John Atkin?

“It is, and I’m hoping it will not be the last. As soon as I met him, I knew the production
was in safe hands. He’s an extremely talented musician and wonderful to
work with.”

A husband and wife, Joe and Amy Gregory, will lead your cast as Jekyll/Hyde and Emma Carew. What does their personal relationship bring to their stage partnership?

“It’s rare for there to be such chemistry between the two romantic leads – even if they do happen to be married! Joe and Amy have such a special relationship, and in their case, this comes across immediately.

 

“They’re also both lovely people and in all my time directing, I have genuinely never met anyone more joyous to work with. They are committed, passionate performers who will work hard to
deliver what you’re aiming for as a director yet also contribute actively to the creative process.”




What is the message of Jekyll & Hyde in our 21st century world, where tampering with science
may well have led to Covid?

“Good question. I suppose the message is that research does not always deliver the desired
results. Sometimes though, even the unexpected results can turn out to be beneficial. There are many drugs that are used for things for which they were not intended in development.

As a hospital pharmacist by profession, I was interested in this angle of drug research in psychiatry with Dr Jekyll. Even today, we still know comparatively little about the causes of
mental illness and effective drug therapy is limited.

“Also, if you consider the possible effects of hallucinogenic drugs, the concept of a ‘Dr Jekyll’ and ‘Mr Hyde’ characterisation after injection is not so far-fetched.”

What will be your next theatrical project?

“My next project for 1812 Theatre Company is to mentor a first-time director, Sarah Barker, as she directs ’The Kitchen Sink [Hull playwright Tom Wells’s tender comedy of big dreams and small changes in a Withernsea, East Yorkshire family].

We like to encourage members to consider directing and have a few people that are interested, but it’s important that they have someone to support them through the process.

“I think the big question is, will I ever direct another musical for 1812. Who knows? This production has consumed every moment of my life for the past six months, and a fair few moments in the months before that.

“I’d like to think so. What I do know, though, is that my passion for musicals will never die, unlike a number of Jekyll’s victims!”

1812 Theatre Company in Jekyll & Hyde The Musical, Helmsley Arts Centre, July 5 to 9, 7.30pm. Tickets: £15, under 18s, £7.50, from the arts centre, on 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk. Age
guidance: Suitable for 13 plus.

 

 

More Things To Do in York and beyond with the chance to go Wildish in the town and country. Hutch’s List No. 27, from The Press

Wildish curator Jo Walton with a pot by Julie O’Sullivan and one of her own metal paintings at Pyramid Gallery

MUSIC festivals and mystic femininity in art, comedy antics and bucket list stunts, a scary scientist and a madcap whodunit spark Charles Hutchinson’s interest.

Exhibition launch of the week: Wildish, Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, today until August 13

CURATED by Rogues Atelier Studios artist and interior designer Jo Walton, Wildish unites six women – five artists and a poet – through a theme based loosely on deep and sensual mystic femininity.

Taking part will be Jo Walton, Julie O’Sullivan, Christine Pike, Izzy Williamson, Zoe Catherine Kendal and York poet Nicky Kippax. Meet them at today’s 11am opening for a drink, nibbles and a chat.

Niall Ransome, left, and Dave Hearn in rehearsal for The 39 Steps at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

Revival of the week: The 39 Steps, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, until July 29

ARTISTIC director Paul Robinson revives his hit 2018 production of Patrick Barlow’s fast and frenetic stage adaptation of John Buchan’s juicy spy novel and Alfred Hitchcock’s film in tandem with the Theatre by the Lake, Keswick.

Barlow adds a dash of Monty Python to the winning combination of whodunit and old-fashioned romance as Mischief Theatre founder member Dave Hearn’s Richard Hannay is joined by fellow Mischief alumnus Niall Ransome, reprising his Clown role from 2018, Lucy Keirl and SJT debutante Olivia Onyehara. Cue the iconic chase on the Flying Scotsman, the first-ever theatrical biplane crash and a death-defying (well nearly) finale. Box office: 01723 370541 or sjt.uk.com.

Paul Heaton: Performing with special guest singers rather than regular partner in song Jacqui Abbott at Scarborough Open Air Theatre tonight. Picture: David Harrison

Outdoor gig of the week: Paul Heaton, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, today, gates open at 6pm

PAUL Heaton, former frontman of Hull bands The Housemartins and The Beautiful South, heads up the Yorkshire coast for a headline gig in Scarborough. Special guests supporting the self-styled “Last King Of Pop” will be Ian Broudie’s Lightning Seeds.

Busy week ahead for Scarborough OAT: Hollywood Vampires, Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry and Tommy Henriksen’s American rock supergroup, play a sold-out show on Wednesday, followed by The Cult on Thursday, Tom Grennan on Friday and Pulp (sold out) next Sunday. Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com.

Chris Lynam: Topping tonight’s Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club bill at The Basment, City Screen Picturehouse

Comedy gig of the week: Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club presents Chris Lynam, Patrick Monahan, Dean Coughlin and Damion Larkin, The Basement, City Screen Picturehouse, York, tonight, 8pm

HEADLINER Chris Lynam has been feverishly subverting the traditions of the stand-up comic for more than 30 years with his grasp of crazy antics. Patrick Monaghan holds the world record for Longest Hug at a time of 25 hours and 25 minutes, set at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Dean Coughlin has worked on the comedy circuit since 2017. Master of ceremonies and club organiser Damion Larkin will be improvising his set as ever. Further LOL Comedy nights are in place for August 5 and September 2. Box office: lolcomedyclubs.co.uk.

Amy Gregory in rehearsal for her role as Emma Carew in 1812 Theatre Company’s Jekyll & Hyde The Musical

Musical of the week: 1812 Theatre Company in Jekyll & Hyde The Musical, Helmsley Arts Centre, Wednesday to Sunday, 7.30pm

JULIE Lomas directs Helmsley Arts Centre’s resident troupe, the 1812 Theatre Company, in their first ever musical production, Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse’s Jekyll & Hyde, based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s story.

Marking the venue’s 30th anniversary, the show features husband and wife Joe and Amy Gregory in the lead roles of Jekyll/Hyde and Emma Carew. John Atkin is the musical director; Michaela Edens, the choreographer. Box office: 01439 771700  or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Mezzo soprano Helen Charlston: Performing Battle Cry: She Speaks with theorbo player Toby Carr at York Early Music Festival on July 10

Festival of the week: York Early Music Festival 2023, Friday until July 14

THIS summer’s York Early Music Festival takes the theme of Smoke & Mirrors with a focus on William Byrd, a practising Catholic composer working for a constantly threatened Protestant queen.

The City Musick, Ensemble Jupiter & York countertenor Iestyn Davies, The Sixteen, violinist Rachel Podger, The Marian Consort and Rose Consort of Viols and mezzo soprano Helen Charlston are among the week’s musicians. Full festival details and tickets: ncem.co.uk; 01904 658338.

Tom Figgins: Showcasing new songs at Stillington Mill on Friday

Solo gig of the week: Tom Figgins, At The Mill, Stillington, near York, Friday, 7.30pm

SINGER and songwriter Tom Figgins, programmer for At The Mill’s summer’s season of music, comedy and theatre, plays the Stillington garden for a third time this weekend. Noted for his vocal range, distinctive guitar playing and complex lyrics, he numbers radio presenter Chris Evans among his fans, appearing on his BBC Radio 2 show. Expect songs old and new at one of his favourite spots. Box office: tickettailor.com/events/atthemill/925897.

Steve-O: Working through his bucket list of stunts at York Barbican

Stunts of the week: Steve-O, York Barbican, Friday, 7.30pm

EVERY idea on American entertainer Steve-O’s bucket list was so ill advised, he never expected to go through with any of them. Until it was time to prepare for this tour. Not only are the stunts even more ridiculous than Steve-O pulled off on MTV’s Jackass, but now he has made a highly XXX-rated, multimedia comedy show out of them too. Not for children or the faint of heart, he warns. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

The Magpies: Curating and playing at their festival at Sutton Park in August

Heading to the park: The Magpies Festival, Sutton Park, Sutton-on-the-Forest, near York, August 11 and 12

TRANSATLANTIC folk trio The Magpies have confirmed the line-up for their two-day open-air festival of music, activities, stalls and food and drink. The Friday main stage acts will be Laura Cortese & The Cards, Chris Difford and Holy Moly & The Crackers, followed by the Saturday bill of Liz Stringer, Honey & The Bear, Blair Dunlop, Rachel Sermanni, The Magpies and Edward II.

Friday acts on the Brass Castle Stage will be The Dicemen, Thorpe & Morrison, The Often Herd and New York Brass Band; Saturday will welcome Jack Harris, Megan Henwood, Tom Moore & Archie Moss, Gilmore & Roberts, and Bonfire Radicals, concluding with a Ceilidh with Archie Moss. Box office: themagpiesfestival.co.uk.

1812 Theatre Company to stage Jekyll & Hyde The Musical under Julie Lomas’s direction at Helmsley Arts Centre

Natasha Jones’s Lucy and Joe Gregory’s Jekyll/Hyde in rehearsal for 1812 Theatre Company’s Jekyll & Hyde The Musical

JULIE Lomas makes her directorial debut for the 1812 Theatre Group at the helm of the Helmsley company’s ambitious production of Jekyll & Hyde The Musical.

The resident troupe at Helmsley Arts Centre will be performing Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse’s thrilling pop score there from July 5 to 9 as part of the Meeting House Court venue’s 30th anniversary celebrations.

Julie, who has a wealth of experience directing at the The Grange Theatre, Walsall, is joined in the creative team by John Atkin, a musical director who needs no introduction to York audiences.

Julie Lomas: Directing 1812 Theatre Company for the first time

In Robert Louis Stevenson’s story, a devoted man of science, Dr Henry Jekyll, is driven to find a chemical breakthrough that can solve some of mankind’s most challenging medical dilemmas. Indeed, he is trying to discover cures for what now would be recognised as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Rebuffed by the powers that be, he decides to make himself the subject of his own experimental treatments, accidentally unleashing his inner demons along with the man the world would come to know as Mr Hyde.

Wildhorn’s soaring melodies offer wonderful opportunities for the performers to showcase their abilities. The two leading ladies each have their showstopping moments, but for the actor playing Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the role is a breath-taking tour de force.

Sarah Barker and Esme Schofield rehearsing a scene from Jekyll And Hyde The Musical

Enter Joe Gregory, a talented musician and experienced actor, who is a stalwart of 1812’s pantomimes and latterly has appeared in Martin Vander Weyer’s Helmsley’s Whole History, Alan Ayckbourn’s Absent Friends and David Tristram’s Going Green.

Joe will be playing opposite his wife, Amy Gregory, here cast as Jekyll’s fiancée, Emma Danvers. Amy is a “graduate” of the 1812 Youth Theatre, run by Natasha Jones, who will play Lucy, the other woman in Jekyll’s life.

Seven cast members are drawn from the youth theatre ranks, bringing their energy and skills to Julie’s production, which is sponsored by the Yorkshire Future Music Fund and Gillham Charitable Fund.

Amy Gregory’s Emma Carew in the rehearsal room

The full cast will be: Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde, Joe Gregory; Emma Carew, Amy Gregory; Lucy, Natasha Jones; Utterson, John Lister; Danvers, Richard Noakes; Simon Stride, Kristian Gregory; Mrs Poole, Joanne Lister; Aunt (Brothel Madam), Sarah Barker; New Girl, Esme Schofield; Nellie (Prostitute), Sara Todd; Winnie (Prostitute) Jeanette Hambidge; Lady Beaconsfield, Sue Smith; Lady Savage, Heather Linley, and Bishop of Basingstoke, Barry Whitaker.

Further roles will be: General Glossop, Stephen Lonsdale; Sir Archibald Proops, Graham Smith; Miss Henrietta Faversham, Rosie Hayman; Jekyll’s Father, Stephen Lonsdale; Miss Louisa Pembroke, Annabelle Bridgman; Ward Orderly/Bouncer, Tom Robson, plus Dancer and Prostitute, Abigail Elliot, Millicent Neighbour, Bella Cornford, Amelia Featherstone and Charlotte Mintoft.

1812 Theatre Company in Jekyll & Hyde The Musical, Helmsley Arts Centre, July 5 to 9, 7.30pm.  Tickets: £15, under 18s, £7.50, from the arts centre or at helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Taking the chair: Barry Whitaker as the Bishop of Basingstoke

More Things To Do in York and beyond when the tooth fairy visits and gaps must be filled. Hutch’s List No. 24, from The Press

Driller thriller: Birmingham Rep in David Walliams’ Demon Dentist at the Grand Opera House, York

COMEDY aplenty, musical collaborations, dental mystery adventures and soul seekers make a convincing case for inclusion in Charles Hutchinson’s list.

Children’s show of the week: David Walliams’ Demon Dentist, Grand Opera House, York, Thursday, 1.30pm, 6.30pm; Friday, 10.30am, 6.30pm; Saturday, 11am, 3pm

CHILDREN’S author David Walliams has teamed up with Birmingham Stage Company for Demon Dentist, their third collaboration after Gangsta Granny and Billionaire Boy, aapted and directed by Neal Foster.

Join Alfie and Gabz as they investigate the strange events happening in their hometown, where children are leaving their teeth for the tooth fairy and waking up to find odd things under their pillows. No-one could have dreamed what Alfie and Gabz would discover on coming face to face with the demon dentist herself in this thrilling adventure story. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Isabelle Farah: Sadness meets humour in Ellipsis at Theatre@41

Therapy session of the week: Isabelle Farah: Ellipsis, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, tonight, 7.45pm

STAND-UP is the outlet that keeps you sane, where the nature of the game is to turn everything into punchlines. But can you do it if you feel all-consuming sadness, ponders comedian/actor/writer/nightmare Isabelle Farah in Ellipsis.

“I wanted my therapist to come and watch me to see how hilarious I am, but I thought how odd it would be performing to someone who’s seen so far behind my mask,” she says. “Would he even find it funny or just sit there knowing what I was hiding?” Cue her exploration of grief, authenticity and being funny.

Elinor Rolfe Johnson: Soprano soloist at York Minster tonight

Classical concert of the week: Vaughan Williams: A Sea Symphony, York Minster, tonight, 7.30pm

YORK Musical Society and Philharmonischer Chor Münster from York’s twin city in Germany mark 30 years of concert collaborations with Vaughan Williams’s A Sea Symphony, using text from Walt Whitman poems.

Toward The Unknown Region, another Whitman setting, takes a journey from darkness to light, followed by the beautiful orchestral work Serenade in A minor. Tonight’s soloists are soprano Elinor Rolfe Johnson and bass Julian Tovey. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk; on the door from 6.45pm.

Frankie Boyle’s tour poster for Lap Of Shame, doing the rounds on tour at the Grand Opera House, York

Great Scot of the week: Frankie Boyle, Lap Of Shame, Grand Opera House, York, Sunday, 7.30pm

SCATHING Scottish comedian, surrealist, presenter and writer Frankie Boyle, 50, is on tour. “Buy a ticket, because by the time I arrive, the currency will be worthless and you and your neighbours part of a struggling militia that could probably use a few laughs,” advises the often-controversial Glaswegian.

Only a handful of tickets are still available at atgtickets.com/york. Please note: no latecomers, no readmittance.

Scott Bennett: Heading to Selby Town Hall

Great Scott of the week: Scott Bennett, Selby Town Hall, Sunday, 7.30pm

SCOTT Bennett has been blazing a trail through the stand-up circuit for the best part of a decade, writing for Chris Ramsey and Jason Manford too.

After regular appearances on BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz and The Now Show and his debut on BBC One’s Live At The Apollo, he presents Great Scott! in Selby. Box office: selbytownhall.co.uk.

Kiki Dee & Carmelo Luggeri: On the road to Helmsley Arts Centre

Rescheduled gig of the week: Kiki Dee & Carmelo Luggeri, Helmsley Arts Centre, Sunday, 7.30pm

MOVED from March 3, Bradford soul singer Kiki Dee and guitarist Carmelo Luggeri head to Helmsley for an acoustic journey through stories and songs, from Kate Bush and Frank Sinatra covers to Kiki’s hits Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, I Got The Music In Me, Loving And Free and Amoureuse. Songs from 2022’s The Long Ride Home should feature too. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Neil Warnock: Moving his York Barbican show from June 15 to next May

Re-arranged show announcement: Neil Warnock, Are You With Me?, York Barbican, moving from June 15 to May 31 2024

ARE you with Neil Warnock on Thursday? Not any more, after “unforeseen circumstances” forced the former York City captain and Scarborough manager (and town chiropodist) to postpone his talk tour until next spring. Tickets remain valid.

After guiding Huddersfield Town to safety from the threat of relegation in the 2022-2023 season, Warnock, 74, was to have gone on the road to discuss his record number of games as a manager, 16 clubs and 8 promotions, from non-league to Premier League, and a thousand stories along the way that have never been told. Now those tales must wait…and whose season might he rescue in 2023-24 before then?! Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Kyshona: Protest singing in Pocklington

Discovery of the week: Kyshona, Pocklington Arts Centre, Thursday, 8pm

UNRELENTING in her pursuit of the healing power of song, community connector Kyshona Armstrong has the background of a licensed music therapist, the curiosity of a writer, the resolve of an activist and the voice of a protest singer.

As witnessed on her 2020 album Listen, she blends roots, rock, R&B and folk with her lyrical clout. Past collaborators include Margo Price and Adia Victoria.  Now comes her Pocklington debut. Box office: 01759 301547 or pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

The Illegal Eagles: Taking it easy at York Barbican

Tribute show of the week: The Illegal Eagles, York Barbican, Friday, 8pm

THE Illegal Eagles celebrate the golden music of the legendary West Coast country rock band with musical prowess, attention to detail and showmanship.  Expect to hear Hotel California, Desperado, Take It Easy, New Kid In Town, Life In The Fast Lane and many more. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Shalamar: Toasting 40 years of Friends at York Barbican

Soul show of the week: Shalamar Friends 40th Anniversary Tour, York Barbican, June 17, 7.30pm

SHALAMAR mark the 40th anniversary of Friends, the platinum-selling album that housed four Top 20 singles, A Night To Remember, Friends, There It Is and I Can Make You Feel Good, outsold Abba, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Culture Club and Meat Loaf that year and spawned Jeffrey Daniels’ dance moves on Top of The Pops.

Further Shalamar hits Take That To The Bank, I Owe You One, Make That Move, Dead Giveaway and Disappearing Act feature too.  Special guests are Jaki Graham and Cool Notes’ Lauraine McIntosh. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

The poster for the Academy of St Olave’s summer concert

Celebrating England’s musical legacy: Academy of St Olave’s, St Olave’s Church, Marygate, York, June 17, 8pm

THE Academy of St Olave’s chamber orchestra rounds off its 2022-23 season with a summer concert centred on England’s musical legacy, from symphonies written for
London audiences by the great Austrian composers Mozart and Haydn, to works by
English composers Frederick Delius, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Paul Patterson.

The concert is book-ended by Mozart’s first symphony and Haydn’s hundredth, known as “The Military”. Mozart composed his work in London during his family’s Grand Tour of
Europe in 1764, when the boy wonder was eight. Likewise, Haydn’s work was one of his 12 “London symphonies”, to be performed during his second visit to England in 1794-95. Box office: academyofstolaves.org.uk or on the door.

Mozart 1764
Haydn 1794-5
Delius 1911
RVW 1904-7
Patterson 1999

In Focus: Who are the York community chorus in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Julius Caesar at York Theatre Royal?

Community chorus sextet Hilary Conroy, Astrid Hanlon, Elaine Harvey, Stephanie Hesp, Anna Johnston and Frances Simon with music director Jessa Liversidge, right

SIX women – all inspirational leaders within the York and North Yorkshire community – will form the Chorus when the Royal Shakespeare Company’s touring production of Julius Caesar visits York Theatre Royal from June 13 to 17.

Step forward Hilary Conroy, Astrid Hanlon, Elaine Harvey, Stephanie Hesp, Anna Johnston and Frances Simon, under the musical direction of community choir leader Jessa Liversidge, from Easingwold, with Zoe Colven-Davies as chorus coordinator.

The women in next week’s chorus have roles in the community spanning activism and campaigning to charity and social work, lecturing, teaching and coaching. In their day-to-day lives they each make an impact on the York community, whether through fighting for social change, championing community voices, supporting vulnerable groups or encouraging engagement in the creative arts. 

Between them, they lead and support a diverse range of groups and community causes, including supporting disabled and neurodivergent people, those impacted by dementia and mental health issues, people affected by loneliness and those suffering from domestic abuse. They empower others through the creative arts and performance and champion wellbeing in marginalised groups. 

Leading the York group is music director Jessa Liversidge, calling on her wealth of experience with community choirs, inclusive singing groups and working with people of all ages to inspire them through music. 

Juliet Forster, York Theatre Royal’s creative director, says: “It’s a huge privilege for us to have these voices heard alongside the RSC’s actors, and we are so thankful for their input and commitment to the project. 

“This production explores what makes a leader and asks questions about gender and power. Who better to take part than women who are already leaders in our community and in their workplace? 

“The opportunity is exciting and empowering and is strong evidence of how committed the RSC is to meaningful collaboration with its regional theatre partners. We are incredibly proud to be able to contribute a local perspective into this nationwide conversation, and I can’t wait to see what our York women do.”

Explaining the role that the York community chorus will play, RSC director Atri Banerjee says: “Julius Caesar is a play about a nation in crisis, a play about the gulf between politicians and the people they are trying to rule.

“It just makes so much sense to me that this production would include ‘real’ people from where we are touring. So, alongside the professional acting company, we have found a way of integrating the communities from all the areas the show is playing.

“Community work has always been important to me, making work with non-professionals, whether that’s young people or non-professional adults.

“It’s not unusual for productions of Julius Caesar to have a chorus who come on to be the citizens of Rome and say ‘Read The Will’ and then you never see them again. But I wanted to include them to amplify the supernatural, apocalyptic terror within the play. They’ll be singing, using their voices, and will be present on stage for significant parts of the play. They will be something akin to the chorus you’d see in a Greek tragedy watching the action.

“Premonitions of death really. Premotions of figures who embody death in ways that go beyond these characters.”

Royal Shakespeare Company in Julius Caesar, York Theatre Royal, June 13 to 17, 7.30pm plus 2pm Thursday and Saturday matinees. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

Next Door But One reflect on death and lessons for life in Operation Hummingbird

Next Door But One chief executive officer and artistic director Matt Harper-Hardcastle directing a rehearsal for Operation Hummingbird

YORK community arts collective Next Door But One are taking part in the 2023 TakeOver Festival at York Theatre Royal next week, performing a revival of Operation Hummingbird.

NDB1 premiered artistic director Matt Harper-Hardcastle’s one-act two-hander to sold-out audiences in the socially distanced summer of 2021. Now, buoyed by being among 984 arts organisations to be granted National Portfolio (NPO) status by Arts Council England and winning the award for Resilience and Innovation at the 2023 Visit York Tourism Awards, they have launched their new programme.

“It’s quite apt that our first touring production as an NPO is Operation Hummingbird,” says Matt. “‘We’ve spent ten years working hard, dreaming big and forging fruitful partnerships. That’s how we got here. Now we’re looking into the future and are so excited for what the next three years hold. A reflective, hopeful story about looking back and looking ahead feels perfect for now.”

Already this month NDB1 have staged Operation Hummingbird in library performances York Explore, Haxby Explore, Clifton Explore, Tang Hall Explore and Acomb Explore, from May 9 to 12, and now they are heading to the theatre and arts centre circuit. 

Midday and 7pm performances on May 23 and 24 on York Theatre Royal’s main stage will be followed by Pocklington Arts Centre on May 25 and Helmsley Arts Centre on June 2, both at 7.30pm.

David Lomond, back, and James Lewis-Knight in Next Door But One’s 2023 tour of Operation Hummingbird

“I realised it could work as a main-house piece when I watched Pilot Theatre’s Run Rebel, when they had sold only the stalls, but there was something nice about playing a performance to the stalls,” says Matt. “We’ll make it intimate by using only the front half of the stage, working with a new lighting designer, Abi Turner, from London,  who has designed  previously for the Donmar Warehouse.”

Based on his own memoir of living with loss, Matt’s two-hander tells the story of teenager Jimmy, who is dealing with his mum’s terminal diagnosis by diving into computer games. Through this virtual reality, he meets his future self and asks: will everything turn out OK?

“Operation Hummingbird is a humorous and uplifting exploration of grief, loss and noticing just how far you’ve come,” says Matt, whose cast features NDB1 associate artist James Lewis-Knight, returning in the role of Jimmy, and Scarborough actor David Lomond, joining the company for the first time to play James, the future version of Jimmy, 35 more years on the clock.

“For me, the concept is: this play is a really specific look at terminal illness, death and bereavement, but the narrative is universal. If we could fast-forward time and then be able to go back, older and wise, to stop our younger self by passing on advice. We’ve all had those questions that our older selves would like to have been able to give the answer to our younger selves.”

The two-hander format is ideal, suggests Matt. “After Covid, people are wanting shorter shows – this one is only 50 minutes – where you don’t have to travel far to see it and you could even see it at lunchtime if you went to a library performance.

James Lewis-Knight’s Jimmy in a scene from the 2021 premiere of Matt Harper-Hardcastle’s Operation Hummingbird. He returns for the new production

“We’ve brought Operation Hummingbird back after we had brilliant feedback from the first run, when we had only just come out of Covid restrictions and so only small, socially distanced audiences were allowed.

“For the 2023 revival, we decided we’d go to the satellite Explore York libraries we didn’t play before. Now we’ve been able to pick up the project and say, ‘we know it works but what’s the full iteration?’.

“That means also performing it on the Theatre Royal main stage and taking it to Pocklington and Helmsley. It’s actually our first ever show at the Theatre Royal because we’ve never looked into doing one there before, as the heart of our work is taking it to the community, places on people’s doorsteps, such as libraries, community centres and the Camphill Village Trust (with our show The Firework-Maker’s Daughter).”

Matt continues: “It feels like a significant moment of growth for us. We’re known to the communities we engage with, like the Snappy Trust and York Carers Centre, who appreciate our values, and this revival is an introductory chance for us to say, ‘if you don’t know our work, this is what we do’.

“I hope I have turned a story that started from a very personal place into something that we can all relate to,” says writer-director Matt Harper-Hardcastle

“One of the first pieces of feedback we had was someone saying, ‘I can’t believe how much you can tell in a story with so little. We’re the opposite of doing big-scale theatre productions. It’s still a big story, about death and bereavement, and for me, as a director, the main thing has to be the story.

“You could detract from it with a big set and a light show, so we tell a story with three boxes, a few props and two actors and no blackouts of the auditorium. The focus is on the story.”

Matt concludes: “There’s something in this show for everyone. I hope I have turned a story that started from a very personal place – with the sudden death of my mum in 2016 – into something that we can all relate to. I know that audiences in 2021 left entertained and reflective about their own life. I hope we can achieve the same this time, but reach an even bigger audience across the region.”

Tickets for all venues can be booked at www.nextdoorbutone.co.uk. Also: York Theatre Royal, 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk; Pocklington, 01759 301547 or pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk; Helmsley, 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

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