How safe are women on the streets of York, ask Next Door But One in Rachel Price’s touring play She Was Walking Home

Anna Johnston as Cate in Next Door But One’s She Was Walking Home. Picture: James Drury

WHEN York community arts collective Next Door But One first took She Was Walking Home on tour in 2022, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) had just released data on safety in different public settings.

One in two women felt unsafe walking alone after dark in a quiet street near their home or in a busy public place, and two out of three women aged 16 to 34 had experienced one form of harassment in the previous 12 months.

Now, as NDB1 take their revived testimonial-based performance to schools, colleges and universities throughout York and North Yorkshire, as well as to York Theatre Royal Studio tonight (5/10/2023), the need for more conversations around women’s safety and the role we all play in it has been strengthened by a report from the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

It reveals that more than half a million offences against women and girls were recorded in England and Wales between October 1 2021 and March 31 2022 and that violence against women and girls accounts for at least 15.8 per cent of all recorded crime.

Director Kate Veysey in rehearsal for Next Door But One’s She Was Walking Home. Picture: James Drury

First produced as an audio walk around York city centre in 2021, She Was Walking Home is a series of monologues created by writer Rachel Price from the testimonies of women living, working and studying in York. 

“This project was initially called into action by the female creatives and participants we work with, who were all having more and more conversations around their own safety after a number of attacks and murders reported in the media,” says director Kate Veysey.

“With each stage of development, it has been the community that has guided us: the audio walk was created from 33 testimonies of local women; the 2022 tour was produced through feedback from listeners who wished to bring their friends, colleagues and social groups to engage in the conversation.

“The resounding message from that audience was the want from parents for their children to see this, for teachers wanting their schools to witness, and young women wanting their male peers to come with them. So that’s what we are doing.”

Emma Liversidge-Smith’s Joanne in She Was Walking Home. Picture: James Drury

People think of York as a safe place to be, says NDB1 creative engagement manager El Stannage, “but as a woman I can tell you it isn’t”. “We collected documentary information both written and conversational, keeping that door open for information for about a month, and it came streaming in,” she says.

“We had plenty to work with, then collected our own thoughts and commissioned Rachel to put those stories together as one tapestry, telling stories of women at different stages of life, their different experiences, whether harassment or abuse, focusing on the impact it’s had on their their lives, the ripples it’s had.

“For the latest tour, we’ve stayed with the original piece of theatre but kept abreast with what’s been happening, and we’ve kept in touch too with IDAS [Independent Domestic Abuse Services] and the Kyra Women’s Project, the York charity that helps women to make positive change in their lives.”

This autumn’s performances in schools, colleges and universities will not only inform students of the lived experience of women in their own communities, but also empower them to make the change now and see the benefits in their own futures; understanding the impact of their actions, ways in which they could intervene, question their own thinking or those of their peers.

Mandy Newby’s Jackie. Picture: James Drury

El says: “We’re really excited to be working with schools [age 14 upwards], colleges and universities this time, after the feedback we got from last year’s public performances that we needed to do that.

“The young people we get to work with in our participation programmes are bright, forward thinking and actively seeking ways to play a part in the growing world around them, so for us it just makes sense to bring this conversation to them, as they are the next generation to make change.

“But also, real change can only happen when the full community listen up and play their part too. That’s why we’re hosting public performances in the evenings at the same schools, colleges and universities, so that parents, carers, siblings, friends, teachers and other local residents can join in the same vital conversation.”

Through the autumn tour of this all-female production, performed by a cast of Fiona Baistow, Anna Johnson, Emma Liversidge-Smith and Mandy Newby, the mission will be to amplify the voices of York women, while also prompting conversations around where responsibility and accountability lies for their safety.

Fiona Baistow’s Millie in a scene from She Was Walking Home. Picture: James Drury

“Since the original walk, listened to by almost 800 people, there have been further attacks and murders of women, and still the rhetoric seems to be skewed towards rape alarms, trackers, self-defence classes and dress codes being the solution,” says NDB1 artistic director Matthew Harper-Hardcastle. “We needed to continue and challenge this conversation. The invitation is to come and watch but also to think.”

One audience feedback quote on NDB1’s website is particularly illuminating. “I like to think I’m aware of these issues and as a man have been ultra-conscious that just being on the same street can heighten anxiety,” it reads.

“This performance made me cry, but it’s such an important way to foster change, I left feeling that if more men could see and engage with it, we might just be able to smash that ‘block of granite’.”

Next Door But One’s She Was Walking Home is on tour until October 27 with student performances complemented by public performances at York High School, Malton School, York College, Scarborough TEC, York Theatre Royal Studio tonight at 7.45pm, University of York, October 20 at 7.45pm and York St John University, October 25 at 7.30pm. Box office details:

Who are the NEW artists in 2021’s York Open Studios? The final fab four to find

Here Be Monsteras potter Kayti Peschke working in her Fangfoss garage studio

YORK Open Studios’ 20th anniversary celebration of the city’s creative talent begins this evening with a 6pm to 9pm preview. Head to to find out which artists and makers will be “warming up” for the two weekends ahead.

After the Covid-enforced fallow year of 2020, York Open Studios returns with 145 artists and makers opening 95 studios, homes and workplaces tomorrow and Sunday, then July 17, from 10am to 5pm each day.

Among them will be 40 debutants, prompting CharlesHutchPress to highlight newcomers in a week-long preview, in map guide order, that concludes today with the final four as York prepares for this month’s showcase of ceramic, collage, digital art, illustration, jewellery, mixed media, painting, print, photography, furniture, sculpture and textiles skills.

An abstract sculpture by Reg Walker

Reg Walker, sculpture, Kiln Studio, Arnup Studios, Panman Lane, Holtby, York 

REG crafts abstract sculptures, sometimes contemplative, sometimes playful, mostly in Corten steel, together with small pieces for the hand in bamboo and distinctive collages in natural materials.

He took up sculpture when inspired by volunteering at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, near Wakefield, where he then took part in hot and cold metal courses.

Reg Walker: Moved into Arnup Studios two years ago

Originally from Ireland, Reg settled in Yorkshire in 1988, working in social research and organisation development. He had a studio at Kildale on the North York Moors before moving to Arnup Studios in Holtby in 2019.

He will open his studio for this evening’s preview.

Michelle Galloway: Loves experimenting with different techniques

Michelle Galloway, painting, The Pottery Studio, Arnup Studios, Panman Lane, Holtby, York

MICHELLE moved to York to study art, developing a lasting interest in art history, archaeology and architecture.

Her artwork took a backseat when she retrained as a teacher, but she continued to pass on her passion for art through children’s workshops.

When the opportunity for a temporary studio arose, Michelle rekindled her own creativity and love of experimentation with different techniques. She now has a permanent studio at Arnup Studios.

“My latest work is oils on large canvases,” she says. “Using small brushstrokes to build up layers of colour, the variation of colour and tone achieved creates an abstract and ethereal quality.”

Michelle Galloway in her studio

Michelle describes her oil paintings as having an intensity to them, whereas her watercolours are “mostly calm, harmonious, quiet and contemplative, atmospheric, yet gentle and light”.

“I work from my own sketches and photographs of the location, meaning that all my senses are engaged with the subject,” she says. “I sketch and make notes to myself, decide what to include or subtract, and use a camera to record both the larger scene and tiny details, an instant where the light changes or a fleeting glimpse of something of intrigue.  
“Back in the studio, I can take my time and work at my own pace. I can combine all the information with my personal and emotional response to create a visual interpretation.”  

Michelle will be welcoming visitors to this evening’s preview.

A brace of ceramic trios by Judith Glover

Judith Glover, ceramics, Brambles, Warthill, York 

JUDITH specialises in sculptural ceramics, using the technique of coiling.

“My work is often presented as trios, thus emphasising the relationship between the pieces,” she says.

“Inspired by Italian still-life artist Giorgio Morandi and British painter, designer and illustrator Rex Whistler, I often incorporate different strata of clays in the same piece to give a painterly quality.

“Ceramic artists Jennifer Lee and Ashraf Hanna influence my unglazed hand-built work with clean lines that enhance the interior design of homes.”

Judith Glover with one of her sculptural ceramics

Judith learned the basics of pottery through studying with Su Rogers in Guildford. “Re-locating to North Yorkshire in 2010, I continued to develop my practice, specialising in sculptural hand-building,” she says. “My base clay is generally a Potterycrafts recipe, which contains a red clay from Derbyshire and buff fireclays from Shropshire.”

Her latest pieces, developed in the 2020-2021 lockdowns, are of imaginary landscapes and seascapes. “They use flattened coils and inserts of different clays to create painterly pieces,” says Judith, who is a member of the Northern Potters Association and an associate member of the Craft Potters Association.

All proceeds from sales of her work go to IDAS, the North Yorkshire charity that supports those affected by domestic violence.

A couple of cups, made by Here Be Monsteras ceramicist Kayti Peschke

Here Be Monsteras (Kayti Peschke), ceramics, Ashtree Lodge, Gowthorpe Lane, Fangfoss, York

KAYTI creates ceramics under the name of Here Be Monsteras from her garage studio in her garden in the Wolds, east of York.

Her background is in photography and magazine design, but two years ago she started making pottery and now she has converted full time. “It has become an obsession,” she says.

Kayti makes wheel-thrown ceramics with stoneware clays, “all with a lovely speckle and texture that are wonderful tactile”, to create functional objects for the home.

“Brushstrokes form the decorative styles using a mix of glazes, hand-coloured clay and wax-resist techniques,” says Kayti. “I also screen print pots, using my own hand-cut designs and I love working on colour palettes, with limited runs for each season.”

She has worked on screen-printing ceramics with artist Jade Blood, creating travel cups and a full dinnerware set, as well as collaborating with restaurants and cafés that serve their menus on her tableware.

“A cup of tea in a handmade cup really does taste better, maybe because the process feels more special or you take more time over it? I’m not sure why, but it’s true,” says Kayti.

Taking shape: Kayti Peschke in hands-on mode in her studio

In her home studio, the cups of tea flow and her dogs hang out in the sunshine as she listens to BBC 6Music or podcasts. “I absolutely love being out there, creating, and hopefully this shows in the things I make.

“All the pieces I create are made to be practical and often multi-functional. It’s so important to me that they’re used and enjoyed and bring a little bit of extra joy to the day!”

As testament to that, her ceramics can be found in York at Kiosk, Fossgate; Sketch By Origin, York Art Gallery; Jolly Allotment, Walmgate; Flori, Walmgate; Melk, SparkYork and Clifford Street, and Botanic York, Walmgate.

Beyond York, Yorkshire stockists include The Hispanist and Two Gingers, both in Paragon Street, Hull; Plant & Paint, Humber Street, Hull; The Gallery, Malton; The Art House, Wakefield; Flavour Like Fancy, Meanwood, Leeds; Mr Cooper’s, Whitby, and Mlkwood Studio, Bridlington.

Kayti will be giving throwing demonstrations at 1pm and 3pm each day during York Open Studios.

A painting by Ian Cameron, one of 145 York Open Studios artists in 2021. Find him – but maybe not this bird – in his back garden at 65, Green Lane, Acomb, York

TO find full details of all the York Open Studios artists and makers, their studios, opening hours and examples of their work, go to:

The 95 locations will be highlighted on a map of York to help visitors navigate their way to as many studios, workshops and homes as they wish. 

Visit to look at the York Open Studios map.  Alternatively, free printed brochures with the map can be picked up from Visit York, on Lendal, or in shops, restaurants and visitor attractions around the city. 

2021’s York Open Studios will be Covid-compliant, with artists adhering to Government guidelines on social distancing, ventilation and sanitisers, keeping themselves and visitors safe throughout.