STORY Craft Theatre’s next few weeks of Crafty Tales storytelling and craft-making sessions on Zoom are filling up quickly.
The York children’s theatre company, run by professional actors and mums Janet Bruce and Cassie Vallance, have a few tickets left for Oliver Jeffers’ This Moose Belongs To Me and Richard Graham’s The Cranky Caterpillar.
“We’re also doing four days during half-term of Rachel Bright’s The Worrysaurus,” say Janet and Cassie. “Book now for craft and storytelling fun for two to seven year olds.
“Each 10am session is based around a popular picture book and is packed full of fun with lots of activities to keep your little folk’s imagination alight. We begin the session with a craft activity using basic materials; we go through the instructions with you step by step.”
Five spaces are left for tomorrow morning’s 50-minute session for This Moose Belongs To Me; six for Friday; none for Saturday. Ten spaces remain for The Cranky Caterpillar on February 10; seven for February 12; none for February 13. Six spaces are up for grabs for February 17’s hour-long session for The Worrysaurus; 18 for February 18; ten for February 19; nine for February 20.
As for the back story on Story Craft Theatre, Janet Bruce appeared in Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street in the West End; Cassie Vallance was part of the Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre company at the Castle car park in 2019 and last seen in a York show in Park Bench Theatre’s Teddy Bears’ Picnic in Rowntree Park last summer.
To book for Crafty Tales, go to: bookwhen.com/storycrafttheatre.
AS LOCKDOWN 3 urges everyone to “stay home”, Charles Hutchinson takes that advice in selecting entertainment for the dark days and nights ahead.
Somewhere over the pandemic horizon, he highlights a couple of shows in the diary for the autumn.
Live-stream lockdown humour from living room to living room: Josie Long and Ahir Shah, Your Place Comedy, January 24
LOCKDOWN 3 has brought another round of Your Place Comedy home entertainment. “As before, we’ll be broadcasting from comedians’ living rooms, kitchens and attics or, as was the case with Lucy Beaumont, her homemade pub,” says virtual comedy club organiser Chris Jones, Selby Town Council’s arts officer.
The format remains the same: two headline comedians, some stand-up and some chat, all juggled by regular compere Tim FitzHigham. First up will be Josie Long and Ahir Shah on January 24; line-ups are yet to be confirmed for February 28 and March 28.
The live-stream shows will be free to watch but with donations keenly encouraged at yourplacecomedy.co.uk.
Interactive stories for children: Story Craft Theatre’s Crafty Tales
CASSIE Vallance and Janet Bruce cannot hold their Crafty Tales sessions in person during Lockdown 3 but will continue to deliver sessions “directly to you via the power of Zoom”.
“Each 50-minute session is packed full of crafting, storytelling and educational fun with lots of activities to keep your little folk’s imagination alight,” says Cassie. “There are still a few spaces left for next week’s 10am sessions based around Julia Donaldson’s The Runaway Pea on January 20, 22 and 23.”
Coming up on January 27, 29 and 30 will be Elaine Wickson’s Super Stan. For more details and to book, go to storycrafttheatre.co.uk.
Operetta on screen: International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival, G&S Opera TV On-Line Streaming Service
WHEN the Coronavirus pandemic put paid to the 2020 International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival at Harrogate Royal Hall, the festival launched its online streaming subscription service at gsoperatv.
“New content is being continually added,” says festival stalwart Bernard Lockett. “It features the very best of more than 26 years of the National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, along with top amateur productions performed at our festival, G&S films and fascinating documentaries and interviews, and is the only place to experience so many outstanding Savoy operas.”
The subscription rates for general viewers is £9.99 per month or £99 annuallyThe 2021 festival is in the diary for August 8 to 22 in Harrogate, preceded by Buxton Opera House the week before.
Play for the day appraisal: Online script-reading sessions, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, from January 20
RUNNING online on Wednesdays from 11.30am to 1.30pm for five weeks, the fun sessions will dive into five classic comedies: Aristophanes’s Lysistrata on January 20; Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, January 27; Moliere’s Tartuffe, February 3; Sheridan’s The Rivals, February 10, and Feydeau’s A Flea In Her Ear, February 17.
Participants will read sections of the plays aloud and work with SJT associate director Chelsey Gillard to consider their themes, stories, writing styles and historical context in a relaxed discussion. Session bookings can be made at sjt.uk.com.
Online children’s show of the month: Magic Carpet Theatre in Magic Carpet, Pocklington Arts Centre YouTube channel
HULL company Magic Carpet Theatre filmed their fun family-friendly show, Magic Carpet, behind closed doors at Pocklington Arts Centre last October. By public demand, its free streaming run is being extended to January 21 at: youtu.be/CNrUixTMWdQ.
Performed by director Jon Marshall and Steve Collison with magical illusions, comedy, circus skills and puppets, it tells the humorous tale of what happens to the ringmaster’s extravaganza plans after the artistes and elephants fail to arrive and everything has to be left in the calamitous hands of the clowns. Disaster!
Online ghost play of the season: Alan Ayckbourn’s Haunting Julia, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
ALAN Ayckbourn’s 2020 audio version of his ghost play Haunting Julia is being given an afterlife. Originally available at sjt.uk.com/event/1078/haunting_julia until January 5, the winter chiller now will be online until January 31.
Revisiting his 1994 play, Ayckbourn’s audio recording features the voice of the Stephen Joseph Theatre’s 81-year-old director emeritus. Or, rather, the three voices of Ayckbourn, who plays all three parts.
Baroque’n’roll gig of the autumn: Rufus Wainwright, York Barbican, October 13
LAUREL Canyon singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright’s October 27 2020 tour date at York Barbican has moved to October 13 2021. Tickets remain valid for the rearranged date with his new band.
Last July, Wainwright, 47, released his ninth studio album, Unfollow The Rules, his first since 2012. “I consider it my first fully mature album; it is like a bookend to the beginning of my career,” says Rufus, whose fearless, mischievous songs were inspired by middle age, married life, fatherhood, friends, loss, London and Laurel Canyon.
Ready for a laugh: Omid Djalili, The Good Times Tour, Grand Opera House, York, November 10
OMID Djalili cannot wait to be back where he belongs, on stage, after experimenting with a Zoom gig where he was muted by no fewer than 639 people and a drive-in gig when he witnessed one audience member leave his car, attach a hose pipe to his exhaust and feed it through the window.
The British-Iranian stand-up’s 2021 excursions could not have a more positive title: The Good Times Tour. Let’s hope he is right, although who can predict if his shows at Harrogate Theatre on May 6 and Hull City Hall on May 26 will be given the go-ahead.
In his diary too are: Platform Festival, The Old Station, Pocklington, July 22, and Masham Town Hall, September 18 and 19. Oh, and Leeds Town Hall on October 28 in faraway 2022.
STORY Craft Theatre’s Janet Bruce and Cassie Vallance are to provide 21 hours of craft and storytelling fun this month to raise vital funds for York charity Shine21.
Since Lockdown 1, the pair have moved their interactive storytelling sessions online, attracting audiences from all over the world to their creative and educational classes, held three times a week via Zoom.
Now, Janet and Cassie will host classes for you to enjoy on Zoom on November 27 and 28, running all day each day from 7am. All the duo ask in return is a donation to Shine21.
“There are lots of storybook adventures to choose from: Going On A Bear Hunt, The Gruffalo, Hairy Maclary, Aliens Love Underpants and so many more,” says Cassie. “We’re even providing hour-long interactive craft classes.”
All the sessions can be booked online at: www.bookwhen.com/storycrafttheatre. “As these classes are interactive, numbers are limited, so we advise you to book in advance to avoid disappointment,” says Janet. “Tickets are now on sale.
“This 21-hour storytelling event is an opportunity for you to help Shine21, where you don’t even need to attend the two-day event to donate. So, please feel free to donate whatever you can.”
Story Craft Theatre is a York children’s theatre company run by professional actors and mums Janet Bruce, who appeared in Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street in the West End, and Cassie Vallance, part of the Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre company at the Castle car park in 2019 and last seen in Park Bench Theatre’s Teddy Bears’ Picnic in Rowntree Park, York, this summer.
Together, Janet and Cassie have hosted sell-out shows at York Theatre Royal and Goose play centre, at Hornbeam Business Park, Harrogate, and this Christmas, Story Craft Theatre will team up with Matt Aston’s Engine House Theatre at Castle Howard, near York.
From December 4, they will present Stories With Santa In The Courtyard Grotto. “Come and join us for a magical storytelling event here in the historic Courtyard,” they say. “Meet Santa’s helpers as they guide you through into our festive library, where children will get to meet Santa, make their Christmas wishes and settle down to hear a brand new, enchanting winter’s tale, The Snowflake, by popular children’s author Benji Davies.”
Last Christmas, Cassie performed in writer-director Aston’s stage adaptation of Davies’s The Storm Whale at the York Theatre Royal Studio.
The Shine21 charity helps to enhance the lives of children with Down Syndrome and their families. Janet Bruce’s second child was born with Down Syndrome and a heart condition, both being discovered after birth.
“The diagnosis was unexpected and at first, scary, but the support and advice offered by Shine21 was phenomenal,” says Janet. “Shine21 have supported me and my family every step of the way and introduced us to others who have been through a similar experience.
“The charity does invaluable work to help children and their families, but unfortunately, due to the pandemic, they have not been able to raise the vital funds they need this year. So, we’re providing this chance for you to help Shine21.”
For Castle Howard bookings, go to castlehoward.co.uk/whats-on/Christmas for more details.