Three cheers for Pocklington Arts Centre, booking Omid Djalili, Mark Watson and Gary Delaney in Punderland for comedy uplift

POCKLINGTON Arts Centre has confirmed its first live shows since Tom Rosenthal’s Manhood comedy gig on March 14 last year.

The East Yorkshire venue, in Market Place, Pocklington, has been closed to the public since March 17 2020 but comedian Omid Djalili is to perform twice on Thursday, July 22.

Significantly too, those 7pm and 9pm performances will be without social-distancing measures.

British-Iranian comedian, actor, television producer, presenter, voice actor and writer Djalili, 55, originally had been booked for July’s now-cancelled Platform Festival at the Old Station, Pocklington.

When Pocklington Arts Centre’s festival organisers, director Janet Farmer and venue manager James Duffy, decided not to stage the large-scale indoor festival under the continuing pandemic cloud, award-winning Djalili agreed to do two shows in one night at PAC to ensure all those who had purchased tickets for the festival gig would not miss out.

Pundemonium: Gary Delaney promises oodles of one-liners in his new show next year

Janet says: “We’re over the moon that despite having to change our plans for putting on a full-scale Platform Festival this year, Omid Djalili will perform at PAC twice in one night, and those performances will be non-socially distanced. 

“In the event of Covid restrictions being reintroduced, we will let customers know in advance.” 

Djalili’s comedy is at once intelligent, provocative, boundlessly energetic and rooted in cultural observations, wherein he explores the diversity of modern Britain.

Tickets for the original event at Platform Festival remain valid and any ticket holder needing further information should contact the box office. Remaining tickets for the new shows cost £25 at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Looking ahead, Janet says: “We have some outstanding live comedy lined up as part of our forthcoming live events programme, and Omid is the perfect addition to this. 

“We have more exciting announcement coming up and we cannot wait to be able to bring our audiences some incredible live shows once again.”

What’s on for Watson? A third show for Mark Watson at Pocklington Arts Centre next February after earlier visits in 2016 and 2019

Newly in the PAC diary for 2022 are two more comedy shows: Mark Watson on February 12 and  Gary Delaney on May 26 on his newly extended Gary In Punderland tour.

Bristol stand-up comedian, novelist and sports pundit Watson, 41, will be completing a hattrick of Pock appearances, prompting Janet to say: “It will be an absolute joy to welcome Mark Watson back to the venue, having had him perform live here in 2016 and again in 2019. 

“After the year we’ve just had, I think we could all do with some laughter, so Mark is the perfect addition to our forthcoming programme of live comedy.”

In the ever-innovative Watson’s latest show, spiritual enquiry will meet high-octane observational comedy as the Taskmaster survivor and No More Jockeys cult leader attempts to cram a couple of years of pathological overthinking into an evening of stand-up.

Watson has made his Mark not only on Taskmaster but also on Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Have I Got News For You and emerged safely from his Celebrity Island experience with Bear Grylls.

Stream team: Compere Tim FitzHigham, left, and comedian Mark Watson in their living rooms for the first Your Place Comedy online show

During the first lockdown last year, Watson was part of the first double bill for Your Place Comedy, the virtual comedy club set up to support independent venues across the Yorkshire and Humber region, including PAC. 

On April 19 2020, a pyjama-clad Watson and Hull humorist Lucy Beaumont performed live online from their homes, in his case, in the living room, in hers, down the pub, The Dog And B**tard, that she and fellow comedian husband Jon Richardson have set up in their Hebden Bridge garden.

In Gary In Punterland, longstanding Mock The Week guest Gary Delaney will “dive into a rabbit hole of the best jokes in the world”.

Delaney’s last tour was extended four times, eventually playing more than 200 venues. For the follow-up, apparently Delaney has been through the laughing glass, re-emerging to deliver a new show tooled with punch after punch of knock-out one-liners.

Janet says: “We’re delighted to announce that Gary Delaney will be bringing his new show to our stage next year as part of our live events programme that we can’t wait to resume, welcoming everyone back and having our auditorium filled with laughter once again.”

Tickets for Watson and Delaney’s 8pm shows each cost £20 at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk; seetickets.co.uk are selling Watson tickets too.

Holy Moly! Here come The Crackers as Pocklington Arts Centre revs up to reopen

Holy Moly & The Crackers: “Always putting on such an energetic, vivacious show”

FIERY gypsy folk’n’rollers Holy Moly & The Crackers will return to Pocklington Arts Centre on October 16 as the East Yorkshire venue “excitedly resumes its live events”.

The North Yorkshire and Newcastle band are noted for sparking up a raucous, feelgood party atmosphere at their blazing live shows, built on soul, rock indie and Balkan folk.

Pocklington Arts Centre director Janet Farmer says: “Holy Moly & The Crackers always put on such an energetic, vivacious show, featuring their unique sound that has our audiences foot stomping and dancing in the aisles, so we can’t wait to welcome them back after their sold-out show back in February 2019.”

The band formed in 2011 almost by mistake, when singer, guitarist and trumpet player Conrad Bird, fellow singer and violinist Ruth Patterson and costume designer and accordion player Rosie Bristow met at a house party in Leamington Spa, of all places, in their late teens.

Enamoured by Rosie’s party-prop accordion, the three decided to start playing music together, mainly stomping Irish, American and Balkan folk and drinking songs at open mics and dive bars, as an alternative to Smack, Leamington’s main student club that provided the only other option for a night out.

After moving north, the founders were joined by jazz/funk bass player Jamie Shields and drummer Tommy Evans in 2015, when they released the single A Punk Called Peter, a “sort of New Orleans funeral march mixed with some fine and highly danceable reggae”.

Holy Moly & The Crackers’ artwork for Take A Bite, their 2019 album

Second album Salem marked the 2017 launch of their own label, Pink Lane Records, and a heightened profile for the band after lead single Cold Comfort Lane was picked up by Hollywood producers to turbo-boost the stick-it-to-the-man comedy crime caper Ocean’s 8 in 2018. 

Classically trained but psychedelic and DIY punk-inspired guitarist Nick Tyler came on board that year to add to The Crackers’ grunt and diesel power.

Reuniting with Salem producer Matt Terry, they recorded swaggering third album Take A Bite in 2019, once again at Vada Studios, built in a 1260 chapel near Alcester on the Warwickshire /Worcestershire border.

“Apparently it’s called Vada Studios because the owner is obsessed with Star Wars’ Darth Vader,” says Conrad, whose band stayed in one of the outhouses.

Teaming up with Terry for a second time proved fruitful. “He’s worked with bands like The Prodigy and The Enemy and he has really good ideas for pop sensibilities,” says Conrad. “I was always against ‘pop’, but there’s a real skill to it. There was a chance for us to go with another producer, but we felt we could do more with Matt to develop our sound.”

Whereupon The Crackers hit the road in full throttle, joining shanty punks Skinny Lister on tour around Europe, before appearing at more than 30 festivals and undertaking a victorious headline lap of the UK, culminating in selling out their biggest show to date at Sage Gateshead on the banks of the Tyne. Ruth and Conrad tied the knot that busy year too.

2020 saw the band blasting out of the blocks with the single Road To You, “a shot of espresso that comes loaded and ready to work in a short, sharp shock”. Twenty-seven dates across ten countries should have added up to their biggest European tour to date, to go with support slots for fan Frank Turner across France and Germany and a return to Glastonbury for its 50th anniversary, but we all know what happened next.

Tickets for Holy Moly & The Crackers’ 8pm gig cost £20 at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Tom Rosenthal: The last show at Pocklington Arts Centre before the first lockdown last March

POCKLINGTON Arts Centre (PAC) has been closed to the public since March 17 2020, curtailing that year’s 20th anniversary celebrations after comedian Tom Rosenthal’s Manhood show on March 14, but the venue will hopefully be re-opening our doors this summer”.

Watch this space for further updates, but already director Janet Farmer and venue manager James Duffy have confirmed that the PAC-programmed Platform Festival at the Old Station, Pocklington, has been called off for a second successive summer.

Festival shows by the likes of comedian Omid Djalili, Richard Thompson and Shed Seven duo Rick Witter and Paul Banks in acoustic mode initially had been moved from 2020 to 2021, although former Led Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant’s Saving Grace acoustic gig with fellow vocalist Suzi Dian never had a new Platform date set in place.

“Robert hasn’t rescheduled any of his 2020 shows, originally because he was recording with Alison Krauss in Nashville,” says James.

“We looked into moving Richard Thompson’s date too, but he’s cancelled his plans because amid the continuing uncertainty over Covid, he’s not sure where he would stand, what with being based in the United States.”

More details are yet to be confirmed, but Pocklington Arts Centre is contemplating reopening with a film programme from July 2, followed by the full reopening in September, with greater clarity once the Government roadmap is rubber-stamped.

Velma Celli: Drag diva to play Pocklington Arts Centre in December

“It will be a slow re-start at first to restore audience confidence in coming to PAC, and film is a good way of doing that,” says Janet. “With films, you naturally socially distance to get the best view.

“But that’s why we couldn’t go ahead with the Platform Festival, because there are still uncertainties and it made sense to call it off.”

Plans are afoot instead for Primrose Events, a short series of outdoor shows in a 60 to 70-capacity woodland setting at Primrose Woods, Pocklington, in late June and early July. Two shows are pencilled in for PAC in July too, subject to the Government’s Covid statements. Again, watch this space for more info as and when.

Within PAC, the lavatories have been refurbished and upgraded; air-purifying units to increase air flow are being installed around the building; a Covid-secure screen is in place at the box office, and such Covid measures as an app for ordering drinks, anti-bacteria spray “foggers” and hand-sanitising stations will be the way forward.

The frustrating year of lockdown x 3 has kept Janet and James busy rearranging concerts by, for example, The Felice Brothers and Courtney Marie Andrews three times and New Yorker Jesse Malin twice.

The management duo have been working their way through 20 years of paper work in the attics and have set up a beehive on the flat roof as part of a PAC environmentally friendly package.

So, now there is a buzz about the place in more ways than one, and on the Pocklington horizon is a theatrical ghost-walk promenade, commissioned from Magic Carpet Theatre founder Jon Marshall for the dark nights of November before the December dazzle of glam cabaret supreme in the company of York drag diva deluxe Velma Celli (date TBC).

LipService Theatre take Bronte literary spoof Withering Looks onto Zoom for Pocklington Arts Centre virtual show

Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding in LipService Theatre’s literary spoof of the writerly Bronte sisters, Withering Looks

POCKLINGTON Arts Centre favourites LipService Theatre will present a special live stream of their savvy yet delightfully silly Bronte sisters spoof Withering Looks on April 22.

Forming part of the still-closed East Yorkshire venue’s ongoing series of online events during the pandemic lockdowns, the 7.30pm streaming will be introduced on Zoom by LipService duo Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding, who will conduct a live question-and-answer session too at the finale.

Tickets are selling fast with customers form far and wide – including Belgium – snapping them up.

Commissioned by the Bronte Parsonage Museum, the filmed performance by “Britain’s favourite literary lunatics” was recorded by Maggie and Sue at the Bronte family’s home at Haworth, West Yorkshire.

Scenes from Withering Looks filmed “in the actual parsonage where the Bronte sisters wrote their actual books actually” will be complemented by additional material recorded in and around Haworth village and on the wild and windswept moors in sub-zero temperatures. 

“Withering Looks explores a day in the life of the Bronte sisters (well two of them, Anne’s just popped out for a cup of sugar) and in true David Attenborough style there will be additional footage going behind the scenes of the making of the show,” promise the duo.

Maggie, from York, and Sue, from t’other side of the Pennines, first met as drama students at Bristol University in a “very serious Henrik Ibsen production that had the audience on the floor laughing”.

A tragedy for Ibsen nevertheless turned out to be the launching pad to a very long partnership in satirical comedy, as the duo recall. Forming LipService in Manchester in 1985, Maggie and Sue have chalked up 22 original comedies from a distinctly female perspective, as well as series for BBC Radio and tours of Germany, Eastern Europe, the United States and Pakistan, over the past 35 years.

Dubbed “the Laurel and Hardy of literary deconstruction” by the Guardian, LipService have visited Pocklington Arts Centre regularly. PAC director Janet Farmer says: “I’m absolutely delighted to have LipService returning to our live events programme, albeit this time virtually. 

“PAC has a longstanding relationship with the company, with Maggie and Sue selling out numerous performances in recent years with their unique theatrical style and infectious enthusiasm.

“I, along with fellow PAC staff members, will be attending the performance and this will be the first time the venue has had direct interaction with its audience members, at an event, in over a year.”

Meanwhile, what about those ticket holders from Belgium, Luc and Hilde Verstraeten-Mariën, who will Zoom into the PAC show after their plans to catch LipService live were thwarted by the pandemic?

“We were excited to hear that Lip Service had created Zoom performances,” say Luc and Hilde. “We’ve just watched Château Ghoul and it made our day! We really enjoyed the show: it was funny, cheeky, and mad. We enjoyed the interactive part of it and we thought they made clever and creative use of Zoom. We kept giggling for the rest of the evening!

“We are looking forward to more of the same: refreshingly funny, intelligently witty and slightly mad at the same time, highly creative, high-standard comedy with a twist by two fabulous women.”

Tickets for Withering Looks cost £15 at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Thunk It again as Becky and Jules’s online youth theatre returns for second term

Ready for a second term: Thunk-It Theatre youth theatre duo Becky Lennon and Jules Risingham

POCKLINGTON Arts Centre’s youth theatre partnership with York company Thunk-It Theatre is to continue for a second series of online drama classes.

In response to popular demand, Becky Lennon and Jules Risingham’s all-levels drama sessions for children aged six to 11 will be held on Zoom every Sunday during term-time from April 25 to May 30.

The 10am to 11am classes for Years 2 to 6 children will include fun games, exercises and storytelling, aiming to encourage confidence building, life and social skills, creativity and positivity by giving children a space to express themselves openly and develop connections with other young people. 

During the six-week term, participants will work collaboratively to devise and create a short performance designed to explore storytelling. 

Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC) director Janet Farmer says: “We’re delighted to be continuing our partnership with Thunk-It Theatre to bring the joy and fun of the performing arts to children at this time.

“The classes delivered so far have proved to be really popular,” says Pocklington Arts Centre director Janet Farmer

“The classes delivered so far have proved to be really popular, so we’re really looking forward to building on this success and eventually welcoming young performers through our doors for their classes, just as soon as it is safe for us to do so.”

The youth theatre was born out of a free project run by Thunk-It in January and February, delivering similar sessions online to alleviate the stress of home schooling for young people and their parents and carers. 

Becky and Jules hosted the inaugural series of youth theatre classes from February 28. “We’re so excited to continue building on the success of our first block of online drama classes and seeing this fantastic youth theatre partnership with PAC continue go from strength to strength.”

Series Two tickets are on sale at £35 per child with a sibling discount at £30. To find out more and to book a place, go to: pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Alternatively, for further information, email thunkittheatre@gmail.com.

Thunk-It Theatre’s poster for term two of Thunk-It Youth Theatre

New Yorker Jesse Malin to play Pocklington Arts Centre 18 months later than planned

Jesse Malin: Rescheduled show at Pocklington Arts Centre

POCKLINGTON Arts Centre has secured a new date for New York City singer-songwriter Jesse Malin.

He will now play on December 7 2021, fully 18 months after he was originally booked to perform there in June 2020 as part of PAC’s 20th anniversary programme.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced Malin to postpone his European tour, whereupon he reverted to performing a series of weekly online shows live from the Big Apple.

PAC director Janet Farmer says: “We were so disappointed to have to put our 2020 programme of live events on hold, especially in the midst of our 20th anniversary celebrations, but it was a necessary step.  

Lucinda Williams: Produced Jesse Malin’s latest album, 2019’s Sunset Kids

“We’re just so excited to have rescheduled Jesse Malin’s live show and cannot wait to resume our live events. I first saw Jesse perform live in 2004, when he was promoting his album The Heat, so I’m  especially looking forward to finally being able to have him perform here.” 

Malin, 53, has made his name as a thoughtful, introspective singer-songwriter but has played raucous, over-the-top rock’n’roll with the band D Generation too.

He has recorded with Bruce Springsteen and Green Day, performed on The Tonight Show and Letterman and shared stages with everyone from The Hold Steady to The Gaslight Anthem.

A prolific writer and relentless road warrior, Malin released his seventh studio album, Sunset Kids, in 2019, produced by Lucinda Williams, American roots icon, country music queen and 2016 Platform Festival headliner in Pocklington.

Tickets for Malin’s 8pm show cost £17.50 at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Who’d have Thunk-It! York company to host youth theatre sessions in tandem with Pocklington Arts Centre from February 28

Youth theatre hosts: Thunk-It Theatre’s Becky Lennon and Jules Risingham

YORK company Thunk-It Theatre are partnering with Pocklington Arts Centre to provide youth theatre for the East Riding and beyond.

Weekly drama classes will be available to children aged six to 11 from February 28, initially on Zoom until it is safe to re-open the Market Place venue, when sessions can be held in person.

The all-levels drama sessions for Years 2 to -6 will take place from 10am to 11am every Sunday during term time .

This new youth theatre project has emerged from a free project that Thunk-It founder-directors Becky Lennon and Jules Risingham have delivered throughout January and February, presenting similar sessions online to alleviate the stress of home-schooling for young people and their parents or carers. 

The drama classes will provide an opportunity for children to be involved in Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC), be creative and meet other children. 

The poster for Thunk-It Youth Theatre, run in tandem with Pocklington Arts Centre

PAC director Janet Farmer says: “We’re delighted to be teaming up with York company Thunk-It Theatre to introduce all the fun and joy of performing arts to children, something that we feel is especially important at the moment when children are perhaps looking for something extra to do around their home-learning. 

“The online sessions Thunk-It have delivered so far have proved to be really successful, so to be able to expand on this online offering initially is such a fantastic opportunity, and we look forward to welcoming budding young performers through our doors for their classes when it’s safe for us to do so.”

The Thunk-It Youth Theatre sessions will include fun games, exercises, storytelling and much more. “In this pilot term, we hope to create a small piece of performance that all parents and carers will be able to see at the end of the term,” say Becky and Jules. 

“We’re so excited to create this new partnership with such a well-loved venue and vital part of the community. We can’t wait to start delivering these sessions and getting to know more about the young people in and around Pocklington.”

Drama-class tickets are on sale at a fee of £30 for the five sessions with sibling discounts available. For more information and to book a place, visit pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk. More details on Thunk-It Theatre can be found on their Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts via @Thunkittheatre. 

The Delines to play delayed Pocklington Arts Centre concert on February 15 2022

The Delines in their rehearsal studio in September 2018. Picture: Jason Quigley

THE Delines, Willy Vlautin’s retro country-soul band from Portland, Oregon, have rearranged their Covid-postponed February 23 gig at Pocklington Arts Centre.

They will head to East Yorkshire on February 15 2022 instead, with the promise of new material on their first British travels since their sold-out 2019 itinerary.

Looking forward to The Delines’ 8pm gig with a full band line-up, Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC) director Janet Farmer says: “We’re delighted that we’ve been able to reschedule The Delines to perform live here as part of their delayed European tour.

“We know they’ll absolutely be worth the wait and we’re very much looking forward to welcoming the band and our audiences back for an evening of superb live music. We know our audiences cannot wait to experience live music once again, so I’d encourage you to book your tickets now to avoid disappointment.”

The Delines – Vlautin and Sean Oldham, both formerly of Richmond Fontaine, vocalist Amy Boone, Cory Gray and Freddy Trujillo – were working on new songs in the months before lockdown and expect to finish their follow-up to 2019’s The Imperial shortly.

The cover artwork for Willy Vlautin’s sixth novel, The Night Always Comes

Meanwhile, award-winning novelist Vlautin, 54, will be releasing his sixth book, The Night Always Comes, on April 6 (or June 6 in Harper Collins paperback, according to another website).

Nevada-born Vlautin, who was Richmond Fontaine’s lead singer, guitarist and songwriter from 1994 to 2016, was inspired by a Paul Kelly song, based on Raymond Carver’s So Much Water So Close To Home, to start writing stories.

In his latest, he explores the impact of trickle-down greed and opportunism of gentrification on ordinary lives. At the core of his story is the dangerously tired Lynette, who is caught between looking after her brother, working two low-paid jobs and trying to take part-time college classes.

Every penny she has earned for years, she has put into savings, striving to scrape together enough to take out a mortgage on the house she rents with her mother.

Tickets for The Delines cost £20 at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk. The support act that night will be Los Angeles singer-songwriter Jerry Joseph, 59, who released the album This Beautiful Madness last August.

Magic Carpet Theatre and Pocklington Arts Centre unite for half-term streaming of The Wizard Of Castle Magic from February 18

Wizard and Frog: Jon Marshall in Magic Carpet Theatre’s The Wizard Of Castle Magic

MAGIC Carpet Theatre and Pocklington Arts Centre are renewing links for a free online streaming event for the February half-term.

The Hull company’s family show The Wizard Of Castle Magic will be shown on PAC’s  YouTube channel from Thursday, February 18 at 2.30pm, available to view for 14 days until March 4.

The Wizard Of Castle Magic is the second Magic Carpet Theatre play to have been filmed live at PAC behind closed doors by Pocklington production company Digifish last autumn.

The first, Magic Circus, starring director Jon Marshall as the Ringmaster and Steve Collison as the Clown, streamed to more than 1,600 people over Christmas and the New Year.

As with Magic Circus, The Wizard Of Castle Magic will be free to watch from the safety of a home seat. Once more, if viewers enjoy it, there will be an option to make a donation to support PAC at this challenging time. 

Clowning around: Ringmaster Jon Marshall and misbehaving Clown Steve Collison in Magic Carpet Theatre’s Magic Circus

Again too, East Riding families who access regional food banks will be the first to be offered the chance to watch The Wizard Of Castle Magic days before its February 18 premiere.

The streaming project, replete with plans for online workshops, has been made possible by a £4,100 grant from East Yorkshire’s I Am Fund, via the HEY Smile Foundation. 

PAC director Janet Farmer says: “We’re delighted to present our next online family theatre show to our audiences.  We’ve really missed being able to offer our family theatre programme, which has earned a national reputation for high quality, engaging, diverse children’s theatre and workshops.

“So, to be able to offer our younger audiences and their families the chance to experience all the magic and excitement of live theatre at home is just fantastic.” 

Janet adds: “The funding we’ve secured for the project will enable us to develop an enhanced online presence, leading to sustained arts engagement from younger generations during the pandemic and beyond. 

“To be able to offer our younger audiences and their families the chance to experience all the magic and excitement of live theatre at home is just fantastic,” says Pocklington Arts Centre director Janet Farmer

“Once again, we’d like to say thank you to the I Am Fund and the HEY Smile Foundation for making this possible.”

Magic Carpet Theatre are firm PAC favourites, staging numerous sold-out events there full of circus skills, magic and audience participation.

Now comes the online The Wizard Of Castle Magic, an enchanting show based on the traditional Sorcerer’s Apprentice tale for children aged three to 11 and their families with a script packed with comedy, illusion and special theatrical effects. 

The You Tube stream is a new digital version of a company-devised production that has played schools, arts venues and the Edinburgh Fringe. 

Donations in support of PAC can be made at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/magic-carpet-theatre

Pocklington Arts Centre to stream Magic Carpet Theatre’s Magic Circus in lockdown

Director Jon Marshall as the Ringmaster, showing his frustration with Steve Collison’s Clown in Magic Carpet Theatre’s Magic Circus

FAMILIES are being given another chance to watch Pocklington Arts Centre’s online streaming of Magic Circus for free, in response to public demand.

The fun family-friendly show, performed by Hull company Magic Carpet Theatre and filmed behind closed doors at PAC last October, premiered to more than 1,000 viewers over Christmastide. Among them were families accessing food banks in the East Riding, who received exclusive early access. 

Now, the production is being streamed for free online once again to keep children entertained during Lockdown 3, with donations invited to PAC’s crowdfunding appeal at: justgiving.com/crowdfunding/magic-carpet-theatre.

PAC director Janet Farmer says: “In the absence of our usual popular live family Christmas show, we were delighted to be able to bring all the fun and excitement of live theatre to younger audiences with our online production, made possible with thanks to a grant of £4,100 from the HEY Smile Foundation’s I am Fund. 

“It’s fantastic that so many people watched the show at home when it premiered the first time round, and as we’re now in lockdown once again, we wanted to give everyone another chance to enjoy Magic Circus.”

Magic Circus is one of two Magic Carpet Theatre theatre shows filmed live at PAC by Pocklington production company Digifish for audiences to watch online. The second, The Wizard Of Castle Magic, will be available to stream from February half-term.

In addition, online workshops are planned as part of a project designed to encourage sustained arts engagement from younger generations during the pandemic and increased attendance at PAC events when the Market Place venue can eventually re-open its doors. 

“As we’re now in lockdown once again, we wanted to give everyone another chance to enjoy Magic Circus,” says Pocklington Arts Centre director Janet Farmer

Magic Carpet Theatre are firm PAC favourites, noted for their circus skills, magic and audience participation, and have staged numerous sold-out events there.

Directed by Jon Marshall with music by Geoff Hardisty and effects by Theatrical Pyrotechnics, Magic Circus is a fast-moving, colourful story that combines magical illusions, comedy, circus skills and puppets.

Performed by Marshall and Steve Collison, 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!

Inevitably, they make a fantastically messy job of it as Magic Carpet Theatre take traditional circus and variety skills, dust them down and invest them with new life, moulding them into a mystifying hour-long play with a circus theme.

Second show The Wizard Of Castle Magic, based on the traditional tale of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, is also aimed at children aged three to 11 and their families with a script replete with comedy, illusion and special theatrical effects. 

Magic Circus can be viewed on Pocklington Arts Centre’s YouTube channel from 2.30pm today (7/1/2021) for 14 days. The Wizard Of Castle Magic will be streamed via YouTube from 2.30pm on Thursday, February 18. 

Watch online for free at: https://youtu.be/CNrUixTMWdQ.

Pocklington Arts Centre to stream Magic Carpet Theatre’s clown show Magic Circus

Jon Marshall as the Ringmaster and Steve Collison as a clown in Magic Carpet Theatre’s Magic Circus

POCKLINGTON Arts Centre is to stream Magic Carpet Theatre’s show Magic Circus from December 19, available online for up to seven days.

Thanks to a grant of £4,100 from the East Yorkshire’s I Am Fund, via the HEY Smile Foundation, the Hull company performed both Magic Circus and The Wizard Of Castle Magic behind closed doors at PAC, filmed by Pocklington production company Digifish. 

Families accessing the People’s Pantry food banks in Pocklington, Market Weighton and Holme-on-Spalding-Moor will be the first to receive an exclusive free link to watch Magic Circus, or a free DVD copy of the show, before it is rolled out to other food banks across the East Riding. 

PAC director Janet Farmer says: “With our national reputation for presenting high-quality children’s theatre and workshops, we have really missed being able to offer our family theatre programme to our audiences this year, especially at a time when we would traditionally be enjoying the build-up to our popular pantomime. 

“So, we are delighted to be able to bring the magic and joy of live theatre to our younger audiences through the power of live streaming.” 

Janet continues: “The funding we have secured will enable us to develop an enhanced online presence, with the long-term aim being to see sustained arts engagement from younger generations during the pandemic and increased attendance at PAC events when we are eventually able to re-open our doors. We are extremely grateful to the I Am Fund and the HEY Smile Foundation for making this possible.  

“We hope the show will bring a bit of happiness and cheer to families after what has been an incredibly tough year and we think it makes for the perfect run-up to Christmas.”

PAC plans to release The Wizard Of Castle Magic in time for February half-term, and as part of the project too, PAC intends to offer online workshops next year. 

Magic Carpet Theatre are Pocklington Arts Centre favourites, noted for their circus skills, magic and audience participation, and have staged numerous sold-out events there.

“We hope the show will bring a bit of happiness and cheer to families after what has been an incredibly tough year,” says Pocklington Arts Centre director Janet Farmer

Directed by Jon Marshall with music by Geoff Hardisty and effects by Theatrical Pyrotechnics, the first online show, Magic Circus, is a fast-moving, colourful story that combines magical illusions, comedy, circus skills and puppets.

It tells the humorous tale of what happens to the ringmaster’s planned extravaganza after the artistes and elephants fail to arrive and everything has to be left in the hands of the clowns. Disaster!

Inevitably, they make a fantastically messy job of it as Magic Carpet Theatre take traditional circus and variety skills, dust them down and invest them with new life, moulding them into a mystifying hour-long play with a circus theme.

The second show, The Wizard Of Castle Magic, based on the traditional Sorcerer’s Apprentice tale, will enchant audiences aged three to 11 and their families with a script full of comedy, illusion and special theatrical effects. 

Heather Davidson, chair of the People’s Pantry for Pocklington, Market Weighton and Holme-on-Spalding-Moor, says: “We are delighted that our families will be among the first to get exclusive access to these shows. 

“It’s just really nice to offer them something else at Christmas other than a food parcel. While we are looking after the food parcel side of things, PAC is looking after the social side of things, which will hopefully bring a little bit of happiness to families that need it at this time of year.”

Magic Circus can be watched online for free on the Pocklington Arts Centre YouTube channel from 2.30pm on Saturday(19/12/2020).

The Wizard Of Castle Magic will be available to stream via YouTube from 2.30pm on Thursday, February 18 2021. 

Donations in support of Pocklington Arts Centre can be made at: justgiving.com/crowdfunding/magic-carpet-theatre