More Things To Do in York & beyond when the stakes are high in Dracula. Get stuck in to Hutch’s List No. 28, from The Press

The Gesualdo Six: Performing in the Chapter House at York Minster on July 9 as part of the 2024 York Early Music Festival. Picture: Ash Mills

A CELEBRATION of the voice, the truth behind Dracula, flying doctors and grim tales lead off Charles Hutchinson’s tips for jaunty July trips.

York festival of the week: 2024 York Early Music Festival, Metamorfosi, today until July 13

IN an eight-day celebration of music from the medieval to the baroque under the title of Metamorfosi, York Ealy Music Festival will focus on the human voice and song with performances by Concerto Soave, The Gesualdo Six, festival newcomers Vox Luminis and Cappella Pratensis & I Fedeli, The Sixteen, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Rose Consort of Viols and Gawain Glenton’s Ensemble In Echo.

Taking part too will be mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston, the Consone Quartet, Cubaroque, Apotropaïk and Utopia, climaxing with the biennial York International Young Artists Competition. Full festival programme and tickets at ncem.co.uk/whats-on/yemf/. Box office: 01904 658338.

Princess locked up in the castle: Freckle Productions in Zog & The Flying Doctors

Children’s show of the week: Freckle Productions in Zog & The Flying Doctors, Grand Opera House, York, today and tomorrow, 10.30am and 1.30pm

ZOG, super-keen student-turned-air ambulance, still lands with a bang-crash-thump. Together with his Flying Doctor crew, Princess Pearl and Sir Gadabout, they tend to a sunburnt mermaid, a unicorn with one too many horns and a lion with the flu.

However, Pearl’s uncle, the King, has other ideas about whether princesses should be doctors, and soon she is soon locked up in the castle. Can her friends and half a pound of cheese help Pearl make her uncle better and prove princesses can be doctors too in this Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler story with music and lyrics by Joe Stilgoe? Suitable for age three upwards. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Carnival time in Copmanthorpe

Carnival of the week: Cop’ Carnival, Copmanthorpe Recreation Centre, Barons Crescent, Copmanthorpe, York, today, 11.30am to 7pm

IN its 55th year, Cop’ Carnival features live music acts and dance troupes on the main stage, an inflatable assault course, fairground rides and attractions, street food vendors, free children’s entertainment, stalls and more besides. No dogs are allowed on site, apart from assistance dogs. Tickets are on sale at copcarnival.org.uk/tc-events/the-cop-carnival-day/; under-14s are admitted free of charge. 

Sam Johnson: Playing with his jazz trio at Theatre@41, Monkgate, York

Jazz gig of the week: Sam Johnson Trio, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, tomorrow (7/7/2024),

THE Sam Johnson Trio, led by pianist Sam Johnson with Georgia Johnson on bass and James Wood on drums, bring a mid-20th century jazz vibe to their performance, in the style of the Vince Guaraldi Trio, Oscar Peterson Trio and vintage Blue Note and Verve Records artists.

Combining original material with jazz standards from the past seven decades, the trio will be joined by guest soloists and frequent collaborators Richard Oakman (saxophone) and Kirsty Hughes (vocals). Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Macabre: Killian Macardle, left, Annie Kirkman and Chris Hannon in Dracula: The Bloody Truth at the SJT. Picture: Pamela Raith

Comedy drama of the week: Dracula: The Bloody Truth, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, tonight to July 27

THE Stephen Joseph Theatre teams up with Bolton’s Octagon Theatre to stage physical theatre comedy exponents La Navet Bete & John Nicholson’s Dracula: The Bloody Truth, based very loosely on Bram Stoker’s story.

SJT artistic director Paul Robinson directs Chris Hannon, Annie Kirkman, Alyce Liburd and Killian Macardle as vampire hunter Professor Abraham Van Helsing reveals the real story behind the legend of Dracula, the one with the Whitby connection. Box office: 01723 370541 or sjt.uk.com.

Paul Weller: Reflecting on turning 66 at Scarborough Open Air Theatre

Coastal gigs of the week: Fatboy Slim, today; Paul Weller, tomorrow, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, gates open at 6pm

NORMAN Cook has come a long way, baby, since he played bass in Hull band The Housemartins. Now the BRIT award-winning, Brighton-based DJ, aka Fatboy Slim, heads back north to fill Scarborough with big beats and huge hooks in Rockafeller Skank, Gangster Trippin, Praise You and Right Here Right Now et al tonight.

The Modfather Paul Weller showcases his 17th studio album, 66, full of ruminations on ageing, in Sunday’s set of songs from The Jam, Style Council and his solo years. Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com.

Here wig go: Sarah-Louise Young in I Am Your Tribute at Theatre@41 Monkgate, York

Fringe show of the week: Sarah-Louise Young, I Am Your Tribute, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, July 11, 7.30pm

AFTER An Evening Without Kate Bush, the Julie Andrews-focused Julie Madly Deeply and The Silent Treatment, Sarah-Louise Young returns to Theatre@41 with her Edinburgh Fringe-bound new show, I Am Your Tribute.

In her “most ambitiously interactive performance yet”, she invites you to help her create the ultimate tribute to an act of your choosing. Along the way she will teach you the tricks of the trade, share her greatest hits and uncover the occasionally darker side of living in someone’s else’s shadow. Expect music, wigs and wonderment. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Rowntree Players cast members rehearsing for Grimm Tales

Fairy tales of the week: Rowntree Players in Grimm Tales, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, July 11 to 13, 7.30pm

AMY Carter directs Rowntree Players in Carol Ann Duffy’s adaptation of Grimm Tales, dramatised by Tim Supple, with Chris Meadley in the role of the Narrator.

The cast of 15 takes a journey through a selection of delightfully bizarre stories from the Brothers Grimm collection to reveal their true origins and to discover that the path to a happy ending can, indeed, be a little grim. Box office: 01904 501395 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

In Focus: Weekend events at Ripon Theatre Festival, July 6 and 7

The Tea Cosies: Street entertainment with Kitch’n’Sync today

PUPPETS, stories, dance, drama, circus and street entertainment pop up in new and surprising places alongside more familiar venues, such as Newby Hall, The Old Deanery, Ripon Cathedral, Ripon Arts Hub and Fountains Abbey, as Ripon Theatre Festival returns for its third year.

Saturday keeps festivalgoers on the move in a day of Pop-Up Events at various locations from 9.30am to 6pm. Ilaria Passeri hosts a morning of adventures for four-year-olds and upwards in Tales From Honeypot Village, featuring Rita the Mouse and the Tidy Trolls in the front room of The Unicorn Hotel at 9.30am and the back room of The Little Ripon Bookshop at 11.30am.

Puppeteers Eye Of Newt open their magical miniature suitcase for Ayla’s Dream, a captivating tale of night skies, light and counting sheep for three to ten-year-olds at Ripon Library at 10.30am (accompanied by a puppet workshop) and Ripon Cathedral from 12 noon to 12.30pm (performance every ten minutes).

York performer Tempest Wisdom takes a journey down the rabbit hole in the family-friendly Curiouser & Curiouser, a show for age five + packed with Lewis Carroll’s whimsical writings, inspired by Ripon Cathedral’s nooks and crannies. Free performances take place at Ripon Cathedral at 11am, 12.30pm and The Little Ripon Bookshop at 2.30pm.

Join the Master and Matron on the front lawn for an interactive game of giant Snakes And Ladders At The Workhouse Museum. Learn how life then, as now, is as precarious as a shake of the dice; slither down the snake to a shaven head and defumigation or ascent to a life out of the ashes from 11am to 12.30pm or 1pm to 3pm.

Festival favourites Lempen Puppet Theatre return with the free show Theatre For One in Ripon Cathedral from 10.45am to 11.30pm and Kirkgate from 1.30pm to 2.30pm and 3pm to 4pm. In a micro-theatre experience for one at a time, plus curious onlookers, a mini-performance of The Belly Bug or Dr Frankenstein will be staged every five minutes.

Tempest Wisdom: Taking a journey down the rabbit hole in Curiouser & Curiouser

Members of the Workhouse Theatre Group invite you to experience justice 1871 style in The Trial Of John Sinkler in a case of poaching and threatening behaviour from 2pm to 3pm at The Courthouse Museum.

Ensure justice is seen to be done or perhaps take a more active role in a lively scripted re-enactment led by Mark Cronfield, formerly of Nobby Dimon’s North Country Theatre company.

The festival fun continues in Kirkgate with buskers, bands and more from 3pm to 6pm, while Street Entertainment will be spread between Market Place, Minster Gardens and city streets with a fiesta of free events from 10am to 4pm.

Mark Cronfield and Tom Frere invite you to hail down the ultimate in Georgian transport for Sedan Chair Stories. Be carried above the hoi polloi as your footmen pass on their scurrilous stories from Ripon’s scandalous past.

Bearded Belfast multi-manipulator and circus performer Logy will be juggling danger and excitement in Logy On Fire, a show of full of raw rock’n’roll comedy. Look out for the beautiful birds of The Bachelors Of Paradise parading their glorious wingspans and beautiful tailfeathers.

In Stone Soup, a suitcase show performed from a travelling cart with music and comical puppets, Hebden Bridge company Eye Of Newt ask this question: can you really make soup with only a stone? The secret to making a delicious soup rests with a wandering stranger.

Street performers and fatal fools Medieval Maniax promise to amuse and bemuse with their historical hysterics, music and illusions. Kitch’n’Sync, from Wales, invite you to have a natter with their colourful crochet trolley dollies, Dorothy Dunker, Tippy Teapot and Barbara Bourbon, alias The Tea Cosies.

Logy On Fire: Multi-manipulator and circus performer

A friendly team from Casson & Friends will connect you with the childlike joy of play in their interactive games, set to a bouncing electronic soundtrack, in Arcade.

Playing their part in the day too will be Yorkshire Voices, Medusa, Ripon City Morris Dancers, 400 Roses And Thorns, Ripon Drum Circle, The U3A Folk Group, The Wakeman Mummers, Ripon Rock Choir and Workhouse Walkabouts.

Weekend community performers contribute to the festival on Sunday too in the form of Lily Worth, Trinity Singers, Freddie Cleary, Ripon Goes To Bollywood, Henshaws Performing Arts Group, Danceability, Passion For Movement, Cricket On The Hearth, The U3A Ukulele Group and Ripon Walled Garden Performers.

Open-air theatre specialists Illyria present Oliver Grey’s adaptation of Hugo Lofting’s The Adventures Of Doctor Doolittle in the Newby Hall Gardens at 5.30pm (gates 5pm). In this new family musical, performed with wit and flair, Doctor Doolittle leads a simple life as a village doctor until one day, with the help of his wise old parrot Polynesia, he makes an extraordinary discovery: he can talk to animals.

Radical Leeds troupe Red Ladder Theatre Company return to the festival to with We’re Not Going Back, Boff Whalley’s Miners’ Strike musical comedy about 75 mines, three sisters, one cause and a six-pack of Babycham at Ripon Arts Hub at 7.30pm.

In early 1984, the everyday squabbles of sisters Olive, Mary and Isabel collide with a strike that forces them to question their lives, their relationships and their family ties.

Sunday has a couple of Pop-Up Events, led off by Opera Brunch with down-to-earth diva Nicola Mills, from Huddersfield, whose song menu at Valentino’s Ristorante ranges from Italian arias to crossover classics, served with sweet or savoury pastries and Bucks Fizz or a hot drink from 10.30am to 12 noon.

From 3pm to 4.30pm, in the Guardians’ Room of The Workhouse Museum, Fellfoss Theatre present a rehearsed reading and workshop performance of Fate And The Warrior, Mark Cronfield’s new play about the troubled and prolific Guyana-born author Edgar Mittelholzer, a pioneer of Caribbean culture. Join Cronfield and his scratch team of actors for a dark and intriguing tale in atmospheric surroundings.

Thingumajig Theatre in Kit And Caboodle

Ripon Spa Gardens and Market Place will play host to Sunday’s Family Day from 10am to 4pm. Look out for the Hedge Heads, suspicious-looking shrubbery lurking in the bushes; Henshaws Performing Arts Group’s The Golden Tree, fairy tales of heroes, villains, royalty and fools, and  Open The Books’ The Story Of Daniel, a distillation of all the best bits in 20 minutes, dreams, lions et al.

In Wrongsemble’s epic new adventure The Not So Big Bad Wolf favourite tales are re-spun and woven by Little Red, adventurer, heroine and True Grimm podcaster, on a mission to debunk the myths around her so-called nemesis, with the help of a few storybook staples, her red cloak and a basket full of music, mayhem and magic tricks.

Thingumajig Theatre, from Hebden Bridge, return to Ripon with their big, beautiful, rolling mule packed with miniature puppet shows, full of stories and songs of remarkable journeys and refugees. Struzzo and Maxim, stalwarts of street theatre for many decades, promise music, magic and their famous ostrich.

Three quirky characters are waiting for a train but how will they pass the time in Grantham company Rhubarb Theatre’s show The Three Suitcases? Three Marie Antoinettes take to the street to feed the public their tasty treats in Let Them Eat Cake. Expect a right royal ruckus wherever these comedy pompous poodle-haired queens of comedy go.

Three courageous airmen, Roger, Reggie and Rupert, are caught in a freak storm in The Bombardiers. Armed only with their wits and extremely good looks, who knows where they will end up!

In The Fireman Dave Circus Skills Drop-In, Dave Ford, from Hebden Bridge, invites you to have a go at juggling, plate-spinning, diabolo, hula-hooping and more at Ripon Spa Gardens from 1pm to 2.30pm.

The 2024 festival concludes with Scottish company Folksy Theatre’s open-air production of Shakespeare’s leafy tale of banishment, love and disguise, As You Like It, at The Old Deanery at 7pm. Cue comedy stuffed with music, bold characters and audience interaction. Bring something to sit on, pack a picnic and come prepared for the weather.

“We believe that theatre should be for everyone,” says festival director Katie Scott. “Our varied and accessible programme of events provides real theatrical treats for seasoned theatre-goes, but also lively and low-cost opportunities for first-timers and families. We love bringing events to non-theatre spaces and working with local businesses and other partner organisations to create a buzz in the city which all can enjoy.”

For full festival details and tickets, head to: ripontheatrefestival.org. A preview of further events at Ripon Theatre Festival on July 6 and 7 will follow.

Folksy Theatre in As You Like It in the open air at The Old Deanery on Sunday

More Things To Do in York & beyond when art goes wall to wall and opera takes a love potion. Hutch’s List No. 27, from The Press

One of James Jessop’s works on show in Rise Of The Vandals in the disused office block at 2, Low Ousegate, York

GRAFFITI writ large, an American rock musical, G&S and afternoon tea, a theatre festival and a football play find Charles Hutchinson in tune with the joys of June.

Exhibition/installation of the week: Bombsquad, Rise Of The Vandals, 2, Low Ousegate, York, today, tomorrow, then July 5 to 7, 11am to 6pm.

SPREAD over four floors in a disused Low Ousegate office block, York art collective Bombsquad showcases retrospective and contemporary spray paint culture, graffiti, street art and public art in three galleries, a cinema room, a Wendy house and art shop, in aid of SASH (Safe and Sound Homes).

Taking part in Rise Of The Vandals are York graffiti archivist Keith Hopewell, James Jessop, Bristol legend Inkie, Chu, Rowdy, Kid Acne, Remi Rough, Prefab77, SODA, Replete, Jo Peel, Sharon McDonagh, Lincoln Lightfoot, Anonymouse, Boxxhead and live DJs in SODA’s booth. Free entry; donations are encouraged. Dog friendly.

Johnny Marr: Playing songs from The Smiths to Electronic to his solo career (compiled on his Spirit Power collection) at Scarborough Open Air Theatre

Coastal gigs of the week: Johnny Marr and The Charlatans, tonight; Gregory Porter, Monday, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, gates 6pm

JOHNNY Marr, The Smiths and Electronic guitarist, superstar collaborator and solo artist, cherry-picks from all eras of his career, right up to his November 2023 compilation Spirit Power in his headline set. First up on this north-western double bill on the East Coast will be The Charlatans, as full of indie rock swagger as ever after 22 Top 40 hits.

Grammy Award-winning Californian jazz vocalist and songwriter Gregory Porter performs songs from Liquid Spirit, Take To The Alley, Nat King Cole & Me, All Rise and more besides on Monday night. Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com.

Hamish Brown’s Alexis, left, Alexandra Mather’s Miss Aline Sangazure and Anthony Gardner’s John Wellington Wells in York Opera’s The Sorcerer. Picture: John Saunders

Everything stops for tea:  York Opera in The Sorcerer, York Theatre Royal, July 3 to 6, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

JOHN Soper directs York Opera in The Sorcerer, Gilbert and Sullivan’s first full-length comic opera, wherein Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre (Ian Thomson-Smith) hosts a tea party in the Ploverleigh Hall gardens to celebrate the betrothal of his only son, Alexis (Hamish Brown) to Miss Aline Sangazure (Alexandra Mather), daughter of Lady Annabella Sangazure (Rebecca Smith).

When a love-at-first-sight elixir is mixed into the celebration tea by a sorcerer, John Wellington Wells (Anthony Gardner, in the role played by Soper for York Opera in 2001), mayhem follows as the assembled guests fall under his magic spell. What could possibly go wrong? Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Julia Bullock’s Geraldine Granger, Oliver Clive’s Hugo Horton and Grahame Sammons’s David Horton in 1812 Theatre Company’s The Vicar Of Dibley

Religious conversion of the week: 1812 Theatre Company in The Vicar Of Dibley, Helmsley Arts Centre, July 3 to 6, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee

JULIE Lomas directs Helmsley Arts Centre’s resident company in a stage play adapted from the original BBC television series by Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer. When Reverend Pottle dies, much to the surprise of the Dibley Parish Council, his replacement is Geraldine Granger, a vicar who is also a chocoholic sex kitten.

Follow the antics of David Horton, his son Hugo, Jim, Owen, Frank and Mrs Cropley as they adjust to working with the witty and wonderful Geraldine, assisted by her verger, Alice Tinker. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Bright Light Musical Productions in Green Day’s American Idiot: York premiere at Joseph Rowntree Theatre. Picture: Dan Crawfurd-Porter

Musical of the week: Bright Light Musical Productions in Green Day’s American Idiot, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, July 4 to 6, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

NORTH Yorkshire company Bright Light Musical Productions make their JoRo debut in the York premiere of punk rock opera Green Day’s American Idiot with a cast of 14 directed by Dan Crawfurd-Porter and a seven-piece band under Matthew Peter Clare’s musical direction.  

Inspired by the Californian band’s 2004 album, American Idiot tells the story of Johnny (Iain Harvey), “Jesus of Suburbia”, and his friends Will (William Thirlaway) and Tunny (Dan Poppitt) as they attempt to break out of their mind-numbing, aimless suburban existence. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

The bootiful game: Long Lane Theatre Club in The Giant Killers at the Milton Rooms, Malton

Football alternative to England at the Euros: Long Lane Theatre Club in The Giant Killers, Milton Rooms, Malton, July 4, kick-off at 7.30pm

THE Giant Killers tells the story of how Darwen FC came to the public’s attention in 1870s’ Lancashire to proclaim Association Football as the people’s game and not only the preserve of the upper classes.

Andrew Pearson-Wright & Eve Pearson-Wright’s play recounts how a ragtag bunch of mill workers in Darwen took on the amateur gentlemen’s club of the Old Etonians in the FA Cup quarter-final in 1879, rising up against prevailing social prejudice and the might of the Football Association to earn a place in history as the first real ‘‘giant killers’’ in English football. Box office: 01653 696240 or themiltonrooms.com.

For those about to rock: Live/Wire take the highway to hell with AC/DC classics at The Crescent

Tribute show of the week: Live/Wire, The AC/DC Show, The Crescent, York, July 5 and 6 (sold out), doors 7.30pm

LIVE/WIRE, The AC/DC Show pays tribute to the Aussie heavy rock band, replete with a wall of Marshall amps for two hours of high voltage rock’n’roll. Podge Blacksmith, a double take for frontman Brian Johnson, revels in a set taking in everything from Highway To Hell and Whole Lotta Rosie to Back In Black and latest album Rock Or Bust. Box office for July 5 only: thecrescentyork.com.

In Focus: Shepherd Group Brass Bands, Best Of Brass, York Theatre Royal, tonight, 7.30pm

The poster for Shepherd Group Brass Bands’ Best Of Brass at York Theatre Royal

TONIGHT’S Shepherd Group Brass Bands concert features all of the Shepherd bands playing individually and then a mighty ensemble piece, when all 170 players perform a specially composed piece by Liz Lane to mark 20 years of the bands’ sponsorship by the Shepherd Group.

Liz’s celebratory work represents the bands – Brass Roots, Academy Brass, Youth Band, Concert Band and Shepherd Group Brass Band – and the company support that provides first-class rehearsal facilities and has enabled the band organisation to grow.

Liz has led  several workshops, where she has worked with each band, “ storyboarding players’ feelings about the band, what we get from it as players and as a band family as a whole”.

She has been allowed to visit the Portakabin production site too, where she drew inspiration from the machinery used in the production of product lines.

On May 21, players from each band gathered in the band room for the first full run-through in Liz’s presence.  Afterwards she went away with a couple of ideas for final tweaks. Now comes the premiere performance with “a few real surprises in store for the audience”. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

In Focus too: Festival of the week: Ripon Theatre Festival, July 2 to 7

Barrie Rutter: Presenting Shakespeare’s Royals in Ripon Cathedral on July 4 at 7.30pm

PUPPETS, stories, dance, drama, circus and street entertainment pop up in new and surprising places alongside more familiar venues, such as Newby Hall, The Old Deanery, Ripon Cathedral, Ripon Arts Hub and Fountains Abbey, as Ripon Theatre Festival returns.

In all, 109 events and activities will be crammed into five days and six nights. Among the highlights will be Barrie Rutter’s Shakespeare’s Royals, The Adventures Of Doctor Dolittle, Red Ladder’s Miners’ Strike musical comedy We’re Not Going Back, the Family Day on July 7 and Folksy Theatre’s open-air As You Like It.

Opening the festival on Tuesday at 11am and 2pm, Andrew Bates’s Brother Aidan brings heritage crafts, history and storytelling to his new home at Fountains Abbey. In Hazelsong Theatre’s interactive event for adults, he creates an Anglo-Saxon book, interwoven with stories of his life as a monk, with his demonstration including parchment and ink making, bookbinding and calligraphy.

On the first night, the Hilarity Bites Festival Special comedy bill will be hosted by Ripon favourite Lee Kyle at Ripon Arts Club on Tuesday at 8pm. Taking part will be sketch supergroup Tarot, musical comedy duo Black Liver and 2023 BBC New Comedian of the Year Joe Kent-Walters in the guise of his outrageous comic creation, Frankie Monroe, the MC of a working men’s club that provides a portal to hell.

York company Pilot Theatre and One To One Development Trust present daily screenings of Monoliths, an immersive, digital theatre experience that interweaves three northern landscapes – a moor, a city and a coast – with sweeping soundscapes and poetic monologues at Ripon Cathedral.

Written by Hannah Davies, from York, Carmen Marcus, from Saltburn-by-the-Sea, and Asma Elbadawi, from Leeds, the stories are an arresting testament to the inextricable link between person and place. Directed by Lucy Hammond, each performance lasts 11 minutes and can be experienced by three visitors at a time, wearing XR headsets. Times: 1.30pm to 3.30pm, July 2 to 5; 10.30am to 3.30pm, July 6.

Nicola Mills is joined by pianist Maria King for A Spoonful Of Julie, an hour-long tribute to Julie Andrews, full of charming stories of her life, songs, singalongs, medleys and favourite things, at Holy Trinity Church on Wednesday from 1pm to 2pm.

In Look After Your Eyes, at Ripon Arts Club at 8pm that night, Yorkshire theatre-maker, performer and physical comedian Natalie Bellingham reflects on the pain and beauty of love: what it is to both connect and unravel.  

Performed by a clown “delving into the space inside us left behind by loss”, her show celebrates being human in all its banality, sprinkled with joy and ridiculousness.

Natalie Bellingham in Look After Your Eyes

Thursday opens with Stand Up Stories, presented by Ripon Theatre Festival storyteller in residence Ilaria Passeri at the Storehouse Bar. Describing herself as the product of a bold Scottish mother, an errant Italian father and a little sister with the vocabulary of a truck driver, Ilaria has found herself in more than a few scrapes, situations and silly scenes.

In a whistlestop twilight tour through the confusing comedy of errors of her life, her tales introduce her family, friends, pets and one very peculiar clown.

From 7.15pm, Ripon Museum Trust guides lead the Ripon Heritage Ghost Walk from the Market Place. At 7.30pm, Northern Broadsides founder Barrie Rutter OBE celebrates the Bard’s Kings and Queens, their achievements, conquests and foibles, in Shakespeare’s Royals at Ripon Cathedral. Cue anecdotes and memories from a globe-spanning career of playing and directing Shakespeare.

Ilaria Passeri returns on Friday morning from 10.30am to 11am for Storytime for pre-schoolers at Ripon Library, featuring Derek the Dragon, Rita the skateboarding Mouse and Brian the Chicken’s messy bedroom. A short-story writing workshop for adults follows from 11.30am to 1pm; bring a pen and notepad.

At 2pm at Ripon Cathedral, Redheart Theatre presents Rupert Mason in Mr Owen’s Notebook, an exploration of Wilfred Owen’s experience of war through his poetry and the works of his contemporaries.

Written and directed by Justin Butcher, Mason’s one-man performance recalls how Owen lived his last summer in Ripon, where he spent his last birthday in the cathedral, now the backdrop to this sold-out show.

Mason charts how an officer travels from the Allied HQ to the Western Front one week before the Armistice and discovers the pocketbook of a young lieutenant killed that day: Wilfred Owen.

In a marquee at The Ripon Inn, in Park Street, Tell Tale Hearts serve up the teatime entertainment Trunk Tales, wherein a well-travelled lady arrives with her trunk of tales that tell of boastful toads, magical fish and fearsome beasts.

Using only the contents of her magical luggage, she creates Arabic seas, epic mountains, fields of turnips and the tallest trees in her interactive stories from around the world for four-year-olds and upwards.

Paulus the Cabaret Geek in Looking For Me Friend

Paulus the Cabaret Geek’s tour of Looking For Me Friend, The Music Of Victoria Wood arrives at Ripon Arts Hub on Friday at 8pm, accompanied by Fascinating Aida pianist Michael Roulston for an hour of songs and stories.

In telling Wood’s story, Paulus unfolds his own in a relatable account of a 1970s’ childhood and what it really means to find your tribe.

Saturday keeps festivalgoers on the move in a day of Pop-Up Events at various locations from 9.30am to 6pm. Ilaria Passeri hosts a morning of adventures for four-year-olds and upwards in Tales From Honeypot Village, featuring Rita the Mouse and the Tidy Trolls in the front room of The Unicorn Hotel at 9.30am and the back room of The Little Ripon Bookshop at 11.30am.

Puppeteers Eye Of Newt open their magical miniature suitcase for Ayla’s Dream, a captivating tale of night skies, light and counting sheep for three to ten-year-olds at Ripon Library at 10.30am (accompanied by a puppet workshop) and Ripon Cathedral from 12 noon to 12.30pm (performance every ten minutes).

York performer Tempest Wisdom takes a journey down the rabbit hole in the family-friendly Curiouser & Curiouser, a show for age five + packed with Lewis Carroll’s whimsical writings, inspired by Ripon Cathedral’s nooks and crannies. Free performances take place at Ripon Cathedral at 11am, 12.30pm and The Little Ripon Bookshop at 2.30pm.

Join the Master and Matron on the front lawn for an interactive game of giant Snakes And Ladders At The Workhouse Museum. Learn how life then, as now, is as precarious as a shake of the dice; slither down the snake to a shaven head and defumigation or ascent to a life out of the ashes from 11am to 12.30pm or 1pm to 3pm.

Festival favourites Lempen Puppet Theatre return with the free show Theatre For One in Ripon Cathedral from 10.45am to 11.30pm and Kirkgate from 1.30pm to 2.30pm and 3pm to 4pm. In a micro-theatre experience for one at a time, plus curious onlookers, a mini-performance of The Belly Bug or Dr Frankenstein will be staged every five minutes.

Members of the Workhouse Theatre Group invite you to experience justice 1871 style in The Trial Of John Sinkler in a case of poaching and threatening behaviour from 2pm to 3pm at The Courthouse Museum.

Ensure justice is seen to be done or perhaps take a more active role in a lively scripted re-enactment led by Mark Cronfield, formerly of Nobby Dimon’s North Country Theatre company.

The festival fun continues in Kirkgate with buskers, bands and more from 3pm to 6pm.

For full festival details and tickets, head to: ripontheatrefestival.org. A preview of further events at Ripon Theatre Festival on July 6 and 7 will follow.

Bright Light Musical Productions make York debut with suburban ennui and punk politics of Green Day’s American Idiot

Stars and stripes: Bright Light Musical Productions’ cast for Green Day’s American Idiot at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York

BRIGHT Light Musical Productions will stage the York premiere of punk rock opera Green Day’s American Idiot at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre from July 4 to 6.

Dan Crawfurd-Porter’s high-octane, politically driven production opens on American Independence Day and General Election day in the United Kingdom, also marking the 20th anniversary of Green Day’s groundbreaking album American Idiot.

Produced by Bright Light Musical Productions with support from York company Black Sheep Theatre Productions, the Tony Award-winning show with music by Green Day, lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong and book by Armstrong and Michael Mayer “promises an electrifying experience that captures the spirit and energy of Green Day’s influential music”. 

Inspired by the Californian band’s chart-topping 2004 album, American Idiot tells the story of Johnny, “Jesus of Suburbia”, and his friends Will and Tunny as they attempt to break out of their mind-numbing, aimless suburban existence.

Their journey embodies the youthful struggle between passionate rebellion and the search for love, echoing the voice of their era. From Boulevard Of Broken Dreams to Holiday and 21 Guns, American Idiot brings the “soundtrack of a generation” to the stage with the promise of captivating and energising audiences with early 2000s’ nostalgia. 

Boasting a cast of 14 and a seven-piece rock band, Bright Light’s production is propelled by the vision of producer/director Dan Crawfurd-Porter, musical director Matthew Peter Clare and choreographer/assistant director Freya McIntosh.

The poster artwork for Bright Light Musical Productions’ York premiere of Green Day’s American Idiot

In the cast will be Iain Harvey as Johnny; Dan Poppitt as Tunny; William Thirlaway as Will; Mickey Moran  as St Jimmy;  Chloe Pearson as Whatsername; Ellie Carrier as Heather; Rebecca Firth as Extraordinary Girl/Dance Captain and Richard Bayton as Favourite Son/ensemble. Jack Fry, Kailum Farmery, Tiggy-Jade, Charlie Clarke, Josh Woodgate and Diane Wilkinson will be on ensemble duty.

“This show is a powerful statement about a world that remains unchanged since the original album’s release in 2004,” says director Dan Crawfurd-Porter. “Its relevance to young people today is as strong as ever, with its commentary on America and politics resonating deeply this year, especially on July 4th.

“Personally, the issues it tackles have affected me profoundly, as they have many others. The aim is to give a voice to those who feel unheard, just as it has given one to me.”

Green Day’s American Idiot will be the first York production from a North Yorkshire musical theatre company that was founded in 2022 and made its debut in 2023 with Tick, Tick…BOOM! at Ripon Arts Hub.

“Join us for a memorable and high-energy performance that promises to be both a tribute to a seminal album and a resonant voice for today’s issues,” says Dan.

Bright Light Musical Productions present Green Day’s American Idiot, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, July 4 to 6, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

More Things To Do in York and beyond when saying Yes to a love of food and music. Hutch’s List No. 22, from The Press

Malton Spring Food Lovers Festival: Look out for the festival guide and map on site

FOOD for thought on the arts and culture front, from street cookery to dance, trailblazing women to Drawsome! artists and musicians, prog-rock and folk greats to coastal Dexys, as Charles Hutchinson reports.

Flavour of the week: Malton Spring Food Lovers Festival, today, from 9am; tomorrow and Bank Holiday Monday, from 10am

ON the streets of “Yorkshire’s Food Capital”, Malton Food Lovers Festival celebrates Yorkshire’s supreme produce and cooking over three days of 120 artisan stalls and street food vendors, talks, tastings, chef demonstrations, brass bands and buskers, festival bar, food shops, sculpture trail, entertainment, blacksmith workshops, vintage funfair and family fun with Be Amazing Arts’ Creativitent, Environmental Art’s Creative Chaos and Magical Quests North.

The live musicians will be: today, Malton White Star Band, 11am to 1pm, The Rackateers, 1pm to 3pm, and Oz Ward, 6pm to 8pm; tomorrow, White Star Training Band, 11.30am to 12.30pm, and The Rackateers, 1pm to 3pm, and Monday, The Acoustic Buddies, 11am to 12pm and 2pm to 3pm. Festival entry is free.

Mary Ward (Augsberg portrait): Foundress of the Bar Convent, featuring in the Trailblazers audio trail

Exhibition launch of the week; Trailblazers of the Bar Convent, Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre, Blossom Street, York, opening today

THE Trailblazers of the Bar Convent audio trail focuses on uncovering the stories of key characters from the history of the oldest surviving Catholic convent in Great Britain.

Among them are foundress Mary Ward, who believed that girls deserved an equal education to boys; Mother Superior Ann Aspinal, who determined to build a secret chapel totally hidden from the outside world, and Sister Gregory Kirkus, who set up the convent’s first ever museum. Tickets: barconvent.co.uk.

What a hoot: Gemma Curry and her owl puppet in Hoglets Theatre’s Wood Owl And The Box Of Wonders

Pre-festival show of the week: Hoglets Theatre in Wood Owl And The Box Of Wonders, Fountains Mill, Fountains Abbey, near Ripon, tomorrow, 11am and 2pm

IN an Early Bird event for the 2024 Ripon Theatre Festival, York company Hoglets Theatre presents director Gemma Curry’s solo show Wood Owl And The Box Of Wonders for age three upwards.

A lonely little owl wants nothing more than to fly into the night and join his friends, but how can he when he is made from wood in Gemma’s magical half-term journey of singing owls, fantasy worlds, friendship and an age-old message about love?  The 40-minute show featuring beautiful handmade puppets and original music will be complemented by an optional puppet-making activity. Box office: ripontheatrefestival.org.

Lesley Ann Eden and her York School of Dance and Drama pupils: Presenting Pinocchio And Ponchetta at Joseph Rowntree Theatre. Picture: Nigel Holland

Dance show of the week: York School of Dance and Drama in Pinocchio And Ponchetta, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, tomorrow, 6.30pm

YORK choreographer and dance teacher Lesley Anne Eden presents her 50th anniversary York School of Dance and Drama show with a company ranging in age from six to 70.

Pinocchio And Ponchetta is Lesley’s take on the old story of Pinocchio and his sister, “full of fabulous dancing and great fun for all the family”, with the promise of her trademark quirky props. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

The cover artwork for York Barbican-bound Richard Thompson’s new album, Ship To Shore

Folk luminary of the week: Richard Thompson, York Barbican, May 27, doors 7pm

GUITARIST, singer and songwriter Richard Thompson showcases his 20th solo album – and first since 2018’s 13 Rivers – ahead of the May 31 release of Ship To Shore on New West Records.

Notting Hill-born Thompson, 75, who made his name with folk rock pioneers Fairport Convention before forming his Seventies’ duo with Linda Thompson, will be performing with a full band. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Yes: Playing York Barbican on Tuesday

Rock gig of the week: Yes, The Classic Tales Of Yes Tour 2024, York Barbican, May 28, 8pm

PROG-ROCK legends Yes perform iconic songs from more than 50 years of groundbreaking music-making, definitely including a 20-minute medley from their 1973 album Tales From Topographic Oceans and “possibly” from latest album Mirror To The Sky too.

In the line-up will be Steve Howe, guitars and vocals, Geoff Downes, keyboards, Billy Sherwood, bass guitar and vocals, Jon Davison, vocals and acoustic guitar, and Jay Schellen, drums. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk. 

Kathryn Williams and Withered Hand: Teaming up at Selby Town Hall

Duo of the week: Kathryn Williams & Withered Hand, Selby Town Hall, May 29, 8pm

KATHRYN Williams is the Liverpool-born, Newcastle-based, Mercury Music Prize-nominated singer-songwriter with 16 albums to her name. Withered Hand is singer-songwriter Dan Willson, from the Scottish underground scene.

They first met in 2019 in an Edinburgh Book Festival spiegeltent, prompting Williams to tweet Willson: “What kind of songs would we write together and what would they sound like?” The results can be heard on the album Willson Williams, released on One Little Independent Records on April 26, and in concert in Selby (and Otley Courthouse on May 30). Box office: selbytownhall.co.uk.

Dexys: Heading to the Yorkshire coast on May 30

Coastal trip of the week: Dexys, Scarborough Spa Grand Hall, May 30, doors 7pm

AFTER playing York for the first time in their 45-year career last September, Dexys return to North Yorkshire on the latest leg of The Feminine Divine Live!

Led as ever by Kevin Rowland, Dexys open with a theatrical presentation of last year’s album, The Feminine Divine, to be followed by a second soulful set of beloved hits, from Come On Eileen and Jackie Wilson Said to The Celtic Soul Brothers and Geno. Box office: 01723 376774 or scarboroughspa.co.uk.

Bonneville (York singer-songwriter Bonnie Milnes) promotes her debut album New Lady at Drawsome! 2024 gig at The Crescent

York festival of the week: Drawsome! 2024, Young Thugs Studio, May 31; The Crescent, June 1; Arts Barge, Foss Basin, York, June 2

DRAWSOME! combines exhibitions and workshops with live music each evening. York multi-disciplinary artist Rowan Jackson will be exhibiting at Angel on the Green, Bishopthorpe Road, from 7pm on May 27; Things Found and Made at The Golden Ball, Cromwell Road, from May 31 and Greek-Australian graphic novel artist Con Chrisoulis for one night only at Young Thugs Studio, Ovington Terrace, on May 31 from 7pm, when Ichigo Evil, Plantfood, Mickey Nomimono and Drooligan will be performing.

On June 1, Bonneville, Lou Terry, Captain Starlet and Leafcutter John play at The Crescent community venue, where workshops run from 1 to 4pm, featuring Bits and Bots Recycled Robot, with Tom Brader, and Creative Visible Mending, with Anna Pownall, complemented by Zine Stalls hosted by Things Found and Made, Adam Keay and Teresa Stenson. 

On June 2, the Arts Barge presents Dana Gavanski, Kindelan, Moongate and We Are Hannah, after three 11am to 2pm workshops: Poem Fishing with Becca Drake and Jessie Summerhayes, Adana Letterpress and lino printing, and Screenprinting with Kai West. Drawsome! is run in aid of Bowel Cancer UK.

The poster for Drawsome! 2024

In Focus: Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, York Theatre Royal, May 29 and 30, 7,30pm; The Showstopper Kids Show, May 30, 2pm

SHOWSTOPPER! The Improvised Musical heads back to York Theatre Royal in an expanded format with a children’s version of the spontaneous musical comedy for half-term week.

The Showstoppers have 14 years behind them at the Edinburgh Fringe, to go with a BBC Radio 4 series, a West End run and an 2016 Olivier Award for their blend of comedy, musical theatre and, wait for it, spontaneity. 

Each Showstopper show is created live on the spot from audience suggestions, resulting in a new musical comedy at each performance, which is then named by the audience. 

The cast takes suggestions for the setting, genre and style to transform them into an all-singing, all-dancing production with humorous results. Anything can be expected at a Showstopper show, so if the audience fancies Hamilton in a hospital or Sondheim in the Sahara, The Showstoppers will sing it.

Thursday’s Showstopper Kids Show is for children of all ages, who will see their own ideas being turned into a fully improvised musical right in front of them. 

The children will decide where the story is set, what happens next and who the characters are. The Showstoppers will create whatever is suggested, so the characters could be anyone, such as the children’s favourite TV show characters, and the show could be set under the sea or in a doll’s house. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

York Beethoven Project to go ‘even bigger’ for No. 3, Eroica in September at Joseph Rowntree Theatre. Here’s how to apply

John Atkin directing the York Beethoven Project orchestra

YORK Beethoven Project will go “even bigger” for No. 3, Eroica when the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, hosts the third event on Saturday, September 14 and an additional workshop two weeks later.

“After our first event last year it became apparent that we were going to be too big to fit the whole orchestra onto the Rowntree stage, so we’ve had to limit September 14 to a group of 42 musicians, which will still be the biggest orchestra the JoRo has hosted,” says organiser, conductor and White Rose Theatre director John Atkin.

“We’ll therefore be holding another one-day workshop for the Eroica, which is open to all on September 28. So far, we again have more than 50 musicians signed up to take part.”

For more information or to participate, click on the link below or email yorkbeethovenproject@gmail.com.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScZar8bgRoIfMdhbw1fhKizjureEwKjXrz5Gu7dZ5rWrTgBGA/viewform?usp=sf_link

The September 14 event will climax with a 7.30pm concert in two halves under the title of An Evening Of Revolutionary Music.

In the first half, the White Rose Singers will perform groundbreaking music from stage and screen under conductor John Atkin, including songs from West Side Story, Les Misérables, Carousel, James Robert Brown and Stephen Sondheim.

In the second,  the 42-piece York Beethoven Project orchestra will perform Beethoven’s “revolutionary masterpiece”, Symphony No. 3, Eroica. Tickets are on sale on 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

“York Beethoven Project is a unique series of concerts where we’ll perform all Beethoven’s Symphonies in order, featuring local musicians in local venues,” says John.

“After the huge success of Symphonies No. 1 and No. 2, we’re going even bigger for No.3: Eroica. Our future plans are now taking shape with bigger venues arranged for No. 4, 5 and 6 in 2025 and plans are well in place for a VERY big venue (or two ) in 2027 to host a performance of the 9th Symphony on what will be Beethoven’s 200th anniversary.”

Conductor John Atkin

Future events

Symphony No. 4 in Bb Major Op 60

Saturday, February 8 2025, York Music Education, Millthorpe School main hall.

Symphony No. 5 in C minor Op 67

Saturday, June 28 2025, St Mary the Virgin, Hemingbrough.

Symphony No. 6 in F Major Op 68 (Pastorale)

Saturday, September 27 2025, venue to be confirmed.These all will be one-day workshops, culminating in a performance from 4pm. 

Music will be distributed to players electronically well in advance. Registration for each event will open six months in advance. For more information, and to go on the mailing list, contact: yorkbeethovenproject@gmail.com

More Things To Do in York and beyond as the diary takes shape for May 4 onwards. Hutch’s List No. 19, from The Press, York

Sculptor Tony Cragg with his bronze work Outspan in the Great Hall at Castle Howard. Picture: Charlotte Graham

FROM landscape sculptures to community cinema screenings, a circus company’s novel assignment to a soap star’s heavenly musical role, Charles Hutchinson’s week ahead is taking shape.

Exhibition of the week: Tony Cragg at Castle Howard, near York, until September 22

SCULPTOR Tony Cragg presents the first major exhibition by a leading contemporary artist in the house and grounds of Castle Howard. On show are new and recent sculptures, many being presented on British soil for the first time, including large-scale works in bronze, stainless steel, aluminium and fibreglass.

Inside the house are works in bronze and wood, glass sculptures and works on paper in the Great Hall, Garden Hall, High South, Octagon and Colonnade. Tickets: castlehoward.co.uk.

The Lapins: Celebrating travel, exploration and adventure in music at the Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York

World premieres of the week: York Late Music, Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York, Mike Sluman, oboe, and Jenny Martins, piano, Saturday (4/5/2024), 1pm; The Lapins, Saturday (4/5/2024), 7.30pm

MIKEY Sluman highlights the range of the oboe family – oboe, oboe d’amore, cor anglais and bass oboe – in his lunchtime programme of Lutoslawski, Talbot-Howard and Poulenc works and world premieres of Desmond Clarke’s Five Exploded Pastorals and Nick Williams’s A Hundred Miles Down The Road (Le Tombeau de Fred).

The Lapins examine ideas of space, place and time in an evening programme that extols the joys of travel, exploration and adventure through the music of Brian Eno, Stockhausen and Erik Satie, the world premiere of James Else’s A Tapestry In Glass and the first complete performance of Hayley Jenkins’s Gyps Fulvus. Tickets: latemusic.org or on the door.

The poster for The Groves Community Cinema festival at Theatre@41, Monkgate, York

Film event of the week: The Groves Community Cinema, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, May 5 to May 11  

THE third Groves Community Cinema film festival promises a wide variety of films, from cult classics and music to drama and animated fun. Supported by Make It York and City of York Council, the event opens with Sunday’s Arnie Schwarzenegger double bill of The Terminator at 6.30pm and T2 Judgement Day at 8.45pm.

Monday follows up Marcel The Shell With Shoes at 2.30pm with Justine Triet’s legal drama Anatomy Of A Fall at 6.30pm; Tuesday offers Ian McKellen’s Hamlet at 7.30pm; Wednesday, Yorkshire Film Archives’ Social Cinema, 6.30pm, and Friday, cult classical musical Hedwig And The Angry Inch, 8pm. To finish, next Saturday serves up the animated Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse at 2.30pm and Jonathan Demme’s concert documentary Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense at 7.30pm. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Steve Cassidy: Performing with his band and friends at the JoRo

Nostalgic gig of the week: Steve Cassidy Band & Friends, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Sunday (5/5/2024), 7.30pm

VETERAN York frontman Steve Cassidy leads his band in an evening of rock, country and ballads, old and new, with songs from the 1960s to 21st century favourites in their playlist.

Cassidy, a three-time winner of New Faces, has recorded with celebrated York composer John Barry and performed in the United States and many European countries. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Let us pray: Landi Oshinowo’s Deloris Van Cartier and Sue Cleaver’s Mother Superior in Sister Act, on tour at Grand Opera House, York

Musical of the week: Sister Act, Grand Opera House, York, May 6 to 11, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm, Wednesday and Saturday

SUE Cleaver takes holy orders in a break from Coronation Street to play the Mother Superior in Sister Act in her first stage role in three decades. Adding Alan Menken songs to the 1992 film’s storyline, the show testifies to the universal power of friendship, sisterhood and music in its humorous account of disco diva Deloris Van Cartier’s life taking a surprising turn when she witnesses a murder.

Placed in protective custody, in the disguise of a nun under the Mother Superior’s suspicious eye, Deloris (Landi Oshinowo) helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers her own. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Lila Naruse’s Memory Tess in Ockham’s Razor’s circus theatre production of Tess at York Theatre Royal. Picture: Kie Cummings

“Bold new vision” of the week: Ockham’s Razor in Tess, York Theatre Royal, May 8 to 11, 7.30pm

CIRCUS theatre exponents Ockham’s Razor tackle a novel for the first time in a staging of Thomas Hardy’s  Tess Of The D’Urbervilles that combines artistic directors Charlotte Mooney and Alex Harvey’s adaptation of the original text with the physical language of circus and dance.

Exploring questions of privilege, class, consent, agency, female desire and sisterhood, Tess utilises seven performers, including Harona Kamen’s Narrator Tess and Lila Naruse’s Memory Tess, to re-tell the Victorian story of power, loss and endurance through a feminist lens. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Jah Wobble & The Invaders Of The Heart: Night of dub, funk and world music at Pocklington Arts Centre

Funkiest gig of the week: Jah Wobble & The Invaders Of The Heart, Pocklington Arts Centre, May 9, 8pm

SUPREME bassist Jah Wobble’s two-hour show takes in material from his work with John Lydon in Public Image Ltd and collaborations with Brian Eno, Bjork, Sinead O’Connor, U2’s The Edge, Can’s Holger Czukay, Ministry’s Chris Connelly and Killing Joke’s Geordie Walker.

Born John Wardle in 1958, he was renamed by Sex Pistol Sid Vicious, who struggled to pronounce his name correctly. Wobble combines dub, funk and world music, especially Africa and the Middle East, in his songwriting. Box office: 01759 301547 or pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

“Charming nonsense”: Steven Lee’s There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly at the SJT, Scarborough

Half-term show announcement of the week: There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, May 28, 2.30pm

FIRST written as a song in 1953, There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly was a chart-topping hit for singer and actor Burl Ives before being adapted into a best-selling book by Pam Adams a few years later, one still found in schools, nurseries and homes across the world.  

To mark the nursery rhyme’s 50th anniversary, children’s author Steven Lee has created a magical musical stage show for little ones to enjoy with their parents that combines the charming nonsense of the rhyme with his own “suitably silly twists”. Box office: 01723 370541 or sjt.uk.com.

More Things To Do in Ryedale, York and beyond the Bard festival celebrations. Hutch’s List No. 12, from Gazette & Herald

Footsbarn Theatre in Twelfth Night: First British performances in 15 years in world premiere at York International Shakespeare Festival

A FEAST of Shakespeare, a musical’s 60th anniversary, Motown magic, smalltown teenage troubles and a Yorkshire rock band’s birthday bash hit the mark for Charles Hutchinson.  

Festival of the week: York International Shakespeare Festival, until Sunday 

SHAKESPEAREAN Identity is the theme of the sixth York International Shakespeare Festival, now an annual event, run by director Philip Parr. Sponsored by York St John University, it features shows, lectures by internationally recognised academics, exhibitions and workshops presented by Shakespeare enthusiasts from all over the world.

Among the highlights will be Footsbarn Theatre’s first British visit in 15 years with Twelfth Night on Saturday and Sunday and York Explore’s exhibition of 300 years of representations of Othello. Tickets and full programme details are available at yorkshakes.co.uk/programme-2024.

Fiddler in the woods: Alice Atang’s Fiddler, Perri Ann Barley’s Golde and Steve Tearle’s Tevye set the scene for NE Theatre York’s Fiddler On The Roof

Musical of the week: NE Theatre York in Fiddler On The Roof, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, running until Saturday, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

STEVE Tearle directs NE Theatre York in Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick and Joseph Stein’s musical, taking the role of Tevye, the humble village milkman, for the third time too in this 60th anniversary production.

When three of Tevye’s five daughters rebel against the traditions of arranged marriages by taking matters into their own hands, mayhem unfolds as he strives to maintain his Jewish religious and cultural creeds, against the backdrop of the Tsar’s pogrom edict to evict all Jews from his Russian village in 1905. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

The poster for 1812 Theatre Company’s double bill at Helmsley Arts Centre

Double bill of the week: 1812 Theatre Company in Baby Dolls and Contractions, Helmsley Arts Centre, Thursday to Saturday, 7.30pm

HELMSLEY Arts Centre’s Young Arts Leaders Charlotte Mintoft and Amelia Featherstone direct the 1812 Theatre Company in Tamara von Werthern’s Baby Dolls and Mike Bartlett’s Contractions respectively. The first is a futuristic comedy about conception, state control and rebellion, wherein three women meet at a baby shower but darker things than cupcakes and babygrows are on their mind. 

The second, an ink-black comedy, focuses on the boundaries between work and play. Whereas Emma thinks she’s in love with Darren, her boss thinks she’s in breach of contract. The situation needs to be resolved. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Barrie Rutter: Reflecting on shaking up Shakespeare at Northern Broadsides and beyond

Breaking down the Bard barrier in the north: Barrie Rutter: Shakespeare’s Royals, York Theatre Royal Studio, Friday, 7.45pmRipon 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.

Told he could never play a king on account of his Yorkshire accent, Hull-born Rutter, now 77, created 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. Box office: York, 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk; Ripon, ripontheatrefestival.org.

Soul Satisfaction: Four Tops and Motown hits here they come at Milton Rooms, Malton

Ryedale tribute show of the week: Soul Satisfaction, The American Four Tops Motown Show, Milton Rooms, Malton, Friday, 8pm

DIRECT from the United States, Soul Satisfaction combine powerful vocals, sweet harmonies and high-stepping dance routines in the American Four Tops Motown Show.

This celebration of Motown’s golden era revels in Reach Out (I’ll Be There), Walk Away Renee, It’s The Same Old Song, Loco In Acapulco, I Can’t Help Myself and Bernadette, complemented by The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Marvin Gaye and Ben E King hits. Box office: 01653 696240 or themiltonrooms.com.

The trials of growing up in a small country town: Henry Madd’s Henry and Marc Benga’s Jake in Land Of The Lost Content at Theatre@41, Monkgate, York. Picture: Ali Wright

Touring play of the week: Henry Madd’s Land Of Lost Content, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Sunday, 7.30pm

NIC Connaughton, the Pleasance’s head of theatre, directs Land Of Lost Content, Henry Madd’s autobiographical insight into friendship, adolescence, forgiveness and life not going to plan in an empowering coming-of-age story about the trials of growing up in a small country town and its ongoing effects on two estranged mates.

Henry (Madd) and Jake (Marc Benga) were bored friends who grew up in Ludlow, where friendships were forged in failed adventures, bad habits and damp raves as they stumbled through teenage days looking for something to do. Then Henry moved away. Now he is back, needing to face up to the memories and the people he left behind, as Madd draws on themes of mental health and substance abuse in rural areas in his blend of theatre and spoken word. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Joe Martin: Troubadour tales at the Milton Rooms, Malton

Troubadour of the week: Joe Martin, Milton Rooms, Malton, Sunday, 8pm

INDEPENDENT singer-songwriter and modern-day troubadour Joe Martin captures stories of people and encounters picked up on the road in his tales of friends, strangers and his own experiences.

Before his solo venture, Lancashire-born Martin fronted a country band while studying at university in Leeds, opening for The Shires and appearing at the Country to Country festival. Now he performs in Europe and the United States, such as at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee. Box office: 01653 696240 or themiltonrooms.com.

The Cult: 40th anniversary tour heads to York Barbican in October. Picture: Jackie Middleton

Gig announcement of the week: The Cult, The 8424 Tour, York Barbican, October 29

SINGER Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy mark the 40th anniversary of The Cult, the Bradford band noted for their pioneering mix of post-punk, hard rock and melodramatic experimentalism, by heading out on The 8424 Tour.

Once dubbed “shamanic Goths”, Astbury and Duffy will perform songs from The Cult’s 11-album discography, from 1984’s Dreamtime to 2022’s Under The Midnight Sun, in a set sure to feature She Sells Sanctuary, Rain, Love Removal Machine, Wild Flower and Lil’ Devil. This year they have begun a vinyl reissue series. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

REVIEW: Rowntree Players in Shakers, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York ***

Table service: Sophie Bullivant, left Laura Castle and Abi Carter in Shakers

DEATHLY ghost tour host Jamie McKeller picked John Godber’s Teechers Leavers ’22 for his return to directing after 15 years last March.

Fresh from playing an Ugly Sister in panto, McKeller heads back to the Jo Ro with another rotten state-of the-nation Godber comedy, this one a husband-and-wife collaboration with Jane Thornton.

Two cast members from McKeller’s 2023 production return to the Rowntree Players ranks for Shakers, his pantomime co-stars Sophie Bullivant and Laura Castle now being joined by Abi Carter and Holly Smith.

McKeller has plumped for the 1987 version, not the 1994 musical with 50 per cent new material, nor the 2010 edition with a cast of five, nor the 2022 remix, Shakers: Under New Management!.

In the mix: Holly Smith, Sophie Bullivant, Abi Carter and Laura Castle making cocktails in a promotional shot for Rowntree Players’ Shakers

This is Shakers at its most raw, showing its dark Eighties’ roots like a bleach blonde hairdo, but resonating all the more in our age of zero hours contracts and #MeToo.

Like now, Thatcher’s Britain was an era of fears over losing your job and a them-and-us culture of division. Furthermore, some things never change, whether men treating women as meat or the boss demanding his cocktail waitresses show ever more leg.

In this unruly sister to Godber’s boisterous Bouncers, the multi-role-playing template turns the northern nightlife focus from the nightclub door staff to the cocktail bar shakers and stirrers: overworked, underpaid and prone to squabbling in a whirlwind of sticky floors and sticky situations.

Bullivant’s feminist Carol, Castle’s volatile Mel, Carter’s working mum Adele and company newcomer Smith’s brash Niki face the Saturday night shift from hell: seven hours beneath the neon lights, in shirts tied at the waist, black trousers and white pumps.

Laura Castle in a phone conversation in Rowntree Players’ Shakers

Fast, fizzing physical theatre, with minimal props and a minimalist set design of only four bar seats and four mini-bars on wheels in matching colours, is the performance style.

Another Godber trademark is omnipresent too: plenty of direct address to the audience, here concentrated in the stalls seats nearest the stage to lend McKeller’s production an intimate, studio atmosphere.

Mirroring Bouncers, the quartet plays myriad Shakers clientele: four lasses on a 21st birthday bender; leery lads on the pull; two bragging, misogynist TV producers; frantic kitchen staff; the jobsworth loo attendant.

Quick costume changes, jackets on, jackets off, sunglasses, handbags and a multitude of voices delineate characters that tend towards the caricature and the stereotype, especially in the yuppies and the luvvies.

Holly Smith and Sophie Bullivant in multi-role playing mode in Shakers

Like the waitresses’ shift, the workload and the pace is restless, exacerbated by McKeller’s decision to forego an interval, but there is stillness too in the monologues, one for each waitress, more serious in tone each time, culminating in a shuddering finale as downbeat as Teechers’ end-of-term despair.

Teamwork in movement and dialogue is impressively slick under McKeller’s direction, typified by that closing scene, while high energy bursts through individual performances, Castle the pick, as strong and supportive as that name would suggest.

The audience rarely laughs out loud en masse, which could be unnerving for the cast, but McKeller’s company resists trying to force the humour. Good decision.

Instead, Shakers’ poignancy and awkward, sobering truths hit home harder, shaking and stirring us all the more.

Rowntree Players in Shakers, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, tonight, 7.30pm; tomorrow, 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

More Things To Do in York and beyond from March 9 onwards. Hutch plays his cards for List No. 11 for 2024, from The Press

2023 Strictly champ Ellie Leach’s Miss Scarlett, front right, with her fellow colourful characters in the new whodunit comedy Cluedo 2, on tour at York Theatre Royal. Picture: Alastair Muir

A WHODUNIT comedy, mischievous theatre as a team game, a wicked return, cocktail-bar tales, political satire and one-liners and a very muddy pig are Charles Hutchinson’s clues to the best upcoming shows.

Whodunit, with what and where, of the week: Cluedo 2, York Theatre Royal, March 12 to 16, 7.30pm plus 2pm Thursday and 2.30pm Saturday matinees

STRICTLY Come Dancing 2023 champion and Coronation Street star Ellie Leach is making her stage acting debut as Miss Scarlett in the world premiere British tour of Cluedo 2, marking the 75th anniversary of the Hasbro boardgame. Next stop, York.

This follow-up to the original play (based on Jonathan Lynn’s 1985 film Clue) is an original comedy whodunit, set in the Swinging Sixties, with a script by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran (Birds Of A Feather, Goodnight Sweetheart and Dreamboats And Petticoats) and direction by Mark Bell (Mischief Theatre’s The Play That Goes Wrong). Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Ash Hunter’s Macbeth and Jessica Baglow’s Lady Macbeth in Amy Leach’s revival of Macbeth at Leeds Playhouse. Picture: Kirsten McTernan

Something wicked this way comes…again: Macbeth, Leeds Playhouse, until March 23

AMY Leach reactivates her 2022 Leeds Playhouse production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth with a wickedly good cast, now led by Ash Hunter, who returns to Yorkshire after his terrific Heathcliff in Emma Rice’s Wuthering Heights at York Theatre Royal.

“Macbeth investigates the nature of belief, love, ambition and desire, asking us to root for two humans who drive each other to do utterly terrible things,” says Leach. Box office: 0113 213 7700 or leedsplayhouse.org.uk.   

Let the games begin: Gemma Curry, left, Claire Morley and Becky Lennon in Hoglets Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Mischief at York Theatre Royal Studio

Shakespeare shake-up of the week: Hoglets Theatre in A Midsummer Night’s Mischief, York Theatre Royal Studio, March 9, 10.30am

EVERYTHING is kicking off as the fairies in the forest start a fight, but which side will you be on? Team Titania or Team Oberon? York company Hoglets Theatre presents an interactive, fun, larger-than-life production for young children, based on Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Expect wild characters, raucous singalong songs, puppets, stunts and some frankly ridiculous disco dancing from director/writer Gemma Curry and fellow cast members Claire Morley and Becky Lennon. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Comedian Matt Green: “Trying to make sense of the world”. Picture: Karla Gowlett

Political satire of the week: Matt Green: That Guy, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, March 10, 8pm

THE debut national tour by That Guy (@mattgreencomedy) is a stand-up show full of jokes both political and non-political after he achieved millions of views for his online satirical videos launched in lockdown.

Green is touring his first show “since the madness of Covid/Johnson/Truss/Lord-knows-what-else began”, trying to make sense of the world in another year of elections and culture wars. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Jake Bugg: Playing our city on his Your Town Tour

Singer-songwriter of the week: Jake Bugg, Your Town Tour 2024, York Barbican, Tuesday, doors 7pm

ON his 15-date tour, Nottingham singer-songwriter Jake Bugg is performing two sets per night, first acoustic, then electric, as he rattles through his biggest hits, plus songs from 2021’s top three-charting Saturday Night Sunday Morning.

Two nights earlier, founder member Graham Gouldman leads art pop and soft rock innovators 10cc on their Ultimate Ultimate Greatest Hits Tour 2024 at 7.30pm. Ticket availability is limited. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Peppa Pig’s Fun Day Out: Songs, muddy puddles and snorts at the Grand Opera House

Children’s show of the week: Peppa Pig’s Fun Day Out, Grand Opera House, York, Wednesday, 1pm and 4pm, and Thursday, 10am and 1pm

PEPPA Pig is joined by her family and friends as they head to the zoo and the beach for a special party, with the promise of a fun-packed day. Prepare to sing with colourful scarecrows, feed the penguins, build big sandcastles and even swim in the sea in a show packed with songs, dancing, muddy puddles, giggles and snorts. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Facing the shift from hell in the worst bar in town: Sophie Bullivant, Abi Carter, Holly Smith and Laura Castle in Rowntree Players’ Shakers

Comedy play of the week: Rowntree Players in Shakers, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, March 14 to 16, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

WELCOME to Shakers, the worst bar in town where everyone wants to be seen. Carol, Adele, Niki and Mel face the shift from hell. The lights are neon, the music is loud, and shoes must be smart. No trainers.

Jane Thornton and John Godber’s 1984 comedy exposes the sticky-floored world behind the bar on a busy Saturday night. Here come the girls, the lads, the yuppies and the luvvies, all played by Sophie Bullivant, Laura Castle, Abi Carter and Holly Smith under the direction of Jamie McKeller, who worked previously with Bullivant and Castle on Godber’s Teechers in 2023. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Rebecca Vaughan in Dyad Productions’ Austen’s Women: Lady Susan, scheming at Theatre@41 for two days

Solo show of the week: Dyad Productions in Austen’s Women: Lady Susan, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, March 15, 7.30pm and March 16, 2.30pm

FROM the creators of I, Elizabeth, Female Gothic, Christmas Gothic and A Room Of One’s Own comes a new Austen’s Women show, based on Jane Austen’s first full-length work from 1794, performed by Rebecca Vaughan.

Created entirely from letters, this one features the devil-may-care Lady Susan, the coquettish, scheming black widow, hunting down not one, but two, fortunes. Then add oppressed, rebellious daughter Frederica; long-suffering sister-in-law Catherine; family matriarch Mrs De Courcy and insouciant best friend Alicia in this darkly comic tale of Georgian society and the women trapped within it. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Shock in shirts: Comedian Milton Jones will be displaying his sartorial eloquence in his Ha!Milton tour show

Gig announcement of the week: Milton Jones, Ha!Milton, Grand Opera House, York, September 7; Sheffield, City Hall, December 4; King’s Hall, Ilkley, December 8

MILTON Jones, the shock-haired master of the one-liner, will take his 2024 tour, Ha!Milton, on the road from September 3 to December 15. “This is not a musical,” says Jones, in a nod to the title.

“I am tone deaf and have no sense of rhythm, but at least I don’t make a song and dance about it. This is a whole new show of daftness. You know it makes sense.” Topics will include giraffes…“and there’s a bit about tomatoes”. Box office: miltonjones.com; York, atgtickets.com/york; Sheffield, sheffieldcityhall.co.uk; Ilkley, bradford-theatres.co.uk.

In Focus: Navigators Art & Performance, GUNA: Views and Voices of Women, City Screen Picturehouse, York


Collaborative banner by Navigators Art workshop group, including first-time artist
s, for York International Women’s Week 2024

YORK collective Navigators Art & Performance presents GUNA: Views and Voices of Women, at City Screen Picturehouse, Coney Street, York, from March 10 to April 5.

Run in association with York International Women’s Week 2024, this exhibition explores and celebrates the creativity of women and non-binary artists.

On show in the cafe and the upstairs gallery is an array of paintings, textiles, collages, photographs and more by 20 emerging and established York makers, curated by York artist Katie Lewis.

Navigators Art & Performance’s poster for GUNA: Views and Voices of Women


“Women have used textiles as an art form to tell their stories and express views for centuries,” says Katie. “Many of the artists are using recycled fabrics that give further meaning to their work.”

The official launch night event on March 11 offers the chance to meet the artists over a complimentary drink from 6pm.  All are welcome, with no need to book; more details at  https://www.facebook.com/events/6804352783003925

The exhibition is free to enter every day during cinema hours. City Screen is fully accessible.

Suffragette City, by Katie Lewis

NAVIGATORS Art & Performance will co-host GUNA: An Evening of Music, Spoken Word, Performance Art and Comedy to complement the exhibition and further celebrate the creativity of women and non-binary artists in The Basement at City Screen on March 23 from 7pm to 10.45pm.

GUNA is a version of the ancient Greek word for ‘woman’, leading to a line-up of
poets Danae, Olivia Mulligan and Rose Drew; performance artist Carrieanne Vivianette; global songs and percussion from Soundsphere; original music from Suzy Bradley; comedy from Aimee Moon; and a rousing appearance by the multi-faceted singer, author and artist Heather Findlay.

“The venue is small and our shows often sell out, so book soon,” advises Navigators’ organiser, Richard Kitchen. Full details and TicketSource booking are available at https://bit.ly/nav-guna

REVIEW: Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company in Curtains, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, until Saturday ***

In the spotlight: Steven Hobson’s Lieutenant Frank Cioffi with the Curtains cast at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre. All pictures: Picture: Simon Trow, Simon Charles Photography

KANDER & Ebb wrote Cabaret, Chicago and Frank Sinatra’s signature song, New York, New York.

In truth, Curtains is not on a par with those peaks, being a musical, satirical comedy and whodunit rolled into a play within a play that excels at none of them.

A recipe with so many rich ingredients might have even Paul Hollywood worried, and what happens here is that nothing quite satisfies, although that is no fault of the Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company’s exuberant cast, director Alex Schofield, musical director Scott Phillips and orchestra alike.

The comedy sometimes has to strive too hard in its clunky send-ups of theatre group tropes and murder mysteries alike. Under Scott Phillips’s ceaselessly exuberant musical direction, his wind and brass players are full of oomph, as the songs are given maximum welly, particularly by Jennie Wogan-Wells’s Georgia Hendricks, Jennifer Jones’s Niki Harris and Rosy Rowley’s redoubtable Carmen Bernstein, but they fall well short of K&E’s Seventies’ best.

The whodunit interweaves with the hapless play within a play, a boisterous but seemingly plotless Western by the name of Robbin’ Hood, but it never has the grip, rising tension or intrigue of a Christie murder mystery. The more the plot thickens, somehow the more it doesn’t, because the musical must go on, in theatre tradition…but just too much is going on.

This 2007 American musical, with a book by Escape (The Pina Colada Song) hitmaker Rupert Holmes, is set in 1959, backstage and on stage at the Colonial Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts, where the exasperating, line-forgetting leading lady of a new musical mysteriously suddenly dies (much like her performance, not so mysteriously).

Everyone, cast and crew alike, is a suspect for forensic interrogation by Lieutenant Frank Cioffi (Steve Jobson), the unconventional local detective with a passion for musical theatre. So much so, he keeps making suggestions to improve the musical (within the musical, not the K&E musical itself, which might have been a better idea).

Director and detective: Ben Huntley’s Christopher Belling and Steven Jobson’s Lieutenant Frank Cioffi

You will enjoy the running in-joke of the song In The Same Boat forever being re-written in search of a better tune before Cioffi has the brilliant idea of running all five versions together in the best ensemble number of the show.

Unlike Holmes’s humour, Jobson has a lightness of touch to his performance, at ease with song and script alike, his Cioffi being plucky and persistent, and suddenly romantically involved too.

In a show where individual performances surpass the material, Wogan-Wells has fun as the indefatigable Georgia, taking over from the murdered lead, while Ben Huntley revels in being the Englishman abroad and aghast, Christopher Belling, the director with the waspish tongue and ocean-wide ego.

Curtains is too long, too convoluted, never as funny as a Mischief send-up, but JRTC’s production values are good, from costumes to lighting and Ollie Nash’s sound design. Choreographer Sarah Colestead, principals, featured dancers and ensemble, are kept busy by the flow of song after song and in turn keep the stage busy with commotion in motion.

As usual, JRTC will be raising funds for the JoRo, adding to the £23,000 donated from past productions. That all helps to keep the curtain up, even if Curtains doesn’t raise the roof, despite the committed performances.

Curtains for Curtains, a whydoit dud, but roll on JRTC’s upcoming shows, Helen Spencer’s second instalament of Musicals In The Multiverse and Beauty And The Beast.

Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Jonathan Wells’s Aaron Fox, left, Jennie Wogan-Wells’s Georgia Hendricks, Mark Simmonds’s Oscar Shapiro and Rosy Rowley’s Carmen Bernstein in Curtains