More Things To Do in and around York as Shakespeare with afternoon tea awaits. List No.44, courtesy of The Press, York

The Magpies – in suitably black and white attire – host their music and arts festival at Sutton Park this weekend

MAGPIES and mermaids, Shakespeare’s wife and Scarborough romances, Boy George and a Bon Jovi tribute, Aretha & Patti and singer-songwriters at the quadruple are Charles Hutchinson’s tips for what to see.

Festival of the weekend: The Magpies Festival of Music & Arts, Sutton Park, Sutton-on-the-Forest, near York, Saturday, music on bar stage from 1.30pm; main stage, from 2.30pm

SAM Kelly & The Lost Boys headline The Magpies Festival in the grounds of Sutton Park, hosted by The Magpies’ trio of Bella Gaffney, Kate Griffin and Holly Brandon in support of Women’s Aid.

Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys can be found headlining The Magpies Festival on Saturday

Confirmed for this weekend’s folk-flavoured line-up too are: Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra; Blair Dunlop; fast-rising Katherine Priddy; The Magpies themselves; York musician Dan Webster; East Yorkshire singer-songwriter Katie Spencer; the duo Roswell and The People Versus.

Day tickets and camping tickets are available at

Bon Jovi tribute act New Jovi, who play the Joseph Rowntree Theatre this weekend

Tribute gig of the weekend: New Jovi: Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Saturday, 7.30pm

LIVIN’ off Livin’ On A Prayer, tribute act New Jovi seek to “bring back the on-stage chemistry and formidable stage presence of Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora in what was arguably the New Jersey band’s greatest era”. Arguably? Definitely.

Presented by Pit Bull Productions, Saturday night’s “completely live” set accommodates Always, You Give Love A Bad Name, Runaway, Bad Medicine and many more besides. Box office:

Mad about the Boy? If so, join Culture Club on the coast at Scarborough on Saturday

Gig of the week outside York: Boy George & Culture Club, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, Saturday, doors open at 6pm

EIGHTIES’ icon/iconoclast Boy George and Culture Club are off to the Yorkshire seaside this weekend.

Bexleyheath-born frontman, fashion innovator and DJ George O’Dowd, who turned 60 on June 14, will be performing alongside original band members Roy Hay and Mikey Craig in a “stunning live band”.

Expect to hear such New Romantic favourites as Do You Really Want To Hurt Me, fellow chart topper Karma Chameleon, Time (Clock Of The Heart) and Church Of The Poison Mind. Box office:

Josie Campbell in rehearsal for playing Anne Hathaway in Little Britches Theatre Company’s production of Shakespeare’s Will. Picture: Michael J Oakes

Where there’s a Will: Little Britches Theatre Company in Shakespeare’s Will, outside at Hearts of Ampleforth, Ampleforth, near Helmsley, Sunday, 2.30pm

NORTH Yorkshire duo Josie Campbell and Imogen Hope perform Vern Thiessen’s two-hander Shakespeare’s Will on Sunday, with afternoon tea thrown into the £15 ticket price for good measure.

In this one-hour, pop-up outdoor show about Anne Hathaway’s imagined life with, but mostly without, playwright William Shakespeare, teacher, theatre-maker, performer and erstwhile voiceover artist Josie plays Anne.

Theatre-maker, actor, musician and performing arts teacher Imogen takes the role of Actor-Musician. Tickets: from the café or on 01439 788166; cash only.

The Northern Edge Theatre Company cast and crew for Sam Milnes’s comedy drama Scarbados

Holiday romance of the weekend: Scarbados, Northern Edge Theatre Company, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Sunday, 3pm and 8pm

WELCOME to writer-director Sam Milnes’s new one-act comedy drama about love, life, grief, hope and fish & chips.

Tragic and comic in equal measure, Scarbados tracks six locals and holidaymakers who all go to the same seaside bar, where their lives intertwine in ways no-one expects.

Will Sharon have the chance of motherhood she so desperately craves? Will Jen and Alex have their romantic weekend? Can Ian overcome his long-time challenges? Will Vicky find her man? Who is the sixth character? Box office:

Gemma Sharp: Sea Storm In A Teacup’s writer, producer and performer

Children’s show of the week: Hoglets Theatre in Sea Storm In A Teacup, Theatre At The Mill, Stillington, near York, Sunday, 3pm

A MERMAID is an amazing gift for a young adventurer, but what do you do when it just will not stop growing? So asks York company Hoglets Theatre in Sea Storm In A Teacup, a new one-hour play written, produced and performed by Gemma Sharp for ages three to seven.

Joining Sharp’s Merry on stage will be Gemma’s husband, Andy Curry, the show’s composer, lyricist and musician in the role of the Sea King, and Thalassa, a puppet made by Sharp.

Sharp’s story of a chance meeting, an act of kindness and an unusual present, leading a lonely young girl on the most unexpected journey to find friendship, promises an epic adventure of mystery, magic, and mermaids. Box office:

Patti Boulaye: Heading to Helmsley with her Aretha Franklin show

Two into one will go: Patti Boulaye, Aretha & Me, Helmsley Arts Centre, September 18, 8pm

SINGER, musical theatre star, New Faces winner and teacher Dr Patti Boualye OBE is resuming her Aretha & Me tour travels, as well as her visiting teaching fellow role at Middlesex University.

In her one-woman but two-women show, British-Nigerian Patti, 67, compares and contrasts her life with that of the late American queen of soul.

Patti, whose updated autobiography The Faith Of A Child is published by Kaleidoscope Publishing this week, will combine Aretha’s Respect, I Say A Little Prayer, Natural Woman, Chain Of Fools and Think with her favourite songs. Box office:

Dan Webster, left, Joshua Burnell and Edwina Hayes: Taking part in Pocklington Arts Centre’s singer-songwriter showcase next month

Four play: Dan Webster, Edwina Hayes, Joshua Burnell and Jess Gardham: Singer-Songwriter Showcase, Pocklington Arts Centre, September 23, 8pm

DAN Webster, Joshua Burnell and Jess Gardham, from York, are joined by Edwina Hayes, from the East Riding, for this all-Yorkshire bill.

Webster plays folk/Americana peppered with more than a dash of country, bluegrass and rock’n’roll; Burnell’s gigs take in stomping, acoustic singalongs, Bowie-style music-hall epics, alt.pop singles and traditional folk themes.

Gardham fuses pop, soul, blues and acoustic in her song-writing and has a belter of a voice equally at home in musical theatre; Irish-born Hayes crafts gentle folk-Americana songs. Box office: or on 01759 301547.

All roads lead to Pocklington Arts Centre for York singer-songwriter Jess Gardham on September 23

Little Britches Theatre Company to launch outdoor staging of Shakespeare’s Will… with Sunday afternoon tea in Ampleforth

Imogen Hope, left, and Josie Campbell in rehearsal for Shakespeare’s Will. Pictures: Michael J Oakes

LITTLE Britches Theatre Company should have launched already in Dubai but “guess what happened in between” then and now.

Instead, pushed back by the pandemic and now back home, North Yorkshire duo Josie Campbell and Imogen Hope will present Vern Thiessen’s two-hander Shakespeare’s Will in a private show in a Sutton-on-the-Forest garden on Friday night, followed by a public performance with afternoon tea at Hearts of Ampleforth, near Helmsley, on Sunday at 2.30pm.

In this one-hour, pop-up outdoor show about Anne Hathaway’s imagined life with, but mostly without, playwright William Shakespeare, teacher, theatre-maker, performer and erstwhile voiceover artist Josie will play Anne.

Theatre-maker, actor, musician and performing arts teacher Imogen will take the role of Actor-Musician.

“We are delighted to be performing our work within the community,” says Josie, who officially formed Little Britches with Imogen earlier this year while she was still living in the United Arab Emirates. Now the company is based in Ampleforth.

“Join us for a taste of some Renaissance mud, blood, and occasional stud, in this hilarious, energetic and ultimately tragic tale of love, labour and loss,” says Josie.

Here, she and Imogen answer CharlesHutchPress’s questions about Shakespeare’s Will, Little Britches’ projects and their creative partnership.

How and where did you meet Imogen, Josie?

“We’ve known each other since Immy was 13! She was in the same year as my son, Archie, at Gilling (Ampleforth College). I was subsequently her assistant housemistress when she moved to Ampleforth.

“I taught her A-level Theatre Studies, as well as coaching her through her ATCL Acting Diploma. We’ve kept in touch on and off through the years.”

How did you settle on the name Little Britches and why, Josie?

“Ha! I had a shortlist of possibles but we both liked the fact that this is a bit cheeky. We’re both little in stature – Immy’s taller! – and the ‘breeches’ reference resonated with the fact that our first play was set in a time when these were worn.”

How did you come across Vern Thiessen’s Shakespeare’s Will, Josie?

“It premiered in 2005 in Canada, where it has been performed extensively. The USA premiere was produced by Leonard Nimoy (yes, Spock!).

“I had spent ages and ages looking for a one-act, small-cast play that featured a woman of my age. It wasn’t easy, I can tell you! From a Little Britches point of view, there is still acres more space for women’s stories to be told.”

Josie Campbell rehearsing a scene from Little Britches Theatre Company’s Shakespeare’s Will

How would you sum up the play, Josie?  

“It’s a play about Anne’s imagined life with – but mostly without – her increasingly famous husband. Beginning just after his funeral, she prevaricates over reading the will, using the time to reminisce about her life.

“It’s been described as ‘catnip for Shakespeare fans’ and I love that! It’s light and irreverent, but there’s a point in the play when it darkens as the plague arrives…and there’s a tragic twist at the end.

“It does help to have a bit of knowledge about who Anne Hathaway was, and especially the debate surrounding ‘the second-best bed’, but it’s not essential.”

What are the themes, Josie?

“What appealed to me was that the play is a life as seen through the eyes of a woman – from a very domestic point of view. She’s more or less a single mother, keeping it together while her husband’s life turns out to be bigger than hers.

“There is so much that resonates for woman: accidental pregnancy, the less-than-idyllic realities of childbirth and babies, single motherhood, challenging relationships with in-laws, absent husbands, sexual freedom. I see a lot of wry smiles from women in the audience when we perform this!

“Its femininity as a play is represented by the fluidity of the repeated water/sea motif. The sea is Anne’s ‘safe space’, her retreat.

“There are also references in the play to theatres closing because of the plague. Maybe Vern Thiessen had a crystal ball when he wrote this!”

What does your staging of a show involve, Josie?

“We’re truly a pop-up show, so our set is whatever and wherever the backdrop is. We can perform in very intimate spaces – anywhere where you can fit an audience, from private gardens and cafés/pubs to larger arts centres and theatres.

“We can fit all our props – from model ships to a bunch of rosemary…and the will – in a hand basket. If the host can’t provide anything suitable, we bring along a table and chair. Of course, Imogen brings her violin, her guitar and her beautiful voice.”

What music have you composed for Shakespeare’s Will, Imogen?

“The period of the play is Elizabethan and so a folk-music style felt fitting. Some of the pieces, such as the fiddle jigs and the ‘Love Theme’, are taken from traditional folk tunes.

“However, some of the other tunes played and sung are composed by me, making sure to keep the folk genre and style consistent.

Where there’s Hope: Imogen Hope will provide the music for Little Britches’ production of Shakespeare’s Will

“Music is integral to our performance. It’s multi-purpose by its addition to the context of a scene, providing sub-text and fitting in with the overall performance arc. The use of leitmotifs is important in supporting this and also allows for a more conjunct flow between the spoken text and the music.”

What do you enjoy about performing two-handers, Josie?

“I much prefer it to performing solo! It allows us more flexibility in staging and the energy.

“It’s a wonderfully collaborative experience as we learn to bounce off each other. Imogen accuses me of giving her all the lines that I don’t want to learn, but that’s absolutely not true!

“It’s also great to build a relationship with the audience over the course of the play. There’s no fourth wall.”

What did your lockdown What Makes Me Woman online monologue project involve, Imogen? 

“I took the lead on this project, where a collection of original monologues was rehearsed and performed online on the subject of ‘What Makes Me Woman’.

“We asked for submissions and received an eclectic range of different writing styles and varied topics related to the given title. After receiving the submissions, we posted a call-out for performers and directors. Short summaries of the monologues were given so people could choose a first and second option for which monologue they were most interested in performing/directing.

“After putting the different teams together, it was up to them to rehearse and record:  they had a choice on how much editing they would like to do and the style in which they recorded it.

“Also note that none of these teams had met before.”

Who took part, Imogen?

“Our writers, performers and directors were a mix of ages and levels of experience – we had well-seasoned and experienced theatre-makers and we also had those who wanted to try their hand at something new.

“Wanting to promote a self-space where people could explore this and help each other with nurturing these skills was something important to the project.”

When was the work premiered, Imogen?

“We held a premiere in May of all the monologues online and hosted a Q&A afterwards to allow all the teams to meet and to discuss what the process had been like.

“Something that struck us was the community we had created. We weren’t entirely sure what the project would be like, but it was beautiful. A collection of voices from places near and far coming together to celebrate, commiserate and contemplate what it meant for them to be a woman.”

“There is so much that resonates for woman,” says Josie Campbell of Shakespeare’s Will

Who have you had as guests and what have you discussed in Coffee Morning Chats, your series of Zoom sessions where you talk to theatre makers about claiming their space within the industry, Imogen?

“Coffee Morning Chats was something we wanted to start after our ”What Makes Me Woman’ project. We wanted to continue this idea of a community through arts and conversation.

“We started pre-recording these and asked some of our fellow artists to join. However, we have had to take a hiatus with this when starting our tour of Shakespeare’s Will. It is something we want to continue but have put on the back burner, so watch this space!”

What are your upcoming plans, Josie?

“This autumn, I’m off to Central [School of Speech and Drama, London] to do an MA in Training and Coaching Actors, while Imogen returns to her job as a performing arts teacher in the West Midlands.

“But we will continue to pop up when we can, plus hopefully we’ll launch schools’ workshops. We’re also beginning to develop our own material.”

Four facts about Josie Campbell

1. At the 2019 Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre season at the Eye of York, Josie performed “on the wagon” as part of the pre-show entertainment in Shakespeare’s Village as Third Witch in the opening scene of Macbeth. Director Eleanor Ball is now executive producer of the Marilyn 60 project, One Night With Marilyn.

2.Josie is the voice of Oxford Park & Ride. “I used to be a voiceover artist, but my microphone has been packed away for a while as I much prefer live theatre performance,” she says.

3. In Dubai, Josie performed in the Short and Sweet Festival and directed Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House for Dubai Drama Group.

4. Josie has not read Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrell’s family drama about William Shakespeare, his wife Agnes Hathwey (also called Anne Hathaway) and their grief over the death of their son Hamnet. “But everyone keeps telling me to read it. It’s next on my list!” she says.

Four facts about Imogen Hope

1.Actor, writer, director, producer, musician and teacher Imogen is from Northallerton, North Yorkshire .

2. She studied music (first study, singer) at the University of York, graduating in 2020.

3. At present, she is based between North Yorkshire and the West Midlands because of her job down there, teaching performing arts to pupils aged eight to 18.

4. On Zoom, she performed in Thunk-It Theatre’s project Common Ground for the National Student Drama Festival.

Little Britches Theatre Company in Shakespeare’s Will, at Hearts of Ampleforth, near Helmsley, August 15 at 2.30pm. Tickets cost £15, including afternoon tea, from the café or on 01439 788166; cash only. Proceeds will go to Cancer Research UK.