More Things To Do in York and beyond in the months ahead and at home now. List No. 29, courtesy of The Press, York

Becky Gee, curator of Fine Art at York Art Gallery, with Michael Lyons’ 1993 sculpture Amphitrite in the Artists Garden in May 2019. Picture: Charlotte Graham

ONLINE entertainment is still ruling the Stay Home world, but more promoters are announcing shows for the summer as the recovery roadmap begins to twitch our cultural satnav. Charles Hutchinson reaches for his diary.

Last chance to see: Michael Lyons’ Ancient And Modern sculptures, York Art Gallery Artists Garden and Edible Wood

THE free display of large-scale works by late Cawood sculptor Michael Lyons behind York Art Gallery will close on April 11.

On show in his biggest ever exhibition on York soil are nine sculptures created between 1982 and 2000, inspired by nature, myth and ancient cultures, with the central space dominated by Amphitrite, a large painted steel structure evoking the sea that he fashioned in 1993.

Opened in late-May 2019, Ancient And Modern originally was booked to run until May 2020, but has remained in place through these pandemic times.

Caroline Gruber as Vashti in E M Forster’s The Machine Stops, now starting up again in a York Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre webcast. Picture: Ben Bentley

Recommended resonant webcast of the week and beyond: The Machine Stops online

YORK Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre’s 2016 co-production of The Machine Stops can be watched at until April 5.

Adapted for the stage by Neil Duffield, E M Forster’s 1909 short story is set in a futuristic, dystopian world where humans have retreated far underground and individuals live in isolation in “cells”, with all bodily and spiritual needs met by the omnipotent, global Machine. 

Director Juliet Forster says: “It’s even more striking today than it was at the time we staged it: things like human contact and human touch becoming something that’s almost taboo, things that didn’t seem relevant back in 2016 but are really, really striking and even more relevant now.”

Ensemble Augelletti: Recording for the Awaken online weekend at the National Centre for Early Music, York

Springtime celebration of music online: Awaken, National Centre for Early Music, York, Saturday and Sunday

THE NCEM’s Awaken weekend will present York countertenor Iestyn Davies and Fretwork, the all-male vocal group The Gesualdo Six, I Fagiolini and the English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble, Ensemble Augelletti and The Consone Quartet.

The six-pack of online festivities will celebrate the sublime sounds of spring, recorded in a range of historic venues to mark “the unique association between the City of York and the exquisite beauty of the music of the past”.

Among the architectural gems will be Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate, St Olave’s Church, Marygate, the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall and the NCEM. Full details can be found at

Becky Lennon and Jules Risingham: Ready to host Thunk-It Theatre’s online youth theatre sessions

Online youth theatre opportunity: Thunk-It Theatre sessions with Pocklington Arts Centre

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

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

The 10am to 11am sessions for Years 2 to 6 children will include fun games, exercises and storytelling, aiming to encourage confidence building, life and social skills, creativity and positivity. Participants will work collaboratively to create a short performance that will explore storytelling. To book, go to

Abba Mania: Booked for Sounds In The Grounds at York Racecourse

Live music returns to Knavesmire: Sounds In The Grounds at Clocktower Enclosure, York Racecourse, June 25 to 27

NORTH Yorkshire impresario James Cundall’s Sounds In The Grounds is adding a new location to its picnic-concert portfolio for summer 2021.

Complying with Covid-19 guidelines, the Clocktower Enclosure of York Racecourse will play host to the Beyond The Barricade celebration of musicals on June 25, Abba Mania on June 26 and A Country Night In Nashville on June 27.

The capacity will be capped at 1,400 for the fully staged productions with LED screens on either side of the stage. Tickets are on sale at:

Paul Winn: Co-organiser of the 2nd York Blues Festival in July

Here comes a dose of the blues: York Blues Festival, July 24, 12.30pm to 11pm

THE 2nd York Blues Festival will be held on Saturday, July 24 at The Crescent Community Venue, York, organised by Paul Winn and Ben Darwin.

No strangers to the British Blues scene, they present Blues From The Ouse on Jorvik Radio and are members of York band DC Blues.

Winn and Darwin have booked a bill of Robbie Reay; The Swamp Hoppers; Dori & The Outlaws; John Carroll; Dr Bob & The Bluesmakers; DC Blues and Nick Steed Five. Tickets are on sale at, and

Racing cert: Shed Seven will ride out at Doncaster Racecourse next May after moving post-racing gig…again

Sheds on the move…again: Shed Seven, Live After Racing, Doncaster Racecourse, May 14 2022

YORK heroes Shed Seven’s twice-postponed post-racing gig at Doncaster Racecourse will come under starter’s orders on May 14 202.

First diarised for August 15 2020, then May 15 this spring, each show was declared a non-runner under the Government’s pandemic lockdown restrictions.

Let Donny Races wax lyrical: “So don’t have your friends asking ‘where have you been tonight?’ We have ‘high hopes’ that ‘the heroes’ Shed Seven will deliver an outstanding night of music. ‘It’s not easy’ but you’d be stuck to find a ‘better days’ entertainment in Doncaster next summer.” To book raceday tickets, go to:

Graham Gouldman, second from left, will be returning to York Barbican with 10cc

Gig announcement of the week: 10cc, York Barbican, March 26 2022

10cc will play York Barbican next spring in the only Yorkshire show of their 13-date Ultimate Greatest Hits Tour.

“It’s difficult to express just how much we have missed playing live and how much we want to be back playing concerts for you,” says Graham Gouldman, the one group founder still in the touring line-up. “We look forward to seeing you all again in 2022.”

Tickets are on sale at and

Michael Lyons’ Ancient and Modern show of outdoor sculptures to close on April 11

Becky Gee, curator of Fine Art at York Art Gallery, with Michael Lyons’ 1993 sculpture Amphitrite in the Artists Garden in May 2019. Picture: Charlotte Graham

THE last chance to see Ancient And Modern, Cawood sculptor Michael Lyons’ valedictory outdoor exhibition in York, is fast approaching.

The free display of large-scale sculpture in York Art Gallery’s Artists Garden and Edible Wood will close on April 11.

On show in the late Michael’s biggest ever exhibition on York soil are nine works created between 1982 and 2000, inspired by nature, myth and ancient cultures, with the central space dominated by Amphitrite, a large painted steel structure evoking the sea that he fashioned in 1993. 

Becky Gee, curator of Fine Art at York Art Gallery, says: “Michael’s incredible work has been shown around the world and in some of the most respected art institutions, and we’ve loved exhibiting it in the gardens here, feeling honoured to have housed his first large-scale exhibition in York, his home city.” 

Opened in late-May 2019, Ancient And Modern originally was booked to run until May 2020, but has remained in place through these pandemic times. “We were so pleased to be able to extend the exhibition and keep it open for visitors to enjoy on their daily walks through the gardens,” Becky continues. 

“The sculptures have brought a new dimension to the unique space and we’re thrilled with the positive response. The works complement and contrast with the ancient walls of St Mary’s Abbey and the more rustic landscapes of the Edible Wood, truly suiting their garden setting, and it’s been fascinating to see how they change as the seasons change how the gardens look.”

Cavalcade, by Michael Lyons, in the Artists Garden at York Art Gallery. Picture: Charlotte Graham

Before his sudden passing in April 2019, Michael Lyons said of the show: “To my knowledge, this is the first time such a large exhibition of outdoor sculpture has been shown in York – certainly for many years.

“It is a great pleasure to make a contribution to the cultural life of York in this way and I hope that the exhibition will help to make sculpture a more integral part of the city.” 

Becky recalls the “wonderful experience” of working on this exhibition with Michael before his passing. “His energy, warmth and creativity made a real impact on the gallery team and the show has proven to be a true celebration of the extraordinary skill and talent he possessed,” she says.

The York exhibition had been in the planning for many years, and once Becky took up her curator’s post in early 2019, she was able to work in tandem with Mr Lyons in the months before his death. They would liaise by phone and email and she visited his studio too.

“Michael was very enthusiastic, full of ideas, and spoke very eloquently about his sculptures, and he loved the space where they were to be exhibited. That inspired the Ancient And Modern title for the exhibition,” says the curator, who collaborated with the sculptor on the detailed wording to accompany each sculpture.

Working from the Cawood studio he established in 1977, Lyons’ sculptures range from small-scale to monumental, made in brass, bronze, clay and copper, with his exploration of the medium of steel resulting in an ambitious body of work equally at home in rural and urban landscapes.

Ancient And Modern exhibition curator Becky Gee is framed by Michael Lyons’ 1989 sculpture High Priest in the Artists Garden behind York Art Gallery. Picture: Charlotte Graham

Although the sculptures are abstract, their starting point is often figurative, as seen in the exhibits Ace (1982), Michaelmas (1982), Mayflower (1983), High Priest (1989), Cavalcade (1990), Hornblower (1992) and the companion pieces Harvest: Ceres’ Key (2000) and Harvest: Demeter’s Dream (2000), as well as Amphitrite.

“Sculptures can be hard to fully comprehend until you see them in front of you, but Michael’s works feel like they have landed here and been here forever,” says Becky.

“The beauty of them is that you can sit on a bench in the gardens and appreciate how each setting has been carefully chosen. That was very important to Michael’s family when they came to see us installing the sculptures.”

Becky’s favourite piece is Cavalcade, the work placed closest to the gallery walls. The most colourful is Mayflower, a yellow disc that evokes the sun, made at Mayflower Engineering in Sheffield, hence its name. Whatever the weather, radiant sunlight has continued to shine in the Artists Garden, thanks to Lyons.

“It’s been a privilege to have Ancient And Modern, and if you’re local we hope you’re able to enjoy the display before it closes,” concludes Becky.

Michael Lyons: Ancient And Modern, on show in the Artists Garden and Edible Wood, behind York Art Gallery, until April 11. Opening hours are 10.30am to 4.30pm daily; admission is free.