REVIEW: Simple8 in Moby Dick, York Theatre Royal, on the hunt till tomorrow ***

Guy Rhys’s Captain Ahab in Simple8’s Moby Dick

THE publicity for Simple8’s Moby Dick promised a “fun, fast and joyous” production: three words not usually associated with Herman Melville’s labyrinthine leviathan novel.

What’s more, writer Sebastian Armesto described his adaptation as “mercifully brief”. “If you haven’t read the novel, you can watch our show and then pretend that you have,” he said, wryly.

Fun? No? Joyous? No. Fast? First half, yes, but the second half began to lull before a storming finale. Overall, “mercifully brief” would be doing a disservice to the intelligence and theatrical invention behind Royal & Derngate artistic director Jesse Jones’s production, although it never quite reaches the sublime heights, beauty, tragedy and surprising humour of Ockham’s Razor’s circus adaptation of Tess at the Theatre Royal last month.

The two touring productions share a use of planks of woods and sheets, an ensemble cast and a script pared back from a weighty 19th century novel, along with a combination of physicality and psychology that is the essence of theatre.

Spoiler alert, the whale of the title that cost Captain Ahab his leg turns up only in the “last few pages” as Guy Rhys’s Ahab takes his vendetta against the sperm whale to reckless extremes with his Pequod crew.

The rest is imagination: getting inside the head of Ahab and, first, the equally single-minded Ishmael (Mark Arends), the schoolmaster drawn to Nantucket to experience whale hunting on the Pequod.

The unseen threat of Moby Dick – mirroring Covid’s creeping progress, as Armesto commented in his interviews – is conjured through description and even in the shape of bones held aloft by cast members as we await the leviathan’s stealthy arrival. The only puppet is a porpoise pulled from a bucket.

Equally, Captain Ahab is the subject of much discussion, the last to arrive on board, inducing fear, adrenaline and stomach butterflies as much as the whale. His delayed entry, when it does come, is preceded by the thud of his stump, raising the blood pressure still more.

Arends’s Ishmael, rather than Ahab, is the narrator, the thinker, the innocent, intrigued outsider, learning as we do, gradually consumed by Ahab’s obsessive mission for vengeance.

In keeping with the duties of a crew, Jones’s ensemble cast of actor-musicians are “all in this together”.  “Everyone does everything for a really live, complicit experience,” as Armesto puts it. They act, they move scenery, they sing rousing, haunting sea shanties, all the while evoking the dangers of the sea and the mystery and the wonder of whales.

Who needs water or the shape of a whaling ship when you can make do with plenty of floorboards, scaffolding, sheets, a raised platform and a crow’s nest.

Armesto has called his play “a ripping yarn, a great piece of theatre for all ages”. It has humour, especially in the first encounter of Ishmael and Tom Swales’s Queequeg; it has spectacle too, but it is primarily a psychological drama full of existential fear and isolation, more than a seafaring (mis)adventure, leading to the loss of momentum until the climactic clash of whaler and whale.

For all that talk of being “fun, fast and joyous”, you should not expect to have a whale of a time, but Armesto, Jones and a highly committed cast deliver a deep dive into Moby Dick.

Simple8 in Moby Dick, York Theatre Royal, 7.30pm tonight; 2.30pm and 7.30pm tomorrow. Box office: 01904 623568 or ***

What’s On in Ryedale, York and beyond, whether whales, walks or water. Here’s Hutch’s List No. 19, from Gazette & Herald

Guy Rhys’s Captain Ahab, centre, leads the whale hunt in Simple 8’s Moby Dick, on tour at York Theatre Royal

SEEKING a whale of a time? Head off to Moby Dick, open studios and musicals full of physical exercise, suggests Charles Hutchinson.

Touring play of the week: Simple8 in Moby Dick, York Theatre Royal, tomorrow to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee

SEBASTIAN Armesto’s stage adaptation captures the romantic, ambiguous, richly allegorical spirit of Herman Melville’s novel for Simple8, specialists in creating worlds out of nothing in bold new plays that tackle big ideas with large casts.

Armed with sea shanties played live on stage, planks of wood, tattered sheets and a battered assortment of musical instruments, the ensemble of actors and actor-musicians, led by Guy Rhys’s whale-seeking Captain Ahab, brings Moby Dick ingeniously to life. Box office: 01904 623568 or

Wildlife and landscape artist Jonathan Pomroy: Opening his studio at 4
Pottergate, Gilling East, for North Yorkshire Open Studios

Art event of the week: North Yorkshire Open Studios 2024, Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 5pm

STRETCHING from the coast to the moors, dales and beyond, 169 artists and makers from North Yorkshire’s artistic community invite you to look inside their studios this weekend.

Among them will be Steve Page (Sheriff Hutton); Russell Hughes (Easingwold); Richard Gray (Easingwold); Justine Warner (Sheriff Hutton); Patrick Smith (Sheriff Hutton); Calum Balding (Thornton le Clay); Sue Walsh (Cawton); Jonathan Pomroy (Gilling East); Stephen Bird (Ampleforth); Mary Raynar (Helmsley); Ruth King (Boltby) and Marcus Jacka (Boltby). For full details, go to: A full brochure is available.

Tim Pearce’s poster artwork for Life Forms In Motion at Blossom Street Gallery, York

York exhibition of the week: Life Forms In Motion, Blossom Street Gallery, Blossom Street, York, until June 30

SIX Yorkshire artists give individual responses to the challenge of interpreting the motion of life forms in a range of static media. In a nutshell, time and space condensed into single, dynamic images.

Taking part are Tim Pearce, painting and sculpture; Cathy Denford, painting; Jo Ruth, printmaking; Adrienne French, painting; Mandy Long, ceramic sculpture, and Lesley Peatfield, photography. Opening hours: Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm; Sundays, 10am to 3pm.

Save our lido: Drip Drop Theatre in All Those On Board at Helmsley Arts Centre

Making a splash: Drip Drop Theatre in All Those On Board, Helmsley Arts Centre, tomorrow, 7.30pm

NORTH Yorkshire company Drip Drop Theatre presents the premiere of E C R Roberts’s new musical All Those On Board, wherein Bingham-by-the-Sea’s Save The Lido group members are determined to save the town’s long-closed 1930s’ swimming pool from demolition.

They need to come up with the funding before the deadline, no matter to what lengths they must go. Fifteen original songs, live instruments, leg-kicking choreography and colourful swimming hats combine in this lido-themed show for fans of upbeat musical theatre and outdoor swimming in whatever form. Box office: 01439 771700 or

Gary Stewart: Playing the Paul Simon songbook at Helmsley Arts Centre

Ryedale gig of the week: Gary Stewart, The Only Living Boy In (New) York: The Songs of Paul Simon, Helmsley Arts Centre, Friday, 7.30pm

PERTHSHIRE-BORN singer, songwriter, folk musician and Hope & Social drummer Gary Stewart’s compositions are influenced by Sixties and Seventies’ folk artists. Chief among them is New Jersey’s Paul Simon, whose songs Easingwold-based Stewart grew up learning and performing.  

Here he interprets such Simon standouts as The Boxer, Mrs Robinson, Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard, Kodachrome and Graceland. Box office: 01439 771700 or

Ryedale Primary Choir: Taking part in Across The Whinny Moor at St Peter’s Church, Norton, on Saturday

Ryedale Festival community event of the week: Across The Whinny Moor, St Peter’s Church, Norton, Saturday, 4pm

THE world premiere of the Community Song Cycle: Across The Whinny Moor follows the trail of North Yorkshire’s Lyke Wake Walk, meeting cheeky hobs, angry mermaids, resourceful giants and wise witches along the way. 

The all-age cast for a walk through stories and songs by John Barber and Hazel Gould includes the schoolchildren of the Ryedale Primary Choir, the Ryedale Voices, Harmonia and The RyeLarks choirs, Kirkbymoorside Town Junior Brass Band, storyteller Rosie Barrett and mezzo-soprano soloist Victoria Simmonds, conducted by Caius Lee. Box office:

Mezzo-soprano Victoria Simmonds: Singing in Across The Whinny Moor

Tribute gig of the month: The Belgrave House Band presents Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black, Milton Rooms, Malton, June 16, 8pm

THE Belgrave House Band, specialists in reimagining classic albums, have visited Malton previously with their interpretations of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars.

Now they return with their take on Amy Winehouse’s second album, 2006’s Back To Black, joined by London vocalist Lydia Kotsirea and a full horn section, backing vocalists and rhythm section from the burgeoning Leeds jazz scene. York singer-songwriter Maggie Wakeling supports. Box office: 01653 696240 or

The poster artwork for Calamity Jane, whip crackin’ its way to the Grand Opera House, York, next spring

Show announcement of the week: Carrie Hope Fletcher in Calamity Jane, Grand Opera House, York, April 29 to May 3 2025

IN the week when Nikolai Foster’s production of An Officer And A Gentleman The Musical is on tour at the Grand Opera House, the York theatre announces the booking of another show with the North Yorkshire director at the helm, this one bound for the West End.

Three-time WhatsOnStage Best Actress in a Musical winner Carrie Hope Fletcher will star in the whip-crackin’ musical as fearless Dakota gun-slinger Calamity Jane. “She is one of those roles that doesn’t come around all too often,” she says. “She’s action, romance and comedy all packed into one character, and I can’t wait to take on the challenge of filling her shoes.” Box office:

Simple8’s “mercifully brief” Moby Dick for pandemic times sails into Theatre Royal

Driven by a vendetta: Guy Rhys’s Captain Ahab in Simple8’s Moby Dick. Picture: Manuel Harlan

MOBY Dick, Herman Melville’s leviathan tale of vengeful whaler versus great white whale, keeps returning to the Yorkshire stage.

Remember Slung Low’s The White Whale on water at Leeds Dock, the one with headphone sets for the audience, in September 2014?

Or John Godber and Nick Love’s version for the John Godber Company, the one with crates and bicycles, in the repurposed dock of Hull’s amphitheatre Stage@TheDock in June 2021?

Now, from Thursday to Saturday, York Theatre Royal plays host to Sebastian Armesto’s adaptation for Simple 8, the indoor one with sea shanties, planks of wood, tattered sheets and a battered assortment of musical instruments.

Why should you see this one? “It’s mercifully brief and means that if you haven’t read the novel you can watch our show and then pretend that you have,” says a droll Sebastian.

“Mercifully brief”? Two hours, including the interval, should you be wondering, as Royal & Derngate artistic director Jesse Jones’s ensemble cast of nine actor-musicians presents “a fun, fast and joyous production that transports you right to the heart of the hunt for the most famous whale on Earth”.

Mirroring whaling voyages, Jones’s ensemble must apply graft, not only conjuring ships, seas, storms and even whales from sparse means, but also playing and singing all the sea shanties live, in the Simple8 house style of “poor theatre” of multiple roles and minimal materials where “everyone does everything”.

Then add the task of taking the nautical indoors as Guy Rhys’s Captain Ahab and the Pequod crew seek vengeance on Moby Dick, the whale responsible for taking his leg.

Sea shanty singing in Simple8’s Moby Dick, on tour at York Theatre Royal. Picture: Manuel Harlan

“Not only the setting is a challenge, but so is the size of the novel the play is adapted from, the ‘ginormity’ of the beast, the scale of the drama, the sky, the sea, and then there are the massive themes of the novel,” says Sebastian.

“In taking it indoors, there’s an element within it that suits the forced imaginative leap, where the suspension of disbelief inherent in theatre is directly within the fabric of the novel too.

“In the book, there are chapters and chapters about what a whale is – its bulk, its history – so it’s a novel that’s trying to devise meaning for everything. The whaling industry. Ahab’s character. Whale behaviour.  The existential crisis.”

Sebastian continues: “The idea that you have to do it with nothing on stage sort of aligns with the novel’s struggle with itself. That’s my justification for not doing it in a dry dock, though I might enjoy that.

“I’ve seen a Norwegian production with puppets, a dance production, John Huston’s [1956] movie starring Gregory Peck and Orson Welles: whalers in pursuit of Moby Dick to their eventual demise, just as it will destroy you in pursuit of it. I’m sure it’s folly to try to adapt such books, but it’s also part of the pleasure.”

Sebastian reckons Melville’s novel is “one of those books that people would rather prefer they didn’t have to read, with its meandering passages”, but nevertheless he has a long association with Moby Dick.

“I adapted it a long time ago, previously completing an adaptation in 2010, but it wasn’t until 2013 that we first staged it, when I directed it,” he recalls.

“I was told that I did turn into Captain Ahab, obsessed with physical movement, to the detriment of everyone else, which doesn’t surprise me – and I apologise for that.”

Guy Rhys’s Captain Ahab, centre, leading his crew on the Pequod in Simple8’s Moby Dick. Picture: Manuel Harlan

Reviving his adaptation for Simple8’s tour, the script has changed, “as it inevitably will because it will never be complete,” he says. “Watching it fires me with more ideas and more things that I can do. This production and the text are evolving: the play is fluid, rather than solid.

“It’s been rewarding to go back to it. There are bits that I had forgotten, parts of the novel too, though in the end, there are things in the re-write that have not made it into the new version on stage for practical reasons.”

Significantly too, the existential fear and threat of the Covid 19 virus, its  enforced lockdowns and resulting isolation, have given new resonance to the psychological and psychiatric impact of an unknown threat in Moby Dick.

“I come back to the initial discussion about putting Moby Dick on stage, being forced to imagine, when even the characters in the book don’t see Moby until the last 15 pages,” says Sebastian.

“Mime is very important to this production, particularly the idea that the actors are collectively committing to something that is completely imaginary, so there’s a lot of very intense physical storytelling, emphasising how they are grappling with something that they don’t fully understand.

“Post-pandemic, everyone has been grappling with something they couldn’t see, didn’t understand and were contained and confined by. That sense of being pursued by an unseen threat, endangering your survival, is really clear post-Moby Dick, with its imprint on other stories, from Joseph Conrad’s novels to Jaws.”

Simple8, in association with the Royal & Derngate, Northampton, present Moby Dick, York Theatre Royal, June 6 to 8, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee. Box office: 01904 623568 or

Sebastian Armesto: the back story

Sebastian Armesto: Actor, writer and director

Born: June 3 1982. Son of historian Felipe Fernandez-Armesto.

Education: Eton College.

Occupation: Film, television and theatre actor, writer and director.

Acted in high-profile theatre productions in Great Britain, including shows at National Theatre and Royal Court, London.

Writes and directs theatre with Simple 8 company.

Productions include directing and adapting Les Enfants du Paradis; co-writing and directing play based on William Hogarth’s The Four Stages Of Cruelty and new versions of The Cabinet of Dr Caligari and Moby Dick.

Influence on directing style: 1981 Ashes-winning cricket captain, psychotherapist and psychoanalyst Mike Brearley’s book The Art Of Captaincy: What Sport Teaches Us About Leadership.

More Things To Do in York and beyond as Pride comes out to play. Here’s Hutch’s List No. 23 for 2024, from The Press, York

Angels Of The North: Headlline drag act at York Pride today

PRIDE pageantry and wartime memoirs, open studios and open-air Status Quo lead off Charles Hutchinson’s recommendations.

Celebration of the week: York Pride, Knavesmire, York, today

NORTH Yorkshire’s biggest LGBT+ celebration opens with the Parade March for equality and human rights from Duncombe Place, outside York Minster, at 12 noon, processing through the city-centre streets, up Bishopthorpe Road to the festival’s Knavesmire site.

Pride events will be spread between the main stage, Queer Arts’ cabaret tent, Polymath’s dance tent and a funfair, complemented by a licensed bar and marketplace. Among the main stage acts will be headliners Angels Of The North, alias winner Ginger Johnson, Tomara Thomas and Michael Marouli, from RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Season 5, plus Max George, Big Brovaz & Booty Luv, Jaymi Hensley, Janice D and Eric Spike.  Full details:

Into the woods: George Stagnell as Dennis “Hank” Haydock in the short film In The Footsteps of Hank Haydock, premiered at Helmsley Arts Centre tonight

D-Day landmark of the week: Everwitch Theatre, Bomb Happy D-Day 80, In The Footsteps Of Hank Haydock (film premiere) and Sleep/Re-live/Wake Repeat (live performance), Helmsley Arts Centre, tonight, 7.30pm

TO commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Bomb Happy playwright Helena Fox has created two poignant, lyrical new works telling the stories of two Yorkshire Normandy veterans from conversations and interviews she held with them in 2016.

Featuring York actor George Stagnell, the short film In the Footsteps of Hank Haydock: A Walk In The Park was shot on location in the Duncombe Park woodland with its lyrical account of Coldstream Guardsman Dennis “Hank” Haydock’s experiences in his own words. In Sleep/Re-Live/Wake/Repeat, playwright Helena Fox and vocalist Natasha Jones bring to life the first-hand experiences of D-Day veteran Ken “Smudger” Smith and the lifelong impact of PTSD and sleep trauma through spoken word and a cappella vocals. Box office: 01439 771700 or

York artist Adele Karmazyn: Taking part in North Yorkshire Open Studios

Art event of the week: North Yorkshire Open Studios 2024, today and tomorrow, June 8 and 9, 10am to 5pm

STRETCHING from the coast to the moors, dales and beyond, 169 artists and makers from North Yorkshire’s artistic community invite you to look inside their studios over the next two weekends.

Taking part in and around York will be Robin Grover-Jacques, Adele Karmazyn, Anna Cook, Boxxhead, Simon Palmour, Duncan McEvoy, Evie Leach, Jane Atkin, Jane Dignum, Jen Dring, Parkington Hatter, Jo Walton, Kitty Pennybacker, Lu Mason, Robert Burton, Lincoln Lightfoot, Sharon McDonagh, Claire Castle, Rosie Bramley, Emma Welsh, Lesley Peatfield, Gonzalo Blanco and Freya Horsley. For full details, go to: A full brochure is available.

Isobel Staton: Directing Cain and Abel for A Creation For York, today’s York Mystery Plays Supporters Trust promenade production

York community play of the week: York Mystery Plays Supporters Trust in A Creation For York, around Micklegate, York, today, from 2pm and 3.30pm

YORK Mystery Plays Supporters Trust stages a trilogy of 20-minute plays from the Creation cycle, directed by Katie Smith, Dan Norman and Isobel Staton under Dr Tom Straszewski’s mentorship.

The promenade procession starts with Smith’s The Creation Of Man at St Columba’s, Priory Street, at 2pm and 3.30pm, and progresses to Holy Trinity, Micklegate, for Norman’s The Fall Of Man at 3pm and 4.30pm, then onwards to St Martin’s Stained Glass Centre, Micklegate, for Staton’s Cain And Abel at 4pm and 5.30pm. Tickets:

The poster artwork for Navigators Art & Performance’s night of live music, spoken word and comedy, The Basement Sessions #4, at City Screen Picturehouse

Navigators Art & Performance at York Festival of Ideas (festival running from today until June 14)

YORK arts collective Navigators Art & Performance presents the Micklegate Art Trail, a collaboration between shops, restaurants, artists, makers and community groups, from today until June 23, 10am to 4pm, including a special exhibition at Blossom Street Gallery. Tomorrow is the “official” launch day with activities in participating venues from 11 am.

Tomorrow comes As I Walked Out One Evening, An Exploration of W H Auden’s Poetry in Words, Music and Performance with York musicians, poets and performers at Museum Street Tavern, York, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. On June 8, The Basement Sessions #4 offers a night of music, spoken word and comedy at The Basement, City Screen Picturehouse at 7pm with Percy, Amy Albright, Cai Moriarty, Danae, Suzy Bradley, Kane Bruce, Rose Drew and John Pease. Tickets and full festival details:

Rain or shine: Francis Rossi, left, leads veteran band Status Quo at Scarborough Open Air Theatre tomorrow

Coastal gig of the week: Status Quo, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, Sunday, gates 6pm

DENIM rock legends Status Quo open the 2024 season at Scarborough Open Air Theatre, where they played previously in 2013, 2014 and 2016. Led as ever by founder Francis Rossi, who turned 75 on Wednesday, they must pick their set from 64 British hit singles, more than any other band. The support act will be The Alarm. Box office:

Georgia Lennon, as Paula Pofriki and Luke Baker as Zack Mayo in An Officer And A Gentleman, on tour at Grand Opera House, York

Musical of the week: An Officer And A Gentleman The Musical, Grand Opera House, York, June 4 to 8, 8pm, Tuesday, 7.30pm, Wednesday to Saturday, plus 2.30pm, Wednesday and Saturday matinees

NORTH Yorkshireman Nikolai Foster directs Leeds-born actor Luke Baker as fearless young officer candidate Zack Mayor in the Curve, Leicester touring production of An Officer And A Gentleman.

Once an award-winning 1982 Taylor Hackford film, now Douglas Day Stewart’s story of love, courage and redemption comes re-booted with George Dyer’s musical theatre arrangements and orchestrations of pop bangers by Bon Jovi, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Blondie and the signature song (Love Lift Us) Up Where We Belong. Box office:

Guy Rhys, centre, as Captain Ahab in Simple8’s Moby Dick, setting sail at York Theatre Royal next week

Touring play of the week: Simple8 in Moby Dick, York Theatre Royal, June 6 to 8, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee

SEBASTIAN Armesto’s stage adaptation captures the spirit of Herman Melville’s novel – romantic, ambiguous and rich with allegory – for Simple8, specialists in creating worlds out of nothing in bold new plays that tackle big ideas with large casts.

Armed with sea shanties played live on stage, planks of wood, tattered sheets and a battered assortment of musical instruments, the ensemble of actors and actor-musicians, led by Guy Rhys’s whale-seeking Captain Ahab, brings Moby Dick ingeniously to life. Box office: 01904 623568 or

In Focus: Northern Silents presents G W Pabst’s film Diary Of A Lost Girl, starring Louise Brooks, at NCEM, York, June 11

“From the pit of despair to the moment of personal awakening”: Louise Brooks’s

TRAILBLAZING New York raga pianist Utsav Lal will provide the live score for Diary Of A Lost Girl, a rarely shown gem of German silent cinema starring Louise Brooks, at the National Centre for Early Music, York, on June 11 at 7.30pm.

Premiered in Vienna, Austria, on September 12 1929, and now screened by Northern Silents, G W Pabst’s film traces the journey of a young woman from the pit of despair to the moment of personal awakening.

Directed with virtuoso flair by Pabst, Diary Of A Lost Girl (PG, 104 minutes) represents the final pairing of the Czechia-born Austrian filmmaker with American silent screen icon Louise Brooks, mere months after their first collaboration in the now-legendary Pandora’s Box, for which Brooks had arrived in Berlin on October 14 1928 to play alluring temptress Lulu.

In Diary Of A Lost Girl, she is pharmacist Robert Henning’s innocent daughter Thymian, who is traumatised by the suicide of housekeeper Elisabeth after her father expels her from the house.

Even more so when Henning’s assistant rapes Thymian. Pregnant, she refuses to marry her assailant, prompting her outraged father to sendher to a reformatory for “wayward women”, where a cruel regime prevails. Henning, meanwhile, makes advances towards new housekeeper, Meta, who insists Thymian should not be allowed to return home.

Thymian escapes with her friend Erika but discovers that her child has passed away. She joins Erika in working at a brothel, then marries a count, but can she ever escape her past?

Pianist Utsav Lal, noted for his innovative performances at Carnegie Hall, Southbank Centre and around the world, will improvise a unique live score at the 7.30pm screening.

Huddersfield-based Northern Silents will return to the NCEM with another fusion of new music and vintage film on October 15. Watch this space for more details.

Tickets for Diary Of A Lost Girl are on sale on 01904 658338 and at

In Focus too: Anita Klein, 30 Years In York, exhibition launch at Pyramid Gallery, York, today at 12 noon

Poster artwork for Anita Klein’s 30 Years In York exhibition at Pyramid Gallery, York

ARTIST Anita Klein will attend today’s opening of her Thirty Years In York exhibition of paintings, linocuts and etchings at Pyramid Gallery, York.

“Anita was one of the first artist printmakers to be shown here and has shown her work in York constantly since June 1994,” says Terry Brett, owner and curator of the gallery in Stonegate.

That first exhibition marked a dramatic change in both the look of the gallery and its fortunes under the new ownership of Terry, who took the keys to Pyramid Gallery on May 31 1994 with his then partner and wife Elaine.

“As soon as Elaine and I had taken over the gallery, I contacted the Greenwich Printmaking co-operative who ran a shop in Greenwich market,” Terry recalls. “They agreed to do a show and I collected work by 15 artists in my car.

“Several of those artists have supplied Pyramid Gallery regularly for 30 years. The first print that sold was a small drypoint print by Anita Klein, which I had put in the window one evening, before the show had opened.”

Terry continues: “Anita was not a big name in the art world in 1994, but she certainly had a following and has since had a very successful career as an artist with features on BBC Radio and national newspapers and magazines.

Pyramid Gallery curator Terry Brett with Anita Klein works and a copy of her 2022 book Out Of The Ordinary, charting her career since 1982

“‘From working with Anita and other former Greenwich artists, such as Mychael Barratt, Trevor Price and Louise Davies, I have come to realise that the relationship between artist and gallery is something that is really worth nurturing. I place great importance on visiting the South East London-based artists, personally collecting the work for each show.”

To mark the start of Terry Brett’s 30th year as a gallerist, Anita Klein is travelling up from London to attend today’s opening from 12 noon to 2pm, when she will sign copies of her 2022 book, Out Of The Ordinary, too.

Australian-born Anita began her career by studying painting on degree and post-graduate courses at the Slade School of Art, where she was influenced by Paula Rego, who encouraged her to “draw what she wanted to draw”.

In response, she started to capture scenes depicting ordinary moments of her own life. Given expert guidance at the school, she learnt to reproduce those sketches using the various techniques of printmaking.

She met her future husband and artist Nigel Swift at the Slade. From the outset, Anita’s artistic diary of her life has often featured amusing or romantic scenes of the two of them or sometimes only  ‘Nige’ in the throes of some activity that Anita has observed and captured in a sketch.

In 1984 she was awarded the Joseph Webb Memorial prize by the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers to spend the summer drawing from the Italian masters. Anita and Nigel stayed in a flat in Arezzo, Tuscany, and filled sketch books with sketches of Italian frescoes.

Casserole, linocut, by Anita Klein

Soon after, they married and had two children, Maia and Leia, Anita recording it all in many small prints using techniques that included woodcuts, etching, lithograph, aquatint and drypoint. When their daughters were small, she made small sketches while they were asleep and developed them into drypoint prints at a printmaking evening class.

For her first solo show in 1986, she had a year to prepare enough images to fill a gallery in London, which led her to simplify the way she worked. Fortunately for all her followers and collectors, the first show was successful and led to another solo show elsewhere.

Many years later, after she supplied her work to as many as 60 galleries, the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers elected Anita to the prestigious position as president. During those 38 years, her work and life has been profiled in national newspapers and magazines and on BBC Radio 4’s Home Truths, presented by John Peel.

In 2007, Anita and Nigel bought a flat in a medieval hilltop town in Tuscany. After painting large oils from her studio in London for many years, she started to paint in acrylics on canvas when staying in Italy.

By using acrylics, she was able to roll up the paintings and carry them back to London, which in turn enabled Pyramid Gallery to show a few of her paintings, along with a larger exhibition of the prints.

For Terry, the choice of Anita Klein to begin a year of anniversary celebratory shows, is apt. “My own family life corresponds quite closely with Anita’s in that I got married about the same time and had two daughters, Elinor and Suzy, just two years prior to the births of Maia and Leia,” he says.

Artist Anita Klein: 30 years of exhibiting at Pyramid Gallery, York

“I could relate to almost every image that Anita created about her family life. When I was helping my two daughters learn to drive, Anita produced a print that could easily have been about us. We even had a similar car. ‘Picking Maia and Leia up from School’ or ‘Driving to Ballet’ could also easily have been about my own family.”

When asked how she came to start documenting her own life, Anita says: “There was no plan to start with. Drawing my everyday life was at first a continuation of the kind of drawings I did as a child. And as I spent the first 20 or so years of my career bringing up my two children with no extra childcare help, it was really the only subject matter I knew.

“Looking back, I can see that I have always wanted to hold onto and celebrate the ordinary. The small repetitive joys that can so easily go unnoticed and unappreciated.”

 Knowing how fortunate he is still to be able to represent an eminent London artist with such a large following, Terry asked Anita: “What does Pyramid Gallery and York mean to you?”.

“Pyramid Gallery has been very good to me over the years, showing and selling my work from the very early days of my career while other galleries have come and gone,” she says. “At one point I had prints in over 60 galleries worldwide.

“These days I have cut this down substantially – the Internet and social media enables me to reach a wide audience, and Pyramid is one of only a small handful of galleries that has a large selection of my work.” 

Eating Pizza, linocut, by Anita Klein

Mounting this exhibition has enabled Terry to pause a while and “take a long look at the gallery more as a pleasurable activity than as a business”.

“Sometimes I can become a bit too focused on the sales figures and the marketing, but in recent weeks I’ve been looking forward to celebrating the landmark of having been nurturing the gallery for three decades, as if it were a part of me that I have to ease through challenges and crises,” he says.

“Pyramid Gallery has become a meeting point for those that need to create and those that need the joy of feeling moved or inspired. It really is more about people than it is about art.

“It gives me a glowing feeling of warmth that I am able to connect a great artist like Anita, who is a storyteller and recorder of social history and of human emotions, with those who visit the gallery for exactly the same experience that inspired the creation of the images.”

For Terry’s 30th anniversary show, Anita will be showing two or three acrylic paintings alongside coloured linocut prints and many black-and-white images of various sizes with a price range from £96 for a small etching up to £7,000 for a large painting.

Here Terry Brett puts questions to Anita Klein

Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett with works by Anita Klein

You first supplied Pyramid Gallery as part of a show by Greenwich Printmakers in 1994. How important was that co-operative to you and was it an easy decision to be part of that show?

“Greenwich Printmakers was a vital first step to exhibiting and selling my work, both through their gallery in Greenwich Market and through their ‘outside exhibitions’. Those exhibitions introduced my work to a number of regional galleries, including Pyramid.

“In the days before social media it was crucial to get your work seen as much as possible in galleries, so that first show was a great opportunity for me. 

In those days you were bringing up two small daughters and doing your art on the floor when they were napping. Many of your drypoints were quite small – was this by choice or a necessity?

“I did some painting when my children were small, but without a studio in the early days I was limited to small-scale work. I drew my drypoints while the children slept and printed them once a week at a printmaking evening class.” 

Do you enjoy being ‘dragged out’ of London to open a show in York?

“It’s wonderful to have exposure of my work in York, and it’s always a pleasure to visit such a fascinating and vibrant city.” 

When did you realise that other people would very quickly find parallels in their own lives and connect so easily with your work?

“It came as a surprise at first that other people saw themselves in my work. I thought my life was unique! Now I know that we are all much more alike than we think, especially in the most private parts of our lives.” 

Cold water wild swimming has become an important activity to you. Does the need for a new image in your art ever drive you to do find new places to swim?

“Not really. I can always make up the backgrounds! But I’m always on the lookout for beautiful places to swim, so just as with all other parts of my life this feeds into my work.”

June Flowers, linocut, by Anita Klein

Whale alert! Simple8 take to the sea in Sebastian Armesto’s staging of Moby Dick at York Theatre Royal from June 6 to 8

Simple8’s Moby Dick scriptwriter, Sebastian Armesto

OCTOBER 1839. The Pequot is soon to sail out of Nantucket and her skipper, one Captain Ahab, needs a crew in Simple8’s production of Moby Dick, on tour at York Theatre Royal from June 6 to 8.

Seeking fortune and adventure, a humble schoolmaster named Ishmael ships aboard, joining a company charged with one task: to wreak revenge in the hunt for the white whale that took Ahab’s leg – the infamous Moby Dick.

Combining theatrical flair and invention, Sebastian Armesto’s adaptation captures the spirit of Herman Melville’s novel – romantic, ambiguous and rich with allegory – for the award-winning Simple 8, specialists in creating worlds out of nothing in bold new plays that tackle big ideas with large casts.

Complete with sea shanties played live on stage, planks of wood, tattered sheets and a battered assortment of musical instruments, the ensemble of actors and actor-musicians brings Moby Dick ingeniously to life.

Guy Rhys plays Captain Ahab, joined by Mark Arends (Ishmael), Jonathan Charles (ensemble), Hannah Emanuel (Starbuck), Syreeta Kumar (Manx), Hazel Monaghan (ensemble), James Newton (Flask), William Pennington (Stubb) and Tom Swale (Queequeg).

“It is a great pleasure to bring together this supremely talented ensemble of performers,” says director Jesse Jones. “Together, as a company we will conjure the world of the play using their musical ability, dynamic physicality and powerhouse performances to breathe life into this poignant yet playful production.”

Simple8, in association with Royal & Derngate, Northampton, present Moby Dick, York Theatre Royal, June 6 to 8, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee. Box office: 01904 623568 or

In focus: Guy Rhys on playing Captain Ahab

Guy Rhys’s Captain Ahab, centre, leading his crew in Simple8’s Moby Dick. Picture: Manuel Harlan

SOMETIMES, as he makes his first appearance on stage in Moby Dick, Guy Rhys becomes aware that heads are turning in the front row as audience members wonder, “Is it real?”

The ‘it’ is Captain Ahab’s peg leg, a legacy of the seaman’s brush with a mighty whale – the Moby Dick of the title – that the vengeful Ahab is determined to hunt down and kill.

The answer is that the leg is fashioned from one of Guy’s old prosthetics to resemble Captain Ahab’s whalebone peg leg. The leg previously made an appearance, wrapped in leather, when the actor played a one-legged pirate.

Guy, who was born with a leg deformity that led to amputation when he was eight, does not consider himself a disabled actor and has only shown his prosthetic leg in four shows.

Those roles included Hercules . “I’d just got this brand-new blade and thought I’d show it off. I thought it would make Hercules look cool,” he says.

“The lack of a leg hasn’t been an issue as an actor. I only show the prosthetic when it’s suitable for the show. It’s got to be right. If you’re playing a pirate in Peter Pan, why not use the prosthetic? And obviously if you’re playing Captain Ahab, you’ve got to use it.

“One of my prosthetics has been redesigned as a peg leg. It looks great and the noise that my right leg and left peg leg make on the wooden boards has been put into the music. The musical director, Jonathan Charles, has mimicked the sound I make walking as Ahab and turned it into a sound bite.”

Simple8’s production of Moby Dick is very physical, and consequently the peg leg can become uncomfortable. Guy makes what he calls ‘pit stops’, when he leaves the stage to pull off the prosthetic for a few seconds to stop his leg swelling up. “I wouldn’t spend a day on that peg leg,” he says.

He does not know if the producers were looking specifically for an amputee for the part of Ahab but sees such casting as being in the spirit of a show that does not hide anything. There is no trickery. Everything is real, everything is done on stage with no hiding as Ahab and his crew hunt the whale that cost him his leg. Sea shanties are sung live; Ahab’s boat, the Pequot, is built before the audience’s eyes.

Guy was already well acquainted with Melville’s story because John Huston’s 1956 film version is one of his favourite films. “I’m an amputee so Captain Ahab is a bit of a legend to me,” he says.

“This stage version is like the film – action-packed. The 850 pages of the book are down to 63 pages in this version by Sebastian Armesto. It has really interesting spectacle and is really quite punchy.”

Moby Dick marks Guy’s first visit to York Theatre Royal in a career taking in roles in everything from Macbeth to Grimm Tales, from Much Ado About Nothing to Mother Courage. Yet acting was not always a goal. He was washing dishes for a living when theatre first entered his life and he “needed something to do on a Monday night”.

This turned out to be a theatre group that more or less took over his life. “I ended up virtually living in the theatre, going to Russia and meeting Peter Brook,” he says, referring to the great director.

Then Guy decided to go to drama school but lacked the necessary finance. His path instead took him to managing a Blockbuster Video shop.

“I watched films, read plays, went to art galleries and finally applied to the Drama Centre in 1997,” he says. “They offered me a place on the spot and I got three scholarships. The past has been a rollercoaster ride which is like every theatre career.”

REVIEW: John Godber Company in Moby Dick, Stage @TheDock, Hull, until Saturday

 Caitlin Townend and Martha Godber in rehearsal for Moby Dick at the former Hull dry dock. Picture: Antony Robling

Moby Dick, John Godber Company, Stage @TheDock, Hull, until Saturday, 7pm and 4pm Saturday matinee. Box office: Eventbrite via

HULL was once among the world’s busiest whaling ports. At its peak, 68 whaling ships were registered to the East Riding dock and whale-processing oil and blubber factories spread over the Greenland yards on the River Hull.

In the wake of the Industrial Revolution, Hull had as many theatres as any city, and sometimes the stench from the factories’ pots of boiling blubber was so malodorous, theatres had to cancel performances as the pong was so overpowering.

The processing plants and ships have gone, the docks and Fruit Market have undergone a new industrial revolution, now housing solicitors’ offices, digital spaces, bars and restaurants and a gallery, under a vision realised by the Wykeland Group, triggered in part by Hull’s year as UK City of Culture in 2017.

In the shadow of The Deep visitor attraction, Stage@TheDock took over the shell of the central Hull dry dock at that time, and now John Godber, who has done so much to keep theatre open, alive and kicking in Hull, brings whaling, theatre and the amphitheatre together with support from Wykeland and an Arts Council England grant from the Culture Recovery Fund.

John Godber and The Whalers: The co-writer and director in rehearsal at Hull dry dock for Moby Dick. Picture: Antony Robling

The John Godber Company’s Moby Dick is billed as a “new radical adaptation” of Herman Melville’s epic 1851 American novel. More precisely, it is a radical reworking of Godber and co-writer Nick Lane’s original, no less radical script for Hull Truck Theatre in 2002, a revision/reinvention that Godber describes as “filleted, better and topical”.

The first version was told by four old soaks in a bar on its own last orders; this time, an East Yorkshire professional cast plays eight modern-day characters, each with a relationship with this part of Hull through their parents or grandparents, whose stories they recount as the play dips in and out of the novel’s Godber-gutted story, like a ship’s passage through waves.

2002’s four-hander – “What were we thinking?! Four! It was almost impossible,” recalls Godber – was different in other ways: staged indoors at the old, compact, 150-seat Hull Truck. 2021’s John Godber and The Whalers’ show fits Step 3 times: a 70-minute performance with no interval, staged outdoors to a socially distanced audience, spread out over seating reduced in capacity from 350 to just shy of 90.

Covid-safety measures prevail too: staff in masks, tick; hand sanitiser, tick; surface cleaning, tick; cast Covid-testing regularly and staying together in a B&B social bubble, tick.

MayTether’s Lily in the John Godber Company’s Moby Dick. Picture: Antony Robling

Within the cavernous dock’s stone walling is the wooden-floored stage that here becomes the deck of Captain Ahab’s ship, the Pequod, in his catastrophic, deranged, self-destructive battle with the monstrous white whale, Moby Dick.

Props are wooden too in the form of myriad pallets for constant rearrangement into different shapes to evoke, for example, the bow and to create a percussive sound when thrown down or knocked over. A rudimentary ship’s wheel is ever present and loose pieces of wood serve as harpoons. The bike ridden by Martha Godber’s impassioned narrator, Lucy, is the one concession to modernity.

Given the 7pm start, no lighting or special effect is needed for a back-to-basics yet epic production that, in Godber tradition, is driven by storytelling, physical theatre and teamwork (or should that be crew work?) as much as by individual performance.

This remains a dry dock in every way, no water to be seen throughout, and yet this Moby Dick still conjures the dangers, the rhythms, the vastness, of the sea through the cast’s movement and sound effects.

Blue-eyed soul searching: Frazer Hammill as Frank/Captain Ahab in Moby Dick. Picture: Antony Robling

Sea shanties pepper the performance too, not least the newly ubiquitous chart-topper Wellerman, and it will come as no surprise to devotees of York Stage that Goole-born May Tether’s singing stands out.

Frazer Hammill’s Captain Ahab has the air of the blue-eyed cult-leader about him, a law unto himself that no-one dares to stop. Madness, misadventure and death this way lies in a tale as grave as an obsessive Greek tragedy.

Moby Dick finds Godber, who scripted the revised version after discussions with Lane, far removed from the agitated humour of many of his plays.

Instead, in a collective year in the shadow of an elusive enemy, devastating disease, mental anguish, constant uncertainty and ever greater division, there is no bigger fish to fry than a story of timeless human failings in command, set against the context of a modern-day discourse on Hull’s global importance as a port, its whaling past and the rising need for conservation.

Come Hull or high water, you will have a wail, rather than a whale, of a time as the Godber harpoon hits home hard.

The John Godber Company cast on stage at Stage @The Dock, the converted Hull dry dock, with The Deep behind. Picture: Antony Robling

John Godber Company sets sail at Hull dry dock with filleted, better, topical Moby Dick

Director John Godber watching a rehearsal for Moby Dick at Stage @TheDock, Hull. Picture: Antony Robling

WHERE better to stage John Godber and Nick Lane’s radical reworking of Herman Melville’s maritime (mis)adventure Moby Dick than at Hull’s dry dock amphitheatre.

Welcome to Stage@TheDock – nearest car park, the new Fruit Market multi-storey – where the John Godber Company is presenting a 70-minute, no-interval, fast-paced, socially-distanced, physical production with a cast of eight until June 12.

“We are the first people to put a show on there for more than a couple of nights,” says director and co-director Godber.

What exactly is the Stage@TheDock? “The amphitheatre was established for Hull’s UK City Of Culture in 2017, up by The Deep. It’s what was called Hull’s dry dock and it’s now part of a new development of offices, digital spaces and restaurants,” says Godber.

“It’s also the HQ of the development company, Wykeland Property Group, who put money into setting up the venue and have given us financial support for this show: enough to put the production on in these times; enough to energise us all.

“We started talking with Wykeland in the middle of last year and then nothing developed, but now [with Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap] the opportunity has come up.”

Adhering to social-distancing rules is restricting the 350-seat amphitheatre to a Covid-secure capacity of around 90. “That meant we needed to do a story with a classical arc, one that would fill that space, but we knew that staging Moby Dick would not be possible without funding support,” says Godber.

Frazer Hammill, Sophie Bevan and Lamin Touray in rehearsal for Moby Dick. Picture: Antony Robling

“That’s why, though we don’t normally seek Arts Council [England] funding, we put in a Culture Recovery Fund bid that’s given us more than a match for Wykeland, and we put some money in too.”

The revised adaptation by Yorkshire playwrights Godber and Lane transports audiences from what was the port’s central dry dock to the deck of Captain Ahab’s ship the Pequod in his catastrophic, deranged battle with the monster white whale, Moby Dick.

“It’s a show we first did at Hull Truck in 2002, and I was really pleased with it. We had a cast of only four: what were we thinking?! It was almost impossible,” recalls Godber.

“We’re delighted to have a cast of eight this time because the pandemic has been a crucifying time for anyone in the creative arts. They’re all local professionals, with two of them new to the professional stage, and we wanted actors with a relationship with this city and this coast.”

Godber’s cast duly draws on actors from Sproatley, Long Riston, Hornsea and Goole, alongside former Wyke College students and locally born actors who have appeared at the National Theatre in War Horse, Warner Bros films and BBC Radio Four soap opera The Archers.

Step forward Frazer Hammill as Frank; Nick Figgis as Rob; Tom Gibbons as Pat; Martha Godber as Lucy; Lamin Touray as Ant; Sophie Bevan as Kate; Caitlin Townend as Sue and Goole-born May Tether as Lily, following her appearance as Jill in the York Stage pantomime, Jack And The Beanstalk.

“The Covid-compliance to put on this show is almost a show in itself. The actors are staying together in an Airbnb in Hull, doing Covid tests twice a week,” says Godber.

Once Hull’s central dry dock, now the home of Stage @The Dock, where the John Godber Company cast is seen in rehearsal. Picture: Antony Robling

“We’ve employed 20 people overall, from producer, production manager and company manager to front of house, stage manager and costume designer, to actors and outreach educators. We’ve all thought, ‘what would we have done without this?’. Not the finance, but the sense of purpose.”

After a couple of phone discussions with Lane, Godber was the one to put the new script together. “It’s a better show because we’ve filleted it. We didn’t want it to be longer than 70 minutes, because the book [written in 1851] is unwieldy to say the least!” he says.

“Our first version was told by four old soaks in a bar that was about to be knocked down, but now instead all eight characters have a relationship with this part of Hull, through their parents or grandparents, as a place for a sandwich and a chat.”

Significantly too, the script makes reference to Hull’s global importance as a port, its former prowess as a whaling centre and contemporary issues of conservation (that chime with Godber, wife Jane and daughter Martha becoming vegans).

“When I was at Hull Truck, I didn’t write about fishing and trawling at first as I didn’t believe it was my privilege, as I came from a mining family, not a fishing one,” recalls Godber.

“But then I thought, if we are going to do something about the fishing industry, it better be the biggest: Moby Dick!

“I like going to Bruges on the Hull Zeebrugge ferry, but that’s only 14 hours; The Prequod is setting off for three years!”

John, Martha and Jane Godber in their Stephen Joseph Theatre dressing room during last autumn’s run of Sunny Side Up

Godber smiles at the rise to the top of the charts of a certain former Aidrie postman with a sea shanty in the pandemic. “One of the weird things, in lockdown, was how Wellerman caught on on TikTok, when Nathan Evans said he wanted to do something to get him ‘out of lockdown’, with all the stoicism lockdown demanded,” he says.

Last autumn, the Godber family bubble of John, Jane, actor daughter Martha and company manager daughter Elizabeth premiered his play Sunny Side Up at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, between lockdowns, rehearsing at home. “It was the only way we could physically put on a new play that wasn’t a one-man show,” he says.

Now, Godber is at the forefront of the second wave of theatre’s return. “The fact you know, without funding, you’re not going to break even, you could think, ‘so what’s the point of it?’, but the point of it is that this is what we do,” says Godber. “Even if has to be a stab in the dark.

“I do believe there’s been a dissolving into Ground Zero for the arts. A survey said 31 per cent of people won’t go back to cultural activities in the same way. That’s a lot of people and they won’t return. I hope people will, but I don’t know if it will materialise.

“That’s why we’re doing this play in the open air for a number of reasons. It’s almost Covid-zero with social distancing, people in masks,  sanitisers, the space being wiped down regularly.”

John Godber Company in Moby Dick, Stage@The Dock, Hull, until June 12, 7pm nightly plus 4pm matinees on June 5, 9 and 12.

To maintain social distancing, tickets must be bought in groups of one, two or four; wheelchair spaces are available. Seating is unreserved, so early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment. Tickets cost £20 at Eventbrite.

John and Martha Godber in rehearsal for Moby Dick. Picture: Antony Robling

More Things To Do in York and beyond despite the rise of the “Delta” blues. List No. 35, courtesy of The Press, York

In suspense: Ockham’s Razor go aerial for This Time at York Theatre Royal

FROM circus at York Theatre Royal, to Moby Dock on a Hull dry dock, Benedetti in Pickering to Riding Lights on film, Charles Hutchinson enjoys his ever busier perch to spot what’s happening.

Circus in town: Ockham’s Razor in This Time, The Love Season, York Theatre Royal, June 8 and 9, 8pm

CIRCUS theatre company Ockham’s Razor’s This Time is a show about time, age and the stories we tell ourselves, presented by a cast ranging in age from 13 to 60.

Circus and aerial skills, autobiographical storytelling and original equipment combine in a visual theatre piece that looks at love, support and struggle in families, alongside perceptions of strength and ability: how we are strong in different ways at different times in our lives.

Nicola Benedetti: Live and In Person for Ryedale Festival. Watch out for Martin Dreyer’s review for CharlesHutchPress

Festival residency of the summer: Nicola Benedetti: Live and In Person, Ryedale Festival 40th Anniversary Launch Concert, Pickering Parish Church, tomorrow (4/6/2021), 4pm and 8pm

TOMORROW, in-person music making returns to Ryedale Festival at Pickering Parish Church, when Scottish-Italian violinist Nicola Benedetti opens her 2021 festival residency by launching the Live and In Person series.

She will join her regular chamber music partners, cellist Leonard Elschenbroich and pianist Alexei Grynyuk, to perform one of Beethoven’s wittiest and most loveable works and an inspired piano trio by Brahms.

May Tether: Last seen in York as Jill in York Stage’s pantomime , Jack And The Beanstalk; now the Goole actor will appear as Lily in John Godber Company’s Moby Dick on Hull dry dock. Picture: Ant Robling

Outdoor play of the month: Moby Dick, John Godber Company, Stage@The Dock, next to The Deep, Hull, until June 12

JOHN Godber and Nick Lane’s radical reworking of Herman Melville’s epic novel, Moby Dick, is being staged in Hull’s dry dock amphitheatre by an East Yorkshire cast of eight from the John Godber Company

Adhering to Covid-safe rules, and with a playing time of 70 minutes and no interval, this fast-paced physical production transports socially distanced audiences to the deck of Captain Ahab’s ship the Pequod in his catastrophic battle with the monster white whale, Moby Dick.

Godber’s production references Hull’s global importance as a port, its former prowess as a whaling centre and contemporary conservation issues of conservation.

Riding Lights’ poster for the York International Shakespeare Festival stream of the York’s company’s theatre-on-film performance of Pericles

“Film” of the week: Riding Lights Theatre Company in Pericles, York International Shakespeare Festival, online, tomorrow (4/6/2021) to Sunday

YORK company Riding Lights present their sparkling, streamlined, 80-minute theatre-on-film performance of a lesser-known but still gripping  Shakespeare work, Pericles, The Prince Of Tyre, online.

In a “perilous voyage through the storms of life”, brave adventurer Pericles sets off to win the girl on everyone’s lips. Uncovering a sinister truth, he plunges into a rolling surge of events that leaves him broken, gasping for life.

Topical themes of abuse of power, desperate crossings of the Mediterranean and sex trafficking ensure this extraordinary saga sails uncomfortably close to home. For tickets, go to

Roger Taylor: New solo album, “surprise” solo tour, for Queen drummer. Picture: Lola Leng Taylor

York gig announcement of the week: Roger Taylor, Outsider Tour, York Barbican, October 5.

QUEEN legend Roget Taylor will play York Barbican as the only Yorkshire show of his “modest” 14-date Outsider tour this autumn.

In a “surprise announcement”, rock drummer Taylor, 71, confirmed he would be on the road from October 2 to 22. “This is my modest tour,” he says. “I just want it to be lots of fun, very good musically, and I want everybody to enjoy it. I’m really looking forward to it. Will I be playing Queen songs too? Absolutely!”

Outsider, his first solo album since 2013’s Fun On Earth, will be released on October 1 on Universal, dedicated to “all the outsiders, those who feel left on the sidelines”.

Put back in the Summer Of ’22: Bryan Adams moves his Scarborough Open Air Theatre and Harewood House concerts to July 2022

On the move: Changes afoot at Scarborough Open Air Theatre for 2021 and 2022

CANADIAN rocker Bryan Adams is moving his entire ten-date UK outdoor tour from 2021 to the summer of ’22, now playing Scarborough Open Air Theatre on July 1 and Harewood House, near Leeds, on July 10. Tickets remain valid for the new shows.

In further OAT changes, Kaiser Chiefs have moved to August 8; Keane, August 21; Olly Murs, August 27; UB40 featuring Ali Campbell and Astro, August 28; Snow Patrol, September 10, and Duran Duran, September 17.  Westlife stick with August 17; Nile Rodgers & Chic with August 20.

For next summer’s line-up, Ru Paul’s Drag Race: Werq The World has changed to May 29 2022; Crowded House, June 11; Lionel Richie, July 2, and Lewis Capaldi, July 7.

Quiet Beech Wood, mixed media, by Janine Baldwin at Blue Tree Gallery, York

Exhibition of the week: Summer Eclectic, Blue Tree Gallery, Bootham, York, until July 3

SUMMER Eclectic marks the reopening of Blue Tree Gallery after a run of online shows.

“It’s good to see York open again for all to visit and enjoy, as we help to keep York culturally alive, safe and well,” say Gordon and Maria Giarchi and their gallery team. “We’ll be open to the public with this show and it’s available online too.”

On view are original paintings by Yorkshire artists Janine Baldwin, Colin Cook, Deborah Grice and Karen Turner.

Director Emilie Knight: Holding auditions for York Shakespeare Project’s Sonnets At The Bar. Here she is pictured playing Covid Nurse in 2020’s Sit-Down Sonnets at Holy Trinity churchyard, Gillygate, York

Auditions of the week: York Shakespeare Project’s Sonnets At The Bar, Bar Convent, York, Friday and Saturday

YORK Shakespeare Project has a not-so-secret new location for its latest sonnet adventures, the secret garden of the Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre, in Blossom Street, York, for Sonnets At the Bar 2021 from July 30 to August 7.

Open-to-all auditions will be held at the Bar Convent tomorrow (4/6/2021) from 5pm and on Saturday from 10am. Those wanting to arrange an audition time should contact director Emilie Knight at, putting ‘Sonnets’ in the heading and indicating a preference of day and time day and time.

“I will provide details of everything you need to prepare when confirming your audition time,” says Emilie, who performed in last year’s Sit-down Sonnets.