More Things To Do in York and beyond, in summer pumps and circumstances. Here’s Hutch’s List No.25 for 2023, from The Press

Opera singer Jennifer Coleman: Soprano soloist on song at York Proms

PROMS, outdoor festivals and carnivals, here comes the sun and summer fun as Charles Hutchinson reaches for the cream.

Outdoor event of the weekend: York Proms, Museum Gardens, York, Sunday, gates open at 5pm

BRITISH-IRISH soprano Jennifer Colemen, Opera North tenor Tom Smith and West End musical theatre singer, actress and TV presenter Shona Lindsay will be the soloists for Sunday’s York Proms.

Musical director Ben Crick conducts the 22-piece Yorkshire Festival Orchestra in a musical theatre tribute, from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel and Bernstein and Sondheim’s West Side Story through to Les Miserables and Wicked. The rousing Proms finale will be accompanied by The Fireworkers’ fireworks. Tickets update: sold out; waiting list for returns at

Tom Smith: Tenor soloist at Sunday’s York Proms

Shakespeare Shorts: Twelfth Night, Barley Hall Great Hall, Coffee Yard, York, today, on the hour, every hour, from 11am to 3pm

SHAKESPEARE in only 15 minutes presents an immersive re-telling of Twelfth Night, the one with heaps of mistaken identities, cross-dressing and long-lost siblings.

Barley Hall’s costumed storyteller promises to “make simple a story that has even the characters confused, all while exploring themes of gender identity and the history of cross-dressing in theatre”. Barley Hall admission:

Shakespeare Shorts: The artwork for the 15-minute Twelfth Night at Barley Hall

Strensall Community Carnival, Strensall Village Hall and Field, Northfields, Strensall, York, today, 12 noon to 5pm

BACK for its 8th year, Strensall Community Carnival has attractions for all the family, with a procession from Hurst Hall, a food court, 30-plus charity and business stalls and entertainment on the outdoor arena.

Look out for Ebor Morris, The Cadet Band, York Karaoke DoJo, Dynamics Band and Generation Groove in the arena; the Robert Wilkinson School Choir and Band and Mark’s Magic Kingdom Puppet Show in the main hall, and the Captivating Creatures animal show, medieval mayhem with the Knights of the Wobbly Table storytellers, Messy Adventures sensory play and Generate Theatre drama games in the outdoor space.

The Grand Old Uke of York: “Almost unplugged” at Stillington

Uke over there: The Grand Old Uke of York, At The Mill, Stillington, near York, tonight, 7.30pm

YORK collective The Grand Old Uke of York grace the At The Mill stage in an unusual twist to their norm: turning their usual set list on its head to bring gorgeous, pared-back vocals, buttery harmonies and ukuleles played with summery vibes – rather than their usual rock mode – to the garden.

Formed more than ten years ago, they love nothing more than to transform expectations of the ukulele’s bounds. Tonight is a rare chance to see the dynamic group stripped back and “almost” unplugged. Box office:


Party time: Just Josh celebrates a decade of entertaining children’s parties with a JoRo show

Big kid of the weekend: Josh Benson: Just Josh’s 10th Birthday Party!, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Sunday, 4pm

AFTER a decade of doing other kids’ parties, York family entertainer, magician and pantomime silly billy Josh Benson has decided he should have his own bash.

Expect all Just Josh’s usual mix of daft comedy chaos, magic, juggling, balloons, dancing and games, plus extra-special surprises. “It’s the perfect Sunday afternoon treat for the whole family,” he says. Yes, even Dad. It is Father’s Day after all!” Ticket update: last few on 01904 501935 or at

The poster for York Printmakers’ summer showcase at Blossom Street Gallery

Exhibition of the week: York Printmakers: A Showcase, Blossom Street Gallery, Blossom Street, York, until July 31, open Thursdays to Sundays

SIXTEEN York Printmakers members demonstrate techniques and printing processes that date back hundreds of years through to those that push the boundaries of contemporary practice, with laser-cut plates, digital elements and 3D techniques.

Taking part are: Harriette Rymer; Lyn Bailey; Bridget Hunt; Carrie Lyall; Patricia Ann Ruddle; Jane Dignum; Jo Rodwell; Lesley Shaw; Phill Jenkins; Sally Parkin; Emily Harvey; Gill Douglas; Becky Long-Smith; Vanessa Oo; Sandra Storey and Rachel Holborow.

Two women up a hillside with ashes stuck to their trouser leg”: Terrain Theatre in Helen at Theatre@41

New play of the week: Helen, staged by Terrain Theatre/Theatre  503 at Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Sunday, 7.30pm

HELEN is 40 when she loses her husband. Becca is 15 when her dad dies. Now it is only the two of them, what do they do next? From Maureen Lennon, the Hull-born writer of York Theatre Royal’s 2022 community play, The Coppergate Woman, comes Helen, a series of snapshots of their relationship’s joys and traumas, laughs and arguments over the next 40 years.

Presented by new northern company Terrain Theatre and directed by Tom Bellerby, this 85-minute play about love, death, grief, postnatal depression, eating disorders, alcoholism, dementia and cancer, and two women up a hillside with ashes stuck to their trouser leg, explores the thread that binds them together and the different ways they damage and save each other. Box office:

The poster for the return of Mrs. Brown Rides Again: Heading to Hull in October

Comedy booking of the week: Mrs. Brown Ride Again, Hull Bonus Arena, October 27, 7.30pm, and October 28, 2pm and 7.30pm

BRENDAN O’Carroll and Mrs. Brown’s Boys will be back on stage in their “classic play” Mrs. Brown Rides Again from August to November. The only Yorkshire shows of the ten-venue tour with the television cast will be at Hull Bonus Arena in late-October.

Written by and starring O’Carroll as the beloved “Mammy”, the play finds Agnes Brown and her dysfunctional family romping their way through what seems to be her last days at home. After hearing of a plot by her children to have her put into a home, Agnes decides to prove them wrong by displaying a new lease of life. Box office:

The Prodigy: “Full attack mode, double barrel” at Leeds First Direct Arena this autumn. Picture: Andrea Ripamonti

Gig announcement of the week: The Prodigy, Army Of The Ants Tour, Leeds First Direct Arena, November 18

THE Prodigy’s Liam Howlett and Maxim will play Leeds on night three of their seven-date autumn arena tour after a spring and summer run of international festival headline dates. Support will come from Soft Play, the British punk duo of Laurie Vincent and Isaac Holman, formerly known as Slaves. 

“Army Of The Ants is a calling to The Prodigy peoples,” says Howlett. “We’re comin’ back for u the only way we know, full attack mode, double barrel.” Box office:

Soft Cell’s Dave Ball and Marc Almond: Headlining Let’s Rock Leeds

Recommended but general and VIP admission sold out already: Let’s Rock Leeds, Temple Newsam, Leeds, today, gates 11am; 10.30pm finish

HOMECOMING Leeds duo Soft Cell and OMD top the bill at this retro festival. Tony Hadley, Midge Ure, Stray Cats’ Slim Jim Phantom, The Farm, The Real Thing, Roland Gift, Heatwave and Hue & Cry play too. For any form of tickets left, head to:

In Focus: York Light Opera Company in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, June 27 to July 1

York Light Opera Company cast member Sanna Jeppsson

RIOTOUS, rude and relevant, Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts’s off-Broadway musical comedy I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change looks at how we love, date and handle relationships.

In a revamp of the original 1996 production, York Light Opera Company stage this witty hit show with a cast of seven under the direction of Neil Wood, fresh from his menacing Sweeney in Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber Of Fleet Street. Martin Lay provides the musical direction for the two 7.30pm peformances and 2.30pm Saturday matinee.

Noted for its insights into human nature and catchy-as-a-Venus-flytrap songs,  I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change explores the joys and challenges of love in songs that chart the heart’s path from dating to marriage to divorce.

Guiding audiences through a series of comedic and poignant vignettes will be Richard Bayton, Emma Dickinson, Monica Frost, Emily Hardy, James Horsman, Sanna Jeppsson and Mark Simmonds.

Cue shocks, surprises and songs aplenty as our love lives are reflected in art, up close and personal. Box Office

The poster for York Light Opera Company’s I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

Passion drives football convert Sue Clayton’s portrait project marking York City’s centenary as promotion is clinched

Sue Clayton’s portrait of Michael Miles, creator of the Y-Front fanzine, whose conversation with Sue on a park bench led to her York City centenary project

IT began with a chance conversation on a Museum Gardens bench on a summer’s day.

It ended with 140 portraits by a Wigginton artist from a family of football haters who became a season ticket holder, cheering on York City at the LNER Community Stadium as promotion to the National League was clinched last Saturday.

Sue Clayton’s portraits will be revealed en masse on Saturday at the York City Football Club Fans’ Centenary Celebration at  Cliffe Village Institute, near Selby, where Bubwith-born club legend Chris Topping (463 appearances,1968-1978) will perform the opening ceremony at the 10am to 4pm event.

A3 prints of the entire collection will be available for the first time at the celebration: mounted and ready to pop into a frame for £25 each or £40 for a framed version.  

Wigginton artist and York City supporter Sue Clayton with her 140 portraits

“This year-long project came about from having a chat last year with Michael Miles, a lifelong York City fan who creates the Y-Front fanzine,” says Sue. “The passion Michael showed for his club captured my attention: it was one of those conversations where someone’s passion for something sparks your own interest to listen to them. 

“I suggested I should paint a few fan portraits. Then, when he mentioned it would be the club’s centenary this year, I realised a new art project was germinating in my mind and I was fizzing with creativity.”

At first, Sue anticipated painting maybe ten portraits from the photographs and stories sent to her. Instead, the project grew and grew, not even stopping at 100 paintings to mark 100 years.

“It was so strange really, a total perseverance on my behalf, with many 3am finishes,” she says. “In reality it may have been prudent to stop when I reached 100 but I still had images I wanted to paint; I wanted to do the fans justice.”

Baby: Sue Clayton’s painting of York City’s “youngest supporter”

Each 30cm square in size, the portraits span multiple media, from watercolours to oils, acrylics to charcoal, pencil to collage. “In the collection, there are brides, babies, fans pictured in celebration sadly no longer with us, sisters, dads and sons, friendships…the full range of life in all its glorious forms,” says Sue, who is now adding former players to her portrait portfolio.

She is drawn to “painting portraits of people whose stories I want to tell”, such as her exhibition of children and young adults with Down Syndrome, entitled 21, on display in the Tent of Hope at the NHS York Vaccination Centre at Askham Bar, York, last  May and June.

“I’m equally passionate about making art accessible to all and love the concept of art meeting football,” she says. “A wonderful year-long journey has led me to the fantastic warmth of the fan community. From knowing so little about football, my son James and I are now fully signed-up season ticket holders roaring with the crowds on the terraces, culminating in the amazing play-off final last weekend.”  

Sue believes passion creates the best portraits. “As an artist, I was on a roll with this project and became very quickly immersed within it. The range and scope of the photos sent in could let my imagination free, and it enabled me to paint such a range of ages within the series,” she says.

Match of the day at Bootham Crescent: A newly married couple at York City’s former ground, as painted by Sue Clayton

“From a sitter’s perspective, I think the fan in the act of celebrating, oblivious to all, just consumed with joy, is really delicious to paint.  Equally, the moment capturing a fan watching the team intensely, apprehension etched on their face tells a great story.”

Saturday’s celebration is taking place at Cliffe on account of Michael Miles living there. “There’s quite a gathering of fans in the village, who call themselves ‘The Cliffe Minstermen’,” says Sue.

“Michael was eager to create an event just for the fans. The response has been phenomenal, with offers of help, sponsorship from the fans and fabulous raffle prizes donated. It’s a perfect chance to gather and celebrate not just the centenary but last week’s victory to go up a division.”

Look out for Jack Radcliffe’s match reports from the 2021-2022 season, on full display on Saturday. “Jack, who, like my son James, has Down Syndrome, has captured the hearts of the team, in particular goalie Pete Jameson, and the fans too,” says Sue. “His match reports are superb with such honesty and integrity.  He led the team on to the pitch for the final game and did the lap of honour with them.”

The poster for Saturday’s York City FC Fans’ Centenary Celebration

“Football-type” food and drink will be available; a colouring competition for children promises fabulous prizes, and the raffle prizes will range from football kits and signed footballs, to a portrait commission from Sue and signed lyrics from Shed Seven’s Rick Witter for the club’s terrace anthem, Chasing City Rainbows.

The legacy of Sue’s portraits will build. “Work will begin soon on a book about the portrait project and some of the wonderful stories behind the faces,” she says. “I believe so strongly that these stories should not be lost and want them to be part of the archives for the club’s centenary.

“The portraits will form a large art installation inside the fanzone at the LNER Community Stadium later in the year as a permanent feature, and the Give It A Go Joe drama group has expressed an interest in developing these stories further to create some community theatre. Not bad from a chat on a park bench, eh?!”

As for the future of the original portraits, “some will go on display in York Hospital, and I would dearly love to show them again in their entirety in York centre before the collection will be broken up at the end of the year.  If any galleries, museums or community spaces are interested, I would love to hear from them via”

CharlesHutchPress has a hatful of questions for artist Sue Clayton

That winning feeling: Portrait artist Sue Clayton, her son James, 20, and daughter Lily, 17, celebrate York City’s promotion-clinching victory over Boston United last Saturday

Just how exciting was last Saturday’s play-off final?

“OH my!!  Fab-u-lous!!  I was already in bits when Jack [Radcliffe] led out the players to start the game.  What a superstar Jack is and a great ambassador for the club.  When that second goal went in, it was just amazing! 

“The feeling of ‘we’ve got this…we’ve really got this’!   Y-Front fanzine editor Michael Miles said he’d worked out he’d been supporting York for 34 years with three promotions; James and I come along and we’re promoted in our first year!  Who knows what next season will bring at this rate!”

Were the stories you were sent as important as the photographs you transformed into portraits?

“Often the stories came after the photos were sent. I can’t say they directly informed my paintings but I did have a wry smile on my face with some as fans had told me some of their escapades. 

Sue Clayton’s portrait of York City supporter Phil, “painted in blue and yellow as a testament to his daily posts on Twitter as he worked as a teacher in Ukraine”

“The one portrait that did affect me profoundly was the painting of Phil, the fan who was working as a teacher in Ukraine. His daily posts on Twitter, sharing the terror of the situation, haunted me. His portrait is painted in blue and yellow as a testament to this time.

“I’m hoping that more anecdotes and tales will emerge at Saturday’s event as the fans see the whole collection. There will be a book there to write down any memories and I will be interviewing fans as my next mini-project to get those stories down before they are lost.”  

How did you settle on the 30cm square size and the wide range of materials for the portraits? 

“I decided on the 30cm square format as I knew there would be a lot of paintings.  I like a square, I feel it’s more contemporary and I always feel it works well if I want to closely crop an image and focus in on the action of the face. 

City Till We Die: Sisters show their colours in Sue Clayton’s painting

“I’ve used a wide range of mediums because that’s me, I suppose!  I enjoy the luscious butteryness of oils, the quick drying and layering of acrylics and the wonderful flow of watercolours. Spoilt for choice!

“I did worry that the whole collection might not adhere to one particular style: would people realise they were all by the same artist?  It’s often advised to pursue a particular style so that your work is recognisable, but I’ve long decided to just do ‘me’ and try not to play to any rules.”

Last year, when announcing this project in CharlesHutchPress, you said you were “not a follower of football myself”. Earlier this month, you told the Yorkshire Post: “I grew up in a football-hating family, never watched football and we were the least sporting family going.” How come you have caught the York City bug, along with James, both becoming season ticket holders? 

“Well, obviously I didn’t know what I was missing!  Initially, I suppose I went for a bit of research to find out what it was all about.  I soon became caught up with the match; it was a glorious day and the season had just begun. Having a season ticket meant I saw the same faces each match; a smile and a nod to other fans led on to conversations and before you know it ,you are part of a community.

Sue Clayton’s portrait of former York City defender Chris Topping, a promotion winner in 1971 and 1974, who will open Saturday’s centenary fan celebration at Cliffe Village Institute

“It’s not just the game of football, it’s the fans, the people who work with the team, the stadium, the traditions.  It has also become a chance to share something special with James.”  

Saturday’s centenary event carries the promise of “full football-type food and drink”. What represents such delights to you?!

“The warm smell of a fresh pie wafting by as the fans make their way to the seats (I have got to say, I have never tasted anything so good as the pie in Bromley!)  I notice quite a few fans still like their Bovril. 

“For the event on Saturday, the lads have arranged local pies, pasties, sausage rolls and peas. There’ll also be a curry or chilli and chips.”

York City cult hero Richard Brodie, bustling centre forward in the 2007-2010 seasons and for a 2016-2017 second coming, nicknamed Angel of the North on account of his arms-outstretched goal celebration. “Such a lovely chap, and he’s still passionate about City,” says Sue

How come Rick Witter is donating his Chasing City Rainbows lyrics to Saturday’s celebration?

“Shed Seven’s Chasing Rainbows was adopted as York City’s song when it came out in 1996 and was sung on the terraces by City fans.  It can be heard at most matches.  Rick has kindly supported Saturday’s raffle for the fans by sending in a hand-written, reworded version for the fans to now say ‘Chasing City Rainbows’. A lovely collector’s piece for both City fans and music fans.”

How will the portrait book project progress?

“The book is still an embryo of an idea but it will happen!  I’d love for all the images to be recorded in one book alongside the fans’ stories.  I kind of feel it is my duty to record this project, so that it’s not forgotten, archived away for future fans, along with the stories.  My daughter Lily is a passionate reader and writer, so this will be a joint project with her.”

Iain Dunn, York City winger (1988-1991) turned matchday summariser for BBC Radio York, portrayed in City red and blue by Sue Clayton

When will your portrait  installation be in place at the LNER Community Stadium?

“No date as yet, as I have only just finished painting them.  Talks will begin soon to get the ball in motion.” 

What will be your next project?

“The book – a new, uncharted territory for me.  I’ll also work on a range of portraits of ex- players. There’s a wonderful network out there; fans are loyal and never forget their heroes, so I think it’s time to honour them. 

“But hey, who knows? I might find myself chatting to someone on a park bench again and that spark of an idea begins again. It certainly opened up a whole new exciting challenge for me last time.”

A poster collage of Sue Clayton’s portraits

REVIEW: Paul Rhodes’s verdict on Rachel Sermanni and Gary Stewart, National Centre for Early Music, York, November 23

State of grace: Rachel Sermanni on stage at St Margaret’s Church, home of the National Centre for Early Music, in Walmgate, York. Picture: Paul Rhodes

BEING born gloriously Scottish is simply the luck of the draw. What the performers at the NCEM on Tuesday chose to do with those lovely accents is anything but arbitrary.

Rachel Sermanni’s upbringing in the Cairngorms must have contributed to her distinctive personality, and certainly can be heard ringing through her wonderful singing voice.

Sermanni has only just turned 30. It’s almost a decade since she opened up for Jesca Hoop at one of Tony Fothergill’s much-missed House Concerts. Then, she had the charisma but not the songs, but now an adult, she is much further down that (never ending) road.

Her 75-minute set was richly textured – high praise as she was playing solo – and drew on songs from across her career. As a performer she naturally draws you in, and her habit of holding your gaze is quite disarming. While sometimes on record her material lacks heft, live and buoyed by her stage craft, it made for a really enjoyable evening.

Singer-songwriter Gary Stewart (who also fronts a Paul Simon tribute show built around the Graceland album, by the way)

Things had got off to a promising start with a charming support set from Gary Stewart. Comparisons with Paul Simon were inescapable, even down to the tank top, but then is there any higher benchmark for a singer-songwriter?

Born in  Perthshire, we are lucky to have Stewart live near York, and he performed a set of songs from his home-recorded lockdown record, Lost, Then Found. His lilting, airy voice and dextrous finger picking were a treat.

While it was a shame he didn’t play his dainty Sadder Day Song – where laying on the grass in York’s Museum Gardens finally makes it into song – there was still much to enjoy. Pick of the set was Sailors And Tailors, which wittily and tunefully brought back to life the romance of his Scottish ancestors.

Kudos to Please Please You promoter Joe Coates’s attuned ears for matching these two performers.

Rachel Sermanni: “Her habit of holding your gaze is quite disarming,” says reviewer Paul Rhodes

Sermanni’s songs took the evening up another level. While she professed to be rusty, the occasional ‘alternative’ note added rather than detracted, making it feel much more human and real – more in keeping with her organic persona.

She wove in a mix of happy songs, with the audience stirred into voice for Dream A Little Dream Of Me (made popular by Doris Day), bitter (the curiously titled Tractor and searching and sad (Everything Changes, a standout from 2014).

Her most recent EP focused on her response to giving birth, Swallow Me sharing the stage with its darker brethren, Travelled. It makes her a highly relatable artist. What Can I Do sparkled, with our Covid powerlessness adding extra layers of meaning to her powerful cry.

Her fascinating introduction to discovering that Semisonic’s late-1990s’ hit, Closing Time, was actually a song in disguise about fatherhood almost made up for Sleeping, which was less hidden, rather winking, in plain sight. It was one of very few weaker moments.

In contrast, her pre-encore set finished with Lay My Heart. Easily her most memorable number, or at least the most anthemic, this enraptured song of being in a state of grace was stunning. Written under the influence of the aurora borealis, it might have been better to leave the audience in that condition.

Custom and good manners demanded an encore, which didn’t reach the same heights but such was the warmth in the room that we could have looked on into the early hours, like Sermanni under those dancing Canadian skies, whisky full until frost grew from our noses.

Review by Paul Rhodes

Happy 85th birthday to the Joseph Rowntree Theatre today…

The logo for the Joseph Rowntree Theatre’s 85th anniversary in York

TODAY is the 85th anniversary of the Joseph Rowntree Theatre in York, aptly on #LoveTheatreDay.

The theatre was opened on Monday, November 18 1935 by Mr Seebohm Rowntree, then chairman of  Rowntree & Co Limited, with the aim of “providing a hall which may be a fitting centre for those recreational and educational activities that make for a full and happy life”.

Under Lockdown 2 restrictions, the Haxby Road community theatre cannot hold an actual birthday party, but its social media channels will be full of stories, anecdotes and photographs.

The cutting from the Yorkshire Herald, reporting on the opening of the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, or Joseph Rowntree Hall as it was first called. Founder Mr Seebohm Rowntree is second from the left in the line-up

Supporters and volunteers have come together to share their memories and their hopes for the future of the Art Deco venue.

Those wanting to join in the conversations should email any memories to or contribute via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

In addition to the birthday celebrations, the JoRo is highlighting the support and encouragement of its three patrons: David Bradley, Ian Kelsey and Frances Simon.

“The Joseph Rowntree Theatre has been a vital part of the city for so many years,” says patron David Bradley

Bradley, known to many older York residents from his time with the Rowntree Youth Theatre and from playing Jesus in the 1976 York Mystery Plays, has become a familiar face nationwide from his vast number of stage, film and television appearances over many decades. Latterly, those credits take in the Harry Potter franchise, Game Of Thrones and Broadchurch.

Although David, 78, has been a patron of the JoRo for “some time”, the 85th anniversary is the first time that the theatre has announced his patronage formally and celebrated his backing.

In support of the theatre’s Raise The Roof fundraising campaign, David said: “The Joseph Rowntree Theatre has been a vital part of the city for so many years. I know from personal experience that it has provided opportunities for so many young people, and I will always be grateful for that. I fully support the theatre’s appeal and wish it all the best.”

Ian Kelsey: New patron of the Joseph Rowntree Theatre

The second, newly appointed patron is York-born actor Ian Kelsey, who honed his skills in many shows produced by Rowntree Youth Theatre. After a stint as an apprentice coach builder at the York railway carriage works, the acting bug drove him to follow his dreams by studying at Guildford School of Acting.

He has since been a regular on the nation’s TV screens in multiple drama series, from Blue Murder and Coronation Street to Doctors, Casualty and Emmerdale.

The third patron is actress and drama teacher Frances Simon, who moved to York with her family from London 14 years ago. She studied at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, in London, and played the Angel Gabriel in the 2012 York Mystery Plays in the Museum Gardens.

Frances Simon: Actress, teacher and new patron of the Joseph Rowntree Theatre

Frances has been a great supporter of the JoRo, attending many shows and teaching many youngsters who have appeared on the theatre’s stage.

A passionate advocate of the benefits of theatre to young people, she is the director of Frances Simon Speech and Drama Coaching; teaches speech and drama at St Peter’s School, York, and is a LAMDA coach at York Theatre Royal and Stagecoach Performing Arts.

While the JoRo is looking back and toasting the successes of the past 85 years today, it must look to the future too. Hence the launch of the Raise The Roof campaign to raise £90,000 to fund the shortfall in savings available to meet the costs of repairing the roofs after more than eight  decades without needing any such major repairs.

Hannah Wakelam: Joseph Rowntree Theatre’s first Young Ambassador

During the course of this campaign, new volunteer Hannah Wakelam has taken on the role of the JoRo’s first Young Ambassador.

Musical theatre performer Hannah, 20, so far has helped to raise hundreds of pounds by initiating fundraising projects, most notably organising this autumn’s online contest, Yorkshire’s Got Talent, won by York College actor-musician Ed Atkin, 17, in October. Now she is in the process of selling tickets for a grand Christmas raffle.

The JoRo trustees hope more young people will follow Hannah’s lead by coming forward to play their part, inspired by the opportunities that the theatre gives them, both on and off the stage.

Happy birthday: The Joseph Rowntree Theatre’s 85th anniversary teddy bear and York illustrator Elliot Harrison’s new retro card in the style of vintage railway posters