Angela Stone takes over as Pocklington Arts Centre director with the promise of creativity, community and collaboration

No Stone left unturned: Angela Stone has been appointed Pocklingtoin Arts Centre’s new director after a “carefully executed recruitment process” by Pocklington Town Council

ANGELA Stone is the new director of Pocklington Arts Centre, taking up her post next month as the successor to Janet Farmer, who retired in April after 25 years.

Bringing considerable experience in arts management, Angela has been appointed by Pocklington Town Council after a carefully planned and executed recruitment process.

She was selected from a range of strong candidates attracted to the position both regionally and nationally, as Town Mayor Councillor Steve McNann explained: “Angela conveys a clear passion and commitment to the arts and measurable first-hand experience of managing a thriving venue as a hub of the community.

“We are thrilled to welcome her to the team at such an exciting time of growth and potential for Pocklington Arts Centre and the wider town and surrounding villages.”

Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC) is an award-winning multi-arts venue in the town’s former cinema that presents a diverse programme of live music, comedy and theatre, films new and classic, exhibitions and workshops, complemented by festivals in the Old Station and outdoor concerts.

Sited in Market Place, the 200-seat venue with a ground-floor second performance and exhibition space and upstairs bar draws a loyal audience from across East Riding, boosted by visitors from further afield, sometimes much further.

A network of more than 50 volunteers from the 480-strong Friends of Pocklington Arts Centre plays an integral part in the customer experience.

Outgoing director Janet Farmer bade farewell to Pocklington Arts Centre in April after 25 years

A new team is in place already to work alongside Angela. Dave Parker, formerly of City Screen, York, is the venue manager, filling the shoes of the long-serving James Duffy, and Isobel Bielby has followed Sara Morton into the role of marketing and administration officer.

“I feel inspired by the incredible legacy of Janet Farmer and James Duffy for their commitment to creating the venue we all know and love,” says Angela. “Creativity, community and collaboration are the cornerstones from which we will establish our foundations for continued growth.

“I believe it is our collective responsibility, working collaboratively with our partners at Pocklington Town Council, Arts Council England and East Riding of Yorkshire Council to create adaptive space for inclusive shared experience.

“We will anticipate and respond to the changing demands of our evolving audience and our environmental impact on the spaces we manage.”

Up next at PAC will be the first Wolds Pride celebration on Saturday, a free event from 12 noon to 5.30pm featuring live performances, drag artists, LGBTQ+ story time and a creative corner with arts and crafts for all.

Bluegrass metalheads Hayseed Dixie’s September 27 show has sold out; Northumberland Theatre Company present Chris Connaughton’s all-female three-hander production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth on September 29; Vonda Shepherd plays greatest hits and favourites with her full band on October 4.

China Crisis duo Eddie Lundon and Gary Daly revisit their Eighties’ hits in a night of Wishful Thinking on October 6; East Yorkshire singer-songwriter Katie Spencer is booked in for October 14 and Americana folk singer Lady Nade for the next night.

For further details of the autumn season and tickets, visit

After Henry V and Coriolanus, Claire Morley completes her hattrick of all-female Shakespeare shows with NTC’s Macbeth

Seat of power: Claire Morley, as Macbeth, in Northumberland Theatre Company’s modern-day Macbeth. Picture: Jim Donnelly

YORK actor Claire Morley is starring in Chris Connaughton’s all-female, three-hander version of Macbeth for Northumberland Theatre Company.

Directed by associate director Alice Byrne, she is joined in Shakespeare’s “very gruesome” tragedy by Gillian Hambleton and Melanie Dagg on an autumn tour to theatres, community venues, village halls and schools that visits Stillington Village Hall, near York, tonight (8/9/2022) and Pocklington Arts Centre on September 29.

This streamlined, fast-paced, extremely physical re-boot of Macbeth with original music will be told largely from the witches’ perspective, exploring ideas of manipulation through the media and other external forces. Expect grim, gory grisliness to the Mac max in two action-packed 40-minute halves.

Claire Morley and Gillian Hambleton in a scene from Northumberland Theatre Company’s Macbeth. Picture: Jim Donnelly

Here CharlesHutchPress puts Claire Morley on the damned spot, demanding quick answers, like Macbeth confronting the “secret, black, and midnight hags”.

How did you become involved with Northumberland Theatre Company, Claire?

“I saw they were holding auditions earlier this year and went along as I liked the sound of the company and its mission to take shows to rural places who might not have regular access to the theatre. Then, about a month ago, I moved up to Northumberland for rehearsals.

What does an all-female cast bring to what is often seen as a toxic, machismo play, where even Lady Macbeth says “unsex me here”?

“To be honest, it’s not something that has massively concerned us in rehearsals as we’ve been exploring the characters and their relationships first and foremost. There are some lines about what it is to be a man, which I imagine might ping out more to the audience and make them see the text in new ways.”

Cut out to be king: Claire Morley, Melanie Dagg and Gillian Hambleton in Macbeth. Picture: Jim Donnelly

How are the roles divided between the three witches?

“Chris Connaughton has adapted the script so that the witches bookend the play; this gives us room to play with the witches in the sense that they are manipulating and telling the story.

“So, in the first scene you will see us choose who gets to be Duncan and Macbeth, for example. As there are only three actors, we do all play multiple roles, which has been really fun.”

What are the benefits of staging Macbeth as a three-hander?

“Well, practically, it’s much easier to tour with only three actors in the van! But I’ve also found that it means we have had to really streamline the script and think about what serves the story and what is superfluous.

“I think this makes the production pacy and easy to follow and will be great when we take it to schools for those students studying it for GCSE.” 

“As there are only three actors, we do all play multiple roles, which has been really fun,” says Claire Morley, left. Picture: Jim Donnelly

What is the set design and costume design for NTC’s Macbeth?

“As NTC is a rural touring company, we take everything with us in the van, so, when we get to a venue, we build our stage and lighting rig and set up costumes and props.

“Where we can, such as in Stillington, we’re performing in traverse, which means that the audience sit either side of the stage. I think this gives the show an immediacy as the audience will really feel part of the action, and privy to our thoughts.

“When we’re at Pocklington, for example, we’ll be performing on their stage, so we have to adapt to the venues we’re in! 

“The sound and lighting design really add to the atmosphere and help us change scenes and moods without elaborate set changes.” 

Claire Morley, centre, as Henry V at Agincourt in York Shakespeare Project’s all-female Henry V in 2015. Picture: Michael J Oakes

Does NTC’s Macbeth have a particular period setting?

“We’ve given the play a modern feel. You’ll see how the witches receive some of their prophecies on mobile phones!”

How does this production compare with your previous all-female Shakespeare experiences in York in Maggie Smales’s Henry V, in 2015, and Madeleine O’Reilly’s Coriolanus in 2018.

“I had an absolutely amazing time working with York Shakespeare Project on Henry V and Coriolanus and I hope that all theatre companies continue to implement diverse casting.

“What differs this time is more the circumstances. I’ve never been on tour before and that is the biggest difference! It’s hard work travelling and doing the get-ins and get-outs but I’m in fantastic company and I’m having a great time.” 

Something wicked this way comes: Northumberland Theatre Company in Macbeth, Stillington Village Hall, near York, tonight (8/9/2022); Pocklington Arts Centre, September 29, both 7.30pm. Box office: Stillington, 01347 811 544 or on the door; Pocklington, 01759 301547 or

The tour poster for Northumberland Theatre Company’s Macbeth, playing Stillington and Pocklington

More Things To Do in York and beyond in the north country. Discover the importance of reading List No 97, from The Press

A MUSICAL with Bob Dylan songs, Wilde wit with chart toppers, heavenly disco and Sunday fairytales promise intrigue and variety in Charles Hutchinson’s diary.

Boarding house tales: Girl From The North Country, the musical with Bob Dylan songs at York Theatre Royal. Picture: Johan Persson

Musical of the week: Girl From The North Country, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday to Saturday

WRITTEN and directed by Irish playwright Conor McPherson, with music and lyrics by Bob Dylan, Girl From The North Country is an uplifting and universal story of family and love that boldly reimagines Dylan’s songs “like you’ve never heard them before”.

In 1934, in an American heartland in the grip of the Great Depression, a group of wayward souls cross paths in a time-weathered guesthouse in Duluth, Minnesota. Standing at a turning point in their lives, they realise nothing is what it seems as they search for a future, hide from the past and find themselves facing unspoken truths about the present. Box office: 01904 623 568 or

Story Craft Theatre: A giant leap for storytelling in Once Upon A Fairytale at Stillington Mill

Children’s show of the week: Once Upon A Fairytale, At The Mill, Stillington, near York, Sunday, 10am to 12 noon

IN York company Story Craft Theatre’s new show for children aged two to eight, Sunday’s audience will travel through a host of favourite fairytales and meet familiar faces along the way: Little Red Riding Hood, The Gingerbread Man and some hungry Bears to name but a few.

Storytellers Janet-Emily Bruce and Cassie Vallance say: “You’re welcome to arrive any time from 10am as we’ll be running craft activities until 10.45am. The interactive adventure will begin at 11am under the cover of our outdoor theatre, and there’ll be colouring-in sheets and a scavenger hunt you can do too.” Box office:

From drag queen to society dragon: Daniel Jacob, alias Vinegar Strokes, rehearses for his role as Lady Bracknell in The Importance Of Being Earnest at Leeds Playhouse. Picture: Sharron Wallace

A walk on the Wilde side to a different beat: The Importance Of Being Earnest, Leeds Playhouse, Monday to September 17

DANIEL Jacob swaps his drag queen alter ego Vinegar Strokes for the iconic Lady Bracknell at the heart of Denzel Westley-Sanderson’s Black Victorian revamp of Oscar Wilde’s sharpest and most outrageous comedy of manners.

Premiering in Leeds before a UK tour, this Leeds Playhouse, ETT and Rose Theatre co-production “melds wit with chart-toppers, shade and contemporary references in a sassy insight into Wilde’s satire on dysfunctional families, class, gender and sexuality”. Box office: 0113 213 7700 or

Tavares: Close harmonies and disco classics revisited at York Barbican

Disco nostalgia of the week: Tavares, Greatest Hits Tour 2022, York Barbican, Wednesday, 7.30pm

GRAMMY Award-winning, close harmony-singing R&B brothers Chubby, Tiny and Butch Tavares, from Providence, Rhode Island, bring their Greatest Hits Tour to York.

At their Seventies peak, accompanied by their Cape Verdean brothers Ralph and Pooch, they filled disco floors with It Only Takes A Minute Girl, Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel, She’s Gone and More Than A Woman, from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Box office:

Every witch way: The poster for Northumberland Theatre Company’s all-female Macbeth, heading to North Yorkshire

Something wicked this way comes: Northumberland Theatre Company in Macbeth, Stillington Village Hall, near York, Thursday; Pocklington Arts Centre, September 29, both 7.30pm

YORK actor Claire Morley stars in Chris Connaughton’s all-female, three-hander version of Shakespeare’s “very gruesome” tragedy Macbeth, directed by Northumberland Theatre Company associate director Alice Byrne for this autumn’s tour to theatres, community venues, village halls and schools.

This streamlined, fast-paced, extremely physical production with original music will be told largely from the witches’ perspective, exploring ideas of manipulation through the media and other external forces. Expect grim, gory grisliness to the Mac max in two action-packed 40-minute halves. Box office: Stillington, 01347 811 544 or on the door; Pocklington, 01759 301547 or

Jess Steel: Soulful leading light of A Night To Remember. Picture: Duncan Lomax

Charity concert of the week: A Night To Remember, York Barbican, Thursday, 7.30pm

BIG Ian Donaghy’s charity fundraiser returns 922 days after he last hosted this fast-moving assembly of diverse York singers and musicians.

Taking part will be members of York party band Huge; Jess Steel; Heather Findlay; Beth McCarthy; Simon Snaize; Gary Stewart; Graham Hodge; The Y Street Band; Boss Caine; Las Vegas Ken; Kieran O’Malley and young musicians from York Music Forum, all led by George Hall and Ian Chalk.

Singer and choir director Jessa Liversidge presents her inclusive singing group, Singing For All, too. Proceeds will go to St Leonard’s Hospice, Bereaved Children Support York and Accessible Arts and Media. Tickets update: still available at

Glass work by Crispian Heath: Selected for the Contemporary Glass Society’s Bedazzled show at Pyramid Gallery, York

Exhibition launch of the week: Contemporary Glass Society, Bedazzled, Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, September 10 to October 30

THE Contemporary Glass Society will celebrate its 25th anniversary of exhibiting at Pyramid Gallery with a show featuring 60 works by 25 glass artists, chosen by gallery owner Terry Brett and the society’s selectors.

For this landmark exhibition in Pyramid’s 40th anniversary year, the society wanted a theme and title that suggested celebratory glitz for its silver anniversary. Cue Bedazzled.

The styles and techniques span engraving, blowing, fusing, slumping, casting, cane and murine work, flame working, cutting, polishing, brush painting and metal leaf decoration. A second show, Razzle Dazzle, will include small pieces that measure no more than five by five inches by 60 makers.

KT Tunstall: New album, new tour

Gig announcement of the week: KT Tunstall, York Barbican, February 24 2023

SCOTTISH singer-songwriter KT Tunstall will return to York for the first time since she lit up the Barbican on Bonfire Night in 2016 on next year’s 16-date tour.

The BRIT Award winner and Grammy nominee from Edinburgh will showcase songs from her imminent seventh studio album, Nut, set for release next Friday on EMI. Box office: and

Pocklington Arts Centre confirms July 21 reopening and first film show in 491 days

Open welcome: Pocklington Arts Centre director Janet Farmer looks forward to reopening on July 20

POCKLINGTON Arts Centre will reopen to the public on July 20 and film screenings will re-start on July 23, 491 days since the last performance.

Director Janet Farmer and venue manager James Duffy have chosen this date to ensure the safety of customers and volunteers.

“Over the past few months, our main focus has been planning the safe reopening of the building, ensuring all staff are trained appropriately and making sure the venue has all its new systems, resources and processes in place and working well,” says Janet. 

“We have sought feedback from staff, volunteers and customers and this will be vital to the success of this process. Our main aim is to ensure the visitor experience at Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC) is safe, secure and enjoyable.”

In late-March 2020, the East Yorkshire venue launched a crowdfunding page, raising more than £18,000 in under a month, followed by successful funding applications to the Smile Foundation’s I Am Fund and the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. 

Spiers & Boden: October 20 booking at Pocklington Arts Centre

Janet says: “I would like to thank our customers, in addition to Pocklington Town Council, the Friends of PAC, the Smile Foundation, Arts Council England and the Music Venue Trust for their collective support over the past year. 

“It has been a very difficult time for everyone, but their kind words, financial support and continued interest in all things PAC has meant a great deal and helped carry the venue through these extraordinary times.”

Staff have rescheduled forthcoming events for the autumn and winter, transferring more than 4,000 tickets and refunding customers for 20-plus cancelled events. 

“Throughout the closure period, we have stated our determination to emerge from the situation more vibrant than ever and our autumn and winter programme is a testament to that,” says Janet. 

“2021/22 will see a fantastic range of live events being staged here, alongside our trademark diverse mix of film screenings, live broadcasts, exhibitions, community events and private hires.” 

Velma Celli: York’s queen of vocal drag will make Pocklington debut on December 3. Picture: Kirkpatrick Photography

In the diary are Grammy Award winner Loudon Wainwright III, September 24; Northumberland Theatre Company (NTC) in Oscar Wilde’s “trivial comedy for serious people”, The Importance Of Being Earnest, September 30; North Eastern gypsy folk-rockers Holy Moly & The Crackers, October 16; Oxford singer-songwriter Thea Gilmore, October 7, and Irish jazz/blues chanteuse Mary Coughlan, October 19.

Bellowhead alumni and BBC Radio Folk Award winners Spiers & Boden are booked in for October 20; Red Ladder Theatre Company, from Leeds, in Nana-Kofi Kufuor’s My Voice Was Heard But Was Ignored, for November 25; television and radio broadcaster and author Jeremy Vine, November 26; Welsh singer-songwriter Martyn Joseph, December 2, and York drag diva deluxe Velma Celli, December 3.

Confirmed for 2022 are An Evening With Julian Norton, from Channel 5’s The Yorkshire Vet, January 18; singer-songwriter Teddy Thompson, January 22;Welsh guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and former Amen Corner cornerstone Andy Fairweather Low, February 11, and Eighties’ pop singer and actress Toyah Willcox, March 3.

PAC’s two open-air acoustic concerts in Primrose Wood, Pocklington, with Martin Simpson and Katie Spencer on July 1 and The Dunwells and Rachel Croft on July 8 will go ahead despite the Government’s Step 4 roadmap delay, but now under social-distancing restrictions. Both 7pm shows have sold out.

Janet says: “We always knew this was a possibility when the shows were first planned and there’s sufficient space for people to enjoy the event safely, while experiencing the atmospheric setting of Primrose Wood.”

Martin Simpson: Headlining at a sold-out Primrose Woods on July 1

PAC increased its online artistic output during the pandemic, staging 18 events to more than 9,000 audience members. 

In addition, a series of outdoor exhibitions has been held by PAC across the region. York artists Sue Clayton and Karen Winship have shown work at All Saints’ Church, Pocklington, and Sue will be following Karen into Hull Waterside and Marina. Those attending the York Vaccination Centre at Askham Bar can see her Down Syndrome portraits in the Tent of Hope. 

“We felt it was vitally important to have continued customer engagement throughout the prolonged closure period and the public response to these events and exhibitions has been very positive,” says Janet. 

“We’re also very much aware there’s no substitute to watching a live performance, in person, and sharing this experience with fellow audience members. 

“Everyone at PAC is now counting down the days until the doors can reopen and we can welcome customers back. It’s been a very long interval and we can’t wait for the second half to begin.”

For full event listings and ticket details, go to:

York artist Karen Winship at the launch of her NHS Heroes exhibition at Hull Waterside and Marina