Orpheus in the underworld moves to Ella Grey’s teenage world on the beach in Pilot Theatre premiere at York Theatre Royal

Grace Long as Ella Grey, left, and Olivia Onyehara as Claire in A Song For Ella Grey. Picture: Topher McGrillis

THE first book Esther Richardson read after being appointed Pilot Theatre’s artistic director was A Song For Ella Grey.

Eight years later, she is directing the York company’s co-production of Zoe Cooper’s stage adaptation of David Almond’s Northumbrian novel. Next stop for a play full of music, sound and storytelling will be York Theatre Royal, from Tuesday to Saturday.

“It’s my favourite of David’s books,” says native north easterner Esther, who is directing a work deeply connected to her own story and upbringing for the first time. “I got totally swept up in his translation of the timeless myth of Orpheus and Eurydice to the locations in which I grew up.

“I lived in Teesside until I was 11, then we moved to Durham, to be nearer to my dad’s family, and my aunts were all in Newcastle. If you grow up in Durham, you go out in Newcastle, so that was a big part of my youth.

“My uncle used to take us up to the beach at Bamburgh Castle, and that’s where I camped when I did the Duke of Edinburgh awards.”

Monday morning was Esther’s first official working day back in York since she began rehearsals on January 2 at production partner Northern Stage’s rehearsal studios in Byker, ahead of its February 1 opening in Newcastle, where “it’s gone really well”.

Esther has wanted to stage A Song For Ella Grey ever since reading it. “Landscape is very important to the story and that landscape was very much part of my growing up,” she says. “That entry to Newcastle on the train, with all those bridges across the Tyne is so mythic; it’s majestic, so is the coast. Doing this play is a love letter to them both.

Pilot Theatre artistic director Esther Richardson

“When I read the book, it spoke to my heart, as I recognise the kids; the running away to Edinburgh; hanging out in very specific places in Newcastle; traipsing around the shops there. It’s that whole rendering of what it’s like to be a teenager in Newcastle.”

Published in 2014, Almond’s novel for young people relocates the Orpheus and Eurydice myth and its story of enduring love and loss to the north east in a lyrical retelling set among a group of teenage friends – “ordinary kids from ordinary families in an ordinary world” – that fall in and out of love, play music and dance, stare at the stars, yearn for excitement, and have parties on Northumberland’s beaches.

“So often working-class stories are told through a male lens, but this one is told from the perspective of a survivor, of a young queer woman,” says Esther. “It takes place in the liminal space between childhood and adulthood when you become aware you can never go back. You can never be a kid again.”

The focus falls on the bond between Claire and her friend Ella Grey, one that is as close as it could be until one day they encounter a stranger, Orpheus, a lyre-playing, Dr Martens-wearing young man, on Bamburgh Beach. He entrances them all, especially Ella, but what path will she follow in this tale of modern teenagers and ancient forces?

Cooper’s stage adaptation is written from Claire and Ella’s perspective as they re-tell their story to one another and the audience. “The idea is that they are making what happened to them into a myth,” reasons the playwright.

“The myth of Orpheus is so powerful,” says Esther. “Is he a man or a god? He’s a man-god, who goes into the underworld and is told, ‘you can bring someone back from the underworld, but only if you don’t look back at her before you re-enter the world above.

“But of course, there’s an inevitability that he will look back. Our humanity is our mortality, and we know you can’t bring someone back from the dead.”

Incoming message: Grace Long’s Ella Grey. Picture: Topher McGrillis

Esther continues: “It’s also about creativity and art, and that thing of something being out of reach when you’ve woken and it first seemed so clear. What that’s doing is chasing a fever dream, and that’s the most powerful part of being human.

“How we want to over-reach, to be immortal, to turn back the clock. Modern art can do that, like a photograph freezing a moment in time. So there’s a really spiritual dimension to the story that connects with us really deeply, and it was a beautiful, tantalising prospect to put it on stage.”

She commissioned Zoe to write the adaptation on account of the lyricism she shared with Almond. “I wanted someone who wouldn’t be afraid of that lyricism. I didn’t want it to be domestic; I wanted it to be epic,” she says.

“With Orpheus, David has created this elusive figure; you have a character who is a spirit, who is music, who’s in the landscape; sometimes he’s there and he’s real; sometimes he’s not real and can’t be found as he disappears into the night – which is really difficult to stage.

“The first thing that Zoe and I talked about was how do we adapt that for the stage, and we decided we should not make the slippery Orpheus a single human form because that would have killed the lyricism.

“What Zoe has done is create a text where Orpheus has the potential to appear in many different forms, sometimes human, but mainly an elusive being in the world.”

Pilot Theatre’s cast for A Song For Ella Grey. Picure: Topher McGrillis

Teenage audiences have “really hooked into” Cooper and Richardson’s production in the Newcastle run. “At first we thought, ‘are we being too oblique?’, but you have to commit to imagination, and if you create a really good structure and architecture for the story, audiences will go with it,” says Esther.

“We trusted our audience, having tested a scene at a school in Cramlington, which gave us the confidence that we were doing the right thing.

“As theatremakers, we try to stay in touch with childhood, and with our shows, whether Noughts & Crosses or A Song For Ella Grey, quite often teenagers get what’s happening ahead of adultds, with teens explaining things to perplexed adults!”

From the very start, Esther knew music would be important in A Song For Ella. “There was a clue in the title!” she says. “You think, ‘well, what is the ‘song’?”

She duly commissioned composer Emily Levy – noted for her use of folk traditions and song – to work with Pilot for the first time. “I love music and I love working with composers,” she says. “I had Emily at the edge of my thinking, as I’d heard her work with Streetwise Opera, who work with homeless people, and I knew she was passionate about using the voice as an instrument and that she could do amazing choral scores.

“A happy accident was that David [Almond] was a huge fan of Emily’s music, which I didn’t know in advance – and I trust him as being so creative, with amazing insights. So I met Emily, Zoe thought she was terrific too, and everything span off from there.”

Beth Crame as Angeline in A Song For Ella Grey. Picture: Topher McGrillis

The music in Pilot’s production is “incredible,” says Esther, “But it can’t offer all the solutions. That’s when I got the designer, Verity Quinn, involved to bring Orpheus into the play in a different way.

“Making theatre on the mid-scale, looking into that rectangle, you have to deliver something epic: that starts with the words but you disregard the visual at your peril.

“In the end, my work is very stripped back, not just because of Pilot’s level of resources, but because we all respond to colour emotionally, and the visual is rocket fuel to how you create meaning and how you connect to the human heart and mind in the audience. By stripping back you encourage the use of imagination.

“Theatre offers a reflective space, and in that moment, you use your imagination and your humanity comes to the fore. You are aware of who you are. It’s so difficult to find a space where you can just be present, listening to a story, being part of a story, and kids need that more than anyone else.”

In that last sentence, Esther sums up the essence of Pilot Theatre and why the pioneering York company continues to be at the forefront of theatre with a young voice.

 Pilot Theatre, Northern Stage and York Theatre Royal present A Song For Ella Grey, York Theatre Royal, February 20 to 24, 7pm plus 1pm, Thursday and 2pm, Saturday; Hull Truck Theatre, March 5 to 9, 7.30pm plus 2pm, Wednesday and Saturday. Box office: York, 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk; Hull, 01482 323638 or hulltruck.co.uk.

Author David Almond on A Song For Ella Grey

Pilot Theatre artistic director Esther Richardson, left, with novelist David Almond and playwright Zoe Cooper. Picture: Mark Savage

Why revisit the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice?

“People have been telling this story forever,” he says. It’s one of the oldest stories ever told. There are endless versions of it, in cinema, on stage, in books and poetry and songs. I knew, at some point, I was going to write my version of it.”

Why Newcastle and Bamburgh beach?

“It made sense to set it among a group of normal Tyneside teenagers,” says Almond, whose daughter was a teenager at the time he wrote the book, giving him the awareness of “being young and falling in love, experiencing the possibility of loss, the possibility of bliss. Plus, I like the idea of Hades being under Newcastle.”

What does his lyrical writing celebrate?

“The beauty of northern rhythms, of the beats of northern language, to find something that is distinctively regional which can reach out to the rest of the world.”

From page to stage…

“There’s nothing like live theatre,” says Almond. “It’s our oldest form of art. It’s a very ancient way of telling a story. It’s how we told each other stories when we were still in caves 1000s and 1000s of years ago.”

“There’s nothing like live theatre,” says Almond. “It’s our oldest form of art. It’s a very ancient way of telling a story. It’s how we told each other stories when we were still in caves 1000s and 1000s of years ago.”


Writer, director, musician, theatre maker, actor, but still Alex is nervous about tonight

In a field of one: Alexander Wright, playwright, poet, storyteller, musician, director, facilitator, theatre builder…and now solo performer

ALEXANDER Wright is nervous about tonight, but why?

Let Alex tell the story: “In a potentially remarkable act of narcissism, I am doing a solo gig of my own work in a theatre I built [with Gobbledigook Theatre’s Phil Grainger and dad Paul Wright] in my back garden at 7.30pm. 

“It’s the first time I have ever done a solo gig. I write lots of stuff, direct lots of stuff, tour Orpheus, Eurydice & The Gods The Gods The Gods to hundreds of places.

“I’ve released Half Man//Half Bull, a double narrative-led album, with Phil and Olivier Tilney. My production of The Great Gatsby has been performed across the UK, in Belgium, Ireland, and Korea to hundreds and thousands of audience members.

“But I’ve never really stood in front of people and performed my own stuff, on my own, for an extended period. So, now, I am…and I’m nervous about it.”

Double at t’ Mill: Phil Grainger and Alexander Wright at Stillington Mill last August when performing a week of shows back on home turf in Alex’s “back garden”. Picture: Charlotte Graham

Expect beautiful stories, beautiful poems, a few beautiful special guests and hopefully a beautiful sunset under the sails of the At The Mill outdoor theatre on the re-appropriated disused tennis court at Stillington Mill, Mill Lane, Stillington, near York.

Tongue in cheek in its title, Alex’s Remarkable Acts Of Narcissism night is part of the anything but narcissistic inaugural Summer At The Mill season at At The Mill, the Wrights’ family-run business at the mid-18th century former corn mill.

Not only theatre, children’s shows, spoken word and concerts have found a home here but so too has a Saturday morning pop-up café with unicorn ice cream and blissful cakes spun from the culinary imagination of Alex’s sister, Abbigail, and a welcoming wood-burner in the corner.

Then add supper clubs (up next, Tom Smith, from Oxfordshire, cooking an entire lamb on July 17, tickets available); special events; community gatherings; weddings and accommodation in a fairy-lit woodland shepherd’s hut or the two-bedroom Mill Cottage in a converted cow byre.

The stage is set for a night of Theatre At The Mill

Stillington Mill’s pond-side grounds have housed magical performances in previous years, whether on the woodland grass or under canvas, but the outdoor theatre is new for 2021, all because of a vow witnessed one August night by CharlesHutchPress among others at a Grainger and Wright performance in the first socially distanced summer of Covid.

“Phil has a habit of saying what he’s thinking out loud in public, and then being beholden to it. I’m fine with that and so is Phil!”, says Alex, recalling how best friend Phil had announced that a massive pile of wood had just arrived at the mill from G H Brooks, the timber merchants up the road.

They would build a theatre, he promptly promised, with a boldness worthy of Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald pronouncing he would construct an opera house in the middle of a jungle in Werner Herzog’s infamously trouble-beset 1982 film Fitzcarraldo. Thankfully, the task proved less arduous, and no-one behaved like loose-cannon prima-donna lead actor Klaus Kinski.

“I think it’s important to get on with stuff, whatever the circumstances you face, and we’ve always done that. If you wait for people to give you permission, it will never happen, but we had the space to create a theatre, so we have,” says Alex.

Alexander Wright performing Orpheus at At The Mill earlier this summer. Picture: Fair Dinkum Film

“There’s something wonderful about an old tennis court making way for a stage, especially in a village where the mill has long been a focal point for the community. There’s been a mill here since being recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 and the house was built in 1754.

“It’s lovely to keep allowing these buildings to be central to the community, and even though it’s no longer flour, I hope it’s still some form of nourishment, whether it’s cake and sausage sandwiches or theatre and music. It’s good to have an industry of sorts still going on here.”

Phil built the wooden stage and the benches – in his own self-deprecating words “making good-quality wood look like palettes” – with help from his Australian partner Angie Alle, while Alex and father Paul did all the structures above, the pillars and posts and sails. “So, if you fall off the stage, it’s Phil’s fault; if something falls on you, it’s my dad’s and my fault,” Alex jokes.

“Some of it’s trial and error, like having to re-enforce the pillar structures, but we’re always trying to do something that’s beyond what we would normally do. Others might find that intimidating, but I like stretching my capacities.”

Courtly love: Out goes tennis, in comes a theatre, game set and match at Stillington Mill

Reflecting on changing times for theatre and performance under the cloud of Covid, changes that have seen Alex and Phil rooted in North Yorkshire, rather than travelling to New York and the Edinburgh Fringe after returning early from Australia last February, Alex says: “I’m sure lots of people have had the profound realisation in the past 16 months that theatre and the arts are a function or a means to the end,  rather than an end in themselves.

“We get tied up in theatre being something we consume, when in fact it is so much more valuable as a means for people to gather, to hear news, to share stories, to start conversations, and when we’ve not been gathering for 16 months, it’s such a vital tool for doing that – and I think it’s the gathering that’s most important.”

Alex continues: “I love meeting communities, meeting other people, and I feel that everywhere I go, we always leave having learned something. We always play by the same rules: performers and audience, we are together for two hours, and that sense of hanging out together is more important right now than what we see.

“But when we were setting up Summer At The Mill, I was very clear that it needed to serve the communities I care about: the local rural community and the wider, sprawling arts community.

“We’ve made what I hope is a very honest invitation to artists, to encourage them to ask if they want to come here and play, with either a new piece of work or an old piece that they’re getting back on its feet, or maybe for a collaboration, and it’s felt really nice to be able to do that.

A different writing task for playwright and poet Alexander Wright as he works a shift on At The Mill’s Saturday morning pop-up cafe (which turn into a bar for shows, by the way)

“Phil and I see loads of brilliant mates making work around the world, and we’ll hang around with them for a month. Then, six month later, there’ll be another festival, again with all these acclaimed international artists, and it’s kind of amazing when we say, ‘do you want to muck around in our back garden?’ and they’ll say ‘Yes, I’ll try out some new ideas’, and so they’ll play to a new audience, testing out new material. There’s a nice alchemy to it, and it’s a level playing field.

“We’re even talking to a couple of artists about the possibility of doing short residencies, for a week or a weekend, hosting them to let them road-test something new.”

Tonight, meanwhile, it will be Alex’s own turn to do that in a night of spoken word, storytelling and poetry…and, yes, he’s still nervous!

Alexander Wright: Remarkable Acts Of Narcissism, Theatre At The Mill, Stillington Mill, Stillington, near York, tonight (10/7/2021) at 7.30pm. Box office: tickettailor.com/events/atthemill/538906.

Alex Wright, Phil Grainger and Oliver Tilney combine on Half Man//Half Bull ancient myth songs to be experienced at home UPDATED 11/3/2021

On song: Phil Grainger in a recording session for Half Man//Half Bull

THE Flanagan Collective and Gobbledigook Theatre had to cut short their 18-month international tour last March, the pandemic forcing Alexander Wright and Phil Grainger to fly back to North Yorkshire from Australasia.

A year later, however, a brand-new work, created in tandem with fellow theatre-maker Oliver Tilney, arrives in the form of Half Man//Half Bull, a narrative-led double album of two ancient myths and 20 original tracks to be “experienced at home”.

Fusing spoken word, electronica and soul, Half Man//Half Bull retells the interlinking myths of Theseus & The Minotaur and Daedalus & Icarus, presented in a listening pack designed by Lydia Denno that will be sent out in the post.

“We wanted people to be able to hold a beautiful piece of art in their hand, like holding an album cover, so Lydia’s artwork is part of the whole experience,” says Alex. “We also want people to carve out a bit of proper time to really listen to the work, rather than listening to it for the first time when you’re doing the washing-up or while you’re cooking.

“We’re also asking you to reach out to connect with other people by sending out postcards, and there are four cards from the listening pack to hide around your community too. You could even give someone a call, knock on someone’s door and say hello.

“The two stories say a lot about isolation, so it feels good to do something that’s an antidote to that. We didn’t set out to tell a story about this time of Covid lockdowns, but it just seems to have seeped into it.”

Lydia Denno’s artwork for Half Man//Half Bull

Over the past few years, Alex and Phil, friends since Easingwold schooldays, have taken their international award-winning shows Orpheus, Eurydice and The Gods The Gods The Gods to packed rooms across Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Bali and New York, performing an enthralling, electrifying brand of spoken word and live music.

Once back home, they teamed up with long-time collaborator Oliver Tilney – he played Jay Gatsby in Wright’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby for the Guild Of Misrule at 41 Monkgate, York, in 2016 – to create Half Man//Half Bull.

“From the get-go, we wanted to make a new piece of work that wasn’t contingent on being performed live,” says Oliver, who first brought the idea to Alex and Phil last June. “We didn’t want a watered-down version of something to give to audiences; we wanted to create a new piece of work in its correct form. For us, that form is a double narrative-led album.”

Oliver set about reading various Greek myths, seeking a way to connect two together. “The ones we’ve chosen are about becoming a parent; one is about a father loving a son, the other about a son loving a father,” he says.

“Most people don’t carry any sympathy for Icarus, thinking he’s rather brash, but I thought, ‘no, let’s make these characters human’.”

Alex, Phil and Oliver began work on Half Man//Half Bull on Zoom, but lockdown easement then enabled work to develop in Covid-safe conditions, both in Stillington in Alex’s studio at The Mill last October and at Crooked Room Studio in Strensall, York.

Oliver Tilney at work on Half Man//Half Bull

“There was a moment I recall where Ollie’s daughter was in a push chair and I was writing these ditties, and Ollie’s lyrics were so clearly coming from his experience of being a dad,” says Phil.

“More than before, the writing was a mixture of all three of us. With Orpheus, it was very clear that I wrote the music and Alex, the lyrics, but for The Gods The Gods The Gods, there were a couple of songs where Alex came up with the melody.

“Whereas with this project, we’ve all stuck our noses into all of it. Ollie and Alex were writing the first drafts of ideas, while I was building some benches at Alex’s mill. Then I came up with a few bits of guitar, but once that had been done and they’d come up with the skeleton of the stories, we fleshed everything out, with everyone coming up with lyrics and me writing tunes. We all pushed ourselves more than ever.”

Alex rejoins: “We’re lucky that we’ve all known each other and worked together for so long, so it never felt like we needed to define who was doing what, or who was in charge. It just felt organic.”

The trio have partnered up with 15 organisations to bring the idea to life, among them the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, Theatr Clwyd, Leeds company Slung Low, Rural Arts, Thirsk, and The Barn Theatre, their involvement affirming the appetite for this type of work. 

Alex says: “We started talking with our brilliant pals at Streatham Space Project [a project that Oliver was involved in setting up], where we managed to bring a socially distanced version of Eurydice in September. It quickly became clear there would be an appetite for a theatre, or an organisation, to be able to deliver content to their audience while people couldn’t gather in a more traditional setting.”

Oliver adds: “Those 15 theatres and organisations around the country are helping us by each agreeing to distribute 100 copies, so that means we’ve pre-sold 1,500 copies, either to be given away to pockets of the community they want to contact through outreach work, or for some to be put on sale through the venues.”

Alexander Flanagan Wright and Phil Grainger on their travels, cut short by the need to head home last March

An Arts Council Project Grant allowed the Half Man//Half Bull team to grow: the trio have collaborated with producers, designers and host of musicians to realise this project, alongside the family of theatres, venues and partner organisations.

After years of touring, lockdown has provided a longer opportunity to create and develop, says Phil. “Alex and I have been writing and touring shows for a while, with an ambition to grow our sound. This felt like a great opportunity to work with more people, collaborate with more artists and, crucially, create some work for as many freelancers as we could afford,” he explains.

That team includes Aminita Francis, from BAC BeatBox Collective, as Theseus; Zimbabwean-born musician Tendaii Sitima, as Daedalus; designer Lydia Denno; music producer Isaac McInnis and project producer Charlotte Bath.

“We were also able to spend a lot of time at Crooked Room Studio working with Isaac McInnis, which really helped grow the sound,” says Phil. “It’s crucial that as this is an audio project, that it sounds flipping great.”

Lockdown 3 was imposed just as Alex, Phil and Oliver were part-way through the last recording session. “But because we were already ‘bubbled up, we were already in the right place to allows us to continue,” says Alex.

“It was lucky that we could continue unimpeded,” says Phil. “Pretty much everyone else, apart from our producer Isaac, was able to send us their parts, recording in their own homes or on Zoom.”

Phil Grainger and Alexander Flanagan Wright last August when The Flanagan Collective and Gobbledigook Theatre presented a week of socially distanced shows in Alex’s back garden at The Mill, Stillington, including Orpheus and Eurydice

Billed as “an epic storytelling adventure for our time”, Half Man//Half Bull is designed expressly as an At-Home experience. “For a project that is an album, a listening experience, something you do with your ears, we were really clear we didn’t want to make a cast recording of something that already existed; it had to be something that stood in its own right,” says Alex.

“For the vast majority of musicians and creative people, they are hard-wired to connect with other people, preferably gathered in one room, but this had to be different – though it does feel odd that we can’t all be together to launch it!”

Instead, Half Man//Half Bull is a form of home service. “If you buy it, you’ll get a physical pack through your door with artwork, listening instructions and an invitation to step back out into the real world,” says Alex.

“Normally we would be thinking about the physical space we’re performing a show in, but this time it’s a listening experience designed for people’s homes.”

Yet might Half Man//Half Bull be turned into a live performance? “While we were writing the album, we had a catchphrase that we banned each other from saying: ‘When we do the live show’,” recalls Oliver. “Instead, we concentrated on the album, but having worked together for so many years, we all have ambitions to do it live.

“We haven’t had many conversations yet, just touched on a few ideas so far, because our focus has been on the album.”

For further information and to buy the albums, go to: halfmanhalfbull.com.

Alexander Flanagan Wright during the making of Half Man//Half Bull

The SJT to close for Lockdown 2 but The Snow Queen rehearsals WILL go ahead

Rehearsals can go ahead in Lockdown 2 for The Snow Queen at the Stephen Joseph Theatre

SCARBOROUGH’S Stephen Joseph Theatre will close its doors to the public again from Thursday to December 2, re-opening on December 3, pending further Government Covid-19 pronouncements.

In the light of last night’s confirmation from Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden that rehearsals can continue behind closed doors, the SJT will be going ahead with its vibrant Christmas production of Nick Lane’s The Snow Queen throughout December.

The SJT had re-opened its McCarthy cinema in late-August and has been presenting live theatre from the start of October: one of the first theatres in the country to do so.

November’s live shows – My Favourite Summer and Orpheus & Eurydice, plus play readings of Canton, Worldly and With Bells On! – will move to next spring. New dates will be announced as soon as possible.

As much of the November cinema programme as possible will be switched to December. Again, new dates will be posted ASAP.

Haunting Julia, an audio version of Alan Ayckbourn’s 1994 play directed and performed by Sir Alan himself, is unaffected. Theatre-goers who prefer to stay at home can book to listen between December 1 and January 5 via the theatre’s website, sjt.uk.com. Raven’s sold-out Christmas concert on December 15 will go ahead as planned too.

The SJT’s box-office team is working hard to contact everyone with bookings affected by the changes. Ticket-bookers can choose whether they would like a refund, a credit to their account, or to donate the cost of their ticket to help secure the theatre’s future.

Those with bookings are asked not to contact the box office if possible. The team is making its way through November’s bookings in date order as fast as it can.

The SJT’s executive director, Caroline Routh, says: “Of course, it’s a huge disappointment to us all to have to close again. Our audiences have been so appreciative that we reopened our cinema in August and recommenced live theatre in October, and really generous in their support in so many ways.

“Most of our screenings and shows, includingJohn Godber’s Sunny Side Up! just last week, have sold out, although our capacities have been reduced because of social distancing.

“But the safety of our audience, our in-house team and our visiting companies is, of course, paramount. When we do re-open, we‘ll still be following the same stringent safety procedures that have made our audiences feel so safe recently.

“And we’re so thrilled that we’re still able to bring The Snow Queen to Scarborough for Christmas. It promises to be a really lively and memorable show, starring the fabulous Polly Lister and, on certain performances, her talented ‘alternate’ Jacoba Williams. We’re confident it’ll be a Christmas must-see for 2020!”

Please note, if you do need to contact the box office for any reason, you can do so on 01723 370541, between 10am and noon, Mondays to Fridays, until 2 December (phone queries only; the building will not be open for in-person visits.

Tickets for all December events can still be booked online through the lockdown period at sjt.uk.com.