YORK artist Sue Clayton will mark World Down Syndrome Day at Pocklington Arts Centre on March 21 as her Downright Marvellous At Large exhibition draws to a close that day.
Sue’s portraits of adults with Down
Syndrome and a giant pair of hand-knitted socks will provide the backdrop for
the 11am to 1pm event featuring children’s craft activities, music, cake and a
That show, This Is Me, will be running in
the arts centre studio during the final week of Downright Marvellous At Large
from March 14 to 21. On show will be self-portraits by members of Wold Haven
Day Centre, Pocklington, and Applefields Special School, York, created at workshops
led by Sue.
Sue put her exhibition together in honour
of her son, James, who has Down Syndrome and turns 18 this year. “Downright
Marvellous At Large is a true celebration of adults with Down’s at work and play,
and I hope it has made a real impression on visitors,” she says.
“I can’t wait to bring what has been a
really busy, successful exhibition to a suitable close in spectacular style with
a celebration to mark World Down Syndrome Day.
“Everyone is invited to come along,
enjoy some children’s crafts, a pop-up exhibition and a free piece of cake, as
well as a few surprises along the way”
Sue’s portraits, presenting the
“unrepresented and significant” social presence of adults with Down Syndrome, is
complemented by a giant pair of odd socks created using hand-knitted squares
donated by members of the public.
people wear odd socks on World Down Syndrome Day, a global event that aims to
raise awareness and promote independence,
self-advocacy and freedom of choice for people with the congenital
Socks are used because their shape replicates the extra 21st chromosome
that people with Down Syndrome have.
STORYTELLER, poet and BBC Radio 4 regular John Osborne returns
to Pocklington Arts Centre on Thursday to present his beautiful, funny and
uplifting new theatre show about music and dementia.
he performed a quietly spoken double bill of John Peel’s Shed and Circled In
The Radio Times in the bar; intimate, convivial storytelling in an intimate,
Now, inspired by seeing a friend’s father face a dementia
diagnosis and the feelings of warmth and positivity and unexpected twists and
turns the family went through, he has put together You’re In A Bad Way.
“This is the fifth theatre show I’ve made and it’s definitely my favourite,” says Osborne. “That’s because I never planned to write about something as personal as dementia, and I’d never written about such a big topic before, which I felt was intimidating and other writers would do it.
“But I was faced with this dilemma when my friend’s father was
diagnosed with dementia a couple of years ago. It was a really interesting
thing to observe, because though it was horrible and terrifying and sad, it was
also beautiful and magical with special moments.
“It felt like such a beautiful story that I wanted to tell. Just
because you’ve been diagnosed with something, it doesn’t mean it’s the end.”
Osborne recalls the circumstances behind his friend’s
revelation. “My friend and I go to Glastonbury every summer. We started at 21
and we’ve been going for 17 years now and we never miss a year,” he says.
“So, it was one of those sweet things we like to do, but it was
at Glastonbury she told me about her father. Glastonbury is kind of where these
things do happen, when you’re spending so much time together.
“I was saying I felt I was getting too old for Glastonbury, for putting
up tents and the like, and it was then she suddenly told me about her dad’s
dementia, and I thought, ‘what’s happening to us?’. But everyone has these
stories, don’t they?”
This set in motion You’re In A Bad Way. “I started thinking
about my relationships, friendships; growing up and now not being as young as
you used to be, but also about having the luxury of growing old, and then my
friend’s father dementia diagnosis,” says Osborne. “I also found myself
thinking about how music plays an important part in our lives.”
Gradually, music and dementia joined in union as Osborne wrote
the show. “Initially, I was looking at music from my own point of view, but the
more I researched dementia, sport and music were two things that were so important
to dementia patients,” he says.
“Like hearing an old commentary from a cup final their favourite
team won. Someone who has been unresponsive to any stimulus can suddenly go back
to where they first heard that commentary.
“It’s the same with music, where they can remember the lyrics
from years ago, but can’t now remember who anyone is.”
Before he went ahead with You’re In A Bad Way, Osborne sought
his friend’s approval for him to talk about her family’s story on stage. “She
works in theatre and said she was happy if a theatre show did discuss these
things,” he recalls.
When premiering the show at last summer’s Edinburgh Fringe, Osborne
spent time at a dementia care centre in the Scottish capital to ensure he was
fully informed about the experience of caring for someone with dementia.
“I met these fantastic women at LifeCare Edinburgh, and we
talked about what they do and how they wanted to raise awareness of what they
do,” says Osborne. “We raised money at the end of every performance to give to
“It was really good to get information and stories from them and
to be able to repay them by mentioning LifeCare at each show.”
Osborne says that every time he performs You’re In A Bad Way, he
learns new things about dementia. For example, the feeling of isolation when confronted
by loved one falling into the black hole
of dementia. “If you’ve got a parent with dementia, it can be very hard to
communicate about it with your friends, as your relationship with your family
is so specific to you,” he says.
“In the case of my friend, her response was to drop everything to
support her father, whereas her sister couldn’t deal with it at all and wasn’t
there for him. She ran away from it.
“But whatever your reaction, there are thousands of reasons for
why people do what they do in those circumstances.
“That’s why I wanted to do my research and not be out of my
comfort zone when people tell me their own stories at the shows. I’ve met
people who have stayed and supported; I’ve met people who ran away.”
forward to Thursday’s Pock performance, what tone can the audience expect? “As
it’s such a big topic, I’ve tried to make the show funny and life affirming and
relatable,” says Osborne.
want it to be sad or serious; I think it’s important for it to be a good story
to someone who has no association with dementia, as well as being sensitive to
those who live surrounded by the illness.”
Osborne is busy writing his next show for this summer’s
Edinburgh Fringe. “After two serious shows, You’re In A Bad Way, and before
that, Circled In The Radio Times, which was also about getting older, I
thought, ‘I really want to write something fun’,” he says, introducing My Car
“I’d had my first car for years, but it broke down. I did my John
Peel’s Shed tour in it, and that’s partly why it broke down, when a little
Fiesta isn’t meant to do that many miles, with a box of records in the back.
“So, I got the cheapest replacement car possible, with no
electric windows, no CD player, but it’s got a tape player. Suddenly I was
re-united with the tapes I made when I was 16, when I would have had no reason
to listen to them again otherwise.
“That’s set me off writing about being forced to re-visit your
past.” Hopefully, the resulting show will make its way to Pocklington
In the meantime, tickets for Thursday’s 7.30pm performance of You’re In A Bad Way are on sale at £10 on 01759 301547 or at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk or £12 on the door, with a special price of £9 for a carer of someone with dementia.
QUICK question. Did you see Chip Shop Chips, Box Of Tricks Theatre Company’s show at Pocklington Arts Centre last year?
presumably you will want know when they will be returning to Pock and what in?
are Friday, March 20 in The Last Quiz Night On Earth, an immersive, innovative
new play by Alison Carr for theatre devotees and pub quiz enthusiasts alike, who
are promised “a very different experience of live performance”, set in a pub.
In the Box
Of Tricks locker already are the award-winning Manchester company’s shows
SparkPlug, Narvik and Under Three Moons. Now they follow two sold-out
tours of Chip Shop Chips with Carr’s pre-apocalyptic comedy, The Last Quiz
Night On Earth, as an asteroid heads to Earth in a tour that also visits the
Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, for performances in the bar on March 24
question. What happens? “It’s the final countdown. Landlady Kathy invites
audiences to the last quiz night on earth with Quizmaster Rav. He is the host
with the most,” say Box Of Tricks, an associate company at the SJT, by the way.
time ticking, some unexpected guests turn up out of the blue. Bobby wants to
settle old scores and Fran wants one last shot at love. Expect the
unexpected to the bitter end and plenty of drama as the show gets quizzical.”
Tyrrell-Pinder directs the play, with design by Katie Scott. Pub landlady Kathy
will be played by Meriel Scholfield, who has appeared in Coronation Street,
Last Tango In Halifax, Holby City and Doctors, while Shaban Dar will take the
role of pre-apocalyptic Quizmaster Rav.
Alison Carr’s past works include Caterpillar and Iris; her latest play,
Tuesday, has been commissioned for the National Theatre’s 2020 Connections
programme, to be performed by 40 groups from across the country. The Last Quiz Night On Earth is her first
for Box Of Tricks.
question. Why did she write The Last Quiz Night On Earth? “I started two other ideas
before this one but they wouldn’t take hold. The idea of a quiz night kept
popping into my head but I’d dismiss it because I was worried it’d been done
too often before.
I kept plugging away and overcomplicating things, until eventually I thought ‘okay,
lean into it – a quiz night and what? A quiz night AND the world is about to
end. It all opened up from there and a quiz night became the only way to tell
brings so much to explore like togetherness and community, camaraderie, competitiveness.
Throw into the mix an asteroid heading straight for us, and the stakes get
higher. It’s the final chance to say the unsaid, heal rifts, get the last word,
make peace with regrets or try to do something about them.”
wanted to combine the known and the unknown, the safe and the downright terrifying. “My
vision was to create something that audiences don’t just sit and watch but are
part of – but not in a scary way,” she says.
“Personally, the thought of audience participation makes me feel
sick, but a quiz is something we can all do, whether we’re a general knowledge
expert or the neatest so we can do the writing.”
Comparing The Last Quiz Night On Earth with her past work,
Alison says: “There
are elements there like a fractious sibling relationship, and having something
quite extreme or unexpected going on.
“But, overall, it’s quite a departure, especially the characters’ interaction with the audience. My jumping- off point was to write something fun. A play about an imminent apocalypse might not sound like larks and giggles, but around the time I got the call, I’d been researching a lot of serious, dark material for other plays I was writing.
takes its toll. So, when Hannah got in touch, my first thoughts were ‘yes
please’ and ‘for my own well-being, it’s got to be fun’. Plus, I always want to
be challenging myself, not trotting out the same-old, same-old. And just like
‘dark’ doesn’t mean humourless or hard-going, ‘fun’ certainly doesn’t equal
something fluffy or meaningless. It is the end of the world, after all.”
names Victoria Wood as her biggest inspiration. “She was, is, and always will be,”
she says. “Her voice is so distinctive and so northern. She’s why I tried
writing anything in the first place. She brought joy to so many and achieved so
much, she was a grafter.
always try and see any Edward Albee or Tennessee Williams plays I can: they’re
so big and fearless. Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen Of Leenane is one of my
favourite plays. Lee Hall, Bryony Lavery, Zinnie Harris. I recently saw and
read some Annie Baker plays and I’m in awe of her.
said all that, I’m not so much a fan of particular playwrights as I am plays
and theatre in general. I try and see as much theatre as I can in the North
East and beyond.”
question, Alison, why should the good people of Pocklington and Scarborough seeThe Last Quiz Night On Earth? “Well,
there’s a quiz – a real one. Real questions, real teams, real swapping of answer
sheets to mark,” she says. “You don’t have to be good at quizzes (I’m not) or,
if you are, great, come and show off.
you’re not trying to remember which British city hosted the 1970 Commonwealth
Games, there’s a story unfolding around you about family and regrets and last
chances. About making your mark, about grabbing the bull by the horns and not
waiting until it’s too late to say ‘I love you’ or ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘I’ve never
liked that colour on you’.
wouldn’t want anyone other than Box of Tricks making The Last Quiz Night On
Earth. Their work is never pretentious or intimidating, it’s welcoming and warm
and a good night out. What better way to meet our fiery demise?”
Box Of Tricks present The Last Quiz Night On Earth, Pocklington Arts Centre, March 20, 7.30pm, and Stephen Joseph Theatre bar, Scarborough, March 24, 1.30pm (Dementia Friendly performance) and 7.30pm; March 25, 7.30pm. Box office: Pocklington, 01759 301547 or at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk; Scarborough, 01723 370541 or sjt.uk.com.
QUICK question. Did you see Chip Shop
Chips, Box Of Tricks Theatre Company’s show at Pocklington Arts Centre last
Yes? So, presumably you will want know
when they will be returning to Pock and what in?
The answers are Friday, March 20 in The Last Quiz Night On Earth, an immersive, innovative new play by Alison Carr for theatre devotees and pub quiz enthusiasts alike, who are promised “a very different experience of live performance”.
PAC director Janet Farmer says: “The last time Box Of Tricks visited here, they wowed and wholly entertained us with Chip Shop Chips, an immersive theatre experience that our audiences still talk about.
“So, we can’t wait to welcome them back to the venue with their brand new show. It looks set to be an absolute blast!”
In the Box Of Tricks locker already are the award-winning Manchester company’s shows SparkPlug, Narvik and Under Three Moons. Now they follow two sold-out tours of Chip Shop Chips with Carr’s pre-apocalyptic comedy, The Last Quiz Night On Earth.
question. What happens? “It’s the
final countdown. Landlady Kathy invites audiences to the last quiz night on
earth with Quizmaster Rav. He is the host with the most,” say Box Of Tricks.
“But with time ticking, some unexpected guests turn up out of the blue. Bobby wants to settle old scores and Fran wants one last shot at love. Expect the unexpected to the bitter end and plenty of drama as the show gets quizzical.”
Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder directs the play, with design by Katie Scott. Pub landlady Kathy will be played by Meriel Scholfield, who has appeared in Coronation Street, Last Tango In Halifax, Holby City and Doctors, while Shaban Dar will take the role of pre-apocalyptic Quizmaster Rav.
Playwright Alison Carr’s past works
include Caterpillar and Iris; her latest play, Tuesday, has been commissioned
for the National Theatre’s 2020 Connections programme.
Why did she write The Last
Quiz Night On Earth? “I wanted to combine the known and the unknown, the safe
and the downright terrifying,” she answers.
“My vision was to create something that
audiences don’t just sit and watch but are part of – but not in a scary
“Personally, the thought of audience
participation makes me feel sick, but a quiz is something we can all do, whether
we’re a general knowledge expert or the neatest so we can do the writing.”
was “so much
fun to research and write,” she says. “I have to admit, I know a lot about
asteroids now, and the answers to a fair amount of quiz questions. I’m so
excited to have Box Of Tricks bring it to life and to share it with audiences.”
Director Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder adds:
“I’m really excited to be working with Alison Carr on her first play for Box Of
“Alison is a writer of real talent,
crafting plays of depth, wit and real emotional warmth. The Last Quiz Night On
Earth is a unique piece: a pre-apocalyptic comedy bringing people together
through the power of trivia for a great night out.
“Following our success touring Chip
Shop Chips to the heart of communities, I’m really looking forward to
revisiting some wonderful places and spaces as well as discovering new
locations with this play.”
Last questions. Pocklington show time? 7.30pm. Ticket price? £12.50, under 21s, £10, and Friends Rates. Box office number? 01759 301547. Online? pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.
LIVERPOOL singer-songwriter Robert Vincent will
showcase his new album In This Town You’re Owned at Pocklington Arts Centre on
February 7, one week before its release on Thirty Tigers.
For this return visit, he will be accompanied on
stage by PAC favourites The Buffalo Skinners in his 8pm set.
“My last visit to Pocklington Arts Centre, supporting
Beth Nielsen Chapman, was such a great night with a lovely music-loving crowd.
So, I’m looking forward to being back and playing for the lovely folk of
Pocklington,” he says.
Vincent has been hailed by veteran BBC presenter “Whispering”
Bob Harris as “the real deal” for his Americana music. On seeing him play in
the Bluebird Café at the Bluecoat, Liverpool’s centre
for the contemporary arts, the legendary broadcaster immediately invited him,
to record an Under The Apple Tree Session in his home studio for his BBC
Radio 2 country show, describing his performance as “absolutely magnetic”.
duly received the inaugural Emerging Artist Award from Harris in
2016 and the UK Americana Music Association’s UK Album of The Year in
2018 for 2017’s sophomore work I’ll Make The Most Of My Sins, recorded in his
hometown and mixed in Nashville by Grammy Award-winning producer Ray
debut, Life In Easy Steps, drew BBC airplay for its title track on Janice Long
and Radcliffe & Maconie’s shows.
since toured the UK supporting Paul Carrack, James Blunt and Squeeze and The
Pretenders at the Royal Albert Hall. Last spring, he opened for Beth Nielsen Chapman
on her Hearts Of Glass tour, including the aforementioned Pocklington show.
summer, Vincent was on the supporting bill for his hero, Pink Floyd’s Roger
Waters, in Hyde Park at British Summer Time and joined
“the Titan of Twang”, guitarist Duane Eddy, across the UK on his
80th birthday tour.
Now comes third album In This Town You’re
Owned, produced by BRIT Award-winning Ethan Johns.
Tickets for Vincent’s Pock gig are on sale at £13.50 on 01759 301547 or at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk. Vincent has further Yorkshire gigs coming up at The Greystones, Sheffield, on March 25, and Leeds Lending Room the next night.
POCKLINGTON Arts Centre
has snapped up The Felice Brothers for a summer gig after director Janet Farmer
saw the Americana band at Willie Nelson’s ranch.
Brothers Ian and James Felice
and their friends, drummer Will Lawrence and bass player Jesske Hume, have crossed the Big Pond this month for a winter tour that visits
Leeds Brudenell Social Club on Monday.
They will return to these
shores for more dates in a summer of American and European gigs, among them
Pocklington Arts Centre on June 23.
A delighted Janet Farmer
says: “I was privileged to see them at Luck Reunion, held at Willie Nelson’s
ranch, and can highly recommend their unique brand of American folk rock. Expect
a raucous and energetic performance that will be something to truly treasure.
“Tickets for this show will sell fast, so I would encourage you to
get yours soon or risk missing out on what will be a sublime show.”
Ian and James Felice
grew up in the Hudson valley of upstate New York. Self-taught musicians,
inspired as much by Hart Crane and Slim Whitman as by Woody Guthrie and Chuck
Berry, they began in 2006 by playing subway platforms and sidewalks in New York
They have gone on to release nine albums of original songs,
drawing comparison with Neil Young and Bob Dylan for their song-writing and
lawless sound. Last year they returned from a three-year hiatus with Undress,
whose songs will be complemented by a selection from their back catalogue on June
Tickets for their 8pm Pock gig cost £20 on 01759 301547 or at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.
Did you know?
The Felice Brothers served
as the backing band for Conor Oberst’s 2017 album Salutations and subsequent tour.
STORYTELLER, poet and BBC Radio 4 regular John
Osborne returns to Pocklington Arts Centre on February 13 to present his
beautiful, funny and uplifting new show about music and dementia.
Last March, he performed a double bill of John Peel’s
Shed and Circled In The Radio Times in Pocklington. Now, inspired by seeing a
friend’s father face a dementia diagnosis and the warmth, positivity and
unexpected twists and turns the family went through, he has put together You’re
In A Bad Way.
“This is the fifth theatre show I’ve made and it’s
definitely my favourite,” says Osborne. “I loved performing it every day
at the Edinburgh Fringe last summer, and I’m really excited to be taking it on
“For the past few years, I’ve made storytelling
theatre shows that are funny, true stories of things that I feel are important
to people. This one is a story about what happened to my friend’s dad when
he was diagnosed with dementia a couple of years ago.”
Osborne continues: “It was a really interesting
thing to observe, because although it was horrific and terrifying and sad,
there was so much warmth and positivity and unexpected twists and turns.
“As soon as I started writing the show, it came
together so beautifully and audience members who have had their own personal
experiences of caring for people with dementia have been incredibly positive
about the show having been to see it.”
Osborne spent time at a dementia care centre in
Edinburgh to ensure he was fully informed about the experience of caring for
someone with dementia.
planned to write about something as personal as dementia, and have never
written about a big topic before, but this felt like such a beautiful story
that I wanted to tell,” he explains. “Just because you’ve been diagnosed with something, it doesn’t mean it’s
“The things we know about dementia
are so sad, but within that there are some special moments. Every time I
perform the show, I feel like I learn new things about dementia.”
Describing the tone of You’re In A Bad Way, Osborne
says: “As it’s such a big topic, I’ve tried to make the show funny and life
affirming and relatable.
“I don’t want it to be sad or serious; I think it’s
important for it to be a good story to someone who has no association with
dementia, as well as being sensitive to those who live surrounded by the
Pocklington Arts Centre director Janet Farmer says:
“I was fortunate to see this show at the Edinburgh Fringe last August and
thought it was just so beautifully written and truly uplifting, I knew we had
to bring it to Pocklington. It tackles a tough topic with such humour and
warmth, it really is a must-see.”
Tickets cost £10 on 01759 301547 or at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk or £12 on the door, with a special price of £9 for a carer of someone with dementia.
ANYTHING but plain John Smith, “the
future of folk music”, will play Pocklington Arts Centre on May 21, fresh from a
string of Australian dates.
Raised by the Devon seaside, guitarist,
singer and songwriter Smith cut his folk teeth in the bars and clubs of
Liverpool and has since released six albums, attracted 23 million Spotify
streams and played to audiences in living rooms, festival tents and concert
halls the world over.
Steeped in the lineage of British folk, taking his
cue from Richard Thompson and John Martyn in particular, Smith has evolved an
innovative transatlantic blend of fingerstyle and slide guitar techniques to
frame his songs of love, loss and the journeys we make.
On stage, Smith has opened for Iron and Wine,
Tinariwen and Ben Howard and guested with Jackson Browne, Martin Carthy,
Richard Hawley, Jarvis Cocker, Jerry Douglas, Glen Hansard and Rodney Crowell.
In his occasional role as sideman, he
has played guitar for David Gray, Lisa Hannigan, Lianne La Havas, Joe Henry and
Welcoming Smith to Pocklington Arts
Centre, director Janet Farmer says: “With his honey-on-gravel voice and mesmerising
blend of fingerstyle and slide guitar techniques, John is without doubt the
perfect addition to our live music programme for 2020.
“He has quickly amassed a huge following
of loyal fans and has opened for folk greats John Martyn, Davy Graham and John
Renbourn, who described him as ‘the future of folk music’, and now we have the
privilege of welcoming him to our stage.”
Smith has made six albums across 12
years: The Fox And The Monk in 2006; Map Or Direction in 2009; Eavesdropping in
2011; Great Lakes in 2013; Headlong in 2017 and Hummingbird in 2018. Last year came two
October singles, Burden Of The Road and Killing The Blues.
Tickets for his 8pm Pocklington gig are on sale at £15 on 01759 301547 or at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.