FROM Carole King’s beautiful songs to Velma Celli’s pop queens, an artistic family to a poet’s biscuits, Charles Hutchinson adds to the September sunshine as cause for heading out and about.
Musical of the week: York Stage in Beautiful, The Carole King Musical, Grand Opera House, York, Friday to September 23
YORK, are you ready to feel the Earth move, asks director Nik Briggs, ahead of the York premiere of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. “This show has taken the world by storm, and for good reason, with its inspiring story of Carole King, a woman who rose to fame in the music industry during a time when female songwriters were few and far between”.
Singer, actress and pianist Grace Lancaster takes the lead role in this celebration of perseverance, passion and the power of music to unite. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Treasured songwriter of the week: Badly Drawn Boy, The Crescent, York, Monday, 7.30pm
DAMON Gough is undertaking his Something To Tour About: 25 Years Of Badly Drawn Boy tour, playing a sold-out standing show in York with Liam Frost in support.
Chorlton singer, songwriter, guitarist and piano player Gough, who released Banana Skin Shoes as his first studio album in ten years in May 2020, first made his mark with the Mercury Prize-winning The Hour Of Bewilderbeast in 2000. Eight albums on, he has plenty to tour about.
Comedy gig of the week: Rosie Jones: Triple Threat, Leeds City Varieties Music Hall, Wednesday, 8pm; York Theatre Royal, Thursday, 8pm
COMEDIAN Rosie Jones’s show is guaranteed to be full of unapologetic cheekiness, nonsensical fun and unadulterated joy from the triple threat herself.
Theatre@41 honorary patron Rosie has hosted Channel 4’s travel series Rosie Jones’ Trip Hazard and Mission: Accessible and made numerous appearances on The Last Leg, 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Hypothetical, Mock The Week, The Ranganation and Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back. Box office: Leeds, 0113 243 0808 or leedsheritagetheatres.com; York, 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Fundraiser of the week: Big Ian Presents A Night To Remember, York Barbican, Thursday, 7.30pm
HUGE frontman Big Ian Donaghy hosts his annual charity fundraiser as George Hall leads a 20-piece All Star House Band with a 12-strong brass section in a night of cover versions of Kate Bush, Bill Withers, Take That, Fleetwood Mac, Tina Turner, Queen, Wham!, Elvis and more.
Taking part will be Jessica Steel, Heather Findlay, Beth McCarthy, Graham Hodge, The Y Street Band, Boss Caine, Gary Stewart, Simon Snaize, Annie Donaghy, Kieran O’Malley, Las Vegas Ken, the Huge Brass Boys, Hands & Voices, musicians from York Music Forum and Jessa Liversidge’s fully inclusive group Singing For All. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Poet of the week: John Hegley: Biscuit Of Destiny, At The Mill, Stillington, near York, Friday, 7.30pm
POET John Hegley, star of radio, television and school assemblies, heads north with a clutch of new verses, a few older favourites and a cardboard camel with a moving jaw.
The biscuits in the show derive Romantic poet John Keats’s phrase: “a scarcity of buiscuit”. Not the sort of phrase nor spelling you expect from a Romantic poet, notes Hegley, who delves into the more eccentric side of Keats, alongside everyday goings-on in the Hegley homes of now and yesteryear. Expect drawings of elephants, myths, discos, daleks, optional community singing and the search for a sense of self-worth. Box office: tickettailor.com/events/atthemill/939591.
Brit icons of the week: Velma Celli’s God Save The Queens, York Theatre Royal, Friday, 7.30pm
YORK cabaret superstar Velma Celli, the vocal drag diva alter ego of musical theatre actor Ian Stroughair, introduces her new celebration of British pop royalty.
Accompanied by Scott Phillips’s band, Velma’s night of rapturous music, risqué comedy and fabulous entertainment features the songs of Adele, Amy Winehouse, Annie Lennox, Florence Welch, Leona Lewis, The Spice Girls, Kate Bush, Shirley Bassey, Cilla Black and Bonnie Tyler, plus a tribute to Sinead O’Connor.
Festival of the week: York Chamber Music Festival, September 15 to 17
FESTIVAL artistic director and cellist Tim Lowe is joined by John Mills and Jonathan Stone, violins, Hélene Clément and Simone van der Giessen, violas, Jonathan Aasgaard, cello, Billy Cole, double bass, and British-based Russian pianist Katya Apekisheva for three days of concerts.
Highlights include Mendelssohn’s String Quartet Op. 13, Dvořák’s String Sextet, Elgar’s late Piano Quintet, Strauss’s Metamorphosen, Brahms’s Cello Sonata No. 1 and Schubert’s last Piano Sonata in B flat major. For the full programme and venues, head to: ycmf.co.uk/2023-programme. Box office: 01904 658338 or ycmf.co.uk.
Choral concert of the month: Prima Vocal Ensemble, Songs From The Heart, National Centre for Early Music, Walmgate, York, September 30, 7.30pm
ARTISTIC director and producer Ewa Salecka leads York choir Prima Vocal Ensemble in an intimate evening of contemporary classical and popular choral music with Greg Birch at the piano.
Works by Randall Thompson, René Clausen, Stephen Paulus and Elizabeth Alexander will be followed by a second half of moving and energetic arrangements of George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Freddie Mercury songs. Ahead of their 2024 New York City reunion, Prima perform a Christopher Tin number too. Box office: primavocalensemble.com.
Copyright of The Press, York
In Focus: Exhibition launch of the week
Hannah Arnup, Ben Arnup, Tobias Arnup and Vanessa Pooley, Arnup Centenary, Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, 11am today to October 30
THE Arnups, two generations of artists with roots in York, work in pottery, painting, wildlife sculpture, figurative sculpture and ceramic sculpture. The late Mick and Sally Arnup set up home and studio in Holtby in the 1960s, and three of their family, Ben, Hannah and Tobias, have followed careers in the arts.
This exhibition by the three second generation artists and Tobias’s wife, Vanessa Pooley, coincides with the centenary of their father’s birth in 1923. In recognition of their parents’ influence on their own artistic journeys, a few pieces by Mick and Sally will complement the new works.
Gallery visitors can expect to see new work by ceramist Ben Arnup, who specialises in slab-made flattened boxes and vessels that play with the viewer’s sense of form and space, alongside Hananh Arnup’s wheel-thrown bowls and plates with sgraffito decoration and Vanessa Pooley’s gently curvy female forms in ceramic and bronze. On the walls, the still life paintings by Tobias Arnup will sit alongside ceramic wall pieces by Ben and Hannah.
Ben’s intriguing Trompe L’Oeil forms are well known to collectors of ceramics and visitors to Pyramid Gallery. Formerly a landscape designer, he creates shapes that explore drawn perspective using coloured clay slab-constructed stoneware, “having fun with the way we see form”.
After studying sculpture at Kingston Art School and specialising in ceramics at Goldsmith College, London, Hannah has lived and worked for much of her adult life in Ireland where she owns and runs Ballymorris Pottery. Latterly, she has set up a new studio in the family home in Holtby near York, re- purposed as a community of artists’ studios.
Vanessa works with bronze and ceramic to create sculpture of mostly female forms with an individual and distinctive style that takes inspiration from the work of Henri Laurens and his studio assistant Balthazar Lobo, as well as Marino Marinni and the sculptures of Picasso and Matisse. Her work is to be found in collections around the world.
Tobias studied at Camberwell School of Art and went on to teach at Blackheath School of Art before a change in career to be an art therapist.
“I was helping run a course at Blackheath School of Art and I found I was more interested in the people that sat in my office at lunchtime complaining about their fellow students or about their parents or about not getting their art right or wondering what they were going to do, or who were just not really coping with life very well,” he says.
After his training, Tobias started an art therapy department at Holloway Prison, which was in existence until the women’s prison closed in 2016.
During his 35-year career, he also worked in secure units in mental health hospitals, finding that art could engage traumatised people when other methods of therapy had not.
In his art, Tobias has evolved an individual style that begins with a black outline of still life objects and flowers, drawn in ink with a goose quill. He then adds colour in gouache, filling the spaces between or on top of the black lines.
Depending on what he feels is necessary, he might add more black ink lines, or redo the original lines, then more colour and maybe finish with more black lines. This layering of lines and colour is done slowly and carefully in a process that he describes as meditative. The result is intriguing, distinctive and joyful, with pastel colours contrasting with the black outlines, that have a bold and purposeful feel mixed with occasional random unevenness.
Gallery owner Terry Brett has worked with Ben and Hannah for many years, as well as with Mick and Sally, and looks forward to his inaugural showing of paintings by Tobias and bronze and ceramic sculpture by Vanessa.
“‘For me, this is one of the most satisfying moments in my time as an exhibition curator,” he says. “Not only for the quality of the work and diversity of styles, but also because I am pleased to be representing Vanessa and Tobias for the first time.
“To be hosting the family with an exhibition that is paying respect to Mick and Sally in a collective show is a very special moment for both myself and the gallery.”
Tobias Arnup on his artistic practice
THE play between line and colour has always been central to Tobias’s work as a painter.
“Undoubtedly my main influence of this has been that of my father, Mick,” he says. “However, I still remember the impact of being taught by the wonderful art master at Pocklington School, Nigel Billington, who encouraged a proper attention to composition and to drawing, particularly with ink.
“It was hardly a surprise when I chose Camberwell School of Art, in London, as the place to study for my Fine Art degree and where I was lucky enough to teach drawing myself for a while.”
Only relatively recently has Tobias experimented more with different media. “For many years my favourite was egg tempera, which I learnt about at Camberwell and used to
mix up myself,” he says.
“Depending on how much it was diluted, tempera has both the ‘gloopy’ quality of gouache and the richness of a watercolour glaze. It was working on paper, though, that has allowed me to work more flexibly.
“Using water-soluble pencil, Indian ink, watercolour and gouache – although not necessarily in that order – I seem to be forever swinging between creating chaos and trying to excerpt some sort of order on the composition.”
He continues: “These days the chaos of my ink marks is being brought under some sort of control by the flat, mat gouache. When things get a bit too tidy, out comes the ink bottle again.
“There cannot have been many options for school teachers at the time. Mr Billington’s huge
set-ups suited me perfectly, however. They were there ready for me – a constant resource,
I realise now, that is currently replicated in my own studio.
“Although they stray into more abstract concerns, I regard all these works as still-lives. When I am a bit stuck, it’s the ink and the goose-feather quills that I turn to, although I have used up my store of Chinese geese quills that I collected up from the garden when I was young.”
Pyramid Gallery opening hours are: Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm. The displays can be viewed at pyramidgallery.com too.