More Things To Do in York and beyond. Advice? Ignore the rain. Consult Hutch’s List No. 30 for 2023, from The Press, York

Finley Butler’s Danny Zuko and Maia Beatrice’s Sandy Dumbrowski in NETheatre York’s Grease at the JoRo Theatre

GREASE is not the only word as Charles Hutchinson picks highlights aplenty for the weeks ahead, from comedy to puppetry, workshops to festivals, burlesque to blues.

Musical of the week: NETheatre York in Grease, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee

STEVE Tearle directs University of Hull theatre student Finn Butler and Cleethorpes pantomime star Maia Beatrice in the lead roles in this celebration of the 1950s in its duck-tailed, bobby-soxed, gum-snapping glory.

The American high school dream is about to explode in this coming-of-age musical with its story of hot-rodding T-Bird Danny Zuko and the sweet new girl in town, Sandy Dumbrowski, whose secret summer romance resurfaces as they unexpectedly discover they are now at the same school. Tickets update: limited availability, so prompt booking is advised on 01904 501935 or

Russell Howard: Two problem-solving shows in a day at Grand Opera House, York

Comedy gig(s) of the week: Russell Howard, Grand Opera House, York, today, 3pm and 7.30pm

COMEDIAN Russell Howard plays two shows in a day in York on his 2023 tour, the afternoon gig having sold out already. As we reel from one global crisis to the next, the host of Russell Howard’s Good News and The Russell Howard Hour will be putting the world to rights. Box office:  

The poster for this week’s Connect Festival, hosted by Four Wheel Drive

Children’s activity of the weekend: Play In A Day with Four Wheel Drive, Connect Festival, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, tomorrow, 10am

AIMED at ten to 14-year-olds, this action-packed, fast-paced, fun session will create a play based on a classic text in only four hours, guided ​​by Connect Festival organisers Four Wheel Drive’s Educate creative team.Participants will showcase their work in the black-box theatre in front of an audience of family and friends at 4pm. Tickets:

The Outside In plant studio owner Alice Maynard, who will lead tomorrow’s workshop at the Connect Festival

Workshop of the week: Build A Mini Terrarium With The Outside In, Connect Festival, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, tomorrow, 12.30pm

YORK plant studio The Outside In hosts a step-by-step guide to creating a sustainable miniature garden world, using tropical plants, mosses and decorative stones to bring the landscape to life.

The key words to describe Alice Maynard’s Sunday session are sustainability, mindfulness, creativity, relaxation and insightfulness as adults and children aged seven and over learn the history of terrariums. Each participant will be provided with a mystery mini-figure to help tell a story. Tickets:

Lempen Puppet Theatre Company in Flotsam & Jetsam, on tour in Pocklington

Family show of the week: Lempen Puppet Theatre Company in Flotsam & Jetsam, Pocklington Arts Centre, Thursday, 2.30pm

FLOTSAM is soft, flexible, laid back. She slides and glides through life on the ice. Jetsam is the opposite, his insectile body is stiff and nervy, alert and watchful, suspicious of all in his forest home. Both are cast adrift in a world that is strange to them and full of danger.

Finally washed up on the same island beach, these two very different creatures must discover the other and work together in a hope-filled adventure story, told with original music and puppetry, for four-year-olds upwards. Box office: 01759 301547 or

Public Service Broadcasting: Saturday headliners at next week’s Deer Shed Festival

Festival of the week: Deer Shed Festival, Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, July 28 to 31

THE Comet Is Coming, Public Service Broadcasting and The Delgados take the music headline slots at Deer Shed 2023. Keep an eye out for Gaz Coombes, The Big Moon, This Is The Kit, Dream Wife, Gwenno, James Yorkston & Nina Persson, Rozi Plain, Elanor Moss and a DJ set by snooker legend Steve Davis & Kavus Torabi.

A science tent with AI album covers, comedy, sports, spoken word and literary events, workshops, theatre, cinema and well being all play their part in the four days too. For ticket availability, head to:

Lily Monarch rules in the poster artwork for A Little Bit Of Everything at The Crescent

Could we interest you in…A Little Bit Of Everything? On show at The Crescent, York, next Saturday, 7.45pm to 11pm

IN a night of drag, cabaret, burlesque and comedy, Lily Monarch is joined by The Family Shambles and the crown jewels of York’s drag scene. Look out for Bodie Snatcher, Bailey Bubbles, Lois Carmen, Denominator, Wilhelmina Rose, Robynne Ryske, Luna Hex, Dick Fran Dyke, MX Fish Fingers, Tommy Boi, Reese Wetherspoon and York’s drag king boy band Boyz 2 Kings. Box office:

The poster for Cafe Mambo Ibiza Classics In The City at York Barbican

House moves: Cafe Mambo Ibiza Classics In The City: A Night Of Timeless House Music, York Barbican, August 5, 8pm

AFTER two sell-out shows, iconic house music brand Cafe Mambo Ibiza completes a hattrick of York Barbican nights with Classics In The City, showcasing influential floor fillers from three decades, from CeCe Peniston’s Finally to Derrick May’s Strings Of Life.

On the decks will be Paul Oakenfold, Judge Jules, Danny Rampling and Erik Hagleton, complemented by live performances from Julie McKnight and Shingai. Box office:

Star Stone: Starring in #MeToo, her one-woman comedy show, at Theatre@41, Monkgate

Fringe politics: Star Stone in #MeToo, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, August 3, 7.30pm

AMERICAN writer, actress, producer and playwright Star Stone presents her one-woman educational comedy #MeToo in York ahead of her Edinburgh Fringe debut next month.

“Sex cults with fake feminism, Pretend Shamans, Burning Man and Lower East Side nightclub ‘photographers’” all make an appearance in a hour-long show with 20-plus characters. Box office:

On the road to the patio: Jess Gardham heads for York Theatre Royal

Moody blues: Jess Gardham, York Theatre Royal patio, August 4, 6pm

YORK singer, songwriter and musical theatre actress Jess Gardham plays outdoors in an evening performance on the revamped Theatre Royal patio.

Jess has played on BBC Introducing, supported Paul Carrack, KT Tunstall, The Shires and Martin Simpson and starred in principal roles in Hairspray The Musical, Ghost The Musical and Rock Of Ages. Box office: 01904 623568 or

Slam champ, maths ace and poet Harry Baker is Unashamed to be back on the road. York and Leeds await next February

Stand up, comedian: Slam champ, poet, maths graduate, comic, writer and TED talker Harry Bakes takes to the water. Back on dry land, he plays York and Leeds next February

WORLD Poetry Slam champion Harry Baker is taking to the road for his second nationwide solo tour with his new show Unashamed, visiting The Crescent in York on February 8 2023.

After his first tour was extended three times by a combination of popular demand and a global pandemic, followed by asell-out Edinburgh Fringe run for his new show, poet, mathematician, stand-up comedian and writer Baker is undertaking a 31-date tour from September 28 to February 16. Further dates include Left Bank, Leeds, on February 9, with tickets on sale at 

Baker’s bursts of poetry and comedy had been watched by millions online and had allowed him to perform all over the world, until suddenly Covid said No. His knee-jerk reaction was to put out heartfelt poems about missing hugs and to record a German pop music video in his local abandoned playground.

After reviewing loo seats online and writing falafel-based ‘diss’ tracks for radio presenter Chris Evans, he is returning to the stage in his most honest, playful, unashamedly Harry Baker show yet. 

Lift-off: Harry Baker likes to write about “important stuff such as hope”

“At its heart, my work is all about connecting with people, whether it’s making them laugh, making them cry, or making them think ‘Hey, I didn’t think I liked poetry but this is actually pretty good’,” says Harry, who “writes about important stuff such as hope, dinosaurs and German falafel-spoons”.

“While I tried to make the best of performing online during various lockdowns, there’s only so many clap emojis you can take on Instagram live before you realise it’s not quite the same. “I’m thrilled to be back doing what I love – poems – in the places I love with the people I love (your delightful readers, who will come along after reading this).”

Summing up Unashamed, Baker says: “The show is a celebration of playfulness, the power of creativity to keep you going when your whole world falls apart, and how, if we are brave enough to be vulnerable with one another, we can build ourselves back to our best unashamed versions of ourselves.” 

Since Baker became the youngest-ever World Poetry Slam champion in 2012, the past ten years have seen him perform worldwide, from a sold-out Dubai Opera House alongside Simon Armitage and Carol Ann Duffy, to becoming a festival favourite at Glastonbury, Latitude and Bestival.

Sitting on the duck of the bay? Not quite, but give Harry Baker poetic licence

Rising to the top of the British rap battle scene, he has become a regular contributor to BBC Radio 2’s Pause For Thought, while his work has been shared on, seen by ten million people and translated into more than 20 different languages.

He has toured the UK and featured on The Russell Howard Hour as one half of the comedy-rap-jazz duo Harry and Chris (with songwriter Chris Read) and has appeared on the BAFTA-winning Sky TV show Life And Rhymesalongside Benjamin Zephaniah.

The 2022-2023 tour is accompanied by the release of Baker’s second poetry collection, also called Unashamed. Published by Burning Eye on October 6, it comprises poems from his latest show and the previous I Am 10,000, his celebration of the crossover between mathematics and poetry that toured the UK over three years, culminating in a run at Soho Theatre in March 2022. 

Publisher Clive Birnie says: “We are thrilled to have Harry back with a new book. We are celebrating ten years of publishing this year and having our top-selling author back with a new title is the perfect way to crown ten years in business. We expect this one to outsell Harry’s first book, The Sunshine Kid.” Copies are on sale at gigs, all good bookshops and via

Harry Baker’s York gig will be presented by spoken-word musketeers Say Owt; doors open at 7.30pm; box office: or

Comedian Russell Howard to play Grand Opera House, York, at the double next May

In the good news: Russell Howard announces a brace of York gigs for next spring

COMEDIAN Russell Howard will perform two shows in one day at the Grand Opera House, York, on his Live 2023 UK Tour.

As we reel from one global crisis to the next, the TV host of Russell Howard’s Good News and The Russell Howard Hour will put the world to rights in his observant, questioning way at 3pm and 7.30pm on Saturday, May 23.

Bath-born Howard, 42, who made appearances on the now-departed Mock The Week, cites Lee Evans, Richard Pryor and Frank Skinner as comic influences.

Tickets are on sale at £31.75 on 0844 871 7615 or