Magic in the air as Malton’s Milton Rooms reopens with Mandy Muden on the cards

Mandy Muden: Magic and comedy

EXCITEMENT is on the rise at the Milton Rooms, Malton, as the prospect of reopening under the Government’s lockdown-loosening roadmap moves closer to fruition.

A varied programme will be on offer for the second half of next month, should all go to plan for the lights to go up once more with Covid-secure measures in place from May 17. Tickets for four events are on sale now at the miltonrooms.com.

In the diary are gigs for fans of rock, pop and indie, plus a healthy dollop of the blues, a talk on the secret messages hidden in flowers in Victorian times and even a magic-meets-comedy show by a Britain’s Got Talent star.

Starting the ball rolling on May 21 will be Martin Gough’s One Man Rock concert, showcasing rock, pop and indie music by artists from the Sixties to the present day.

On May 23, the Dickens Society will take a light-hearted look at the meaning of flowers and how the Victorians loved sending secret messages in a well-chosen bouquet – and how certain flower messages applied to some of author Charles Dickens’s favourite characters. 

Martin Gough: First show at reopened Milton Rooms

Another change of pace will follow on May 27 with the return of the Ryedale Blues Club, presenting Dr Bob & The Bluesmakers.

Mandy Muden Magic will roll into town on May 29, when the 2018 Britain’s Got Talent contestant will stage a new show full of wit, magic tricks and mind-reading.

Onwards into the next month, Fifi La Mer will present A Journey Into French Music from Offenbach to Gainsbourg on June 2. Acoustic covers band Taphouse Burnout are booked for June 5; the Hilarity Bites Comedy Club, with Nick Doody and Karen Bayley, June 11; Kick In The Head’s “Downton Abbey with gardening tips” show, Old Herbaceous, on June 20, and Ryedale Blues Club, hosting the James Oliver Band, June 24.

Venue manager Lisa Rich says: “We’ve been working hard behind the scenes renovating the Milton Rooms and there are exciting plans for the future. We have had our Covid-safe certificate extended by Visit England and we’re really looking forward to welcoming audiences both old and new.

‘’Initially, ticket sales for our diverse programme of events will be restricted because of Covid regulations, so people are advised to book early to avoid disappointment.’’

Milton Rooms to reopen with four May events as Scott Garnham becomes patron

Scott Garnham, the new Milton Rooms patron, pictured when playing the lead in Nativity in the West End, alongside the show’s “secret Santa”, Queen guitarist Brian May, no less

THE Milton Rooms is counting down the days until it can reopen its Malton doors with four events lined up to kick-start the May reawakening.

First up, Yorkshire singer and guitarist Martin Gough returns with his One Man Rock Show on May 21; next, the Dickens Society presents Dickens And The Language Of Flowers, a fascinating talk looking at the meaning of flowers and how the Victorians loved sending secret messages in a well-chosen bouquet, on May 23. 

Ryedale Blues Club resumes blues service with District Blues, a mix of Americana and rockabilly, on May 27, and 2018 Britain’s Got Talent star Mandy Muden brings her magic, cabaret and stand-up comedy to Malton on May 29.

The Market Place arts and community venue has a new patron, the award-winning Ryedale actor, singer and theatrical producer Scott Garnham, a local lad who first appeared at the Milton Rooms in 1995 in a Ryedale Youth Theatre production of The Boyfriend, aged ten.

As well as many annual Ryedale Youth Theatre productions, Scott appeared in multiple pantomimes at the Milton Rooms. He started in Little Red Riding Hood, then played Baby Bear in Goldilocks and the Three Bears. In his teens, he was either the comedy double act or village idiot in Dick Whittington, Aladdin, Goody Two Shoes and Jack And The Beanstalk and shined as Buttons in Cinderella.

After graduating from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, in Glasgow, he has carved out a career in the West End, notching up credits in Billy Elliot The Musical, Les Miserables and Made In Dagenham, as well as in Matt Lucas’s Pompidou for the BBC. He has created the international vocal group The Barricade Boys too, playing the Grand Opera House in York in March 2018.

“I will forever owe a huge debt to the Milton Rooms and the people who work so tirelessly to ensure this wonderful community building is still a key part of Malton and the surrounding area,” says Scott. 

‘’It was my first experience of ‘theatre’, being lucky enough to perform with a diverse group of ages, cultures and life experiences. I enjoyed dancing with friends at their many discos and found gifts attending art and craft fairs. 

‘’I feel lucky to have grown up where a community building, such as the Milton Rooms, played such a vital and important role in mine and many other people’s lives. Long may it continue.’’

The Milton Rooms’ Covid-safe accreditation has been extended for 2021 by UK tourism body Visit Britain. Under the Government’s roadmap out of Coronavirus lockdown, indoor entertainment venues are expected to be allowed to reopen after May 17 with Covid-secure restrictions in place.

Venue manager Lisa Rich says: “We’re delighted to have someone like Scott on board and we’re really excited at the prospect of being able to open again in a limited way in May and hopefully fully reopening if all restrictions are removed in June.’’

Tickets for all four events can be booked at: themiltonrooms.com/events/

Malton’s Milton Rooms to reopen this month with a dose of the blues and a boat

Giles Shenton: Back on terra firma when he performs Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men In A Boat at the Milton Rooms in Malton

THE Milton Rooms in Malton will reopen this month for its first events since lockdown began in March.

Ryedale Blues Club will host the first musical event with York’s DC Blues Band and special guest Nick Steed on September 24 at 8pm, followed by Kick In The Head’s production of Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat on September 27 at 2.30pm.

Venue manager Lisa Rich says: “The whole team is very much looking forward to opening our doors to audiences later this month.

“It has been a long, arduous seven months for everyone, so we hope that the return of live entertainment in Malton will go some way to putting a smile on people’s faces.”

Social distancing measures will be in place for both events and plans have also been developed for anyone who wants to hire the venue.

Winn-win situation: Paul Winn will lead DC Blues Band in the Milton Rooms’ first concert since the March lockdown

“The Milton Rooms team is working hard to ensure that everything is as safe as possible,” says Lisa. “Risk assessments are in place and the venue has achieved the Visit Britain ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry standard.  

“Like every business in Ryedale, we will be following strict health and safety guidelines for anyone visiting the Milton Rooms, be they a volunteer, audience member or someone who has hired the building.

“That will obviously mean restricting the number of people who can attend an event. However, we are lucky in that the main hall is large enough to accommodate up to 100 people safely with ample social distancing.” Under those social-distancing measures, tables will range from two people up to groups of six.

Lisa was appointed venue manager of the Milton Rooms at the end of February, only to be faced almost immediately with the lockdown and the cancellation of a glut of events planned for 2020.

An urgent Go Fund Me appeal was launched in April to help to safeguard the Market Place community centre’s future and has raised £2,500 so far.

A barrel of fun: Giles Shenton raises a glass to the return of theatre at the Milton Rooms in Three Men In A Boat on September 27

“It has been probably the most difficult year ever for the Milton Rooms and personally very frustrating as I was appointed just as the country closed down,” says Lisa.

“However, we have been busy behind the scenes preparing for reopening and exploring how the venue can be utilised by our whole community. Luckily, we have had amazing support from the public, who obviously value our lovely arts centre and want it to continue for future generations. We are very grateful to each and every one of them.”

In the first concert on September 24, Ryedale Blues Club founder Paul Winn leads DC Blues Band, who hail from “the mighty Ouse Delta in York” and have been playing their own take on the blues with original material and selected covers since 2012, opening for such acts as Dr Feelgood, King King, Sari Schorr and Marcus Bonfanti. Doors will open at 7.30pm; tickets cost £7.50.

Kick In The Head return to the Milton Rooms on September 27 to present Three Men In A Boat, a “rip-roaring barrel of fun” with Giles Shenton playing the part of writer Jerome K Jerome in this 95-minute one-man/Three Men show.

Shenton, who previously starred in Old Herbaceous, will take the helm for this delightfully ridiculous tale of men behaving badly while messing about in boats. He invites you to “join Jerome as he recounts the hilarious story of his boating holiday along the magnificent River Thames with his two companions, George and Harris, and Montmorency the dog. Come and join in the fun.” Doors will open at 2pm; tickets cost £15.

For general enquiries, social distancing details and to hire the venue, email info@themiltonrooms.com or call 01653 696240. For online tickets, go to www.ticketsource.co.uk/themiltonrooms

To donate to the Go Fund Me appeal, visit www.gofundme.com/f/milton-rooms-covid-19-appeal