Red Ladder mark 40th anniversary of Miners’ Strike with Women Against Pit Closures comedy We’re Not Going Back

Victoria Brazier, left, Stacey Sampson and Claire O’Connor in We’re Not Gouing Back at Selby Town Hall. Picture: Lian Furness

IN the former pit town of Selby, radical Leeds troupe Red Ladder Theatre Company conclude Selby Town Hall’s spring & summer season tonight with a reboot of Boff Whalley’s We’re Not Going Back, marking the 40th anniversary of the 1984/85 Miners’ Strike.

Created by Chumbawamba founder Whalley and supported by Unite the Union, this musical comedy is set in the midst of the strike, but no miners are featured.

Instead, the focus is on the fortunes of three South Yorkshire pit-village sisters – Olive, Mary and Isabel – hit hard by the Conservative Government’s war against miners and determined to fight back with their own branch of Women Against Pit Closures.

The setting is February 1984, when the rumour mill stirs with news of impending pit closures as the coal miners’ unions anxiously prepare for the imminent confrontation with the government.

Forced into unemployment, miners and their families take up the fight and become part of a battle that will change the course of history. Through music, comedy and grit, the three sisters embrace the values of the strike and underline the empowerment, determination and vulnerability communities were faced with during the toughest of times.

Originally commissioned by Unite the Union in 2014 to mark the 30th anniversary of the strikes, this rebooted version of the show brings together all four original cast members, Victoria Brazier, Claire O’Connor, Stacey Sampson and Beccy Owen, who reprise their original roles.

 Writer Boff Whalley says: “It remains an important story to tell, and instead of focusing on the battle between miners, police and government, we shine a light on the thousands of women who organised and rallied in support the strike.

“For me, the strongest part – the heart of the miners’ strike – was always the family support, specifically the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters. Despite the outcome of the strike, all the hardship and poverty, the main memory of that year for the women was of laughter, fun and surprise – a big adventure. How to take on the machinery of the capitalist state and have a good time doing it.”

Directed by Elvi Piper, We’re Not Going Back is a reminder of the resilience of working-class communities; the make-and-mend fabric of family life and the power of sticking two fingers up to the government. All seasoned with song, good humour and a six-pack of Babycham!

“Red Ladder are one of the most highly regarded national touring companies around” says Selby Town Council arts officer Chris Jones. “Their work is always imaginative, impactful and full of heart. The remake of We’re Not Going Back has played at some big theatres this year, so we’re absolutely thrilled to be hosting the original cast here in the intimate surroundings of Selby Town Hall.”

Red Ladder Theatre Company in We’re Not Going Back, Selby Town Hall, July 4, 7.30pm. Box office: 01757 708449 or

What’s On in Ryedale, York and beyond when artists open studios. Here’s Hutch’s List No 18, from Gazette & Herald

Into the woods: George Stagnell as Dennis “Hank” Haydock in In The Footsteps of Hank Haydock, premiered at Helmsley Arts Centre on Saturday

WARTIME memoirs and Catholic women trailblazers, open studios and open-air Status Quo lead off Charles Hutchinson’s recommendations.

Double bill of the week: Everwitch Theatre, Bomb Happy D-Day 80, In The Footsteps Of Hank Haydock (film premiere) and Sleep/Re-live/Wake/Repeat (theatre), Helmsley Arts Centre, June 1, 7.30pm

TO commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Bomb Happy playwright Helena Fox has created two poignant, lyrical new works telling the stories of two Yorkshire Normandy veterans from conversations and interviews she held with them in 2016.

Featuring York actor George Stagnell, the short film In the Footsteps of Hank Haydock: A Walk In The Park was shot on location in the Duncombe Park woodland with its lyrical account of Coldstream Guardsman Dennis “Hank” Haydock’s experiences in his own words. In Sleep/Re-Live/Wake/Repeat, playwright Helena Fox and vocalist Natasha Jones bring to life the first-hand experiences of D-Day veteran Ken “Smudger” Smith and the lifelong impact of PTSD and sleep trauma through spoken word and a cappella vocals. Box office: 01439 771700 or

Mary Ward (Augsberg portrait): Foundress of the Bar Convent, as featured in the Trailblazers audio trail

York exhibition of the week; Trailblazers of the Bar Convent, Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre, Blossom Street, York, until September 30, 10am to 5pm; last entry 4pm

AS part of the citywide York Trailblazers sculpture trail, the Trailblazers of the Bar Convent audio trail uncovers tories behind key characters down the years at the oldest surviving Catholic convent in Great Britain.

Using QR codes, visitors will discover more about the trailblazing women whose bravery and determination made history locally, nationally and around the world. Among them are foundress Mary Ward, who believed that girls deserved an equal education to boys; Mother Superior Ann Aspinal, who determined to build a secret chapel totally hidden from the outside world, and Sister Gregory Kirkus, who set up the convent’s first ever museum. Tickets:

Kathyrn Williams & Withered Hand: Heading to Selby Town Hall tonight

Duo of the week: Kathryn Williams & Withered Hand, Selby Town Hall, tonight, 8pm

KATHRYN Williams is the Liverpool-born, Newcastle-based, Mercury Music Prize-nominated singer-songwriter with 16 albums to her name. Withered Hand is singer-songwriter Dan Willson (CORRECT), from the Scottish underground scene.

They first met in 2019 in an Edinburgh Book Festival spiegeltent, prompting Williams to tweet Willson: “What kind of songs would we write together and what would they sound like?” The results can be heard on the album Willson Williams, released on One Little Independent Records, and in concert in Selby. Box office:

The poster for the three-day Drawsome! 2024 festival in York

York festival of the week: Drawsome! 2024, Young Thugs Studio, May 31; The Crescent, June 1; Arts Barge, Foss Basin, York, June 2

DRAWSOME! combines exhibitions and workshops with live music each evening. Things Found and Made is exhibiting at The Golden Ball, Cromwell Road, from May 31 and Greek-Australian graphic novel artist Con Chrisoulis for one night only at Young Thugs Studio, Ovington Terrace, on May 31 from 7pm, when Ichigo Evil, Plantfood, Mickey Nomimono and Drooligan will be performing.

On June 1, Bonneville, Lou Terry, Captain Starlet and Leafcutter John play at The Crescent community venue, where workshops run from 1 to 4pm, featuring Bits and Bots Recycled Robot, with Tom Brader, and Creative Visible Mending, with Anna Pownall, complemented by Zine Stalls hosted by Things Found and Made, Adam Keay and Teresa Stenson. 

On June 2, the Arts Barge presents Dana Gavanski, Kindelan, Moongate and We Are Hannah, after three 11am to 2pm workshops: Poem Fishing with Becca Drake and Jessie Summerhayes, Adana Letterpress and lino printing, and Screenprinting with Kai West. 

Sarah Sharpe: Opening her studio at Viriditas Nook, Mill Beck House, 2 Pinewood, Norton, Malton, for North Yorkshire Open Studios

North Yorkshire Open Studios 2024, June 1 and 2, 8 and 9, 10am to 5pm

STRETCHING from the coast to the moors, dales and beyond, 169 artists and makers from North Yorkshire’s artistic community invite you to look inside their studios over the next two weekends.

The event is organised by the artist-run collective North Yorkshire Open Studios, which supports painters, sculptors, printmakers, jewellers, ceramicists and photographers. Taking part in the Malton area will be Angela Cole (Westow), Catriona Stewart (Norton), Sandra Oakins (Norton), Jo Naden (Scagglethorpe), Sarah Sharpe (Norton) and Jonathan Moss (Malton). For full details, go to: A full brochure is available.

Status Quo: Francis Rossi, left, leads his legendary band at Scarborough Open Air Theatre

Coastal gig of the week: Status Quo, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, June 2, gates 6pm

DENIM rock legends Status Quo open the 2024 season at Scarborough Open Air Theatre, where they played previously in 2013, 2014 and 2016. Led as ever by founder Francis Rossi, who turns 75 today, they must pick their set from 64 British hit singles, more than an any other band. The support act will be The Alarm. Box office:

Georgia Lennon as Paula Pokrifki and Luke Baker as Zack Mayo in An Officer And A Gentleman The Musical. Picture: Marc Brenner

Musical of the week: An Officer And A Gentleman The Musical, Grand Opera House, York, June 4 to 8, 8pm, Tuesday, 7.30pm, Wednesday to Saturday, plus 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday matinees

NORTH Yorkshireman Nikolai Foster directs Leeds-born actor Luke Baker as fearless young officer candidate Zack Mayor in the Curve, Leicester touring production of An Officer And A Gentleman.

Once an award-winning 1982 Taylor Hackford film, now Douglas Day Stewart’s story of love, courage and redemption comes re-booted with George Dyer’s musical theatre arrangements and orchestrations of pop bangers by Bon Jovi, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Blondie and the signature song (Love Lift Us) Up Where We Belong. Box office:

Graffiti Classics!: “Making classical music wickedly funny and fantastically exhilarating” at Milton Rooms, Malton

Breaking boundaries: Graffiti Classics!, Milton Rooms, Malton, June 14, 8pm

GRAFFITI Classics! is not only a classical concert but also a gypsy-folk romp, an opera, a stand-up comedy set and dance show rolled into one uplifting, virtuosic experience.

Bursting the “elitist boundaries of the traditional string quartet”, Graffiti Classics! embraces Beethoven to bluegrass, baroque to pop, Mozart to Elvis, Strauss to Saturday Night Fever, as 16 strings, eight dancing feet and four voices combine with one aim: “to make classical music wickedly funny and fantastically exhilarating for everyone, young and old”. Box office: 01653 696240 or

‘What kind of songs would we write together and what would they sound like?’ Find out when Kathryn Williams and Withered Hand play Selby and Otley

Kathryn Williams and Withered Hand’s Dan Willson: Playing Selby Town hall tonight and Otley Courthouse tomorrow

KATHRYN Williams is a prolific solo singer-songwriter but she loves a creative partnership too.

Her latest collaboration, with Scottish indie folk troubadour Dan Willson, alias Withered Hand, brings the duo to Selby Town Hall tonight and Otley Courthouse on Thursday to showcase their album Willson Williams, released on One Little Independent Records on April 26.

Already, Liverpool-born, Newcastle-based Kathryn has recorded 2008 album Two with Neil MacColl; teamed up with Anna Spencer, from the punk band Delicate Vomit, for The Crayonettes’ 2010 children’s record Playing Out: Songs For Children & Robots and made the 2012 album Pond with Fairground Attraction’s Simon Edwards and singer-songwriter Ginny Clee.

Add to that list her 2016 release Resonator, a set of jazz standards crafted over six years with jazz musician and vibraphone player Anthony Kerr; 2017’s Songs From The Novel Greatest Hits, to complement Laura Barnett’s novel about a fictional singer-songwriter, Greatest Hits, and her 2021 Christmas album, Midnight Chorus, recorded remotely in Zoom sessions with playwright and former Poet Laureate Dame Carol Ann Duffy.

“I’m a serial collaborator! Overall, it’s been 25 years of putting out albums, and I want to be someone who’s always learning, always happy sharing a creative process, always travelling on different roads,” says Kathryn, who turned 50 in February.

The partnership with Willson has its roots in a chance meeting in a spiegeltent at the 2019 Edinburgh International Book Festival, curated by Hollie McNish and Michael Pedersen.

“I thought we’d first met at Fence Collective festival in Fife, but Dan doesn’t remember that, so we say it was the spiegeltent,” says Kathryn. “It’s strange; we have loads of the same friends in the music business, like James Yorkston, Rachel Sermanni and Kathryn Joseph, so when he came up to say hello, I gave him a big hug because I felt I knew him already!

“I’d read that he hadn’t written or released anything for a while, so I got in touch afterwards, tweeting him: ‘What kind of songs would we write together and what would they sound like?’.”

Dan thought she must have sent it to the wrong person. Not so. Whereupon Kathryn travelled up to his Edinburgh house, with curiosity to find an answer to her questions but with no plans to write an album together.

“I just thought we could do a song for his new album or for someone else, but slowly we built this friendship over our writing, and then last year Dan put out his first record for nine years, How To Love [his first since News Gods in 2014]. It was our writing that got Dan back into doing his own album,” she says.

Kathryn and Dan continued travelling to each other’s homes for writing sessions, as he recalls. “We talk and spend time together, and then it’s almost like the next time we sit down to write, a synthesis of late-night kitchen conversations become distilled into the songs,” says Dan. “It’s hard to separate who’s done what and where the songs sprang from. The writing and the friendship with Kath rejuvenated my own songwriting process enough to be able to do this.”

Williams and Willson were boosted by receiving funding from Creative Scotland, enabling them to enlist prime Scottish musicians for the recording, made with producer Rod Jones – Idlewild’s guitarist – at Post Electric Studio, the site of a former brothel incidentally, in Leith.

Step forward Louis Abbott, from Admiral Fallow, Graeme Smillie, from Arab Strap and The Delgados, Kris Drever, from Lau, Chris ‘Beans’ Geddes, of Belle & Sebastian, Pete Harvey, of Modern Studies and Kenny Anderson, alias King Creosote.

“When we got the funding, we were like, ‘what is our dream team of Scottish musicians who could be on the record?’, so it was a beautiful thing to be able to do it with them all. We were just grinning from ear to ear,” says Kathryn, who gives an example of the participants’ enthusiasm.

“We were so lucky that Dan and I had just done a BBC 6Music live session for Marc Riley’s show with Louis Abbott, Admiral Fallow’s lead singer. He ended up playing drums on the album because he’s one of those people who can play everything.

“It was beautiful that everyone was really excited to be there, and we just couldn’t feel any happier.”

Kathryn and Dan share common ground in their creativity: “As we’ve got to know each other as friends, we’ve found we’ve had the same issues of imposter syndrome, not feeling we’re good enough or that people won’t like us,” she says.

The cover artwork for Kathryn Williams and Withered Hand’s album Willson Williams

“We call it the skeletal voice, and we get to voice those fears or worries to each other. We both understand it – and I’m actually a really big fan of his albums because he’s so witty and funny and open.”

One overarching theme emerged in their writing process, Kathryn and Dan being mutually in the grip of grief, mourning for loved ones. “The initial premise and starting point for us was discussions and open conversations on bereavement,” they recall. “We’d both lost friends who were also in the public eye, and we talked about the strange place between personal loss and the communal grieving of a public figure we knew.”

Kathryn elaborates: “Dan had lost his brother Karl and then his friend Scott Hutchison [frontman of Scottish band Frightened Rabbit], and I’d lost my dear friend Jeremy Hardy [the Aldershot-born stand-up comedian and BBC Radio 4 regular panellist],” she says.

“As we got to know each other as we were writing songs, the things we’d been going through came to the fore in the theme of grief. But when you say ‘it’s an album about grief or loss’, people would assume it would be morose, but I think it has a sunshine feel. It’s uplifting, inspiring, comforting, and the whole thing was a joy to create and then go into the studio with these amazing musicians to record.”

Typical of Kathryn’s assertion is Our Best, the first song that the duo wrote together. “Kath arrived in Edinburgh with a refrain that we worked up into the chorus of this song,” says Dan. “Together we built a delicate structure around it, tentatively letting our voices harmonise and support each other, embodying the idea of doing what we can do in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds and changes”.

Or, as Kathryn puts it, in the face of loss, “having to do our best without you…and remembering advice from those who have gone to ‘not waste your life’.”

The track Elvis takes its title from Costello, not Presley. “That was the last show we went to in Edinburgh before lockdown. My friend Steve Nieve [Costello’s regular keyboard player] was playing with him at Usher Hall and offered us tickets,” says Kathryn.

“The song was a reaction to that gig, and as with a lot of the songs, it came from our experiences together, talking about touring, being on the tour bus. After the gig, we chatted with them backstage, and when Dan and I came out by the stage door, elation quickly turned to deflation when the crowd realised it was only us!”

Kathryn and Dan are playing their 17-date May tour as a duo, combining acoustic and electric guitar and Kathryn’s mellotron. “It’s just me and Dan because, one, we couldn’t afford anyone else and, two, no-one else was available,” she says.

“We’re our own support act too. I’ll do a 20-minute solo set, so will Dan, then after a break, we’ll do the complete album. That’s three gigs for the price of one!”

Away from making and touring her music, Kathryn has hosted three series of her podcast Before The Light Goes Out, with a fourth “under wraps”. “It involves me interviewing artists, poets, novelists, musicians and songwriters about sleep, with me asking each of them the same questions,” she says.

Why ‘Sleep’? “The whole point of it is that I love going to sleep listening to podcasts, ones that keep the voice calm,” reasons Kathryn, whose guests have included Steve Nieve, Scottish writer Kirsty Logan, The Magic Numbers’ Romeo and Michele Stodart, Neil MacColl, Kate St John, Rachel Unthank, David Ford, Chris Difford, Marry Waterson, The Anchoress, mystery novelist Ann Cleeves, poet Clare Shaw and, yes, Withered Hand.”

Looking ahead, Kathryn’s next album will be a solo work. “It’s already written and recorded, and it’ll come out early next year,” she says. “I think it’ll be called Mystery Park. That’s the current title. It’s quite a personal album, quite minimal too, going back to my roots.”

Kathryn Williams & Withered Hand, Selby Town Hall, tonight, 8pm, and Otley Courthouse, Thursday, 8pm. Box office: Selby, 01757 708449 or; Otley, 01943 467466 or

Willson Williams track listing:

Arrow; Grace; R U 4 Real?; Our Best; Shelf; Wish; Sweetest Wine; Weekend; Sing Out; Elvis; Big Nothing.

All songs written by Kathryn Williams and Dan Willson except Sing Out, written by Cat Stevens.

Musicians on the album:

Kathryn Williams, vocals, guitar and mellotron; Dan Willson,vocals and guitar; Louis Abbott, drums, percussion and backing vocals; Graeme Smillie, bass; Chris ‘Beans’ Geddes, pianos, organ, mellotron and synth; Kris Drever, guitar; Pete Harvey, cello; King Creosote (Kenny Anderson), accordion and backing vocals; Jacqueline Irvine, backing vocals and mellotron; Rod Jones, producer and engineer at Post Electric Studios, Leith; Miles Showell: mastering at Abbey Road, London.

More Things To Do in York and beyond when saying Yes to a love of food and music. Hutch’s List No. 22, from The Press

Malton Spring Food Lovers Festival: Look out for the festival guide and map on site

FOOD for thought on the arts and culture front, from street cookery to dance, trailblazing women to Drawsome! artists and musicians, prog-rock and folk greats to coastal Dexys, as Charles Hutchinson reports.

Flavour of the week: Malton Spring Food Lovers Festival, today, from 9am; tomorrow and Bank Holiday Monday, from 10am

ON the streets of “Yorkshire’s Food Capital”, Malton Food Lovers Festival celebrates Yorkshire’s supreme produce and cooking over three days of 120 artisan stalls and street food vendors, talks, tastings, chef demonstrations, brass bands and buskers, festival bar, food shops, sculpture trail, entertainment, blacksmith workshops, vintage funfair and family fun with Be Amazing Arts’ Creativitent, Environmental Art’s Creative Chaos and Magical Quests North.

The live musicians will be: today, Malton White Star Band, 11am to 1pm, The Rackateers, 1pm to 3pm, and Oz Ward, 6pm to 8pm; tomorrow, White Star Training Band, 11.30am to 12.30pm, and The Rackateers, 1pm to 3pm, and Monday, The Acoustic Buddies, 11am to 12pm and 2pm to 3pm. Festival entry is free.

Mary Ward (Augsberg portrait): Foundress of the Bar Convent, featuring in the Trailblazers audio trail

Exhibition launch of the week; Trailblazers of the Bar Convent, Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre, Blossom Street, York, opening today

THE Trailblazers of the Bar Convent audio trail focuses on uncovering the stories of key characters from the history of the oldest surviving Catholic convent in Great Britain.

Among them are foundress Mary Ward, who believed that girls deserved an equal education to boys; Mother Superior Ann Aspinal, who determined to build a secret chapel totally hidden from the outside world, and Sister Gregory Kirkus, who set up the convent’s first ever museum. Tickets:

What a hoot: Gemma Curry and her owl puppet in Hoglets Theatre’s Wood Owl And The Box Of Wonders

Pre-festival show of the week: Hoglets Theatre in Wood Owl And The Box Of Wonders, Fountains Mill, Fountains Abbey, near Ripon, tomorrow, 11am and 2pm

IN an Early Bird event for the 2024 Ripon Theatre Festival, York company Hoglets Theatre presents director Gemma Curry’s solo show Wood Owl And The Box Of Wonders for age three upwards.

A lonely little owl wants nothing more than to fly into the night and join his friends, but how can he when he is made from wood in Gemma’s magical half-term journey of singing owls, fantasy worlds, friendship and an age-old message about love?  The 40-minute show featuring beautiful handmade puppets and original music will be complemented by an optional puppet-making activity. Box office:

Lesley Ann Eden and her York School of Dance and Drama pupils: Presenting Pinocchio And Ponchetta at Joseph Rowntree Theatre. Picture: Nigel Holland

Dance show of the week: York School of Dance and Drama in Pinocchio And Ponchetta, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, tomorrow, 6.30pm

YORK choreographer and dance teacher Lesley Anne Eden presents her 50th anniversary York School of Dance and Drama show with a company ranging in age from six to 70.

Pinocchio And Ponchetta is Lesley’s take on the old story of Pinocchio and his sister, “full of fabulous dancing and great fun for all the family”, with the promise of her trademark quirky props. Box office: 01904 501935 or

The cover artwork for York Barbican-bound Richard Thompson’s new album, Ship To Shore

Folk luminary of the week: Richard Thompson, York Barbican, May 27, doors 7pm

GUITARIST, singer and songwriter Richard Thompson showcases his 20th solo album – and first since 2018’s 13 Rivers – ahead of the May 31 release of Ship To Shore on New West Records.

Notting Hill-born Thompson, 75, who made his name with folk rock pioneers Fairport Convention before forming his Seventies’ duo with Linda Thompson, will be performing with a full band. Box office:

Yes: Playing York Barbican on Tuesday

Rock gig of the week: Yes, The Classic Tales Of Yes Tour 2024, York Barbican, May 28, 8pm

PROG-ROCK legends Yes perform iconic songs from more than 50 years of groundbreaking music-making, definitely including a 20-minute medley from their 1973 album Tales From Topographic Oceans and “possibly” from latest album Mirror To The Sky too.

In the line-up will be Steve Howe, guitars and vocals, Geoff Downes, keyboards, Billy Sherwood, bass guitar and vocals, Jon Davison, vocals and acoustic guitar, and Jay Schellen, drums. Box office: 

Kathryn Williams and Withered Hand: Teaming up at Selby Town Hall

Duo of the week: Kathryn Williams & Withered Hand, Selby Town Hall, May 29, 8pm

KATHRYN Williams is the Liverpool-born, Newcastle-based, Mercury Music Prize-nominated singer-songwriter with 16 albums to her name. Withered Hand is singer-songwriter Dan Willson, from the Scottish underground scene.

They first met in 2019 in an Edinburgh Book Festival spiegeltent, prompting Williams to tweet Willson: “What kind of songs would we write together and what would they sound like?” The results can be heard on the album Willson Williams, released on One Little Independent Records on April 26, and in concert in Selby (and Otley Courthouse on May 30). Box office:

Dexys: Heading to the Yorkshire coast on May 30

Coastal trip of the week: Dexys, Scarborough Spa Grand Hall, May 30, doors 7pm

AFTER playing York for the first time in their 45-year career last September, Dexys return to North Yorkshire on the latest leg of The Feminine Divine Live!

Led as ever by Kevin Rowland, Dexys open with a theatrical presentation of last year’s album, The Feminine Divine, to be followed by a second soulful set of beloved hits, from Come On Eileen and Jackie Wilson Said to The Celtic Soul Brothers and Geno. Box office: 01723 376774 or

Bonneville (York singer-songwriter Bonnie Milnes) promotes her debut album New Lady at Drawsome! 2024 gig at The Crescent

York festival of the week: Drawsome! 2024, Young Thugs Studio, May 31; The Crescent, June 1; Arts Barge, Foss Basin, York, June 2

DRAWSOME! combines exhibitions and workshops with live music each evening. York multi-disciplinary artist Rowan Jackson will be exhibiting at Angel on the Green, Bishopthorpe Road, from 7pm on May 27; Things Found and Made at The Golden Ball, Cromwell Road, from May 31 and Greek-Australian graphic novel artist Con Chrisoulis for one night only at Young Thugs Studio, Ovington Terrace, on May 31 from 7pm, when Ichigo Evil, Plantfood, Mickey Nomimono and Drooligan will be performing.

On June 1, Bonneville, Lou Terry, Captain Starlet and Leafcutter John play at The Crescent community venue, where workshops run from 1 to 4pm, featuring Bits and Bots Recycled Robot, with Tom Brader, and Creative Visible Mending, with Anna Pownall, complemented by Zine Stalls hosted by Things Found and Made, Adam Keay and Teresa Stenson. 

On June 2, the Arts Barge presents Dana Gavanski, Kindelan, Moongate and We Are Hannah, after three 11am to 2pm workshops: Poem Fishing with Becca Drake and Jessie Summerhayes, Adana Letterpress and lino printing, and Screenprinting with Kai West. Drawsome! is run in aid of Bowel Cancer UK.

The poster for Drawsome! 2024

In Focus: Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, York Theatre Royal, May 29 and 30, 7,30pm; The Showstopper Kids Show, May 30, 2pm

SHOWSTOPPER! The Improvised Musical heads back to York Theatre Royal in an expanded format with a children’s version of the spontaneous musical comedy for half-term week.

The Showstoppers have 14 years behind them at the Edinburgh Fringe, to go with a BBC Radio 4 series, a West End run and an 2016 Olivier Award for their blend of comedy, musical theatre and, wait for it, spontaneity. 

Each Showstopper show is created live on the spot from audience suggestions, resulting in a new musical comedy at each performance, which is then named by the audience. 

The cast takes suggestions for the setting, genre and style to transform them into an all-singing, all-dancing production with humorous results. Anything can be expected at a Showstopper show, so if the audience fancies Hamilton in a hospital or Sondheim in the Sahara, The Showstoppers will sing it.

Thursday’s Showstopper Kids Show is for children of all ages, who will see their own ideas being turned into a fully improvised musical right in front of them. 

The children will decide where the story is set, what happens next and who the characters are. The Showstoppers will create whatever is suggested, so the characters could be anyone, such as the children’s favourite TV show characters, and the show could be set under the sea or in a doll’s house. Box office: 01904 623568 or

Katherine Priddy ponders the pull of home, family and love on second album The Pendulum Swing as she plays The Crescent

Katherine Priddy: “Always found myself wandering back, craving the comfort and nostalgia of the past,” she says.

KATHERINE Priddy grew up in the first house on the left, the title of the first single from her second album, The Pendulum Swing, whose title came from a lyric in that song.

“Despite its soft and dreamy sound, this song provides the cornerstone around which the album and its themes orbit,” says the Birmingham contemporary roots singer-songwriter and finger-picking guitarist, who plays at The Crescent, York, on Wednesday night (15/5/2024).

“It’s inspired by the little old house where I grew up and all the memories captured within those four walls – both for me and for all the other inhabitants who’ve lived there over the centuries. It might just be another terraced cottage to passers-by, but to those who’ve called it home, it’s everything.

“There’s something magical about past inhabitants. That was something that intrigued me as a child, digging in the garden, finding old toy soldiers and bits of china: it’s a reminder you’re not the first to live there and you won’t be the last. It’s a comforting thought, how a house can look like any old terraced house outside but inside a scratch on the wall means everything.”

Explaining the album title, Katherine says: “It describes the urge to leave and the even stronger urge to return. Something I’ve felt a lot in recent few years as I’ve tried to carve out a corner for myself elsewhere, but always found myself wandering back, craving the comfort and nostalgia of the past.”

Released in February on Cooking Vinyl as the follow-up to 2021’s The Eternal Rocks Beneath, The Pendulum Swing is a step forward for Katherine. “My songs have matured since my debut, seeing as most of those were written in my childhood, but despite moving forward and feeling the need to do something different with this second release, I still can’t help but return to those fundamental, unchanging things at the root of it all: home, family, love,” she says.

“Overall, I wanted this song and the album to feel lived in, and this is captured in part by the ghostly atmospheres, mechanical clockwork sounds, creaking floorboards, indistinct whispers and old tape recordings of my family that are littered throughout. I want to invite the listener to come in, sit down and inhabit the album for a little while, and First House On The Left is right at the heart of that.”

Describing the rural village house, Katherine says: “It’s an old terraced house in Alvechurch, 11 miles from Birmingham, quite a few hundred years old with a lot of history. It’s where I grew up; I’ve moved out, moved back in again, moved out, then moved back in again with my parents over lockdown, with mixed feelings.

“When rapidly approaching 30, you feel you must move out, move on, but at the same it’s really hard to deny the pleasure of being back home with your parents.”

Katherine reflects on the itinerant nature of a singer-songwriter’s life. “Being a musician, it’s always about picking the most scenic route. I will find my home,” she says, having moved out again. “At the moment I’ve found a lovely little flat in Birmingham by the river.”

Will she write about it? “Who knows! Maybe I will. Probably I have another house song in me,” she says.

The cover artwork for Katherine Priddy’s sophomore album The Pendulum Swing

Katherine wrote her first album in her teens. “It dealt with mythology, which I was more interested in then. Now I’ve turned back to more fundamental things because they are there all the time and I’m trying to find myself. When everything else seems unstable, these things stay the same, and I wanted to capture that nostalgia, which is something I crave.”

Craving comfort in the past, Katherine says: “I’ve picked a fairly unstable career, which is very much about being in the moment, planning but not sure if things will come to fruition, but I feel very lucky to have a family that’s an unchanging bedrock and are always so supportive.

“Sometimes you just want to go back and feel like a kid again, and I think it’s fine that I feel grateful to have that feeling of nostalgia. It’s impossible not to want to still be back there and re-live those moments – and I can do that in song.”

She returned to the same producer, Simon J Weaver, who had recorded her first album at his Rebellious Jukebox studio in Birmingham, joined by guest musicians John Smith (lead guitar), Harry Fausing Smith (strings), Marcus Hamblett (brass and double bass), George Boomsma, from Northallerton (guitar and backing vocals), and Polly Virr (cello).

“This album feels like a step up in being more cinematic in places and taking me out of my comfort zone,” says Katherine. “I really like it on albums where you can hear things that take it from being a song to be more immersive, and that what’s we’ve done for The Pendulum Swing

“I wanted it to feel like you are entering a house, but also bookending the album with instrumentals that convey returning to the house and then leaving again at the end. It’s that urge to stay and that urge to leave that I’ve been doing battle with.

“Some of the songs are very personal to me, like when I’ve featured clips throughout of me and my dad talking from a tape that I found at my parents’ house – and I’ve squeezed my family into a cameo on the last track.

“I thought there’d be more resistance, but my dad loves his vinyl and a credit on an album is something he couldn’t resist, so it’s a family affair with my brother and parents on there.”

Katherine’s 14-date tour finds her expanding from a duo format to a trio with support act George Boomsma and Harry Fausing Smith joining her on stage. “It’s lovely to have Harry for this tour, capturing some of the soundscapes from the album, as well as integrating some of the samples into the set,” she says.

“It’s really emotive to have the strings. I’ve been getting goosebumps listening to these musicians adding their beautiful skills to songs that have been occupying my head for so long.”

Katherine Priddy plays The Crescent, York, on May 15, supported by George Boomsma, 7.30pm; The Live Room, Saltaire, May 16, 7.30pm. Both sold out. Box office for returns only: 

Katherine Priddy: the back story

Katherine Priddy: Singer, songwriter, guitarist

First set foot on stage to play Dorothy in school play The Wizard Of Oz, aged nine.

Wrote first song at 14/15.

Love of language, literature and poetry rooted in English Literature studies at University of Sussex, Brighton. Favourite novel Wuthering Heights would later inspire her first album title:  “I loved how Cathy described her love for Heathcliff as being ‘the eternal rock beneath’,” she says.

Folk luminary Richard Thompson chose her as “The Best Thing I’ve Heard All Year” in Mojo magazine on the strength of her 2018 EP, Wolf.

Received airplay on Guy Garvey, Gideon Coe, Tom Robinson, Cerys Matthews, Radcliffe & Maconie, Steve Lamacq  and the late Janice Long’s radio shows.

2021 debut albumThe Eternal Rocks Beneath (Navigator Records) drew glowing reviews from the Observer, the Sun, Uncut, Songlines and Folk Radio UK with its songs of mythology, childhood and growing up. Charted at number one in Official UK Folk Chart and number five in Official UK Americana Chart, rounded off the year on Mojo’s Folk Albums of the Year list.

Played Cambridge Folk Festival, winning Christian Raphael Prize; Glastonbury, appearing on BBC Two’s coverage; Green Man; End Of The Road; Beautiful Days and BBC Proms.

Katherine Priddy and John Smith performing together at Selby Town Hall in November 2022. Picture: Paul Rhodes

As well as headline tours, she has supported Richard Thompson, The Chieftains, Loudon Wainwright III and Vashti Bunyan.

In 2022, she played in Australia, including Port Fairy Folk Festival, plus showcase in Kansas City, USA, as part of Folk Alliance International.

In 2023, she recorded I Think They’re Leaving Me Behind for double album The Endless Coloured Ways – The Songs Of Nick Drake, on Chrysalis Records, featuring alongside Self Esteem, Aldous Harding, John Grant, Bombay Bicycle Club and more.

Supported Guy Garvey at The Roundhouse, London.

In February 2024, she released second album The Pendulum Swing on Cooking Vinyl.

Past shows around here: The Magpies Festival, Sutton Park, near York, August 2021; National Centre for Early Music, York, June 2022; Selby Town Hall, with John Smith, playing 14 songs together over 100 minutes, November 2022.

One last question

Do you consider herself to be a folk musician, Katherine?

“I THINK I’m just outside, with one foot in folk and one foot elsewhere, but what I appreciate about folk songs is that they tell stories.”

A Tale Of Two Selbys project links North Yorkshire & Canada on stage & screen with comics Tim FitzHigham & John Hastings

Pittancer of Selby and comedian Tim FitzHigham and the Mayor of Selby, Councillor Michael Dyson, with the signed town-twinning document for Selby, North Yorkshire and Selby, Ontario, Canada

A PODCAST project exploring historic links and forging contemporary friendships between Selby, North Yorkshire, and its Canadian namesake in Ontario will conclude with a live performance at Selby Town Hall on Friday.

Edinburgh Comedy Award-nominated comedian and Pittancer of Selby Tim FitzHigham will lead the 7.30pm show on stage, joined live on screen by Canadian counterpart John Hastings, along with transatlantic friends they have made during their intrepid adventures.

Sparked by a comical mistake – an enquiry made at Selby Town Hall by a prospective audience member hoping to watch a performance in Canada – A Tale Of Two Selbys found Tim teaming up with his good friend Hastings to investigate the origins of a settlement 3,300 miles away.

Questions, questions, questions! How did Canada acquire a Selby? What does this say about cultural identity? Were there any historic links between the two towns? More importantly, why were they not connected in the present day, and could this be remedied?

Tim and America’s Got Talent star John, who grew up a stone’s throw from Selby, Ontario, met with the clergy, school, historians and general townsfolk to learn more about the small Canadian town – how it came to be, its links to the UK and what it’s like now – and even managed to attend town council meetings via Zoom in the small hours of the morning.

This relationship culminated in an historic meeting, overseen by the mayors of both authorities and covered in real time by BBC Radio York, where the two towns twinned officially, cementing an enduring bond for the decades to come.

Tim and John’s endeavours will culminate in Friday’s presentation in Selby Town Hall, featuring some of those involved in the project on the British side, as well as an ambitious live link to Canada, facilitated by a specialist streaming team.

The team’s role will be to film proceedings and help Canadian participants to join in the evening’s conversation as Tim and John meet residents and explore connections between the towns.

“It has been such a brilliant project to be a part of, and John and I can’t wait to share the tale of these two Selbys with you all,” says Tim FitzHigham

The show will form part of Selby Stories, the cultural programme for Selby’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ), set up to celebrate the town, its history and what makes it unique through a series of special events.

The HSHAZ is one element of a government-funded initiative led by Historic England that aims to breathe new life into high streets, from regenerating historic buildings to engaging communities through art and cultural projects.

Selby is one of more than 60 high streets nationwide to receive funding from Historic England, along with funds from North Yorkshire Council, while A Tale Of Two Selbys is supported by Selby Town Council too.

“This technologically ambitious gathering is the result of years of planning,” says Tim. “What could possibly go wrong?! Come and find out! It has been such a brilliant project to be a part of, and John and I can’t wait to share the tale of these two Selbys with you all”.

Looking forward to Friday’s project finale, Selby Town Council arts officer Chris Jones says: “The leftfield attempts of Tim FitzHigham and John Hastings to link Selby, North Yorkshire, with the small, rural community of Selby, Ontario, began many moons ago, ending up with the two towns becoming twinned.

“After lying dormant for a little while (mainly because Tim has got himself a lot of day jobs, such as being creative director of St George’s Hall, in King’s Lynn, Norfolk), A Tale Of Two Selbys is firing up for one last hurrah as Tim and John bring their ‘findings’ to the live arena.

“Tim will be on stage, John on the big screen, joining the evening’s proceedings with some other Canadian participants via Zoom. We’ve got a specialist live stream team in to facilitate this, sending video of the town hall event back to the folks on screen in Canada.

“The North Yorkshire audience will include some of those who’ve been involved so far, but we’d love to fill it out with some curious members of the public as well – we’re only charging £4 for tickets. The live link is an ambitious touch – I think it will be fun and chaotic in equal measure!”

A Tale Of Two Selbys Live, Selby Town Hall, December 8, 7.30pm. Tickets: £4, from the town hall in person, on 01757 708449 or at

Tim FitzHigham in his Pittancer of Selby finery

Tim FitzHigham: back story

BRITISH actor, comedian, author, adventurer and Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer nominee.

Appeared in Paddington 2 and After Life;  hosted his own BBC Radio 4 series, The Gambler.

Performed on stage all over the world in one-man theatre shows documenting his innovative and unusual acts of derring-do, from rowing the English Channel in a bathtub to paddling 160 miles down the River Thames in a paper boat.

14th Pittancer of Selby, medieval role involving distribution of food (“the pittance”) to monks in Selby Abbey each Maundy Thursday, plus inspection of the abbey’s drains and contribution to its annual postage costs.

Broke 590-year-old record to become longest-serving pittancer in Selby’s history.

Creative director of St George’s Guildhall, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, where oak floorboards have been discovered during refurbishment work, believed to be the only surviving stage from Shakespeare’s time.

Canadian comedian John Hastings

John Hastings: back story

CANADIAN comedian who has appeared at every major comedy festival, such as Edinburgh Fringe, Melbourne and Just for Laughs Montreal.

Told jokes on BBC Radio 4, BBC1, BBC3, Comedy Central, CTV Australian Comedy Channel and CBC The Comedy Network.

COCA Comedian of the Year; Martin Sims Award nominee; Amused Moose Comedy Award winner; America’s Got Talent contestant.

More Things To Do in York and beyond from November 18. Here’s holidaying Hutch’s List No. 47 for 2023, from The Press, York

Who’s next as the death count rises in Lucy Bailey’s production of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, on tour at the Grand Opera House, York. Picture: Manuel Harlan

AND then there were thrillers, music, spoken word and comedy gigs, a cricket legend show and smooth crooner tribute for Charles Hutchinson to recommend.  

Thriller of the week: Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, Grand Opera House, York, November 22 to 25, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday matinees

AFTER Pick Me Up Theatre’s September staging at Theatre@41, Monkgate, here comes Lucy Bailey’s “genuinely terrifying” touring production of Agatha Christie’s best-selling 1939 crime novel, starring, among others, Andrew Lancel as William Blore, David Yelland as Judge Wargrave and Sophie Walter as Vera Claythorne.  

Ten strangers – eight guests and a butler and his housekeeper wife – are lured to a solitary mansion off the coast of Devon. When a storm cuts them off from the mainland, the true reason for their presence on Soldier Island becomes horribly clear. Box office:

Spanish sarcasm of the week: Ignacio Lopez, YO1 Live Lounge, York Barbican, November 18, 8pm

SPANISH export Ignacio Lopez, from Live At The Apollo, The Now Show and Stand-Up Sesh, scrutinises his immigrant upbringing and family tree in a show about clashing cultures and never fitting in. 

Sharing his biggest failures with a globe-trotting story of music, comedy and admin cock-ups, exotic outsider comedian Ignacio skewers Britain and Spain with an armada of stand-up sarcasm, silliness and songs. Box office:

Simon Brodkin: Screwed Up revelations from prankster at Grand Opera House, York

Comedy times two at Grand Opera House, York: Simon Brodkin, Screwed Up, November 18, 8pm; Lucy Beaumont, The Trouble & Strife, November 19, 8pm

THE most viewed British comedian of all time on TikTok, notorious prankster and Lee Nelson creator Simon Brodkin rips into celebrity culture, social media, the police, Putin, Prince Andrew and Jesus in his new stand-up show, Screwed Up. Nothing is off limits, from his mental health to his five arrests and his family.

An award-winning stand-up (and actress) before she met Leeds comedian and now husband Jon Richardson, Hull-born Lucy Beaumont lets slip on her rollercoaster world through a surrealist lens. Box office:

Not just cricket: Henry Blofeld discusses “flannelled fools” and much besides at York Theatre Royal

Chat show of the week: An Audience With Henry Blofeld, York Theatre Royal, November 20, 7.30pm

TEST Match Special alumnus Henry Blofeld, 84, will discuss rather more than the art of cricket commentary. “If you think you’re going to learn how to play a forward defensive, you’ll be sadly disappointed,” he forewarns.

Instead, expect his colourful life story in a tongue-in-cheek show, full of after-dinner anecdotes and meandering digressions where Blowers pokes fun at himself and his TMS gaffes and his subjects veer from intergalactic travel to horticulture to mountaineering. Box office: 01904 623568 or

The Trials Of Cato: Twisting folk into new shapes at Pocklington Arts Centre

Folk gig of the week: The Trials Of Cato, Pocklington Arts Centre, Thursday, 8pm

2019 BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners The Trials Of Cato pay homage to the folk tradition while twisting old bones into something febrile and modern, combining stomping tunes and captivating stories.

Formed in Beirut, Lebanon, the Welsh/English band have been based in Britain since 2016, releasing the albums Hide And Hair in 2018 and Gog Magog, named after the mythical giant of Arthurian legend and a Cambridgeshire hilltop, last year. Mandolin player and vocalist Polly Bolton has joined the trio after leaving The Magpies. Support act will be Annie Dressner, once of New York City, now of Cambridgeshire. Box office: 01759 301547 or

Jess Gardham: On Navigators Art & Performance’s Basement Sessions bill at The Basement, City Screen Picturehouse, York

Underground movement of the week: Navigators Art & Performance, The Basement Sessions, The Basement, City Screen Picturehouse, York, November 25, doors, 7pm

YORK creative hub Navigators Art & Performance launches the Basement Sessions series of Music, Spoken Word and Comedy – Live, Local and Loud! with a bill of performers from the York area and “a few surprises up the sleeve”.

In the line-up are punk/post-punk/alt. rock/indie band What Fresh Hell, playing their farewell gig; pop, soul and acoustic singer-songwriter Jess Gardham; comedian John Pease; performance artist Carrieanne Vivianette, exploring the legacies of radical women through voice, movement and improvisation, and jazz-turned-punk Battle of the Bands finalists Attacker TV. Box office: or on the door.

Stepping out of the shadow: Atila Huyesin celebrates the music of Nat King Cole at the NCEM, York

Tribute show of the week: Atila Huseyin in King For A Day: The Nat King Cole Story, National Centre for Early Music, York, November 26, 7pm

ATILA Huseyin combines live music, narration and projected archive images and footage in his concert celebration of one the 20th century’s greatest vocalists and entertainers, Nat King Cole. of the Twentieth Century: Nat King Cole.

Accompanied by world-class musicians, Huseyin performs such favourites as Nature Boy, Unforgettable and When I Fall in Love alongside stylish reworkings of his lesser-known gems. Box office: 01904 658338 or

Chris McCausland: Warming up at Selby Town Hall for a year of travels on his 2024 Yonks! tour

Looking ahead: Chris McCausland, Yonks!, Grand Opera House, York, November 10 2024

LIVERPUDLIAN comedian Chris McCausland will follow up his 140-date Speaky Blinder tour with 104 shows on his Yonks! travels in January to May and September to December 2024. Why Yonks? “I’ve been called an ‘overnight success’, even though I’ve been doing this for yonks,” he reasons after more than two decades on the stand-up circuit.

This year, McCausland, 46, has hosted his own travel series, Wonders Of The World I Can’t See, on Channel 4. His Work In Progress show at Selby Town Hall on Wednesday (8pm) has sold out. Box office:

In Focus: Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company Autumn Theatre Festival, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, November 21 to 25

Helen ‘Bells’ Spencer: Leading the musical theatre workshop for age 16 upwards at Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company Autumn Theatre Festival

THE Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company will raise funds for the JoRo with a participatory four-day theatre festival that kicks off with Pirates Of Penzance: Come & Sing on Tuesday at 7pm and closes with a concert performance of the much loved Gilbert & Sullivan opera on Saturday at 3.30pm. This is an opportunity to throw yourself into G&S over a week of fulfilling fun.

JRTC will hold an open rehearsal for next February’s production of Kander & Ebb’s musical murder mystery Curtains on Wednesday at 7pm: a chance to sit in the stalls and peek at how a show is put together, hopefully with no spoiler of whodunit!

Musical director and actor James Robert Ball will lead the Youth Musical Theatre Workshop for seven to 15-year-olds on Thursday at 7pm, when he will look at such theatre skills as vocal technique and acting through song while working on a number that attendees will have the option of performing during the interval of the Saturday Night Musical Theatre Quiz.

JRTC principal actress Helen ‘Bells’ Spencer will oversee Friday’s 7pm Musical Theatre Workshop for age 16 plus, featuring audition skills and top tips, acting through song and vocal techniques. Again, participants can sing in the interval at Saturday’s quiz.

A Tech Demo & Backstage Tour will be held at 2pm on Saturday, when participants can venture behind the scenes and meet the tech team for demonstrations of light and sound equipment.

The festival will conclude with Saturday’s aforementioned quiz night: a chance to play for prizes and bragging rights as teams of up to four are challenged to show their musical theatre knowledge.

Tickets cost £5 per event, £12 for three or £16 for full festival access at

Selby Town Hall’s autumn season combines new acts and returning favourites with illustrious award winners. Who’s playing?

Daniel Rodriguez: Former Elephant Revival frontman leads his folk quartet at Selby Town Hall on November 9

SELBY Town Hall’s autumn and winter season opens on September 16 with an already sold-out Work In Progress performance by Hull comedian Lucy Beaumont, star of Meet The Richardsons, The Great Celebrity Bake Off and Taskmaster.

The newly launched programme features multiple Grammy winners, Edinburgh Comedy Award nominees, Juno winners, BBC Folk Award recipients and multi-million selling chart toppers, with performers from the worlds of music, stand-up, theatre, poetry and broadcasting.

Picking out highlights, Selby Town Council arts officer Chris Jones says: “One of the most critically acclaimed comedians of the past decade, Kieran Hodgson, will be performing Big In Scotland here on October 6.

Kieran Hodgson: Big In Scotland, hopefully big in Selby too on October 6

“It was the talk of this summer’s Edinburgh Fringe, where Two Doors Down star Kieran received a fourth nomination for comedy’s most prestigious prize, the Edinburgh Comedy Award. Only James Acaster has gained more nominations in the 42-year history of the award.”

Author and comedian Sam Avery will return to Selby on November 18 with his show for mums and dads, How Not To Be A Terrible Parent, while the monthly £10 comedy club will be back for a second year, with English Comedian Of The Year Josh Pugh, Seeta Wrightson and Will Duggan playing the first Comedy Network gig on September 24.

Next come Tony Law, Molly McGuinness and Jack Gleadow on October 29;  Nathan Caton, Tom Lawrinson and Jessie Nixon on November 26 and Brennan Reece, Harriet Dyer and Justin Panks on December 17.

Sam Avery: Offering tips on How Not To Be A Terrible Parent on November 18

Lucy Beaumont leads off a host of sold-out comedy nights by poet-comedian Brian Bilston on September 21, Stephen K Amos: Oxymoron, October 14, Chris McCausland: Work In Progress, November 22, and, heading into 2024, Omid Djalili: Work In Progress, February 1.

A similar picture can be painted for music gigs: Shawn Colvin, on September 23, Hue & Cry, September 30, Kiki Dee & Carmelo Luggeri, October 27, and China Crisis, November 17, are all fully booked.

“We’re delighted to be hosting Illinois singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin for the smallest date by far on a rare tour of the UK – her first in ages – for the much-lauded Song of the Year Grammy winner,” says Chris.

Shawn Colvin: Selby Town Hall will be “the smallest date by far” on her rare British tour

Tickets are still available, however, for “five stellar acts from North America with an astonishing 19 Grammy Awards between them”, points out Chris. “Fourteen of those belong to globally renowned banjo player Ron Block, best known for his work with bluegrass behemoths Alison Krauss & Union Station. Ron will be playing a full band show alongside Ireland’s BBC Folk Award nominee Damien O’Kane to create what the pair describe as ‘a banjo party’ on October 5,” he says.

“Daniel Rodriguez, former frontman of wildly popular Colorado folk band Elephant Revival, visits the UK for the first time this autumn with his top quartet, playing Selby on November 9, fresh from a United States stadium tour supporting The Lumineers.

“On January 18 there’s a return for Juno-winning Canadian close harmony trio Good Lovelies, followed by a January 26 debut for two-time Grammy-winning bluegrass legend Tim O’Brien, performing alongside his wife, Jan Fabricius.”

Sharon Shannon: Selby date on February 3 2024

Two Irish folk luminaries will be making returns to Selby: Dublin’s two-time BBC Folk Award-winning singer and bouzouki player Daoirí Farrell on October 21 and County Clare’s multi-million selling accordion and fiddle player Sharon Shannon, leading her trio on February 3. Next year too, Scottish traditional duo Ally Bain & Phil Cunningham will head to North Yorkshire on March 28.

On December 15, in his new show, BBC broadcasting heavyweight ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris and Beatles expert Colin Hall will discuss The Songs The Beatles Gave Away to other artists, before Selby Town Hall spreads its festive wings on December 20 to stage Brass At Christmas in Selby Abbey, featuring Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band.

On the theatre front, Enid Blyton: Noddy, Big Ears & Lashings Of Controversy finds Liz Grand playing the “remarkable and controversial woman loved by children but vilified by the BBC, teachers, critics and librarians” on November 2.

Liz Grand: Performing new play about “the turbulent life of Britain’s most successful children’s author, Enid Blyton” on November 2

” I’m really pleased with the quality and range of shows we’ve got coming up,” says Chris. “We’ve got a great mix of new acts and returning favourites, with some pretty illustrious award winners among the artists lining up this autumn and winter.

“I’m particularly excited to be welcoming one of the country’s smartest and most inventive comedians, Kieran Hodgson, with one of the biggest buzz shows from last month’s Edinburgh Fringe, as well as a brand-new play from acclaimed actor Liz Grand about the turbulent life of Britain’s most successful children’s author, Enid Blyton. From banjos to The Beatles and poetry to pop, there’s a fantastic range of shows taking place.”

Tickets can be booked on 01757 708449 or at

Lucy Beaumont: Sold-out Work In Progress gig opens Selby Town Hall’s new season on September 16

More Things To Do in York and beyond when Connecting with culture. Here Hutch’s List No. 29 for 2023, from The Press

Shed Seven, 2023: Vocalist Rick Witter, left, guitarist Paul Banks, second from right, and bassist Tom Gladwin,right, are joined by drummer Rob ‘Maxi’ Maxfield and keyboardist Tim Willis at Millennium Square,Leeds, tonight. Picture: Barnaby Fairley

GOING for gold, whether with the Sheds or down at the maze, Charles Hutchinson heads outdoors but is drawn back indoors too.

Outdoor gig of the weekend: Shed Seven, Sounds In The City 2023, Millennium Square, Leeds, today, from 6pm

FRESH from announcing next January’s release of their sixth studio album, A Matter Of Time, York’s Shed Seven head to Leeds city centre for a sold-out, 6,00-capacity Millennium Square show.

Performing alongside regular vocalist Rick Witter, guitarist Paul Banks and bassist Tom Gladwin will be Tim Willis on keyboards and Rob ‘Maxi’ Maxfield on drums. Support slots go to fellow Britpop veterans Cast and rising York band Skylights.

Be amazed: York Maze reopens for a new season today

Opening of the weekend: York Maze, Elvington Lane, Elvington, near York, today until September 4

THE Cobsleigh Run race and Crowmania ride are among the new attractions when York Maze opens for its 21st season today with a new show marquee too – and the giant image of Tutankhamun cut by farmer Tom Pearcy into a 15-acre field of maize.

Created from one million living, growing maize plants, Britain’s largest maze has more than 20 rides, attractions and shows for a fun-filled family day out. Where else would you find a Corntroller of Entertainment, corny pun intended? Step forward Josh Benson, York magician, pantomime star and, yes, corntroller. Tickets: 01904 608000 or

Gary Stewart: Celebrating the songs of Paul Simon at Helmsley Arts Centre

Show title of the week: Gary Stewart, The Only Living Boy In (New) York – An Evening of Paul Simon Songs, Helmsley Arts Centre, tonight, 7.30pm

GARY Stewart, singer, songwriter, guitarist, Hope & Social drummer and programmer for At The Mill’s folk bills, turns the spotlight on the songs of New Yorker Paul Simon, his chief folk/pop influence.

Born in Perthshire, Stewart cut his Yorkshire teeth on the Leeds music scene for 15 years before moving to York (and now Easingwold, to be precise). He is sometimes to be found fronting his Graceland show, another vessel for Paul Simon songs. Tonight, his focus is on The Boxer, Mrs Robinson, Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard, Kodachrome et al.  Box office: 01439 771700 or

The Young’uns: Playing Ryedale Festival on July 20 at 7pm at the Milton Rooms, Malton. Picture: Pamela Raith

Festival of the week outside York: Ryedale Festival, running until July 30

DIRECTED once more by Christopher Glynn, Ryedale Festival returns with 55 concerts, celebrating everything from Tchaikovsky to troubadours in beautiful North Yorkshire locations. Artists in residence include Anna Lapwood, Nicky Spence, Korean violinist Bomsori Kim and pianist Mishka Rushdie Momen.

Taking part too will be Boris Giltburg, the Dudok Quartet, Jess Gillam, Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective, guitarist Plínio Fernandes,trumpeter Aaron Akugbo, pianist George Xiaoyuan Fu, the National Youth Choir of Scotland, jazz singer Clare Teal and north eastern folk musicians The Young’uns, among others. For the full programme and tickets, go to:

Mark Thomas: Performing one-man play England And Son at Selby Town Hall on Sunday. Picture: Tony Pletts

Work in Progress of the week: Mark Thomas in England And Son, Selby Town Hall, Sunday, 7.30pm

POLITICAL comedian Mark Thomas stars in this one-man play, set when The Great Devouring comes home: the first he has performed not written by the polemicist himself but by award-winning playwright Ed Edwards.

Directed by Cressida Brown, England And Son has emerged from characters Thomas knew in his childhood and from Edwards’s lived experience in jail. Promising deep, dark laughs and deep, dark love, Thomas undertakes a kaleidoscopic odyssey where disaster capitalism, Thatcherite politics and stolen wealth merge into the simple tale of a working-class boy who just wants his dad to smile at him. Box office: 01757 708449 or

Bee Scott: Presenting her queer sci-fi interactive travelogue If You Find This at Connect Festival on Thursday

Festival of the week in York: Four Wheel Drive presents Connect Festival, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Wednesday to Sunday

FOUR Wheel Drive’s Connect Festival opens with Women’s Voices on Wednesday, staging two new shows, Giorgia Test’s Behind My Scars and Rhia Burston’s Woebegone. Thursday’s Non-Linear Narratives features Bee Scott’s queer sci-fi interactive travelogue If You Find This and Natasha Stanic Mann’s immersive insight into hidden consequences of war, The Return.

Friday’s Comedy and Burlesque bill presents Joe Maddalena in Gianluca Scatto and Maddalena’s dark comedy about male mental health, Self Help, Aidan Loft’s night-train drama On The Rail and A Night With York’s Stars burlesque show, fronted by Freida Nipples. More details next weekend. Box office:

Four Forty Theatre’s cast for the Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet comedy doube bill: Amy Roberts, Luke Thornton, Dom Gee-Burch and Amy Merivale

Unhinged comedy of the week: Four Forty Theatre in Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Thursday, 7.30pm

MACBETH in 40 minutes? Romeo & Juliet in 40 minutes? Both shows performed by only four actors on one raucous night? Yes, welcome back Four Forty Theatre, returning to the JoRo with a brace of Shakespeare’s tragedies transformed into an outrageous, flat-out comedy double bill.

In the line-up will be actress and primary school teacher Alice Merivale; Liverpool actress, musician, director, vocal coach and piano teacher Amy Roberts; company debutant actor-musician Luke Thornton and company director and pantomime dame Dom Gee-Burch. Box office: 01904 501935 or

The poster for Legend – The Music Of Bob Marley

Tribute show of the week: Legend – The Music of Bob Marley, York Barbican, Thursday, 7.30pm

LEGEND celebrates the reggae music of Jamaican icon Bob Marley in a two-hour Rasta spectacular. “Don’t worry about a thing, ’cause every little thing is gonna be alright” when the cast re-creates No Woman No Cry,  Could You Be Loved, Is This Love, One Love, Three Little Birds, Jammin’, Buffalo Soldier, Get Up Stand Up and I Shot The Sheriff. Box office:

Jorgie Willingham’s Referee and Jim Carnall’s boxer Paul Stokes in rehearsal for The Sweet Science Of Bruising at York Theatre Royal. Picture: James Harvey

Knock-out show of the week: York College BA (Hons) Acting for Stage and Screen Graduating Students in The Sweet Science Of Bruising, York Theatre Royal, Thursday and Friday, 7.30pm

JOY Wilkinson’s The Sweet Science Of Bruising is an epic tale of passion, politics and pugilism in the world of 19th-century women’s boxing, staged by York College students.

In London, 1869, four very different Victorian women are drawn into the dark underground of female boxing by the eccentric Professor Sharp. Controlled by men and constrained by corsets, each finds an unexpected freedom in the boxing ring as they fight inequality as well as each other. Box office: 01904 623568 or

More Things To Do in York and beyond when the tooth fairy visits and gaps must be filled. Hutch’s List No. 24, from The Press

Driller thriller: Birmingham Rep in David Walliams’ Demon Dentist at the Grand Opera House, York

COMEDY aplenty, musical collaborations, dental mystery adventures and soul seekers make a convincing case for inclusion in Charles Hutchinson’s list.

Children’s show of the week: David Walliams’ Demon Dentist, Grand Opera House, York, Thursday, 1.30pm, 6.30pm; Friday, 10.30am, 6.30pm; Saturday, 11am, 3pm

CHILDREN’S author David Walliams has teamed up with Birmingham Stage Company for Demon Dentist, their third collaboration after Gangsta Granny and Billionaire Boy, aapted and directed by Neal Foster.

Join Alfie and Gabz as they investigate the strange events happening in their hometown, where children are leaving their teeth for the tooth fairy and waking up to find odd things under their pillows. No-one could have dreamed what Alfie and Gabz would discover on coming face to face with the demon dentist herself in this thrilling adventure story. Box office:

Isabelle Farah: Sadness meets humour in Ellipsis at Theatre@41

Therapy session of the week: Isabelle Farah: Ellipsis, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, tonight, 7.45pm

STAND-UP is the outlet that keeps you sane, where the nature of the game is to turn everything into punchlines. But can you do it if you feel all-consuming sadness, ponders comedian/actor/writer/nightmare Isabelle Farah in Ellipsis.

“I wanted my therapist to come and watch me to see how hilarious I am, but I thought how odd it would be performing to someone who’s seen so far behind my mask,” she says. “Would he even find it funny or just sit there knowing what I was hiding?” Cue her exploration of grief, authenticity and being funny.

Elinor Rolfe Johnson: Soprano soloist at York Minster tonight

Classical concert of the week: Vaughan Williams: A Sea Symphony, York Minster, tonight, 7.30pm

YORK Musical Society and Philharmonischer Chor Münster from York’s twin city in Germany mark 30 years of concert collaborations with Vaughan Williams’s A Sea Symphony, using text from Walt Whitman poems.

Toward The Unknown Region, another Whitman setting, takes a journey from darkness to light, followed by the beautiful orchestral work Serenade in A minor. Tonight’s soloists are soprano Elinor Rolfe Johnson and bass Julian Tovey. Box office: 01904 623568 or; on the door from 6.45pm.

Frankie Boyle’s tour poster for Lap Of Shame, doing the rounds on tour at the Grand Opera House, York

Great Scot of the week: Frankie Boyle, Lap Of Shame, Grand Opera House, York, Sunday, 7.30pm

SCATHING Scottish comedian, surrealist, presenter and writer Frankie Boyle, 50, is on tour. “Buy a ticket, because by the time I arrive, the currency will be worthless and you and your neighbours part of a struggling militia that could probably use a few laughs,” advises the often-controversial Glaswegian.

Only a handful of tickets are still available at Please note: no latecomers, no readmittance.

Scott Bennett: Heading to Selby Town Hall

Great Scott of the week: Scott Bennett, Selby Town Hall, Sunday, 7.30pm

SCOTT Bennett has been blazing a trail through the stand-up circuit for the best part of a decade, writing for Chris Ramsey and Jason Manford too.

After regular appearances on BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz and The Now Show and his debut on BBC One’s Live At The Apollo, he presents Great Scott! in Selby. Box office:

Kiki Dee & Carmelo Luggeri: On the road to Helmsley Arts Centre

Rescheduled gig of the week: Kiki Dee & Carmelo Luggeri, Helmsley Arts Centre, Sunday, 7.30pm

MOVED from March 3, Bradford soul singer Kiki Dee and guitarist Carmelo Luggeri head to Helmsley for an acoustic journey through stories and songs, from Kate Bush and Frank Sinatra covers to Kiki’s hits Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, I Got The Music In Me, Loving And Free and Amoureuse. Songs from 2022’s The Long Ride Home should feature too. Box office: 01439 771700 or

Neil Warnock: Moving his York Barbican show from June 15 to next May

Re-arranged show announcement: Neil Warnock, Are You With Me?, York Barbican, moving from June 15 to May 31 2024

ARE you with Neil Warnock on Thursday? Not any more, after “unforeseen circumstances” forced the former York City captain and Scarborough manager (and town chiropodist) to postpone his talk tour until next spring. Tickets remain valid.

After guiding Huddersfield Town to safety from the threat of relegation in the 2022-2023 season, Warnock, 74, was to have gone on the road to discuss his record number of games as a manager, 16 clubs and 8 promotions, from non-league to Premier League, and a thousand stories along the way that have never been told. Now those tales must wait…and whose season might he rescue in 2023-24 before then?! Box office:

Kyshona: Protest singing in Pocklington

Discovery of the week: Kyshona, Pocklington Arts Centre, Thursday, 8pm

UNRELENTING in her pursuit of the healing power of song, community connector Kyshona Armstrong has the background of a licensed music therapist, the curiosity of a writer, the resolve of an activist and the voice of a protest singer.

As witnessed on her 2020 album Listen, she blends roots, rock, R&B and folk with her lyrical clout. Past collaborators include Margo Price and Adia Victoria.  Now comes her Pocklington debut. Box office: 01759 301547 or

The Illegal Eagles: Taking it easy at York Barbican

Tribute show of the week: The Illegal Eagles, York Barbican, Friday, 8pm

THE Illegal Eagles celebrate the golden music of the legendary West Coast country rock band with musical prowess, attention to detail and showmanship.  Expect to hear Hotel California, Desperado, Take It Easy, New Kid In Town, Life In The Fast Lane and many more. Box office:

Shalamar: Toasting 40 years of Friends at York Barbican

Soul show of the week: Shalamar Friends 40th Anniversary Tour, York Barbican, June 17, 7.30pm

SHALAMAR mark the 40th anniversary of Friends, the platinum-selling album that housed four Top 20 singles, A Night To Remember, Friends, There It Is and I Can Make You Feel Good, outsold Abba, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Culture Club and Meat Loaf that year and spawned Jeffrey Daniels’ dance moves on Top of The Pops.

Further Shalamar hits Take That To The Bank, I Owe You One, Make That Move, Dead Giveaway and Disappearing Act feature too.  Special guests are Jaki Graham and Cool Notes’ Lauraine McIntosh. Box office:

The poster for the Academy of St Olave’s summer concert

Celebrating England’s musical legacy: Academy of St Olave’s, St Olave’s Church, Marygate, York, June 17, 8pm

THE Academy of St Olave’s chamber orchestra rounds off its 2022-23 season with a summer concert centred on England’s musical legacy, from symphonies written for
London audiences by the great Austrian composers Mozart and Haydn, to works by
English composers Frederick Delius, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Paul Patterson.

The concert is book-ended by Mozart’s first symphony and Haydn’s hundredth, known as “The Military”. Mozart composed his work in London during his family’s Grand Tour of
Europe in 1764, when the boy wonder was eight. Likewise, Haydn’s work was one of his 12 “London symphonies”, to be performed during his second visit to England in 1794-95. Box office: or on the door.

Mozart 1764
Haydn 1794-5
Delius 1911
RVW 1904-7
Patterson 1999

In Focus: Who are the York community chorus in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Julius Caesar at York Theatre Royal?

Community chorus sextet Hilary Conroy, Astrid Hanlon, Elaine Harvey, Stephanie Hesp, Anna Johnston and Frances Simon with music director Jessa Liversidge, right

SIX women – all inspirational leaders within the York and North Yorkshire community – will form the Chorus when the Royal Shakespeare Company’s touring production of Julius Caesar visits York Theatre Royal from June 13 to 17.

Step forward Hilary Conroy, Astrid Hanlon, Elaine Harvey, Stephanie Hesp, Anna Johnston and Frances Simon, under the musical direction of community choir leader Jessa Liversidge, from Easingwold, with Zoe Colven-Davies as chorus coordinator.

The women in next week’s chorus have roles in the community spanning activism and campaigning to charity and social work, lecturing, teaching and coaching. In their day-to-day lives they each make an impact on the York community, whether through fighting for social change, championing community voices, supporting vulnerable groups or encouraging engagement in the creative arts. 

Between them, they lead and support a diverse range of groups and community causes, including supporting disabled and neurodivergent people, those impacted by dementia and mental health issues, people affected by loneliness and those suffering from domestic abuse. They empower others through the creative arts and performance and champion wellbeing in marginalised groups. 

Leading the York group is music director Jessa Liversidge, calling on her wealth of experience with community choirs, inclusive singing groups and working with people of all ages to inspire them through music. 

Juliet Forster, York Theatre Royal’s creative director, says: “It’s a huge privilege for us to have these voices heard alongside the RSC’s actors, and we are so thankful for their input and commitment to the project. 

“This production explores what makes a leader and asks questions about gender and power. Who better to take part than women who are already leaders in our community and in their workplace? 

“The opportunity is exciting and empowering and is strong evidence of how committed the RSC is to meaningful collaboration with its regional theatre partners. We are incredibly proud to be able to contribute a local perspective into this nationwide conversation, and I can’t wait to see what our York women do.”

Explaining the role that the York community chorus will play, RSC director Atri Banerjee says: “Julius Caesar is a play about a nation in crisis, a play about the gulf between politicians and the people they are trying to rule.

“It just makes so much sense to me that this production would include ‘real’ people from where we are touring. So, alongside the professional acting company, we have found a way of integrating the communities from all the areas the show is playing.

“Community work has always been important to me, making work with non-professionals, whether that’s young people or non-professional adults.

“It’s not unusual for productions of Julius Caesar to have a chorus who come on to be the citizens of Rome and say ‘Read The Will’ and then you never see them again. But I wanted to include them to amplify the supernatural, apocalyptic terror within the play. They’ll be singing, using their voices, and will be present on stage for significant parts of the play. They will be something akin to the chorus you’d see in a Greek tragedy watching the action.

“Premonitions of death really. Premotions of figures who embody death in ways that go beyond these characters.”

Royal Shakespeare Company in Julius Caesar, York Theatre Royal, June 13 to 17, 7.30pm plus 2pm Thursday and Saturday matinees. Box office: 01904 623568 or