Singer-songwriter Lady Nade is willing to play Pocklington Arts Centre in October

Bristol singer-songwriter Lady Nade. Picture: Joseph Branston

AMERICANA folk singer-songwriter Lady Nade will return to Pocklington Arts Centre on October 15 after supporting Spiers & Boden there in October 2021.

This summer, the Bristol musician has played such festivals as Glastonbury, Latitude and Black Deer in the wake of releasing her third album, Willing, in June 2021.

Pocklington Arts Centre manager Dave Parker says: “Lady Nade’s last appearance here last October created a real buzz amongst our audience, with many coming away from the show blown away by her performance as the special guest of Spiers & Boden.

“So, we’re incredibly excited to be welcoming her back to the venue and putting her centre stage for what we know will be a fantastic night of live music in a unique intimate setting. Snap up your tickets fast or risk missing out!”

The forced stillness of the pandemic led to a prolific outpouring of creativity and words by Lady Nade, resulting in Willing, a collection of stories about love and friendship, both regular subjects in her work. Her songs explore self and loneliness, emotions that she brings to audiences with a sense of finding and losing these feelings during such strange times.

Tickets for this 8pm concert cost £14 on 01759 301547 or at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Spiers & Boden turn Fallow Ground into cause for light relief at Pocklington gig

Country seat: Spiers & Boden make a fruitful return with Fallow Ground despite its barren title

AFTER years of speculation, English folk duo Spiers & Boden are back together.

Last month came the album Fallow Ground on the Yorkshire label Hudson Records: the herald to a 23-date autumn tour that visits Pocklington Arts Centre for a sold-out 8pm show on Wednesday.

First forming the duo in 2001, melodeon and concertina player John Spiers, now 46, and singer, fiddler and guitarist Jon Boden, 44, became leading lights in pioneering big folk band Bellowhead, resting their “double act” in 2014 before the Bellowhead juggernaut roared off into the sunset in 2016.

“We always thought of it as a hiatus rather than us ending the duo in 2014,” says Boden. “We stopped because Bellowhead were taking over. We were fighting against the tide in terms of time being available and media attention.

“It felt like the right time to focus on Bellowhead, but that said, since Bellowhead’s finale, we seem to have taken it in turns to be busy. When I was busy, working with The Remnant Kings, John wasn’t; when he was, I was twiddling my thumbs, and then along came the pandemic.”

Boden duly completed his post-apocalyptic trilogy with his fifth solo album, Last Mile Home, recorded in Spring and Summer 2020 at home and in a Sheffield industrial unit for release in March with its theme of a walk through wasteland to a mystical coastal destination with messages of hope and renewal en route.

“The last album in the climate-change concept trilogy, set a few years’ hence, is more nature focused, describing an older couple who have lived in the wild by themselves for years and are now making a valedictory journey from moor to coast,” he says.

Jon Boden completed his post-apocalyptic climate change trilogy with Last Mile Home, recorded in 2020

“Certainly, in my mind, it’s about walking from Sheffield to the Lincolnshire coast, but I’m also interested in the idea that if you’re using an album as a format for telling a story, you can leave a lot more gaps for people to fill in the story for themselves.”

Once Boden’s trilogy was complete, Boden & Spiers set to work on resuming their fiddle and melodeon partnership. “The last time we were seriously putting original material together, before Vagabond [their fifth album, released in 2008], we were both living in Oxford, meeting once a week,” says Boden.

“This time, we decided pre-pandemic to start up again, and then had to come up with slightly more thought-out suggestions before taking it further, at first meeting up in a strictly distanced format.”

Recording sessions subsequently took place between lockdowns. “We decided it shouldn’t be a radical departure from before, but traditional or in the tradition. We wouldn’t be doing a thrash metal rock opera or anything like that. It would be in a familiar vein,” says Boden.

“It’s such a long time since we came up with anything new that it’s just exciting to be working together again.”

They settled on a combination of rambunctious melodies and contemplative ballads, mixing Morris tunes with tunes brought to the 21st century from dusty manuscripts, bolstered by their own gift for conjuring tunes.

Spiers “used his intuition” to finish off Bampton fiddler William Henry Giles’s incomplete Funney Eye, discovered in a 19th century manuscript; Bluey Brink finds the duo dipping into the Australian folk world for the first time, from the repertoire of Peter Bellamy, complemented by Bellamy’s Butter And Cheese in a version by Sam Larner known as The Greasy Cook, The Cook’s Choice or, more intriguingly, Cupboard Love.

“With us, it’s all about how much swing to put in,” says fiddler Jon Boden of his partnership with melodeon player John Spiers

The title track, also known as As I Stood Under My Love’s Window, or more prosaically The Cock, is an unusual traditional love song, neither boasting of conquest, nor lamenting betrayal or abandonment.

Original composition Bailey Hill/Wittenham Clumps combines a tune by Boden with one by Spiers, both parts taking a name from a hill with significance for the duo, while Giant’s Waltz/The Ironing Board Hornpipe was inspired by the Giant’s Causeway. Spiers contributed The Fog too.

The Fallow Ground title refers not only to Spiers & Boden’s 2014 decision to put the duo to one side but also to the pandemic’s impact, drawing a red line through concerts for months on end.

Nevertheless, the album strikes a positive tone. “I guess we were looking for songs during lockdown with a sense of fun and light relief,” says Boden. “I realise that there are zero songs about death on Fallow Ground, which is probably a first and may get us expelled from the English Folk Dance & Song Society. Yes, these are traditional songs with a joyous edge.”

Such positivity mirrors Boden’s tone on his climate-change trilogy. “I started off by assuming the first album [2009’s Songs From The Floodplain] might be quite dark and dystopian, but half way through I found I was being drawn to an almost utopian ideal of existing in the moment, existing within nature,” he says.

“It ended up being, not celebratory, but more optimistic, not about climate change, but for the human possibilities of adapting and finding positive solutions.”

“I guess we were looking for songs during lockdown with a sense of fun and light relief,” says Jon Boden, summing up the 13 tracks on Fallow Ground

Now, a mood of celebration does apply as Spiers & Boden return to the road, but how would Boden define the two-decade chemistry that has sparked up once more? “It’s such a subtle thing with folk-tune playing, particularly with English tunes, where it’s about swing but not too much swing,” he says.

“You think about how other melodeon players might play, but with us, it’s all about how much swing to put in, and that’s because I learned to play English tunes with John, where previously I played Irish tunes.

“There’s a thing about the melodeon and fiddle in that each instrument does what the other can’t do, so there’s no fighting over territory because they do such different jobs, and that’s why they are the perfect match – and why there have been so many fiddle and box duos.

“The reason we clicked together from the beginning is that we recognised something in each other’s approach; something I was doing with songs and he was doing with tunes, though I’ve now got more involved with the tunes and John with the songwriting.”

Meanwhile, should you be wondering whether Bellowhead will ever play together again, keep up! They already have for a one-off concert streamed worldwide by Stabal TV in December 2020, marking the tenth anniversary of their third album, Hedonism.

The live session recording at a mansion house near London has now been released this summer as an album, Reassembled, on double LP vinyl , CD and digital formats.

“Andy Mellon, our trumpet player, was busy writing for the BBC so he felt he wouldn’t be able to get match-fit to play together again, but the rest of us managed to squeeze in the concert between lockdowns, and it was great to play again,” says Boden.

Jon Boden: Many strings to his bow

“I was a bit worried, thinking, ‘how will it feel when we’re having to keep two metres apart and there’ll be no-audience’, but it was absolutely brilliant. Just such a joy, after nine months, to be able to play music with people in the same room and especially with people who hadn’t played together for five years.

“We just had to remember not to stand too close to each other, and the remarkable thing was just how well we played, maybe because we were all nervous about it, so we all worked really hard in preparation.”

Spiers & Boden play Pocklington Arts Centre on Wednesday at 8pm; doors, 7.30pm. Sold out.

One final question for Jon Boden:

You composed the scores for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s productions of The Merchant Of Venice in 2011 and The Winter’s Tale in 2013 (toured to the Grand Opera House, York, that March). Will there be further theatrical collaborations, Jon?

“I’ve done bits and bobs of theatre since then, most recently for Goat & Monkey’s national tour of Toby Hulse’s play The Pirate Cruncher in 2019. That was great fun, and I’m still in touch with theatre friends, but nothing ever quite happens, even though we say, ‘oh, we must do something’.

“The problem has always been – and a lot of musicians find this difficult – the time scale involved because, surprisingly, theatre is done within a much smaller time frame, bringing the cast and creative team together only three months before the production, sometimes less, whereas bands book gigs 18 months in advance, so there’s often an unavoidable clash of commitments.”

More Things To Do in and around York as records are set straight and dark nights lit up. List No. 53, courtesy of The Press, York

Setting the record straight: Adrian Lukis’s roguish George Wickham in Being Mr Wickham at York Theatre Royal

AUTUMN’S fruits are ripe and ready for Charles Hutchinson to pick with no worries about shortages.

Scandal of the week: Being Mr Wickham, Original Theatre Company, York Theatre Royal, tonight until Saturday, 7.30pm; 2.30pm, Saturday

ADRIAN Lukis played the vilified George Wickham in the BBC’s television adaptation of Pride And Prejudice 26 years ago this very month.

Time, he says, to set the record straight about Jane Austen’s most charmingly roguish character in his one-man play Being Mr Wickham, co-written with Catherine Curzon.

This is the chance to discover Wickham’s version of famous literary events. What really happened with Mr Darcy? What did he feel about Lizzie? What went on at Waterloo? Not to mention Byron. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Cate Hamer in rehearsal for the SJT and Live Theatre, Newcastle co-production of The Offing. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

Play of the week outside York: The Offing, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, until October 30

IN a Britain still reeling from the Second World War, Robert Appleyard sets out on an adventure at 16: to walk from his home in Durham to Scarborough, where he hopes to find work, but he never arrives there. 

Instead, up the coast at Robin Hood’s Bay, a chance encounter with the bohemian, eccentric Dulcie Piper leads to a lifelong, defining friendship. She introduces him to the joys of good food and wine, art and literature; he helps her lay to rest a ghost in Janice Okoh’s adaptation of Benjamin Myers’s novel for the SJT and Live Theatre, Newcastle. Box office: 01723 370541 or at sjt.uk.com.  

Simon Wright: Conducting York Guildhall Orchestra at York Barbican

Classic comeback: York Guildhall Orchestra, York Barbican, Saturday, 7.30pm

YORK Guildhall Orchestra return to the concert stage this weekend after the pandemic hiatus with a programme of operatic favourites, conducted by Simon Wright.

The York musicians will be joined by Leeds Festival Chorus and two soloists, soprano Jenny Stafford, and tenor Oliver Johnston, to perform overtures, arias and choruses by Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Rossini, Mozart, Puccini and Verdi. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Adam Kay: Medic, author and comedian, on visiting hours at Grand Opera House, York, on Sunday

Medical drama of the week: Adam Kay, This Is Going To Hurt, Secret Diaries Of A Junior Doctor, Grand Opera House, Sunday, 8pm

ADAM Kay, medic turned comic, shares entries from his diaries as a junior doctor in his evening of horror stories from the NHS frontline, savvy stand-up, witty wordplay and spoof songs.

His award-winning show, This Going To Hurt, has drawn 200,000 people to sell-out tours, the Edinburgh Fringe and West End runs, and the book of the same name topped the best sellers list for more than a year and is soon to be a BBC drama. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or at atgtickets.com/york.

Boyzlife: Keith Duffy and Brian McFadden unite in Boyzone and Westlife songs at York Barbican

Irish night of the week: Boyzlife, York Barbican, Sunday, 7.30pm; doors, 6.30pm

PUT Irish boy band graduates Brian McFadden, from Westlife, and Keith Duffy, from Boyzone, together and they become Boyzlife, as heard on the July 2020 album Strings Attached, recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

On tour with a full band, but not the ‘Phil’, they choose songs from a joint back catalogue of 18 number one singles and nine chart-topping albums.

So many to squeeze in…or not: No Matter What, Flying Without Wings, World Of Our Own, Queen Of My Heart, Picture Of You, Uptown Girl, You Raise Me Up, Going Gets Tough, Swear It Again, Father And Son, Love Me For A Reason and My Love. Find out on Sunday. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk

Thumper: Dublin band play Ad Nauseam and much more at Fulford Arms, York, on Tuesday

 Loudest gig of the week: Thumper, Fulford Arms, York, Tuesday, 8pm

THUMPER, the cult Dublin band with two thumping drummers, are back on the road after you know what, promoting a 2021 mix of their single Ad Nauseam: a cautionary tale of repetition, vanity and becoming too close to what you know will eat you.

From the Irish city of the equally visceral Fontaines DC and The Murder Capital, Thumper have emerged with their ragged guitars and “bratty, frenetic punk rock” (Q magazine).

Now their debut album is taking shape after the band were holed up in their home studio for months on end. The Adelphi, Hull, awaits on Wednesday.

At the fourth time of planning: Mary Coughlan, Pocklington Arts Centre, Tuesday, 8pm

Mary Coughlan: Life Stories in song at Pocklington Arts Centre

GALWAY jazz and blues chanteuse Mary Coughlan had to move her Pocklington show three times in response to the stultifying pandemic.

“Ireland’s Billie Holliday” twice rearranged the gig during 2020, and did so again this year in a switch from April 23 to October 19.

At the heart of Mary’s concert, fourth time lucky, will still be Life Stories, her 15th album, released on the wonderfully named Hail Mary Records last September. Box office: 01759 301547 or at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Spiers & Boden: Resurrected folk duo head to Pocklington on Wednesday

Double act of the week ahead: Spiers & Boden, Pocklington Arts Centre, Wednesday, 7.30pm

AFTER years of speculation, much-loved English folk duo Spiers & Boden are back together, releasing the album Fallow Ground and bringing a live show to Pocklington this autumn with special guests. 

First forming a duo in 2001, John Spiers, now 46, and Jon Boden, 44, became leading lights in big folk band Bellowhead, resting the duo in 2014, before Bellowhead headed into the sunset in 2016. Solo endeavours ensued but now Spiers & Boden return. Box office: 01759 301547 or at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Matilda takes on Miss Trunchbull in Matilda The Musical Jr

Musical of the week: Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical Jr, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, October 20 to 24, 7.30pm; 2pm, 4.30pm, Saturday; 2pm, Sunday.

ONLY the last few tickets are still available for York Stage Musicals’ York premiere of the Broadway Junior version of Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin’s stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s story.

Matilda has astonishing wit, intelligence, imagination…and special powers! Unloved by her cruel parents, she nevertheless impresses teacher Miss Honey, but mean headmistress Miss Trunchbull hates children and just loves thinking up new punishments for those who fail to abide by her rules. Hurry, hurry to the box office: 01904 501935 or at josephrowntheatre.co.uk.

People We Love: Curtailed by the second Covid lockdown, the York Mediale exhibition has a second life at York Minster from this weekend

Worth noting too:

PEOPLE We Love, the York Mediale exhibition, reopening at York Minster from Saturday. York Design Week, full of ideas, October 20 to 26, at yorkdesign week.com; Light Night Leeds 2021, with a Back To Nature theme for this art and lights festival tonight and tomorrow, at whatson.leeds.gov.uk; Live At Leeds gigs across 20 venues with Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Sports Team, The Night Café, The Big Moon, Dream Wife, Poppy Adjuda, The Orielles and Thumper, at liveatleeds.com.

Pocklington Arts Centre confirms July 21 reopening and first film show in 491 days

Open welcome: Pocklington Arts Centre director Janet Farmer looks forward to reopening on July 20

POCKLINGTON Arts Centre will reopen to the public on July 20 and film screenings will re-start on July 23, 491 days since the last performance.

Director Janet Farmer and venue manager James Duffy have chosen this date to ensure the safety of customers and volunteers.

“Over the past few months, our main focus has been planning the safe reopening of the building, ensuring all staff are trained appropriately and making sure the venue has all its new systems, resources and processes in place and working well,” says Janet. 

“We have sought feedback from staff, volunteers and customers and this will be vital to the success of this process. Our main aim is to ensure the visitor experience at Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC) is safe, secure and enjoyable.”

In late-March 2020, the East Yorkshire venue launched a crowdfunding page, raising more than £18,000 in under a month, followed by successful funding applications to the Smile Foundation’s I Am Fund and the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. 

Spiers & Boden: October 20 booking at Pocklington Arts Centre

Janet says: “I would like to thank our customers, in addition to Pocklington Town Council, the Friends of PAC, the Smile Foundation, Arts Council England and the Music Venue Trust for their collective support over the past year. 

“It has been a very difficult time for everyone, but their kind words, financial support and continued interest in all things PAC has meant a great deal and helped carry the venue through these extraordinary times.”

Staff have rescheduled forthcoming events for the autumn and winter, transferring more than 4,000 tickets and refunding customers for 20-plus cancelled events. 

“Throughout the closure period, we have stated our determination to emerge from the situation more vibrant than ever and our autumn and winter programme is a testament to that,” says Janet. 

“2021/22 will see a fantastic range of live events being staged here, alongside our trademark diverse mix of film screenings, live broadcasts, exhibitions, community events and private hires.” 

Velma Celli: York’s queen of vocal drag will make Pocklington debut on December 3. Picture: Kirkpatrick Photography

In the diary are Grammy Award winner Loudon Wainwright III, September 24; Northumberland Theatre Company (NTC) in Oscar Wilde’s “trivial comedy for serious people”, The Importance Of Being Earnest, September 30; North Eastern gypsy folk-rockers Holy Moly & The Crackers, October 16; Oxford singer-songwriter Thea Gilmore, October 7, and Irish jazz/blues chanteuse Mary Coughlan, October 19.

Bellowhead alumni and BBC Radio Folk Award winners Spiers & Boden are booked in for October 20; Red Ladder Theatre Company, from Leeds, in Nana-Kofi Kufuor’s My Voice Was Heard But Was Ignored, for November 25; television and radio broadcaster and author Jeremy Vine, November 26; Welsh singer-songwriter Martyn Joseph, December 2, and York drag diva deluxe Velma Celli, December 3.

Confirmed for 2022 are An Evening With Julian Norton, from Channel 5’s The Yorkshire Vet, January 18; singer-songwriter Teddy Thompson, January 22;Welsh guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and former Amen Corner cornerstone Andy Fairweather Low, February 11, and Eighties’ pop singer and actress Toyah Willcox, March 3.

PAC’s two open-air acoustic concerts in Primrose Wood, Pocklington, with Martin Simpson and Katie Spencer on July 1 and The Dunwells and Rachel Croft on July 8 will go ahead despite the Government’s Step 4 roadmap delay, but now under social-distancing restrictions. Both 7pm shows have sold out.

Janet says: “We always knew this was a possibility when the shows were first planned and there’s sufficient space for people to enjoy the event safely, while experiencing the atmospheric setting of Primrose Wood.”

Martin Simpson: Headlining at a sold-out Primrose Woods on July 1

PAC increased its online artistic output during the pandemic, staging 18 events to more than 9,000 audience members. 

In addition, a series of outdoor exhibitions has been held by PAC across the region. York artists Sue Clayton and Karen Winship have shown work at All Saints’ Church, Pocklington, and Sue will be following Karen into Hull Waterside and Marina. Those attending the York Vaccination Centre at Askham Bar can see her Down Syndrome portraits in the Tent of Hope. 

“We felt it was vitally important to have continued customer engagement throughout the prolonged closure period and the public response to these events and exhibitions has been very positive,” says Janet. 

“We’re also very much aware there’s no substitute to watching a live performance, in person, and sharing this experience with fellow audience members. 

“Everyone at PAC is now counting down the days until the doors can reopen and we can welcome customers back. It’s been a very long interval and we can’t wait for the second half to begin.”

For full event listings and ticket details, go to: pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

York artist Karen Winship at the launch of her NHS Heroes exhibition at Hull Waterside and Marina

More Things To Do in York, beyond and at home as Step 2 on the roadmap nears. List No. 30, courtesy of The Press, York

York actor-writer Anna Soden in rehearsal for Strawberry Lion’s streamed performance of E Nesbit’s Five Children And It

ROLL on Monday and Step 2 of the Government’s roadmap to recovery, when outdoor hospitality can resume and zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas and libraries can re-open.

Charles Hutchinson casts an eye over what’s on and what’s next.

Strawberry Lion’s show poster for Five Children And It

Children’s stream of the week: Strawberry Lion in Five Children And It, via Explore York libraries

YORK company Strawberry Lion’s streamed production of E Nesbit’s novel Five Children And It can be viewed for free on @YorkExplore’s YouTube channel daily until April 14 at 5pm.

Suitable for children aged five and over, the show is written and performed by York actor, musician, writer, theatre-maker and company founder Anna Soden, who has set Nesbit’s 1902 story with the grumpy magical creature on Scarborough beach.

Sailing Hopefully, by Jack Hellewell, from Jack’s Travels at Kentmere House Gallery, York, from next Monday

Exhibition launch of the week ahead: Jack Hellewell: Jack’s Travels, Kentmere House Gallery, Scarcroft Hill, York, from April 12

CURATOR Ann Kentmere is toasting Roadmap Step 2 Day by reopening Kentmere House Gallery on April 12 with Jack Travels, the first in a lockdown-delayed series of exhibitions to celebrate the centenary of the late Bradford artist Jack Hellewell.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Ann and David Petherick’s gallery in their York home, and Hellewell’s show will be open every day from April 12 to 17, 11am to 5pm, with extended opening to 9pm next Thursday, before Ann resumes her regular opening hours on the first weekend of each month and Thursdays from 6pm to 9pm. Or you can just ring the bell on the off-chance.

York Dungeon: Heading out into York’s haunted streets for a walking tour

Walking tour launch of the month ahead: The York Dungeon, from April 16

THE York Dungeon will spring its “frighteningly fun but family-friendly” walking tour on this socially distanced haunted city from next Friday.

Taking The York Dungeon above ground on Fridays to Sundays, guests will be led on a tour of hair-raising historic locations by two of the Clifford Street visitor attraction’s most/least loved characters, who will tell horrible tales of York’s murkiest, darkest history,  wrapped up in suspense and surprises. Start times will be throughout each day; tickets must be pre-booked at thedungeons.com/york/.

Ela Bochenek, documentations assistant for Scarborough Museums Trust, with Bathers In Sunlight by Zdzislaw Ruszkowski , on show at Scarborough Art Gallery in Scarborough: Our Seaside Town, from next month

A day by the sea but inside a gallery: Scarborough: Our Seaside Town, Scarborough Art Gallery, May 18 to September 12

SCARBOROUGH Art Gallery’s summertime exhibition will look at life in a seaside town, as seen through the eyes of local people. 

Curator Esther Lockwood interviewed team members from Scarborough Museums Trust, asking for their personal views and recollections of life by the sea year-round before selecting items from the trust’s extensive collections.

These will include an early 20th century ice cream cart that once operated on Scarborough’s South Bay beach; the East Coast resort’s Pancake Bell, rung to signal the start of the unique tradition of skipping on the seafront on Shrove Tuesday, and other seaside ephemera, paintings, vintage photographs and postcards.

Kinky Sex, Grayson Perry’s first plate, now among the “lost pots” brought together for his Pre-Therapy Years exhibition at CoCA, York

Missing Grayson’s Art Club on Channel 4 already? Head to Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years, York Art Gallery, May 28 to September 5

GRAYSON Perry’s lockdown-delayed “lost pots” exhibition at York Art Gallery’s Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA) will open at last next month.

This touring show is the first celebration of Perry’s earliest forays into the art world, re-assembling the explosive and creative works the Chelmsford-born artist, author and television presenter made between 1982 and 1994.

“It’s as near as I will ever get to meeting myself as a young man, an angrier, priapic me with huge energy but a much smaller wardrobe,” says Perry.

SpongeBob The Musical: Pick Me Up Theatre have acquired the rights for a winter production in York

Audition opportunity: Pick Me Up Theatre, SpongeBob The Musical, Theatre @41 Monkgate, York

YORK company Pick Me Up Theatre are to stage SpongeBob The Musical from December 7 to 18 at Theatre @41 Monkgate, York.

Director Robert Readman and musical director Sam Johnson will hold auditions there in July and August for performers aged 15 to 23 and actor-musicians for the Bikini Bottom Band.

Anyone interested is asked to email pickmeuptheatre@gmail.com for an audition form.

Del Amitri: First album in 19 years and first York Barbican gig after the same hiatus

Gig announcement of the week in York: Del Amitri, York Barbican, September 18

DEL Amitri will follow up the May 28 release of their seventh studio album, Fatal Mistakes, with a September 18 gig at York Barbican.

Justin Currie’s Glaswegian band last played the Barbican in May 2002, the year they released their last album, Can You Do Me Good?.

Greatest hits and new material will combine in a set supported by The Bryson Family. Tickets will go on sale tomorrow (9/4/2021) at 9am at yorkbarbican.co.uk.

John Spiers, left, and Jon Boden: Pocklington Arts Centre gig in October for the former Bellowhead cornerstones

Gig announcement of the week outside York: Spiers & Boden, Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC), October 20, 8pm

AFTER years of speculation, much-loved English folk duo Spiers & Boden are back together and not only working on new material, but also bringing a live performance to Pock in the autumn. 

John Spiers, 46, and Jon Boden, 44, were the driving forces in big folk band Bellowhead, who played a glorious headline set at PAC’s Platform Festival at The Old Station, Pocklington, in July 2015. Tickets cost £20 at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Reunited Boden & Spiers to showcase new material at Pocklington Arts Centre concert

AFTER years of speculation, much-loved English folk duo Spiers & Boden are back together, working on new material and bringing a live show to Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC) this autumn. 

John Spiers, 46, and Jon Boden, 44, former leading lights of big folk band Bellowhead, will perform in Pock on Wednesday, October 20.

PAC director Janet Farmer says: “Spiers & Boden are a fantastic addition to our live events programme, and the fact that Pocklington Arts Centre will be one of their first live dates after they re-formed as a duo, following a hiatus of several years, is just incredible. Tickets have only just gone on sale and are already selling fast. 

“We cannot wait to welcome this talented duo, and of course our wonderful audience, through our doors for what will be an utterly brilliant night of world–class live music.”

Forming a folk duo in 2001, Spiers & Boden won a clutch of BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards: the Horizon Award for Best Newcomerin 2003 and the Best Duo Award in 2004 and 2006.  

A sojourn in Eliza Carthy & The Ratcatchers included a performance at the Mercury Music Prize Awards. After years of touring, in 2011 they headlined their own star-studded show at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire to celebrate their tenth anniversary.

Bellowhead: Boden and Spiers’ 11-piece folk big band

Meanwhile, they had built on their early success as a duo to found the ground-breaking folk big band Bellowhead, going on to achieve Royal Albert Hall sell-outs, Proms In The Park successes, multiple awards, signing to Universal Records en route to 250,000 album sales, and headlining PAC’s Platform Festival at The Old Station, Pocklington, in July 2015.

Inevitably, Bellowhead increasingly dominated their time and in 2014 Spiers & Boden made the tough decision to rest the duo, with Bellowhead bowing out two years later. 

Since then, Boden has carved out a career as both a solo performer and with his own band, Jon Boden & The Remnant Kings, while continuing to work on his creative trilogy of albums exploring a post-apocalyptic world and his work writing music for theatre. On November 6 2017, he launched his album Afterglow with a solo gig at Pocklington Arts Centre.

Melodeon player Spiers formed performance collaborations with fiddler Peter Knight, of Steeleye Span and Feast Of Fiddles, and separately folk singer and fiddler Jackie Oates.

He is a member too of the Gigspanner Big Band, with Knight, percussionist Sacha Trochet, guitarist Roger Flack and the multi-instrumental Edgelarks duo of Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin.  

What an autumn week this is shaping up to be at PAC: Irish chanteuse Mary Coughlan on October 19, Spiers & Boden, October 20, and Texas-born singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman on October 23. Tickets for Spiers & Boden’s 8pm Pocklington concert cost £20 at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.