More Things To Do in York and beyond for those about to rock…or put Spring in their step. Hutch’s List No. 13, from The Press

The return of RSJ: York metalcore band reconvene for one -off reunion at The Crescent

HEAVYWEIGHT comedy, hardcore rock, reshaped Shakespeare and a ‘roarsome’ children’s show fire up Charles Hutchinson’s enthusiasm for the week ahead.

Resurrection of the week: Mr H presents RSJ, The Crescent, York, tonight, doors 7pm

YORK’S mightiest metalcore groovers reunite for a special one-off show, fronted once more by Dan Cook, now of Raging Speedhorn. “RSJ were/are one of the most intense groove and hardcore noise monsters, not just in York but across the UK. It’s no wonder they stormed stages at Bloodstock, Knebworth and Hellfire,” says promoter Tim Hornsby.

RSJ’s spine-rattling polyrhythms and huge guitars will be preceded by the return of much-missed melodic hardcore band Beyond All Reason and Disinfo. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.

Justin Moorhouse: Plenty on his plate to get off his chest at Burning Duck Comedy Club night

Lancastrian in York of the week: Burning Duck Comedy Club presents Justin Moorhouse, Stretch And Think, The Crescent, York, Sunday, 7.30pm

MANCHESTER stand-up, radio presenter and actor Justin Moorhouse is back, “still funny, yet middle aged” (he’s 52), in a new suit for a new show that may contain thoughts on yoga, growing older, Madonna, shoplifters, Labradoodles, cyclists, the menopause, running, hating football fans but loving football…

…not drinking, funerals, tapas, Captain Tom, Droylsden, the environment, self-improvement,  horses, the odd advantages of fundamental religions, the gym and shop-door etiquette. “Come, it’ll be fun,” he says. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.

Royal Shakespeare Company: Linking up with York Theatre Royal for York Associate Schools Playmaking Festival

School project of the week: York Theatre Royal and Royal Shakespeare Company present York Associate Schools Playmaking Festival of The Merchant Of Venice, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday and Wednesday, 6.30pm

SHAKESPEARE’S play is told in six sections by six schools each night, using choral and ensemble approaches to relate Shylock’s story through multiple bodies and voices in a celebration of the joy of performance that explores themes of prejudice, friendship and self-interest.

Participating schools on March 28: Acomb Primary, Applefields School, Millthorpe School, Vale of York Academy, St Barnabas CE Primary; March 29, Clifton Green Primary, Poppleton Road Primary, Brayton Academy, Scarcroft Primary, Fulford School and Joseph Rowntree School. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Big in the Eighties: Andy Cryer in The Comedy Of Errors (More Or Less) at the SJT, Scarborough. Picture: Patch Dolan

Shake-up of the week: The Comedy Of Errors (More Or Less), Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, Thursday to April 15

ORIGINALLY by Shakespeare, now messed around with by Elizabeth Godber and Nick Lane, SJT director Paul Robinson’s vibrant new staging of the Bard’s most bonkers farce arrives  in a co-production with Prescot’s Shakespeare North Playhouse.  

The Comedy Of Errors (More Or Less) is brought to life in neon-lit 1980s’ Scarborough. Cue mistaken identities, theatrical chaos and belting musical numbers from the era of big phones and even bigger shoulder pads. Box office: 01723 370541 or sjt.uk.com. SEE REVIEW BELOW.

The poster artwork for Pick Me Up Theatre Company’s Oh! What A Lovely War

Revival of the week: Pick Me Up Theatre in Oh! What A Lovely War, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, March 31 to April 8, 7.30pm, except April 2 and 3; 2.30pm, April 1, 2 and 8

PICK Me Up Theatre present a 60th anniversary production of Oh! What A Lovely War, a satirical chronicle of the First World War, told through songs and documents in the form of a seaside Pierrot entertainment.

Devised and presented by Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East in 1963 before being turned into a film by Richard Attenborough in 1969, now it is in the hands of Robert Readman’s York cast. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Feeling hot, hot, hot: Zog is on fire in Freckle Productions’ show at York Theatre Royal

Children’s show of the week: Freckle Productions in Zog, York Theatre Royal, March 31, 4.30pm;  April 1,  10.30am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm 

JULIA Donaldson and Alex Scheffler’s Zog takes to the stage in a magical Freckle Productions show most suitable for age three upwards, although all ages are welcome. Zog is trying very hard to win a golden star at Madam Dragon’s school, perhaps too hard, as he bumps, burns and roars his way through Years 1, 2 and 3.

Luckily plucky Princess Pearl patches him up, ready to face his biggest challenge yet: a duel with knight Sir Gadabout the Great. Emma Kilbey directs; Joe Stilgoe provides the songs. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Roy “Chubby” Brown: Bluer than Stilton at York Barbican

Still in rude health: Roy “Chubby” Brown, York Barbican, March 31, 7.30pm

ROY “Chubby” Brown – real name Royston Vasey, from Grangetown, Middlesbrough – is on the road again at 78, 50 years into a blue comedy career that carries the warning: “If easily offended, please stay away”.

Chubby may not be everyone’s cup of tea but a lot of people like tea, he says. Thirty DVDs in 30 years, thousands of shows worldwide and four books testify to the abiding popularity of a profane joker full of frank social commentary, forthright songs and contempt for political correctness. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

In the doghouse: Ferocious Dog attack songs with bite at York Barbican

Where there is despair, may they bring Hope: Ferocious Dog, supported by Mark Chadwick, York Barbican, April 1, 7pm

FEROCIOUS Dog, a Left-leaning six-piece from Warsop, Nottinghamshire, slot somewhere between Levellers and early Billy Bragg in their vibrant vein of Celtic folk-infused punk rock.

Fifth album Hope came out in 2021, charting at number 31 in the Official UK Charts. Special guest will be Levellers’ leader Mark Chadwick, joined by Ferocious Dog violinist Dan Booth for part of his 7pm set. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Artwork by Cuban painter Leo Morey, one of the new artists taking part in York Open Studios 2023

Early sighter of the week: York Open Studios 2023 Taster Exhibition, The Hospitium, Museum Gardens, York, April 1 and 2, 10am to 4pm

FOR the first time since 2019, York Open Studios will be launched with a taster exhibition next weekend featuring examples of work by most of the 150 artists and makers set to open their studio doors on April 15, 16, 22 and 23.

This free preview gives a flavour of what will be coming up at more than 100 venues next month.  Full details of this year’s artists and locations can be found at yorkopenstudios.co.uk. Look out for booklets around York.

In Focus: Luke Wright, The Remains Of Logan Dankworth, Selby Town Hall, March 30, 8pm

In the Wright place: Luke Wright making his political point in The Remains Of Logan Dankworth

PERFORMANCE poet Luke Wright returns to Selby Town Hall on Thursday to peform his 2022 Edinburgh Fringe political verse play The Remains Of Logan Dankworth.

Columnist and Twitter warrior Logan Dankworth grew up romanticising the political turmoil of the 1980s. Now, as the EU Referendum looms, he is determined to be in the fray of the biggest political battle for years.

Meanwhile, Logan’s wife Megan wants to leave London to better raise their daughter. As tensions rise at home and across the nation, something is set to be lost forever.

The third in Wright’s trilogy of lyrically rich plays looks at trust, fatherhood and family in the age of Brexit. Winner of The Saboteur Award for Best Show, it picked up four and five-star from the Telegraph, the Scotsman, the Stage and British Theatre Guide.

Wright was a founder member of poetry collective Aisle16, who shook up the spoken-word scene in the 2000s, helping to kick-start a British renaissance of the form. He is the regular tour support for John Cooper Clarke and often hosts shows for The Libertines.

He is a frequent guest on BBC Radio 4, a Fringe First winner for writing and a Stage Award winner for performance.

“Luke Wright is an astonishing performer and one of the best political writers around today, whose wonderful, lyrical writing translates really well to full-length plays,” says Selby Town Council arts officer Chris Jones.

“I was lucky enough to see The Remains Of Logan Dankworth in Edinburgh last summer and made sure I booked it for Selby Town Hall straight away. It’s a brilliantly told story by a powerhouse poet.”

For tickets: ring 01757 708449 or book online at selbytownhall.co.uk.

REVIEW: The Comedy Of Errors (More Or Less), Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough *****

David Kirkbride’s Antipholus of Scarborough in a headlock with Claire Eden’s Big Sandra in The Comedy Of Errors (More Or Less). All pictures: Patch Dolan

Stephen Joseph Theatre and Shakespeare North Playhouse in The Comedy Of Errors (More Or Less), Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, until April 15, 7.30pm plus 1.30pm Thursday and 2.30pm Saturday matinees. Box office: 01723 370541 or sjt.uk.com

THIS Comedy Of Errors gets everything right. Not more or less. Just right. Full stop.

Shakespeare’s “most bonkers farce” has been entrusted to Nick Lane, madly inventive writer of the SJT’s equally bonkers pantomime, and Elizabeth Godber, a blossoming writing talent from the East Yorkshire theatrical family.  

How does this new partnership work? In a nutshell, Lane has penned the men’s lines, Godber, the female ones, before the duo moulded the finale in tandem.

SJT artistic director Paul Robinson, meanwhile, selected a criminally good play list of Eighties’ guilty pleasures, from Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again to Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl, Nik Kershaw’s Wouldn’t It Be Good to Toni Basil’s Mickey, Cher’s Just Like Jesse James to Kenny Loggins’ Footloose, to be sung in character or as an ensemble with Northern Chorus oomph.

Oh, Dromio, Dromio, wherefore art thy other Dromio? Oliver Mawdsley’s Dromio of Prescot in the SJT’s The Comedy Of Errors (More Or Less)

Aptly, the opening number is an ensemble rendition of Dream Academy’s one-hit wonder, Life In A Northern Town, that town being 1980s’ Scarborough, just as Lane always roots his pantomimes in the Yorkshire resort.

From an original idea by Robinson, Lane and Godber’s reinvention of Shakespeare’s comedy is not too far-fetched but far enough removed to take on its own personality and, frankly, be much, much funnier as a result. To the point where one woman in the front row was in the grip of a fit of giggles. Yes, that joyous.

For Ephesus, a city on the Ionian coast with a busy port, read Scarborough, a town on the Yorkshire coast with a fishing harbour, although all the fish and chip cafés were shut without explanation on the evening of the press night. Was something fishy going on?

Ephesus was governed by Duke Solinus; Scarborough is run by Andy Cryer’s oleaginous Solinus. Still the merry-go-round action is spun around outdoor public spaces on Jessica Curtis’s set, where protagonists bump into each other like dodgem cars. Just as Syracusans were subject to strict rules in the original play, now Lancastrians are given the Yorkshire cold shoulder in a new war of the roses, besmirched Eccles Cakes et al.

In with a shout: Claire Eden, right, meets a Scarborough greeting from Alyce Liburd, left, Valerie Antwi and Ida Regan in The Comedy Of Errors (More Or Less)

So begins a tale of two rival states and two sets of mismatched twins (Antipholus and Dromio times two) on one nutty day at the seaside. Cue a mishmash of mistaken identities, mayhem agogo, and merriment to the manic max, conducted at an ever more frenetic lick.

It worked wonders for Richard Bean in One Man, Two Guvnors, his Swinging Sixties’ revamp of Goldoni’s 1743 Italian Commedia dell’arte farce, The Servant Of Two Masters, setting his gloriously chaotic caper, as chance would have it, in another English resort: Brighton. Now The Comedy Of Errors evens up the mathematical equation for two plus two to equal comedy nirvana from so much division.

One ‘guvnor’, Lancastrian comic actor Antipholus of Prescot (Peter Kirkbride) crosses the Pennine divide to perform his one-man show. Trouble is, everyone has booked tickets for the talent show across the bay, starring t’other ‘guvnor’, the twin brother he has never met, Antipholus of Scarborough (David Kirkbride, different first name, but same actor, giving licence for amusing parallel biographies in the programme).

The two ‘servants’ of the piece, Dromio of Prescot and Scarborough respectively (Oliver/Zach  Mawdsley), are equally unaware of the other’s presence, compounding a trail of confusion rooted in Scarborough’s Antipholus owing money everywhere but still promising his wife a gold chain. He needs to win the contest to appease Scarborough’s more unsavoury sorts.

Comedy gold: Andy Cryer in The Comedy Of Errors (More Or Less)

Kirkbride takes the acting honours in his hyperactive double act with himself, Mawdsley a deux  is a picture of perplexity; Cryer, in his 40th year of SJT productions, is comedy gold as ever in chameleon roles; likewise, Claire Eden fills the stage with diverse riotous, no-nonsense character, whether from Lancashire or Yorkshire.

Valerie Antwi, Alyce Liburd and Ida Regan, each required to put up with the maelstrom of male malarkey, add so much to the comedic commotion, on song throughout too.

Under Robinson’s zesty, witty direction, everything in Scarborough must be all at sea and yet somehow emerge as comic plain sailing, breaking down theatre’s fourth wall to forewarn with a knowing wink of the need to suspend disbelief when seeing how the company will play the two sets of twins once, spoiler alert, they finally meet.

Who knew shaken-and-stirred Shakespeare could be this much fun, enjoying life in the fast Lane with Godber gumption galore too. Add the Yorkshire-Lancashire spat and those Eighties’ pop bangers, Wayne Parsons’ choreography and the fabulous costumes, and this is the best Bard comedy bar none since Joyce Branagh’s Jazz Age Twelfth Night for Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre in York in 2019.

When The Comedy Of Errors meets the 1980s, the laughs are even bigger than the shoulder pads. A case of more, not less.

Review by Charles Hutchinson




Bolshee take part in York International Women’s Week with Dancefloor Project for safer dancing and Golden Ball open mic

Lizzy Whynes, left, Megan Bailey and Paula Clark: The Bolshee trio running the Dancefloor Project for safer spaces for women

NEWSFLASH 8/3/2023: Bolshee Dancefloor Project’s Listening Project session with Pilot Theatre at York Explore Library on March 9 has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.

HAVE you ever felt unsafe on the bus? Or walking to work? Or on a night out? If so, Bolshee invite you to join their Dancefloor Project in York.

The York creative projects community interest company ran a pilot session at Brew York, in Walmgate, as part of York Design Week 2022 last October and is now delivering a series of nights around York in March and April on a “pop-up dancefloor where you make the rules”.

“Take up some space, soak up the vibes, bust a move, pick up a pen and tell us your demands,” say Bolshee creative director Paula Clark, associate director Lizzy Whynes and creative producer Megan Bailey. “When women don’t feel safe in so many spaces, what would make you feel safer on the dancefloor?

“The Dancefloor Project brings people together to explore ways we can make everyone feel safe and reduce sexual harm in public spaces – because everyone deserves to be free to be themselves and bust a move without fear.”

The first night, held at The Crescent community venue last Saturday with Lizzy on the decks, will be followed by a Saturday afternoon session at the StreetLife Hub, Coney Street, on April 1 from 1pm to 3pm, while a night at the University of York is being organised, hopefully in May.

Bolshee’s dancefloor for the Dancefloor Project, designed by Megan Bailey. Picture: Emily Richardson

In addition, as part of York International Women’s Week, Bolshee’s Dancefloor Project will be teaming up with York company Pilot Theatre for The Listening Project at York Explore Library and Archive, in Library Square, Museum Street, on March 9 from 5pm to 6.30pm.

Bolshee is running the Dancefloor Project in tandem with York St John University psychology researchers, in association with York St John University Institute for Social Justice, whose community research grant assists the project’s purpose of “creatively and collaboratively exploring prevalence and prevention of sexual harm in public spaces”.

The Dancefloor Project emerged from Megan’s ongoing studies for a Masters in Culture, Creativity and Entrepreneurship at the University of Leeds.

“We had a module where I had to come up with a project,” she recalls. Cue her “interactive pop-up dancefloor with a tiny dancefloor that can fit into the back of a van and Perspex walls that people can write on”.

“They can dress up, request a song, have a dance, chat to us, in a project that’s all about looking at sexual harm against women and girls in public spaces,” says Megan, who has designed the dancefloor space with its flashing walls.

Bolshee’s Lizzy Whynes DJing for the Dancefloor Project

“York St John is leading the research part of the project, under Dr Anna Macklin, which is basically an arts-based method of looking at sexual harm and prevention, where everyone can claim the dancefloor as their own, wear what they want, but also talk about these things that disproportionately affect women and girls in public spaces and nightclubs.

“The next step will be build on the research to work with partners to push for change. That’s what missing; everyone knows about the spiking of drinks and women being injected in nightclubs, but no-one knows what to do about it, so as part of my dissertation, I’m looking at embodied knowledge of women working collectively and individually to employ their own strategies.”

Paula says: “Why is it our responsibility as women? That’s why we want to discuss it. When you go on our dancefloor, you are asked: ‘what would you want in this space?’. Like, ‘don’t touch me’; ‘don’t spike me’, but also ‘can we make it brighter?’.

“The suggestions from what’s being written on the walls are coming in from women and from men too. Women are asking, ‘please give us more space’; ‘please don’t sit next to us when there’s loads of space on the bus’.”

Dotted around the dancefloor is a QR code to facilitate participants to write down their own experience, tell their story, that can then be submitted anonymously online to the project researchers.

Megan Drury and Alexander Flanagan Wright, from At The Mill, Stillington, dancing at the Dancefloor Project pilot session

The Dancefloor Project is methodical in making participants feel at home. “When they come in, we explain what the project is about, and they’re told what will be happening, with no photography allowed,” says Megan.

“Everyone has to consent to enter the space because of it being a research project, so it’s a closed space to anyone who doesn’t agree to provide that consent.”

Bolshee also will provide support on how to report an incident. Paula is a safeguarding lead on the York St John project, and Bolshee work with the York St John All About Respect team, wo train students and the university community to run campaigns on dealing with sexual violence and to signpost the support services that are available.

Among the questions asked most regularly by women relate to how they get home safely from a night out and how do they do so when walking home. “It’s something that tends to be overlooked by men, probably because they don’t experience those problems, but women do,” says Megan.

“Take up some space, soak up the vibes, bust a move, pick up a pen and tell us your demands” on the Dancefloor Project dancefloor. Picture: Emily Richardson

“That’s why we want to keep the Dancefloor Project open to men, so that they can see what’s being written on the walls, think about they can do, how they can contribute to ultimately make the quality of life better for everyone, not just women.”

In turn, the York St John researchers are exploring the psychology of how to make men be part of the conversation and not be mere bystanders.

Already in place nationwide is the Ask For Angela poster and window sticker scheme in bars, where, if someone feels unsafe, they can say that coded phrase to the bar staff to let them know they need help “getting out of their situation”.

Bolshee CIC would be delighted to partner with other organisations in schemes. “We’ve had a meeting with a chain of bars in Yorkshire, who have approached us and want to talk more,” says Paula.

“We’ve also been talking with The Egalitarian, an organisation at the University of Leeds, under the business strategy offices, where they run data-led training for venue and festival staff.”

Bolshee’s Paula Clark, left, Megan Bailey and Lizzy Whynes on hand at the Dancefloor Project

Bolshee noted how “no-one was reporting spiking of drinks because there was no formal information about it or what to do when it happened”. In the absence of such protocols, Bolshee can play their part in addressing such problems.

“Our projects are artistic, and we like to do things that are vibrant and make people talk about things,” says Lizzy.

“That’s why we’ll be taking it to both universities in York, as well as the Saturday late-night event at The Crescent and the afternoon pop-up at the StreetLife Hub.

“It’s not just nightclub culture, but safety for everyone, and this is a really good way to talk about it. It could be on the bus, but we’ve chosen a dancefloor because it should be a fun space.”

One collaboration already set in place is Bolshee’s one-off involvement in Pilot Theatre’s Listening Project on March 9, when the Bolshee dancefloor will be used in a workshop for 18 to 25-year-olds. “We’re doing a mash-up, with dancing, and then they’ll talk about what changes they would like to see in their city,” says Lizzy.

What is Bolshee? “Born out of the frustrations of trying to achieve autonomy and leadership roles in an industry that fears risk and, even more so, bolshie women, we champion women and girls by co-creating and producing projects that elevate the voice of and support those who identify as female,” say Bolshee. “We want to work with people of all ages, backgrounds and experiences, and collaborate with artists to produce vibrant multidisciplinary creative projects”

Bolshee will be receiving funding from the University of Leeds to expand the Dancefloor Project into Leeds as a result of Meghan winning the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Student Award.

“We’ve also been asked to do regular DJing with the Arctic Piranha team of learning-disabled adults at ARC [the arts centre] at Stockton-on-Tees, putting on safe, accessible, fun club nights once a month with a theme, guest DJs, dancers and singers each time and the chance to send in suggestions for the set list,” says Lizzy.

“Again, this has been all about coming together in a safe environment, where people feel included and accepted.”

In a further contribution to York International Women’s Week, Bolshee CIC will be taking over the Golden Ball Open Mic Night at York’s first community pub in Cromwell Road, Bishophill Senior, tonight (6/3/2023) at 8pm.

“Run by Hannah Hutchinson, it’s a very old pub that’s very supportive of York artists, spoken-word performers and musicians, with lots of creative people meeting there; it’s also inter-generational and it’s our local,” says Paula.

“Our projects are artistic, and we like to do things that are vibrant and make people talk about things,” says Lizzy Whynes, left, pictured with Bolshee co-founders Megan Bailey and Paula Clark

“Every week the pub runs an open-mic night, but usually not that many women perform. We wanted to do something for International Women’s Week last year but we’d only just started, and so now we’re doing it for this year’s festival.

“We’re encouraging all self-identifying women and non-binary people to take the mic, and everyone is welcome to join us for a night of music, spoken word, delicious pints and Bolshee women. It’s coming at a really busy time for us and just something we’re doing for everyone to have fun.

Lizzy adds: “It’s great to be part of International Women’s Week, doing things with people we love, and there’s no need to book to perform. You can just come along and sign up on the night to perform.

“It’s a nice way to celebrate female talent, whether they perform for fun, or professionally, or just want to try it out for the first time.” As a further incentive, there will be a  free drink for each performer and a Bolshee badge. Entry is free of charge.

Definitely taking part will be women who attended The Bolshee Women autobiographical Perform Yourself course last October to December, now making their Open Mic debut.

Paula Clark: New post in Kirklees

What Paula did next after leaving York Theatre Royal

PAULA Clark has taken on a new full-time post as head of programming at Creative Scene in Kirklees, West Yorkshire.

Based at Brigantia Creative in Dewsbury, this project to “bring arts to the people and make art part of everyday life” commissions and produces arts and cultural activities and events in and around Dewsbury, Batley, Mirfield, Cleckheaton and Heckmondwike.

All the work is shaped by the people that live there, who become involved as co-commissioners, co-producers and participants.

Creative Scene puts on gigs and shows in pubs and libraries, family-friendly performances in community centres and rugby clubs, film screenings in old mills and outdoor arts events in town centres, parks and at festivals.

At the Brigantia creative meeting and making space, Creative Space hosts creative groups and activities and brings people together for creativity and learning, collaboration and conversations.

Creative Scene is a project of Brigantia Creative, a charitable organisation that supports positive social change through arts and culture.

“Spaces may be plentiful around Kirklees but they’re not always accessible or safe because of being left derelict,” says Paula. “We’re doing a learning research project for Arts Council England to see what works where. Already there’s been a load of involvement in Creative Scene projects going into housing estate communities that might otherwise feel excluded.”

Fellow Bolshee founder Megan Bailey is working for Creative Scene too.

More Things To Do in York and beyond when the ice men cometh. Here’s Hutch’s List No. 6 for 2023, from The Press, York

York Ice Trail: Taking the theme of A Journey Through Time in 2023

AS the new Ice Age dawns in the city centre, Charles Hutchinson has advice on winter warmers to discover.

Free event of the week: York Ice Trail, York city centre, today and tomorrow, from 10am

YORK Ice Trail’s theme for 2023 invites city-centre visitors to time-travel to prehistoric ages, walk through history and step into the future for A Journey Through Time.

Organised by Make It York, the free trail features ice sculptures sponsored and conceived by York businesses and designed and made by ice specialists Icebox for a second year. Look out for the National Railway Museum’s interactive sculpture in High Petergate celebrating Flying Scotsman’s centenary, one of 36 sculptures standing to attention in York’s streets this weekend. Icebox will be doing live ice carving  at St Sampson’s Square.

Free trail maps will be available from the Visitor Information Centre on Parliament Street or can be downloaded online at visityork.org/ice.

The poster for Fool(ish)’s improvised comedy show Fooling Around

Hot date of the week: Fool(ish) in Fooling Around, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Tuesday, 7.30pm

JOIN Fool(ish) for Fooling Around, an improvised romantic comedy cum early Valentine’s evening of love, laughter and hand-crafted chaos. Taking audience stories and suggestions, the Chicago-trained York improvisers create a spontaneous series of inspired love-scenes.

From first dates to happy never afters, Fooling Around aims to sweep you off your feet in its off-the-cuff Yorkshire twist on American long-form comedy on the theme of dreams, desires and total disasters. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Platform for song: Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company’s Hello, Dolly! cast members Jamie Benson as Barnaby Tucker, left, Helen Spencer as Dolly Levi and Stuart Sellens as Cornelius Hackl

Musical of the week: Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company in Hello, Dolly!, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, February 8 to 11, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

KATHRYN Lay makes her JRTC directorial debut alongside musical director husband Martin Lay as the Joseph Rowntree Theatre’s in-house fundraising company kicks off the Haxby Road theatre’s spring season with glitz, glamour and a troupe of tap-dancing waiters in the Broadway classic Hello, Dolly!

Featuring Put On Your Sunday Clothes, It Only Takes A Moment and the title number, Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart’s musical is the JRTC’s most ambitious production to date. NHS psychiatrist Helen Spencer plays Dolly Levi, the strong-willed widow and self-proclaimed match-making meddler, who strives to woo tight-fisted millionaire Horace Vandergelder while spreading joy and confusion among everyone she encounters in 1885 New York. Box office:01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Reflective: Harry Baker will be feeling Unashamed at The Crescent, York

Poet of the week: Say Owt presents Harry Baker: Unashamed, The Crescent, York, Wednesday, doors, 7.30pm

WORLD poetry slam champion, poet and maths graduate Harry Baker likes to write about the “important stuff”. Hope, dinosaurs, German falafel-spoons and such like. 

His work has been shared on TED.com and viewed millions of times worldwide, as well as being translated into 21 languages. Post pandemic lockdowns, he is delighted to be back on stage with his “most heartfelt, playful, unashamedly Harry Bakery” show to date. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.

Richard Dawson: The past, present and future is here at Selby Town Hall

One for the future: Mediale presents: Richard Dawson, Selby Town Hall, February 11, doors, 8pm; on stage, 8.30pm; no support act

AUDACIOUS Northumbrian psych-folk and exploratory rock singer-songwriter Richard Dawson is welcomed to Selby Town Hall for the opening night of Selby Creates’ winter arts programme.

Dawson will be showcasing his latest album, last November’s The Ruby Cord, a grim, sinister vision of times ahead that journeys into an immersive, solipsistic metaverse 500 years from now to complete a trilogy focused on the medieval past (on Peasant), the present (on 2020) and the sci-fi future. Box office: selbytownhall.co.uk.

Steve Knightley: New one-man show in Pocklington

Solo venture of the week: Steve Knightley, Pocklington Arts Centre, February 11, 8pm

ONE half of folk/roots duo Show Of Hands since 1992, Steve Knightley will be performing material that surfaced over two years of isolation and inactivity in his new one-man show.

Insights, anecdotes and a bunch of new songs will attempt to chronicle and draw a line under an “extra episode in all our lives”, alongside Knightley’s headline-refreshed renditions of Bristol Slaver and You’ll Get By and covers of Forever Young and The Boys Of Summer. Box office: 01759 301547 or pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Resol String Quartet: Stepping in for the Fitzwilliam String Quartet tonight

Late replacement of the week: Late Music presents Music On The Edge: The Lapins, today, 1pm; Resol String Quartet, tonight, 7.30pm, both at Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York

AFTER the Fitzwilliam String Quartet unavoidably had to pull out of Late Music’s February evening concert, Fitzwilliam viola player Alan George has found a replacement quartet at very short notice. Step forward the Resol String Quartet, formed at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2018.

“They came up to St Andrews for a masterclass with us – plus a concert in the town a few weeks later – and everyone was very impressed,” says Alan. “We’ve already recommended them for our university series.”

Resol String Quartet’s alternative programme of string quartet music for tonight features works by Haydn, Julian Broughton and Beethoven and Alasdair Morton-Teng’s arrangements of traditional tunes.

Late Music’s February brace of concerts opens with The Lapins ­– Susie  Hodder-Williams, flute, Chris Caldwell, saxophone, and James Boyd, guitar – performing Music On The Edge at lunchtime.

World premieres of David Lancaster’s Au Lapin Agile, Gwilym Simcock’s Suite for Solo Flute and new works by David Power and Hayley Jenkins will be complemented by the British premiere of Athena Corcoran-Tadd’s Confluence (Hope Is A Boat) and Bach and Tippett pieces. Box office: latemusic.org or on the door.

The Lapins: Performing Music On The Edge at Late Music’s afternoon concert today

Relaxing afternoon: Lillian Hetherington, Mille Mazzone and Michael Capecci, Dementia Friendly Tea Concert, St Chad’s Church, Campleshon Road, York, February 16, 2.30pm

UNIVERSITY of York music students Lillian Hetherington, Mille Mazzone and Michael Capecci play violin and piano works by Wieniawski, Schostakovich and Dvorak.

As usual, 45 minutes of music will be followed by tea and homemade cakes in the church hall in a relaxed afternoon gathering ideal for those who may not feel comfortable at a formal classical concert. No charge but donations are welcome for hire costs and Alzheimer’s charities.

Re-enchanted: Josie Long at the double at The Crescent. Picture: Matt Crockett

Longer time in York: Burning Duck Comedy Club presents Josie Long: Re-Enchantment extra matinee, The Crescent, York, February 18, 3pm

AFTER her 7.30pm gig sold out – as had her last appearance at The Crescent in Lefty Scum – comedian Josie Long has added a matinee performance of Re-Enchantment. Inspired by London feminist writer Lola Olufemi’s sentiment that “after defeat, re-enchantment is necessary”, Josie’s new stand-up set is infused with humanity, compassion and some brief political rants.

The triple Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee, underdog Fringe hero and delirious new mother returns with a show about the changes wrought by time, passion, moving to Scotland and loving the world under – let’s face it – difficult circumstances.

“Josie is one of our all-time favourite comedians, so we’re very excited to bring her new show to York and add an extra matinee show as well,” says Burning Duck promoter Al Greaves. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.

In Focus: York Ice Trail’s 36 sculptures this weekend

  1. A Journey Through Time, Parliament Street – Make It York
  2. Growing The Future, Parliament Street – Dalby Forest
  3. Cash-asaurus T-Rex, Parliament Street – YorkMix Radio
  4. York to London Skyline, Parliament Street – Grand Central
  5. Atey Ate Miles Per Hour, High Ousegate – Ate O’Clock
  6. 121 years of making magic, Spurriergate – Grand Opera House, York
  7. Every Moment Matters, North Street – Park Inn by Radisson 
  8. Where ever I lay my hat…. , Station Rise – The Grand, York
  9. 100 years of LNER, Station Road – LNER
  10. York Quest App: The Roman, Micklegate – York BID
  11. The Enchanted Unicorn, Middletons – The Hole In Wand
  12. Ginny the Dragon, Middletons – York Gin
  13. 20,000 Leagues Under the Ouse, Middletons – City Cruises
  14. The Monstrous Chimera, Middletons – Middletons
  15. York Quest App: The Butcher, Kings Staith – York BID
  16. Coppergate Viking, Coppergate Centre – Coppergate Centre
  17. E.T. Comes Home, Piccadilly – Spark: York
  18. York Quest App: Dick Turpin, Walmgate – York BID
  19. Adventure Is Out There, The Stonebow – Hiscox
  20. York’s Chocolate Story Clock, Kings Square – York’s Chocolate Story
  21. Erupted Volcano, Grape Lane – Lucia Bar
  22. The York Rose Diamond by Kay Bradley, Low Petergate – Bradley’s Jewellers
  23. Minus 200 Degrees Coffee, Low Petergate – 200 Degrees Coffee
  24. York Quest App: Anne Lister, Goodramgate – York BID
  25. Gothic Grotesque, Minster Piazza – York Minster
  26. Celebrating 100 years of Flying Scotsman, High Petergate – National Railway Museum
  27. York Quest App: Guy Fawkes, Gillygate – York BID
  28. The Pearly Cow, Clifton – No .1 Guesthouse
  29. Layers of Time, Exhibition Square, St Leonard’s Place – North York Moors National Park
  30. York Quest App: Wally Herbert, Museum Street – York BID
  31. Ryedale Roman Hoard, Museum Gardens – Yorkshire Museums Trust
  32. Greek Minotaur, Lendal – The Judge’s Lodging
  33. Busloads To Love!, St Helen’s Square – York Park & Ride
  34. The Bettys Express Train, Davygate – Bettys
  35. Fire Breathing Dinosaur, St Sampson’s Square – Cut and Craft
  36. Live Carving by Icebox, St Sampson’s Square – York Ice Trail

Fact File

THE last York Ice Trail took place in March 2022 after a pandemic-enforced one-year hiatus. More than 40 ice sculptures lined the city streets, with 25,000 people participating in the trail.

Post-pandemic, York Ice Trail appealed to more residents than pre-pandemic in 2020, increasing from 23 per cent to 39 per cent.

Highlights

THE grounds of Middletons Hotel will be transformed into a mystical world of mythology, including four ice sculptures and photo opportunities throughout the day. York Gin, City Cruises and The Potions Cauldron will be on site, with crafts, competitions and surprise creatures.

Sister proper The Judges Lodgings features an ice sculpture too. Check out the Thwaites Shire Horses in all their finery.

On the anniversary front, the National Railway Museum celebrates Flying Scotsman’s centenary with an interactive sculpture. The Grand Opera House marks 121 years of making musical magic and LNER highlights its 100-year milestone.

York’s chocolate heritage will be rendered in ice with York’s Chocolate Story’s working Terry’s Clock Tower with a hot chocolate twist.

Learn more about York’s history with York BID’s six sculptures, all inspired by York historical figures that can be found on the York Quest app.

Busloads To Love, by main sponsor York Park & Ride, offers the chance to be the driver and take a selfie. The sculpture, celebrating the importance of the bus in public transport, will be situated on St Helen’s Square.

Travel from York to London with Grand Central’s Skyline sculpture, or be transported into another space and dimension with Hiscox’s adventure-bound sit-on space shuttle. For those wanting to go back to the future, discover Ate O’Clock’s DeLorean-inspired Atey Ate Miles Per Hour sculpture.

Live ice carving across the weekend at St Sampson’s Square will show how Icebox’s sculptors bring the ice trail to life.

Quotes

Sarah Loftus, Make It York managing director, says: “York Ice Trail 2023 will spark imaginations, transporting visitors across time and dimension from sculpture to sculpture. Our ice partners at Icebox have done a phenomenal job at bringing the ideas to life and we can’t wait to see all 36 sculptures line the streets of York.”

Councillor Keith Aspden, City of York Council leader, says: “The York Ice Trail brings imaginative, ‘cool’ and unique sculptures to York’s streets and is much loved by residents and visitors, so it’s excellent to see the event return once again. This year’s theme and creations are paying a fitting tribute to York’s rich history and imagination of our local businesses.”

Greg Pittard, Icebox managing director, says: “It is our privilege to be returning as the sculptors for the second year for York Ice Trail 2023. From mammoths to DeLoreans, the carvers have been working non-stop since late-August to deliver A Journey Through Time. This year’s theme has inspired some incredible designs and we can’t wait to unveil all of this year’s ice creations.”

John Godfrey, of First Bus in York, says: “We would encourage everyone planning to come and enjoy the Ice Trail to think about sustainable travel to get here and consider leaving the car at home or using the Park and Ride network. This helps avoid congestion, which makes travel around York easier, especially with such an event creating a bustling and lively atmosphere.”

For more information, visit https://www.visityork.org/york-ice-trail #YorkIceTrail

More Things To Do in York and beyond as clocks go back for longer nights and festival shorts. Hutch’s List No. 104, from The Press

Filip Fredrik’s Elements: Showing at Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2022

A FILM festival with international pedigree, poetry clashes, comedy aplenty and Constellations shine out for Charles Hutchinson.

Festival of the week: Aesthetica Short Film Festival, across York, Tuesday to Sunday

AESTHETICA Short Film Festival returns for 300 films in 15 venues over six days in York in its 12th edition. The BAFTA-Qualifying event will have a hybrid format, combining the live festival with a selection of screenings, masterclasses and events on the digital platform until November 30.

New for 2022 will be York Days, a discount scheme with the chance to save 50 per cent on prices on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday programmes. Comedies, dramas, thrillers, animation, family-friendly films and documentaries all feature, complemented by workshops, the Virtual Reality Lab, installations and the festival fringe. Box office: asff.co.uk/tickets.

Malaika Kegode: Guest appearance at Say Owt Slam’s birthday party. Picture: Jon Aitken

Birthday party of the week: Say Owt Slam’s 8th Birthday Special, with Malaika Kegode, The Crescent, York, tonight (29/10/2022), 7.30pm

SAY Owt, York’s loveable gang of performance poets, Stu Freestone, Henry Raby, Hannah Davies and David Jarman, welcome special-guest Bristol poet Malaika Kegode to a high-energy night of words and verse, humour and poet-versus-poet fun.

“It started as a one-off gig! I can’t believe we’re still slamming eight years later,” says artistic director and host Raby. “Whether you’re a veteran or looking for something new, everyone is welcome at a Say Owt Slam, where each poet has a maximum of three minutes to wow randomly selected judges with their poetry.” Box office: thecrescentyork.com.

David O’Doherty: Change of date for York gig

On the move: David O’Doherty: Whoa Is Me, Grand Opera House, York, changing from Monday to February 5 2023, 8pm

HERE he comes again, albeit later than first planned, trotting on stage with all of the misplaced confidence of a waiter with no pad.

“There’ll be lots of talking, some apologising and some songs on a glued-together plastic keyboard from 1986,” promises David O’Doherty, comedian, author, musician, actor and playwright, 1990 East Leinster under-14 triple jump bronze medallist and son of jazz pianist Jim Doherty. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.

Flo & Joan: Musical comedy duo offer thoughts on topics of the day

Musical comedy of the week: Flo & Joan, Sweet Release, Grand Opera House, York, Tuesday, 7.3pm

FLO & Joan, the British musical comedy duo of sisters Nicola and Rosie Dempsey, play York as one of 30 additional dates on their 2022 tour after their return to the Edinburgh Fringe.

Climbing back out of their pits, armed with a piano and percussion, they poke around the  classic topics of the day with their fusion of comedy and song with a dark undertow.

The sisters have penned five numbers for the West End musical Death Drop and have written and performed songs for Horrible Histories (CBBC), Rob Delaney’s Stand Up Central (Comedy Central) and BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.

Emilio Iannucci: Starring in Nick Payne’s romantic two-hander Constellations at the SJT

Play of the week outside York: Constellations, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, running until November 12

WHEN beekeeper Roland meets scientist Marianne, anything could happen in University of York alumnus Nick Payne’s romantic and revealing exploration of the many possibilities that can result from a single meeting. Reminiscent of Sliding Doors and Kate Atkinson’s novel Life After Life, this two-hander starring Carla Harrison-Hodge and Emilio Iannucci ponders “What if?”.

“Constellations plays with time and space in the most brilliant way,” says director Paul Robinson. “Deeply human, deeply moving, it genuinely tilts the world for you. I challenge anyone not to leave the theatre just a bit more aware of what a fragile and remarkable thing life is.” Box office: 01723 370541 or sjt.uk.com.

Bring It On: “The thrill of extreme competition”

Backflip of the week: York Stage in Bring It On: The Musical, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Wednesday to Saturday, 7.30pm; Saturday matinee, 2.30pm

THE York premiere of Bring It On backflips into the JoRo in a youth theatre production directed by Nik Briggs. Inspired by the film of the same name, this story of the challenges and surprising bonds forged through the thrill of extreme competition is packed with vibrant characters, electrifying contemporary songs and explosive choreography.

This Broadway hit is the energy-fuelled work of Tony Award winners Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton), Jeff Whitty (Avenue Q) and Tom Kitt (Grease: Live). Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Humour on hand: Harry Hill promises Pedigree Fun on his first tour since 2013

Very silly show of the week: Harry Hill, Pedigree Fun!, Grand Opera House, York, Wednesday, 7.30pm

COMEDIAN, writer, actor, artist and former doctor Harry Hill and his big shirt collars take to the stage for an all-singing, all-dancing surrealist spectacular in his long-awaited return to the live arena for the fist time since 2013’s Sausage Time tour.

“I hadn’t realised how much I missed performing live until lockdown stopped me from doing it,” he says. “The good news is I’m planning a very silly show.” Full of pop-culture spoofs, no doubt.

Audiences will meet Harry’s new baby elephant, Sarah, along with regular sidekick Stouffer the Cat. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.

John McCusker: Fiddler supreme on 30th anniversary tour

Fiddler on the road: The John McCusker Band 30th Anniversary Tour, National Centre for Early Music, York, Wednesday, 7.30pm

SCOTTISH fiddle player John McCusker will be joined by Ian Carr, Sam Kelly, Helen McCabe and Toby Shaer for his concert series in celebration of 30 years as a professional folk musician since cutting his teeth in The Battlefield Band at 17.

To coincide with this landmark, McCusker has released a Best Of album featuring tracks from his solo records and television and film soundtracks, alongside a book of 100 original compositions, John McCusker: The Collection.

“I’m delighted to be able to get this special show on the road and celebrate 30 years as a professional musician,” says McCusker. “I’m looking forward to performing the highlights from my back catalogue and revisiting memories associated with those tracks.

“It’s brilliant that I’ve been able to make music and perform for 30 years and I’ve worked with so many incredible people in that time. I’ve never had a plan; good things have just
happened and, so far, it’s worked out as well as I could possibly have dreamed of. I can’t
wait to play with my friends again.” Box office: 01904 658338 or ncem.co.uk.

York Settlement Community Players’ cast for Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike: Mick Liversidge (Vanya), top left, Victoria Delaney (Sonia) and Susannah Baines (Sasha); Andrew Roberts (Spike), bottom left, Sanna Jeppsson (Cassandra) and Livy Potter

York premiere of the week: York Settlement Community Players in Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Thursday, Friday, 7.30pm; Saturday, 2.30pm, 7.30pm

VANYA and his sister Sonia live a quiet life in the Pennsylvania farmhouse where they grew up, but when their famous film-star sister, Masha, makes an impromptu visit with her dashing, twenty-something boyfriend, Spike, a chaotic weekend ensues.

Resentment, rivalry and revealing premonitions begin to boil over as the three siblings battle to be heard in Christopher Durang’s comedy, winner of the 2013 Tony Award for Best New Play with its blend of Chekhovian ennui, modern-day concerns of celebrity, social networking and the troubling onset of middle age. Jim Paterson directs Settlement Players’ production. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Plastic Mermaids: “Emotional exploration of the many facets of heartbreak”

Time to discover…Plastic Mermaids, The Crescent, York, November 10; Oporto, Leeds, February 2 2023

AFTER playing Glastonbury and Camp Bestival in the summertime, Isle of Wight five-piece Plastic Mermaids are off on an 11-date tour to promote their second album, It’s Not Comfortable To Grow, out now on Sunday Best.

Led by brothers Douglas and Jamie Richards, who approach life like an art project, they face up to their dark side in an emotional exploration of the many facets of heartbreak on such psych-rock and electronica numbers as Girl Boy Girl, Disposable Love, Something Better and Elastic Time. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.

More Things To Do in York and beyond when moments of laughter, sadness and reflection make List No. 66, from The Press

Beth Hutchinson in her monologue in Rowntree Players’ premiere of The Missing Peace. Picture: Duncan Lomax

FROM The Missing Peace to Shed Seven at the races, Charles Hutchinson finds the missing pieces to fill your diary

Premiere of the week: Rowntree Players in The Missing Peace, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, January 27 to 29, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

ROWNTREE Players director Gemma McDonald has adapted York author, singer, motivational conference speaker and charity champion Big Ian Donaghy’s book The Missing Peace, now billed as “One play…15 endings”.

On stage, Donaghy’s exploration of life after death takes the form of 15 Talking Heads-style monologues, many drawn from interviews he conducted in York. “It’s not a play about death, it’s a play about life,” he says. “There will be moments of laughter, sadness and reflection throughout.”

Look out for Mark Addy, who has recorded the narrator’s role as the Station Announcer. Box office: 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes of The Shires: Acoustic show in their regular haunt of Pocklington

Country gig of the week: The Shires – Acoustic, Pocklington Arts Centre, January 26, 8pm

THE Shires, Britain’s best-selling country music act, bring their 2022 intimate acoustic tour to Pocklington on the back of working on their upcoming fifth album.

Award-winning duo Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes have made a habit of playing Pocklington since their Studio debut in 2014, appearing regularly at PAC and playing the Platform Festival at The Old Station in 2016 and 2019. To check ticket availability, go to pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk or call 01759 301547. 

Ross Noble: What is a Humournoid? Find out, or maybe not, in his new tour show

Comedy gig of the week: Ross Noble: Humournoid, Grand Opera House, York, January 29, 8pm

WHAT happens when a creature is created and bred to do stand up, asks Geordie comic Ross Noble in his Covid-delayed but finally here new tour show, Humournoid?

“Nobody knows because that isn’t a thing,” says his tour blurb. “What is a thing is Ross Noble doing a show. You can come and see it. This is it.”

As ever with this improviser supreme, it turns out Humournoid has no theme, says Noble, who promises a typically freewheeling performance on his return to one of his five favourite venues in the world. Box office: atgtickets.com/York.

Porridge Radio: Brighton band making waves at The Crescent in York. Picture: El Hardwick

If you discover one band this month, make it: Porridge Radio, The Crescent, York, January 31, 7.30pm

EVERY Bad, their 2020 album released by the super-cool Secretly Canadian label, has propelled Porridge Radio from a word-of-mouth gem of Brighton’s DIY scene to one of the country’s most exciting upcoming bands.

“Last here opening for BC Camplight, we’re very pleased to see them return,” say promoters Please Please You and Brudenell Presents. Pet Shimmers, a new supercharged seven-piece from Bristol, support. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.

Malaika Kegode: Guest poet at Say Owt Slam’s return to The Crescent

Word wars: Say Owt Slam with guest poet Malaika Kegode, The Crescent, York, February 5, 7.30pm

BRISTOL writer, performer and producer Malaika Kegode will be the special guest at York spoken-word hub Say Owt’s first Slam night for more than two years.

Kegode has appeared at WOMAD and Edinburgh Book Festival, published two poetry collections with Burning Eye Books and created Outlier, an autobiographical gig-theatre with prog-rock band Jakabol. Passionate about cinema, culture and race, her lyrical work journeys through lives and loves, exploring genre, form and the power of the written word made visual.

In the raucous poetry Slam, performers will have three minutes each to wow the audience. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.

Contrarian comedian Alfie Brown: Emotional moments in his Sensitive Man show

Moral dilemmas: Alfie Brown: Sensitive Man, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, February 10, 8pm

DOES emotion help us make moral judgments? In his new show, contrarian comedian Alfie Moore will address this question, using jokes.

These jokes will weave together to create something greater than the sum of their parts, answering a question about emotion and its complicated relationship with morality.

“I refute that I am saying things to plainly and wilfully disrupt social progress,” he says. “I am not. I might seem smug, I know, apologies, and I am often misunderstood. So, at this particular point in the unfolding history of meaning, intention, signs and signifiers, I am sometimes going to tell you what I mean.” Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Florence Odumosu as Nina Simone in Black Is The Color Of My Voice at the SJT, Scarborough

Nina’s blues: Black Is The Color Of My Voice, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, March 12, 7.30pm

FLORENCE Odumosu plays Nina Simone in Apphia Campbell’s story of the North Carolina-born jazz and blues singer and activist seeking redemption after the untimely death of her father. 

Simone reflects on the journey that took her from a young piano prodigy, destined for a life in the service of the church, to a renowned vocalist and pianist at the forefront of the civil rights movement. Box office: 01723 370541 or at sjt.uk.com.

Chasing winners: Shed Seven to play after the May 14 race card at Doncaster Racecourse

Racing certainty…hopefully: Shed Seven, Live After Racing @Doncaster Racecourse, May 14, from 11.15am

YORK band Shed Seven’s day at the races should have taken place on May 15 2021, but Covid made it a non-runner. Now they are under starter’s orders at Doncaster Racecourse for a hit-laden live set after the May 15 race card this spring.

Among the Sheds’ runners and riders will be Going For Gold, Chasing Rainbows, She Left Me On Friday, Disco Down, Dolphin, Where Have You Been Tonight? and fan favourites from 2017’s comeback album Instant Pleasures, Room In My House and Better Days. For tickets for the race-day and concert package, go to: doncaster-racecourse.co.uk/whats-on.

Say Owt to spark up their winter spoken words at The Crescent in December return

Owt and about again: Say Owt artistic director Henry Raby, left, and co-founder and cheese trader Stu Freestone spark up the spoken word anew on December 11

SAY Owt, York’s loveable gang of performance poets, are back in live action for the first time since the summer for a night of socially distanced spoken word at The Crescent on December 11.

In start-stop-restart-stop again 2020, these loquacious hosts of high-energy bursts of words and verse have hosted live-streams in lockdowns, most recently Lovely Lockdown Lyricism last Friday, and pop-up poetry on York Theatre Royal’s patio in August.

Stepping up to the mic on December 11 will be Say Owt’s A-team of Henry Raby, Hannah Davies, Stu Freestone and Dave Jarman, joined by special guest poets Katie Greenbrown and Ruth Awolola. In a nutshell, here comes a slam-winning sextet of soulful poets with modern, relevant and upbeat verse.

Hannah Davies: Slam champ and word weaver

“The night will feature a set of banging poems, full of wit and humour to warm your soul this December,” says artistic director Henry. “Expect some brand-new pieces, improv poetry and a few silly surprises hiding up our spoken-word sleeves!

“Last Friday’s online gig was good: it’s just nice to keep connecting with our audience. Now Say Owt and The Crescent want to give you a night of energy and warmth after a tough year.”

The Crescent, in The Crescent, off Blossom Street, York, will have a Covid-secure, socially distanced seated capacity of 60. “The performers and the venue are following all regulations and guidelines to keep the audience as safe as possible,” says Henry.

Tickets for this 7pm gig cost £10, available in batches of one to four at: http://thecrescentyork.com/events/s-d-show-say-owt/

Special guest: Katie Greenbrown

Spooky weekend and drawing festival are Scarborough’s big draws for half-term

Emma Hallam, associate marketing manager for Scarborough Museums Trust, sketches out a few ideas ahead of The Big Draw 2020 at Scarborough Art Gallery during the half-term holiday. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

SPOOKY goings-on for Halloween and climate-conscious art are on offer from Scarborough Museums Trust for half-term.

The Spooky Museum Weekend runs amok from Friday, October 30 to Sunday, November 1 at the Rotunda Museum, when visitors are invited to explore the museum in Halloween fancy dress from 10am to 4pm each day.

The spooky weekend is suitable for families, who can follow the trail and make and take a deer or wolf mask inspired by the trust’s Star Carr headdress. 

Booking is essential, either by calling 01723 353665 or emailing rotunda@smtrust.uk.com to book a 45-minute slot for a group of up to six people. Each allotted time slot allows exclusive use of the gallery. 

Drawing you in: Emma Hallam’s handiwork seeks to catch your eye to take part in The Big Draw 2020 at Scarborough Art Gallery. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

The Spooky Star Carr Trail can be enjoyed every day during half-term except Monday. Families are invited to join the wolf tribe and look for the wolves hidden in the Rotunda. “Crack the puzzle and enter our prize draw,” says the trust.

The half-term events include two that form part of this year’s Big Draw, Britain’s annual festival of drawing. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, The Big Green Draw Festival #ClimateOfChange focuses on the relationship between people and our living environments and ecosystems, highlighting how we live today and the ways we do and do not harmonise with nature.

The Big Green Draw: Plant, Grow, Draw! at Scarborough Art Gallery on Monday, October 26, from 10am to 4pm, invites you to be inspired by the trust’s seed collection to create your own drawings. “Have a go at decorating a plant pot and sow a seed to take home and grow,” says the trust.

Again suitable for families, booking is essential for this activity on 01723 374753 or by emailing gallery@smtrust.uk.com for a 45-minute slot for a group of up to six people. Each allotted time slot allows exclusive use of the gallery for this relaxed event, fully accessible for disabled and non-disabled children.

Picture this: Emma Hall does some canvas work to attract support for The Big Draw 2020. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

On Saturday, October 24 and 31, you can tune into The Big Green Draw: Drawing with Nature on the trust’s YouTube Channel at 10am to take part in online drawing challenges inspired by the natural world. To join in this pre-recorded event, suitable for families, you will need drawing materials, scissors and glue.

The Big Green Scavenger Trail will take place every day during half-term, except Monday, at Scarborough Art Gallery and The Crescent. To hunt for wildlife on The Crescent in a special scavenger trail designed by artist Savannah Storm, families will need to pick up a copy from Scarborough Art Gallery.

Scarborough Museums Trust’s learning manager, Christine Rostron, says: “We’re delighted to be able to offer some socially-distanced events for our families, alongside some online challenges.  Our Halloween and Big Draw activities are always so popular and we can’t wait to see families and children back in our venues for lots of creative fun!”

Staff at Scarborough Museums Trust have been trained in post-lockdown safety procedures, and the trust has been awarded VisitEngland’s We’re Good To Go industry standard mark, signifying the venues’ adherence to Government and public health guidance.

Entry to Scarborough Art Gallery and the Rotunda Museum for adults costs £3 for an annual pass; for under-18s, entry is free. For all activities, all children must be accompanied by an adult. Both venues are open Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am to 5pm.