More Things To Do in York and beyond, from an Old Granny Goose to Grayson. Hutch’s List No. 108, courtesy of The Press

Goose by the Ouse: Dame Berwick Kaler, centre, with Martin Barrass, left, AJ Powell, Suzy Cooper and David Leonard, gathering again at the Grand Opera House, York, for The Adventures Of Old Mother Goose. Picture: David Harrison

KALER on the loose, Christmas music, art and crafts and a stellar trio on the horizon have Charles Hutchinson hopping between diaries

Berwick’s back: The Adventures Of Old Granny Goose, Grand Opera House, York, December 10 to January 8

THE script is complete, as of 6am on Thursday morning, for writer, director and perennial York dame Berwick Kaler’s second year at his adopted panto home, presented in tandem with the Grand Opera House’s new partners in pantomime, UK Productions.

At 76, expect a greater emphasis on the verbal jousting from Dame Berwick, but still with slapstick aplenty in the familiar company of sidekick Martin Barrass, villain David Leonard, principal gal Suzy Cooper, luverly Brummie AJ Powell and ever-game dancer Jake Lindsay in his tenth Kaler panto, me babbies, me bairns. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or

Angel With Gift, linocut print by Anita Klein, part of The Christmas Collection at Pyramid Gallery, York

Exhibition launch of the week: The Christmas Collection at Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, today until January 12, open daily

YORK ceramicist Ben Arnup opens The Christmas Collection, the last exhibition of Pyramid Gallery’s 40th anniversary celebrations, at midday today.  He will be exhibiting 12 new trompe l’oeil ceramic sculptures too.

Gallery curator Terry Brett has invited London printmaker Anita Kelin to fill the walls with 15 large linocut original prints and two paintings in her 28th year of showing her depictions of family life at Pyramid. Exhibiting too will be printmaker Mychael Barratt, sculptors Christine Pike and Jennie McCall, ceramicist Katie Braida and glassmakers Rachel Elliott, Alison Vincent, Keith Cummings and David Reekie, plus 50 jewellery makers.

Sara Davies: Crafty ideas for Christmas at York Barbican

Return to York of the week: Craft Your Christmas with Sara Davies, York Barbican, tonight, 7.30pm

DRAGONS’ Den entrepreneur Sara Davies, who founded her Crafter’s Companion company in 2005 while studying at the University of York, offers practical demonstrations, creative ideas and a healthy slice of down-to-earth know-how.

Taking you from gifts to garlands, cards to crackers, via a peek into the Den and a sprinkling of Strictly Come Dancing sparkle, Sara will help you to create your own unique handmade Christmas. Box office:

The Ebor Singers: Christmas music from America and Britain at St Lawrence Parish Church

Christmas concert of the week: The Ebor Singers, A Christmas Celebration By Candlelight, St Lawrence Parish Church, Lawrence Street, York, tonight, 7.30pm

PAUL Gameson directs The Ebor Singers in an evening of beautiful choral arrangements for Christmastide that also marks the launch of the York choir’s CD recording of Christmas music by contemporary American composers, Wishes And Candles.

Pieces from the disc, featuring works by Morten Lauridsen, Eric Whitacre,  Dan Forrest, Abbie Bettinis and Matthew Culloton, will be complemented by festive compositions by John Rutter and Bob Chilcott. Expect audience participation in carol singing too. Tickets: and on the door.

Russell Watson and Aled Jones

Festive musical duo of the week: Aled Jones and Russell Watson, Christmas With Aled & Russell York Barbican, Tuesday, 8pm

ALED Jones and Russell Watson are reuniting for Christmas 2022, combining a new album and tour. Performing together again after a three-year hiatus, the classical singers will be promoting their November 4 release of Christmas With Aled And Russell. 

The album features new recordings of traditional carols such as O Holy Night, O Little Town Of Bethlehem and In The Bleak Midwinter, alongside festive favourites White Christmas, It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, Little Drummer Boy and Mistletoe And Wine, complemented by a duet rendition of Walking In The Air. Box office:

York Mystery Plays Supporters Trust cast members in rehearsal for A Nativity for York. Picture: John Saunders

Nativity play of the week: York Mystery Plays Supporters Trust in A Nativity for York, Spurriergate Centre, Spurriergate, York, Thursday, Friday, 7.30pm; Saturday, Sunday, 3pm, 5pm and 7.30pm

A NATIVITY for York returns to the Spurriergate Centre following a two-year enforced break, staged by York Mystery Plays Supporters Trust (YMPST). After directing the Last Judgement plays  on the city streets in 2018 and 2022, Alan Heaven has created a fresh, vibrant and magical retelling of the Nativity, combining “music, dance, sorrows and joys and some audience participation”.

Heaven’s company of actors, dancers and musicians is drawn from a wide range of community volunteers, in keeping with the YMPST productions of A Nativity for York in 2019 and A Resurrection for York in 2021. Tickets: 01904 623568, at or in person from the Theatre Royal box office.

Solomon’s Knot: Christmas Cantatas at Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York, in York Early Music Christmas Festival 2022’s concluding concert

Festival of the week: York Early Music Christmas Festival, mainly at NCEM, Walmgate, December 8 to 16; online box set, December 19 to January 31

MUSIC, minstrels, merriment, mulled wine and mince pies combine in York Early Music Christmas Festival 2022, to be complemented by an online box set of festival highlights post-festival.

Taking part will be La Palatine (Fiesta Galante); Ensemble Augelletti (Pick A Card!); Solomon’s Knot (Johann Kuhnau’s Christmas Cantatas); Spiritato and The Marion Consort (Inspiring Bach); Ensemble Moliere (Good Soup);  Bojan Čičić (Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas); The Orlando Consort (Adieu) and Yorkshire Bach Choir & Yorkshire Baroque Soloists (Handel’s Brockes Passion). Box office: 01904 658338 or

Guitarist Tom Bennett and baritone Sam Hird, outside their training ground, the Royal College of Music. On Friday, they perform a Christmas recital in York

Homecoming of the week: Sam Hird and Tom Bennett, A Winter Night’s Recital, All Saints’ Church, North Street, York, Friday, 7pm to 9pm

YORK baritone Sam Hird and his fellow Royal College of Music graduate, guitarist Tom Bennett, perfrom classical songs from around the world, by Schubert, Faure and Britten, complemented by festive favourites such as Adeste Fideles, O Holy Night and A Cradle In Bethlehem to stir the Christmas spirit.

The 15th century All Saints’ Church will be the “perfect backdrop” to this candlelit concert, Hird’s professional solo debut. A glass of mulled wine and a mince pie is included in the ticket price of £10 plus booking fee, available from and on the door.

Big jumpers, big songs: Alistair Griffin presents The Big Christmas Concert, St Michael le Belfrey Church, York, December 9, 10 and 17, 8pm; doors, 7.30pm

Alistair Griffin: Christmas hits

BILLED as “the biggest Christmas concert in York”, singer-songwriter Alistair Griffin’s winter warmer returns with classic Christmas tunes, carols and bags of festive cheer, heralded by a brass band.

The Big Christmas Concert takes a festive musical journey from acoustic versions of traditional carols to Wizzard, Slade and The Pogues, as audiences sing along and sip mulled wine while enjoying the fairytale of old York. Christmas jumpers and Christmas attire are encouraged; a prize will be given for the best costume. Box office:

One way or another, you’re gonna get ya ticket for Blondie at Scarborough Open Air Theatre next summer

Booking ahead: Blondie, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, June 22 2023

LOWER East Side New York trailblazers Blondie are off to the East Coast next summer to play Britain’s largest outdoor concert arena.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame icons will be led as ever by pioneering frontwoman/songwriter Debbie Harry, 77, guitarist/conceptual mastermind Chris Stein and powerhouse drummer Clem Burke, joined by former Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock, guitarist Tommy Kessler and keyboardist Matt Katz-Bohen.

Blondie join Sting, Pulp, rock supergroup Hollywood Vampires, N-Dubz, Olly Murs and Mamma Mia! among Scarborough OAT’s 2023 headliners, with plenty more to be added. Box office:

The Waterboys: 40th anniversary celebrations in 2023, taking in York Barbican

Booking ahead too: The Waterboys, York Barbican, October 12 2023, 7.30pm

GREAT, Scott will be back for yet another evening with The Waterboys at York Barbican, this time to mark the Scottish-founded folk, rock, soul and blues band’s 40th anniversary.

Mike Scott, 63, has made a habit of playing the Barbican, laying on the “Big Music” in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015,  2018 and October 2021, since when The Waterboys have released 15th studio album All Souls Hill in May. Box office:

Grayson Perry: A Show All About You…and surely about him too at Harrogate Convention Centre?

A brush with an artist: Grayson Perry: A Show All About You, Harrogate Convention Centre, October 1 2023, 7.30pm

ARTIST, iconoclast and TV presenter Grayson Perry follows up A Show For Normal People with A Show All About You, wherein he asks, “What makes you, you?”. Is there a part deep inside  that no-one understands? Have you found your tribe or are you a unique human being? Or is it more complicated than that?

Perry, “white, male, heterosexual, able bodied, English, southerner, baby boomer and member of the establishment”, takes a mischievous look at the nature of identity, promising to make you laugh, shudder, and reassess who you really are. Box office: 01423 502116 or

Also recommended but sold out: The Cure, The Lost World Tour 2022, Leeds First Direct Arena, Tuesday, doors, 6pm

ROBERT Smith’s ever-changing band play Leeds for the first time since September 21 1985 at the whatever-happened-to-the Queens Hall. Expect a long, long set of all the heavenly, hippy pop hits, the gloomier goth stalwarts and more than a glimpse of the long-promised 14th studio album, Songs Of A Lost World, pencilled in for 2023.

Stored away for 30 years, Alison O’Neill’s unseen 1980s’ rock concert photographs go on show for first time at City Screen

Robert Smith of The Cure at Edinburgh Playhouse in 1985. Copyright: Alison O’Neill

ALISON O’Neill has never exhibited her photographs of 1980s’ rock musicians until now.

What took her so long? “Shyness,” says the North Yorkshire photographer and language services translator, whose Trapped In The Light exhibition of Robert Smith, Ian McCulloch et al is running in the Sky Lounge – the upstairs corridor – at City Screen Picturehouse, York, until September 10.

“Being in the right place at the right time takes luck and a bit of determination, and in the ’80s I had both, when I got to know The Cure and Echo & The Bunnymen,” she says. “The opportunity this gave me yielded photos that show a fan’s eye view of bands both on and off stage.”

After studying Film & Literature at Warwick University, Alison moved to Berlin for a few years and then back to Yorkshire, where she became a freelance translator of German and Dutch into English.

Her black-and-white photographs remained filed away since those Eighties’ days, most seen only by Alison’s friends, until the drive to exhibit them was finally sparked by attending exhibitions by a friend in Berlin and rock photographer Richard Bellia in London.

On show at last – the exhibition was delayed by the pandemic – are photos taken between early 1982 and 1989 at locations from London to Edinburgh, featuring The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Jesus & Mary Chain, The Cramps, Wilko Johnson, Alan Vega and local bands.

“If you want a link between them, I think all the acts bar the Hastings band – seen on a weekend away – featured on John Peel’s Radio One show. But that’s as strong a link as it gets,” says Alison.

In the frame now: North Yorkshire photographer Alison O’Neill

Here CharlesHutchPress puts photographer Alison O’Neill in focus in a question-and-answer session about Trapped In The Light.

What is your connection with Yorkshire? Were you born here? 

“I can’t claim to be a Yorkshire native, because I was born down south (oh, the shame!).

 “But I was brought up in Yorkshire from an early age, Hull, then Pickering, so I have many friends here and my mother was still in the region, so I came back here after years away in the Midlands and Germany.”

How come the exhibition is at City Screen?

“When I asked around, City Screen were the first people to say yes to an exhibition – and it’s a brilliant space. Originally it was due to happen in May 2020 [before Covid intervened], and so the last two years’ wait has been worse than the 30-plus before.”

Alison O’Neill, pictured in 1984. “I was a Cure fan, not a Goth,” she says. Copyright: Alison O’Neill

When did you start taking photographs and what was your first camera?

“I got an Instamatic when I was eight. By the time I was 19, I seriously needed a better one, because the old camera wasn’t up to it.”

Why rock photography?

“I fell in love with music in my teens. And when I started photographing musicians, I realised that as they were engrossed in what they were doing, they aren’t (usually) self-conscious about photos being taken.”

Were you subjected to the long-standing “First three numbers and No flash” rule for concert photographers?

“Not in relation to the pictures in this exhibition. I was an amateur photographer, so often I couldn’t get my camera in at all, but in some cases the bands gave me passes, other times the venue wasn’t as strict. I didn’t use flash much anyway.”

Echo & The Bunnymen at Lancaster University in 1984. Copyright: Alison O’Neill

How did you get to know The Cure and Echo & The Bunnymen? 

“Long stories! But I will say it was a lot easier to meet bands in those days. And they were very friendly and open and generous with passes. The Cure, in particular, often hung around after the show to sign stuff for anyone who wanted, so you could get to talk to them then.”

What drew you to those bands: the hair, the coats, the lips, the lipstick, the darkness…the music?!

“The emotion. The passion.”

Were you ever a Goth?

“No, I was a Cure fan!  But there was a time when the way The Cure fans dressed was like a prototype for Goths.”

Audience at hardcore gig, 1986. Copyright: Alison O’Neill

Which is your favourite 1980s’ album by The Cure and why? Likewise, Echo & The Bunnymen?

“I can’t do these! Years ago, I decided that I’d have to have Desert Island Bands, because I can’t choose between their albums.”

How did you gain access to photograph bands, both on stage and particularly off-stage?

“I’d ask, if I caught them going in. And once they knew me – and presumably I didn’t upset anyone – they were willing to let me hang around.”

Was your rock photography a hobby or were your works printed at the time in publications/magazines/fanzines?

“It was a hobby, although I would have liked to have worked professionally, but I lacked the confidence to sell my work. A few of my pictures have been used in the local press (Leamington), fanzines and once in a CD booklet for Nikki Sudden’s Groove (not one that’s in this exhibition).”

Thee Wylde Things at Hastings, 1987. Copyright: Alison O’Neill

You say: “Being in the right place at the right time takes luck and a bit of determination”. Discuss…

“Well, I’ve sneaked in back doors at venues in my time, and bluffed security guards. At a venue in Prague where I expected to be on the guest list (but wasn’t, at least they didn’t find my name), I talked to a doorman in English – which he clearly didn’t understand – for so long that he just took my arm and pulled me inside.”

Was it more difficult, being a female photographer?

“It certainly was to be taken seriously. I imagine it still is. I could dine well on the number of people, including friends, who, learning about my music fandom go ‘oh, so you’re a groupie’. Cue Paddington death stare.”

Did you photograph any bands in York in the 1980s?  If so, who, where and when?

“I did get to see TX82 – the last embodiment of Teardrop Explodes – at York Uni, but it was seated and I was near the back so I didn’t get anything good.”

Echo & The Bunnymen guitarist Will Sergeant backstage. Copyright: Alison O’Neill

Do you have a favourite among your photos?

“It’s a close thing between Robert Smith in profile seated backstage and Will Sergeant having just drawn a cartoon on a blackboard backstage.”

Why focus on black-and-white photography in this exhibition?

“Simply to give coherence to the selection. Likewise keeping it to a set period.”

When you look back at your work from the 1980s with a 2020s’ eye, what strikes you about your work?

“How lucky I was with the timing. So many exciting artists working in wildly differing styles, and the openness to outsiders (such as me) coming along.”

Wilko Johnson at Warwick University Students’ Union, 1985. Copyright: Alison O’Neill

What makes a good rock photographer and who is your favourite?

“I think you need a lot of patience. Anton Corbijn is my absolute favourite, but I’m lucky to have a print by Richard Bellia. I was a real photographer nerd back in the glory days of the NME and Melody Make, so I could list several more…”

Might you look to produce an accompanying book?

“I have put together a small photo book as a memento under the same title, Trapped In The Light. It’s my first try, so I’ve been waiting with bated breath to see how it’s worked out.

“My copy has arrived in time for the exhibition opening, which is rather impressive, given I only ordered it last Sunday.

“I can see a few things that need tweaking if I were to offer it for sale. The printer has a sale on, so for orders placed by August 14,I’ll be asking £34.95 plus postage and packaging. After that, the price would depend on what offers are available.”

The Cramps at Warwick Arts Centre, 1986. Copyright: Alison O’Neill

Final question, Alison. Do you still take photographs? If so, what do you now photograph and with what camera?

“I still have a film camera, but I don’t take it out that often. I did photograph The Murder Capital when they played The Crescent, but that was in 2019. And like everyone I use my mobile for shots of varying quality.”

Trapped In The Light, 1980s Music Photos by Alison O’Neill, runs at Sky Lounge, City Screen Picturehouse, Coney Street, York, August 7 to September 10. Admission is free, open daily. Limited-edition framed prints can be ordered at £195 to £395, depending on size.

Check out Alison’s website at

Did you know?

THE exhibition title Trapped In The Light – an apt description of the photographer’s art – is taken from the lyrics to The Cure’s song M.

The poster for Alison O’Neill’s exhibition at City Screen Picturehouse, Trapped In The Light

More Things To Do in and around York on walls, in parks, by water, on stage and in future. List No. 94, courtesy of The Press

The Cure’s Robert Smith backstage, by Alison O’Neill, from her debut exhibition of 1980s’ music photos at City Screen, York. Copyright: Alison O’Neill

FROM The Cure’s Eighties’ photos to Ayckbourn’s lies, folk, riverside and walls festivals to folk’s future, Charles Hutchinson picks his highlights of the week ahead and beyond.

Exhibition launch of the week: Trapped In The Light, 1980s Music Photos by Alison O’Neill, Sky Lounge, City Screen Picturehouse, York, Sunday to September 10

ALISON O’Neill loved photographing The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Jesus & Mary Chain and The Cramps in the 1980s, but those black-and-white concert and backstage images have been in hibernation for more than three decades, never exhibited until now.

Why? “Shyness,” she says, but with the encouragement of a photographer friend in Berlin, she is letting those nocturnal photographic encounters see the light of day at last at City Screen.

Play of the week: Alan Ayckbourn’s All Lies, Esk Valley Theatre, Robinson Institute, Glaisdale, near Whitby, until August 27

When the little white lies start: Luke Dayhill and Saskia Strallen as the young couple in Alan Ayckbourn’s All Lies at Esk Valley Theatre. Picture: Steven Barber

FOLLOWING its initial run at the Old Laundry Theatre, Bowness-on-Windermere, in May, Esk Valley Theatre presents the world premiere production of writer-director Alan Ayckbourn’s 86th full-length play.

The setting is 1957/1958, when a  when a chance meeting elicits love at first sight! The person of your dreams! But will they feel the same? Once you tell the truth about yourself, will you even be worthy of them? Do you take the plunge and reveal all? Or choose the dangerous alternative and tell them…All Lies?!

Questions, questions, so many Ayckbourn questions, in a play where it may be all lies but the truth is in there somewhere. Box office: 01947 897587.

Inside a tipi at the Boatyard York Festival

New festival of the week: The Boatyard York Summer Festival, Ferry Lane, Bishopthorpe, York, today, 11am to 7pm

THE Boatyard plays host to its first summer riverside festival this weekend, featuring live music from York bands and musicians, such as Up In Smoke, and an array of street food to suit meat eaters and vegetarians alike.

Organised by Eva Brindley, this family-orientated day promises a Punch & Judy show, face-painting, fare stalls and games, ping pong and volleyball, plus canoe, kayak and day boat hire. Look out for the Bosun’s Oven café, wood-fired pizzas and summery drinks from the horsebox bar. Dogs are welcome; entry is free.

Lewis Capaldi: First visit to Scarborough Open Air Theatre since 2019

Outdoor gig of the week; Lewis Capaldi, supported by Wild Youth and Aine Deane, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, Thursday, gates 6pm. CANCELLED

UPDATE: 10/8/2022

LEWIS Capaldi has pulled out of his August 11 gig at Scarborough Open Air Theatre. The reason? Illness.

Ticket holders will be reimbursed fully.

SCOTTISH singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi spent ten weeks at the top of the charts with his May 2019 debut album, Divinely Inspired To A Hellish Extent. Alas, the wait goes on for the follow-up, and all the while you will find such questions as “Is Lewis Capaldi quitting?” and “What has happened to Lewis Capaldi” on the internet.

In July, the 25-year-old Glaswegian told his Latitude festival audience “I have no new music to play you”, calling himself “horribly lazy” when faced with “needing to finish my new album”. Looks like you will have to make do with Before You Go, Grace, Hollywood, Bruises et al once more on Thursday; the heartbeat of his first visit to Scarborough OAT in 2019 . Box office:

Much ado about Nothing & Everything Else…and Z Is For Zelda at Theatre@41

Double bill of the week: Black Sheep Theatre in Nothing & Everything Else/Z Is For Zelda, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, August 10 to 13, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee

SHOWCASING the work of playwright and director Bethany Shilling, the first play is an offbeat comedy about a young woman performing at her very first stand-up comedy open-mic night where she uses the time to check in with herself mentally. 

The second is an attempt by Zelda Fitzgerald to share her life story. In doing so, she flits between her polished, performed self and the obscure ramblings that consume her mind. Is she mad or is this the final act of Zelda’s undeniable character? Box office:

Seth Lakeman: Next Saturday’s main-stage headliner at The Magpies Festival. Picture: Tom Griffiths

Folk festival of the week: The Magpies Festival, Sutton Park, Sutton-on-the-Forest, near York, August 12, music from 6pm; August 13, music from 12.30pm

THE Magpies Festival has expanded from one day at last summer’s inaugural event to two in 2022, hosted again by The Magpies’ transatlantic folk trio of Bella Gaffney, Kate Griffin and Holly Brandon, ahead of this autumn’s release of their new album, Undertow.

Next Friday’s line-up will be: Jaywalkers; Elanor Moss; John Smith; Chris Elliott & Caitlin Jones and headliners Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra. Next Saturday presents Honey & The Bear; Dan Webster Band; Katie Spencer; The People Versus; David Ward Maclean; The Jellyman’s Daughter; Rory Butler; The Magpies plus guests; The 309s; The Drystones and main-stage headliner Seth Lakeman. Look out too for the food market and craft fair. Box office:

The poster for York Walls Festival 2022

Heritage event of the week: York Walls Festival 2022 Summer Weekend, August 13 and 14

THE Friends of York Walls will be partnering with York organisations and community groups to tell stories and promote “our shared community, history and heritage” next weekend.

The Friends look after the 500-year-old Fishergate Postern Tower on behalf of City of York Council and it is sure to feature in the festival, along with the Bar walls and Red Tower. For festival updates, head to:

Joshua Burnell & Band: Autumn tour takes in The Crescent in his home city of York. Picture: Elly Lucas

The future of folk: Joshua Burnell & Band, The Crescent, York, October 16, 8pm

JOSHUA Burnell & Band will play a home-city gig at The Crescent on his nine-date folk-fused baroque’n’roll autumn tour.

Multi-instrumentalist singer Burnell will be joined by globe-trotting violinist Frances Archer, guitarist Nathan Greaves, multi-instrumentalist Oliver Whitehouse, drummer Ed Simpson and vocalist Frances Sladen. “Think The War On Drugs meets Seth Lakeman on Ziggy Stardust’s spaceship,” he suggests. Tickets: or