Looking for More Things To Do in York and beyond? Success will be found inside this story. Hutch’s List No. 106, from The Press

What is success, ponders Sara Pascoe, comedian, presenter, actress, writer and mum, at York Barbican

A COMEDIAN’S quest, a musical Nativity, winter storytelling, open studios, folk luminaries and supreme songwriters put a spring in Charles Hutchinson’s step as the season for scarves arrives

Comedy gig of the week: Sara Pascoe: Success Story, York Barbican, Thursday, 7.30pm

EXPECT “name-dropping, personal stories and anecdotes” from comedian Sara Pascoe, who will be mulling over status, celebrities, her new fancy lifestyle versus infertility, her multiple therapists and career failures in Success Story.

“What I want to explore is how do we define success and when do we define it,” she says. “Does it change with age? Do we only want things we can’t have? When we attain our goals, do we move the goal posts and become unsatisfied with what we’ve got and want something else instead?” Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Mayhem incoming: Pick Me Up Theatre’s cast for Nativity The Musical

Christmas musical of the week: Pick Me Up Theatre in Nativity! The Musical, Grand Opera House, York, November 24 to 26, 29 and 30, December 2, 7.30pm; November 26, 2.30pm; November 27, 3pm; December 1, 2pm, 7pm; December 3, 12pm, 4pm

ROBERT Readman directs York company Pick Me Up Theatre in Debbie Isitt and Nicky Ager’s humorous musical, built around St Bernadette’s School’s calamitous attempt to mountain a musical Nativity play.

Unfortunately, teacher Mr Maddens has promised that a Hollywood producer will attend the show to turn it into a film. 

Join him, his crazy teaching assistant Mr Poppy and the unruly children as they struggle to make everyone’s Christmas wish come true to the songsheet of Sparkle And Shine, Nazareth, One Night One Moment, She’s The Brightest Star and a heap of new Yuletide songs. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickts.com/york.

Ye Wretched Strangers Storybook: Tales from North America and Britain at York Mansion House

Promenade theatre event of the week: Ye Wretched Strangers Storybook, York Mansion House,  St Helen’s Square, York, tonight, 7.30pm

YE Company of Wretched Strangers, a transatlantic community theatre troupe of performers and storytellers from Yorkshire and Wisconsin, present sometimes comic, sometimes serious, always intimate and often poignant tales from Britain and North America, spanning 1799 to 1942, in the refurbished home to the Lord Mayor of York.

Laughter, smiles and a tear or two will be elicited by A Christmas Eve Ghost Story, the Creation Myth of the Ojibwe Tribe of Native Americans, A York World War Two Tale and other stories of ordinary people often forgotten by history on both sides of the Atlantic. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk/show/ye-wretched-strangers-storybook/

Wizard, photographic collage, by Claire Morris, on show at the Winter Artists Open House

Christmas shopportunity of the week: Winter Artists Open House, South Bank, York, today, 11am to 4pm

FIVE York artists are opening studios today in South Bank with an eye to the Christmas market. At Kay Dower’s Corner Gallery, at 2 Telford Terrace, her acrylic paintings and prints of corners of York, the Yorkshire coast and quirky still-life objects will be complemented by photographic collages by Claire Morris, inspired by vintage books.

Kate Buckley’s “origami meets porcelain” sculptural ceramics and Marie Murphy’s modern, geometric paintings, prints and illustrations of urban landscapes can be found at 31 Wentworth Road. Mixed-media artist Jill Tattersall’s vivid, dreamlike artworks in paints, inks and dyes on handmade paper await at the Wolf At The Door studio, 15 Cygnet Street.

Saxon: Seize a ticket for their Seize The Day date at York Barbican

Heavy metal gig of the week: Saxon, Seize The Day World Tour, Hull City Hall, Tuesday; York Barbican, Wednesday, 7.30pm

BARNSLEY heavy metal veterans Saxon bring their 23rd studio album, February’s Carpe Diem, to stage life, led as ever by Biff Byford. “Can’t wait to get out on a real tour again, it’s gonna be monumental!” he says. “See you all out there. Seize the day!” Special guests will be Diamond Head. Box office: Hull, hulltheatres.co.uk;  York, yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Jane Weaver: Purveyor of an eco-friendly hum and pop for post-new-normal times

Songwriters of the week: Mary Gauthier & Jaimee Harris, Wednesday; Jane Weaver & Jake Mehew, Thursday, both at The Crescent, York, 7.30pm

NEW Orleans roots singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier is backing up June’s release of Dark Enough To See The Stars with a rare UK tour this month. The album mourns the loss of dear friends John Prine, Nanci Griffith and David Olney, but the optimistic side to Gauthier bursts through songs of new love and personal contentment.

Her seated show is followed the next night by Jane Weaver’s standing gig. An unshakable leading light of Britain’s experimental pop music landscape, this Manchester musician released her latest album, Flock, last year with its eco-friendly hum and pop for post-new-normal times. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.

Oysterband: Bound for Pocklington Arts Centre

Rare sighting of the week: Oysterband, Pocklington Arts Centre, Thursday, 8pm

OYSTERBAND play Pocklington as the only northern gig in their 2022 autumn diary. Formed in Canterbury in 1976, the veteran six-piece still perform with the spirit a punk ceilidh band but with depth and sensitivity to their songwriting, coupled with the strength of John Jones’s voice.

Songs from the five-time BBC Folk Award winners’ March album, Read The Sky, are sure to feature. Box office: 01759 301547 or pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Bellowhead: Reuniting for first tour in six years

Folk event of the year: Bellowhead’s Broadside Tenth Anniversary Tour, Harrogate Convention Centre, Friday, doors 7pm for 8pm start

FOLK big band Bellowhead are reuniting for a “special one-off” tenth anniversary tour of their fourth album, 2012’s Broadside, their first Top 20 entry in the UK Official Album Charts, fuelled by such favourites as Roll The Woodpile Down and 10,000 Miles Away.

Support comes from Stroud fiddler Sam Sweeney, who served in Bellowhead from 2008 to their last tour in 2016 and is now back on the front line alongside Jon Boden and John Spiers. Tickets update: Sold out; for returns only, contact 01423 502116 or harrogatetheatre.co.uk.

Five artists, three venues, one Winter Artists Open House in South Bank studios on Saturday for Christmas presents

Everything Means Something, photographic collage, by Claire Morris

FIVE York artists are opening studio spaces on Saturday from 11am to 4pm for early Christmas shopping opportunities at three South Bank locations.

“The Winter Artists Open House is a chance to support the city’s independent artists and maybe buy unique greetings cards, a print or eye-catching original artwork,” says participating painter Kay Dower. “All venues are within walking distance of each other with parking available.”

Reflections Of York, acrylic, by Kay Dower

At Kay’s Corner Gallery, at 2 Telford Terrace, YO24 1DQ, a selection of her artworks will be complemented by photographic collages by Claire Morris. Kay will be displaying original acrylic paintings and limited-edition prints of corners of York, the Yorkshire coast and quirky still-life objects, from Yorkie chocolate bars to York Gin bottles.

Claire will be decking the walls with her latest collection of fine-art photographs inspired by vintage books, for which she cuts the characters out of books, then dramatically lights and stages the shot so that the figures appear to jump off the page.

Wizard, photographic montage, by Claire Morris

Kate Buckley’s sculptural ceramics and Marie Murphy’s modern, geometric paintings, prints and illustrations can be found at 31 Wentworth Road, YO24 1DG. Kate’s porcelain is described as “origami meets porcelain”; indeed, seeing is believing in the way her elegant wall sculptures play with light and shadow. Marie uses flat blocks of colour and striking angles to produce a serene sense of calm in her urban landscapes.

At mixed-media artist Jill Tattersall’s Wolf At The Door studio, at 15 Cygnet Street, YO23 1AG, she works with paints, inks and dyes on handmade paper to create vivid, dreamlike art. Please note, the entrance to Cygnet Street is by the back gate on Nunthorpe Road.

A sculptural ceramic by Kate Buckley

Among Jill’s works will be a newly framed recycled cedarwood block depicting sunset and wind turbines. “It’s just stunning to me,” she said on rainswept Tuesday (15/11/2022). “It’s a miserable day but this little painting gleams in the gloom. It will be on display at my Open House this weekend, from my Waste Not series, which I always make as affordable as possible.”

Looking forward to the weekend eagerly, Kate says: “Enjoy a winter wander around the varied selection of art on offer by York artists and get some inspiration for your Christmas list.

“As well as art to peruse, there’ll be refreshments available at the South Bank Studios Art & Craft Winter Fair, running at Southlands Methodist Church, in Bishopthorpe Road, from 10am to 5pm on the same day, or at the independent cafés and eateries on Bishopthorpe Road.”

The poster for Saturday’s Winter Artists Open House in South Bank, York