SAY Owt, York’s performance poetry forum, teams up with York Literature Festival to present author and poet Pete “The Temp” Bearder in Homer To Hip Hop at The Crescent, York, on June 19.
Bearder’s 7.30pm performance lecture on a people’s history of spoken word and poetry will be “part gig, part TedTalk, part party” as he speaks truth to power.
Introducing Bearder’s show, Say Owt artistic director Henry Raby says: “As we enter the post-Covid comeback, meet the artistic revivals that have remade the world from the bottom up.
“Find out why wordsmiths have always been vilified, feared and revered, from the ballad singers and Beat poets, to the icons of dub, punk and hip hop. The spoken word has always been the most immediate tool of cultural revival. This show brings a proud history to life and asks what we can do with it next.”
Former national Poetry Slam champion, spoken word poet, author and comic Bearder brings to life the poetic movements that have shaped history. His work has been featured on BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service and Newsnight and his Homer To Hip Hop show follows the release of his ground-breaking book Stage Invasion: Poetry & The Spoken Word Renaissance.
Support on June 19 comes from Raby, Say Owt’s “token punk poet”, who has appeared at festivals across the UK and on BBC Radio York. “Althea Thall will be bringing her story-telling energy too and, finally, Jonny Crawshaw will be DJing a hip-hop set afterwards,” says Henry.
Tickets cost £10 via www.thecrescentyork.com/events/home-to-hip-hop-a-peoples-history-of-spoken-word/
FROM Holding Out For A Hero to Search For The Hero, Charles Hutchinson is on a quest to find heroic deeds and much else to entertain you.
Musical of the week: Footloose at York Theatre Royal, Tuesday to Saturday
DANCING On Ice champ Jake Quickenden rides into York as cowboy Willard and musicals stalwart Darren Day plays Reverend Moore in Racky Plews’s touring production of Footloose The Musical.
Reprising the 1984 film’s storyline, teenage city boy Ren is forced to move to the rural American backwater of Bomont, where dancing and rock music are banned. Taking matters into his own hands, soon he has all hell breaking loose around him and the whole town on its feet.
The set design, by the way, is by Sara Perks, who designed York Theatre Royal’s open-air show Around The World In 80 Days last summer and Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre productions in York. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Thriller of the week: Looking Good Dead, Grand Opera House, York, Tuesday to Saturday
AFTER playing bickering husband and wife Ian and Jane Beale in EastEnders for years and years, Adam Woodyatt and Laurie Brett are re-uniting, this time on stage in Shaun McKenna’s stage adaptation of Peter James’s thriller Looking Good Dead.
No good deed goes unpunished in this story of Woodyatt’s Tom Bryce inadvertently witnessing a vicious murder, only hours after finding a discarded USB memory stick.
Reporting the crime to the police has disastrous consequences, placing him and his family in grave danger. When Detective Superintendent Roy Grace becomes involved, he has his own demons to face while he tries to crack the case in time to save the Bryces’ lives. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.
Festival event of the week: York Literature Festival presents Europe’s 100 Best Cathedrals with Simon Jenkins, St Peter’s School, Clifton, York, tonight, 7pm
FOR Europe’s 100 Best Cathedrals, former editor of the Evening Standard and The Times Simon Jenkins has travelled the continent, from Chartres to York, Cologne to Florence, Toledo to Moscow, to illuminate old favourites and highlight new discoveries.
Tonight he discusses the book’s exploration of Europe’s history, the central role of cathedrals in the European imagination and the stories behind these wonders. Box office: yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk.
Exhibition of the week: Navigators Art in Moving Pictures, City Screen Picturehouse café and first-floor gallery, until April 15
FROM December’s ashes of the Piccadilly Pop Up Collective studios and gallery in the old York tax office, Navigators Art have re-emerged for a spring exhibition at City Screen.
For their first post-lockdown project, founder Navigators Steve Beadle and Richard Kitchen have invited fellow artist and teacher Timothy Morrison to join them for Moving Pictures: From Fan Art To Fine Art.
“The title is deliberately ambiguous, and we’ve responded to it accordingly,” says Richard. “There are works that relate to cinema and other media but also many of which interpret ‘Moving’ in other ways.”
Rearranged York gig of the week: BC Camplight, supported by Wesley Gonzales, The Crescent, York, Thursday, 7.30pm
MOVED from March 10, BC Camplight’s gig in York highlights the final chapter of his “Manchester trilogy”, Shortly After Takeoff.
“This is an examination of madness and loss,” says BC, full name Brian Christinzio. “I hope it starts a long overdue conversation.”
Fired by his ongoing battle with mental illness, Shortly After Takeoff follows 2018’s Deportation Blues and 2015’s How To Die In The North in responding to BC’s move from his native Philadelphian to Manchester. Cue singer-songwriter classicism, gnarly synth-pop and Fifties’ rock’n’roll. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.
York premiere of the week: Pick Me Up Theatre in Shakespeare In Love, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, April 1 to 9
LEE Hall’s 2014 stage adaptation of Shakespeare In Love, the Oscar-winning film written by Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman, celebrates the joys of theatre in Pick Me Up’s first show of 2022.
Directed by Mark Hird, it recounts the love story of struggling young playwright Will Shakespeare (George Stagnell) and feisty, free-thinking noblewoman Viola de Lesseps (Sanna Jeppsson), who helps him overcome writer’s block and becomes his muse.
Against a bustling background of mistaken identity, ruthless scheming and backstage theatrics, Will’s love for Viola blossoms, inspiring him to write Romeo And Juliet. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Voice of the week: Heather Small, York Barbican, April 2, 7.30pm
BILLED as “The voice of M People”, soul singer Heather Small will be combining songs from her Nineties’ Manchester band with selections from her two solo albums.
As part of M People, she chalked up hits and awards with Moving On Up, One Night In Heaven and Search For The Hero and the albums Elegant Slumming, Bizarre Fruit and Fresco. The title track of her Proud album has since become a staple at multiple ceremonies.
At 57, she will never be one to rest on her laurels: “If you got the feeling I do when I sing, you’d understand,” she reasons. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Book early for: York Musical Theatre Company in Jekyll & Hyde The Musical, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, May 25 to 28
FLOOR rehearsals are well under way for York Musical Theatre Company’s spring production under the direction of Matthew Clare, who is delighted by how the cast is responding and supporting each other.
The epic struggle between good and evil in Jekyll & Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale of myth and mystery on London’s fog-bound streets, comes to stage life in Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse’s pop-rock musical, where love, betrayal and murder lurk at every chilling twist and turn.
YMTC are running an early bird discount ticket offer with the promo code of JEKYLL22HYDE when booking at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk by April 10.
GIG-GOING: Live Music and Literature Stories will be the focus of a York Literature Festival panel discussion at the Fulford Arms, Fulford Road, York, tomorrow (24/3/2022).
This discussion and celebration of music culture explores how we document live music and the power of stories and publishing to unite music scenes.
Billed as “a must for musicians, reviewers, bloggers, promoters, photographers or anyone who understands the importance of music culture”, this 7.30pm event features a panel of Harkirit Boparai, Sarah Williams and Amy McCarthy.
Harkirit is the venue manager and concert promoter (for Ouroboros) at The Crescent community venue and a vital cog in the Music Venue Trust; Sarah edits Shout Louder, a webzine dedicated to the modern punk scene, and Papercuts, an independently published series of anecdotes about DIY culture; Amy is a PhD student researching music memoirs as part of the York Music Stories project.
The panel discussion will be followed by a reading and interview with Newcastle author Lucy Nichol, whose debut novel, The Twenty Seven Club, explores mental health and the media through the 1990s’ music scene in Hull.
Lucy’s story begins with Emma hearing of the tragic death of Kurt Cobain, prompting her to ask why so many musicians died aged 27 [bluesman Robert Johnson, Rolling Stone Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Amy Winehouse among them].
Lucy, author, freelance writer, PR and marketing consultant, mental health campaigner, flunked punk and addiction stigma buster, will be discussing her novel’s darkly comic journey of self-discovery, friendship, fandom and hope in conversation with Amy McCarthy.
On the bill too will be spoken-word contributions from Hannah Davies and live music from Jack Woods. Tickets are on sale at yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk or at thefulfordarms.com.
YORK Literature Festival’s celebration of the written and spoken word opens today.
More than 20 live events will be held at venues across the city centre, such as York St John University, St Peter’s School and York Explore Library and Archive.
Running until March 27, the festival launches this evening when two-time Booker Prize nominee Sarah Hall will be in conversation with Professor Abi Curtis at the new York St John University Creative Centre at 7pm, discussing her latest novel, Burntcoat, set in the first pandemic lockdown.
Pioneering reformer and president of the Supreme Court Lady Hale will discuss her autobiography, Spider Woman, A Life, in a free event at The Mount School, Dalton Terrace, tomorrow at 11am. Tickets are required.
Northern Film School graduate, producer of low-budget British horror film Heretic and Saber Productions director Bethany Clift will talk about her debut novel, Last One At The Party, and dystopian fiction with festival chair Dr Rob O’Connor at York Explore, Museum Street, tomorrow at 11am.
To be closer to the Brontes, Michael Stewart began walking the historic paths they trod while writing their most famous works, leading to his book Walking The Invisible: Following In The Brontes’ Footsteps. He will be appearing at York Explore tomorrow at 2pm in the wake of releasing his latest novel, Ill Will: The Untold Story Of Heathcliff.
After a long career in archaeology in York, Sarah Maine has drawn on her knowledge of the city’s vibrant past for her fifth novel, The Awakenings, set in two timeframes, the 790s and 1890s. Written when she was confined to York in the lockdowns, it now forms the subject of her In Conversation event at St Peter’s School, Clifton, tomorrow at 7pm.
Martin Figura and Helen Ivory will host the Try A Little Tenderness writing workshop at York Explore on Sunday from 2pm to 5pm, when they will explore how to write with feeling about those we care about without slipping into sentimentality.
The workshop price (£30) includes a ticket to writer-poet Figura and poet-artist Ivory’s poetry reading on Sunday at 7pm at the Hungate Reading Café, Hungate. The duo set up their Live From The Butchery online spoken-word series during lockdown.
The Yorkshire Shepherdess, Amanda Owen, from Channel 5’s Our Yorkshire Farm documentary series, will be in conversation with BBC Radio York’s Elly Fiorentini at St Peter’s School on Sunday at 7pm. The focus will be on her latest book, Celebrating The Seasons, part photography book, part recipe book and part family and farming memoir.
On Monday, at 7pm, St Peter’s School will play host to The Sunday Times’ Insight investigators Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnott as they discuss Failures Of State, their exposé of the Conservative Government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis: “one of the most scandalous failures of political leadership in British history”, they contend.
Female writers Jane Austin, Janet Dean Knight and Yvie Holder will explore ordinary lives against a backdrop of momentous global events, through poetry, fiction and memoir, in Encore Careers! Readings and Conversations on Tuesday at 7pm at Hungate Reading Café.
Creative writing students and staff at York St John University present Wednesday’s Beyond The Walls Student Showcase of readings at the Lord Mayor’s Walk campus in a free event at 7pm, but with tickets required via the festival website or at yorksj.ac.uk/events.
This showcase celebrates the annual Beyond The Walls anthology project , hosted and organised by students.
Further details on York Literature Festival will follow. For tickets and the full programme, go to: yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk.
LET’S do The Time Warp again? It’s just a jump to the left, and then a step to right, to enjoy plenty more of Charles Hutchinson’s recommendations.
Fancy dress invitation of the week: Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show, Grand Opera House, York, Monday to Saturday
KRISTIAN Lavercombe celebrates his 2,000th performance as Riff Raff as Richard O’Brien’s 1973 musical extravaganza enjoys yet another York run.
Alongside Lavercombe in Christopher Luscombe’s touring production will be 2016 Strictly Come Dancing winner Ore Oduba as preppy college nerd Brad Majors, Haley Flaherty as squeaky-clean fiancée Janet Weiss and Stephen Webb as castle-dwelling Transylvanian transsexual doctor Frank-N-Furter.
Cue fabulously camp fun and even camper costumes, shlock-horror comedy and science-fiction send-ups, audiences in fancy dress and sassy songs such as Sweet Transvestite, Science Fiction/Double Feature and The Time-Warp singalong. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.
Exhibition launch of the week: Imogen Hawgood and Horace Panter, Hyperrealism in America and Japan, at According To McGee, Tower Street, York, from 11am today until March 25
NEW According To McGee signing Imogen Hawgood, from County Durham, introduces her collection of realist paintings in a duo show with Pop artist and Ska legend Horace Panter, The Specials’ bassist.
Panter’s Edward Hopper-inspired depictions of Midwest motels, inner-lit Japanese kiosks and sun-warmed Coca-Cola crates complement Hawgood’s exploration of Americana icons and the idea of “the road” as a transitional landscape.
Rock horror show: Steve Steinman’s Vampires Rock – Ghost Train, Grand Opera House, York, tonight (12/3/2022), 7.30pm
NOTTINGHAM singer and producer Steve Steinman returns to York with his tongue-in-cheek show stacked high with rock anthems, guitar gods and vampy vampettes.
Steinman’s Baron von Rockula and his vampires take refuge in an old fairground’s ghost train as he seeks a new virginial wife after the death of his beloved Pandora. Ordering faithful sidekick Bosley to find him one, enter Roxy Honeybox.
Now in its 20th year, Vampires Rock sets a cast of singers, dancers and musicians loose on Queen, AC/DC, Bonnie Tyler, Meat Loaf, Bon Jovi, Journey and Guns N’ Roses chestnuts. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.
York gig of the week: Glenn Tilbrook, The Crescent, York, Sunday, 7.30pm
THIS is a standing show…and an outstanding one too as endearing and enduring Deptford singer, songwriter, guitarist and troubadour Glenn Tilbrook makes his debut appearance at The Crescent.
More than 45 years after he first answered an ad placed by Chris Difford looking for like-minded sorts to form the band that became the evergreen Squeeze, an ending is nowhere in sight, even if he called his fourth solo album Happy Ending in 2014. Expect silver-tongued Squeeze and solo numbers, peppered with audience requests, tomorrow night.
Squeeze up, by the way, because this Gig Cartel-promoted gig has sold out. Fingers crossed for any returns (www.thecrescentyork.com), but otherwise you’re really up the junction for a ticket.
Literary event of the week: Alexander McCall Smith, York Theatre Royal, Monday, 7.30pm
YORK Literature Festival plays host to Alexander McCall Smith as he discusses the new instalment in his long-running Scotland Street series, the warm-hearted, humorous and wise Love In The Time Of Bertie.
Fiona Lindsay pops the questions, intertwined with footage shot on location in Edinburgh, wherein McCall Smith invites guests into his study, where he writes surrounded by paintings and books, and visits key landmarks from the books.
The festival follows from March 18 to 27 with full details at yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Postponement of the week: Joe Jackson, Sing, You Sinners! Tour, York Barbican, moving from March 17 to July 29
BLAME Covid for this delay to only the second ever York concert of singer, songwriter and consummate arranger Joe Jackson’s 44-year career.
“After months of uncertainty, it finally became clear that continuing Covid restrictions (particularly on venue capacity) in certain countries, would make our Spring European Tour un-viable as planned,” says Jackson’s official statement. “We can’t tour at a loss, and the situation did not look like changing soon enough.”
Tickets remain valid for the new July 29 date when Jackson promises hits, songs not aired in years and new material. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Storytelling show of the week: Sam Freeman, Every Little Hope You Ever Dreamed (But Didn’t Want To Mention), Cold Bath Brewery Co Clubhouse, Harrogate, Monday, 7.30pm; York Theatre Royal Studio, Friday, 7.45pm
FORMER York Theatre Royal marketing officer and 2009 TakeOver Festival co-director Sam Freeman heads back to his old stamping ground with his solo rom-com for the lonely hearted and the loved-up, armed with a projector, a notebook, wonky spectacles and nods to Richard Curtis’s Notting Hill.
Freeman, marketeer, occasional writer, director and stand-up comedian, combines storytelling and whimsical northern comedy in his multi-layered story of a chance encounter between two soulmates, how they fall in love, then part but may meet again. Box office: Harrogate, harrogatetheatre.co.uk; York, 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Shaking up Shakespeare: Northern Broadsides in As You Like It, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, Tuesday to Saturday; York Theatre Royal, March 23 to 26
MARKING Northern Broadsides’ 30th anniversary, artistic director Laurie Sansom’s diverse cast of 12 northern actors captures the “sheer joy of live performance and the crazy power of love to change the world” in his bold, refreshing take on Shakespeare’s most musical comedy.
Exiled from the court, high-spirited Rosalind, devoted cousin Celia and drag queen Touchstone encounter outlaws, changing seasons and life unconfined by rigid codes in the forest.
Gender roles dissolve and assumptions are turned on their head in a natural world of endless possibilities. Box office: Scarborough, 01723 370541 or sjt.uk.com; York, 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Touring show of the week: Utopia Theatre in Here’s What She Said To Me, York Theatre Royal Studio, Thursday and Friday, 7.45pm
MEET Agbeke, Omotola and Aramide, three generations of proud African women connecting with each other across two continents, time and space, in Oladipo Agboluaje’s distaff drama, conceived and directed by York St John University graduate Mojisola Elufowoju.
Together the women share their struggles, their joys, tragedies and broken dreams, in order to find healing in the present. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
AFTER a year where killjoy Covid-19 re-wrote the arts and events diary over and over again, here comes 2021, when the pandemic will still have a Red Pen influence.
Armed with a pantomime fairy’s magic wand rather than Madame Arcati’s crystal ball from Blithe Spirit, when what we need is a jab in the arm pronto, Charles Hutchinson picks out potential highlights from the New Year ahead that York will start in Tier 3.
Back on screen: Velma Celli, Large & Lit In Lockdown Again, streaming on January 8
AFTER his “Fleshius Creepius” panto villain in York Stage’s Jack And The Beanstalk, Ian Stroughair was planning to pull on his drag rags for a live Velma Celli show in January, and maybe more shows to follow, at his adopted winter home of Theatre @41 Monkgate.
Instead, he writes: “Darlings, as we head back into a lockdown in York, I am back on the streaming! My first show is next Friday at 8pm. I would love you to join me for an hour of camp cabaret fun! Get those requests and shout-outs in!” Tickets for Virtual Velma start at £10 via http://bit.ly/3nVaa4N; expect an online show every Friday from Ian’s new riverside abode.
Open-air one-off event of the summer: Shed Seven, The Piece Hall, Halifax, June 26
FRESH from releasing live album Another Night, Another Town as a reminder of what everyone has had to miss in 2020, Shed Seven have confirmed their Piece Hall headliner in Halifax has been rearranged for next summer.
The Sheds have picked an all-Yorkshire support bill of Leeds bands The Wedding Present and The Pigeon Detectives and fast-rising fellow York act Skylights. For tickets, go to lunatickets.co.uk or seetickets.com.
Most anticipated York exhibition of 2021: Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years, York Art Gallery, May 28 to September 5
CHANNEL 4’s champion of people’s art in lockdown, Grayson Perry, will present his Covid-crocked 2020 exhibition of “lost pots” at the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA) next spring and summer instead.
The Pre-Therapy Years reassembles Perry’s earliest forays into ceramics; 70 “explosive and creative works” he made between 1982 and 1994. Look out too for the potter, painter, TV presenter and social commentator’s existentialist September 6 gig at York Barbican: Grayson Perry: A Show For Normal People, wherein he will “distract you from the very meaninglessness of life in the way only a man in a dress can”.
A pantomime in the spring? Yes, The Great Yorkshire Easter Pantomime in a tent on Knavesmire, York, March 19 to April 11
CHRIS Moreno, director of Three Bears’ Productions four pantomimes at the Grand Opera House from 2016 to 2019, will direct York’s first ever “tentomime”, Aladdin, this spring with a cast of “21 colourful characters”.
The Great Yorkshire Easter Pantomime will be presented in the luxurious, heated Tented Palace, Knavesmire, in a socially distanced configuration compliant with Covid-19 guidance.
The big top will have a capacity of 976 in tiered, cushioned seating, while the stage will span 50 metres, comprising a palace façade, projected scenery and magical special effects. Look out for the flying carpets.
Falling in love again with theatre: The Love Season at York Theatre Royal, February 14 to April 21
ON December 15, York Theatre Royal announced plans to reopen on St Valentine’s Day for The Love Season, with the audience capacity reduced from 750 to a socially distanced 345.
Full details will be confirmed in the New Year with tickets going on sale on January 8, and that remains the case, says chief executive Tom Bird, after hearing yesterday afternoon’s statement to the House of Commons by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
“We’re carrying on with our plans, including presenting Coronation Street and Broadchurch actor Julie Hesmondhalgh in husband Ian Kershaw’s one-woman play, The Greatest Play In The History Of The World, from February 16 to 20,” he confirmed.
Six of the best at York Barbican in 2021
YORK Barbican has remained closed since the March lockdown, foregoing even the UK Snooker Championships in November and December.
A reopening date is yet to be announced but mark these shows in your diary, if only in pencil: Rob Brydon, A Night Of Songs & Laughter, April 14; Jimmy Carr, Terribly Funny, May 2; country duo The Shires, May 23; Van Morrison, May 25 and 26; Paul Weller, June 29, and Rufus Wainwright, Unfollow The Rules Tour, October 13.
Anniversary celebration of the year: York Open Studios, April 17 and 18; 24 and 25, 10am to 5pm
2020 turned into a virtual Open Studios with displays online and in windows, but already 140 artists and makers are confirmed for the 20th anniversary event in the spring when they will show and sell their work within their homes and workspaces.
Many of 2020’s selected artists have deferred their space to 2021, but new additions will be announced soon, the website teases. “We’re channelling the optimism and enthusiasm from all our artists to ensure this year’s 20th show is one of the best,” says event co-founder and ceramicist Beccy Ridsdel.
And what about?
Festivals galore, as always, in the self-anointed “City of Festivals”. Coming up are the Jorvik Viking Festival; York Fashion Week; York Literature Festival; York Early Music Festival; York Festival of Ideas, the Aesthetica Short Film Festival and more besides.