More Things To Do in York and beyond as the time to book up for the literati arrives. Hutch’s List No. 10, from The Press

Tuck into An Audience with Grace Dent, the Guardian food writer, columnist, author and presenter, at the Grand Opera House, York, on March 30 (7pm) as part of York Literature Festival

LITERATURE festivities, psychological bunny puppetry, sci-fi theatre, paranormal investigations and explosive dance promise out-of-this-world cultural experiences, reckons Charles Hutchinson.

Festival of the month: York Literature Festival, ends April 4

YORK Literature Festival is under way with events spread between St Peter’s School; York St John University; York Explore Library; Theatre@41; The Mount School; The Basement at City Screen; York Museum Gardens; York Medical Society, Stonegate; The Crescent; the Grand Opera House and The Blue Boar, Castlegate.

Among the highlights are today’s (2/3/2024) Folk Horror Day; food writers Nina Mingya Powles and Ella Risbridger on Thursday and Grace Dent on March 30; Nicholas Royle David Boiwe, Enid Blyton and The Sun Machine, March 12; journalist and broadcaster Steve Richards on Turning Points in modern Britain, March 16; Lush founder and lead singer Mike Berenyi, discussing her memoir Fingers Crossed, March 24, and poet and broadcaster Lemn Sissay’s morning poems, March 30. For the full programme and bookings, visit yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk.

Lemn Sissay: British-Ethiopian poet will perform morning poems from Let The Light Pour In at York Literature Festival on March 30 (2pm). Picture: Hamish Brown

When Tuesday is on a Saturday: 1812 Youth Theatre in Tuesday, Helmsley Arts Centre, tonight (2/3/2024), 2.30pm, 7.30pm

AN ordinary Tuesday turns really, really weird when the sky over the school playground suddenly rips open in Alison Carr’s funny and playful play Tuesday. Pupils and teachers are sucked up to a parallel universe as a new set of people rain down from above. ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ must come together to work out what is going on and how to return things to how they were.

Carr combines “a little bit of sci-fi and a lot of big themes”: friendship, family, identity, grief, responsibility – and what happens when an unexpected event turns the world upside down. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Exploring psychological damage: George Green in Foxglove Theatre’s Rabbit at Theatre@41, Monkgate, York

New play of the week: Foxglove Theatre in Rabbit, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, tonight (2/3/2024), 7.30pm

YORK company Foxglove Theatre identified a need for weirder, more experimental theatre in the city, focusing on “psychological exploration through innovative visual storytelling”. Here comes their debut new work, Rabbit, wherein a brave bunny wakes up lost in a murky forest determined to find her way home to Mumma.

Blending puppetry and visual effects, George Green’s performance explores the psychological damage that develops from even the smallest mishandlings of our childhood selves. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Back on the Chain Gang: Miles Salter, second left, and his York band make a second visit to Ampleforth Village Hall tonight

Village gig of the week: Miles and The Chain Gang, Ampleforth Village Hall, near Helmsley, tonight (2/3/2024), 7.30pm

YORK band Miles and The Chain Gang return to Ampleforth Village Hall by popular demand after a first outing there last summer. Expect rock’n’roll, acoustic songs, new wave, soul and country, plus Rolling Stones, Joni Mitchell and Johnny Cash covers.

Their latest digital single, the country-tinged Raining Cats And Dogs, is sure to feature in the set by Miles Salter, guitar and vocals, Mat Watt, bass, Steve Purton, drums, and Charlie Daykin, keyboards. Tickets: 07549 775971.

Yvette Fielding: Leading the paranormal investigations at the Grand Opera House, in the haunted city of York, in a Sunday fright night

Paranormal show of the week: Most Haunted: The Stage Show, Grand Opera House, York, Sunday (3/3/2024), 7.30pm

YVETTE Fielding, “the first lady of the paranormal”, joins Karl Beattie, producer and director of the Most Haunted television series, in the investigative team to take Sunday’s audience on “the darkest, most terrifying journey of your life”, followed by a question-and-answer session.

In a city bursting at the seams with ghost stories and walks, Fielding and Beattie present Most Haunted’s All-Time Top Ten Scares, complete with unseen video footage from haunted castles, manor houses, hospitals and prisons. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Excellent entertainment? Phil Ellis reckons so at Theatre@41 on Tuesday

Comedy gig of the week: Phil Ellis’s Excellent Comedy Show, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Tuesday, 8pm

DO you like comedy? Do you like shows? What are your thoughts on excellence? “If you like all three, then the award-winning Phil Ellis’s Excellent Comedy Show is the excellent comedy show for you,” advises Ellis, who promises an hour of stand-up and fun from “the North West’s most punctual working-class comedian”. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Diversity: Dancing around the Supernova at the Grand Opera House, York, for two nights. Harrogate and Hull to follow

Dance show of the week: Diversity in Supernova, Grand Opera House, York, March 7 and 8, 7.45pm; Harrogate Convention Centre, March 9, 3.30pm; Hull Connexin Live, April 7, 2.30pm

2009 Britain’s Got Talent winners Diversity return to York on their biggest tour yet to stage Supernova, devised by founder Ashley Banjo. More than 120,000 tickets have sold for more than 90 dates in 40 cities and towns through 2023 and 2024, with both Grand Opera House performances down to the last few tickets.

Diversity will be supporting the Trussell Trust, the anti-poverty charity, inviting audience members to bring food donations to place in collection points. Cash donations in buckets are welcome too. Box office: York, atgtickets.com/york; Harrogate, 01423 502116 or harrogatetheatre.co.uk; Hull, connexinlivehull.com.

Suzi Quatro: Using this iconic image from her first photographic session with Gered Mankowitz in 1973 to promote her 60th anniversary tour. York Barbican awaits

Gig announcement of the week: Suzi Quatro, York Barbican, November 15

SUZI Quatro will mark the 60th year of her reign as “the Queen of Rock’n’Roll” by embarking on a five-date autumn tour, taking in York Barbican as the only Yorkshire venue.

Born in Michigan, Quatro flew to England in 1971 to work with songwriting duo Chinn and Chapman, chalking up chart toppers with Can The Can and Devil Gate Drive and further hits with 48 Crash, Daytona Demon, The Wild One, If You Can’t Give Me Love and She’s In Love With You, as well as co-writing Babbies & Bairns with dame Berwick Kaler in his York Theatre Royal panto pomp. Box office: ticketmaster.co.uk/event/360060579D80156E.

In Focus: Two Houses, One Story: York ‘s Forgotten Women at Bar Convent and Fairfax House

Special collections manager Dr Hannah Thomas studies a reproduction of Lady Hungate’s unofficial will alongside items left to the Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre

TWO Houses, One Story: York’s Forgotten Women, a collaboration between the Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre and Fairfax House, opens today, marking International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month.

Running until April 27, the project explores the long intertwining histories of these illegal Catholic houses with an exhibition at each house that enhances the other.

Two of York’s most iconic historic houses, they share a history of strong Catholic women. One was founded as a secret convent, operating a pioneering school for girls, in Blossom Street; the other was constructed as the winter townhouse of Charles, 9th Viscount Fairfax of Emley, gifted to his daughter, the Hon Anne Fairfax, with its richly decorated interiors and stucco ceilings in a masterpiece of Georgian design and architecture in Castlegate.

Dr Hannah Thomas, the Bar Convent’s special collections manager, says: “The histories of the Bar Convent and Fairfax House are so closely intertwined that a joint exhibition such as this makes perfect sense.

The welcome to the Two Houses, One Story exhibition at Fairfax House

“Not many people are aware of the links between the houses but both Anne and Mary Fairfax attended the school here and Lady Hungate lived here with the sisters for 29 years.

“This exhibition gives us a fantastic opportunity to explore and share this exciting little-known narrative with the public and to work with the incredible team at Fairfax House.”

Sarah Burnage, curator at Fairfax House, says: “We are delighted to be working with our friends at the Bar Convent on this joint venture. The exhibition tells the story of women living in York in the 18th century and offers a fascinating glimpse into the little-known world of Catholicism in York”.

Two Houses: One Story features recently discovered documents, beautiful portraits and intriguing artefacts that give new insight into the day-to-day lives of these exceptional Yorkshire women.

Original 18th century account books referencing Lady Hungate, on display for the first time at the Bar Convent

The exhibitions explore how they navigated their faith during an era of persecution and suspicion, and how some were linked to dangerous underground activity that ultimately aided the survival of the Catholic faith in York and beyond.

At the Bar Convent, discover the early years of the Fairfax daughters who attended the school, how and why their grandmother, Lady Hungate, lived at the house for 29 years and the significance and legacy of this alliance.

At Fairfax House, learn more about the limited life choices that woman, like Anne Fairfax, faced in the 18th century. Also discover more about the Catholic networks in the city and how this clandestine community supported each other.       

Each exhibition complements the other, and visitors to one house receive a 30 per cent discount on admission to the other with proof of receipt. The Bar Convent is open 10am to 5pm (last entry 4pm), Monday to Saturday; Fairfax House, from 10am to 4pm daily (Fridays: guided tours at 10am, 12pm and 3pm). Tickets: Bar Convent, barconvent.co.uk or 01904 643238; Fairfax House, fairfaxhouse.co.uk or 01904 655543.

Discover what Lady Hungate left to the Bar Convent in her unofficial will, on show at the Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre

Rick Broadbent returns home to find the soul of Yorkshire then and now in Now Then

Rick Broadbent: Exiled Yorkshireman, The Times journalist and author

IT began inauspiciously in the library of the old Yorkshire Evening Press building in Coney Street, York.

Rick Broadbent was 16/17, living in Tadcaster, twixt York and Leeds, and was on work experience. His first taste of journalism, in the mid-1980s.

“I certainly made an impression because I remember writing an obituary of someone who hadn’t died. Can’t remember the guy’s name, but relatively obscure. Jeremiah…”

Deep in the labyrinth of cuttings files, he found a Jeremiah, but the wrong one as it turned out. “It was clearly a baptism of ineptitude,” says the award-winning author and journalist for The Times for more than 20 years, recalling his cub reporter howler.

Rick would leave Yorkshire at 18 to study at Reading University – one of three northerners at a southern university, alongside a Scouser and a Geordie – but Yorkshire has never left him. So much so, his latest book is Now Then: A Biography Of Yorkshire, whose publication today is accompanied by a Meet The Author tour that visits St Peter’s School Memorial Hall, York, tomorrow, as well as South Cave, Malton, Ilkley, Sheffield, Farsley and Ripon.

As he writes in the book’s final words: “I live in Dorset, but Yorkshire is where I’m from and, more often than not, where I’m at. It’s a state of its own and a state of mind. That’ll do.”

He depicts a “remarkable county, swathed in world-stopping beauty and practical magic, stunning in positive and negative ways, but it’s like the Hotel California – you can check out, but you can never leave”.

The Leeds-born “exiled Yorkshireman” has written a humorously honest, unsparing, celebratory biographical mosaic, not a hagiography. “I loved the place but had sometimes loathed it too”, writes the outsider with the insider’s knowledge.

Broadbent acknowledges the tropes, the ee bah gums, the Stereotykes, as one chapter is headed – Boycott’s batting, ferret-leggers and folk singers without flat caps on Ilkley Moor – as he seeks the true soul of the Texas of England and ponders whether “Yorkshireness” even matters in a shrinking world.

Social history, memoir and reportage, high hills and flat vowels, are woven into the mosaic of Yorkshire now and Yorkshire then, ordinary Yorkshire and its extraordinary lives. “What I didn’t want to do was do a chronological history,” he says of his task of representing a Yorkshire “so large, multifarious and unmanageable”.

Hence the diversity of interviews, from rock stars (Richard Hawley) to rhubarb growers, ramblers to William Wilberforce’s descendants, William and Dan, the Archbishop of York, the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, to Barnsley bard Ian McMillan.

“I thought, you have to pool all this information, draw these disparate places and stories into themes and sections.” In a nutshell, Outsiders. Workers. Writers. Miners. Minstrels. Artists. Yorkists. Stereotykes. Champions. Ramblers. Chefs. Pioneers. Legends. Seasiders. Now. Then.

As a starting point, he dug up his own past, before turning to Britain’s largest county at large. Excavating his father’s remains from a Tadcaster graveyard in 2011, gathered in a coffee jar, to be scattered at sea in accordance with his wishes at Lamorna Cove, in Cornwall, where the Broadbents had always holidayed and family members had since gravitated south. “It was not so much scattering ashes as throwing rocks at seagulls,” he recalls with typical Broadbent humour.

Cornwall and Yorkshire share common ground: a belief that devolution and self-sufficiency from such natural riches would suit each county. “From that moment I started to think about the Yorkshire we had known. It felt like a severing of roots, and leaving again made me reconsider,” Rick writes. “Basically, I wanted to know if we had made a mistake by chucking Dad off the Cornish coast.”

Explaining the choice of a Yorkshire greeting with a nod to past and present for the title, he says: “It just seemed a natural title to me. Evocative of Yorkshire. If you live there, you have every right to gripe, but when you move from Yorkshire, your pride grows in exile; like the further away you are, your affection for the Knaresborough Bed Race grows in direct proportion to the likelihood of you never having to attend it.

“One of the key goals of the book is getting away from the stereotypes. Some of it is because of Yorkshire’s size; some of it is down to the stereotype Yorkshire personality. In that chapter, I mention the Four Yorkshiremen sketch, but the best ones are by Harry Enfield and Hale & Pace.”

Stephen Millership’s cover illustration for Rick Broadbent’s Now Then: A Biography Of Yorkshire

That “’ear all, see all, say nowt”, stiff-necked stereotyping means Yorkshire has a defined image like no other county. Hence the tea towels, the Ey Ups, the Nora Battys.

“But when people talk of Yorkshire as ‘God’s Own Country’, they’re not talking about inner-city Sheffield, but the dales and moors and All Creatures Great And Small,” says Rick. “It’s a badge of honour, a badge of pride.”

Stephen Millership’s cover illustration depicts York Minster on fire (“I asked for the fire to be on there,” says Rick); a band stand, but with Jarvis Cocker, arms aloft, rather than a brass band; Kes’s kestrel, but no ferrets; colliery and cricket; White Rose flag and dry stone wall; farmer and sheepdog; viaduct  and verdant pastures. “The ferret is mentioned but only to show how people reduce this huge county to two or three tropes,” says Rick.

Battles of distant days, Towton and Marston Moor, feature as does the battle of Orgreave in the Miners’ Strike.  “I wanted to look at Yorkshire’s industrial heritage: when [Margaret] Thatcher was doing that to the mining communities, wrecking them with no after-plan. Or talking about the Grimethorpe Brass Band story, the Brassed Off story, but also the steel industry and shipbuilding,” says Rick.

“Looking at common themes, one of them is of Yorkshire being abandoned, now with HS2, and that feeds into the desire for devolution. Going back to being victimised in the Harrowing of the North [in William the Conqueror’s reign); the purging of the dales under Elizabeth I.

“These things come down to being abandoned and neglected, and I wanted to reflect that, rather than have some ee-bah-gum fun with the book. Johnny Giles said ‘being Leeds United [the “Dirty Leeds of Don Revie’s 1960s-’70s], we just had to defend ourselves’, and it’s the same with Yorkshire.”

Relegation-bound Leeds United were “a constant drain” on lifelong fan Broadbent’s enthusiasm throughout his writing project and feature as they “disappoint their fans week after week” in “the most controversial poem ever written”, Tony Harrison’s V, a Leeds work full of verses and versus and verbal V signs that strikes a chord with Broadbent’s own sentiments.

“I was a kid when it came out and I remember we giggled at the swear words at school. All those complaints came in when it was on TV. But reading it again, it’s all so relevant, with all that class division.”

You can allus tell a Yorkshireman, but tha’ can’t tell him much, as the saying goes, but Now Then will tell Yorkshiremen and outsiders alike plenty, from stories of industrial neglect and forgotten tragedies to the Bronte Sisters and Marks & Spencer, a lost albatross to a stuffed crocodile.

“I’m fascinated by that phrase, ‘it’s where you’re from and where you’re at’.  For me it means taking your roots with you, though others say it’s where your mind’s at. But I read it differently: you can take Yorkshire with you wherever you are. Doing this book, as the outsider from inside, that feeling is stronger than ever.”

Now Then:  A Biography Of York, by Rick Broadbent, published in hardback by Allen & Unwin/Atlantic Books on October 5.

York Literature Festival presents Rick Broadbent in conversation on Now Then: A Biography Of Yorkshire, St Peter’s School, Clifton, York, tomorrow, 7pm. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Rick’s Meet The Author tour of Yorkshire also takes in Festival of Words, South Cave Library, near Hull, Saturday, 1.30pm, sold out, with Yorkshire Tea and Cake. St Michael’s Church, Malton, Saturday, 7.30pm, presented by Kemps Books; box office, kempsgeneralstoreco.uk/pages/events.

Ilkley Literature Festival, Ilkley Grammar School, Hall B, Sunday, 3.45pm; ilkleyliteraturefestival-tickets.ticketsolve.com. In Conversation at La Biblioteka, Eyre Lane, Sheffield, Tuesday, 6.30pm; labiblioteka.co.

Farsley Literature Festival, Truman Books, Town Street, Farsley, near Leeds, Wednesday, 6.30pm; trumanbooks.co.uk. An Evening with Rick Broadbent, Ripon Arts Hub, Allhallowgate, Ripon, presented by The Little Ripon Bookshop, Thursday, 7pm; littleriponbookshop.co.uk/events.

Each event will be a talk, followed by a question-and-answer session and a book signing.

Why doesn’t York have a good arts festival, asks Miles Salter. Here comes York Alive, full of music, comedy and the spoken word

Miles Salter: Director of the new York Alive festival

THE inaugural York Alive festival of comedy, spoken word and music will be held in late-September and October in the city’s theatres, music venues and pubs.

Director Miles Salter and his team are working with venues throughout York to deliver an “exciting and dynamic” programme of events this autumn.

Ending a seven-year itch, York Alive marks Miles’s return to co-ordinating festivals in York, where he programmed York Literature Festival from 2008 to 2016.

“I learned a huge amount running York Literature Festival: how to put on engaging events, how to make sure people heard about it, and I’m still driven by the same desire, wanting to see York have an exciting, inspiring, great arts festival,” says the York published poet, storyteller, York Calling podcaster, broadcaster and songwriting frontman of Miles And The Chain Gang.

“We have so much to offer. Badging things together helps to raise awareness of the fantastic arts scene in York.”  

Helen Mort: Poet and novelist, performing at York Alive on October 10 at the Victoria Vaults, York

Under the York Alive banner, the festival acts will perform at venues across York, including York Barbican, the Grand Opera House, National Centre for Early Music and Victoria Vaults pub. 

Among the contributing acts will be musicians Howard Jones, Paul Carrack and Gabrielle; comedian, author and presenter Ruby Wax; poet Helen Mort, spoken word performer Luke Wright and Miles himself in myriad guises.

For blues lovers, York band DC Blues, American guitar wizard Toby Walker and fast-emerging Belfast guitarist Dom Martin will be in action at the Victoria Vaults, in Nunnery Lane, where Miles is the gig programmer. 

“The team behind this new festival live and work in the city,” says Miles. “Friendly and intimate, York is one of the best places to live and work in the UK. Visitors love coming to our historic city, but York is more than Romans and Vikings.

“Today, it’s home to so many talented writers, artists, actors, comedians, filmmakers, musicians and dancers. That’s why we want York Alive to celebrate this talent, as well as our great venues and fantastic city, by showcasing some of the best art and culture that’s happening in York this October.

Paul Winn of York band DC Blues: Booked for York Alive on October 6

“There’ll be a brilliant mixture of music, comedy and spoken word, and we’re delighted to include some events run by other venues and promoters in York.” 

Miles has one regret. “Stopping my involvement in York Literature Festival in 2016 was a mistake really,” he says. “It was a bit like when Berwick Kaler said he was retiring from the Theatre Royal pantomime, but then wanted to go back to playing the dame again.

“I wish I hadn’t made the decision but I was in a bad place at the time, but my ambition was always to broaden it out to include other things: some theatre, comedy and music, some cross-artform combinations, like when we put on folk musician Martin Carthy with crime writer Peter Robinson at the NCEM. Now we can do that with York Alive.”

Miles has not sought any funding. “My passion is just to see a really good arts festival running in York. Why haven’t we got one already?” he says. “I thought what happened when Martin Witts’s Great Yorkshire Fringe came to an end in 2019 was an awful loss to the city.

“I must be crazy to try, but I hope that York Alive can become a regular yearly event.”

Ruby Wax: Opening show under the York Alive banner, presenting I’m Not As Well As I Thought I Was at Grand Opera House, York, on September 28

York Alive: Calendar of Events

September 28, 7.30pm, Ruby Wax: I’m Not As Well As I Thought I Was, Grand Opera House. October 2, 7pm, Toby Walker, guitar virtuoso, Victoria Vaults. October 4, 8pm Luke Wright, spoken word, Victoria Vaults. October 6, 7pm DC Blues, Victoria Vaults. October 8, 7.30pm, neo-classical Gifts From Crows Trio, National Centre for Early Music.

October 10, 8pm, Helen Mort and Miles Salter, poetry, Victoria Vaults. October 11, 7pm, Howard Jones: Celebrating 40 Years 1983 – 2023, York Barbican. October 12, 7.30pm, The Waterboys, York Barbican. October 14, 10.30am, Stories with Miles (Salter), children’s show for ages 6 to 10, The White Horse, The Green, Upper Poppleton, York.

October 15, 4pm, Miles And The Chain Gang, Victoria Vaults, free entry. October 19, 6pm to 7:30pm Dylan Thomas: 70 Years On, York Stanza’s Professor John Goodby in conversation with Miles Salter, Marriott Room. October 19, 7.30pm, Paul Carrack, York Barbican.

October 21, 7pm, Gabrielle: 30 Years Of Dreaming Tour, York Barbican. October 21, 7pm, The Very Grimm Brothers (poet Adrian Mealing and guitarist John Denton), plus Miles Salter, Victoria Vaults. October 24, 7pm, Samantha Fish & Jesse Drayton, American blues and rock, York Barbican. October 27, 8pm, Dom Martin, Buried In The Hail Tour, Victoria Vaults.

Slam champ Hannah Davies launches debut poetry collection Dolls at York Literature Festival event at The Crescent on Saturday

Hannah Davies: York performance poet, playwright, theatre maker, polymath. Picture: Olivia Brabbs

YORK writer, actress, performance poet, slam champion, theatre maker, workshop leader and university lecturer Hannah Davies will launch her debut poetry collection, Dolls, at York Literature Festival on Saturday night (18/3/2023).

The event will be presented in collaboration with her high-energy York spoken-word compadres Say Owt at The Crescent community event, when Hannah’s readings will be complemented by poetry from team Say Owt, Sylvia Marie and Sally Jenkinson, coming all the way from Brighton, plus live music from Pascallion (Jack Woods) and Hull singer-songwriter Ysabelle Wombwell.

Say Owt artistic director Henry Raby says: “Hannah is Say Owt’s associate artist, running open mic nights and workshops and supporting poets across York. We’re delighted to launch Hannah’s first poetry book. Dolls is a fierce and tender collection about womanhood, motherhood, feminism and survival. Hannah is a spellbinding storyteller and her writing is warm, lyrical and bold.”

Hannah enthuses: “I’m thrilled to be launching my poetry collection as part of York Literature Festival. There are poems in here that I’ve been performing for years, and some that haven’t seen the light of day at all.”

Why is the collection entitled Dolls, Hannah? “Dolls was the first poem I ever performed in a slam: the Say Owt slam,” she says. “That poem talks about how a woman is made up of all the dolls she owned in her childhood.

“Each chapter has a different doll as its title. Baby Doll, Russian Doll, Barbie Doll. It’s a good time for me to take stock, creatively, and having all these pieces in one book feels like the end of an era in a way. I’m in a very different place to when I first dared myself to get on a stage and share my poems seven years ago. Who knows what creative writing adventures await next!”

Grand slam: Hannah Davies, slam champ, with Say Owt cohort Stu Freestone

Hannah has edited her “back catalogue” of poems from poetry evenings and slam nights into themes, rather than compiling “just a scattergun collection”.

“The poems are thematically arranged under each doll title,” she says. “There’s a real split between performance poetry and poetry on the page, and all these poems in the collection were written to be performed, with my background in performing and writing for the theatre.

“Part of the editing process has been about making sure they work on the page, seeing how they unfurl in print,  and I feel they work in both senses now, for performance and for reading in a book.

“Probably the book will be bought mostly at gigs when people have heard me perform, though I hope to shift a few copies online as well.”

Most of the poems were written between 2015 and 2022, complemented by a couple of newer pieces and two more that have not been performed but “felt right to fit in”.

“Because of my health, I’ve not been writing much poetry recently, but it was a good time to compile the book. It can be quite difficult to unify them under themes when you’re cutting your teeth with your first poems, spread over time, whereas later collections can be more tightly focused, when you can concentrate on a specific theme, such as ‘skin’,” she says in a reference to her skin condition, as charted in social media posts over the past year and more.

Oxford illustrator Katie Gabriel Allen’s cover artwork for Hannah Davies’s debut poetry collection, Dolls, featuring Hannah’s pink-haired childhood rag doll Polly Dolly. “I still have her, of course,” says Hannah

“There will always be that pressure for all artists to come up with something new, but it’s something I’ve learned in recent years, being ill, that you will have fallow periods where you have to take care of yourself or life takes over.

“I’ve never been a writer who writes every day but I do have periods of doing that. If you sit doing nothing or you say, ‘right, I’m going to write for six hours now’, it’s not going to happen. But if you sit down and write for ten minutes, maybe something will emerge.”

Why write poems, Hannah? “I like how they are short. That’s what drew me to them, having written plays [for Common Ground Theatre] and maybe being frustrated by how long it takes to write a play, whereas you can write a poem and perform it immediately.”

Being a mother (to Max) feeds into her work too. “Motherhood runs throughout the book. Being a mother, having a mother, not having a mother,” says Hannah, whose mother died in a car crash when she was 12. “It all absolutely informs my work.”

As she looks forward to tomorrow’s launch, Hannah admits: “I’m excited, if a little terrified too, but I’ve always wanted a book with my name on it since I was six.”

Say Owt and York Literature Festival present Hannah Davies: Dolls Book Launch, at The Crescent, York, on March 18. Doors open at 7pm for 7.30pm start. Tickets: £10 in advance at thecrescent.com; £15 on the door.

Hannah Davies joins Say Owt’s Henry Raby and North Yorkshire cross-country runner, coffee barista and poet Olivia Mulligan for a Poetry Evening at The Courthouse, Thirsk, presented by Rural Arts on May 26 at 7.30pm. Box office: ruralarts.org.

Hannah Davies

Hannah Davies: The back story

SAY Owt associate artist Hannah is a spoken-word slam winner at Great Northern Slam (2016) and Axis Slam (2017) and Word War 4 Champion, plus a finalist at BBC EdFringe Slam and the Hammer & Tongue Nationals.

She has performed at poetry nights across the country (Find The Right Words, Sonnet Youth, Tongue Fu, Evidently, Inua Ellams Rap Party, She Grrrowls and Women Of Words).

She is an experienced theatre-maker and facilitator (Royal Court, York Theatre Royal, Trestle Theatre Company, Guild Of Misrule, Company Of Angels, Pilot Theatre and Arcade).

She lectures in playwriting at the University of York in the School of Arts and Creative Technologies.

In York International Women’s Week 2023 , she gave a writing workshop at York Explore Library on March 12.

She runs the young women’s creative collective for Arcade, the Scarborough and Bridlington community producing company, working in Bridlington with women making their own performance projects. Last July they took part in Arcade and the Collaborative Touring Network’s project with Zimbabwean musician, actor and artist John Pfumojena at St John’s Burlington Methodist Church, Bridlington.

More Things To Do in York & beyond when time travel and hot dancing counters the chill. Hutch’s List No. 11, from The Press

The future, here they come: Amy Revelle, Dave Hearn, centre, and Michael Dylan in Original Theatre’s The Time Machine. Picture: Manuel Harlan

THE week ahead is so crammed with clashing cultural highlights, Charles Hutchinson wishes you could climb aboard a time machine.

Find time for: Original Theatre in The Time Machine, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2pm Thursday and 2.30pm Saturday matinees  

DAVE Hearn, a fixture in Mischief Theatre’s calamitous comedies for a decade, takes time out to go time travelling in John Nicholson and Steven Canny’s re-visit of H G Wells’s epic sci-fi story for Original Theatre.

“It’s a play about three actors who run a theatre company and are trying to put on a production of The Time Machine, with fairly limited success,” says Hearn. “But then a big event happens that causes the play to spiral out of control and my character [Dave] discovers actual time travel.” Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Curtains At Village Gallery, by Suzanne McQuade, marks the final exhibition at Simon and Helen Main’s art space in Colliergate, York

Farewell of the week: The Curtain Descends, Village Gallery, Colliergate, York, until April 15

AS the title indicates, The Curtain Descends will be the last exhibition at Village Gallery after 40 exhibitions showcasing 100-plus Yorkshire artists in five and a half years. “The end of the shop lease and old age creeping up has sadly forced the decision,” says gallery co-owner Simon Main.

Ten artists have returned for the farewell with work reduced specially to sale prices. On show are watercolours by Lynda Heaton, Jean Luce and Suzanne McQuade; oils and acrylics by Paul Blackwell, Julie Lightburn, Malcolm Ludvigsen, Anne Thornhill and Hilary Thorpe; pastels by Allen Humphries and lino and woodcut prints by Michael Atkin. Opening hours are 10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday.

Singer PP Arnold: From The First Cut Is The Deepest to Soul Survivor, her autobiography is under discussion at York Literature Festival

Festival of the week: York Literature Festival, various venues, today until March 27

HIGHLIGHTS aplenty permeate this annual festival, featuring 27 events, bolstered by new sponsorship from York St John University. Among the authors will be broadcasters David Dimbleby and Steve Richards; political journalist and think tank director Sebastian Payne (on The Fall of Boris Johnson); The League Of Gentlemen’s Jeremy Dyson; Juno Dawson, thriller writer Saima Mir and York poet Hannah Davies.

On Music Memoir Day at The Crescent, on March 18, at 1.30pm American singer PP Arnold delves into her autobiography, Soul Survivor, at 1.30pm. At 4pm, writer/broadcaster Lucy O’Brien discusses her new book, Lead Sister: The Story Of Karen Carpenter, and the challenges of writing a biography. Go to yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk for the full programme.

Too hot to handle: Strictly’s Gorka Marquez and Karen Hauer in Firedance at the Grand Opera House, York

Hot moves amid the weekend chill: Gorka Marquez and Karen Hauer in Firedance, Grand Opera House, York, Sunday, 5pm

STRICTLY Come Dancing stars Gorka Marquez and Karen Hauer reignite their chemistry in Firedance, a show full of supercharged choreography, sizzling dancers and mesmerising fire specialists.

Inspired by movie blockbusters Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet, Moulin Rouge, Carmen and West Side Story, Marquez and Hauer turn up the heat as they dance to Latin, rock and pop songs by Camilla Cabello, Jason Derulo, Gregory Porter, Gipsy Kings and Jennifer Lopez. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Suede: First appearance at York Barbican in a quarter of a century

Gig of the week: Suede, York Barbican, Wednesday, 7.45pm

ELEGANT London rock band Suede play York Barbican for the first time in more than 25 years on the closing night of their 2023 tour. Pretty much sold out, alas, but do check yorkbarbican.co.uk for late availability.

Last appearing there on April 23 1997, Brett Anderson and co return with a set list of Suede classics and selections from last September’s Autofiction, their ninth studio album and first since 2018. “Our punk record,” as Anderson called it. “No whistles and bells. The band exposed in all their primal mess.”

Sloane danger: Ben Weir’s psychopathic Sloane, left, playing siblings Kath (Victoria Delaney) and Ed (Chris Pomfrett) off each other in rehearsal for York Actors Collective’s Entertaining Mr Sloane

Debut of the week: York Actors Collective in Entertaining Mr Sloane, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Wednesday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee

DIRECTOR Angie Millard launches her new company, York Actors Collective, with Joe Orton’s controversial, ribald comedy Entertaining Mr Sloane, the one that shook up English farce with its savage humour in 1964.

Living with her father, Dada Kemp (Mick Liversidge), Kath (Victoria Delaney) brings home a lodger: the amoral and psychopathic Sloane (Ben Weir). When her brother Ed (Chris Monfrett) arrives, the siblings become involved in a sexual struggle for Sloane, who plays one off against the other as their father is caught in the crossfire. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Classrooom comedy: Sara Howlett, left, Laura Castle and Sophie Bullivant in rehearsal for Rowntree Players’ production of John Godber’s Teechers Leavers ’22

Education, education, education play of the week: Rowntree Players in Teechers, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Thursday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee

FAMILIAR to York’s streets at night as ghost-walk guide and spookologist Dr Dorian Deathly, actor Jamie McKellar is directing a play for the first time since 2008, at the helm of Rowntree Players’ production of former teacher John Godber’s state-of-the nation, state-of state-education comedy Teechers.

Updated for Hull Truck’s 50th anniversary celebrations as Teechers Leavers ’22, Godber’s class warfare play within a play features a multi role-playing, all-female cast of Laura Castle, Sophie Bullivant and Sarah Howlett as Year 11 school leavers Salty, Hobby and Gail put on a valedictory performance, inspired by their new drama teacher. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

David Ford: Songs and stories at The Crescent

The robots are coming: David Ford, Songs 2023, The Crescent, York, Thursday, 7.30pm

EASTBOURNE singer-songwriter David Ford might play solo stomps with loop machines and effects pedals or backed by a swish jazz trio or with a string quartet attached. Not this time.

For 2023, Ford has taken the rare decision to keep it simple, leave most of the crazy machines at home, play some of his favourite songs and share stories about where they came from. Oh, and he’ll be bringing his new DIY toy, a drum robot. Beat that. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.

Tuesday’s seated Crescent gig by The Go-Betweens’ Robert Forster, promoting his new album The Candle And The Flame, has sold out by the way.

Because he cared: Comedian Bilal Fafar reflects on working in a care home for the very wealthy in Care at Theatre@41, Monkgate

Caring comedian of the week: Burning Duck Comedy Club presents Bilal Zafar in Care, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, March 19, 8pm

WANSTEAD comedian Bilal Zafar, 31, is on his travels with a new show about how he spent a year working in a care home for very wealthy people while being on the minimum wage.

Fresh out of university with a media degree, Bilal was dropped into the real world, where he was given far too much responsibility for a 21-year-old lad who had just spent three years watching films. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk; age limit,18 and over.

In Focus: Anders Lustgarten’sThe City And The Town, at Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, March 15 to 17

Gareth Watkins as Magnus in Anders Lustgarten’s The City And The Town. Picture: Karl Andre

LONDON playwright and political activist Anders Lustgarten’s new play, The City And The Town, heads to the Yorkshire coast next week. 

This funny, eclectic drama brings a fresh perspective to the political divides and problems facing Great Britain and Europe today.

By way of contrast to those schisms, the tour involves a hands-across-the-water partnership: a co-production by Riksteatern, the national touring theatre of Sweden, and Matthew Linley Creative Projects in association with Hull Truck Theatre.

Lustgarten’s play tells the story of brothers Ben and Magnus. Ben, a successful London lawyer, returns home for his father’s funeral after 13 years away, only to be confronted not only by family and old friends, but also by uncomfortable truths about the past, present and future of the provincial community and family he grew up in and left behind for the metroplis.

Lustgarten, by the way, is the son of progressive American academics and read Chinese Studies at Oxford: in other words, he is an internationalist (and an Arsenal supporter to boot).

Directed by Riksteatern artistic director Dritero Kasapi, The City And The Town features Gareth Watkins as Magnus, Amelia Donkor as Lyndsay and Sam Collings as Ben, with set design by Hannah Sibai and lighting design by Matt Haskins.

Amelia Donkor’s Lyndsay in The City And The Town. Picture: Karl Andre

Kasapi is at the helm of his first UK production since Nina – A Story About Me And Nina Simone. “Even from the very first draft Anders sent us, I knew that this was a play I wanted to direct,” he says. “In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s the play I’ve wanted to direct for a very long time.

“By exploring the rise of the right, Anders is looking at something that is happening all over Europe. But this is not just a political play, it’s also a humane one. It explores the question of if and how we belong to society, what can happen when we lose that connection and how we perceive our common history as a society.”

Kasapi was educated as a stage director at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Skopje, Macedonia, but since the early years of his professional life he has been engaged as a cultural organiser.

From 2015 to 2018, he was the deputy artistic director at Kulturhuset Stadstetern in Stockholm. He took up his present post in November 2018. 

The City And The Town follows such Lustgarten plays as Lampedusa (Hightide/Soho Theatre), The Seven Acts Of Mercy (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Secret Theatre(Shakespeare’s Globe) and The Damned United (Red Ladder/West Yorkshire Playhouse, 2016, turning Brian Clough’s 44 days as Leeds United manager in 1974 into a Greek tragedy).

The City And The Town began its UK tour at Hull Truck on February 10 and 11 and has since played Northern Stage, Newcastle, Wilton’s Music Hall, London, Mercury Theatre, Colchester, and Norwich Playhouse before its Scarborough finale. It will then transfer to Sweden for an autumn tour.

The City And The Town, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, March 15 to 17, 7.45pm plus 1.45pm Thursday matinee. Box office: 01723 370541 or www.sjt.uk.com

The tour poster for The City And The Town

Pete Bearder speaks truth to power in Homer To Hip Hop lecture for Say Owt and York Literature Festival at The Crescent

Pete Bearder: Speaking the truth to power at The Crescent on June 19

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.”

Say Owt artistic director Henry Raby

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/

The poster for Pete “The Temp” Bearder’s Homer To Hip Hop tour show

More Things To Do in York to celebrate losing an hour’s lie-in tonight. Clock in to List No. 75, courtesy of The Press, York

Quick step: Jake Quickenden as dancing cowboy Willard in Footloose The Musical at York Theatre Royal

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.

Reunited: EastEnders soap stars Adam Woodyatt and Laurie Brett in the chilling thriller Looking Good Dead

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.

Writer, journalist and historian Simon Jenkins: Appearing at York Literature Festival

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.

That Old Devil Moon, by Richard Kitchen, from Navigators Art’s Moving Pictures exhibition at City Screen Picturehouse

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.”

BC Camplight: Examining madness and loss at The Crescent, York

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.

Sanna Jeppsson’s Viola de Lesseps and George Stagnell’s Will Shakespeare in Pick Me Up Theatre’s Shakespeare In Love. Picture: Matthew Kitchen Photography

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.

Heather Small: Proud moment at York Barbican

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.

Steven Jobson (Jekyll/Hyde) gets to grips with Matthew Ainsworth (Simon Stride) in rehearsals as York Musical Theatre Company director Matthew Clare looks on

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.

Let’s talk about gigs, music culture and stories, mental health and The Twenty Seven Club at York Literature Festival

Harkirit Boparai: Taking part in tomorrow’s panel discussion

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 book cover artwork for Lucy Nichol’s The Twenty Seven Club

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.

Hannah Davies: Pearls of spoken-word wisdom

York Literature Festival opens a new chapter today…

Sarah Hall: opening event at York Literature Festival

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.

Amanda Owen: The Yorkshire Shepherdess will be in conversation on Sunday

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.

More Things To Do in York and beyond the norm as horror shows and love stories beckon. List No. 73, courtesy of The Press

2,000 shows and counting: Kristian Lavercombe, as Riff Raff, far right, clocks up another milestone in The Rocky Horror Show on its return to York . Picture: David Freeman

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.

New Beverly Cinema, by Imogen Hawgood, at According To McGee, 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.

The vampire strikes back: Steve Steinman’s Baron von Rockula with his vampettes in Vampires Rock – Ghost Story

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.

Glenn Tilbrook: Squeezing in hit after hit at The Crescent

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.

Alexander McCall Smith: Delving into his books at York Theatre Royal

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.

NOT Thu 17 March 2022 after all: It’s different for Joe Jackson now as York gig moves to the summer

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.

Sam Freeman: Thirty years of love burst out of his storytelling show in Harrogate and York

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.

For Charles Hutchinson and Graham Chalmers’ interview with podcast special guest Sam Freeman, head to the Two Big Egos In A Small Car listening link at: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1187561/10231399.

Off to the woods: Northern Broadsides in As You Like It

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.

Lola May as daughter Aramide, Oyi Oriya as mother Omotola and Anni Domingo as grandmother Agbeke in Utopia Theatre’s Here’s What She Said To Me

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.