YORK Open Studios 2023 artist Nduka Omeife will give a demonstration of his working practices tomorrow (25/4/2023) afternoon at the York Cultural Awareness Week, run by York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals.
Nigerian watercolour artist Nduka, whose wife is a nurse at York Hospital, will be taking part in the African/Caribbean Day, held in the MEC Classroom 1 and 2 on the Fifth Floor.
Nduka, who moved to York 18 months ago, exhibited his portraits, figures, street scenes and studies of still life and nature in Baker Street, Clifton, in his York Open Studios debut over the past two weekend. His latest work finds him embracing York’s architecture and cyclists.
Nduka is a first class honours graduate in graphic design from the University of Benin, Nigeria. A Nigerian Breweries scholar, he has worked in various organisations as a graphic artist, head of creative and brand alignment officer, his last Nigerian post being as the creative head of one of the African country’s largest banks.
A prolific painter, whose work explores wet-on-wet and dry approaches to watercolour painting, his official engagements have not deterred him from his love of painting. He owns a gallery and has many art collections.
York Cultural Awareness Week runs from today until Saturday. Highlights include A Family Day Out in Bootham Park from 10am to 3pm on Saturday. The festival’s cultural focus will fall on Africa and the Caribbean; Great Britain, Europe and America; the Philippines, and Asia, India, Nepal and Pakistan.
ART across the city canvas, acoustic gigs, Easter chocolates, a comedy double bill, a singing milkman and Brazilian rhythms shape Charles Hutchinson’s April days ahead.
York’s art fiesta of the year: York Open Studios, April 15 and 16, April 22 and 23, 10am to 5pm
MORE than 150 artists and makers at 100 locations within the city or a ten-mile radius of York open their doors to visitors over two weekends to give insights into their inspirations, creative processes and skills.
Painting and printmaking, illustration, drawing and mixed media, ceramics, glass and sculpture, jewellery, textiles, photography and installation art all will be represented, with works for sale. For full details, including who is participating in Friday’s 6pm to 9pm preview, go to: yorkopenstudios.co.uk.
Local heroes head south…well, to South Yorkshire: Rick Witter & Paul Banks Acoustic, Birdwell Venue, Birdwell, Barnsley, tonight (8/4/2023), 7.30pm
MR H, alias former Fibbers boss Tim Hornsby, promotes frontman Rick Witter and guitarist Paul Banks as they shed their Shed Seven cohorts for an acoustic set down the road from their York home in Barnsley.
Witter and Banks present a special night of Shed Seven material and a few surprises in a whites-of-their-eyes show with an invitation to “holler along to some of the best anthems ever”. Box office: seetickets.com/tour/rick-witter-paul-banks-shed-seven-acoustic.
Choc absorbers: York Chocolate Festival, Parliament Street, York, today, 10am to 5pm
TO coincide with Eastertide, York Chocolate Festival returns to Parliament Street to showcase chocolate and all things sweet from independent businesses.
Tuck into a festival market with a selection of chocolatiers and confectioners; an activity area with chocolate lollipop-making, tastings and cookery workshops; a chocolate bar (not a bar of chocolate) and a taste trail on foot around the city to sample delicatessens, restaurants and suppliers. Entrance to the festival and market is free, with some activities being ticketed.
Fringe show of the week: Buffy Revamped, York Theatre Royal, Wednesday, 8pm
THIS Edinburgh Fringe 2022 award winner relives all 144 episodes of the hit 1990s’ television series Buffy The Vampire Slayer, as told through the eyes of the one person who knows it inside out…Spike.
Created by comedian Brendan Murphy, the satirical Buffy Revamped bursts with Nineties’ pop-culture references in a seven-seasons-in-seventy-minutes parody for Buffy aficionados and those who never enrolled at Sunnydale High alike. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Theatre tour of the week and beyond: Badapple Theatre Company in Eddie And The Gold Tops, on tour from April 15 to June 13
GREEN Hammerton’s “theatre on your doorstep” company, Badapple Theatre, mark their 25th anniversary with a tour of Yorkshire and beyond in artistic director Kate Bramley’s revival of her joyous Swinging Sixties’ show Eddie And The Gold Tops.
York actress Emily Chattle, Zach Atkinson and Richard Galloway transport audiences back to the fashion, music and teenage optimism of the 1960s as village milkman Eddie becomes a pop star quite by accident. Hits flow like spilt milk, Top Of The Pops beckons, but when things take a ‘churn’ for the worse, how will he get back for the morning milk round in Badapple’s wry look at the effects of stardom? For tour and ticket details, go to: badappletheatre.co.uk or contact 01423 331304.
Badapple’s Yorkshire tour dates:
April 15, Aldborough Village Hall; April 16, Marton cum Grafton Memorial Hall; April 19, Appletreewick Village Hall; April 20, Kings Theatre, Queen Ethelburga’s School, Thorpe Underwood; April 26, Bishop Monkton Village Hall; April 27, Spofforth Village Hall; April 29, Kirkby Malzeard Mechanics Institute.
May 4, Sheriff Hutton Village Hall; May 13, Sutton upon Derwent Village Hall; May 21, Cherry Burton Village Hall; May 24, Husthwaite Village Hall; May 25, Tunstall Village Hall; May 28, Otley Courthouse. June 9, North Stainley Village Hall, near Ripon; June 13, Green Hammerton Village Hall. All shows start at 7.30pm.
Tribute show of the week: Seriously Collins, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Friday, 7.30pm
NOW in its fifth year, Seriously Collins features Chris Hayward and his musicians in a two-hour tribute to singing drummer Phil Collins and Genesis. No gimmicks, no bald wigs, only the solo and band hits, re-created meticulously. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
Solo show of the week: Ryan Adams, York Barbican, Friday, 8pm
NORTH Carolina singer-songwriter Ryan Adams plays York for the first time since 2011 on his eight-date solo tour, when each night’s set list will be different.
Adams, who visited the Grand Opera House in 2007 and four years later, will be performing on acoustic guitar and piano in the style of his spring 2022 run of East Coast American gigs, when he played 168 songs over five nights in shows that averaged 160 minutes. Box office: ryanadams.ffm.to/tour.OPR and yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Singer-songwriter of the week: Scott Matthews, Restless Lullabies Tour, Selby Town Hall, Friday, 8pm; The Old Woollen, Sunny Bank Mills, Farsley, April 16, 8pm
EXPECT an intimate acoustic show from Scott Matthews, the 47-year-old Ivor Novello Award-winning folk-pop singer-songwriter and guitarist from Wolverhampton, who has supported Foo Fighters, Robert Plant and Rufus Wainwright on tour.
Mastered at Abbey Road Studios, his starkly bold April 28 album Restless Lullabies reincarnates songs from his 2021 record, New Skin, removing its electronic veil. Box office: Selby, 01757 708449 or selbytownhall.co.uk; Farsley, oldwoollen.co.uk.
“The Brazilian Ed Sheeran”: Fernando Maynart, Helmsley Arts Centre, April 15, 7.30pm
BRAZILIAN singer-songwriter Fernando Maynart returns to Helmsley Arts Centre with a new band and more of his beautiful TranSambas music, rooted in South American culture.
Combining song-writing with traditional, tribal and modern Latin rhythms, Maynart presents a concert with joy at its heart and a repertoire of rhythms embracing bossa nova and samba. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.
Double bill of the week: An Evening Shared With Jasper Carrott and Alistair McGowan, Grand Opera House, York, April 16, 7.30pm
BRUMMIE comedian Jasper Carrott has shared bills in the past with impressionist Phil Cool and latterly with ELO drummer Bev Bevan. He first did so with impressionist Alistair McGowan at Reading Festival in 2017: a one-off that went so well that further shows ensued and now Jasper and Alistair are touring once more this spring.
The format involves McGowan taking to the stage first in each half, followed by Carrott’s stand-up combination of quickfire gags, sketches and stories. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
YORK Open Studios artist Gerard Hobson has produced a limited-edition screen print of the York Minster Peregrine falcons for sale in the Minster shop from Saturday.
In the wild, Peregrines are to be spotted on sea cliffs and rocks, but they have taken to occupying city buildings too, not least a pair residing on the towers of northern Europe’s largest gothic cathedral, where Mr and Mrs Minster, as they are known affectionately, have bred successfully each year since 2017. This spring, they have returned once more to build a nest for the new breeding season.
Typically, the eggs are laid towards the end of March, hatching at the end of April. The young Peregrines fledge early in June, and remain around the Minster until late summer, although some may stay longer.
“York Minster’s Peregrines have a dedicated following, and the best bet for information is to look at the yorkperegrines.info website for the latest news and to follow the @YorkPeregrines Twitter feed for the latest sightings,” says Clifton printmaker Gerard.
Although “Mr and Mrs Minster” have been seen perched on each side of all three of York Minster’s towers, they are most often to be spotted on the north face of the north-west bell tower. This is best viewed from Dean’s Park, usually open to the public from around 07.30am to 7.30pm each day.
“The Peregrine is one of those unusual cases in which an iconic species has somehow successfully come back from the brink of becoming extinct in Britain and has somehow adapted to city living,” says Gerard.
“That’s such a positive outcome in what seems to be a rather gloomy time when so many things are being wiped out, so I’m delighted to have done this limited-edition print for York Minster.
“I look back to when I grew up in the 1970s, when Peregrine falcons were incredibly rare in the country, as with most birds of prey. One reason was that egg collectors were taking the eggs; another was because of a pesticide that got into insects, and at the top of that food chain was the Peregrine.
“The eggshell became thinner, so the eggs couldn’t survive the hatching stage when the parent sat on the nest. Fortunately, that pesticide was banned, and the Peregrine – the fastest bird in the world when it goes into a swoop – has made a remarkable comeback.”
Gerard’s regular artwork comprises hand-coloured, limited-edition linocut prints and cut-outs focused on nature and wildlife, inspired by the countryside around where he lives in York.
As well as prints and bird, animal, tree and mushroom cut-outs, he creates anything from cards, mugs, cushions and coasters to chopping boards, lampshades, tea towels, notepads and wrapping paper. Now comes his commission for a 50cm by 45cm print of York Minster’s male Peregrine, a work that has been a year in the making from roof visit to Minster delivery.
“The starting point was the fact that several cathedrals in the UK now have resident Peregrines, and the Minster caught on to the public’s interest in the birds as much as the building, leading to the website being set up,” he says.
“Two members of the Minster staff visited my shop [now closed] that I ran in the old Bulmers building on Lord Mayor’s Walk, and they thought, ‘would it be worth having some of my work for the Minster?’.
“My initial reaction was, I thought they’d got the wrong artist as I don’t do buildings! At first, they were talking about mugs and tea towels, but I suggested doing a print. They were up for it, and at that point I managed to convince them that I needed to go up on to the roof to see the Peregrines. Thankfully, I’m OK with heights!”
Gerard had the nest site pointed out to him. “It’s around a corner where you can’t see it, where they’ve nested for the past five years, and now they’ve paired up again for this year. That’s wonderful news,” he says.
On the day of his visit last year, Gerard had the joy of seeing both birds in flight. “The female’s favourite perch is on a grotesque on the belfry window – grotesques don’t have waterspouts whereas gargoyles do – and as if on cue, she landed on the grotesque while I was there,” he says.
Gerard settled on designing a print of the male Peregrine perched on a grotesque against a backdrop of the Minster with the female in flight.
“I’d never done a screen print before, so I went to Penfold Press, Dan Bugg’s studio just outside Selby, which does York artists Mark Hearld and Emily Sutton’s prints [along with Ed Kluz, Jonny Hannah, Angela Harding, Clive Kicks-Jenkins, and more besides],” he says. “I took him the linocut and Dan worked on the screen print from there.
“Because I’d gone there, I really wanted to keep as many things as possible local, aside from the print being printed on Somerset Printmaking Paper [from St Cuthbert’s Paper Mill in Haybridge, Wells].
“The tubes for the prints come from a company outside Selby; Make Your Mark Rubber Stamps, in Goodramgate, have done the labels; the tissue for wrapping is from an independent business at Clifton Moor; Gillygate Framing is doing the framing for the print on display in the Minster shop.”
York Minster has acquired the entire 150 Peregrine print run for sale in the York Minster Shop and online at shop.yorkminster.org from Saturday, priced at £95.
“If you want to have it framed like the one in the shop, Gillygate Framers is only four minutes from the Minster,” says Gerard.
A second framed Hobson Peregrine screen print went on display in the new York Minster Refectory to coincide with King Charles III and the Queen Consort’s official opening of the restaurant during Thursday’s visit for the Royal Maundy Service at York Minster.
The brasserie-style restaurant, in the converted Grade II-listed 19th-century Minster School, is taking bookings at yorkminsterrefectory.co.uk from April 20 when it formally opens to the public.
The restaurant will be run day to day by Joshua Brimmell, executive head chef of The Star Inn The City, in Museum Street, York, while he and Andrew Pern, the Michelin-starred restaurateur behind the Star Inn at Harome and The Star Inn The City, are overseeing the development of the menus and hospitality functions.
Later this month, Gerard Hobson will be opening his printmaking home studio at 51, Water Lane, Clifton, for York Open Studios on April 15, 16, 22 and 23, from 10am to 5pm each day.
Full details of more than 150 artists and makers taking part in the two weekends at 100 locations can be found at www.yorkopenstudios.co.uk. Work will range from ceramics, collage, digital, illustration, jewellery and mixed media to painting, print, photography, sculpture, textiles and wood.
Did you know?
IN keeping with many other birds of prey, the female Peregrine, charged with brooding duties, is significantly larger than the male, the fast-moving food collector. Just as Mallards are ducks and drakes, the female Peregrine is the falcon; the male, the tiercel or tercel.
HEAVYWEIGHT comedy, hardcore rock, reshaped Shakespeare and a ‘roarsome’ children’s show fire up Charles Hutchinson’s enthusiasm for the week ahead.
Resurrection of the week: Mr H presents RSJ, The Crescent, York, tonight, doors 7pm
YORK’S mightiest metalcore groovers reunite for a special one-off show, fronted once more by Dan Cook, now of Raging Speedhorn. “RSJ were/are one of the most intense groove and hardcore noise monsters, not just in York but across the UK. It’s no wonder they stormed stages at Bloodstock, Knebworth and Hellfire,” says promoter Tim Hornsby.
RSJ’s spine-rattling polyrhythms and huge guitars will be preceded by the return of much-missed melodic hardcore band Beyond All Reason and Disinfo. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.
Lancastrian in York of the week: Burning Duck Comedy Club presents Justin Moorhouse, Stretch And Think, The Crescent, York, Sunday, 7.30pm
MANCHESTER stand-up, radio presenter and actor Justin Moorhouse is back, “still funny, yet middle aged” (he’s 52), in a new suit for a new show that may contain thoughts on yoga, growing older, Madonna, shoplifters, Labradoodles, cyclists, the menopause, running, hating football fans but loving football…
…not drinking, funerals, tapas, Captain Tom, Droylsden, the environment, self-improvement, horses, the odd advantages of fundamental religions, the gym and shop-door etiquette. “Come, it’ll be fun,” he says. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.
School project of the week: York Theatre Royal and Royal Shakespeare Company presentYork Associate Schools Playmaking Festival of The Merchant Of Venice, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday and Wednesday, 6.30pm
SHAKESPEARE’S playis told in six sections by six schools each night, using choral and ensemble approaches to relate Shylock’s story through multiple bodies and voices in a celebration of the joy of performance that explores themes of prejudice, friendship and self-interest.
Participating schools on March 28: Acomb Primary, Applefields School, Millthorpe School, Vale of York Academy, St Barnabas CE Primary; March 29, Clifton Green Primary, Poppleton Road Primary, Brayton Academy, Scarcroft Primary, Fulford School and Joseph Rowntree School. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Shake-up of the week: The Comedy Of Errors (More Or Less), Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, Thursday to April 15
ORIGINALLY by Shakespeare, now messed around with by Elizabeth Godber and Nick Lane, SJT director Paul Robinson’s vibrant new staging of the Bard’s most bonkers farce arrives in a co-production with Prescot’s Shakespeare North Playhouse.
The Comedy Of Errors (More Or Less) is brought to life in neon-lit 1980s’ Scarborough. Cue mistaken identities, theatrical chaos and belting musical numbers from the era of big phones and even bigger shoulder pads. Box office: 01723 370541 or sjt.uk.com.SEE REVIEW BELOW.
Revival of the week: Pick Me Up Theatre in Oh! What A Lovely War, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, March 31 to April 8, 7.30pm, except April 2 and 3; 2.30pm, April 1, 2 and 8
PICK Me Up Theatre present a 60th anniversary production of Oh! What A Lovely War, a satirical chronicle of the First World War, told through songs and documents in the form of a seaside Pierrot entertainment.
Devised and presented by Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East in 1963 before being turned into a film by Richard Attenborough in 1969, now it is in the hands of Robert Readman’s York cast. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Children’s show of the week: Freckle Productions in Zog, York Theatre Royal, March 31, 4.30pm; April 1, 10.30am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm
JULIA Donaldson and Alex Scheffler’s Zog takes to the stage in a magical Freckle Productions show most suitable for age three upwards, although all ages are welcome. Zog is trying very hard to win a golden star at Madam Dragon’s school, perhaps too hard, as he bumps, burns and roars his way through Years 1, 2 and 3.
Luckily plucky Princess Pearl patches him up, ready to face his biggest challenge yet: a duel with knight Sir Gadabout the Great. Emma Kilbey directs; Joe Stilgoe provides the songs. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Still in rude health: Roy “Chubby” Brown, York Barbican, March 31, 7.30pm
ROY “Chubby” Brown – real name Royston Vasey, from Grangetown, Middlesbrough – is on the road again at 78, 50 years into a blue comedy career that carries the warning: “If easily offended, please stay away”.
Chubby may not be everyone’s cup of tea but a lot of people like tea, he says. Thirty DVDs in 30 years, thousands of shows worldwide and four books testify to the abiding popularity of a profane joker full of frank social commentary, forthright songs and contempt for political correctness. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Where there is despair, may they bring Hope: Ferocious Dog, supported by Mark Chadwick, York Barbican, April 1, 7pm
FEROCIOUS Dog, a Left-leaning six-piece from Warsop, Nottinghamshire, slot somewhere between Levellers and early Billy Bragg in their vibrant vein of Celtic folk-infused punk rock.
Fifth album Hope came out in 2021, charting at number 31 in the Official UK Charts. Special guest will be Levellers’ leader Mark Chadwick, joined by Ferocious Dog violinist Dan Booth for part of his 7pm set. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Early sighter of the week:York Open Studios 2023 Taster Exhibition, The Hospitium, Museum Gardens, York, April 1 and 2, 10am to 4pm
FOR the first time since 2019, York Open Studios will be launched with a taster exhibition next weekend featuring examples of work by most of the 150 artists and makers set to open their studio doors on April 15, 16, 22 and 23.
This free preview gives a flavour of what will be coming up at more than 100 venues next month. Full details of this year’s artists and locations can be found at yorkopenstudios.co.uk. Look out for booklets around York.
In Focus: Luke Wright, The Remains Of Logan Dankworth, Selby Town Hall, March 30, 8pm
PERFORMANCE poet Luke Wright returns to Selby Town Hall on Thursday to peform his 2022 Edinburgh Fringe political verse play The Remains Of Logan Dankworth.
Columnist and Twitter warrior Logan Dankworth grew up romanticising the political turmoil of the 1980s. Now, as the EU Referendum looms, he is determined to be in the fray of the biggest political battle for years.
Meanwhile, Logan’s wife Megan wants to leave London to better raise their daughter. As tensions rise at home and across the nation, something is set to be lost forever.
The third in Wright’s trilogy of lyrically rich plays looks at trust, fatherhood and family in the age of Brexit. Winner of The Saboteur Award for Best Show, it picked up four and five-star from the Telegraph, the Scotsman, the Stage and British Theatre Guide.
Wright was a founder member of poetry collective Aisle16, who shook up the spoken-word scene in the 2000s, helping to kick-start a British renaissance of the form. He is the regular tour support for John Cooper Clarke and often hosts shows for The Libertines.
He is a frequent guest on BBC Radio 4, a Fringe First winner for writing and a Stage Award winner for performance.
“Luke Wright is an astonishing performer and one of the best political writers around today, whose wonderful, lyrical writing translates really well to full-length plays,” says Selby Town Council arts officer Chris Jones.
“I was lucky enough to see The Remains Of Logan Dankworth in Edinburgh last summer and made sure I booked it for Selby Town Hall straight away. It’s a brilliantly told story by a powerhouse poet.”
For tickets: ring 01757 708449 or book online at selbytownhall.co.uk.
REVIEW: The Comedy Of Errors (More Or Less), Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough *****
Stephen Joseph Theatre and Shakespeare North Playhouse in The Comedy Of Errors (More Or Less), Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, until April 15, 7.30pm plus 1.30pm Thursday and 2.30pm Saturday matinees. Box office: 01723 370541 or sjt.uk.com
THIS Comedy Of Errors gets everything right. Not more or less. Just right. Full stop.
Shakespeare’s “most bonkers farce” has been entrusted to Nick Lane, madly inventive writer of the SJT’s equally bonkers pantomime, and Elizabeth Godber, a blossoming writing talent from the East Yorkshire theatrical family.
How does this new partnership work? In a nutshell, Lane has penned the men’s lines, Godber, the female ones, before the duo moulded the finale in tandem.
SJT artistic director Paul Robinson, meanwhile, selected a criminally good play list of Eighties’ guilty pleasures, from Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again to Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl, Nik Kershaw’s Wouldn’t It Be Good to Toni Basil’s Mickey, Cher’s Just Like Jesse James to Kenny Loggins’ Footloose, to be sung in character or as an ensemble with Northern Chorus oomph.
Aptly, the opening number is an ensemble rendition of Dream Academy’s one-hit wonder, Life In A Northern Town, that town being 1980s’ Scarborough, just as Lane always roots his pantomimes in the Yorkshire resort.
From an original idea by Robinson, Lane and Godber’s reinvention of Shakespeare’s comedy is not too far-fetched but far enough removed to take on its own personality and, frankly, be much, much funnier as a result. To the point where one woman in the front row was in the grip of a fit of giggles. Yes, that joyous.
For Ephesus, a city on the Ionian coast with a busy port, read Scarborough, a town on the Yorkshire coast with a fishing harbour, although all the fish and chip cafés were shut without explanation on the evening of the press night. Was something fishy going on?
Ephesus was governed by Duke Solinus; Scarborough is run by Andy Cryer’s oleaginous Solinus. Still the merry-go-round action is spun around outdoor public spaces on Jessica Curtis’s set, where protagonists bump into each other like dodgem cars. Just as Syracusans were subject to strict rules in the original play, now Lancastrians are given the Yorkshire cold shoulder in a new war of the roses, besmirched Eccles Cakes et al.
So begins a tale of two rival states and two sets of mismatched twins (Antipholus and Dromio times two) on one nutty day at the seaside. Cue a mishmash of mistaken identities, mayhem agogo, and merriment to the manic max, conducted at an ever more frenetic lick.
It worked wonders for Richard Bean in One Man, Two Guvnors, his Swinging Sixties’ revamp of Goldoni’s 1743 Italian Commedia dell’arte farce, The Servant Of Two Masters, setting his gloriously chaotic caper, as chance would have it, in another English resort: Brighton. Now The Comedy Of Errors evens up the mathematical equation for two plus two to equal comedy nirvana from so much division.
One ‘guvnor’, Lancastrian comic actor Antipholus of Prescot (Peter Kirkbride) crosses the Pennine divide to perform his one-man show. Trouble is, everyone has booked tickets for the talent show across the bay, starring t’other ‘guvnor’, the twin brother he has never met, Antipholus of Scarborough (David Kirkbride, different first name, but same actor, giving licence for amusing parallel biographies in the programme).
The two ‘servants’ of the piece, Dromio of Prescot and Scarborough respectively (Oliver/Zach Mawdsley), are equally unaware of the other’s presence, compounding a trail of confusion rooted in Scarborough’s Antipholus owing money everywhere but still promising his wife a gold chain. He needs to win the contest to appease Scarborough’s more unsavoury sorts.
Kirkbride takes the acting honours in his hyperactive double act with himself, Mawdsley a deux is a picture of perplexity; Cryer, in his 40th year of SJT productions, is comedy gold as ever in chameleon roles; likewise, Claire Eden fills the stage with diverse riotous, no-nonsense character, whether from Lancashire or Yorkshire.
Valerie Antwi, Alyce Liburd and Ida Regan, each required to put up with the maelstrom of male malarkey, add so much to the comedic commotion, on song throughout too.
Under Robinson’s zesty, witty direction, everything in Scarborough must be all at sea and yet somehow emerge as comic plain sailing, breaking down theatre’s fourth wall to forewarn with a knowing wink of the need to suspend disbelief when seeing how the company will play the two sets of twins once, spoiler alert, they finally meet.
Who knew shaken-and-stirred Shakespeare could be this much fun, enjoying life in the fast Lane with Godber gumption galore too. Add the Yorkshire-Lancashire spat and those Eighties’ pop bangers, Wayne Parsons’ choreography and the fabulous costumes, and this is the best Bard comedy bar none since Joyce Branagh’s Jazz Age Twelfth Night for Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre in York in 2019.
When The Comedy Of Errors meets the 1980s, the laughs are even bigger than the shoulder pads. A case of more, not less.
ALIENS, dinosaurs and King Kong invade the Grand Opera House box office as York artist Lincoln Lightfoot explores surrealist concepts reminiscent of the absurdist poster art for the Fifties and Sixties’ B-movie fixation with comical science-fiction disasters.
Depicting unusual happenings with large beasts, staged in familiar settings and on iconic architecture, from York Minster to the Angel of the North, Lightfoot’s artwork escapes from everyday problems to tap into the fears perpetuated by the news media and politicians alike in a post Covid-19 world.
Lightfoot’s paintings parody religious apocalyptic scenes circa 1800, such as the work of John Martin, while his storybook illustrations explore detailed pen work and bright block colour.
Lightfoot’s journey into the fantastical began while studying Fine Art at York St John University. After achieving a PGCE in art, craft and design and leading an art & design department in a north-eastern school, he is pursuing his love for art and the surreal full time, showcasing his work in such York exhibitions as Under Siege and Revelation. Now his paintings are just the ticket for theatregoers in Cumberland Street.
As past and future collide in Lincoln Lightfoot’s art for today, CharlesHutchPress heads out into the maelstrom to track down the visionary artist among the marauding T-Rex
What inspired such nightmare visions of York and the north in your paintings, Lincoln?
“During the late B-Movie era, the Cold War kept us in perpetual fear of extinction from nuclear Armageddon until the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet bloc.
“Today we have growing similarities re-emerging due to the conflict in the Ukraine, which threatens to spill over into the wider world. Through engagement with art, we can deal with these nightmares.
“Children confront and make sense of a dangerous world through stories and rhymes and are taught of danger through the safe spaces of literature and illustration, which deal with anecdote and myth.”
How does your art respond to that world?
“My artworks attempt to highlight these fears through a safe and comical lens. Juxtaposed with scenes of our storybook city, it’s not hard to imagine incredible things happening in this part of the world because they already have.
“Walking through York’s streets and passageways, our past heritage resonates in the present. Popular with shoppers and scholars alike, high art co-exists with popular culture.”
How did this Grand Opera House exhibition come about?
“I was fortunate enough to be approached by Allie Long, who works for the Opera House. She invited me to exhibit. She has a collection of my work at home, and when the opportunity arose to fill the box office with artwork, she thought my work would be a good fit. On show is a collection of three large oil paintings from my Revelation exhibition that showed at Micklegate Social last May.”
Do you go to the theatre…or are you more of a movie man, given that your images have a cinematic quality?
“As a child I attended a lot of theatre productions. My dad was heavily involved in theatrical groups and my brother and I attended Stagecoach, where we would have drama, dance and singing lessons.
“It opened many doors for me and I had the opportunity to perform as one of the Snow Children in Carousel at the Darlington Hippodrome Theatre and did some smaller production too.
“Unfortunately, it failed to make any sort of long-term impact, but I do still enjoy going to the theatre. I would say that I’m probably more of a movie man, but this may be down to the accessibility and what can be achieved in film. I still really enjoy the theatre and intend to attend more.”
What exhibitions are coming up for you in 2023? York Open Studios, perhaps?
“Yes, I’ll be taking part in York Open Studios 2023! This should be an opportunity for visitors to my studio, in Brunswick Street, to engage with some new large paintings!
“I’m hoping to have a large solo exhibition in the summer, which will debut a new series, alongside some old favourites and potentially some 3D pieces. I’m toying with a couple of venues but need a large space. Any one of the empty buildings in town would be amazing, so if anyone has any venue ideas, please get in touch via email@example.com.
“I also have work exhibiting alongside two more York artists in The Arthouse [fellow artist Sharon McDonagh’s holiday let in a Victorian terraced house in Railway Terrace, Holgate, York].”
You are developing a new series of works created in oil on circular boards. What do you like about this design shape?
“I’ve chosen to pursue creating circular pieces as initially this was something new and exciting that I haven’t attempted before. I feel that the circle has certain biblical connotations and hope that it will lend itself to a heightened sense of mystery.
“I’m even toying with the idea of incorporating gold leaf into those sickly yellow skies but am yet to experiment with this. A lot of these pieces will involve writhing tentacles and the circular shape should complement the rhythm created within.
“I initially came up with the idea when studying Caravaggio’s Medusa’. I’m hoping to replicate some of the style without the violence. Any violence would merely be suggested. I’m still hoping to suggest science-fiction comedy.
“I’ve fallen in love with the 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea poster and now have the French version hanging in my bathroom. I’m sure this will inspire some of the imagery.”
How does the circular differ in impact from the rectangular?
“The use of circular boards breaks away from the expected. You’re immediately dealing with different rules of composition. What is aesthetically pleasing in a rectangle may not be in a circle and vice versa, for example.”
Will the design influence the subject matter too?
“I’m intending to return to and improve a successful line of illustrations, which I’ve informally entitled the ‘It Came From…’ series. So, there’ll be some familiar ideas and imagery but hopefully executed in a more compelling way. There’ll also be some new ideas too.”
Under what title will you exhibit these new works?
“I’m hoping to show them under the title ‘Encircled’ (inspired, I know!) this summer. I do have a number of venues in mind. I love the space in the Den at Micklegate Social and feel it fits the vibe of my work extremely well.
“It may be that these circular pieces make their debuts as Encircled and that my entire collection is exhibited in a large gallery setting alongside illustration, large murals and 3D pieces.”
Lincoln Lightfoot is exhibiting in the Grand Opera House box office, in Cumberland Street, York, until May 31. The box office is open 90 minutes before each show.
LINCOLN Lightfoot will present a 90-minute Grand Opera House Creative Learning artist talk and workshop on May 4 at 6pm. Tickets can be booked at: atgtickets.com/shows/artist-talk-and-workshop-with-lincoln-lightfoot/grand-opera-house-york/.
INSPIRED by October’s York Unlocked event, York Open Studios regular Adele Karmazyn is opening doors to Hidden Spaces in her new exhibition.
Embracing the opportunity to visit the city’s historic hidden places, she took photographs on the way, and now those photos form the backdrop for her new body of digital photomontages on show in the City Screen Picturehouse café, in Coney Street, York, until January 14 2023.
Each piece in Hidden Spaces evolves into an individual story when Adele brings in her 19th century characters, taken from old cabinet photographs, and combines these with other photographs of objects, landscapes and creatures.
By merging multiple layers and concentrating on light and depth, she creates “realistic, believable scenarios, which at the same time could never possibly be”.
Here CharlesHutchPress asks questions to send Adele into her flights of fantasy…or maybe ghost stories of lives that could have been.
What drew you to the City Screen café as a location for an exhibition? Is this the first time that you have exhibited there?
“I love the City Screen building with the river backdrop. I’ve exhibited once before upstairs but never in the café. It’s a wonderful spot for my work, being full of stories and imagination, just like the films on show there.”
Which hidden places in York did you visit during the York Unlocked weekend in October?
“York Unlocked was a great opportunity for me to take lots of photographs to use in my work. I ran around the city like a headless chicken! I was particularly impressed with the Masonic Hall and the York Guildhall, which I‘d never been to before. I’m sure these spaces will feature not only in this collection but again in future collections.”
How did the buildings spark your imagination for Hidden Spaces?
“I was already planning to create a collection centred around the old (Grays Court) and present Treasurer’s House, which I’d visited and photographed already. So when I heard about this event, I decided ‘Hidden Spaces’ could be any historic building in York.”
How did you settle on that title?
“Well, when I choose a title, I spend a moment looking at the images as they are ‘in progress’. They all look like secretive places, hidden away from the crowds. This is the feeling I got also when these doors opened, and I got to see behind these (often) closed doors.”
Why do creatures as well as humans feature so prominently in your work?
“I think there’s a creature of some sort in every image, be it a bird, a butterfly or a beetle. I feel it brings more life to the image and creates a connection between the character and nature. I also love it when you don’t always see everything on first glance, and hiding some creature makes the images more interesting and surprising.”
How long does it take to create each multi-layered work?
“Some pieces flow really nicely and I can complete it in a few weeks, but some can have a rough ride, where I get stuck and nothing makes sense or I don’t have the right character.
“I may have ‘something’ but there’s a missing piece and these can sit in my folders for months. My images are a tornado of imagination and chance. It’s a really fun and also sometimes frustrating process, but when that magic happens and the ideas and images come together, it’s really exciting and why I love working this way.”
Further explore your assertion that each piece features a “realistic, believable scenario, which at the same time could never possibly be”…
“Digital collage artists can create so many scenarios, from totally surreal and roughly pieced-together images to the subtle changes of a realistic photograph.”
“What I’m trying to achieve is an image that looks almost painted, as opposed to ‘photographic’, and by mixing water where there would never be, or a cloud in a room, or wild animals inside a Victorian skirt, so your eyes see this is actually happening in the image but the brain knows this could not actually happen. I believe it’s called ‘Magic Realism’.”
Are they images of ghosts coming alive or of lives that could have been?
“I like to think of it as giving them another life, full of adventure and stories untold. Of course there is a ghost-like quality to the images but nothing too dark.”
Is it lazy to label them as “surrealist”?
“A couple of my pieces I would say are bordering on surreal, but mostly they are dreamlike images, theatrical, imaginative and curious.”
Are there hidden meanings to these Hidden Spaces?
“If the viewer finds a meaning, then that is what it is. I like to leave the interpretation up to each individual. I do like to work with a theme, and some have meaning to me that may mean something entirely different to someone else.”
Who would be your influences? Magritte? Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam? Maybe even Glen Baxter?
“I do love the work of Magritte. I follow many modern-day artists who inspire me, such as Daria Pertilli, Maggie Taylor and Christian Schloe.”
There seems to be a balance between humour and something more troubling: the images are frozen in time past awaiting release in the viewer’s imagination that could take both the incumbents and the viewer anywhere. See above: Those Canada Geese in flight….how did they get in there? Where are they going? Why are they in there? Will they get out? So many possibilities! Like in Tracy Chevalier’s novel, inspired by Johannes Vermeer’s Dutch Golden Age oil painting Girl With A Pearl Earring. Discuss…
“Wouldn’t it be amazing if a whole story was written from an image. This is what I love about the process of image making. I start with nothing, then I find a character, then a space, then things get thrown in and taken out and a story evolves and changes.
“My best-selling image is ‘Survival’, a picture of a young girl sailing in an upturned umbrella with a bird and a nest on her head. Part of the success of this image I think is the girl herself.
“She speaks volumes just to look at her. She is strong-willed and she will survive! This could easily be a still from a film and the rest of the story is up to the viewer to imagine.”
What’s coming up for you in 2023?
“Next year begins with York Open Studios [April 15, 16, 22 and 23], hopefully followed by Saltaire Open Houses arts trail [May 27 to 29] (although this hasn’t been confirmed yet).
“I’m bringing in oil paintings and working on creating curiosity boxes too, as something new to accompany my digital images.
“I’ve also written a children’s book, which I’m now illustrating, so it’s all go in my Holgate garden studio. The book is called ‘The Life Of A Bee, It’s Not For Me’ and it’s a rhyming story for ages three to five, I would say. It’s all about a bee called Clive, who saves the world with the help of the swallows…I don’t want to give any more away!
“It’s very exciting as I may have a contract…once I send off the illustrations, which is my project for in between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.”
POLITICAL division and soul power, sturdy stilettos and string sextets, doomed comedy and surreal gardens spark Charles Hutchinson’s interest for the week ahead.
Exhibition of the week: Adele Karmazyn, Pleasure Gardens, Village Gallery, Colliergate, York, until October 25
YORK Open Studios regular Adele Karmazyn is exhibiting new works in Pleasure Gardens, demonstrating her love of Victorian antiquities and oddities, weathered surfaces and nature.
Using her digital camera, scanner and Photoshop, Adele creates playful, surprising, surrealist digital photomontages, printing the images on to archival paper before hand-finishing with paint, pastel and gold leaf.
Drawing on idioms, metaphors and musical lyrics for narrative inspiration, she chooses her characters, then brings them back to full colour, intertwining them with creatures big and small, coupled with delicate foliage.
Nostalgia of the week: Giants Of Soul, York Barbican, Saturday (10/9/2022), 7.30pm
HOSTED by Smooth Radio’s Angie Greaves, the three-hour revue Giants Of Soul assembles performers from the late-1970s to the modern day, who have notched 18 British top ten smashes and 47 top 40 entries between them.
Step forward The Lighthouse Family’s Tunde Baiyewu; Grammy winner Deniece Williams; Rose Royce’s Gwen Dickey, on her farewell tour; Alexander O’Neal; Jaki Graham; Janet Kay and American Candace Woodson, who will be accompanied by an all-star ten-piece band of British and American musicians. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Rescheduled show of the week: An Evening With Chris de Burgh, His Songs, Stories & Hits, York Barbican, Thursday, 7.30pm
BRITISH-IRISH singer-songwriter Chris de Burgh heads to York for a night of songs, stories and hits, showcasing his latest album, 2021’s The Legend Of Robin Hood, on guitar and piano.
Born Christopher John Davison in Venado Tuerto, Argentina, de Burgh will be delivering “an exciting evening full of your favourite songs”, accompanied by a large lighting production. Here come The Lady In Red, Don’t Pay The Ferryman and A Spaceman Came Travelling. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Doom’s day booking of the week: Daniel Howell, We’re All Doomed, York Barbican, Friday, 7.30pm
WOKINGHAM comedian, YouTuber, presenter and author Daniel Howell’s new solo show, We’re All Doomed, finds him as stressed and depressingly dressed as ever but nevertheless resisting temptation to give into apocalyptic gloom.
Armed with sarcasm, satire and a desire to skewer everything deemed wrong with society, Howell vows to find hope for humanity or at least to “laugh like it’s the end of the world (because it probably is)”. Prepare for savage self-deprecation, soul-searching and over-sharing of his deepest fears and desires. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Festival of the week: York Chamber Music Festival 2022, National Centre for Early Music, York, September 16 to 18
ARTISTIC director and cellist Tim Lowe turns his festival focus on the string sextet repertoire in the company of Tristan Gurney and Jonathan Stone, violins, Sarah-Jane Bradley and Scott Dickenson, violas, and Marie Bitlloch, cello, plus Scottish pianist Alasdair Beatson.
“We’ll play four of the very greatest sextets: Boccherini, the first string sextet, as far as we know; Brahms’s heart-warming/glowing Sextet in B flat; Richard Strauss’s sextet embedded at the beginning of his last opera, Capriccio, and Tchaikovsky’s joyous recollection of his favourite place in his Souvenir de Florence.” Full programme and ticket details at ycmf.co.uk.
Musical of the week: York Stage in Kinky Boots, Grand Opera House, York, September 16 to 24
FACTORY owner Charlie is struggling to save his family business. Lola is a fabulous entertainer with a wildly exciting idea. Both live in the shadows of their fathers in seemingly different, yet surprisingly similar ways.
Learning to embrace their differences, they create sturdy stilettos unlike any the world has ever seen.
Up step York Stage director Nik Briggs and choreographer A J Powell to oversee a joyous show with 16 songs by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Tony-winning Harvey Fierstein. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.
Political drama of the week: Pilot Theatre in Noughts & Crosses, York Theatre Royal, September 16 to 24
YORK company Pilot Theatre revive their award-winning production of Sabrina Mahfouz’s adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s young adult novel of first love in a volatile fictional dystopia, first toured in 2019.
Sephy is a Cross and Callum is a Nought in a segregated society of racial and social divides. As violence breaks out, the teenagers draw closer, but their forbidden romance will lead them into terrible danger in this exploration of love, revolution and what it means to grow up in a divided world. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Comedy launch of the week: The Comedy Network at Selby Town Hall, September 18, 7.30pm
PITCHING up at Selby Town Hall for the first time this autumn, The Comedy Network is launching a series of showcases of national circuit acts, each night featuring a master of ceremonies, support act and headliner.
First up will be Edinburgh Comedy Award panel prize winner Phil Ellis; Mancunian actor and comedian Katie Mulgrew, daughter of Irish humorist Jimmy Cricket, and compere Travis Jay, a writer for Spitting Image. Box office: 01757 708449 or selbytownhall.co.uk or on the door from 7pm.
Looking for a book?York National Book Fair, Knavesmire Suite, York Racecourse, today, 10am to 5pm
“BRITAIN’S largest antiquarian book fair” is booked in for its second day in the Knavesmire Suite with all manner of book sellers, book binders and restorers, books, maps and prints to discover.
In its 48th year, this Provincial Booksellers’ Fairs Association event brings together an array of rare and antiquarian booksellers offering material for sale to collectors, scholars, dealers, readers and the curious. Items are priced from only a few pounds up to many thousands. Complimentary tickets can be booked at yorkbookfair.com; alternatively, pay £2 on the door.
YORK Open Studios regular Adele Karmazyn is exhibiting new works in her Pleasure Gardens show at Village Gallery, Colliergate, York, until October 25.
Using her digital camera, scanner and Photoshop, Adele creates digital photomontages at her Wilton Rise studio in Holgate, printing the images onto archival paper before hand-finishing them with paint, pastel and gold leaf.
Her love of antiquities and oddities, weathered surfaces and nature is the foundation of her work.
“For Adele, collecting 19th century photographs is where the journey begins,” says gallery owner and curator Simon Main. “From her ever-growing collection, she chooses her characters and brings them back to full colour, intertwining them with creatures big and small, coupled with delicate foliage, creating images both sophisticated and slightly surrealist.
“Adele often uses idioms, metaphors and musical lyrics for inspiration and to add narrative to her work. It is ultimately the love of the Victorian era, costume and interiors that drives her to create the images she does, with the added freedom to insert an element of playful surprise.”
After studying for her BA (Hons) in textile art at Winchester School of Art, Adele completed a diploma in children’s book illustration that brought her back to the use of Photoshop, now her main tool.
Village Gallery opening hours are 10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday.
BLOSSOM Street Gallery, in York, has two exhibitions running simultaneously until the end of August.
Colourforms presents brightly coloured paintings by Fiona Lane and Claire West; Enchanted Forest brings together a highly imaginative collection of papier-mâché sculptures by Annie Stothert, inspired by folklore, myth and fairy tales.
Painter and printmaker Claire West works from her studio in Beverley, East Yorkshire, exhibiting in galleries throughout Britain and licensing her art to major retailers.
Claire’s work is often used by television production companies too. “My aim is to spark joy both in others and myself,” she says. “I paint because it makes me happy. I hope that my work makes you smile too!”
Fiona Lane, a self-taught mixed-media artist from Claremont Terrace, Gillygate, York, is always developing her style.
Preferring to paint outside, whether in the woods, by the sea or in her flower-filled York courtyard, this 2022 York Open Studios artist stretches and smooths paint that she applies with palette knives and brushes, adding details with other media.
Painting seascapes and landscapes, mostly on canvas, she loves working with colour and light, creating “soothingly immersive” pictures.
Annie Stothert trained in graphics at Carlisle but since raising a family she has become interested in papier mâché and its possibilities as a medium for creating sculptural pieces.
Based in Yorkshire for 30 years, her work ranges from small decorations to large whimsical pieces, taking inspiration from nature, mythology and illustration.
The pieces are created using traditional papier-mâché techniques, with the addition of other mixed media, and are hand painted with acrylic paints before being varnished.
Opening hours at Blossom Street Gallery, Blossom Street, York, are Thursdays, 12 noon to 4pm; Friday and Saturday, 10am to 4pm; Sundays, 10am to 3pm.
THE sun is out for weekend two of the biggest ever York Open Studios but Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage “can’t continue”.
Dormant in the Covid years of 2020 and 2021, now a shortage of locations and manpower has brought down the festival curtain, perhaps permanently, after the scrapping of the 2022 event in the North Yorkshire fishing village.
Blame the “staycation effect” that fills the cottages all year round, squeezing out artists, say the organisers of this volunteer-run event. “We feel that the model we based the SFAH on is no longer workable and that if the festival were to come back in any form it would need a radical re-think,” reads the official announcement. “We regret we must cancel SFAH 2022 and for the foreseeable future.”
Two Bigs Egos In A Small Car arts podcasters Graham Chalmers and Charles Hutchinson discuss the contrasting fortunes of these two long-running celebrations of northern art and crafts in Episode 85.
What else is bothering the chatty art duo? Under discussion are: Oscars 2022, the fallout; Sheffield Leadmill’s future; Michael Bay’s hyper-action movie Ambulance; writer Harry Sword versus Public Service Broadcasting; Magritte, the back story. Oh, and what is Clifford’s Tower?