New rule of six as Your Place Comedy leaves living room after Ince and Lexx show

The last hurrah: Robin Ince and Laura Lexx perform the final Your Place Comedy show from their living rooms

YOUR Place Comedy returns for one last hurrah on October 25 as a Rule of Six of a different kind applies to the Yorkshire virtual comedy club.

After Mark Watson and Lucy Beaumont, Simon Brodkin and Maisie Adam, Jo Caulfield and Simon Evans, Paul Sinha and Angela Barnes, Shappi Khorsandi and Justin Moorhouse, now Robin Ince and Laura Lexx form the sixth and final double bill of headline sets, live-streamed for free from their living rooms to yours next weekend.

“Created and funded by ten small, independent venues from across Yorkshire and the Humber, the project has allowed some of our best-loved theatres and arts centres to continue presenting great performances while their doors have remain closed, with nationally acclaimed touring acts delivering unique and intimate sets, live from their own homes,” says comedy co-ordinator Chris Jones, Selby Town Council’s arts officer.

“However, as restrictions across the north of England tighten once more, both performers and venues recognise that it may be some considerable time before live events can be held safely, at a capacity which makes them financially viable.”

Reflecting on Your Place Comedy’s six-of-the-best run of remote shows in lockdown and beyond, and now into these “Not a full lockdown but…” times, Chris says: “Our virtual comedy club has provided a fantastic opportunity for venues to explore new ways of providing entertainment to their audiences.

Robin Ince: Melding ideas on art, literature, music and science

“We’ve presented virtual gigs from the kind of acts who, in normal times, might be appearing on stages across the region, enabling performers to innovate and adapt to a style of delivery that may be with us for good, as well as to earn some vital income.”

Looking ahead to next Sunday’s double bill, Chris says: “I’m thrilled that Robin and Laura have agreed to headline our final show. While Laura looks set to be one of the big stars of the next decade, having racked up a hugely impressive CV of live accolades and broadcast credits in just a few short years, Robin remains one of the most diverse and inventive acts in the business.

“He melds ideas on art, literature, music and science into some of the most brilliant and thought-provoking comedy you’re ever likely to hear.

“As always, the show remains completely free to watch, so please do come and join Laura, Robin and compere Tim FitzHigham, and help us give Your Place Comedy a grand send-off!”

Ince co-hosts the Sony Gold Award-winning BBC Radio 4 series The Infinite Monkey Cage alongside Professor Brian Cox, also co-presenting Book Shambles With Robin And Josie, a hit podcast with fellow comedian Josie Long that draws more than 100,000 listeners a month.

Laura Lexx: Comedian and author

As a stand-up, Ince has won three Chortle Awards and the Time Out Outstanding Achievement Award and was nominated for the British Comedy Awards’ Best Live Show.

Lexx has twice won Best Show at the Comedian’s Choice Awards, voted for entirely by fellow comics, and landed a coveted place in Dave’s Top Ten Jokes of the Edinburgh Fringe.

Last month, she released her first book, Klopp Actually: (Imaginary) Life With Football’s Most Sensible Heartthrob, after going viral during lockdown with her fictional Twitter thread about marriage to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

Hosted once again by the writer and star of BBC Radio 4’s The Gambler, Tim FitzHigham, alias Pittancer of Selby, next Sunday’s double bill will be free to watch on YouTube and Twitch, with an option for viewers to donate if they have enjoyed the broadcast.

“The money raised will be used to support both the performers and the ten venues involved, all of whose livelihoods have been thrown into jeopardy with precious few opportunities to derive any meaningful income from live performances since lockdown closed venues in the middle of March,” says Chris, who programmes both Selby Town Hall and the Otley Courthouse.

Tim FitzHigham: Pittancer of Selby and regular remote host of Your Place Comedy

Taking part too in the lockdown comedy scheme have been The Ropewalk, Barton upon Humber; East Riding Theatre, Beverley, Junction, Goole; Helmsley Arts Centre; Shire Hall, Howden; Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds; Pocklington Arts Centre and Rotherham Theatres.

Reflecting on the impact of the ground-breaking Your Place Comedy scheme, Chris says: “It’s been such an enjoyable project and has evolved into something quite distinct from both TV comedy shows and live gigs: a very intimate, personal experience, more like a podcast than a raucous live show.

“It’s also provided an excellent opportunity to shine a light on the venues involved, to remind people we’re still here – even if we can’t open our doors – and to deliver entertainment to our audiences from the kind of acts who would otherwise be appearing across the region in less challenging times.”

Explaining the decision to call time on the virtual shows, Chris reasons: “Unfortunately, live-streaming is a difficult format to make financially sustainable and the project in its current form has really run its course now.

“The industry as a whole remains in a perilous position, though, and there’s still precious little work available for performers of all stripes. The venues involved will continue to work together, exploring ways in which they can support each other and the artists they miss hosting so much.”

For full details on Your Place Comedy and to find out how to watch next Sunday’s 8pm show, visit www.yourplacecomedy.co.uk.

More Things To Do in and around York and at home despite Cassandra Boris’s “six months” of masked-up misery. List No.15, courtesy of The Press

Fields And Lanes creative couple Mick and Jessa Liversidge head to the Easingwold Community Library willow tree for an open-air hour of poetry and song on Sunday

BORIS Johnson put on his serious face and hands act on Tuesday night to address the nation on the ins and outs of his Government’s latest Covid-clampdown measures: a stitch in time saves nine, Rules of Six, 10pm curfews and any number of other numbers that invariably add up to confusion.

However, Covid-secure, socially distanced theatre shows, exhibitions, cinema, comedy and concerts can continue, as well as home entertainment, of course.

Here, Charles Hutchinson tracks and traces signs of artistic life…with immediate results  

The Easingwold Community Library willow tree: Sunday’s setting for Fields And Lanes poetry and songs

Joint project of the week: Fields And Lanes Under A Willow Tree, Timeless Songs and Poems by Jessa and Mick Liversidge, outside Easingwold Community Library, Sunday, 2pm

INSPIRED by the “wonderful reaction” to the online streaming of their outdoor poetry and song performances in lockdown, creative Easingwold couple Jessa and Mick Liversidge present an hour of uplifting words and music in the open air this weekend.

The show will be Covid-safe and socially distanced; tickets are free, with a pay-as- you-feel collection afterwards, but must be acquired in advance on 07526 107448 or by emailing ecl.generalenquiries@gmail.com.

Giles Shenton…will go to any lengths to promote his one-man show Three Men In A Boat

Three is a magic number: Three Men In A Boat, Kick In The Head Productions, Milton Rooms, Malton, Sunday, 2.30pm

GILES Shenton takes the helm for 95 minutes in Kick In The Head’s one-man/Three Men show, a “rip-roaring barrel of fun” wherein he plays writer Jerome K Jerome and everyone besides in a delightfully ridiculous tale of men behaving badly while messing about on boats.

Shenton invites you to “join Jerome as he recounts the hilarious story of his boating holiday along the magnificent River Thames with his two companions, George and Harris, and Montmorency the dog”.

Justin Moorhouse will stay in his house to perform his Your Place Comedy set from the living room on Sunday. Shappi Khorsandi will surely not be needing armour to do likewise from her place

Living room laughs: Your Place Comedy: Justin Moorhouse and Shappi Khorsandi, Sunday, online at 8pm

IN the fifth of six Your Place Comedy shows live-streamed from their living rooms into yours since lockdown, Justin Moorhouse and Shappi Khorsandi form the digital double bill introduced remotely by compere Tim FitzHigham.

The virtual comedy project has been organised by Selby Town Hall manager Chris Jones in liaison with nine other independent North and East Yorkshire arts centres and theatres, with donations welcome after each free screening to be divided between the still-closed venues. You can watch on YouTube and Twitch with more details at yourplacecomedy.co.uk.

Top Of The Hill, acrylic on canvas, by Debbie Lush

Exhibition launch of the week: Debbie Lush, Featured Artist, Blue Tree Gallery, Bootham, York, and online at bluetreegallery.co.uk, Saturday to November 7

TEN new works by Devon landscape artist Debbie Lush go on show at Blue Tree Gallery from this weekend.

The former freelance illustrator, who ran a Somerset country inn for 13 years, draws inspiration for her vividly coloured coastal and rural landscapes from her walks with her dog along weather-beaten coastal paths, across muddy footpaths, through gateways and over fields and farmland.

“I love the act of brushing blobs of paints of varying thickness in bright colours on a surface, one over another, to assemble landscapes,” she says.

Uninvited Guests invite guests to Love Letters Straight From Your Heart at the SJT and on Zoom. Picture: Jonathan Bewley

Antidote to isolation: Uninvited Guests’ Love Letters Straight From Your Heart, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, and on Zoom on October 1, 2.30pm and 7.30pm

THEATRE company Uninvited Guests will construct a “completely digital, wholly personal and wonderfully live experience” at the SJT and on Zoom in “very different” afternoon and evening shows.

Performed by Jessica Hoffman and Richard Dufty, Love Letters Straight From Your Heart invites the audience’s words, song dedications and stories – sent in earlier – to the stage where they are given a new shape, look you straight in the eye and offer to dance with everyone in the room.

Only 45 tickets will be sold for each show to maintain intimacy, but any number of audience members can sit at screens to watch what unfolds in 60 to 75 minutes.

Giant story: Riding Lights Theatre Company go online for Christmas

Latest Christmas show to be confirmed: Riding Lights Theatre Company in The Selfish Giant, storytelling theatre on film online, for primary schools

YORK company Riding Lights say, “We can’t come to you, but we can still bring exciting entertainment into every classroom with our online version of The Selfish Giant.

“The Giant is angry. He’s been away for a long time and returns to find children playing in his beautiful garden!

Every day after school, they come and run about, laughing and playing games under the blossom on his peach trees, listening to the delightful songs of the birds. So, he puts up a big wall and an even bigger Keep Out notice to put a stop to all that. Then winter seizes the garden in its icy fingers.”

Riding Lights ask primary school to book the online show via: https://ridinglights.org/the-selfish-giant-no/costs-and-booking/.

No traditional queue at York Barbican when Daniel O’Donnell tickets go on sale tomorrow. Booking is online only

Looking ahead to Irish gigs at the double: Clannad, York Barbican, March 10 2021 and Daniel O’Donnell, York Barbican, October 21 2021

CLANNAD are booked in to play York Barbican on March 10 on their Farewell Tour, but let’s see where Boris Johnson’s new Rule of Six Months’ More Misery leaves that show. Fingers crossed, we can wave goodbye to social distancing by then to enable bidding adieu to the ethereal purveyors of traditional Irish music, contemporary folk, new age and rock, led by Moya Brennan.

Meanwhile, tickets go on sale at 9am tomorrow (Friday) at yorkbarbican.co.uk for Kincasslagh crooner Daniel O’Donnell’s return to the Barbican on October 21.

And what about…?

A visit to Duncan Lomax’s new photographic exhibition space, Holgate Gallery, opening officially from tomorrow in Holgate Road, York, to show work by the 2016 York Mystery Plays official photographer and political satirist Cold War Steve.

The York Printmakers Virtual Print Fair, running until October 4, with daily updates at https://www.facebook.com/YorkPrintmakers/

Khorsandi and Moorhouse confirmed for Your Place Comedy live-streamed gig

At the double: Justin Moorhouse and Shappi Khorsandi confirmed for Your Place Comedy home service for laughter

SHAPPI Khorsandi and Justin Moorhouse will perform live from their living rooms in the fifth instalment of Your Place Comedy streamed gigs on September 27.

Their digital double bill will be the penultimate free show for the virtual comedy project,  originally set up in lockdown to deliver live entertainment into the home from national touring acts who might ordinarily be taking to the stages of theatres and arts centres in Yorkshire and the Humber.

2017 I’m A CelebrityGet Me Out Of Here! contestant, author and BBC 1 Question Time panellist Khorsandi, 47, has appeared frequently on Have I Got News For You, Mock The Week, QI and 8 Out Of 10 Cats, as well as BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends, Just A Minute and The Now Show. She is the daughter of Iranian political satirist and poet Hadi Khorsandi, by the way.

Manchester United fan Moorhouse, 50, played Man City-supporting Young Kenny in both series of Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights on Channel 4, won Celebrity Mastermind and is a frequent panellist on BBC Radio 4’s News Quiz and a familiar voice on TalkSport and BBC 5Live’s Fighting Talk.

As you watch from the socially distanced comfort of your home, regular Your Place Comedy compere Tom FitzHigham, writer and star of BBC Radio 4’s The Gambler and presenter of CBBC’s Super Human Challenge, will introduce the September 27 acts from 8pm.

Humour-plated: Shappi Khorsandi dresses to fight for the right to tell jokes

The live-stream will be free to watch on YouTube and Twitch, but with an option for viewers to donate if they have enjoyed the broadcast. All money raised will be distributed equally among the ten supporting venues, none of whom has had an opportunity to derive any meaningful income from live performances since closing in the middle of March.

Set in motion by Selby Town Council arts officer Chris Jones, who runs the programming for both Selby Town Hall and Otley Courthouse, Your Place Comedy brings together the ten small, independent venues to provide a way to present performers while their doors remain closed and the future of the industry looks uncertain.

Taking part too in the project are The Ropewalk, Barton-upon-Humber; East Riding Theatre, Beverley; Junction, Goole; Helmsley Arts Centre; Shire Hall, Howden; Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds; Pocklington Arts Centre and Rotherham Theatres. Between them all, they have pledged funds to support the performers in the six shows.

Chris says: “With social distancing regulations preventing the vast majority of theatres and arts centres from operating at a profit, or in many cases even opening at all, and with no light at the end of the tunnel, venues across our region continue to look at more innovative ways of connecting with their much-missed audiences and providing work for the artists who have lost so much as a result of the pandemic crisis.

“Justin and Shappi are two of the most consistently funny and highly respected live acts on the circuit today, with nearly 50 years’ performance experience between them.

“They are perfect guests for the show format, which really provides a rather different comedy experience from that of a raucous, sold-out theatre gig. They are personal, intimate, conversational affairs…and completely free to watch. There really is no excuse not to tune in!”

News….Just in…..Moorhouse will play Your Place Comedy gig on September 27

Chris has confirmed the next Your Place Comedy show will be the last “in the current format”. “Despite a feeling of stasis – we’ve not had a live gig at Selby Town Hall since March 14 – the world has really been moving at a dizzying rate in terms of innovation in the performing arts,” he reasons.

“The current model has served us well during lockdown, but I think while audiences have been bombarded with new and exciting offerings that might offer a glimpse of the future, they are, at the same time, looking ever more longingly towards those ultimately irreplaceable live experiences they have been denied for so long.

“We need to regroup and consider how we continue delivering content with that in mind.”

Chris forewarns: “We’re keen to stress that, despite the return of schools and calls to re-populate offices, it is far from business as usual for venues or performers, and we still need the support of our much-loved audiences.

“Live activity to any meaningful degree inside venues is all but non-existent and an entire cultural ecosystem remains very much under threat.”

For full details on September 27’s Your Place Comedy and on how to watch the Khorsandi and Moorhouse double bill, go to: yourplacecomedy.co.uk.

More Things To Do in York and beyond or at home, in or hopefully out of the rain, courtesy of The Press, York. List No. 13

Benched: Lisa Howard as grief-stricken Cathy, coming out of isolation on Easter Sunday 2020 in Matt Aston’s lockdown play, Every Time A Bell Rings, presented by Park Bench Theatre. Picture: Northedge Photography

A BANK Holiday on Monday, the return to schools drawing ever closer, masked or unmasked, the summer calendar is speeding by.

Make the most of the outdoors before the crepuscular Covid uncertainty of autumn and beyond arrives for theatres, concert halls and gig venues alike.

Charles Hutchinson pops outside, then quickly head back indoors in the rain with these recommendations.

Comedy for your living room…from theirs: Your Place Comedy presents Paul Sinha and Angela Barnes, Sunday, 8pm

Paul Sinha and Angela Barnes: The stream team for Your Place Comedy, performing in their living rooms on Sunday night

YORKSHIRE virtual comedy project Your Place Comedy returns after a summer break to deliver a second series of live streamed shows over the next three months, re-starting with The Chase star Paul Sinha and  BBC Radio 4 News Quiz guest host Angela Barnes this weekend.

Corralled by Selby Town Council arts officer Chris Jones, ten small, independent theatres and arts centres from God’s Own Country and the Humber are coming together again, amid continued unease for the industry, to provide entertainment from national touring acts.

Sunday’s show will be broadcast live to viewers’ homes for free, with full details on how to watch on YouTube and Twitch at yourplacecomedy.co.uk. “As before, viewers will have an option to make a donation to the venues if they have enjoyed the broadcast,” says Chris.

Mucking around: Cassie Vallance enjoying herself in Teddy Bears’ Picnic in the Friends’ Garden, Rowntree Park,
York. Picture: Northedge Photography

Garden theatre part three: Park Bench Theatre in Every Time A Bell Rings, Friends Garden, Rowntree Park, York, until September 5

SAMUEL Beckett’s First Love has left the bench for good. Children’s show Teddy Bears’ Picnic, starring Cassie Vallance, resumes daytime residence from today.  From this week, the premiere of Engine House Theatre artistic director Matt Aston’s lockdown monologue Every Time A Bell Rings occupies the same bench on evenings until September 5.

Performed by Slung Low and Northern Broadsides regular Lisa Howard and directed by Tom Bellerby on his return to York from London, Aston’s 50-minute play is set in Lockdown on Easter Sunday 2020, when isolated, grief-stricken Cathy searches for solace on her favourite park bench in her favourite park in this funny and poignant look at how the world is changing through these extraordinary times.

Tickets for performances in the Covid-secure Friends Garden must be bought in advance at parkbenchtheatre.com or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk. Bring picnics, blankets and headphones to tune in to shows delivered on receivers. 

Decked out: Hannah Sibai’s design for the Pop-Up On The Patio festival at York Theatre Royal

Deckchairs will be provided: Pop-Up On The Patio, week three at York Theatre Royal, August 28 and  29

YORK Theatre Royal’s Covid-secure summer festival of outdoor performances on Hannah Sibai’s terrace stage climaxes with five more shows, three tomorrow, two on Saturday.

First up, tomorrow at 4pm, is York company Cosmic Collective Theatre’s cult show Heaven’s Gate, an intergalactic pitch-black comedy starring  satirical writer Joe Feeney, Anna Soden, Lewes Roberts and Kate Cresswell as they imagine the final hour of four fictionalised members of a real-life UFO-theistic group.

York performance poet Henry Raby puts the word into sword to slice up the past decade in Apps & Austerity at 6.30pm; Say Owt, the York outlet for slam poets, word-weavers and “gobheads”, follows at 8pm. On Saturday, York magician, juggler and children’s entertainer Josh Benson is unstoppable in Just Josh at 1pm before York pop, soul and blues singer Jess Gardham closes up the patio at 4pm.

Jo Walton: Rust on show at Pyramid Gallery

York exhibition of the week and beyond: Jo Walton, Paintings and Rust Prints, Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, until September 30

YORK artist Jo Walton uses rust and rusted metal sheet in innovative ways to create her artworks. Iron filings are applied as ‘paint’ and as they rust, reactions occur, resulting in every painting being unique and unrepeatable.

“Jo’s work is abstract, inspired by horizons,” says Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett. “Her work features enhanced rust-prints on plaster surfaces, combinations of rusted sheet metal with oil painting and painting seascapes on gold-metal leaf.”

The poster for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet

First blockbuster of the summer…at last: Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, at York cinemas

THE wait is over. This summer has been more blankbuster than blockbuster, thanks to the stultifying impact of the Covid lockdown and the big film companies’ reluctance to take a chance on a major release in the slow-burn, socially distanced reopening of cinemas.

Step forward Christopher Nolan, director of Memento, Inception, three Dark Knight/Batman movies and Dunkirk to grasp the nettle by releasing the 151-minute psychological thriller/action movie Tenet.

John David Washington (yes, Denzel’s son), Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh ride a rollercoaster plot that follows a secret agent who must manipulate time in order to prevent the Third World War. Apparently, Tenet is a “film to feel, not necessarily understand”, like a Scarborough fairground ride, then.

Bella Gaffney expresses her enthusiasm for taking part in Songs Under Skies in the National Centre for Early Music churchyard garden

Double bills galore outside a church: Songs Under Skies, National Centre for Early Music, St Margaret’s Church, Walmgate, York, between September 2 and 17

SONGS Under Skies will bring together the National Centre for Early Music, The Crescent, The Fulford Arms and the Music Venues Alliance for an open-air series of acoustic concerts next month in York.

Dates for the diary are: September 2, Amy May Ellis and Luke Saxton; September 3, Dan Webster and Bella Gaffney; September 9,  Kitty VR and Boss Caine; September 10, Wolf Solent and Rosalind; September 16, Polly Bolton and Henry Parker; September 17, Elkyn and Fawn.

Gates will open at the NCEM’s Walmgate home, St Margaret’s Church, at 6.30pm for each 7pm start; acts will perform either side of a 30-minute interval with a finishing time of 8.30pm. 

The artwork for the new album by perennial York Barbican favourites The Waterboys

And what about…

Discovering The Waterboys’ new album, Good Luck, Seeker, Mike Scott’s latest soulful blast, met with universal thumbs-up reviews. Or bunking down with 1981 Ashes-winning captain turned psychoanalyst Mike Brearley’s new book for the end of summer, Spirit Of Cricket.

Paul Sinha and Angela Barnes take to their living rooms as Your Place Comedy returns

At the double: Paul Sinha and Angela Barnes take to their living rooms for a night of comedy on August 30

YORKSHIRE virtual comedy project Your Place Comedy will return after a brief summer break to deliver a second series of live streamed shows over the next three months, re-starting with Paul Sinha and Angela Barnes.

Corralled by Selby Town Council arts officer Chris Jones, ten small, independent theatres and arts centres from God’s Own Country and the Humber are coming together again, at a time of continued uncertainty for the industry, to provide entertainment from national touring acts.

“None of the venues involved in the project are able to operate in any meaningful way under social-distancing regulations, which are in place until November at the very earliest,” says Chris.

“So we’ve decided to pull together another series of three, monthly shows that will take us up to a time when possibly, with a steady and consistent wind in the right direction, we are able to open our doors again.”

Broadcast live to viewers’ homes for free, Your Place Comedy season two will begin on Sunday, August 30 with Paul Sinha, star of ITV’s The Chase, BBC television and radio regular and one-time Grand Opera House pantomime baddie in York, and Angela Barnes, 2020 guest host of BBC Radio 4’s News Quiz and frequent Mock the Week panellist on BBC Two.

Paul Sinha: Quiz champion, panto baddie and living-room comedy act

Each will deliver a set direct from their own home to yours, with full details on how to watch the 8pm show on YouTube and Twitch at yourplacecomedy.co.uk.

“As before, viewers will have an option to make a donation if they have enjoyed the broadcast,” says Chris. “All money raised will be distributed equally among the ten supporting venues, none of which is likely to host live performances for the foreseeable future, having already been shut for over five months.”

Sinha has appeared on BBC 5 Live’s Fighting Talk and BBC Radio 4’s Just A Minute, The News Quiz, The Now Show, Loose Ends and his own Rose d’Or-winning series Paul Sinha’s History Revision, as well as on BBC Two’s QI and Dave’s Taskmaster.

“A general knowledge expert, Paul is perhaps best known as The Chase’s ‘Sinnerman’ and is also the reigning British Quizzing champion,” says Chris.

Angela Barnes, a former winner of the BBC New Comedy Award, has presented four series of BBC Radio 4 Extra’s Newsjack and has appeared on BBC Two’s Live At The Apollo.

Angela Barnes: Will she be sitting down or standing up for her Live From Her Living Room comedy set on August 30?

Both Sinha and Barnes have chalked up multiple sold-out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe, and their August 30 show takes place on what would have been the 2020 festival’s closing weekend until Covid-19 played its killjoy hand.

Your Place Comedy is a venue-driven initiative that seeks to re-establish the traditional relationship between venue, performer and audience, lost temporarily during the Coronavirus crisis.

“The participating venues have all pledged funds to both support the performers involved and to provide their audiences with entertainment from the kind of artists who, in normal times, would have been appearing in their local arts centre or theatre,” says Chris, who manages both Selby Town Hall and Otley Courthouse.

Those two venues are joined in round two of the virtual venture by The Ropewalk, Barton upon Humber; Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds; East Riding Theatre, Beverley; Helmsley Arts Centre; Howden Shire Hall; Junction, Goole; Pocklington Arts Centre and Rotherham Theatres.

Looking not so jolly with his brolly: Your Place Comedy regular host Tim FitzHigham

“At the start of the pandemic, I don’t think any venues or performers envisaged that, five months in, they would be contemplating the possibility of no live performances taking place for the remainder of 2020,” says Chris.

“While we’re still unable to host live events inside our venues, the arts centres and theatres who came together to create Your Place Comedy are determined to continue delivering shows for their audiences and providing work for artists.”

Exit Edinburgh 2020, re-enter Your Place Comedy. “A big feature of the first show is that it takes place on what would have been the final Sunday of the Edinburgh Fringe,” says Chris. “Both Paul and Angela are Edinburgh stalwarts and should have been performing the last of their nearly month-long run of shows, before embarking on tours throughout autumn.

“We’re thrilled that they’ve decided to spend that time with us instead, joining us via the wonders of modern technology, keeping spirits up across Yorkshire as we look forward to a time when we can all get together again and share the joy of communal laughter.” 

The August 30 event will be compered remotely once more by Tim FitzHigham, writer and star of BBC Radio 4’s The Gambler and presenter of CBBC’s Super Human Challenge. Previously, he hosted Mark Beaumont and Hull humorist Lucy Beaumont in April; prankster Simon Brodkin and Have I Got News For You panellist-in-lockdown Maisie Adam in May and BBC Radio 4 comedy stalwarts Jo Caulfield and Simon Evans in June.

Hullarious: Lucy Beaumont starred in the first lockdown Your Place Comedy night in April

Nothing much happening in these loosening Lockdown days? Everything still being called off? Here are More Things To Do on the home front, courtesy of The Press, York. LIST No. 7

On your mask, get set…go…where?

EXIT stage left 10 Things To See Next Week In York for the still unforeseeable future in these woolly-thinking lockdown times when everyone’s gone to the beach…or Burnsall.

Make do with entertainment at home and now farther afield, in whatever configuration, as you stay alert to working out how to interpret the Government’s green-for-go rules, in the stultifying shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic that has higher figures in York than elsewhere in North Yorkshire, lest we forget.

From behind his door a little more ajar, but still nervous about comings and goings, CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these suggestions.

Your Place Comedy….from their places: Simon Evans and Jo Caulfield go online for a laugh

Jo Caulfield and Simon Evans, Your Place Comedy, streaming into your living room from theirs, Sunday, 8pm

AFTER Mark Watson and Lucy Beaumont in April, followed by Simon Brodkin and Harrogate’s Maisie Adams in May, Yorkshire’s virtual comedy project Your Place Comedy returns this weekend with a double bill of BBC Radio 4 stalwarts, Jo Caulfield and Simon Evans.

Led by Selby Town Hall manager Chris Jones, ten small, independent Yorkshire and Humber venues unite to present a fundraising evening of humour on the home front, broadcast live from Caulfield and Evans’s living room to yours for free at yourplacecomedy.co.uk. Donations are welcome afterwards.

Here comes the wickedly fabulous Velma Celli, York’s kitchen cabaret diva

Something Fabulous This Way Comes, Velma Celli’s Equinox, June 13, 8pm

DRAG diva deluxe, Velma Celli, the cabaret creation of York actor Ian Stroughair, invites you to “join me in my kitchen as I celebrate all my favourite witchy and misunderstood characters from movies and musicals”.

“Equinox is a love letter to all the witches and magical creatures who have graced our stages and screens, from Wicked to The Wizard Of Oz and every belty enchantress from the coven in between,” says Velma, who will sing the siren songs of the hags and creatures that go bump in the night as she weaves her cabaret magic at the witching hour, when daylight and darkness are almost equal.

Since going into lockdown in Bishopthorpe after an Australian tour, Ian has presented two Velma shows online from Case de Velma Celli: a fundraiser for St Leonard’s Hospice on May 2 and Large & Lit In Lockdown on May 16. Tickets for Equinox cost £7 at: ticketweb.uk/event/velma-celli-equinox-live-stream-tickets/10604915.

Alan Ayckbourn and Heather Stoney: Performing together for the first time in 56 years in his audio play Anno Domino. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

If you haven’t heard Alan Ayckbourn’s Anno Domino yet, why not…?

GOODBYE Alan Ayckbourn’s 83rd play, Truth Will Out, postponed at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Hello instead to his 84th play for lockdown times.

Ayckbourn has not only written and directed it, as per usual, but he performs in the audio recording too, marking his return to acting, 56 years after his last appearance on a professional stage in Rotherham.

In one of his lighter pieces, charting the break-up of a long-established marriage and its domino effect on family and friends, Ayckbourn, 81, and his wife, actress Heather Stoney, play four characters each, aged 18 to mid-70s. “We were just mucking about in our sitting room,” says Ayckbourn of a world premiere available for free exclusively on the SJT’s website, sjt.uk.com, until noon on June 25. 

York Festival of Ideas had a bright idea: let’s go online for a Virtual Horizons fortnight

York Festival of Ideas, staying alert and staying home until June 14

FESTIVAL after festival has bitten the dust in Covid-19 2020, but if one event could be guaranteed to come up with a different idea, it would be…the York Festival of Ideas.

Consequently, ideas are still blooming in June, as the University of York invites you to go on a “journey of discovery that will educate, entertain and inspire you from the comfort of your own home”, under the banner of Virtual Horizons.

The festival team has worked hard with their partners to bring together a diverse programme of talks, music, activities and community trails. Topics range from author Tansy E Hoskins revealing what exactly your shoes are doing to the world (Foot Work, June 6, 1pm), to scientist Phil Ball discussing genetic editing, cloning and the growth of organs outside the body (How To Grow A Human, June 8, 6pm).

Or, if you need your topicality topping up, how about trenchant broadcaster and political commentator Iain Dale mulling over “the phenomenon” of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a talk “big on comedy and fun” (The Book Of Boris, tomorrow, June 5, 6pm)? Comedy? Fun? Just what we need to tackle the Corona crisis.

L’Apothéose in the grounds of the National Centre for Early Music, St Margaret’s Church, York, in 2019. Picture: Jim Poyner

Fieri Consort and L’Apothéose, National Centre for Early Music streamed concert, June 13

THE NCEM, in Walmgate, York, continues to share concerts from its archive on Facebook and online. On June 13 comes the chance to enjoy music by past winners of the York Early Music International Young Artists Competition, a double bill featuring Fieri Consort from 2017 and last year’s winners L’Apothéose.

To view Fieri Consort and L’Apothéose in concert for free at 1pm, follow https://www.facebook.com/yorkearlymusic/ or log on to the NCEM website, ncem.co.uk.

Cotton Bud Carousel Horse, by Vivien Steiner: Inspiration for the Scarborough Great Get Together postcard competition. Copyright: Scarborough Museums Trust/Vivien Steiner

Scarborough’s Great Get Together, June 19 to 21

ORGANISED by We Are Scarborough and Say Hello Coast, this event is inspired by the Jo Cox Foundation’s national Great Get Together: a celebration of the late Labour MP’s life and her vision of bringing people together.

This year, it will take place online and will include three competitions: creating a postcard comp on the theme of Scarborough Fair; song lyrics and a multi-genre comp for writers, poets, model-makers and performers. 

For more information on the Scarborough Great Get Together, full details on entering the competitions and more about Scarborough Fair and its history, go to: facebook.com/TheGreatGetTogetherScarborough or wearescarborough.co.uk/.

Voice of an Angel: Christie Barnes recording her role in the York Radio Mystery Plays remotely from home

York Radio Mystery Plays, on BBC Radio York, Sunday mornings throughout June

YORK Theatre Royal and BBC Radio York are collaborating to bring the York Mystery Plays to life on the airwaves in four 15-minute instalments on the Sunday Breakfast Show with Jonathan Cowap from this weekend.

Working remotely from home, a cast of 19 community and professional actors has recorded Adam And Eve, The Flood Part 1, The Flood Part 2 and Moses And Pharaoh, under the direction of Theatre Royal associate director Juliet Forster.

Jane McDonald: New date for her Let The Light In concert at York Barbican next summer

Seek out the good news

YORK River Art Market in July and August, ruled out by social-distancing rules. York Early Music Festival’s summer of Method & Madness in July, called off. Jane McDonald’s Let The Light In concert at York Barbican tonight, lights out. The list of cancellations may show no sign of abating, but you can always look ahead by searching for event updates on websites.

York River Art Market? Charlotte Dawson and co promise a return to Dame Judi Dench Walk in 2021. York Early Music Festival? Watch this space for the possibility of an online version of this summer’s festival emerging. Wakefield wonder Jane McDonald? Lights up on July 4 2021.

The Howl & The Hum: York band release their debut album

And what about…

The debut album for our disconnected times, Human Contact, by York band The Howl & The Hum. Jorvik Viking Centre’s Discover From Home, digital resources for stay-at-home exploration, such as videos, downloads and audio recordings about Viking life and culture. Garden centres, the real green-for-go sign of lockdown easement. Castle Howard reopening its gardens and grounds; bookings only. Walks on Hob Moor, to the Railway Pond. Crepes at Shambles Market. Pextons reawakening for DIY needs and more on Bishopthorpe Road.

Jo Caulfield and Simon Evans double up for Your Place Comedy bill online on Sunday

Simon Evans and Jo Caulfield: Broadcasting live online from their living rooms to yours on Sunday night

JO Caulfield and Simon Evans will perform live from their living rooms on Sunday in the third edition of Yorkshire’s virtual comedy project Your Place Comedy.

Once more, Selby Town Hall is collaborating with nine other small, independent arts centres and theatres from across Yorkshire and the Humber to provide an evening of entertainment from two touring acts, broadcast live to viewers’ homes for free on YouTube and the Twitch video live streaming service.

After the 8pm online double bill hosted remotely by regular compere Tim FitzHigham, viewers will have an option to donate if they have enjoyed the broadcast. All money raised will be distributed equally among the ten supporting venues, as they each seek to navigate their way through these challenging times when closed down under the Covid-19 strictures.

It’s that Jo Caulfield again…this time entertaining on the home front

After Mark Watson and Lucy Beaumont on April 19, followed by Simon Brodkin  and Maisie Adams on May 10, this weekend is the turn of a brace of BBC Radio 4 comedy stalwarts, Caulfield and Evans.

Both have appeared on BBC2’s Mock The Week and Live At The Apollo; between them, they have guested on BBC1’s Have I Got News For You and Question Time, BBC2’s Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Channel 4’s Stand Up For The Week.

They are regulars on BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show, The News Quiz, The Unbelievable Truth and Just A Minute, while Caulfield has starred in three series of her own show, It’s That Jo Caulfield Again, and Evans has written and presented five series of Simon Evans Goes To Market.

Simon Evans, above: BBC Radio 4 comedy stalwart

Host FitzHigham is the writer and star of BBC Radio 4’s The Gamble and presenter of CBBC’s Super Human Challenge.

“Your Place Comedy is a venue-driven initiative that tries to re-establish the traditional relationship between venue, performer and audience that has been temporarily lost during the Covid-19 crisis,” says organiser Chris Jones, Selby Town Council’s arts officer and manager of Selby Town Hall.

“The venues participating in the project have all pledged funds to both support the performers involved and to provide their audiences with entertainment from the kind of artists who, in normal times, would have been appearing in their local arts centre or theatre.”

Umbrella fella: Your Place Comedy host Tim FitzHigham

Chris continues: “While sadly our doors remain closed for the immediate future, this hasn’t stopped venues from across the region working hard to find new ways of delivering high-quality entertainment in innovative formats to the audiences they miss so much.

“All the theatres and arts centres involved in Your Place Comedy are deeply rooted in their communities and want to maintain those vital links that allow them to bring some of the most sought-after national and international touring acts to the towns and cities of Yorkshire and beyond. We are all determined to help keep the live performance industry afloat at a time when it has never been needed more.”

Joining together in this rolling initiative to put the fun into fundraising are Selby Town Hall; The Ropewalk, Barton upon Humber; Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds; East Riding Theatre, Beverley; Junction, Goole; Helmsley Arts Centre; Shire Hall, Howden; Otley Courthouse; Pocklington Arts Centre and  Rotherham Theatres.

Simon Brodkin and Maisie Adams: The line-up for the second Your Place Comedy night on May 10

Looking forward to this weekend’s double bill, Chris says: “There’s a distinct Radio 4 vibe this time round with two stalwarts of the network, and two of the slickest, most accomplished and effortlessly funny acts around, Jo Caulfield and Simon Evans, taking to the virtual stage. Both Jo and Simon have sold out Selby Town Hall before.

“In a fit of nostalgia the other day, I was thinking back to the first time I ever saw a live stand-up show…and I’m certain it was Simon Evans, performing as part of the Carlsberg Ice Comedy Network at the University of York in late 2000. I can still remember the gags – and   that doesn’t happen very often! He was brilliant.”

What’s next for Your Place Comedy? “We’ll stop and take stock after this show, see what lessons small venues in the region can take from the exercise and whether there is a financially viable future in live streaming that supports artists, venues and audiences as this [venue closure] predicament inevitably runs into the autumn and beyond,” says Chris, who initially had speculated on the possibility of a run of five such shows.

Hull comedian and actor Lucy Beaumont: Her Your Place Comedy double bill with Mark Watson in April drew 3,500 viewers and raised £3,500 in donations

For full details on Your Place Comedy, and to find out how to watch the June 7 show, visit yourplacecomedy.co.uk.

Nothing happening in these Lockdown limbo days. Everything off. Here are 10 Things To Do on the home front, courtesy of The Press, York. LIST No. 5

Nothing happening full stop. Now, with time on your frequently washed hands, home is where the art is and plenty else besides

Exit 10 Things To See Next Week in York and beyond for the unforeseeable future in Lockdown hibernation. Enter home entertainment, wherever you may be, whether together or in self-isolation, in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic. From behind his closed door, CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these suggestions.

Street protest: The Everything Is Possible: The York Suffragettes cast on the march from York Minster Plaza to York Theatre Royal in 2017. Picture: Anthony Robling

Streaming of Everything Is Possible: The York Suffragettes, York Theatre Royal Collective Arts programme

YORK Theatre Royal is streaming the 2017 community play Everything Is Possible: The York Suffragettes for free on its YouTube channel until May 31.

Co-produced with Pilot Theatre, this outdoor and indoor production was performed by a community cast of 150 and a choir of 80, taking the form of a  protest play that recalled how women in York ran safe houses, organised meetings, smashed windows and fire-bombed pillar boxes as part of the early 20th century Suffragette movement.

“Now the stage is dark and the streets are empty, but looking back to the way in which that show brought people together, inspiring them in so many ways, is a wonderful reminder of the power of theatre and community,” says playwright Bridget Foreman.

Whispers From The Museum: the new mystery adventure from Scarborough Museums Trust

Whispers From The Museum, online mystery adventures for children

ADVENTUROUS youngsters can solve a new online mystery, Whispers From The Museum, set at Scarborough Art Gallery and Rotunda Museum, from May 12. The buildings may be closed under the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions but strange messages have been appearing inside. Who or what is making them and what are they trying to tell us?

For six weeks, young people – and their grown-ups – can uncover stories about assorted Scarborough Museums Trust objects by completing online missions and challenges from their own home, set by Scarborough artist Kirsty Harris.

The stream team: Your Place Comedy double bill Simon Brodkin and Maisie Adam, performing from their living room to yours

Your Place Comedy, streamed from their living rooms to yours

AT the initiation of Selby Town Hall arts centre manager Chris Jones, here comes gig two of Your Place Comedy, a Sunday night when comedians stream a live show via YouTube and Twitch from their living room into yours from 8pm. There is no charge, but you can make donations to be split between the ten small, independent northern venues that have come together for this Lockdown fundraising scheme.

After Hull humorist Lucy Beaumont and a pyjama-clad Mark Watson in the inaugural online gig, this weekend’s stream team will be Theresa May’s Tory conference P45 prankster Simon Brodkin and Harrogate’s Maisie Adam, as seen from home previously on last Friday’s Have I Got News For You.

Grayson Perry with his teddy bear Alan Measles on a visit to York in May 2014 to open the Meet The Museums Bears event

Inspired by Grayson’s Art Club on Channel 4…

IF you have enjoyed Grayson Perry’s convivial call to art, Grayson’s Art Club, on Channel 4 on Monday nights, with portraits and animals as the two subjects so far, seek out the “Ultimate Artists’ Activity Pack”.

This downloadable artist activity pack is suitable for children and adults alike, with Grayson among the contributing artists. So too are Ampleforth College alumnus Antony Gormley, Mark Wallinger, Michael Landy, Gillian Wearing and Jeremy Deller.

The Art Is Where The Home Is pack is the creation of Sandy Shaw, director of the Firstsite Gallery in Colchester, who says the activities should be fun, done on A4 paper and ideally shared.

Drag diva Velma Celli’s poster for Large & Lit In Lockdown, her next online show

What next for Velma Celli, York’s drag diva?

AFTER last weekend’s concert streamed from a Bishopthorpe kitchen in aid of St Leonard’s Hospice, York’s international drag diva Velma Celli has confirmed another such online extravaganza.

Large & Lit In Lockdown will be large and live at 8pm on May 16. “All you need to do is get your tickets from the link below and a live link will arrive in your email inbox on the day of the show.

“Click on it at show time and BOOM! There she is,” says Velma, the spectacular singing creation of Ian Stroughair. Tap in: https://www.ticketweb.uk/event/velma-celli-large-secret-york-venue-tickets/10581785.

Activity of the week: Rearranging your bookshelves

THANKS to Zoom and all manner of online visual services, placing yourself in front of your bookshelves is becoming the new normal, as tracked by the Bookcase Credibility Twitter feed, @BCredibility.

You may not go as far as J K Rowling, who re-arranged her books in colour sequences, but this is the chance to both gut your book collection and to find new ways to categorise those shelves, more imaginatively than merely alphabetically. This is spring cleaning with a new purpose.

Romesh Ranganathan: Rearranged York Barbican date

Still keep trying to find good news

POCKLINGTON’S Platform Festival in July, off. More York Races meetings, a non-runner. Deadpan comedian Romesh Ranganathan on Sunday at York Barbican, off; Whitby Fish & Ships Festival next weekend; the chips are down, alas. The list of cancellations grows like the wisteria adorning York’s houses this month, but you should keep visiting websites for updates.

Platform Festival? Negotiations are underway to move as many acts as possible to next summer. Romesh? His show, The Cynics Mixtape, is in the 2021 diary for May 15, still without an apostrophe in its title. Fish & Ships?  Sailing into harbour next May. York Races? Further updates awaited.

Woodland bluebells , Spring 2020

Venturing outdoors…

…FOR your daily exercise, be that a run, a cycle ride or a stroll near home, in a changing environment. If your route allows, check out the bluebells, now a glorious woodland haze, and the rhododendrons, bursting through too. In Rowntree Park, the ducklings are taking to the water, no need for armbands. Thank you, nature and the natural world, for keeping up our spirits.

Clap for Carers

STAND by your doors at 8pm every Thursday, no excuses. Theatre-goers, concert-goers, save your hand-clapping for our NHS doctors, hospital staff, carers, volunteers and key workers. How moving, too, to see familiar buildings bathed in blue light: a glowing tribute growing by the week.

Louis Theroux: New BBC radio series of interviews in lockdown

And what about…

NEW albums by The Strokes (the uncannily titled The New Abnormal); Lucinda Williams, Car Seat Headrest and Damien Jurado. Michael Henderson’s new state-of-the-nation book That Will Be England Gone, The Last Summer Of Cricket. The TV adaptation of Normal People, Sally Rooney’s story of complicated Millennial teenage love, directed by Room filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson on BBC Three, One and iPlayer. Louis Theroux’s lockdown interview series, Grounded, on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds. Parsnips, however you cook them.

Copyright of The Press, York

Simon Brodkin and Maisie Adam are stream team for Sunday’s Your Place Comedy gig

Sunday service: The stream team of Simon Brodkin and Maisie Adam, delivering comedy to your living room

PRANKSTER Simon Brodkin and Have I Got News For You panellist-in-lockdown Maisie Adam form the second Your Place Comedy double bill on Sunday.

The 8pm show will be streamed live from their living rooms to yours, looking to build on the success of the April 19 launch, when more than 3,500 people tuned in to watch Mark Watson, Hull comedian Lucy Beaumont and compere Tim FitzHigham.

Chris Jones, Selby Town Council’s arts officer and manager of Selby Town Hall, is again co-ordinating this weekend’s online fundraising show, working in tandem with nine other small, independent arts centres and theatres from across Yorkshire and the Humber during the Covid-19 shutdown.

Brodkin and Adam’s show will be free to watch on YouTube and the Twitch video live streaming service, with an option for viewers to donate if they have enjoyed the broadcast. All money raised will be distributed equally among the supporting venues, each being faced with navigating their way through these challenging Coronavirus days.

Compere Tim FitzHigham and a pyjama-clad Mark Watson on screen during the inaugural Your Place Comedy online broadcast

Joining together in this rolling initiative to put the fun into fundraising are Selby Town Hall; The Ropewalk, Barton upon Humber; Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds; East Riding Theatre, Beverley; Junction, Goole; Helmsley Arts Centre; Shire Hall, Howden; Otley Courthouse; Pocklington Arts Centre and  Rotherham Theatres.

“In a nutshell, at a time of huge uncertainty and upheaval in the Coronavirus lockdown, including for the live entertainment industry, I got these venues from around Yorkshire and the Humber to come together to provide our audiences with some much-needed laughter during these difficult times, each chipping in a small amount of money to put on each live stream,” says Chris, who was up until 4am on Tuesday morning putting everything in place for Sunday’s gig.

“Their contributions to Your Place Comedy go towards paying the artists a guaranteed fee at a time when all live income has been taken away, and, in exchange, venues get a show to sell to their own audiences as one of their own, helping maintain those vital relationships with audiences they have nurtured over the years.”

Watson and Beaumont’s April show raised £3,500 in donations for the venues. “We were overwhelmed by the response to our first ever broadcast,” says a delighted Chris, who was interviewed about Your Place Comedy on BBC 5 Live on Tuesday.

Prescient move: Simon Brodkin handed a P45 to Theresa May at Tory party conference

“The fantastic audiences, who are the absolute lifeblood of the ten venues involved in this project, watched and donated in their droves. Drawing more than 3,500 viewers was considerably more than the venues’ combined capacities, so the show went even better than we had imagined, to say the whole project was put together from scratch in the space of two weeks by three people with no live streaming experience.” 

Come Sunday, compere Tim FitzHigham, writer and star of BBC Radio 4’s The Gambler and presenter of CBBC’s Super Human Challenge, will introduce Brodkin and Adams’s sets from their homes, from his.

Prankster and character comedian Brodkin, 42, is best known for his alter-ego Lee Nelson and, latterly, as the man who handed Prime Minister Theresa May a P45 during the 2017 Conservative Party Conference. North Yorkshire-born comedian, writer and actor Adam, 26, has made her mark on Have I Got News For You, Mock The Week and 8 Out Of 10 Cats and appears regularly at the Harrogate Comedy Festival.

“It’s a distinctly different style line-up to the first show,” says Chris. “Simon is a truly fascinating performer. A former doctor turned character comic, he’s reinvented himself as one of the best pranksters the UK has ever seen. Listening to him spill the beans on how those daring exploits are pulled off is remarkably compelling.

One giant leap for Maisie Adam: From Pannal to the Have I Got News For You panel

“Maisie is destined to be omnipresent on our TV screens. Originally from Pannal, just outside Harrogate, she played her first ever gig at Otley Labour Club in 2016. She’s since had a pretty meteoric rise, winning the best new act competition in the country, So You Think You’re Funny?, in 2017; being nominated as Best Newcomer in the Edinburgh Comedy Awards a year later, and now appearing regularly on prime-time panel shows.”

Maisie, a former head girl at St Aidan’s School in Harrogate, appeared from her home in Brighton on last Friday’s home-alone edition of BBC One’s long-running satirical quiz show, Have I Got News For You, partnering team captain Ian Hislop.

Reflecting on the comedic impact of the first show, Chris says: “Both Mark Watson and Lucy Beaumont were fantastic. Mark is relatively experienced when it comes to live streaming and was comfortable enough with the format to perform in his pyjamas.

“For Lucy, it was a first foray into ‘audience-free’ comedy, but her set was pitch perfect – even featuring a rather bizarre bedtime story! – and broadcast live from the pub that her husband, [comedian] Jon Richardson, has built in their house.”

Lucy Beaumont: A “pitch-perfect set, even featuring a rather bizarre bedtime story”

How did the format work, Chris? “We were very aware that one of the limitations of live streamed comedy was a lack of audience interaction, so we devised a function that allowed viewers to send messages directly to the acts,” he says.

“This worked incredibly well and really gave the show that extra feeling of intimacy and warmth that you get from watching comedy in a small venue environment.”

Before the April 19 debut gig, Chris had said: “If the first one is a success and this looks like a sustainable model, I would hope to do several more through the lockdown period and possibly beyond.”

Now he is projecting an initial run of five shows. “We hope that, for as long as our doors have to remain closed, we can continue to connect with audiences and bring them big laughs from some of the UK’s best performers through the Your Place Comedy project,” he says.

“At a time when so many life-affirming social connections have been lost, and a great number of performers have had their livelihoods taken away overnight, it is brilliant to be able to support artists, audiences and independent venues in this way.”

For full details on Your Place Comedy, and to find out how to watch the show, visit yourplacecomedy.co.uk.

Your Place Comedy debut is a stream dream of a Yorkshire living room hit

Stream team: Your Place Comedy compere Tim FitzHigham, left, and a pyjama-clad Mark Watson on screen during April 19’s online gig

REASONS to be cheerful part one. The first Your Place Comedy night, streamed live from Mark Watson and Lucy Beaumont’s living rooms to yours, was a big success.

Compered by Tim FitzHigham, Sunday’s online fundraiser for ten small, independent northern venues in Coronavirus shutdown drew more than 3,500 viewers.

“That’s considerably more than their combined capacities,” says a delighted event co-ordinator Chris Jones, Selby Town Council’s arts officer, who manages the Selby Town Hall arts centre.

“The show went even better than we had imagined, to say the whole project was put together from scratch in the space of two weeks by three people with no live streaming experience!” 

Reasons to be cheerful part two. “The show was free to watch on Facebook and YouTube, with an option to donate. We received £3,500 in donations, which will now be split between the venues,” says Chris.

Joining together in this rolling initiative to put the fun into fundraising are Selby Town Hall; The Ropewalk, Barton upon Humber; Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds; East Riding Theatre, Beverley; Junction, Goole; Helmsley Arts Centre; Shire Hall, Howden; Otley Courthouse; Pocklington Arts Centre and  Rotherham Theatres.

“In a nutshell, I was frustrated that the traditional relationship between venue, artist and audience – the venue providing the artist with income and the audience with entertainment – has been has been eroded for the foreseeable future by Covid-19 and I wanted to find a way to re-create that,” says Chris.

“So, at a time of huge uncertainty and upheaval in the Coronavirus lockdown, including for the live entertainment industry, I got these venues from around Yorkshire and the Humber to come together to provide our audiences with some much-needed laughter during these difficult times, each chipping in a small amount of money to put on Sunday’s live stream.

Lucy Beaumont: “Rather bizarre bedtime story”

“Their contributions to Your Place Comedy go towards paying the artists a guaranteed fee at a time when all live income has been taken away, and, in exchange, venues get a show to sell to their own audiences as one of their own, helping maintain those vital relationships with audiences they have nurtured over the years.”

Reasons to be cheerful part three. “Both Lucy and Mark were fantastic. Mark is relatively experienced when it comes to live streaming and was comfortable enough with the format to perform in his pyjamas,” says Chris.

“For Lucy, it was a first foray into ‘audience-free’ comedy, but her set was pitch perfect – even featuring a rather bizarre bedtime story! – and broadcast live from the pub that her husband, [comedian] Jon Richardson, has built in their house.”

How did the format work, Chris? “We were very aware that one of the limitations of live streamed comedy was a lack of audience interaction, so we devised a function that allowed viewers to send messages directly to the acts,” he says.

“This worked incredibly well and really gave the show that extra feeling of intimacy and warmth that you get from watching comedy in a small venue environment.”

Before Sunday’s inaugural show, Chris said: “If the first one is a success and this looks like a sustainable model, I would hope to do several more through the lockdown period and possibly beyond.”

Reasons to be cheerful part four. “We’re now planning a second show, tentatively scheduled for Sunday, May 3, with two new acts on the bill,” he says. “Watch this space.” Then watch www.yourplacecomedy.co.uk when the line-up is confirmed.

Should you still be wondering what exactly was Hull humorist Lucy Beaumont’s “rather bizarre bedtime story”…..no, you should have been watching!