What’s On in Yorkshire - July 2016

Wicked at The Alhambra, Bradford

Wicked at The Alhambra, Bradford - Credit: Archant

Tony Greenway highlights the best entertainment around the region this month


Throughout July

Harrogate Music Festival

It’s Harrogate International Festivals’ 50th anniversary in 2016 with (among others) the John Wilson Orchestra, the Black Dyke Band, Brodksy String Quartet and the Angel City Chorale. Curator for the event is opera singer Sir Willard White. Various venues, Harrogate 01423 562303 harrogateinternationalfestivals.com

July 7th–10th

Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival

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The literary line-up includes Jeremy Bowen, Julia Bradbury, Vince Cable, James Naughtie, Mary Portas and John Suchet. There are also anniversary events marking milestones for a couple of writers: Roald Dahl (it’s 100 years since his birth), and someone called William Shakespeare. Apparently, Will has a big anniversary this year. That’s been kept very quiet.

The Crown Hotel, Harrogate 01423 562303 harrogateinternationalfestivals.com


Until July 9th

Educating Rita

Willy Russell’s classic twist on My Fair Lady; a class (and classy) comedy drama about a twenty-something Liverpudlian hairdresser and her permanently sozzled, Open University tutor.

Hull Truck 01482 323638


July 5th-9th

Gangsta Granny

David Walliams’ best-selling book about a diamond-thieving OAP with designs on the crown jewels gets the stage treatment by the producers of Horrible Histories.

The Alhambra, Bradford 01274 432000


July 7th-10th

Shakespeare in the Park

Is this an outdoor Shakespeare festival I see before me? Yea, forsooth. More than 30 local amateur actors are taking part, performing scenes from Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Henry V, and Macbeth.

Greenhead Park, Huddersfield

01484 430528 thelbt.org

July 8th–October 7th

Alan Ayckbourn’s The Karaoke Theatre Company

An interesting one this; it’s not, officially, Alan Ayckbourn’s 80th full-length work because of its improvisational moments although, apparently, the evening does feature four short plays written by Sir A. Yet with the help of the audience, the performers do have license to go off-script... so anything could happen.

Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

01723 370541 sjt.uk.com

July 8th

The Incident

A comic musical featuring young singing, acting and dancing talent from China and Hong Kong, performing in Richmond before a spell in the West End.

Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond

01748 825252 georgiantheatreroyal.co.uk

July 20th-August 21st


Yes, yes — I know all the songs from the hit musical Wicked; and in particular Popular and the rousing Defying Gravity. How so? Well, firstly, I saw Wicked in the West End last year. And secondly, my two daughters, who I took with me, are always singing those songs at me, at the top of their lungs. They insist on playing them in the house. They insist on playing them in the car. Every day, I’m Defying Gravity, at all times.

Wicked has had an electric effect on audiences all around the world. My girls, for instance, bought the T-shirts, the soundtrack, the Wicked mugs, the souvenir brochure and would have painted their faces green, too, if I hadn’t stopped them, post show. Millions of ticket sales prove they’re not the only ones who love it.

I thought it was OK — it’s a retelling of the Wizard of Oz, showing how Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, first met — with good songs and spectacular staging; but, for our next West End visit, I’d like to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. My daughters, however, definitely don’t want to see that. They want to see Wicked again. The problem is that, with train travel, West End tickets and a hotel, we’re looking at a £600 roundtrip.

The Alhambra, then, has pulled off a – ahem – wicked trick by being the only place outside of London where audiences can see the show for a limited time. So guess where we’ll be in July? Yep: Defying Gravity.

The Alhambra, Bradford

01274 432000



June 24th-October 5th

Stanley Spencer: of Angels and Dirt

More than 70 paintings from the brush of Stanley Spencer (to celebrate the 125th year of his birth) highlighting his favourite themes of religion, sexuality and industry.

The Hepworth Wakefield

01924 247360



July 10th

Green Hammerton Country Fayre

A really worthy cause this; a charity event raising money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, Open Country and the Green Hammerton Recreational Charity. The organisers are hoping to attract 6,000 visitors to the village and raise £30,000 in total, with events, entertainment, stalls and artists such as Jez Lowe and actors from Kate Bramley’s Badapple Young Actors group helping to pull in the crowds. Go along and support it.

Green Hammerton


July 12th-14th

Great Yorkshire Show

It’s great. It’s in Yorkshire. And it’s a show. The 158th GYS features more than 1,200 stands ‘with everything from country clothing to combine harvesters’ and the main ring attraction is (vroom!) Bolddog Lings Motorcycle Display Team.

Great Yorkshire Showground,

Harrogate greatyorkshireshow.co.uk


July 1st-3rd

Burton Agnes Jazz and Blues Festival

Octopus, Bugalu Foundation, Elaine Delmar, and – best of all – 1960s American soul singer PP Arnold are on the bill this year. Who is PP? Well, she’s sung with everyone from Ike and Tina Turner, Rod Stewart and The Small Faces to Eric Clapton and Peter Gabriel, and her hits include The First Cut is the Deepest and Angel of the Morning. Bit of a coup, then, for Burton Agnes.

Burton Agnes Hall, Driffield


July 12-17th

Takeover Festival

An arts festival programmed, produced and co-ordinated by young people aged 12-26. See the website for full details and events.

York Theatre Royal 01904 623568


July 21st–24th

Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival

Harrogate’s Old Swan Hotel, highly rated on Trip Advisor by a Mrs A Christie (‘It’s a great place to disappear to!’), plays host to the 14th Crime Writing Festival. You won’t be able to move for best-selling authors including Jeffery Deaver, Martina Cole, Neil Cross, Linwood Barclay, Tess Gerritsen, Val McDermid and Gerald Seymour.

Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate 01423 562303


July 22nd–24th

Underneath the Stars Festival

An increasingly popular folksy festival organised by Barnsley superstar Kate Rusby (who, as luck would have it, is also headlining. Did she have to look in her diary to see if she was free, I wonder?). The line-up includes Dervish, Malian singer and guitarist Vieux Farka Touré, The Demon Barbers and Holy Moly & the Crackers.

Cannon Hall Farm, near Barnsley

01226 767872 underthestarsfest.co.uk

June 29th–July 4th

Hull Film Festival

‘Welcome to a world of suffering and madness’. No, that’s not the tagline to the Hull Film Festival: it’s the tagline to Baskin, which is that most unlikely of beasts – a Turkish horror movie, which is being shown at the Hull Film Festival. Baskin is a surreal, blood-drenched, hands-over-the-eyes chiller about a group of police officers who go for a meal in a restaurant but inadvertently stumble into hell. Well, we’ve all done it.

Be warned though: Baskin is very gory, eye-popping (literally) and disturbing and definitely not one for granny (unless your granny likes full-on, graphically violent Turkish horror movies). But that’s the joy of film festivals. If one flick isn’t popping your popcorn there are lots of others to choose from. At Hull this year there are musical classics (Judy Garland following the yellow brick road in the Wizard of Oz, and Gene Kelly splashing in puddles in Singing in the Rain); the latest documentary from Michael Moore (Where to Invade Next); a short film (The Bagpipe Maker’s Baby); Danish art house (The Commune); plus a standout performance from Tim Roth in Chronic, a heavy drama about a nurse working with the terminally ill.

The Guardian called Chronic ‘Tim Roth’s best work for some time’. Then again, Roth badly needed to up his game: a recent entry on his CV is United Passions, where he played ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter. Funded by FIFA, United Passions had the worst opening weekend in US box office history and was described as ‘a vile, self-aggrandizing, sugar-coated pile of manure’ and ‘the worst movie ever made’. And those were the good reviews.

Hull Truck 01482 23638 hulltruck.co.uk

July 30th-31st

The Yorkshire Dales Food & Drink Festival

Not to be confused with the Dales Festival of Food and Drink – that was last month in Leyburn, silly – the Yorkshire Dales Food and Drink Festival features lots of foodie pleasures, plus cheffy celebrities James Martin (a Yorkshire lad, don’t you know) and the Hairy Bikers.