What's On in Yorkshire - July 2021


The Great Yorkshire Show promises to be just that - Credit: IMAGENORTH

Outdoor events, festivals and fun on the farm - the best of summer events are here 

Scampston walled garden 

Scampston walled garden - Credit: Scamptson

Until July 18
Simon Bull
York-based, Leeds-born artist Simon Bull makes sculptures — sometimes pretty big ones, as he proves in this exhibition which dots 10 of his works around Scampston Walled Garden. But all of these pieces have been carefully designed to blend in with their surroundings. 'I strive to create simple forms which enhance a garden rather than overpower it,' explains Bull.
Scampston Walled Garden
01944 759111

June 26 – July 17
A Little Night Music
Another Stephen Sondheim musical collaboration between Opera North and Leeds Playhouse (the last one, Into the Woods, was rather successful). Even if you've never seen A Little Night Music, which Sondheim wrote in 1973, you'll know one of the most famous songs from it: Send in the Clowns, which has been covered by everyone from Sinatra to Streisand. This production is directed by James Brinning, the Playhouse's Artistic Director, and includes various Opera North stars and the company's Chorus.
Leeds Playhouse
0113 213 7700

June 29 – July 3
It doesn't, on paper, sound like a thrilling night out at the theatre: the six wives of Henry VIII each tell their own tales of woe to a pop soundtrack — a sort of mix of history and 90s girl power. But, of course, it's become an international phenomenon, and was nominated for five Olivier Awards. Also at Hull New Theatre July 12 -17.
Leeds Grand Theatre
0113 243 0808

June 30 – July 24
Victoria Wood was a genius with words ('I once went to one of those parties where everyone throws their car keys into the middle of the room. I don't know who got my moped but I've been driving that Peugeot for years'). She was also taken from us much too soon — but thankfully we still have her television work to enjoy, plus this sparkling play which she wrote at the start of her career, and which (fact!) had its premiere at the Crucible in 1978.
Crucible Theatre
0114 249 6000

Until September 5
Grayson Perry: the Pre-Therapy Years
It's sometimes easy to forget in all of the hoopla surrounding him that Grayson Perry isn't just a famous, Turner Prize-winning artist, broadcaster, cross-dresser and national treasure. He's also, first and foremost, a potter. This touring exhibition aims to address that oversight by showcasing the pottery Perry created between 1982 and 1994, which highlights his 'clever, playful and politically-engaged perspective on the world.' Be warned, though: the work on display is 'often challenging and explicit'. We'd expect nothing less.
York Art Gallery, 01904 687687, yorkartgallery.org.uk

Until August 30
Mel Brimfield
Operating at the intersection of theatre, live art and film, Brimfield 'aims to bring arts audiences together and erode distinctions between creative fields'.This exhibition features nuggets of her work, which can be wryly amusing. Put it this way: her installation called Ungeziefer features a voiceover artist attempting to make an abridged audiobook of Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis.
Tetley Art Gallery, Leeds, 0113 320 2323, thetetley.org

Martin Simpson will be at Primrose Wood

Martin Simpson will be at Primrose Wood Acoustics in Pocklington - Credit: Geoff Trinder

July 1 & 8
Primrose Wood Acoustics
Another innovative idea from the people at Pocklington Arts Centre: a series of outdoor summer concerts in nearby Primrose Wood. Guitarist and singer-songwriter Martin Simpson will headline the event on the 1st, with support from Yorkshire singer-songwriter Katie Spencer. Leeds-based indie-folk band The Dunwells will headline on the 8th, with support from York's own Rachel Croft.
Primrose Wood
01759 301547

July 6 – 10
A Splinter of Ice
A new espionage drama from Ben Brown, which imagines what happened when author Graham Greene met double agent Kim Philby — his old boss at MI6 — for drinks in Moscow in 1987.
Oliver Ford Davies (from Star Wars Game of Thrones) and Stephen Boxer (Denis Thatcher from The Crown) shine in the lead roles. 
York Theatre Royal, 01904 623568, yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

July 6 - 10
Priscilla Queen of the Desert 
The Terence Stamp film about drag queens on an outing to Ayres Rock was given the Hairspray treatment and turned into a stage musical with added songs. And what songs they are, including Hot Stuff, Its Raining Men, I Will Survive and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Also at Hull New Theatre July 12 – 17.
Leeds Grand Theatre, 0113 243 0808, leedsheritagetheatres.com

July 9 – August 14
Home, I’m Darling
This excellent satire from Laura Wade tells the story of a seemingly perfect couple (dutiful 1950s-style wife Judy and her pipe-and-slippers husband, Johnny) whose marriage isn't all it's cracked up to be. It won an Olivier Award for Best New Comedy in 2018 and Time Out called it 'a fizzing drama of gender, homes and housework.'
Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, 01723 370541 

July 12 - 13
April in Paris
Joe Pasquale and Sara Earnshaw star in a short and sweet production of John Godber's comedy about a long-married couple who try to rekindle their romantic spark 'en Paris'. 'I can't wait for audiences to come out again, remember what live entertainment means to all of us and how much we need it; performers and audiences alike,' says Pasquale. You can say that again.
St George's Hall, Bradford, 01274 432000 bradford-theatres.co.uk

July 13 - 16
The Great Yorkshire Show
Great by name and great by nature, Yorkshire's premier county show is back after Covid stopped play last year. This time the event is going to run for four days for the very first time in its history, with competitions, displays, demonstrations, stalls, live music, a cookery theatre and loads more. Best to check out the full timetable on the website.
Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, 01423 541 222 greatyorkshireshow.co.uk

July 15
Frank Skinner
It's not just plays that are back in venues: comedy returns too (about time — we need a laugh). If you're going to book one comedy gig this year, it might as well be with the Brummie Godfather of stand-up, who is in Halifax to perform his latest show, Showbiz. 'Showbiz proves to be a masterclass in owning the room.' — The i.
Victoria Theatre, Halifax, 01422 351158 victoriatheatre.co.uk

July 18 – August 17
Sangam Festival
A new summer festival for Yorkshire which celebrates South Asian heritage and takes place across various Kirklees outdoor locations and indoor venues. Expect heritage, arts and cultural events, talks and trails, workshops exploring family history, art and photography exhibitions, film screenings, dance and music performance from Bollywood brass bands to classical Qawalli, inspired by Sufi poetry. Events will follow strict government guidelines, with Covid safety as the number one priority, and some activities will be held online.
Across Kirklees

Jenna Russell in Piaf at Leeds Playhouse

Jenna Russell in Piaf at Leeds Playhouse - Credit: Leeds Playhouse

July 23 – August 7
Gosh, it's good to have the Leeds Playhouse back again. And it returns with a bang, too, with Tony-nominated and Olivier Award-winning actress Jenna Russell starring as troubled French chanteuse, Edith Piaf, aka The Little Sparrow. Piaff's most famous songs — La Vie en Rose, Hymne à l’amour and Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien — get an airing, as you might expect.
Leeds Playhouse
0113 213 7700

July 24 & 25
Yorkshire Dales Food and Drink Festival
The foodie festival is back after being put on ice last year — and it's just in time to celebrate its fifth birthday. Otherwise things look the same, with food stalls, a vintage funfair, workshops and demos from James Martin and both Hairy Bikers. Lots more tasty stuff besides.
Funkirk Farm,  Skipton, 01756 796015

July 26 - 31
Four Quartets
How about this for a coup? Ralph Fiennes directs and stars in a world premiere of TS Eliot's Four Quartets. Yes: THAT Ralph Fiennes, from Schindler's List, The English Patient and Skyfall (and as Voldemort he was, of course, Yin to Harry Potter's Yang). Eliot's poems offer 'interwoven meditations on the nature of time, faith, and the quest for spiritual enlightenment' - but it's Fiennes who will have London-based critics scrabbling to bag seats on the first train to York. Which will make a nice change.
York Theatre Royal, 01904 623568, yorktheatreroyal.co.uk


Stereophonics - Credit: © Scarlet Page

July 28 
Have the Welsh wonders really been going for 30 years? Apparently, yes — and along the way they've clocked up seven number one albums and 10 top 10 singles. It seems like a long time ago now — what with the pandemic gumming up the works — but they released their most recent album, Kind, in 2019. They'll be playing tracks from that, plus their greatest hits.
Scarbough Open Air Theatre

July 30 – August 1
Underneath the Stars
Kate Rusby's festival usually boasts impressive headliners. This year, however, the event has really outdone itself because performing on Saturday night is Saving Grace, whose lead singer is Robert Plant (he used to front a little band back in the 1970s called Led Zeppelin). Paul Carrack, Eddi Reader and Rusby are also appearing.
Cinderhill Farm, Cawthorne, near Barnsley, 01226 767872, underneaththestarsfest.co.uk

Kedisha Coakley's exhibition features her sculpture, photography and printmaking work 

Kedisha Coakley's exhibition features her sculpture, photography and printmaking work - Credit: Kedisha Coakley

July 31 – October 31
Kedisha Coakley
As an artist, Coakley — the recipient of the 2020 Yorkshire Graduate Award who recently completed her BA in Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University — focuses on challenging racial and cultural stereotypes. This exhibition features her sculpture, photography and printmaking work that encourages viewers to “reconsider social-historical narratives.”
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 01924 832631 ysp.org.uk

July 31
Meadowfest - set in the picturesque riverside meadows and gardens of Malton's Talbot Hotel - describes itself as a 'boutique music festival'. If that rather undersells it, just look at the line-up. The headliners are The Lightning Seeds, no less; while Arthur 'I am the God of Hellfire!' Brown is also on the bill. Being Malton, there's street food, feasting on the Talbot terrace and a festival bar. The website says the event has 'the setting of a garden party and the soul of a Texas BBQ shindig.' 

The Piece Hall - a weekend of fun and music will mark Yorkshire Day on August 1 in Halifax 

The Piece Hall - a weekend of fun and music will mark Yorkshire Day on August 1 in Halifax - Credit: The Piece Hall

July 31 & August 1
The Yorkshire Festival
Neatly timed to coincide with Yorkshire Day, this new open-air festival has it all: a fabulous location (the gorgeous, Italianate Piece Hall in Halifax), food, drink, products, music, entertainment, heritage, arts and culture. It's free to enter, too — and, with lots of space for social distancing, it's Covid-secure.
Piece Hall, Halifax, theyorkshiresociety.org

Details correct at the time of going to press. Please check all events on appropriate prior to travelling and following Covid guidelines