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What’s On in Yorkshire during August 2018

PUBLISHED: 12:04 30 July 2018

The Secret Garden at York Theatre Royal Photo: Robert Day

The Secret Garden at York Theatre Royal Photo: Robert Day

Robert Day

Events and entertainment around the county chosen for you by Tony Greenway


July 21st-September 2nd

The Big Summer Festival

Thank goodness for Eureka!, which has lots of guest performers, interactive shows and creative activities for the kids: just right for those long summer school hols.



01422 330069



August 15th-19th

Ilkley Jazz Fest

30 events, across 10 venues over 5 days with free events, ticketed events and events combined with meals.

Being our 5th year they have commissioned a suite of music about Ilkley which will have its inaugural perfotmance at the festival.



August 24th-26th

Leeds Festival

The other week, the Yorkshire Life Editor asked me what I thought of US singer-songwriter Charlie Puth (who is not playing at this year’s Leeds Festival, so don’t go looking). I told her I didn’t think much of him – but only because I wasn’t able to distinguish Charlie from a hole 
in the ground. Yet it turns out that he’s extraordinarily famous in certain circles. Just not mine.

I got quite depressed about having never heard of someone the rest of the world was going crazy over. I got depressed all over again when I scanned the Leeds Festival line-up and thought: ‘Nope. I’m not familiar with any of those names either.’

Actually, that’s not quite 
true. As ancient as I am, even I know Kendrick Lamar – the California lad who really is straight outta Compton (he was born there) – Kings of Leon, Fall Out Boy, The Vaccines, Panic! at the Disco, The Kooks, Dua Lipa and Wolf Alice (all of them are playing). But when I started looking down the bill and got to Ski Mask the Slump God, The Front Bottoms (really), A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, I Don’t Know How But They Found Me, and Dinosaur Pile-Up (who are from Leeds, apparently), I began to question if I really had a handle on what the kids are listening to these days.

Anyway, sticking to safer ground, I can confidently tell you that Kings of Leon are headlining the festival for the second time; that Lamar – who recently walked off with five Grammy Awards – will be featuring tracks from his 2017 album, DAMN; and that Wolf Alice will be their usual excellent selves.

Also, I’ve just YouTubed Charlie Puth (who, I can’t emphasise enough, is not playing at Leeds). He’s rather good.

Bramham Park



August 25th

Wensleydale Agricultural Show

There’s just time to squeeze in another country fair before the summer grinds to a halt – and in beautiful Dales surroundings, too. Attractions include the West Lancs Dog Display Team and Black Watch London Pipes and Drums.





Until September 9th

Cézanne’s Card Players

It’s strange to think that one of the most influential artists of the 19th century should have been plagued by self-doubt and depression; but, reportedly, French post impressionist Paul Cézanne was seldom satisfied with his own work. Towards the end of his life he said: ‘My age and health will never allow me to realise the dream of art I’ve been pursuing all my life.’ He also noted: ‘The world doesn’t understand me and I don’t understand the world. That is why I have withdrawn from it.’ Talk about a temperamental artist.

Arguably, the art establishment hadn’t helped his mood. As a younger man, Cézanne had twice tried to enter the École des Beaux-Arts but was turned down on both occasions; and when he submitted works to the Paris Salon he was continually rejected (although he was finally successful in 1882). Then, when he exhibited in Salon des Réfuses – alongside Manet, Monet and Pissarro – his work was panned by the critics and collectors shunned him. But what did they all know? It was only towards the end of his life that Cézanne’s reputation grew; and, these days, his paintings fetch astronomical amounts. Think lots of zeros.

One of Cézanne’s most famous and celebrated works is The Card Players, a series of five paintings each depicting peasants in the middle of a card game, intently studying their hand. Had he known that, in 2012, one of these paintings would be sold to Qatar for more than $250million – the highest price ever paid for a work of art at the time – Cézanne might have laughed long and loud.

One canvas in the Card Players series is at the Ferens in Hull for another month, on loan from the Courtauld. Don’t miss seeing the real thing up close.

Ferens Art Gallery


01482 300300



August 18th & 19th

No Man’s Land

Square Chapel

A dance production which tackles big themes – community, belonging, migration, repression

– and features (the clue is in the title) a 38-strong all-female cast.


01422 349 422



August 18th

The Dressing Room

A comedy written by Bobby Ball, starring – of course – Cannon and Ball and (honestly) Stu ‘I could crush a grape’ Francis. Are we selling it to you? It’s been described as ‘part sitcom, part variety show.’

City Varieties


0113 243 0808



August 25th

The Importance of Being Earnest

Oscar Wilde’s sparkling farce with that line from the frightful Lady Bracknell (Altogether: “A HANDbag?!”). This is an open air performance by The Pantaloons who also put on an alfresco production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It at St John the Evangelist, Staincross (2nd); Sheffield Botanical Gardens (16th); and RHS Harlow Carr, Harrogate (22nd).

Sheffield Botanical Gardens



August 30th-September 8th

The Habit of Art

A witty, late era Alan Bennett: the action centres on actors rehearsing a play about a fictional meeting between poet WH Auden and composer Benjamin Britten.

York Theatre Royal

01904 623568




August 22nd-25th

Ebor Festival

If you’re going to have a flutter on the gee-gees, this is the way to do it: ie, with posh frocks, big hats, sharp suits – and lots of champers, naturally.

York Racecourse

01904 620911





Scarborough Open Air Theatre

Usually, when you close the summer season in Scarborough, you do it with Bernie Clifton on his ostrich. Well, not this year. Pop royalty Britney Spears (17th) is bringing her Las Vegas Piece of Me show to the Scarborough Open Air Theatre. Has there been a booking mix up? Is Bernie playing a fortnight at Caesars Palace on The Las Vegas Strip? Brit bands Texas (11th) and James (18th) are also playing gigs at the SOAT (as no-one is calling it) this month.

01723 818111



August 4th


Roll up, roll up: if you want to see Bananarama as a trio, then this is your last chance. After this show, the band is playing just two other gigs (both in Scandinavia, so good luck booking your flights and hotels) before original member Siobhan Fahey leaves the group again and they revert to a duo. When they sing Venus (spoiler alert: they do!) expect the Square to erupt.


Millennium Square

0113 376 0318



August 7th

Al Stewart

For radio-listening people of a certain age, folk-rocker Al Stewart is best known for three singles: Year of the Cat, On the Border and Time Passages. They’re played every 15 minutes on Radio2, on average. Incredibly, though, none of these songs were hits: according to exhaustive research on t’internet, we discovered that Year of the Cat got to number 31, while the others didn’t chart at all (although they did well in America). They have staying power, though – a bit like Stewart himself: he made his first album in 1967 and he’s still performing.

Hull New Theatre

01482 300306



August 26th

The Wombats

If you can’t get to see The Wombats at the Leeds Festival (they’re playing on August 25th on the main stage), make sure you get a ticket for this rather more intimate gig, where they’ll be featuring songs from their past albums and, of course, their new one: Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, which includes the insanely catchy single, Lemon to a Knife Fight.

Zebedee’s Yard


0844 249 1000




August 31st

The League of Gentlemen

We have a question for you. And that question is: ‘Are you local?’ The fine Gentlemen return with their brand of spooky, disturbing and filthily funny comedy.

First Direct Arena

0844 248 1585




August 7th-11th


You know how it is: you’re a welder by day but, really, you have a passion for dance (most welders do, don’t they?). The thing is, you want to go to a prestigious dance academy so you can become a professional dancer, but worry that you won’t be good enough to get in. Oh, look, for heaven’s sake: just get over yourself and apply.

Before you do, though, could you gyrate around for a couple of hours to a soft rock soundtrack including Maniac, Gloria, I Love Rock & Roll and Flashdance: What a Feeling? Thanks. Strictly Come Dancing’s Joanne Clifton stars.


0114 249 6000



August 27th-September 1st


You know what to expect: at some point, someone in the cast will say: ‘Fame costs, so here’s where you start payin’’ before the stage fills up with numerous dancers wearing leg-warmers. Keith Jack, Mica Paris and Jorgie Porter star in this 30th anniversary tour.


01274 432000




August 1st

Yorkshire Day

Ey and, indeed, up. It’s Yorkshire Day – the chance for all proud Yorkshiremen and women to celebrate all that’s good about our county. Then again, some locals think it’s nothing more than a glib marketing opportunity which, ultimately, only serves to emphasise insulting Yorkshire stereotypes (you know: like the expression ‘ey up’ that I used in the first sentence). That doesn’t seem to deter the people at Pontefract Castle, mind, who’ll be marking the day with a historical themed event and various family activities. It’s free, too – which (talking of stereotypes) will appeal to quite a lot of us. Seriously: we’ll go to the foot of our stairs.

Pontefract Castle

01977 723440



August 10th & 11th

Walking with Dinosaurs

Leaping lizards. This $20 million production – with state of the art dino technology that brings to life a stegosaurus, raptors and a Tyrannosaurus-rex, among others – has been seen by over nine million people around the world. Michaela Strachan is your human host.

Sheffield Arena

0114 2 56 56 56



August 11th-12th

Seaside in Wakefield

You associate Wakefield with lots of things: but rolling waves crashing onto the sand isn’t generally one of them. But hey: so what if the town is (famously) landlocked? Wakefield Council is urging everyone to get out their buckets and spades and head to the city centre, where a makeshift beach is free for everyone to enjoy. There’ll be donkey rides, Punch and Judy shows, face painting, side stalls and street performers. Bring your factor 50, a knotted hanky and your imagination.

0345 8 506506



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