The Pocklington Arts Centre column with Sara Morton: Venue set for a landmark celebration

The New York Brass Band at Pocklington Arts Centre.
The New York Brass Band at Pocklington Arts Centre.

From Ritz cinema to Penny Arcadia to an award-winning multi-arts venue attracting nationally and internationally renowned artists, Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC) has been on an incredible journey so far.

And 2020 is set to be a big one for East Yorkshire’s Premier Arts Venue as it celebrates its 20th anniversary with a series of public events, receptions and open mornings on the weekend of 27 – 31 March.

From humble beginnings to becoming an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation in April 2018, it never ceases to amaze me just what an awe inspiring, challenging yet hugely rewarding journey the venue has been on so far.

Thanks largely to the incredible amount of support from everyone involved, including Pocklington Town Council, Friends of PAC, all our staff and volunteers plus of course every single customer who has walked through the doors over the years – all 650,000 to be exact – to experience over 6,000 live events, film screenings, exhibitions and private hires to date.

When you glance at the list of high calibre acts who have taken to the PAC stage over the years, it is easy to see why the venue has proved so attractive to audiences and performers alike.

Past performers include Joan Armatrading, Richard Hawley, Lesley Garrett, Opera North, Sarah Millican, Kate Tempest, The Shires, Sir Tom Courtenay, KT Tunstall, Rhod Gilbert, and Lucinda Williams.

The year ahead will be no exception when it comes to star-studded line-ups.

There will be outstanding live comedy from the likes of TV regulars Arthur Smith on Friday, January 31, Shappi Khorsandi on Sunday, February 16, Tom Rosenthal on Saturday 14 March, and Andy Parsons on Tuesday, April 28.

Live music from award-winning singer-songwriter Robert Vincent, with the Buffalo Skinners, on Friday, February 7; seven-piece powerhouse New York Brass Band, on Friday, March 6; harmony-laden Americana band The Wandering Hearts on Tuesday, April 14; and band of crime-writers turned musicians, Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, on Saturday, May 30.

The sounds of BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita, plus special guests Vishten, will be filling the auditorium on Saturday, June 13.

And on Saturday, October 3, PAC becomes one of the smallest venues on legendary songwriter Loudon Wainwright III’s UK tour, when he will be joined by Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright Roche.

We’re looking forward to welcoming back writer, theatre-maker and creator of cult Edinburgh hit show John Peel’s Shed John Osborne with his incredible new show You’re in A Bad Way on Thursday, February 13.

There’ll be icy adventures, snow trolls, sea monsters a gang of yetis and 66 pugs to contend with when our next live family theatre show Pugs of the Frozen North races onto stage just in time for the half-term holidays on Thursday, February 20.

Platform Festival 2019 was without doubt one of my highlights of the year, so I cannot wait to do it all again, and some, from Thursday 9 to Sunday 11 July.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, with a full programme of live events being announced later this month.

To find out more about all that is happening at PAC and to book tickets visit www.pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk or call the Box Office on 01759 301547.