The Pocklington Arts Centre column with Sara Morton

Mary Poppins Returns will be showing from December 21 to January 3.
Mary Poppins Returns will be showing from December 21 to January 3.

It’s official – 2018 has been PAC’s most successful year on record! When we launched this column back in April, we did so on the back of a record-breaking month for PAC, so it seems only fitting that we end the year on an even better note.

What a sense of achievement for everyone involved in our incredible success story, from the volunteers, to staff, to Friends, to every single person who has bought a ticket for one of our live events, attended one of our exhibitions or workshops, or chosen PAC as their meeting space or party venue.

We’ve hosted an unprecedented 39 sell-out shows, served 8,000 pints, sold more than 5,000 bags of popcorn, sweets and ice creams, and welcomed thousands of people through the doors.

We’ve re-branded, launched a new website, welcomed new members of staff, and taken an all-important step up in the world of arts venues thanks to being awarded National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) status by Arts Council England.

We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve worked around the clock, we’ve met some incredible people and have been blown away by the talent we’ve witnessed and the support we’ve received.

PAC director Janet Farmer’s top three highlights of 2018 were PAC’s inaugural Handpick’d Festival, live music from Mary Coughlan, and stage show On Behalf of The People.

PAC manager James Duffy’s top three highlights were live performances from Hothouse Flowers and Gretchen Peters, plus live theatre with From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads.

My top PAC highlights from 2018 have been stand-up comedy from Iain Sterling, live poetry from Matt Abbott, and getting to watch Seafret perform at our Handpick’d Festival from the side of the stage – as a music fan, these opportunities are always a privilege. And who can forget the awesome atmosphere that filled our auditorium during the live screenings of the football World Cup!

We’ve travelled far and wide this year to attend music events, festivals and theatre shows to ensure PAC’s programming continues to represent the very best in world class arts and culture.

Janet’s highlights have been watching Robert Vincent perform live at the Cambridge Folk Festival; theatre production The Last Ship at York Theatre Royal; and Paradox with Neil Young and Daryl Hannah at SXSW.

James’ highlights include seeing Jade Bird perform at SXSW; theatre production Woman Undone at project Arts centre, in Dublin; and Noel Gallagher live at Leeds Arena.

My highlights have got to be catching gypsy ska-punk band Counting Coins literally rocking the boat on the ‘Made in Hull’ mini-cruise to Amsterdam; George Ezra live at Dalby Forest; and MIC’s Jamie Laing and Francis Boulle in Private Parts at Lincoln’s New Theatre Royal.

What a year, what a sense of achievement, what a fantastic way to start 2019, with so much more world class live music, comedy and exhibitions lined up.

Our Spring/summer programme of live events is being finalised as we speak, so keep your eyes peeled for some exciting announcements coming in the New Year.

It’s not quite time for us to kick back with a mulled cider and a mince pie yet, as we’ll be keeping the magic alive over Christmas with the truly magical Mary Poppins Returns being shown at PAC from Friday 21 December through to Thursday 3 January.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy New Year!