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What's On during your stay
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Ryedale has a rich and varied cultural life with a large number of professional and community-based arts organisations and venues. The district rejoices in many creative practitioners, musicians, theatre companies, creative social enterprises, community groups and professional organisations.
Helmsley Arts Centre has gained a nation-wide reputation for its live-event and film programmes. The venue, which has a 140-seat auditorium and 40-seat studio/exhibition space, provides film screenings, live music, theatre performances, comedy clubs, art exhibitions and workshops/classes.
The Milton Rooms in Malton aims to be a hub of excellence for the arts in all creative fields. It offers a programme of theatre, music, art, dance and comedy, and is also available as a hire venue which is used by a large range of local arts organisations.
The Shed ® is a music and poetry venue which was created in 1992 and presents high quality music, comedy and poetry alongside unique live-art events. The Shed has been commissioned in partnership with Rural Arts to provide development and support for rural promoters.
The Band Room, at Farndale on the North York Moors, is a 100 capacity wooden room, built for the Farndale Silver Band in the 1920s and now the home of intimate gigs played by, often, world-famous performers. Shows are scheduled as performers become available.
Rural Arts ON Tour is the rural touring scheme for North Yorkshire and East Cleveland. With the help of over 300 volunteer promoters On Tour brings high quality, professional theatre, comedy, music, pantomime, and puppetry to venues in rural settings. These venues include village halls, community centres, small theatres, pubs or schools.
Pickering Arts is dedicated to bringing exceptional and unusual performance to the rural communities of Ryedale in accessible venues and at affordable prices. It includes Theatre, musicians and dancers. Much of the programme is supported by Rural Arts.
Live Music Now supports inspirational young professional musicians to use their talents for the benefit of those who are otherwise excluded from the joy of experiencing live music. In Ryedale this includes performances in residential care homes and a project called Songs & Scones, which brings older people together from all over the area to an afternoon of music and cake!
Pied Piper provides much needed opportunities for young people living in the rural district of Ryedale to participate in music and performance workshops delivered by internationally acclaimed artists across all genres of music.
Ryedale is the home of a large number of festivals which embrace every art-form and every genre. They take place throughout the year but for accurate information about dates and venues please visit the festival’s own website.
For two weeks every July Ryedale Festival welcomes outstanding performers from all over the world, both established and emerging. Performances take place at Castle Howard, Hovingham Hall, Duncombe Park and Sledmere, as well as in Ampleforth Abbey, Helmsley Arts Centre and the many beautiful country churches of Ryedale.
The North York Moors Chamber Music Festival focuses on the purity of music within a beautiful environment. It takes place in historic churches across the North York Moors in August each year.
Ryedale Jazz Festival take place in venues across Pickering and is run by Ryedale Jazz Society, which was founded with the aim of introducing traditional jazz to younger audiences as well as ensuring that enthusiasts have opportunities to enjoy performers from all over the country.
The Ryedale Book Festival is an inclusive event with something for the whole Ryedale community. It takes place in Malton and Norton annually, in October, but also offers a number of opportunities to get involved at smaller events throughout the year.
The Yorkshire Cajun Festival takes place in Malton annually each March. Mainly centring on the Milton Rooms the Festival brings musicians from all over the world to play for wild dancing accompanied by great food.
The Malton and Norton Folk Festival takes place in April each year and includes musicians, morris dancers and workshops.
Staxtonbury Festival takes place in early July each year. It has become a popular festival for families, as it takes place in a safe 24 acre site near the A64.
Ryedale is home to a large number of creative businesses and individuals. Some artists occupy studios which are open throughout the year, others are showcased in a wide range of galleries.
Ryedale ArtWorks is an artist-led community which works to provide showcasing opportunities and professional development for Ryedale’s artists, galleries and curators. Each year it publishes a directory which features over 40 galleries, studios, artists and makers, including venues which can be visited throughout the year. The contributing artists represent both Fine and Applied Arts and work encompasses abstract, conceptual and digital. Readers will discover printmakers, sculptors, oil and watercolour painters, ceramicists, jewellers, paper and textile artists, film and multimedia makers, artist blacksmiths, photographers, wildlife artists and more. The Directory can be picked up in venues across Ryedale or downloaded from the RAW website.
Bils and Rye is an inspiring new art gallery which specialises in ceramics and sculpture from both established and emerging British artists. It is situated in the Courtyard in the beautiful village of Nunnington and is open all year.
Gallery Beyond, in Nunnington, showcases an eclectic mixture of paintings, ceramics and jewellery, and seeks to showcase both local and national artists.
Gillies Jones Glass studio gallery, open year round and situated in the beautiful village of Rosedale Abbey, shows an exhibition of critically acclaimed contemporary hand crafted glass, hand blown on the premises.
The Yorkshire Wolds Gallery promotes the work of the many professional artists living and working in Yorkshire and the North East. The size of the gallery enables large works of art to be exhibited allowing for an interesting and varied programme of exhibitions.
Saltbox Gallery, in Helmsley, shows a wide variety of contemporary art and fine craft, with a regularly changing programme of exhibitions.
Look Gallery, also situated in Helmsley, offers two floors of paintings, sculptures and pottery from respected local, regional and national artists.
The Gallery at the Folk Museum shows the best of art, crafts and heritage from the museum’s own collections, the local area and the region. Admission to the Gallery is free.
Sophie Hamilton’s studio is open all year. Her range of handmade pots combines function with decoration to make a unique item. Her studio is just off the A169 at High Marishes.
Pulpitations is a hand-made papermaking business based in the Courtyard at Dalby Forest. Decorative handmade paper is used to create works of art and practical paper objects with constant experimentation to find new and different methods of producing papers and pulps. Works are for sale and visitors can also have a go themselves.
The North Yorkshire Moors Railway has an Artist in Residence, Chris Ware. His studio is at Levisham Station and can be visited for much of the year.
Various Open Studios events are run throughout the year. The biggest is the North Yorkshire Open Studios which takes place in June where artists across Ryedale participate and visitors can see work in the making. In previous years participant artists have included painters, ceramicists, glass-makers, blacksmiths, silversmiths and textile artists.
A number of high quality art exhibitions are held throughout the year at venues across Ryedale including Nunnington Hall, Scampston Hall, and the Yorkshire Arboretum. For up to date information about these exhibitions, and accompanying events, please see our what's on events pages.
Ryedale has a number of high quality public artworks which are worth visiting:
WANDER is a sculpture trail along the Wolds Way long distance footpath and two of the pieces are sited in Ryedale. Jony Easterby’s Enclosure Rites and Chris Drury’s Waves and Time both sit timelessly in a magical landscape which inspired them. The trail also includes a number of benches designed by artist Angus Ross with poetry by John Wedgewood Clarke.
A new commemorative sculpture was commissioned by the Forestry Commission to mark the work of the Women’s Timber Corps during the Second World War. Ray Lonsdale’s piece, Pull, Don’t Push, situated at Haygate Bank in Dalby Forest, is made from corten steel and seeks to show both the hard work and the camaraderie of the Lumberjills.
Riverside Walk in Norton has a number of pieces designed by local schoolchildren working with local artists. These pieces were cast and then inserted in to the footpath. They celebrate the heritage, flora and fauna of Malton and Norton.
Malton Castle wall, in the Castle Garden, has a new interpretive piece by Pete Coates. Malton Castle was, for many years, extremely important and its history is a fascinating one yet, locally, few people know much about it.
Ryedale has a huge number of small, community groups whose members get together to enjoy making art. We have film societies, amateur operatics, theatre groups, songwriting groups, choirs, textile groups, folk dancing, street dancing, gigging and jamming, and it is impossible to list all of them here. If you are looking for a particular art-form in a particular part of Ryedale you may like to start with your local library.