The Shed News

NEW: Mrs Boyes Bingo featuring Mark Sanders
+ John Edwards, Mark Sanders Duo
Saturday 20 July
Leeds Music College
Jazz Leeds Festival 2019

Mrs Boyes' Bingo Photo © Simon Thackray

Mrs Boyes Bingo featuring Mark Sanders 1999 – 2019
20th Anniversary Tour! Click here!

Event conceived and produced by Simon Thackray

Mrs Boyes’ Bingo featuring Mark Sanders was first performed at The Shed in June 1999 as part of The Shed ‘far removed’ weekend of improvised music and happenings, including Thackray’s famous Yorkshire Pudding Boat Race.

Mrs Boyes’ Bingo featuring Mark Sanders is a standard game of prize bingo (audiences win prizes!) with simultaneous drumming and percussion / disruption. The gig stars legendary bingo caller Eileen Boyes and leading European improviser Mark Sanders on drums. With special guests previously including Oren Marshall, Sarah Gail Brand, Lol Coxhill, Alan Tomlinson and John Edwards, Mrs Boyes’ Bingo featuring Mark Sanders has been performed at FuseLeeds, Belfast International Festival, the Music Research Centre, University of York and the National Centre For Early Music. Seeing (and hearing) is believing. This is a rare combination of free improvisation and fun!

“You would be mad to miss such delirium!” Charles Hutchinson, The Press
“It shouldn’t work but it does. Great fun!” Belfast Telegraph

Simon Thackray’s new poem:

Written on the occasion of the Bill Viola retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain 2017.

Taking The Dog For A Walk
Conversations with British improvisers – out now on DVD.

Filmed on location in Berlin, London and The Shed, Brawby and River Seven in Rosedale, North Yorkshire. Narrated by Stewart Lee. Watch a Trailer

Taking The Dog For A Walk - Conversations With British Improvisers. DVD - Narrated by Stewart Lee.

Taking The Dog For A Walk
Conversations with British improvisers – out now on DVD.

Mrs Boyes' Bingo featuring Mark Sanders

Mrs Boyes’ Bingo featuring Mark Sanders, with Alan Tomlinson. An art event conceived and produced by Simon Thackray © Simon Thackray 1999 – 2018

A documentary by Antoine Prum 2014 – Lux, Uk – 128 min

with: Steve Beresford, Adam Bohman, Eileen Boyes, Karen Brookman-Bailey, Sarah Gail Brand, John Butcher, Lol Coxhill, Rhodri Davies, Max Eastley, John Edwards, Alexander Hawkins, Caroline Kraabel, Dominic Lash, Phil Minton, Thurston Moore, Maggie Nicols, Steve Noble, Eddie Prévost, John Russell, Mark Sanders, Victor Schonfield, Alan Tomlinson, Roger Turner, Alex Ward, Trevor Watts, Veryan Weston, Alan Wilkinson, Richard Williams, and many others.

Stewart Lee conversations
Tony Bevan artistic advisor
Carlo Thiel director of photography
Nikos Welter
2nd camera

Gilles Laurent sound engineer
Antoine Prum, Theo Thiesmeier, Marc Recchia edit
Maikôl Seminatore sound edit

Taking the Dog for a Walk maps British Improvised Music, past and present. Alternating with extended music sequences, the conversations led by stand up comedian Stewart Lee gravitate around the idiosyncrasies of improvisation, from playing in front of the proverbial ‘four men and a dog’ to pursuing a career in a milieu where success is not measured by mainstream criteria.

NEW: Brawby Sewer CCTV – The Movie (trailer). Music by Billy Jenkins.

NEW: A previously unseen trilogy of shorts by Ian McMillan.
Filmed in Brawby in 2002 and now on You Tube!

Assassination of JFK by JFK. Filmed in 2002 by Simon Thackray from The Shed. Music by Billy Jenkins.

A trilogy of improvised short films by Ian McMillan

Ian McMillan’s spontaneous improvised retelling of three of the world’s most famous stories, with music by Billy Jenkins from his 2014 album ‘The Semi-Detached Suburban Home’ (Music for Low Strung Guitar). The films – FRANK, Yorkshire Nativity and Assassination of JFK, were made using a cardboard box and children’s toys and performed with no script and no rehearsal in the space of just 10 minutes on an afternoon in Brawby, North Yorkshire in 2002. Filmed by Simon Thackray in his kitchen using a Canon XM1 during a break from a rehearsal of ‘HAT‘ – The Shed’s Award-Winning ‘words, music and knitting’ spectacular. Ably assisted by Angie Harrison and Sam Thackray.

Watch the Trilogy! FRANK, Yorkshire Nativity, Assassination of JFK

The Shed at 20 on BBC Radio 3

John Walpole and Gail Brand - Shed Builder - The Shed at 20 on BBC Radio 3

The Shed at 20 BBC Radio 3 – Jazz on 3 8 October 2012

A short feature about The Shed at 20 with interviews recorded on the banks of Bob’s Pond (scene of the Yorkshire Pudding Boat Race) and The Shed (in Brawby village hall) with creator Simon Thackray and audience members. Includes recordings from The Shed archive of Bob Cobbing (with Hession, Wilkinson, Fell) and some of Simon’s most memorable events: Mrs Boyes’ Bingo featuring Mark Sanders, Lol Coxhill in a skip and Sebastian Rochford’s Van Gig.

Includes the world premiere of ‘Shed Builder’, a new improvised art event by Simon Thackray featuring Gail Brand on trombone and John Walpole on welder, scaling hammer and pillar drill. ‘Shed Builder’ was recorded live – in one hit – in Rye Valley Works, Brawby (fabrication shed of agricultural engineers J. Thackray & Sons Limited) where Simon Thackray made farm buildings in a former life.

For the past 20 years, The Shed, near the market town of Malton, has been responsible for some of the smallest and most inspired art events in the country.Alfred Hickling, Guardian

More about Simon Thackray and his special projects here:

Mrs Boyes Bingo featuring Mark Sanders Photo © Kippa Matthews

25 years of The Shed 1992 – 2017

Alan Tomlinson and the River Seven

Alan Tomlinson and the River Seven. Event © Simon Thackray. Photo: Tony Bartholomew

NEWS: From the avant-garde to the W.I., the village hall to the V&A, The Shed is celebrating 25 years of ground-breaking events including knitting, bingo, Fish and Chips, rivers, vans, Yorkshire puddings and the North Yorkshire Elvis Bus Tour.

We’re celebrating with a season of great music, poetry, comedy and live-art, from some of the most exciting artists at work today, for one of the most adventurous and loyal audiences in the UK. Thank you for supporting The Shed!

Yorkshire Pudding Boat Race

Yorkshire Pudding Boat Race ® Photo © Tony Bartholomew

NEWS: Just Not Cricket (London, Berlin and Brawby)

The Shed is taking part in a new documentary film about British improvised music… Mark Sanders, John Edwards, Phil Minton, Matthew Bourne, Gail Brand and Lol Coxhill were among the sixteen musicians taking part in Just Not Cricket, a three-day festival of British improvised music held in Berlin (all the above named musicians have previously performed at The Shed). Directed by renowned artist and film maker Antoine Prum (he represented Luxembourg at the Venice Biennale), the documentary narrator is improv fan and Derek Bailey expert Stewart Lee.

The documentary features special performances of Alan Tomlinson and the River Seven and Mrs Boyes’ Bingo featuring Mark Sanders, filmed at The Shed in Brawby and the River Seven, Dale Head Farm, Rosedale, North Yorkshire.

Mrs Boyes Bingo featuring Mark Sanders Photo © Kippa Matthews

Mrs Boyes Bingo featuring Mark Sanders Photo © Kippa Matthews

The Press REVIEW: Erika Stucky, The Shed, 7 April 2011

NEW by Charles Hutchinson, The Press, York 9 April 2011

Erika Stucky – accordion, vocals + interactive film (and a shovel).

LITTLE can Mr Hopkinson at R.Yates & Sons in Malton have known what lay in store when he loaned a shovel to Mr Thackray of The Shed in Hovingham. Or perhaps he did, given the media-savvy deeds of this caution-to-the-wind Ryedale arts impresario. Over the past 19 years, Simon has been known to craft artistic happenings out of knitting wool, Yorkshire puddings, council skips, river water and fish and chip queues.

He billed Swiss post-modern jazz singer and yodeller Erika Stucky’s Shed debut as “Accordion, vocals + interactive film (and shovel)”, a typically tantalising inducement to discover more. Gone was the trademark Shed door on stage, replaced by a sofa and screen, but where was Erika, as Simon introduced her for her only British show outside London?

We waited, a little nervously, then came a noise at the door, at the window, whereupon she entered dressed louder than clashing cymbals in stripes and wall-patterned trousers, a piece of Hovingham foliage stuck in her hair. Erika was pushing a beer barrel with the aforesaid shovel, using it percussively while yodelling in an apparently African tongue.

Even by The Shed’s avant-garde standards, set by Pere Ubu’s David Thomas, this was off the scale, as she pulled curtains open and shut again and tapped away on a heating grill. Once on stage, speaking one of her five languages, maybe not all of them from this planet, she explained that hitting a shovel was a “cowboy thing” in the Swiss Alps to chase away evil ghosts.

Goodbye shovel, hello accordion; goodbye to her new live album’s jazz covers, hello yodelling – the Swiss blues – to accompany dream-inspired silent movies depicting Erika in dog mask; hula-hooping in Mr Spock ears; and making a “frightening Martin Scorsese home movie” from filling a cup of coffee to the brim with spoonfuls of sugar and then drinking all the sickly sweet concoction, to the accompaniment of Erika’s scatting, running commentary.

Apparently she daren’t show her baby-tossing film in Italy any more, but Finland loves it and so did we Brits, such is our more warped humour. Erika is madly amusing, a wonderful story teller, a remarkable singer, warm and wise too, and Thursday’s 90-minute free-form show will go down as an instant Shed classic.

As for the shovel’s future, “I am not sure if I should take it back or donate it to Tate Modern,” said Simon afterwards. Bang on.

Sebastian Rochford's VAN GIG

Seb Rochford’s VAN GIG. Concept and copyright Simon Thackray.

The Press Sebastian Rochford’s VAN GIG

10:15am Saturday 25th September 2010 by Charles Hutchinson

NEW “Everywhere you look people have got smiles on their faces…”. Jules Bellerby, Jonathan Cowap Show, BBC Radio York.

THE PRESS – Review

Jazz drummer Sebastian Rochford plays to the public from the back of a white van WHEN was the last time a white van man drew a round of applause? Step forward Sebastian Rochford, the crazy-haired jazz drummer from Acoustic Ladyland and Polar Bear, who spent yesterday in the back of a Ford box van, bashing away on his drums with the doors shut, in 20-minute spells in Leeds, York, Malton, Pickering, Kirkbymoorside and Helmsley.

Simon Thackray, impresario of all things unconventional at The Shed in Ryedale, had invited Rochford to take to the road for another of his Art Event specialities. This time you could hear the musician, although you could not see him, but put your head against the side of the van, or slide underneath, and you could certainly feel it.

Sebastian Rochford's VAN GIG

Bootham School teacher Richard Barnes and his art class sixth-formers were among those drawn to the noise emanating from the parked van by the fountain in Exhibition Square in York at 11am. “Seeing the van shaking and then seeing people putting their ear to it…when I did that, it became incredibly exciting and rather than being an observer, you became part of it,” said Richard. “You could feel your heart suddenly pumping faster.”

Sebastian has played with everyone from David Bowie to Herbie Hancock, but his Van Gig was a first for him, his solo debut. “I trust Simon. I’ve always enjoyed everything I’ve done with him at The Shed, and I just thought it sounded like a fun idea. I thought, ‘yeah, why not?’” he said.

Photo © Kippa Matthews

So it proved. “It’s a quite a strange feeling, not knowing if there’s anyone outside but it’s nice just playing the drums anyway as that’s what I enjoy doing,” he said. YORKSHIRE POST: Top rock drummer’s one-van show… More about Simon Thackray and his art events here:

Alan Tomlinson and the River Seven

The Press

Review: Alan Tomlinson and The River Seven, Dale Head Farm, Rosedale, North York Moors

Tuesday 23rd March 2010 by Charles Hutchinson.

HOW did you spend your Sunday? How about driving for an hour into ever hardier Yorkshire country; following intermittent improvised signs to the River Seven, down the narrowest of moorland lanes; then watching cars being pushed up a muddy incline to park in a field, before a cross-country trek to a babbling brook.

Why? To see one man and his trombone in the world premiere of his improvised half-hour musical duet with the Seven’s waters, and your reviewer was not alone. Around 100 adults, children, a man from Oxford and cameramen too, had been drawn to the latest live art happening conjured by The Shed’s visionary Simon Thackray.

Glory be, the rain had taken the morning off; instead spring sunshine glinted on Alan Tomlinson’s trombone as he took to the river in waders, summer jacket and woollen hat, while Aron Flintoff, the sound man with the cockerel crown of punk-red spikes, crouched on the bank, his microphone following Tomlinson’s every jagged jazz move.

No bird song could be heard – “I’ve got rid of a few audiences in my time, but birds, that was a first,” Tomlinson said later – as he interacted with the water’s steady tinkling flow, in a series of broken bursts, blasts, squawks and squeaks and whispers, even removing the slide to blow bubbles at the river’s surface.

Alternative water music over, it was time for a Shed Load of soup, cream teas and Shed Bitter on tap at the specially opened Dale Head Farm tea garden. Eccentric England at its Sunday best.

NEW: Hear Alan’s performance on Today on Radio 4 on New Year’s Eve.

More about Simon Thackray and his art events here:

Guardian Travel

The insiders guide to the world’s best small music venues. “The Shed was the inspiration for my tour of village halls around Britain, which I am currently writing up as a book. And, after 235 villages, The Shed is still the loony best.” Hank Wangford, Guardian

Guardian – TRAVEL 13.8.2011 Weird festivals: mangold hurling, anyone? Eating onions, racing snails, paddling tin baths, even snorkelling through a black bog … We pick 25 of the most riotous and ridiculous local traditions. The Yorkshire Pudding Boat Race ®

“I think it could be an Olympic event”. Ben le Vay (Bradt Guide To Eccentric Britain)

“Soon it’ll be like Woodstock: people will pretend they were there – people will want to say, ‘I was there when it all started'” Independent on Sunday.

Carol Ann Duffy © Kippa Matthews

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy: celebrating the Poetry of Pete Morgan

Review: The Poetry Of Pete Morgan

The Shed @ Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York SOLD OUT

2:35pm Tuesday 12th May 2009.  By Julian Cole

FOR his 70th birthday, York poet Pete Morgan received praise from the new poet laureate, a loving and humorous introduction from Barnsley bard Ian McMillan, the musical accompaniment of Martin Carthy, and a full house. Not bad for a quiet voice who is rarely heard above the babble.

Morgan is a hero among other poets, including Carol Ann Duffy and McMillan, who are indebted to his writing and encouragement. Duffy, fresh from her elevation, proved just why she should be admirably up to the job. What a sharp, funny and yet sometimes cutting poet she is, with razor mind and deadpan wit. Her readings from The World’s Wife were delicious, especially Mrs Midas and Mrs Aesop (in which the racing tortoise is said to move “as slow as marriage”). She returned later for poems depicting the stages of a relationship, which were quieter and, in a sense, more devastating.

As for Morgan, shy and a little stumbling at first, he grew in confidence and stature, his deep voice filling out the auditorium, his poems beautiful cool observations delivered with rhythmic passion; sometimes, arms flung out, he stopped looking like the tallest tree that didn’t want to be noticed, and became almost a human crucifix, or perhaps the smartest scarecrow.

A duet with Carthy was a delight, as too were Brass Monkey. Morgan was visibly moved by it all, so all praise to Simon Thackray of The Shed for arranging this birthday party.

Pete Morgan – POET. Born 7 June 1939, died 5 July 2010.


Photo © Mary Thackray

The Books at The Shed © Mary Thackray

Review: Clogs and The Books at The Shed

Yorkshire Evening Press 01.02.2006

“CLOGS, please meet The Books; The Books, please meet Clogs. This American musical handshake was arranged by the British champions of the avant-garde, the Contemporary Music Network, and last week the two improvisational bands met up in Massachusetts for the first time, leading to new acoustic-electronic music to open and close a truly uplifting and adventurous night, played out to a Shed full house.”

Read the review!

Lol Coxhill in a skip © Simon Thackray

Lol Coxhill in a skip – FuseLeeds06. Concept & photo © Simon Thackray.

Broadcast on Jazz On 3 and Pick Of The Week on Radio 4. Lol Coxhill in a skip

Mrs Boyes photo © Dave Green

Mrs Boyes’ Bingo featuring Mark Sanders © Simon Thackray

The Shed’s Greatest Hits Yorkshire Evening Press 11.11.2005 “UNDER a slice of moon and stars as bright as American teeth, Hovingham’s queue for the Ryedale fish and chip van’s weekly village run was longer than usual. What’s more, the hiss of batter had a musical counterpoint…” Read the review!

The Fish and Chip van tourfeaturing Alan Tomlinson.

Fish and Chip van tour © Simon Thackray

Fish and Chip van tour – Concept and photo © Simon ThackrayFree improvisation gets audience of 1.9 million!

Richard and Judy Show, 6 April 04

“Steve is at the wheel of his van on a damp, not-too-chilly Tuesday night. Behind him is his replacement trailer, funded partly by a Countryside Agency grant. Beside him is a journalist and a trombone player, not his usual companionship on his journey. (Son Steve, mini-Steve in his identical frying gear, is in a following car, driven by The Shed pioneer of improvised arts events, Simon Thackray.”

The Fish and Chip van tour Copyright Simon Thackray. All rights reserved.

Photo © Tony Bartholomew

Yorkshire Pudding Boat Race ®
Concept © Simon Thackray
Photo © Tony Bartholomew

The Yorkshire Pudding Boat Race: “Soon it’ll be like Woodstock: people will pretend they were there – people will want to say, ‘I was there when it all started'” Independent on Sunday. Read all about it…