Scrooge in York and Tim Stedman’s 20th Harrogate panto means Christmas is in the air and in CHARLES HUTCHINSON’S diary. So too are the Poet Laureate, a green singer and a ballet triple bill

The man behind the paint event of the week

A Talk By Artist John Sprakes, Pocklington Arts Centre, Monday, 7pm

ARTIST John Sprakes gives a talk, complemented by images, live music and poetry, to mark the launch of his new book, Journey Into Abstraction.

Set against the backdrop of his studio exhibition – on show until January 4 - he offers an insight into his illustrious career as he charts his journey from the figurative to the derivative and into abstraction. Free entry, but booking is essential.

Green gig of the week

The Kitty Macfarlane Band, National Centre for Early Music, York, Monday, 7.30pm

SOMERSET songwriter and guitarist Kitty Macfarlane writes with an eco-eye and rich visual imagery, as heard on last year’s debut album, Namer Of Clouds.

Her lyrics touch on climate change and migration, woman’s age-old relationship with textiles and the land and the changing face of the natural world. Joining her will be her new band line-up, featuring Sam Kelly, Jamie Francis and Jim Molyneux.

Rather early Christmas musical of the week

Pick Me Up Theatre in Scrooge The Musical, Grand Opera House, York, Tuesday to Sunday

ROBERT Readman’s Pick Me Up Theatre present Leslie Bricusse’s spectacular musical with a cast led by Mark Hird as Scrooge, Rory Mulvihill as The Ghost of Christmas Present and Alan Park as Bob Cratchit and musical direction by Sam Johnson.

You know the story, now hear the songs as Dickens celebrates the season of goodwill to all, even Scrooge.

Comedy night of the week

Angelos Epithemiou: Can I Just Show You What I’ve Got?, The Basement, City Screen, York, Tuesday, doors, 7.30pm

AT the invitation of York’s Burning Duck Comedy Club, cult favourite Angelos Epithemiou returns to York to take a giant leap into the spotlight yet again in this “shambolic, weird and wonderful show”.

“Think Little Britain meets Vic and Bob meets a smattering of Ivan Brackenbury and then lower your expectations and get on board,” advises Epithemiou, the comic creation of Dan Renton Skinner.

Dance show of the week

Ballet Black, Triple Bill, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday, 7.30pm

NOW in their 18th year, London company Ballet Black return to the Theatre Royal for one night after making their York debut last year.

In their Triple Bill, Ingoma, meaning “song”, is a fusion of ballet, African dance and singing, created for this premiere by choreographer Mthuthuzeli November; Martin Lawrance’s 2009 work Pendulum is an intimate duet and Scottish Ballet choreographer-in-residence Sophie Laplane’s Click! makes for a light-hearted finale.

First pantomime to open is…

Snow White, Harrogate Theatre, Wednesday to January 19

TIM Stedman is as much a fixture in the Harrogate pantomime as Dame Berwick Kaler has been at York Theatre Royal. This winter he chalks up his 20th year as the daft lad, this time bringing his comic mayhem and verbal dexterity to playing Happy Harry.

He leads the company through 76 performances, joined by Harrogate panto debutant Zelina Rebeiro as Snow White and Howard Chadwick’s dame, No Nonsense Nora the Nanny.

Poetry gig of the week

An Evening With Simon Armitage – Poet Laureate, Pocklington Arts Centre, Thursday, 7.30pm

WEST Yorkshireman Simon Armitage, 56, is the new Poet Laureate, succeeding Carol Ann Duffy in the post. Dubbed “the most popular and prolific British poet of his generation” by The Times, he has 28 volumes of poetry to his name, the latest addition being Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic.

This evening combines poetry reading with a question-and-answer session, and Armitage will be on hand to sign books in the foyer afterwards.

Jazz meets Jamaica gig of the week

Cleveland Watkiss presents The Great Jamaican Songbook, National Centre for Early Music, York, Thursday, 7.30pm

JAMAICA’S long history of pioneering sounds stretches from Mento, Ska, Reggae to Dub, Roots and beyond. Here, to mark his 60th year, Hackney jazz singer Cleveland Watkiss and his band perform the songs of Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, Delroy Wilson and more as he explores his Caribbean roots.

Manchester’s next big things... in York

Larkins, Fulford Arms, York, Friday, 7.30pm

TIPPED as Manchester’s next big things, Larkins are on a 32-date tour plugging their new single, Not Enough Love.

Plenty of love is coming their way with BBC Radio 1 and Radio X airplay and millions of digital streams of TV Dream, Sugar Sweet and now Not Enough Love. Josh Noble’s band are recording their debut album with producers Dan Nigro, Andrew Dawson and Chris Zane.

DJs of the week

The Sweat Box, The Victoria Vaults, Nunnery Lane, York, Saturday, doors, 8 till late

THE Sweat Box are hosting a one- off late autumn/early Christmas do at the Victoria Vaults on a night stuffed with House, Soul, Indie, NuDisco and funk, served up by DJs Bri G& Rocky, Tim Finnegan and Steve Murphy.

“The advice is to get down early, as it’s a freebie, for all those over the years who have come down to our events,” says Rocky, alias Andy Hudson.