Dear Reader: Cricket at The Vatican and acting in a Harrogate pub!

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Column by Graham Chalmers

For anyone who harbours the fear the world of arts festivals may be a little too serious for its own good, an enjoyable meeting I had with Robert Ogden last week went a long way to disproving that notion.

Robert and his family own the leading Harrogate family jewellers, Ogdens of Harrogate, and Robert is also artistic director of Northern Aldborough Festival.

He kindly took the time to talk me through the programme of this year’s events coming up in in just a few weeks’ time at Boroughbridge.

Mostly it was what I expected; some impressive names from the world of classical music, jazz and opera.

The relevation that Robert liked to potter around in a rock band in his spare time and loved The Cure did come as a bit of a shock.

But this charming former counter tenor saved the biggest surprise for last.

As part of the festival, a cricket match will be taking place in Staveley between a Festival XI and an Authors XI.

Led by historical author Tom Holland and featuring Sebastian Faulks in its ranks, it seems the last match the latter team played was against Pope Francis XI - in The Vatican.

One minute he was serving me a pint, the next he was acting and singing, it seems you never know what to expect when you’re watching a play take place in a real pub.

Harrogate Theatre’s annual 2’s Company mini-festival always promises a bit of adventure and visiting company Not Too Tame certainly broke a few boundaries in the gorgeous Victorian atmosphere of the Hales bar this week.

The end result was highly entertaining but if you stay long enough in any pub at any time, a play does tend to unfold before you - and without a script.