July Culture Round Up

July looks set to be a scorcher here in Doncaster. Here’s our very own Emma Gullon to keep you in the loop with all the cutural happenings.


CAST promises a Summer line up of variety and entertainment. The amazing Fat Rascal Theatre are bringing back the Edinburgh Fringe smash hit musical comedy  Vulvarine (10th July) while Sheffield writer/ actor Stacy Sampson (Jennifer in the This is England series) brings We Are Giants – a show specially created for CAST inspired by the ideas of the CAST Youth Groups.

What makes CAST so unique is that they provide something for everyone. The Dementia Friendly Cinema experiences offer a safe, fun environment for the audience and their carers. They will be showing everything from High Society (5th July) to The Beatles: A Hard Day’s Night (19th September). They are also hosting a Dementia Friendly Play Reading Club (12th March – 19th July). With both of these events the carers go for FREE. 

Over at The Doncaster Little Theatre local writer Will Tollerfield and director Jade Lee – Saxelby present their brand new comedy – thriller FEET, FIRST CLASS (4th & 5th July 14+). The Doncaster Little Theatre are also presenting previews of Dangerously Dark and Somewhat Spectacular (22nd & 29th July) before it heads out to this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival!


The New Fringe is a collective of up and coming artists in the Doncaster community. The aim is to develop and stimulate creative minds and help them to develop professionally with their craft. £5 per membership.

The Point (DARTS) have the family fun exhibition Scribble, Doodle and Draw (9th March – 20th July) With characters to meet and stories to follow, this giant comic strip is the perfect way to lose yourself in an imaginary world.

Doncaster artist Ian Latham has a pop up studio of his ACE funded project on sculpture mixed with VR/AR on Scot Lane. This exhibition is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:30am – 3:30pm.

Cusworth Hall Museum and Park have the permanent exhibition Estate of War: Doncaster’s Country Houses – a look at how country estates became military hospitals during the First World War, and how life changed for the families and those below the stairs long after the war ended.


Doncaster Youth Jazz Association is the perfect way for the younger generation to expand their passion for music, backed by  strong reinforcements in areas such as sight reading, rhythmic understanding, intonation, balance, blend and leadership through part independence. 

Click HERE to join up today. 

Doncaster’s Quirky Choir host term time rehearsals at Darts (The Point) every Wednesday evening 6.45pm -8.45pm. No experience required, just a love for singing! £4 per person.

Doncaster Rock Choir is hosted every Monday night at 8pm the Nostell Place, Bessacarr. No need to have had any training – just come on down and have a sing along to classic songs like ‘Don’t Stop Believing‘ and ‘Footloose’. £25 per membership.

The Point has the new monthly workshop In The Moment (2nd & 4th of each month) – a dementia friendly workshop focusing on making music and storytelling.

This July also sees the return of Conisborough Music Festival (6th July) , including performances from  Stafford Galli, Soul Attitude and Spraggy and The Second Chapter.


Helm is a co-working office space where a community of creatives meet, work and collaborate together to help businesses, running workshops on the last Tuesday of the month.

Hive Young Writers Group gives 14 -19 a great weekly meet up to show their work with a supportive young team as well as make new friends. There’s also a Saturday poetry group for 16 -25 year olds.


I will be back with Creativity & Commerce this July. This time we will be focusing on Doncopolitan Crawl and it will be hosted from our headquarters.

Regular Donco artist Al Heighton is hosting a workshop with us, Think Of An Animal! (17th July). Be sure to ‘think of an animal’ you would like to draw BEFORE you come to the event! No experience required. 

Doncopolitan Crawl is back on 23rd July. Get ready for an alternative evening of Donny culture, discovering new venues and meeting new people. The event’s aim is to reconnect the community to the town, and will take place across various shops, cafes and art venues.

We also have the weekly Mama Wheatley’s Craft Club  every Monday from 6.30pm – 8.30pm who are currently working on Doncaster’s biggest yarn Bomb. Contact their facebook page to get in touch.

if you want to keep even more up to date with all things Donny Culture, click HERE to subscribe to our weekly Listings.

An Apology From Doncopolitan

Warren Draper explains why there will be no Christmas issue of Doncopolitan this year.

Words: Warren Draper

Photography: Warren Draper


When we started Doncopolitan we knew that we had to treat Doncaster with the highest possible level of passion, respect and positivity if we were going to show the (all too often hidden) wonders of our town and its people to convince the doubters that a braver, brighter future is truly possible. To do this we had to design something a beautiful as we possibly could and invest in the highest production methods we could afford (we have to thank Andrew Loretto and Right Up Our Street for the initial seed funding to print the first edition).

Rachel Horne and I don’t like to blow our own trumpets (something which we should probably learn to do better if we are to avoid repeating the current situation which I am about to describe), but we can honestly say that our strategy worked. As well as showcasing the talent we always knew existed, the magazine has acted as a focal point for arts and culture and attracted amazing people who we previously knew nothing about. We could never have dreamed that arts and culture would become such a major aspect of the town’s future. We are proud of the small part we played, but it has come at a cost.

Because we create something which is beautifully produced, many people believe that we’re a well-resourced, well-financed operation with paid staff, who have the honour of working full-time on a project they love. While it is certainly a project we love, the rest could not be further from the truth.

Doncopolitan is not our main job. To pay the bills we have to find work elsewhere. For the first two years we had our editorial meetings in the basement of Furniture Factors, where I used to work. I used to design the magazine partly at work – in-between serving customers and setting up displays – and partly through the night (although, as any magazine designer will tell you, working through the night is pretty much the norm when you have deadlines). I didn’t leave Factors because of the success of the magazine, I left to found Doncopolitan’s sister project, Bentley Urban Farm. Rachel’s main work isn’t Doncopolitan either. She works part-time at St John’s Hospice, using her artistic talents to give comfort to people who are nearing the end of this amazing journey we call life.

Doncopolitan has never struggled for content. Our town and its people are such a rich source of stories, that if we were a well-resourced, well-financed operation we could easily become a weekly publication. But we are not, and we have always deeply regretted not being able to pay each of our wonderful contributors; writers, designers, artists, illustrators, photographers and admin workers alike. The simple fact is that Rachel and I have often subsidised the magazine from the likes of arts commissions and other work. Money isn’t our main motivator for anything we do. We are artists. We live simply – sometimes to the point of masochism – so that we can channel what little resources we have into our creative passions. But we have reached breaking point once too often (our personal lives are beginning to suffer from the strain, with Rachel having to take time away from most of her commitments recently due to stress) – and all too often the background tasks of chasing ads, chasing money and chasing the naysayers out of Donny get in the way the creative work which is our true passion; work which led to us producing Doncopolitan in the first place.

With all of this in mind we’d like to apologise for the fact that, for the fist time since we started, there will be no Christmas issue of Doncopolitan this year. We need to take time out to restructure what we do so that we can continue to do the work which we feel is still important to Doncaster.

Our blog and online presence will become busier than ever to compensate for the gap between printed magazines – and to balance out the still all too frequent negativity. We will be back with a newly designed magazine next year. The new structure will finally allow us to pay our contributors and support the artisan economy we are helping to build.

In the meantime, please stay in touch with us via social media. Sign up to our weekly listings guide. And, if you’re a local billionaire (or even just slightly flush), why not consider becoming a patron of the arts… hint, hint ?

Photography Warren Draper ©2018


Boyos With Vision

We celebrate Lewis Beasley and Lewis Joel Fairmen who are transforming Doncaster’s nightlife offer.
Words: Rachel Horne
Images: Nick Dhokia

To really understand Donny’s night life you need to be on the front line of the fight and experiencing what’s going on for yourself.  Over the last 12 weeks, with the exception of a night out in Nottingham and Leeds, I’ve gone out most weekends and even some school nights in Doncaster Town Centre. I’ve been to gigs, poetry nights, comedy nights, exhibition launches, performance art. I’ve also seen drag and burlesque at the Hallcross pub and danced to both Northern Soul and Tech House in the same weekend.
I’ve heard some of the best indie bands coming out the UK right now from our friends at Hot Mustard and witnessed two impressive female fronted bands Bang Bang Romeo and Kizah and The Kings play a free entry gig on my doorstep.
Doncaster is full of gems when it comes to nightlife and – trust me, I would have done more if my liver and purse could handle it.
The biggest night for me in 2018 thus far, was the third of a new monthly House night headlined by Tech House DJ Mella Dee at Vintage on Silver Street.
Mella Dee, if you’ve not heard of him, is  a massive name in dance music. Recently gracing the pages of Mix Magazine his track Techno Disco Tool has been pushed by huge names in dance such as Annie Mac, Danny Howard and Black Madonna.  Only a few weeks ago Nick Grimshaw of the BBC1 Breakfast Show, choose Techno Disco House as his track of the week. Nick Grimshaw, was one of the judges on Britain’s Got Talent and has 2.1M Twitter followers.
It truly saddens me many people in Doncaster don’t even know who Mella Dee is, even though the signature  artwork for Techno Disco Tool is a vector of none other than the notorious Doncaster Warehouse and yes, this has been shared to millions of people online. Mella Dee is a boyo proud of this iconic venue even if many Doncastrians aren’t.
To deepen my understanding of the night-time economy, I decided to reach out to two young promoters/artists hosting this new night.  Founded in 2017 Vision aims to bring headliners to Doncaster, alongside intimate parties. Basically they’re  promoting the music they love. Meet Lewis Beasley and Lewis Joel Fairman …
Firstly, how did you meet and how did you get into all this?
LJF. We’re know each other through School and we both live in Town Moor.  I had these really back decks, years ago and I practiced for like a year, my mum worked at Boiler Rooms before it was Vintage. My mum got me a few gigs even though I was under age. I just kept practicing and practicing and that was it really.
LB. had decks years old, when I was at school but sold them, but we started going out in Nottingham which is where I started for us. The scene there was just great, we’d all go out. We went to Ibiza from being 18. I’m doing music tech now at college and in September I’m going to be studying at Point Black Music School in London. It’s a music and creative media training school founded in London. It offers a variety of courses in electronic music production and sound engineering, DJing, singing and songwriting.
How did you get Mella Dee to Doncaster?

LJF To be honest, he likes playing here, it gives him a chance to come home and his friends and family can attend too.
How was it for you guys on the night? It was a great night for me, I didn’t stop dancing…
LJF. We think it was overall, surprising from both the customers point of view and ours. Doncaster hasn’t had regular listings and headline DJ acts from House and Techno scene for over 10 years so to bring that back felt pretty good, we always knew there was once a scene – so our vision was to bring it back and on Saturday we felt we accomplished that.
The vibe from when Mella Dee came on was just wicked, everyone really got involved, danced and had a great time. For us we felt this was the first event that’s had a really strong connection with the DJ. From this we’re only going to progress and continue with monthly headline acts at Vision
So what’s  the future for Vision?
LB. Plans are to keep it a monthly event with headliners at most parties. We are now working with Huellas to do a terrace event but keeping our monthly events at Vintage on Silver, as we have a really good relationship with the venue. We have Del-30 a Yorkshire based DJ duo for the upcoming event on March the 3rd. Then we have mad villains headlining our Bank Holiday gig on April 1st.
Is it costing you guys at lot to put on each event? You’re clearly putting loads of hard work into the event to make it all happen?
LB. We’re doing pretty well to be honest. The money we make, we’re  just putting everything back in to making each event happen. We’re not in this for the money. We want to make something special happen in our hometown.
If you love house music as much as we do follow the boyos HERE and see you at one of there future events.
#BigUpDonny <3

Cast’s Second Space & why it’s important to support your local theatre by Michéle Beck

As the dark nights draw in and summer clicks to autumn, when contemplating how to pass the long cold evenings…look no further – welcome to Cast’s Second Space.
The dynamic nature of the Second Space gives the theatre goer a 3D theatre experience, directly engaging them within the performance. As a willing participant there is no distinction between wealth or class.

When you go into theatre and the lights dim, you want to entertain people from the beginning to end. You want them to be swept up in your story, on the edge of their seats…” (John Lasseter)

Long gone are the days where the gentry paid to be in the galleries, using cushions for comfort and the peasants paid a pretty penny to stand in the yard. The elitist theatre dwellers are behind us, theatre is here, in all its contemporary accessible glory and it’s here for the good people of Doncaster to devour.
The concept of space is a very important one in the theory of theatre as it is used to identify very different aspects of performance, the second space at Cast is a flexible performance area – the pull out raked seating can be removed for standing events and to maximise performance space. The seating is flexible and usually three sided but the view is great from all angles.
Employment: all ranges of skills will be used in the development and production of plays in the Second Space, talent real talent, writers, actors, costume designers and lighting specialists all partake in these productions. Doncaster has known its high level of unemployment through the years, we still suffer high numbers now. Cast gives opportunities to up-and coming artists and writers. The importance of the second space is a voice is given to those productions which won’t feature in the main theatre, this is for a range of reasons, the content.
Tackling difficult subjects and equality: The second space is daring, edgy but mostly it’s relevant. To mention a few of the productions; Bin Laden: The One-Man Show (Thur 5th Oct) looks at the events which surrounded 9/11 and the character of Bin Laden directly interacts with the audience. Giving the audience a different perspective, will they have an open mind and emphasise with the protagonist? Habeas Corpus (Thur 28th Sep – Sat 30th) through slapstick humour explores our society’s obsession with body image. The amazing Dark Horse Company is entirely made up of adults with learning difficulties and they bring their comedy You Have Been Watching (Wed 11th Oct – Thur 12th) to the Second Space.
I caught up with Chris O’Connor the script writer for Marching on Embers – a new play about the aftermath of violence in Northern Ireland and how it affected two generations of the same family. This showcased at Cast’s Second Space on 20th September.
‘As an emerging writer having the opportunity to have my work performed at Cast’s Second Space is something I am incredibly grateful for. It gives young, emerging artists the chance to showcase some of the new and exciting work being developed in the region and beyond and without these sort of platforms a lot of these artists might never move on to the next level. Buglight, who I collaborated with on this project, are a new theatre company and like to make work that is bold, challenging and offers a new perspective on things so they feel like the perfect fit for the Second Space.’
If you missed Marching on Embers at Donny you can catch it at the below venues.
Harrogate Theatre: Fri 29th & Sat 30th 7.45pm
Oldham Library: Weds 4th Oct, 7.00pm
Square Chapel, Halifax: Thurs 5th Oct, 8.00pm
Bradford Playhouse: Fri 6th Oct, 7.30pm
Lantern Theatre, Sheffield: Sat 7th Oct, 7.30pm
The second space is everybody’s theatre, it is engaging, daring, dynamic and brilliant! To book your tickets and see the listings visit HERE.

Preview: Gigs coming up in Doncaster

This is not an exhaustive list (check out the excellent weekly Doncopolitan listings for that) but rather some of the major events taking place in Doncaster in the next couple of months or so.
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The Leopard
One of Doncaster’s more intimate venues has a couple of great gigs lined up, with Britpop mainstays Chris Helme and Hurricane #1 both gracing The Leopard before the year is out.
Chris Helme was the lead singer in the popular Britpop band the Seahorses and has released numerous albums under his own name. Helme rocks up to The Leopard on 7th October. You can grab tickets here.
Hurricane #1 are from a similar era and are perhaps best known for their smash hit ‘Only the Strongest Will Survive’. Another gig not to be missed. The gig takes place on 10th October and tickets are available here.
Diamond Live Lounge
Diamond have consistently booked interesting and critically acclaimed bands and they have a couple more big names due to appear in November.
The Hoosiers are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their number 1 album The Trick to Life. The record spawned hit singles such as ‘Worried About Ray’ and ‘Goodbye Mr A’ so their gig at Doncaster most beautiful venue promises to be a belter.
Goldie Lookin’ Chain have form in Doncaster having once memorably performed at Belle Vue, the much missed former home of Doncaster Rovers. The Welsh rappers will be joined by Doncaster legend MC Devvo on 17th November. Tickets here.
The Dome
Doncaster’s largest venue is always capable of attracting the big names and multi million selling rock band Placebo are as big as they come. The US rockers are gracing the Dome on 10th October. Click here for tickets.
Finally we have us NU-Metal band Crazytown bringing their brand of rap/rock to The Woolpack. It is a real coup for the market place pub to host a multi million selling artist in what promises to be an intriguing night. Tickets available here.