Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage

Staithes Festival has established itself as one of the friendliest festival on the coast – a must-go-to event in the regional arts calendar.

During the weekend some 100+ cottages in the village become temporary art galleries in a unique selling exhibition. Staithes heritage is also celebrated in fossils, fishing, historic photographs and film shows.

North York Moors, Scarborough Borough Council and Welcome to Yorkshire
Lobster

Glenn Kilpatrick www.whitby-photography.com

What's On

We are currently putting together the programme for 2017. We have a great line up of talks, walks, workshops and events. Keep checking back here as we continue to add them. You can also keep up to date with Festival news on our Facebook page.

About the events:

Felt Workshop: Make Your Own Compass

Felt Workshop: Make Your Own Compass Saturday 10:00 - 12:00

Vikings and sea traders made a compass for their ships so they could travel by the sun by day and stars at night. Join Lone Helliwell and Sue Reed in a feltmaking workshop and make your own felt compass out of British wool.

No experience necessary.  All welcome (children over 8 yrs)

Drop-in session 30-40 mins. £3 for materials (inc. £1 towards Festival charities)

Location: Ruby House, High Street. Repeated Sunday.

John the Sailing Coble

John the Sailing Coble Saturday 10:00 - 17:30

‘John’ is one of the last traditional sailing cobles on the North East coast. David Carrick and members of the Coble and Keelboat Society will have John on display on both days of the Festival and be on hand to talk about these unique boats.

Location: The Staithe

Staithes Family History Group

Staithes Family History Group Saturday 10:00 - 17:00

Come along and track your Staithes relatives with out genealogy experts who have records going back 500 years.

Location: St Peter’s Centre, Church Street

Spin Art Workshop

Spin Art Workshop Saturday 10:00 - 17:30

Children and adults will enjoy making their own original work of art in this drop-in Spin Art workshop. Here all weekend. Come along and have a go.

Location: Singing Waters Courtyard

Pat Clark: The Life and Art of Charles Mackie

Pat Clark: The Life and Art of Charles Mackie Saturday 11:00 - 12:00

Pat Clark is a historian and author from Perthshire whose book, People, Place and Piazzas is about the life and art of Charles H. Mackie. Mackie was a founder member of the Staithes Art Club, a friend of Fred Jackson and tutor to the young Laura Knight. Pat’s talk will shed new light on his life and provide a fascinating insight into Mackie’s time in Yorkshire.

Picture: Moonlight Over the Bay, Charles H. Mackie 1902

Location: The Smugglers. Repeated Sunday

Paul Czainski: Trompe L'Oeil Trail

Paul Czainski: Trompe L'Oeil Trail Saturday 11:30 - 12:30

Trompe l’oeil means to trick the eye, and in 2014 renowned artist Paul Czainski created eight unique tricks of the eye around the village. Paul will lead a guided walk to all the artworks telling the story behind each piece and just how he created them.  


You can see more of Paul’s work at www.czainski.com or visit his studio at Tudor Rose Cottage during the Festival. 


Location: Meet at the Gazebo 



Lobster Pots & Fishermen's Tales

Lobster Pots & Fishermen's Tales Saturday 12:00 - 16:30

John Cole, from one of Staithes oldest families, still fishes out of Staithes but will be ashore over the Festival weekend to demonstrate traditional lobster pot making while telling stories of the lifetime at sea.

Location: St Peter’s Centre Garden

Chris Toth: Mined Over Matter

Chris Toth: Mined Over Matter Saturday 12:30 - 13:30

After a sell out performance last year, Chris Toth returns with his informative and entertaining talk on the mysteries of the universe explored 1,100 metres beneath our feet at the Boulby Underground Laboratory in pursuit of the missing Dark Matter. He promises, and we can confirm, no prior physics knowledge is required.

Location: The Smugglers 

Afternoon Concert

Afternoon Concert Saturday 13:00 - 14:45

Join us beside the Lifeboat House on Cowbar for our popular afternoon concert which will include the folk duo Jess Lawson and Phil Simpson and the popular Men of Staithes.

Location: Cowbar

Sue Nichol Painting Demonstration

Sue Nichol Painting Demonstration Saturday 13:30 - 14:30

Sue Nichol was born in Hartlepool and spent many happy holidays in Staithes as a child. Today she lives and works in Sheffield but returns to Staithes often for inspiration. Her bold paintings of land and sea and the distinctive local fishing cobles will be familiar to visitors to the Staithes Gallery where she has exhibited since they opened. At this years Festival Sue will be exhibiting behind the gallery in Laura Knight’s Studio and will conduct a painting demonstration on both days. Do come along.

Location: Laura Knight’s Studio. Repeated Sunday

Rock Balancing for Beginners

Rock Balancing for Beginners Saturday 14:00 - 15:00

Weather and wind permitting, this rock balancing workshop led by local entertainer and photographer Ian Adcock is ‘art and physics entwined. From ardour to zen and beyond’. Ian will run this fascinating and original hands-on workshop on both days of the Festival. 


Rugged footwear required. Not suitable for very small children. 


Location: Staithes Beach, East End. Repeated Sunday.

Rosamund Jordan: A Pioneering Colony of Artists

Rosamund Jordan: A Pioneering Colony of Artists Saturday 14:00 - 15:00

When the railway came to Staithes it brought a group of artists who became known as the Staithes Group. The moors, the sea and above all, the people, provided rich subject matter for the plein air painting of Harold Knight, Laura Johnson (later Dame Laura Knight) and others. Ros and Tom Jordan have been dealing in the work of the Staithes Group for over 40 years. Ros, a retired NADFAS lecturer presents a lavishly illustrated talk on the Staithes Group alongside their exhibition.


Location: Memorial Hall, Top village. Repeated Sunday. 

Gap Year: Poetry from Andy Blackford & John Foggin

Gap Year: Poetry from Andy Blackford & John Foggin Saturday 14:00 - 15:00

Middlesbrough, 1966: The young new English teacher, John Foggin, rolled into the Lower Sixth’s Eng. Lit. lesson like a Dyson* into a world of broken Hoovers. Joyce and Shelley and Gerard Manley Hopkins danced in his wake, vividly alive and slightly intoxicated. That’s how it seemed to 16 year-old Andy Blackford, anyway. Almost 50 years later, they were reunited here in Staithes. Foggin was already a much-lauded poet - Blackford’s prime contribution to high culture, the TV jingle for Um Bongo. They resolved to write a poem each, every week for a year. The result is Gap Year, a collection that has won them the Sentinel Poetry Book prize and was published this summer.

  • Other brands are available.

Location: Viking Cottage, Harbourside

Sue Reed: The Knitting Doctor

Sue Reed: The Knitting Doctor Saturday 15:00 - 16:00

Who knew there was a Doctor of Knitting? Sue Reed recently completed a PhD in knitting, exploring the threads that connect Britain and Norway. Her talk will explain how the symbols, colours and patterns she found in Norway link to Staithes through trade, fishing and the Vikings. She will explore the significance of knitting in people’s lives, through storytelling, dress and ganseys.

Why not join Sue for her felt workshop. Details below

Location: The Smugglers

John the Sailing Cable

John the Sailing Cable Sunday 10:00 - 17:30

‘John’ is one of the last traditional sailing cobles on the North East coast. David Carrick and members of the Coble and Keelboat Society will have John on display on both days of the Festival and be on hand to talk about these unique boats.

Location: The Staithe

Felt Workshop: Make Your Own Felt Compass

Felt Workshop: Make Your Own Felt Compass Sunday 10:00 - 12:00

Vikings and sea traders made a compass for their ships so they could travel by the sun by day and stars at night. Join Lone Helliwell and Sue Reed in a feltmaking workshop and make your own felt compass out of British wool.

No experience necessary.  All welcome (children over 8 yrs).

Drop-in session: 30-40 mins. £3 for materials (inc. £1 to festival charities)

Location: Ruby House, High Street.

Staithes Family History Group

Staithes Family History Group Sunday 10:00 - 16:00

Come along and track your Staithes relatives with our genealogy experts who have records going back 500 years.

Location: St Peter’s Centre, Church Street

Spin Art Workshop

Spin Art Workshop Sunday 10:00 - 17:00

Children and adults will enjoy making their own original work of art in this drop-in Spin Art workshop. Here all weekend. Come along and have a go.

Location: Singing Waters Courtyard

Pat Clark: The Life and Art of Charles Mackie

Pat Clark: The Life and Art of Charles Mackie Sunday 11:00 - 12:00

Pat Clark is a historian and author from Perthshire whose book, People, Place and Piazzas is about the life and art of Charles H. Mackie. Mackie was a founder member of the Staithes Art Club, a friend of Fred Jackson and tutor to the young Laura Knight. Pat’s talk will shed new light on his life and provide a fascinating insight into Mackie’s time in Yorkshire. 

Picture: Moonlight Over the Bay, Charles H. Mackie 1902

Location: The Smugglers.

Gap Year - Poetry from Andy Blackford & John Foggin

Gap Year - Poetry from Andy Blackford & John Foggin Sunday 12:00 - 13:00

Middlesbrough, 1966: The young new English teacher, John Foggin, rolled into the Lower Sixth’s Eng. Lit. lesson like a Dyson* into a world of broken Hoovers. Joyce and Shelley and Gerard Manley Hopkins danced in his wake, vividly alive and slightly intoxicated. That’s how it seemed to 16 year-old Andy Blackford, anyway. Almost 50 years later, they were reunited here in Staithes. Foggin was already a much-lauded poet - Blackford’s prime contribution to high culture, the TV jingle for Um Bongo. They resolved to write a poem each, every week for a year. The result is Gap Year, a collection that has won them the Sentinel Poetry Book prize and was published this summer.

  • Other brands are available.

Location: Viking Cottage, The Staithe

Lobster Pots & Fishermen's Tales

Lobster Pots & Fishermen's Tales Sunday 12:00 - 16:30

John Cole, from one of Staithes oldest families, still fishes out of Staithes but will be ashore over the Festival weekend to demonstrate traditional lobster pot making while telling stories of the lifetime at sea.

Location: St Peter’s Centre Garden

Petri-Dishing the Dirt

Petri-Dishing the Dirt Sunday 12:30 - 13:30

Is there life on Mars? Just outside Staithes and 1,100 metres underground in the ultra-low radiation environment of the Boulby Underground Laboratory, Jennifer Wadsworth, a PhD physics student at the University of Edinburgh is researching the effects of such an environment on bacteria. Microbes survive down there so maybe they exist in similar salty environments like Mars. And the Boulby caverns are being used to test equipment that could be sent on a future Mars Rover mission to the red planet.

Location: The Smugglers

Sue Nichol Painting Demonstration

Sue Nichol Painting Demonstration Sunday 13:30 - 14:30

Sue Nichol was born in Hartlepool and spent many happy holidays in Staithes as a child. Today she lives and works in Sheffield but returns to Staithes often for inspiration. Her bold paintings of land and sea and the distinctive local fishing cobles will be familiar to visitors to the Staithes Gallery where she has exhibited since they opened. At this years Festival Sue will be exhibiting behind the gallery in Laura Knight’s Studio and will conduct a painting demonstration on both days. Do come along.

Location: Laura Knight’s Studio

Rock Balancing for Beginners

Rock Balancing for Beginners Sunday 14:00 - 15:00

Weather and wind permitting, this rock balancing workshop led by local entertainer and photographer Ian Adcock is ‘art and physics entwined. From ardour to zen and beyond’. Ian will run this fascinating and original hands-on workshop on both days of the Festival.


Rugged footwear required. Not suitable for small children. 



Location: Staithes Beach, East End. 

Rosamund Jordan: A Pioneering Colony of Artists

Rosamund Jordan: A Pioneering Colony of Artists Sunday 14:00 - 15:00

When the railway came to Staithes it brought a group of artists who became known as the Staithes Group. The moors, the sea and above all, the people, provided rich subject matter for the plein air painting of Harold Knight, Laura Johnson (later Dame Laura Knight) and others. Ros and Tom Jordan have been dealing in the work of the Staithes Group for over 40 years. Ros, a retired NADFAS lecturer presents a lavishly illustrated talk on the Staithes Group alongside their exhibition. 


Location: Memorial Hall, Top village. 

Peter Hicks: From Dawn to Dusk

Peter Hicks: From Dawn to Dusk Sunday 14:00 - 15:00

Peter Hicks is a highly regarded landscape artist who lives and works in Danby on the North York Moors from where he takes much of his inspiration. Peter studied at Scarborough, Middlesbrough and Leeds Colleges of Art in the 1950s, before going on to a career in teaching. From 1990 onwards he has devoted his time to painting and more particularly to landscape painting. Peter has shown widely at galleries throughout Britain including Messums in London and the Zillah Bell Gallery in Thirsk. In this talk, Peter will describe his life and work illustrated by the film: ‘From Dawn to Dusk’. During the Festival Peter will be exhibiting at East View, High Street alongside his daughter Beverley, also an artist.

Locaton: The Smugglers

Closing Concert

Closing Concert Sunday 15:45 - 18:30

Once again we plan an early evening concert on the harbourside to include the young people from the Youth Workshop Band followied by the Esk Valley Big Band, the Best of the Buskers and more. The Festival will close with what has become a much loved tradition, a parade through the village led by the Men of Staithes singing their evocative seafaring hymns.

Location: The Staithe