The Yorkshire Silent Film Festival Returns For Autumn

The fifth festival brings its exciting programme to Hull, Hebden Bridge, Thirsk, Sheffield, Leyburn, York, Saltburn, Leeds, Holmfirth and Morecambe 
September 18, 2022

Featuring a world premiere, a rediscovered lost film, 100-year-old cult classics, and much more – all with live music., the fifth Yorkshire Silent Film Festival returns this autumn in ten venues across the North: from 14th October 2022 – 6th November 2022 in Hull, Hebden Bridge, Thirsk, Sheffield, Leyburn, York, Saltburn, Leeds, Holmfirth and Morecambe.

Yorkshire Silent Film Festival returns for its fifth edition with an exciting and diverse programme of silent films with musical accompaniment in ten venues across the North. Audiences can choose from centenary celebrations of horror classics, Scandinavian cinema gems, as well as great adventure, drama and animated films plus slapstick comedy shows for families. The festival finale features the world premiere of an extraordinary new archive film with the first ever all-brass soundtrack for a silent film. 

The Mark of Zorro

Opening in Hull on 14th October, the festival kicks off at the very beginning of Hollywood adventure movies. The Mark of Zorro, starring Douglas Fairbanks as the dashing swashbuckler, will be screened at Hull Truck Theatre with an improvised piano score.  

For children and families there are special daytime events bringing silent films to life with music. On 15th October, Hebden Bridge Picture House hosts Saturday Slapstick, a fun and interactive silent film show encouraging children to join in with making music and sound effects. Family entertainment continues the following afternoon with Funny Business, a selection of silent comedies at the Ritz in Thirsk, one of the oldest continuously run cinemas in the UK.  

Sheffield film fans are invited to lose themselves in the magic of live-scored silent cinema with a weekend of events on 22nd and 23rd October at Yellow Arch Studios, located within a former Edwardian nuts and bolts factory. Highlights include a special centenary screening of Benjamin Christensen’s seminal Swedish silent film Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages, live-scored by the festival’s improvising ensemble featuring multi-instrumentalist Jon Boden of Bellowhead fame; Carl Dreyer’s beguiling The Bride of Glomdal from Norway accompanied by one of the world’s finest silent film pianists, John Sweeney; and the first public screening of a recently rediscovered 1918 film of George Eliot’s, Adam Bede

Laurel and Hardy

Audiences in Sheffield can also enjoy eighty minutes of mischief, anarchy and destruction with Cinema’s First Nasty Women – the first of three unique programmes of short films celebrating the subversive, disruptive and provocative women of early film. And for families, the Sheffield weekender includes Lotte Reiniger’s enchanting silhouette animation The Adventures of Prince Achmed with live music. 

To celebrate the centenary of Nosferatu, the first screen adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Yorkshire Silent Film Festival will present two special screenings with two different musical accompaniments. On 28th October at The Old Woollen in Farsley, improvising musicians Ben Gaunt, Naomi Perera, and Rob Bentall will create a unique electro-acoustic score. Three days later on Halloween, the vampire classic will be accompanied by improvising quartet Frame Ensemble at The Picturedrome in Holmfirth. Other horror and supernatural screenings are taking place in York, with the eerie Swedish classic The Phantom Carriage at the National Centre for Early Music on 26th October, and in Saltburn on 27th October, the great stage actor John Barrymore stars in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

The fifth Yorkshire Silent Film Festival concludes in Lancashire at Morecambe’s historic Winter Gardens theatre with the world premiere of Echoes of the North; Four Chapters in Time. This new film, created in partnership with Yorkshire Film Archive, North West Film Archive, North East Film Archive, and Archive Film Agency, features rarely seen early 20th century archive footage shot around the North of England. It will be accompanied by a new score – the first ever all-brass soundtrack for a silent film – composed by acclaimed composer and musician Neil Brand and performed live by the world-famous Brighouse and Rastrick Band, winners of the 2022 British Open Brass Band Championship.  

Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band

Jonny Best, artistic director, Yorkshire Silent Film Festival, said: 

“We’re incredibly excited to reveal this year’s festival programme, and what a line-up it is! There really is something for everyone – from comedy classics for all the family to enjoy, to silent cinema rarities, and a glorious grand finale with the greatest brass band in the world! 

“At the heart of the festival is the live music, created on-the-spot by a crack team of players from all kinds of musical backgrounds including folk, jazz, classical, experimental, contemporary and film music. This year’s improvising ensemble includes festival regulars along with several musicians making their festival debut – we’re thrilled to welcome them all and can’t wait to watch the films and hear their unique soundtracks.”  Festival tickets are on sale now at 

Yorkshire Silent Film Festival is supported with National Lottery funding from Arts Council England, and Film Hub North on behalf of the BFI Film Audience Network

Echoes of the North is commissioned by No Dots with support from PRS Foundation’s Open Fund for Organisations, and Arts Council England. The premiere is supported by BFI Film Audience Network with National Lottery funding as part of the CURIOUS engagement fund. It is presented in Morecambe in association with More Music


The YSFF 2022 programme 

14 October 7pm – Hull Truck Theatre 

The Mark of Zorro with improvised musical score by pianist Jonny Best.  

Tickets: £12.50 (standard), £10 (over 65), £7 (student), £4 (claimant & under 18) 

15 October 11.30am – Hebden Bridge Picture House 

Saturday Slapstick for Children (and their Adults!) featuring Laurel & Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, and Léontine, with live music by Liz Hanks (cello) and Adam Fairhall (piano).  

Tickets: £12.50 (standard), £10 (over 60), £7 (student), £4 (claimant), free for under 18 

16 October 2.30pm – The Ritz Cinema, Thirsk 

Funny Business featuring Laurel & Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and Buster Keaton, with improvised accompaniment by jazz pianist Adam Fairhall.   

Tickets: £12.50 (standard), £10 (over 60), £7 (student), £4(claimant), free for under 18 

22 October – Yellow Arch Studios, Sheffield 

12pm Clowning Around, a triple-bill including Harold Lloyd, Laurel & Hardy, and Buster Keaton, with live piano by Adam Fairhall. 

Tickets: £12.50 (standard), £10 (over 60), £7 (student), £4 (claimant), free for under 18 

7.30pm Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages with six members of the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival improvising ensemble who will create a spontaneous soundtrack – Trevor Bartlett (percussion), Rob Bentall (nyckelharpa), Jonny Best (piano), Jon Boden (concertina, guitar, and violin), Liz Hanks (cello) and Irine Røsnes (violin). 

Tickets: £15 (standard), £12 (over 60), £8 (student), £5 (claimant), free for under 18 

23 October – Yellow Arch Studios, Sheffield 

11am The Adventures of Prince Achmed with live music by Liz Hanks (cello), Juliana Day (recorders and whistles) and Jonny Best (piano). 

Tickets: £12.50 (standard), £10 (over 60), £7 (student), £4 (claimant), free for under 18 

12.30pm Queens of Destruction; Cinema’s First Nasty Women with spontaneous musical accompaniment by the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival improvising ensemble - Trevor Bartlett (percussion), Rob Bentall (nyckelharpa), Jon Boden (concertina, guitar, fiddle, piano), Juliana Day (whistles/recorders), Liz Hanks (cello), Irine Røsnes (violin) and John Sweeney (piano). 

Tickets: £12.50 (standard), £10 (over 60), £7 (student), £4(claimant), free for under 18 

2.30pm Adam Bede, projected in 16mm by Christopher Wibberley who discovered this lost film from 1918. Irine Røsnes (violin) and Jonny Best (piano) will improvise a musical accompaniment. 

Tickets: £12.50 (standard), £10 (over 60), £7 (student), £4 (claimant), free for under 18 

3.45pm The Bride of Glomdal accompanied by silent film pianist John Sweeney. 

Tickets: £12.50 (standard), £10 (over 60), £7 (student), £4 (claimant), free for under 18 

5.30pm A Woman Passed By (Une femme a passé) with improvised musical accompaniment by Jonny Best(piano), Jon Boden (concertina, guitar), Liz Hanks (cello) and Irine Røsnes (violin).  

Tickets: £12.50 (standard), £10 (over 60), £7 (student), £4 (claimant), free for under 18 

7.30pm Our Hospitality featuring Buster Keaton, with improvised piano accompaniment by Adam Fairhall. 

Tickets: £12.50 (standard), £10 (over 60), £7 (student), £4 (claimant),free for under 18 

All-day passes for all six Sunday 23 October shows: £30 (standard), £25 (over60), £20 (student), £15 (claimant), free for under 18 

Weekend passes for all eight Sheffield shows on 22 & 23 October: £50 (standard), £40 (over 60), £30 (student), £20 (claimant), free for under 18 

25 October 2pm – Leyburn Arts Centre 

The Mysterious Lady starring Greta Garbo, with live piano by Jonny Best. 

Tickets: £12 (standard, including tea/coffee and cake) 

26 October 7.30pm – National Centre for Early Music, York 

The Phantom Carriage with improvised musical score by Frame Ensemble. 

Tickets: £15 (standard), £13 (over 65), £6 (under 35) 

27 October 7pm – Saltburn Theatre 

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde with Buster Keaton’s The Haunted House, with pianist Jonny Best. 

Tickets: £8 (standard) 

28 October 8pm – The Old Woollen, Farsley 

Nosferatu with live music by Rob Bentall (nyckel harpa, electronics), Ben Gaunt (piano, electronics) and Naomi Perera (flute, electronics). 

Tickets: £14 (standard) 

31 October 7.30pm – The Picturedrome, Holmfirth 

Nosferatu with improvised musical score by Frame Ensemble. 

Tickets: £12.50 (standard), £10 (over 60), £7 (student), £4 (claimant), free for under 18 

6 November 5pm – Morecambe Winter Gardens 

World premiere of Echoes of the North; Four Chapters in Time with new score composed by Neil Brand, performed live by Brighouse and Rastrick Band with conductor Ben Palmer. The premiere will be complemented by a selection of short films scored by Morecambe and Lancaster-based musicians. 

Tickets: £15 (standard), £12 (over 60), £8 (student), £5 (claimant), free for under 18 

Header Image: Jonny Best, Festival Artistic Director