Arts Diary: Will Marriott

YORKSHIRE is home to some of the finest collections of oil paintings, but seeing them involved visiting each individual gallery. Now the region's favourite paintings will be available to view online at

Yorkshire's Favourite Paintings' project has been put together by a group of 30 museums and galleries from across the region. Funded by the Yorkshire Regional Museums Hub, the website contains 100 of the most-loved paintings chosen by the public dating from the 17th to 21st-century and covering a range of artistic styles and genres. The project was triggered by an ongoing nationwide campaign by the Public Catalogue Foundation which is photographing and recording all oil, acrylic and tempera paintings in publicly owned collections in the UK.

Liz Waring, curator of visual art at Museums Sheffield, said: "We are delighted to be part of this project which gives everyone the chance to view in one place a selection of the fantastic collection of oil paintings we have in the region. Anyone in the world can now go online and see the paintings and the stories behind the pictures, with the ability to zoom in and see the incredible detail and techniques used by the artist."

In these difficult times, we couldn't be printing much better news – York Theatre Royal's production of The Railway Children has set its sights on a new destination: Toronto, Canada. After closing in London last month, we can reveal that this award-winning production will cross the pond to open this summer. Since its first summer run in 2008 at the National Railway Museum in York, The Railway Children has been a huge hit. This success will now see the production transfer to Toronto's Railway Heritage Museum where a 1,000 seat theatre will be built opposite the CN Tower.

Damian Cruden, artistic director of York Theatre Royal and director of the show will be flying out to Toronto to direct it with a Canadian cast. Over the past three years The Railway Children has picked up a White Rose Award for Tourism, was the regional winner for the York Tourism Awards for Excellence and won Silver in the Enjoy England awards for Best Tourism Experience. It is now nominated for two What's On Stage Awards for Theatre Event of the Year and Best Set Design.

Comedy historian Tony Hannan has challenged Channel Four to bring next year's British Comedy Awards to the north of England. After their first show at the London Palladium in 1990, the often controversial annual awards ceremony has been staged at London Studios, formerly Television Centre.

Yorkshire author Hannan, whose book On Behalf of the Committee is a critically acclaimed root-and-branch history of northern British comedy, says the time has come to bring them North.

Hannan writes: "(being staged in the capital, the event] ...inevitably carries an air of smug and self-satisfied metropolitan smart-a***ry. It's time to take the British Comedy Awards back to the land of Frank Randle, George Formby, Les Dawson, Eric and Ernie, Hylda Baker, Jimmy Clitheroe, Ken Dodd and Al Read."

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